We went to visit our friends at Stinson Beach yesterday and had such a wonderful, Bay Area summer day (which meant that it was freezing in the morning and warm/sunny after noon).
I really wanted to visit the house where they were staying because my friend, ReCheng Tsang, had recently installed her artwork there.
I loved it. It’s in a perfect space, and I couldn’t stop staring at it all day.
Look. I love that one perfect gold one.
I wish we could’ve stayed there all week!
Every winter, I think to myself, “Is the weather usually this mild, or is this a really crazy year?” I think this despite the fact that I grew up in the Bay Area, just as I think every summer, “Are summers here usually so cold, or am I just imagining things?” We are trying to take advantage of the weather by riding bikes to and from school as much as possible, which takes a little mental push and quite a bit more organization. And I’m realizing that it is really REALLY easy to get out of shape after a little break, especially when “in shape” is a very VERY relative term. Luckily, the ride home is all down hill.
So, for a bit of inspiration, here’s a PSA starring a very good friend and my beloved old Craigslist bike. I love how my friend is so natural here, appearing to be the fun, good-natured mom that she is in real life. Have a great weekend!
It’s Simple. Clean Air PSA from Lyniel Dao on Vimeo.
I saw this project some time ago floating around on the internet, and thought it was such a great way to capture a moment in time. I’ve been wanting to do something like it ever since, and the perfect occasion came up when the babies turned one in May. This may confuse you a little bit because first of all, it’s now November, and you’re probably also wondering since when did I have more than one baby? But Bee spends so much time with her baby friend, Clara, and their brothers, Otis and Emmett spend so much time together as well that I find myself always talking about “The Babies” or “The Boys” in broad, sweeping ways. As for the November part, well, let’s just move on.
Clara is just 6 days older than Bee, and on their birthdays, their little hands were traced for when I finally had time to get to work. Although I love the simplicity of the prints from plumpudding, I wanted to add some texture so I filled it in with stitches. I’m not convinced that I like this any better than just the simple outline, but I like how the lines make me think of the lines on one’s palms. I feel like those lines tell such stories about one’s lives, and I spend an awful lot of time wondering how the stories of our kids’ lives will play out so it felt appropriate. I also used some metallic coated linen to indulge my recent love for sparkly things.
I not only refer to our kids in pairs, but I also seem to make things in pairs for them. Matching scarves, capes and costumes have popped up in our lives because when you make one, it always seems just as easy to make just one more. I’ll make one of these hand prints for Bee too, hopefully by the time she turns 2. And Emmett’s birthday is coming up, and I think I see another vision of matching craftiness in my future.
It feels like I spend a LOT of my time thinking about presents for kids, and I’ve been so happy that lately I’ve been making craft kits, sticker books, and t-shirts instead of buying toys that may or may not ever see the light of day. I recently came up with another idea: an on-the-go doodle kit. We have a little flexible plastic pencil tote that contains a lightweight sketchbook (I bought a ton of them at Muji when we were in Taiwan) plus some oil pastels or crayons. I usually throw this kit into my purse or under the stroller when we go out to eat or when we are running errands that require waiting. It has saved us tons of times during long and otherwise restless waits at restaurants, and I thought other kids/parents might enjoy the same.
I wanted to have something a little special in our kit, though, and I decided that it needed a fun drawing tool. Otis and I recycled some crayons that we acquired at East Bay Depot by breaking/cutting them down to small chunks and melting them in a star-shaped silicone cake pan. It’s a great way to use up old, broken crayons, or even the crayons that you get free from restaurants. You can use any shape you want – use an old muffin tin, or even melt it in a big sheet and cut them into shapes while still warm with a sharp cookie cutter (though I’m not sure you’ll want to bake anything edible in the pans afterwards). We broke up the crayons together and Otis arranged them in our cake pan. Then we sat in front of the oven and watched them melt very slowly. (We baked them at 200 until they were melted, about 15 minutes.) It was a fun project to do together, and he found the cutting of the crayons quite satisfying:
yes, there he is with the superman outfit again
I found a great substitute for our beloved Muji notebooks in these fantastic little sketchbooks from Moleskine. I love their regular sketchbooks, and they make these thinner versions in a variety of wonderful colors. They fit just right into a clear plastic “binder pouch” that I found at Target (I need to go back and buy a bunch before all the back-to-school supplies are gone!) and I added a star shaped crayon tucked into a little sewn drawstring bag. I will attach a little tag that will inform our gift recipient that the crayon was “Made by Otis.” I know some prefer to limit their use of plastic, and you can definitely sew a larger drawstring bag instead; there are so many possibilities.
I love this little doodle kit! And I hope our gift recipient will, too.
One of the best presents I received after Otis was born was a collection of three CDs made by a couple of our friends who happen to be really knowledgeable about music. I am pretty clueless myself, and would probably still listen to Duran Duran if I could, so I like learning about other music. And I appreciate the time and thought that goes into making such a present. It’s like sewing or knitting a present.
We are attending a mini-family reunion of sorts, and I made copies of these two CDs for Otis’s cousin. One is good for sleepytime, and the other is good for all-around fun. We like he likes it. I thought I’d share it with you, too. You’ll recognize much of it, as I did, though I never thought of much of it as good kids’ music. And I’m not necessarily saying that Otis prefers listening to this over music about monsters and animals, but I sure do like it, especially the Asleep collection, which I would play when Otis was screaming in the car. If you have other grown-up favorites that are good for kids, I’ve love to hear about them.
Ooh Child – Nina Simone
Blackbird – The Beatles
The Lion Song – Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Three Little Birds – Bob Marley and the Wailers
Cupid – Sam Cooke
Car Song – Woody Guthrie
Buckets of Rain – Bob Dylan
I Had A Good Mother and Father – Palace Brothers
Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor – Woody Guthrie
Paradise – John Prine
Joshua Fit The Battle – Elvis Presley
What The Deep Sea Say – Woody Guthrie
Loves Me Like A Rock – Paul Simon
Blueberry Hill – Loretta Lynn
Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding
To Know Him Is To Love Him – Dolly Parton
Love Me Like A Song – Willie Nelson and Kimmie Rhodes
Can I Sleep In Your Arms – Willie Nelson
How’s The World Treating You – Allison Kraus and James Taylor
Hobo’s Lullaby – Arlo Guthrie
Over Yonder (Jonathon’s Song) – Steve Earle
Birds and Ships – Billy Bragg and Wilco
First Time Ever I Saw Your Face – Johnny Cash
This Side Of The Blue – Joanna Newsom
La Noyee – Carla Bruni
Rene and George Magritte With Their Dog After The War – Paul Simon
Prelude No. 7 – Chopin
Gymnopedie 1 – Satie/Jean-Yves Thibaudet
See you next week!