Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Valentine's Card '09

It started with a sketchbook drawing. I've been into the whole complicated protective suit thing for some reason, lately.
Then we painted a whole sheet of water color paper with texture.
Cut into pieces.

And more pieces.
Attached multiple printed copies of the drawings with glue and added a border.
Some stamps from our daughter's collection and...
Now we gots us a nice stack 'o' Valentimes!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Chopsticks. The noodle kind, not the piano.

O and N love themselves some Chinese cuisine. So we went to our favorite noodle shop and introduced the kids the joys of good, small noodle slurping yumminess. O was determined to figure out the chopsticks and got them down in one go, eating two helpings completely with the sticks.

N needed some help and eventually just gave in to the fork and eventually his greasy little fingers.

The restaurant is the The Saigon, here in the Fort on Calhoun Street. We went for Friday night dinner then to Artlink for an opening. It was a great night even if we were home by eight.


O got a new cookbook from her aunt and uncle and was all about making recipes for us over January. We made chicken fingers and Sloppy Jose's (a mexican style Sloppy Joe. I didn't make up the name.)

By far the most successful and popular was the lasagne. O loved getting in on the action.

The posing princess with the final product before it was devoured.

A great byproduct was another night's whole dinner that didn't require cooking!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Getting Handy With It

We recently redid our kitchen. Our house is one of those 1930's-redid-in-the-60's-well-sort-of-redid-in-the-90's-sort-of-well Four Square two-story. It's a nice little house. The previous owners did some really big stuff, like putting on vinyl siding and painting it all so that when we moved in it was move-inable. But the colors were all shades of blue and green from Martha's catalog. The kitchen was the last thing we touched.

At one point, it had been a good idea to take of the doors while they repainted the cabinets, and I'll admit, when we moved in and for the first few years we lived here BK (Before Kids), we had it pretty organized, with neat utensils and hip boxes of food and packages that just looked cool. But after a while it just looked like clutter.

Luckily, we found the original doors in the garage, stripped them, painted them, put new hardware on them, had a new counter and sink installed then got to work tackling something we always wanted to do: mosaic tile.
We ordered the 12"x12" sheets from They have great stuff as well as a bunch of eco-friendly stuff.

After attaching 1/16" cement board over the old plaster and lathe, the installation was pretty easy. Our friend let us use their tools and i just followed instructions the company sent combined with a bunch of info I found online.

After putting up the adhesive, you apply the tile, paper out and let it dry for a little bit. Then you just use a sponge, get it a little wet the peel the paper off when the glue is released. We found that by soaking it with the sponge, then letting it set for a few minutes, you can peel off bigger chunks and move it along faster

Even Nige had to get in on the action!

After you peel all the adhesive backer off, you apply the grout, let dry for twenty minutes, then wash it all off. And clean it up!

The finished product! We hung IKEA pots on the sides of the cabinets and are growing herbs. Here's our little IKEA catalog page. (Just don't look too close and find my mistakes!)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

rambling checklist

on the eve of back-to-school after a bliss-filled break, i began making a checklist of things to get me through. these are a few things i'd like to do to keep life fun and survive the jan-march crunch. some people come up with resolutions, i just think about the cool stuff i'd like to do next.

:: miss o's saturday dance classes, see another ballet, family field trip to the botanical garden, science central, exploit the free day at the art museum, noodles @ Saigon, paint the hallway/staircase a la Mary Blair, play with new techie toys, make art mail project, knit stuff, go to movies, hit art openings, bake, play dates with little friends and big friends, goof around with extended family, wander the hardware store alone, escape to chicago to geek out, have a book store date, breakfast at the Friendly Fox, date night at The Rail and designate a sleep-in day for Mama on the weekend ::

this is to serve as a reminder, for me mostly. i'll be checkin in on my list as the 3rd quarter cabin fever sets in.


One of the thoughts we thought that started this all

From J earlier this summer...

I have my coffee, hot and sweet and dark, and my sketchbook, my stories, and I’m sitting on my red brick patio, listening to the morning birdsong, the occasional car and the far away droning call of a train. The air smells of mint from my garden, the scent carried on a slight breeze. The sun is just beginning to burn through the haze and a bird lands on the gutter above my head its wings thrumming against the aluminium.

My small patio. My small house. My small life filled with things that fill my life with beauty and thought and interest, My small house that lets me live a bigger life with my kids, as I wait for the patter-thumb of little feet to come down the stairs and greet me; with my wife whose ideas keep my life interesting and whose beauty does me in every time.

My small house that lets me work on my footprint and work on which kind I really want to leave on this planet when I go.

And, my small house, which lets me be stay on vacation, though I could work, and be here, now, in the now, to write this, to enjoy all this.


from e earlier this summer...

a recent trip to a fast-food junket reminded me that a "small" is the old "large". as the two most un-handy people (that would be us) finish work on our 1930s 4-square, i'm so thankful we didn't up-size too.

ah yes, we were tempted. a beautiful sprawling 50's modern with a glassed in 4 seasons room, squaring of the L shape of the kitchen and dining room. a perfect party destination. for several reasons, we didn't take the plunge and i'm thankful.

i'm thankful for limited living space and how it makes us be civil to each other.

i'm thankful for lessening our footprint when we have to drive across the city to work.

i'm thankful for parties with family that cram our house like a frat party for the 5 and under crowd.

i'm thankful to be able to live within our means and not work in the summer - we have time with the kids instead.

i'm thankful to be able to clean our house/mow the postage-stamp sized yard in a whirlwind and move on to something more interesting.

most of all, our lack of space gives us the room to create. our respective studios are now kids rooms, but our spaces been put to more thoughtful use. and this has given our work, our lives more purpose.