17 4 / 2014


Love this.

It’s a disarmingly honest presentation of the ups and downs of design duo These are Things, given at the Weapons of Mass Creation conference last year. Watch a video of it or—better yet—read it here, where you can linger over the great illustrations.

Credits: These are Things. Thanks to DesignSponge for linking to it.


26 3 / 2014

Ah for the days when having grease and cake where part of everyday staples! Found these beauties at the Maple Bluff Antique Mall on Stoughton Rd.

25 3 / 2014

Hey, lookit. Katy & Katie made macramé plant hangers just like the ones we successfully made at Emily’s last year.

The video begins with the ladies bemoaning their attempts to complete Martha Stewart’s braided doormat project, which was so rage-provoking that they couldn’t even make an episode about it. That would be this craft:


In sum, we will not be attempting the doormat craft, at least not at my house.


Video: Just the Tips / KatyandKatie.com

Photo: marthastewart.com

24 3 / 2014

09 3 / 2014


I’m toying with the idea of a wallpaper on the wall behind the headboard in our bedroom. This Julia Rothman pattern from Hygge & West caught my eye. The white is available in traditional wallpaper or peel-and-stick wall tiles that can easily be moved/removed. The blue background is available in wallpaper only. What do you think of the design? How do you feel about the light background vs. the dark? Does anyone have experience with temporary wall covers?  



I think the busy-ness of the pattern would be broken up by the horizontal window and by the bed. I would also have the light switches papered and move the art, which is hung too high. This, of course, would mean new wall color, new linens (which we definitely need) and new carpet (which we definitely, definitely need at the 10-year mark we’re hitting this summer). If anyone wants to play designer and make suggestions, go for it!


Wallpaper images: Hygge & West

06 3 / 2014


We have all changed someone’s life — usually without even realizing it. In this funny talk, Drew Dudley calls on all of us to celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each other’s lives.

Copy From Ted Talks


04 3 / 2014

Happy Mardi Gras, y’all! I made 4 king cakes this weekend to celebrate.

02 3 / 2014

This amazing graphic comes from London-based SEO agency MediaRun.


From Mediarun, via Hairpin


24 2 / 2014

So now I’m halfway through another humongous book that is too heavy to hold while I’m reading, so I have to prop it on my stomach in bed. (Does that mean I need a Kindle or a Nook or something?)

This one has me sucked in but it is so, so dark. A teenaged boy in NYC loses his mother in a terrorist attack and becomes unmoored. I’m at the part where he’s gone to live in Las Vegas and spends all of his time drinking and taking drugs with his friend. But I’m still reading because…? I don’t even know. The plot shows no hope of brightening, either. But I’ll let you know how it goes. Good writing.

Also, here’s the author photo from the back cover:


Intense, huh? Face so calm, but look at her hands—like she’s holding herself together, just barely.

And hold on, here’s an exciting update! I have finished reading the other two books I wrote about recently. Here’s my verdict: thumbs down on The Circle, the book about the woman who goes to work at a huge internet company that is taking over the world. It got very silly by the end. I’m also 100 percent sure it will be made into a movie, so we’ll see if I’m right about that. But thumbs up on The Quiet Season, the book about life on a farm in wintertime during the 1930s and ’40s. No real surprises there—if you read one chapter and like it, you’ll probably like the whole book. The book ends with the family getting electricity on the farm and the author explaining how that changed their lives forever. One bit that sticks with me is the author’s sorrow that his family did not sit as close together in the evenings after they got electric lights. When they had to rely on an oil lamp they all had to sit close to it to be able to see what they were doing or reading. But electric lights were so much brighter that everyone naturally spread out more, and he missed the closeness. Perhaps he said something more poignant about technological progress with that one anecdote than Dave Eggers did in his whole book. At least, it seemed that way to me.


images via amazon.com

17 2 / 2014

Lured by a sale on Lego, I was just visiting toysrus.com, and here’s what they put under the banner:


Eerie, huh? It’s like they know me.


Poo leggings image via toysrus.com

16 2 / 2014


I have been using the free app from Folk Alley a lot lately. It streams music from NPR affiliate WKSU-FM at Kent State University, 24 hours a day. The music is a blend of singer/songwriter, Celtic, acoustic, Americana, traditional, and world sounds.

The app puts an icon on your iPad, iPhone, or Android phone that connects you instantly to your choice of about three different streams. (Or at folkalley.com you can stream the music from your desktop computer.) The main stream is Fresh Cuts, and there are usually a few specialty streams; right now there’s Love/Alt Love, for Valentine’s Day. There was a stream honoring Pete Seeger last week and a holiday stream at Christmas. 

On Fresh Cuts I hear people like Pieta Brown, Pokey LaFarge, and songs that, for some reason, I find are especially good mood music when I’m in the kitchen. Kristi, I can confidently say they don’t play all music that makes you want to cry, which we’ve discussed that WPR’s Sunday-night Simply Folk show used to do. 

There are a ton of music streaming options out there. This will either float your boat or not, depending on your musical tastes. I like that it’s simple and in one click takes me to the music. I don’t have to decide between umpteen different stations or artists. It would be nice if they changed up the songs a little more often, but that may be more obvious to me because I’ve been trapped inside for so long this winter. it’s handy to be one click away from music that relaxes me and puts me in a good mood. Especially this time of year!


14 2 / 2014

Liam’s valentines for his classmates …


13 2 / 2014

Aaaand, we finally had Liam’s birthday party. The theme was green — the birthday boy’s favorite color. He had a choice between a superhero party, Mickey Mouse party and a green party. I was happy with the decision!

The decorations were simple: ruffled crepe paper streamers, lots of tissue paper/paper fans and any other green thing I could find around the house.

I ruffled crepe paper streamers. It is so addictive. They’re the new pom-pom for me. Who needs some ruffled streamers? Call me.

I made green M&M cookies (as well as brownies with green sprinkles which didn’t get photographed). Here’s an M&M tip: the Christmas ones go on clearance in January. I picked out the green ones for his birthday and am saving the red ones for Valentine’s Day. (You could save green ones for St. Patty’s Day, especially if you’re baking them—who cares if they’re old!)

The photo booth was made by taping “utility cloth” (that’s how it was labeled when I found it at the back of JoAnn’s) to the wall. Liam had his picture taken there with each of his guests.

Liam does not like cake. He will eat a cookie from time to time. What he really loves are fruit snacks. I filled a cupcake liner with fruit snacks and stuck a candle in them. He was beyond happy. And so was I.

Leading up to the big day I had Liam paint with green paint (and trucks!). We decorated the party room with his artwork. 

Guests went home with a bag full of green M&Ms. 

It was a fun, fun day!

11 2 / 2014

We’ve been busy baking sweet treats for Valentine’s day! I’m going to miss smelling the fragrant sugary confections wafting through my house and C’s sweet smile as she decorates each of her  cookies with such pride and whimsy. Have a sweet day!


We’ve been busy baking sweet treats for Valentine’s day! I’m going to miss smelling the fragrant sugary confections wafting through my house and C’s sweet smile as she decorates each of her cookies with such pride and whimsy. Have a sweet day!


03 2 / 2014

For a while now I’ve been hankering for a good book. Nothing I’ve started has appealed to me, but now I happen to be halfway through two interesting books. They couldn’t be more different.

This book is a memoir about what it was like to live in rural Wisconsin in the 1930s and ’40s without indoor plumbing, nearby grocery stores, a washing machine, or even central heat. Though every bit as horrifying as that sounds, it is told in a charming, straightforward manner, with chapter titles like “Farm Kitchen,” “Winter Chores,” and “Blizzard.” I can’t believe anyone survived that life. At least now I’ve stopped carping about how terrible this winter is.

This novel is about a young woman who goes to work for an internet company that is taking over the world. It’s very engrossing and I’m losing sleep because I get so caught up in it. An interesting structural aspect of this book is that it isn’t broken into chapters, so I find that I just keep reading and reading and reading. You know, it’s an unending onslaught of information—just like the internet! There are lots of descriptions of the beautiful campus, cool perks, and amazing new technologies being developed at this company. It looks like things are going to get ugly as far as total loss of personal privacy, though.

I’ll give an update on both books when I finish. So far, so good, though.


"The Quiet Season" cover image via jerryapps.com; "The Circle" cover image via Wikipedia.org