Thursday, April 21, 2016


What I've been doing...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Travel: NYC

According to Zagats, You Can Get Grimaldi's Without Waiting in Line
News flash for pizza fans - you can check out the pizza that has folks lining up day in and day out without the wait. Or without even leaving Manhattan. Sure, hanging out on the sidewalk at Grimaldi's may be "part of the experience" for out-of-towners, but New Yorkers can get their pies at the Limelight Marketplace, where a stand-alone branch opened a while back with little fanfare. It's open, and the checkered tables are usually pretty empty and there is never a line situation.
Nomad Luxirare tells us why.

Kiosk - Say YES! to Hoboken tells us why.

Mokuba for lots and lots of trims.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Travel: London

Twighlight Tour of the Tower of London
The Doctor Who Experience...  for the Daleks!
4 Princelet Street (via Poupée Mechanique) - not a destination, necessarily but super cool nonetheless
These candy stores.
Liberty of London
Champagne Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester (Thank you, Luxirare)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Travel: Rome

Rome... with Biggity.

The inspiration came from Hugh Garvey's article on travelling to Rome with the kiddos (keep in mind that he seems to be a professional food/travel writer).

More, more, and more recent, intel from Jordan Ferney's trip.
Design Mom asks her kids what to do/see.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Movies to See

Moonrise Kingdom.
Could Wes Anderson have made a film as good as Rushmore?

Jiro Dreams of Sushi


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, 2011 Remake - if it's even half as good as the original, it will be worth it. It was pretty good but I still prefer the original BBC version.

Pina - because it's Wim Wenders and because of this Anthony Lane review.
Margin Call because of David Denby's review.
Alice by Jan Švankmajer

I first heard about it over at Poupée Mechanique. With images like that, how not to see it? Oddly enough, I just saw Tim Burton's 2010 Alice offering. It looked great but I found the weird vibe between Alice and the Hatter very distracting. Kudos to Anne Hathaway though for sending up goodness.

The Hurt Locker for the film.
Bright Star for its good looks.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Big Boy: Busy Boy

I need to start a list of notions I have that maybe Big Boy might like:

Swimming lessons (to keep BB from drowning)
Wing Chun

Harvesting Crops (courtesy of Michael!) - a handy-dandy map here

Camp (more pay dirt from Michael)

Circus Camp
Toy Camp

Monday, May 7, 2012

Photography: (Macro) Lenses

09.v.12 UPDATE: There is a cheaper, non-USM version of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens. Much cheaper but sometimes it gets stuck on the camera apparently. Yikes. Amongst those that had this problem, the general consensus seems to be spend a little more for the EF 50mm f/1.4

08.v.12 UPDATE: Another shout out for the EF 50mm f/1.4 USM over at Say Yes To Hoboken. She says that it "is gorgeous for portraits."

17.xi11 UPDATE: I received the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM as a gift. It is an amazing piece of equipment but I still need to learn to use it fully. It is very heavy but it can deliver some amazing results.

Now I am thinking about adding a EF 50mm f/1.4 USM, Standard & Medium Telephoto lens... not exactly a macro but look at this.

What do I need/want:
Aperture: ≤f/2.8
focal length: ≤100mm - longer means less chance of you blocking light ... or startling bugs
magnification: 1:1
IS Technology

Top Pick This Week
(barring the $$$$ Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM): Tamron SP AF 90 F2.8 Di 272E

The candidates:
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM - $$$$ but has IS and faster autofocus than Tamron; heavier (not so good for handheld work).
Tamron SP AF 90 F2.8 Di 272E - good reviews here. Half the price of the Canon 100mm and only 10mm difference.
Sigma 70mm F/2.8 EX DG Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras
Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens
EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro - compact but is the focal length too short? Good as a portrait lens.
SIGMA 50mm f2.8 EX Macro 1:1 Lens for Canon SLR digital cameras

Explanations and Examples:
Macro Photography 101 at Metafilter - Jedrek suggests the EF 100 f/2.8; he also suggest this book.

Excellent explanation of macro equipment by Ken Rockwell.

Chookooloonks tells you how to choose a lens. The macro stuff is at the end.

Good ol' Wikipedia has a pretty good explanation of macro photography.

Smitten Kitchen uses Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro Lens. Food, miniatures ... kinda the same. This is available at Amazon. Or you can rent it at (It only has 1:2).

Things to remember:
Ken Rockwell: This seems silly but it's very important. You need at least a foot or so between your lens and the subject so you don't block your light or scare your subject. You usually want the longest macro lens you can afford.

Chookooloonks: The smaller the aperture number, the more desirable the lens generally is, and therefore it will be priced accordingly. My general rule is that you should always buy a lens with the smallest aperture number you can afford.

Magnification matters. I need 1:1 (not available with the 50mm but available with the 60mm).

Working or Focussing (thank you Renatta!) distance is how close you can get to your subject (e.g., 90mm)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pinterest, Part II

More for C.

You have your pins. Now you can edit, repin them (i.e., pin them simultaneously on your other boards), and delete them if you have a change of heart. 

Let's tackle editing first. 
Select the image you want to edit. Look for the "Edit" button in the upper left corner. Select it.

Now you can change the text in the Description box. Click inside the text box and type or delete to your heart's content.
You can click within and edit the content of the Link box in the same way.
Select the drop down menu (in this example, the image is on my Grub board), if you want to move the image to a different board.
Don't forget to select the red "Save Pin" button to keep your changes!
Lastly, you can select the Delete button, if you cannot remember why you ever liked that particular image in the first place.

Repinning is useful. You do it to others' images but you can do it to your own images too.
Let's say that this recipe is so wonderful that I want to keep it on my Grub board but also pin it to another of my boards.
Look for the "Repin" button in the upper left corner. Select it.

This screen will appear. You might want to change the text for the image on the other board but you don't have to do so. Retype and/or delete at will.

To repin, select the drop down menu. Your list of boards will appear. Choose the one you want.

And when you go looking, you will see that the recipe is also on the second board. You can do this as often as you like to an image.
Nifty, eh?

Friday, April 20, 2012


For C.
Surf the web. Visit your favourite blogs. When you see something you admire or want to remember for future reference, click on your properly installed "pin it" button.
Find the image you want to pin and click on it.
You might have to sign in to Pinterest in order to proceed.
Add any caption you wish. My favourite thing to do is to highlight the text on the blog itself before pinning an image. This populates the caption field for you with that highlighted text. This is also your chance to decide to which board the image will be sent.
You can share the pin elsewhere or go to Pinterest to see it.
There it is, safely pinned to your board of choice. You can now repin it or delete it or edit your notes.
Here is the Grub" board some other boards I have created.
Here it is on the "Grub" board with the other pinned images.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Travel: Paris

Achête Avibon!
La Case de cousin Paul - light balls (bring an empty valise!), courtesy of Oh Happy Day!
Repetto shoes, courtesy of Paris Breakfasts
La Droguerie - Oh Happy Day! tells us why.

8 Hours of Paris Shopping with Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day!
Jordan Ferney's kid-centric list
A kid centric list at Frog Mom
Jordan Ferney's Paris Picnic Guide
Sprizee's links to lists
Kiss My Spatula lists 10 reasons to go in the winter.


Le Boulanger des Invalides Jocteur, courtesy of Paris Breakfasts
Luxirare at Les Cocottes de Christian Constant - she recommends it for lunch.
Luxirare's Park Hyatt breakfast
Luxirare's L'Atelier Robuchon dinner

With Big Boy (many plucked from Oh Happy Day! who goes into greater detail):
Gusto Italia veggie pizza.
Seine Boat Tour, starting at Ile St. Louis.
Puppet shows at Jardin de Luxembourg and Champ de Mars (Oh Happy Day recommends Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons).
Sailboats at les jardins de Luxembourg and Tuileries.
Parc Floral - good children's park furniture.
The Cité des Enfants - children's museum.
Le Centquatre - for the bug carousel.

Grown-ups Only(?)
Paris By Mouth Food Tour, courtesy of Paris Breakfasts
YSL Studio Tour, courtesy of Paris Breakfasts

Friday, March 16, 2012

Travel: Tokyo

Sukiyabashi Jiro (すきやばし次郎 Sukiyabashi Jirō), Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo.

Diamondokeito/Diakeito, DiaScenery/Diamusee Fine Yarn- more info at Moonstitches
~5ocm long colour repeats
100% wool
40g / 220m, fingering
gauge: 30-32 stitches x 42-44 rows
knit with 2.4 - 2.7 mm needle

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Travel: Vancouver


CREATIVE CURRIES, courtesy of The New York Times
Mark Bittman, a food columnist and blogger for The Times, once called Vij’s “among the finest Indian restaurants in the world.” It’s certainly among the more expensive. For a cheaper thrill, pop in next door to its colorful sister, Vij’s Rangoli (1488 West 11th Avenue; 604-736-5711;, which looks like a takeout diner. Memorable combinations include a goat meat and jackfruit curry with a coconut cabbage salad (15.50 Canadian dollars).

We might be taking Big Boy to Vancouver.

Highlights at Travel for Kids.
Find Family Fun has a huge, hot-linked list.
Granville Island - they have a Kids Market and an Adventure Zone.
Kid Space at Science World
Vancouver Aquarium - and you can "encounter" some of the residents for a fee

The suites at 910 Beach have in suite washers/dryers!

Toy Rentals
Wee Travel equipment rentals

Embroidery / Mending

I decided to finally stop just reading and thinking about embroidery and actually start practicing some embroidery.

Instead of generating a sampler that would need to be hung, I decided to practice on something at hand and in use. My older tea towels have developed some mysterious holes in them (moths, buckshot?) so I decided to start with buttonholing those. I really like the amoebae effect. And it was fun!

Here is what I have been reading for months in preparation:
The Stitches of Creative Embroidery, by Jacqueline Enthoven
Handbook of Stitches by Grete Petersen and Elsie Svennås.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Grub: Cake Pops

No Merckens or Wilton candy coating handy? No problem! Veronica's Cornucopia suggests using "...real chocolate, add a tablespoon of vegetable shortening or oil per pound or bag of chips (12 oz) and melt them together."

Veronica answers another conundrum of Cake Balls:

Q: I find cake balls too sweet. Is there something I can use besides frosting?

A: Certainly! All you needs is a binder to keep the cake crumbs stuck together when you roll them into balls. I have a co-worker that uses peanut butter in her chocolate cake balls and lemon pie filling in her lemon cake balls. Other ideas would be pudding, cream cheese, softened butter, bittersweet or semisweet ganache, sour cream, mayonnaise, jams & jellies. Just be careful and add a little at a time, as many of these would go further than frosting and you probably wouldn’t need very much.

If you don’t want to add anything, here’s what you do: make my favorite chocolate cake, process it to crumbs in the food processor and then wad up balls of the crumbs and roll! This particular recipe sticks together with nothing added! The pops end up tasting more like cake than candy, although the texture is still more dense since the crumbs are compacted.

How to make Cake Pops at Bakerella, of course!

And now, courtesy of Aubrey & Lindsay, how to make "cake pops" faster using (more) delicious Timbits!

Decorated paper straws at The Sugar Diva.
Lollipop sticks at Amazon.
Candy coating at Amazon.
Edible Ink pens at Amazon.
Cake Pop tags for the sticks by Bakerella.

Ou, si vous préférez macarons ...
Macaron Pops by Bakerella.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Duchesse brisée

I love chaises, daybeds, ktl.
Current favourite: a duchesse brisée

A history at Design Boom.


Duchesse brisée - this word is used, when the chaise longue is divided in two parts : the chair and a long footstool. Or two chairs with a stool in between them.[2] The origin of the name is unknown.

Blixa... wonderful name of Lisa's cat

Paquerette... as an alternate to Maguerite des prés

casse-couilles, courtesy of Tibiloo

Bathymetry, courtesy of Crafterall

luxemburgerli ... est le même que macarons

Bunga Bunga, courtesy of Silvio Berlusconi

Magdalena Squalor from Michelle Tea's Valencia ... now that's a name!
Vuvuzela courtesy of FIFA 2010

la salopette
les taches d'herbes


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Travel: Santa Rosa

Pacific Coast Air Museum
2230 Becker Blvd.
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Monday, January 9, 2012

Things I Would Like/Ought To Do

Get comfortable with the manual setting of my camera
Polish up my French
Spinning ... on spindle or wheel
Travel more but not for work ... to Africa/Asia/Europe.
Wing Chun! ... but sometimes Krav Maga.
Wing Chun might be more" woman-friendly" (i.e., not so dependent on assumed body strengths ... from what I have read, it was developed by a woman to address these very concerns).

RETIRED (and, in some cases, what was I thinking?):
More effective Baby Signing (For the Record: I do it all the time ... my audience seems receptive but not participatory).

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Travel: Hamburg

Knuffingen Airport: Kleinster Flughafen der Welt - The world's smallest aeroport in action at the Hamburg aeroport. See it in action here.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Travel Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens - especially for Biggity

René Redzepi's Noma - excellent article on Noma at The New Yorker.

Gavin - children's clothing