Rereading Domino

There it is, my stack. My stack of prized and treasured Domino magazines, plus 3 or 4 issues of Martha Stewart's Blueprint that did not survive in magazine land very long, but won my heart regardless.

And there it sits, that stack.

I have always been quite diligent about clearing out. You only have to move once and pack, lift and unpack boxes of books before swearing that you will never do that again. But letting go of books is hard. And letting go of Domino is even harder, because that's it. No more, can't re-buy.

So what do I do with it?

Well, I am going to re-read it, just as though it were arriving monthly in my mailbox. And I will savor it.

And then, if there is something to save, I'll save it, electronically. And then I'll keep the best 10 issues, just because. And the rest, I will simply let go.



I found these wooden eggs on eBay. They arrived from Hong Kong, meticulously packaged in tan butcher paper and string, adorned with the gentle and mindful strokes of a calligraphy pen. I wish I had taken a picture before tearing into it.

Minus their wooden nature and minus eBay and minus the packaging and minus the fact that this half dozen have traveled across an ocean and two countries, it felt like a farm fresh delivery in a lushly imaginative way.

Three open to present yolks that are this buttercup yellow that clank and swirl against the stainless bowls the nugget drops them in. The other three are solid and usually end up in a different bowl, being feverishly mixed together.

It's this little stuff that I simply want to breathe in and remember.

{If you type in wooden play eggs in a search in eBay, several options are still available. A word of caution, the yolks are small and NOT intended or suitable for kids under age 3. Please be mindful with the things you buy for your children - their safety is always more important than aesthetics.}


The nugget and Suzy Homemaker

It's Friday evening and instead of rushing from the car to inside to making dinner to bath time, I changed things up. Or more accurately, he changed things up. We stopped, midway up the stairs at our now weathered lemon tree and garden, I pulled out the Suzy Homemaker stove I found at Urban Ore a few months ago and we just let dusk come.

When I saw this play kitchen, I had initially intended it for inside use. I mean, look at it. Its adorable. But once I got it home, I realized that it required more creativity and energy to make it really play ready, so I decided to allocate it to outside play - knowing that mud pies and grass casseroles would certainly be in our future.

My two favorite things are the plastic coil burners and the multi-colored knobs that still turn. And the Suzy Homemaker logo just makes me smile.

I am feeling grateful for Bloggerplus and my iPhone and the stoop that I can sit on, and create this post without the little man even noticing. And I am grateful that I let myself stop for a moment and just let the last 30 minutes happen.

My hands are frozen, the nugget's pants are drenched with collected rain water and it looks like dinner will be L'eau du limon avec birdseed.

Bon appetit!


Your old J Crew sweater

I know you have it - that one sweater that you can't bear to part with because it reminds you of some ski trip with some really cute boy. Maybe one of these projects will inspire you to give it a new life.

I am kind of partial to the lampshade - though in the sun kissed days of summer it might stand out a bit.

Have any projects you've done with old sweaters or blankets? Post a comment!


Some Etsy meandering...

Hot water bottle cover from ecozee
{they have several adorable other cozy kind of things}

Kiddie sweaters from grown-up sweaters from My Eco Baby
{the shop mentions it does custom work with your sweaters...I might just have to try that out}

Wool birdie from looploft

Just took a little stroll through Etsy and of course there is plenty to see. If you are interested in more hand-made products like these, just enter "repurposed sweaters, kids" in the search box and do some browsing!


A thread runs through it

image from annekata

Does it count to have an intention for doing a project but then never getting around to it?

Annekata is one of my favorite blogs so when Kathrin posted the first scarf how-to with the red thread back in November, I was immediately inspired to try it myself for Christmas presents. And then Christmas arrived. And then it passed. And I am still thinking of the petal scarf with the red thread, more so for me now, than for someone else.

 image from annekata

Kathrin used old t-shirt material for the 2 color version and wool material for the other. Old tartan pants, skirts and any old wool blazer from your local vintage boutique could be used for the circles. My mom still has some of my dads old blazers, that do not fit the one brother who would be willing to wear them, so I think I will plan accordingly for Christmas 2012. That should certainly give me enough time. Wouldn't you think?

Thank you Kathrin for this beautiful creation.

There are many more wonderful tutorials on her blog - many using repurposed materials.
For the post on the red thread scarf, click here
For the full tutorial on the 2 colored scarf, click here


A closer look at Ragged Thistle

Whether you subscribe to the Waldorf approach to education or not, their local and seasonal fairs offer an amazing opportunity to buy local and handmade gifts as well as toys, dolls, cars and other kinds of pleasures that help engage your child's imagination. I attended the Harvest Festival at the Waldorf School in San Rafael, and though we spent most of the time in an unexpected torrential downpour,I was still able to spot a few lovely, lovely things.

The stand out - the ponchos and sweaters made by Amber Young of Ragged Thistle. She was kind enough to take few minutes and talk about how and why she does what she does. Thanks Amber for your photos and answers!

1. How did you start repurposing sweaters?

I grew up in a very small rural California village and although the town was tiny, we had 3 thrift stores. I loved poking through those shops and finding tidbits and treasures. I got myself a sewing machine and taught myself how to sew by cutting up vintage dresses piecing them together and making them fit me. A ruffle here a gusset there. Reconstructing sweaters was a natural progression. I would find a beautiful cashmere sweater and think what a shame it was that the form of the garment was so unflattering. I started playing around with piecing sweaters together for me and the ideas just kept coming!

2. Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in all of nature. I strive to make life beautiful. Sometimes the inspiration comes in the muted tones of a rainy day at the beach and sometimes in the technicolor of blooming meadows in spring time. I am also inspired by the human form. I want my designs to play and dance with the body.

3. Do you have a favorite creation?

I don't have a favorite creation. I love many of the things I make and learn lessons from the mishaps. I do have favorite art and am inspired by Vali Myers, John William Waterhouse, and Sulamith Wulfing just to name a few.

4. Any tips or tricks for working with old sweaters as a craft material?

Sweater tips: Play with color combination's, Use the patterns and weave of the sweater in strategic ways as part of the design of the project, sweaters with a similar weight work best together.

You can find Amber setting up shop at Ragged Thistle on Etsy, at Ragged Thistle Clothing on Facebook or at an upcoming handmade fair, if you happen to be in Northern California.


One gray elephant

You might gather that I have a soft spot for elephants, I always have. And when I traveled to Thailand in my twenties and found entire shrines dedicated to them, well, it made me fall in love with Thailand even more.

This one is a clever new use for an old cashmere sweater.

Found on buttercup blooms site...a while ago.


Keeping your gooloos warm

Illustration by Penelope Dullaghan

Since this week on repurposed playground has been about projects using old sweaters, I was tickled when I read this blog post today from a wonderful artist and mom Penelope Dullaghan.

It made me think of my dad. When I was little, we always needed to make sure that our gooloos were covered. Gooloos you ask? Its part back side, part lower back, part kidneys. Seems he wasn't too far off - in Chinese medicine keeping the kidneys covered and warm during the winter is important in maintaining health and well being. And since the kidneys are located sort of lower backish, the gooloos it is.

Penelope's easy do project, is just the right thing to keep your gooloos warm too!
Click here for her full post


Getting warmer

It is cold. It is really cold. It is so cold I had to scrape ice from our car window this morning. It is so cold I spent 15 minutes just sitting in front of the wall heater just now, attempting to warm my bones. It is so cold that I am going to start practicing Bikram Yoga again after 6 years because I want to be in that hot sauna of a room. Okay its really cold for Northern California - is that fair?

And all I have on my brain is crackling fires, warm blankets and daydreams of wearing flip-flops again, someday.

So it makes sense to be drawn towards cozy things today.

I love the texture of the poufs and rugs and throws in these images from the German catalog Impressionen that I discovered this summer. Their website is full of great things for home  - maybe some of my new favorites! And you don't need to speak German to take a look.

Nothing re:purposed today...it is too cold to be creative :)


A breakfast nook, finally



We moved in to this little rented house in April and I have had a vision for this nook since the beginning. I tried effortlessly to create something with several round tables, but all failed miserably on the practical test. And that, for a space that gets used at least 3 times a day, was no good.

When we found our dining table {see here}, the thousand pound steel table base (that we bought for $25 two years ago at the Bernal Hillside Sale) was all of a sudden unused. I found a piece of the Numerar countertop from our city apartment kitchen redo in the garage, spray painted the base a glossy black and there you have a it. A true repurposed breakfast nook table. I spent only the few dollars on a bottle of spray paint.

Then there were the benches. On my lord the benches. But, I have a very determined husband and a very willing brother and with table saw and some outrageously meticulous design sketches, these were born, just in time for the gaggle of guests who were headed our way for the holidays. 

As for fluff, well that just came together somehow. It all makes this drafty corner nook, a little bit warmer, a little bit softer. And the perfect place to eat breakfast, together.

{The fluff}
Rens Sheepskin from IKEA
Iris Chair pads (3 per bench) from IKEA
Red graphic pillow from Mount Carmel Thrift Store
Red velvet pillows from Urban Home
Gray knit pillow from Target
Gislev rug from IKEA (given to us)
Cordless Roman Shade from Bed, Bath & Beyond


Renewed sense of wonder

And so it is a new year. The Christmas decorations are almost put away, there are loads of laundry to do and the simplicity of day to day life is again emerging.

As I flipped through months of images that have collected on my iPhone, I found these two, snapped in moments of deep appreciation for the untainted creativity that dwells deep within our little ones. I took both, especially Sippy cup with Sneaker, to remind me to not say no or don't or stop when I see him doing something that doesn't fit into my adult world or will require me to do an extra few minutes of clean up.

I will therefore watch, listen and learn, more so everyday, as I realize that he is finding his way, his path, himself, one strange and peculiar art installation at a time.

May 2011 be full of wonder for you as well.

Happy New Year