a new memory

I loved playing memory as a kid, so I bought the classic memory game for my kids last year. For some reason, they didn't love it the way I had hoped. The cards are a bit small for their tiny fingers, and there are so many pairs they could never remember where anything was. I figured they were just too young to play memory.. 

Until I discovered these great memory cards at Pottery Barn Kids (they were on sale when I bought them a few weeks ago). These cards are a nice size for little hands.. about 3 1/2 inches square. I'm loving the graphic illustrations and the bright color palette. And there are only 16 pairs to match (about perfect for Bee and C).


this week's library book

I like to try out children's books before I buy them. I've made too many impulse purchases on amazon, and then realized that the book was just not as clever or cute as all the five-star reviews said it was (probably written by the author's mother). So when I hear a recommendation for a book, I try to find it at the library first. If we like the book enough, then we buy it for our home library.

When You Were Small  by Sara O'Leary (illustrated by Julie Morstad) is a lovely little treasure. Each night Henry has a chat with his father before bed, asking him what he was like when he was small. His father recalls "When you were small you used to have a pet ant and you would take him out for walks on a leash", and each spread tells another memory. He recalls how Henry would ride around in the pocket of his father's shirt... "Your little head would just stick out and your little hands would grip onto the edge of the cloth. Actually you ripped a lot of my shirts that way."

I love the understated design, with a different hand drawn letter starting each spread. The endpapers are sweet as well, showing a gallery of Henry when he was small (hanging from a balloon, peeking out of a teacup, etc.)

As I'm tucking my son C into bed, he now asks me what he was like when he was small. And we tell him how he once used a quarter for a frisbee, or how we lost him once amongst the bananas at the supermarket. Needless to say this book will be joining our library here at home.


market recap

As promised before I got sidetracked with Halloween and the election, here are a few of my favorite things at Quilt Market..

Vintage trims and buttons arranged by color from Dusty's Vintage:

A bounty of all things lovely and Japanese at the kokka booth:

These vintage ads for Bernina sewing machines: 

Beautiful quilts at the Lecien booth:

And of course, our Oliver + S booth, featuring two new outfits for Spring 09:

Another Quilt Market come and gone.. 


i want candy

There is way too much candy around here this week. When I was little, my brothers and sisters and I used to come home from our marathon of trick or treating, dump out our pillowcases and organize our candy stash. One row for peanut butter cups, one row for now and laters, etc. And then we'd trade like crazy for our favorites.

My dad hated the idea of all that candy in the house, so the day after halloween he would buy our candy from us. We'd weigh it on the bathroom scale and get paid $1 a pound, or something like that. So this year, we bought the candy off Bee and C. They got to pick 10 of their favorites, and we got the rest. They're happy and we are too. 


super kids

Once upon a time when we were living in Brooklyn, I made up a story for my kids about two superheroes: Super C and Super Bee. We were probably riding the train or something and I needed to entertain them for a minute. The Adventures of Super C and Super Bee have continued since that day.. The stories always take place somewhere in New York, and have involved saving someone from the top of the Statue of Liberty, or helping a stranded seal at the Central Park Zoo, or a runaway bumper car down at Coney Island. These super crusaders have powers of course: Super C can run lightning fast, and Super Bee can fly faster than a jet plane. (There is sometimes a Super Tate, who was C's best buddy in Brooklyn, and he is super strong).

So when I started talking about Halloween this year, the kids decided collectively that they wanted to be Super C and Super Bee. (But what about our family costume tradition, I cried? How about Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, and daddy can be the woodcutter? No, they cried. We want super powers!! We want capes!!) 

I finished up the capes before I left for Houston. Thanks go to my talented friend Katie who had given C a fantastic cape for his birthday last year, which I used as a template... I'm sure it saved me hours of headaches. I love that the capes will get played with all year, not just tossed aside after a few hours of trick or treating. 

While I was away, my husband sewed the shirts and pants so the kids could attend a weekend Halloween party. He even used zippers and bias trim with piping (things I never would have attempted). Did I mention my husband has skills with a sewing machine? (it was one of the things I discovered early in our courtship that made me think, hmmm.. maybe I could love this guy. That, and his subscription to Dwell magazine.) Thank you JR for not sending the kids out in just their skivvies and a cape.


how to light a jack-o-lantern

Lighting a jack-o-lantern can be tricky business. It's easy to burn yourself as you try to hold a match to the tiny tealight you've placed inside your pumpkin. 

I picked up this tip during my time at Martha Stewart. Instead of reaching your hand into the pumpkin with a lit match, light a piece of spaghetti instead. It will burn very slowly, and serves as the perfect tool to light your candle without burning yourself in the process. I realize you can also use glow sticks or touch lights in your pumpkins instead of candles, and not worry about burning your fingers at all, but that's cheating in my book. Half the fun of a jack-o-lantern is seeing it flicker and glow by candlelight. We lit ours tonight and they look beautiful out on the porch. Happy Halloween!


cousin boxes

My family is spread out from one coast to the other, so we've gotten in the habit of mailing out surprises to all of Bee and C's cousins.. sometimes for Valentine's day, or to celebrate the beginning of summer, or for Easter or Halloween.. we try to mix it up so they truly are surprised when they open their mailbox. 

This year we gathered a few things (eyeball candy bracelets, candy corn and other treats, halloween stickers, glow in the dark spiders, chattering wind up teeth, twisty straws, and a jack o lantern bell) and packed them up in my new favorite wrapping trick.. a plain white pencil box (available for about $1 at our local craft store). Slap on a sticker label to close the box, and you're off to the post office.

Clarification: You still have to put them in an envelope to mail! I love these boxes because they fit nicely sideways in a Priority Mail envelope.. Please do not attempt to mail these boxes on their own! 


back to reality

I'm back from a very busy visit to Houston, and very happy to be home. My children never look as adorable as they do when I've been away for a few days. I'm compiling my photos and will be posting soon about the lovely things I saw at Quilt Market. But for now, I've got cupcakes to make, and Halloween parties to prepare for.


to market, to market

I've been lucky enough to be a part of launching Oliver + S, a lovely little company that makes children's clothing patterns (created by the talented Liesl Gibson). Designing patterns and tissues and paper dolls and booths for trade shows is all new to me, but it's been such a fun ride.. We're off to Quilt Market yet again, in Houston this time. I'll post a full report when I'm back on Tuesday!



I am a huge fan of envelope security patterns.. I know I'm not alone in this (there's a lovely collection here). I love how they are never quite perfect, like they've been xeroxed on an old copy machine. I've been cutting all our envelopes down to little squares, perfect for little notes (good thing we pay most of our bills online!).