So I am no better at baking then I am at cooking. I wish I were. But I am only going to take on one place for improvement, so baking will have to wait.

And then I stumbled upon the recipe for faux homemade chocolate chip cookies, via Lisa Quinn in her new book "Life is too short to fold fitted sheets". I think this is my kind of baking. The recipe goes something like this: favorite chocolate chunk cookie dough, one bag chocolate chips, one bag walnuts. Cover in the latter. Follow directions on packaging. And 12 minutes later - viola!

Please, if you are a baker, don't be offended at my use of prefab cookie dough - I would rather have done everything from scratch and organically, but I am reserving all my energy for the pumpkin soup I am making for our Halloween party on Sunday.

Just FYI, the recipe is on page 142


Doo doo

First I go drop of a bag of collected things we no longer use and rifle through the 18 month boy rack. Sometimes I find something, sometimes I don't. This, time - gold mine.

Then I take my patient and waiting nugget next store to the play version of Chloe's Closet. And what does he do? He walks straight to the Doo Doos. That means Schoo Schoo which means train in case you weren't sure.

And inevitably there is always a bigger, older boy already at the well loved train table. But I let them figure it out - they usually do. Today I had to intervene a bit as the bigger older boy was clearly hording every single Thomas and then grabbing what the nugget did have right out of his hands. But we made it work.

So the nugget got to play, I got to shop and we both left, mostly satisfied.

Chloe's Closet is by far my favorite used kids store. I come all the way over the Golden Gate Bridge once a month to take a look. I love that I can drop off a bag or two without an appointment, that they will donate what they don't want and that they also take women's clothes. Their staff is always happy and helpful. And of course, I have to love the Doo doo.


Cake stand



Just in time for Halloween - a clever and oh so crafty way to make a cupcake stand!

For the tutorial, click here

Found via Ikea Hacker


What kind of a sale?

image found on heather bullard's blog

I love when my foreign raised husband hasn't heard a word that I use. It makes me think about the word, where it came from and why it means what it means.

When my 20 minute trip to Whole Foods turned into 40, I had to explain that I had been tempted by a rummage sale at the Buddhist center next door. And since I was baby free, I took the opportunity. Because I certainly can not resist a rummage sale.

The word rummage means to "engage in an undirected or haphazard search, to examine minutely and completely and to discover by searching". Then I actually learned that a rummage sale actually describes "a sale of donated and mixed goods for a charity". I certainly wasn't undirected - more minute and complete I would say. I am pretty good at doing a once over and finding a gem or two amongst the mountains of crap. I love the uncertainty of what you might find and the possibility that you may walk away empty handed.

A few kids books and a pouf that needs a make over later, I praised myself for not getting the silver candy stand and white porcelain soup/egg nog serving dish. I'll take my chance and go back tomorrow...when it's all 50% off!

How about you - can you resist a rummage sale?


Just add water

Here's the thing: I need activities. I need things to do with my oh so inquisitive little man. And though we manage to make it to a music class and a play date and maybe even some swim time, there is still so much time left in the week.

Inspired by my mother-in-law's garden this summer in Germany, I took it upon myself to give this green thumb thing a try. And at our new rented house, we have more garden than I know what to do with and it all needed a bit of TLC. So I chose a small plot, gave myself a budget and my Garten Zwerg (garden gnome) and I went to town.


I plant, he waters. But how is this a repurposed project you ask? Well, instead of running to Target or Home Depot or our local nursery to spend money on pots and plants, I picked through the abandoned containers at my moms house and came away with more than I could use. And since we are renting, the money I spent on plants is not lost - I will be able to move the planters with us!

So, a few old pots from my mom, a few new plants and a bag of bark mulch, and you get a mini garden plot that looks like this and endless hours of watering fun.



The perfect cleaning cloth

The nugget has a wardrobe staple: white Carters onesies. I don't buy any other brand - they are simply the best. And though this post isn't a plug for one of my favorite baby items - I can't help but mention that they are usually available on sale at diapers.com, half-price at Carter's outlet stores and sometimes available at Ross for $9. Not sure what we'll do whtn 24 months doesn't fit.

However, they are white and so they get dirty and stained.

And though I keep most things should there be a baby number 2, he or she will certainly be getting new white onesies.

Instead of throwing them away, I cut off the arms, cut down the sides and then have an oh so perfectly soft dust/cleaning cloth. Could be great for polishing silver too...if anyone does that anymore!


Perfectly imperfect

I have this great t-shirt from Old Navy. Across the chest it reads "I'm the perfect imperfection". Sadly it's in the box of "these clothes don't fit my had-a-baby-18 months-ago- body" so I can only think about wearing it right now.

I thought of it today as I read Lisa Quinn's book Life is too short to fold fitted sheets. I had the utter joy of hearing her speak in person this past week at a local Speak to Me event. And, she was as real in person as she seems to be in her book.

She is cleverly serious and frank, that it is time that we (women) lowered our standards, embraced imperfection and just chilled out! I agree with her and I salute her!

That is not to say that we raise heathens with no manners or ourselves become lazy in our generosity, gratitude or passion. It's just that we relax when life inevitably looks more like mac n cheese in a box than glazed duck with cranberry confit.

I was talking with two of my mom friends last week and we were talking about play and being fun. I chimed in with, "I am fun when the dishes are still in the sink, the clean laundry is piled up on the dining room table ready for folding and dinner is our favorite pizza margarita from tony's down the street."

It made me think about what impacts the nugget more: a fun mom or neatly folded jeans.

So I have been trying it out - leaving the clothes on the dining room table, getting to the dishes when I can and busting into rhyme with the empty paper towel holder before it landed in the recycling bin. Made the nugget look twice and then explode with laughter...and you know what, I couldn't help but laugh myself.

A tree of crows

Not your typical kids party decorations! These inspiration images conjure up thoughts of cemeteries and haunted eves of days past. A bit vintage, a bit eclectic, a bit rustic. Just the way I like it! From Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publication Halloween tricks & treats

My favorite images: the tree of crows and an upside pair of witch legs. Really amazing!


More orange and black

Not one to be inspired by the normal craft magazines, I was totally impressed with the ideas in this special interest publication of Better Homes and Gardens Halloween tricks & treats. Don't you agree?

A whole lot of.....

Do you know Scrap?

It is one of those San Francisco gems that once you find out about you wonder how you ever got along without it. It is a treasure trove of reusable supplies for any possible art project that you can dream of.

The way it works: you gather as much as you can, take it up to the counter and whoever is lucky enough to be at the register, gives you a price. And then you pay, in cash. Don't try to barter - you'll just get a frown. I have never felt that my pile of loot was overpriced, not even in the slightest.

Three lessons I have learned:

1. Go with a project in mind - or else you will end up in craft supply overload and buy too much or nothing at all.

2. Don't go with your cleverly crafty toddler - this is not a place for little hands if you don't want to be saying "No don't touch that everyone 30 seconds!

3. Give yourself time - especially if its your first time. There is so much to look at, that being on a time limitation may squelch your creative juices!

Other than that, go and explore!


A vintage and handmade halloween

Found on etsy in 30 one's shop.

Love these cards. Any clever ideas on what to do with them?

Found on etsy in Strictly Vintage's shop

These candle sticks would look so cool amongst an array of pumpkins and other ghoulish things!

Found on etsy in The Night Jar's shop

Could make a darling garland or decoration for tall dried branches.

Found on etsy in Cozy Expressions' shop

Bats and bats and bats of my!

I think that it is really easy to go crazy on holiday decor. Would you believe that I found Halloween themed burner plates for your gas stove. Amidst a see of not-needed and totally unnecessary, is a little spot for me to buy my first Halloween decorations, ever. When you live in a condo in the middle of the city, the last thing you need is Halloween decorations. But now, in the suburbs and with a little person, I get to start this spooky tradition. And with our Halloween housewarming party just a week away, I figured I should get on with it!


whose that?



this project took longer than i thought. but i was pregnant and determined to carry out my vision. and what vision was that: the create a shared bedroom for us and baby, that was soft and gentle and warm and cozy and welcoming to a baby but totally aesthetically pleasing to me. i was determined to stay away from traditional nursery decor and the idea to create a wall mural of the nugget's family just wouldn't leave my mind.

i collected all the old pictures of myself, my husband and our brothers and then between scrap, good will and the flea market found a solid assortment of wooden frames. i painted them all white, found glass pieces at scrap for those who no longer had glass, took some heavy duty letterpress card stock from the recycling bin at work and started to cut and paste.

for less than $20, the photo gallery was complete!

and then we moved.

but it was an easy transfer - and his new room has the perfect nook for a changing area, so it made setting the whole thing up a snap.

and now at 18 months, he looks with wide eyed bewilderment when i point to the picture of a blond little girl with the goat and say "mama."

where to buy:
old wood frames at your local goodwill store, letterpressed bear poster by dutch door press, elephant bank by pottery barn kids, curtain panel by urban outfitters


Our own Velveteen Rabbit, kind of

Meet Schnook. He is about 37 years old. He belonged to my husband.

When I received him {from Germany}, after my mother-in-law cleaned out her basement, he was in a sad state of affairs. Full of holes, limp, one-eyed and looking totally pathetic. A perfect project for my pregnant nesting phase, he got a make-over.

I bought batting and filled him up. I sewed his holes by hand. I found 2 new leather button eyes at Mendel's on Haight Street (who have the BEST button collection I have seen). And ordered a green wool knitted doggie sweater from the internet. Yes, I said doggie sweater, as my knitting skills have never advanced past the straight lines of a scarf, and I figured I didn't need to knit something to feel satisfied with the end result. Priorities, remember.

So there you have him - his neck stands a bit straighter and he's just waiting for the little nugget to be old enough to find him lovable.


a nice place for books



Being renters after having been home owners for over 5 years is an added test of my creative abilities. I have oddles of saved inspiration images for outstanding book shelves and reading nooks, but those will need to wait until we have found that home in which we plan to stay for while.

For now, I figured I would try to use what I have.

I had a fabric remnant from the glider project, 2 IKEA Ribba picture ledges and a random piece of wood in the garage. A few staples and 4 screws later, the nugget and I had finished a book shelf for his room.

Just his height and perfect for 5-6 books that can be rotated out.


Summer in days gone by

This, well this is summertime in the Bay Area, in the middle of October. And this is three little people (whose mama's met in childbirth class) who don't look like babies anymore. And this is a glimpse into many more summers, with the 3 musketeers.

And this is 3 tiny people trying to recreate the moment...if only to get one more shot.

And this is 3 little people who may never understand the concept of film developing or actually using a camera to take a picture. Let's be thankful we have a papa and an uncle amongst us who still use the real deal.

And all together it makes 3 little people and 3 mamas who are really grateful to have found each other.

{photos enthusiastically taken with our favorite shake it up app for iPhones)

max und moritz


after (in our apartment)

after (now in his own room)

having a mom who saves absolutely everything has its immense advantages - like finding the pieces of a hand-made felt mobile, that could very well have belonged to her.

these little characters: 2 naughty little boys, an old woman, a dog, a house and a cloud are from the stories of max und moritz, a german story about these two mischievious boys and their naughty tricks. the perfect mobile for a new little baby boy, who i am certain will be just as mischievous.

the felt characters
fishing line
small embroidery hoop
white paint
large gold link chain