Archive for June, 2008


Posted by laura on Jun 27 2008 | Uncategorized

Yay for summer. Here’s to making meals right before you eat them – no more lunches and snacks piled up on the counter every morning. Here’s to long bike rides. Here’s to the leafy cool library. Here’s to keeping the days long and lazy.

Tom’s parents were out for a visit – they days truly fly by when they’re here. Last weekend it was hot hot hot out here so we hit the beach first thing in the morning. We got to see the runners starting out on the double Dipsea (they run up and over the mountain twice). Just thinking about that made us decide to get breakfast first. And maybe take a nap. It was a beautiful day on the beach, watching the seals and playing in the sand.

This week we’ve been doing some crafty projects. My daughter has made a few pillows for her big bear and her doll and her brother.

The big flowery one is for Hot Wheels. He loves that fabric. We also dug through the scraps to find some material for a sundress for my daughter, and came up with this beautiful polka dotty fabric that Mum brought out at the beginning of the year. It had been lurking up in my parents’ attic, so who knows how long it’s been around. It certainly has that nice old cottony feeling to it. We opted for a simple, sleeveless, princess-seamed number that should feel good in Boston, provided I get it stitched up in time. 

I think the polka dots are awesome. Perfect summertime fare.

Right now it’s just waiting for the zipper, collar lining and sleeve edging. I might have to hem it in Boston, seeing as we leave Sunday night. Down to the wire, that’s my general plan for everything.


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Posted by laura on Jun 18 2008 | Awesome, Holiday

On Father’s Day, Tom wanted to do some painting, so he and the kids took to the back deck for some art in the sun.

They had a great time, and I think Tom enjoyed the day. Thanks for being such an amazing father, Tom! We’re so lucky to have you.

While I’m at it, I’m going to put up another one of my all-time favorite father pictures…

Sittin’ on the stoop at the beach, watching dump trucks. That just sums it all up for me.

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Random Acts of Beauty

Posted by laura on Jun 15 2008 | Awesome, Great design, Travel

Here are some random shots from my beautiful trip to Peru. Of course the greatest beauty I encountered there was undoubtedly in the people I met. I’ll be frank – Peru seems to have an overabundance of gorgeous people, but it was their warmth, generosity and humor that knocked my socks off. I don’t have permissions to post their photos, though, so I’ll focus on a few other lovely sights.

Up in Cusco, Carmen and I went to an evening performance of traditional Peruvian dance. In the back of the theater there was a small costume museum filled with absolutely stunning pieces like this one. The color and complexity of the patterns and pieces just blew me away.

Here’s Carmen’s church – it’s such a lovely structure, with an open and clean design inside. It had great warmth with minimal fuss. Check out the fence around the church – they have a wonderful gardener who talks to the flowers and they evidently listen to him. I was really taken by the way the flowers seemed to burst out of their container.

Now here’s an interesting one. Carmen’s great friends, Marg and Eileen, are Presentation Sisters – their order was founded by an Irish woman named Nano Nagle. Marg and Eileen live not too far from Carmen, in an area called Las Flores de Villa, and there they have created two amazing centers. One is primarily for women and the other is for children. They provide holistic therapies, access to psychologists and counselors, art therapies, places to work and receive all manner of support. These buildings are beautiful because of where they are and what they provide for the great people who live nearby.

The building pictured above is their center for children. The next shots are from inside:

Above, you can see a shot of the neighborhood. The cyclamen below really summed up the inside of the building for me – in a rocky, dry environment, the center springs like an oasis, filled with lush color and growth.

This shot was from what Carmen called our ‘Pilgrim Day’ in Lima – starting here, at Las Nazarenas church, where on a busy working day people stop and buy a beautiful candle and have it lit for them while they pause and say a prayer. I liked how some people would group several candles into one holder, and others would stick with one. Some went for simple white candles, and others really went all out with the elaborate purple ones. This church is the starting point of the famous celebration of Señor de los Milagros in October each year.

From Las Nazarenas we walked up to the Santuario de Santa Rosa – Saint Rose of Lima’s home.

There’s a nice ritual at this well – people write down their hopes and intentions on a slip of paper, press them to the statue, and then drop them into the well. Carmen told me that in the past she’s seen long lines of people waiting to reach the well. We were fortunate that the day we visited was surprisingly quiet, and we were able to meander around a bit and then drop our wishes into the well. (I’m pretty sure Carmen asked for a Ferrari.)

Last stop on the tour was Saint Martin’s home.

This was a gorgeous building with incredible tile work, entirely dedicated to providing services to the poor. Saint Martin was super cool – not only was he tireless in working and advocating for the poor, but all the statues depict him with a broom in hand, because he considered all work sacred. I can get behind that.

I had to pop in this photo from Huaca Pucllana – a pre-Incan site right in the fancy district of Miraflores. According to my reading, it dates back to 200-700AD, and is an extremely significant site. We were simply floored by the excavation – particularly one demonstration of the process of collecting and reassembling the zillions of pieces to a huge smashed vessel. It was ulcer-inducing just to consider how painstaking the project was! I also couldn’t stop looking at the patterns created by the adobe bricks.

The last shot is of the coast, from the Larcomar shopping area in Miraflores. Pretty sweet view! 

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Posted by laura on Jun 09 2008 | Great design, Tasty

Tom’s birthday continued till Saturday and we had a big barbeque with a bunch of great friends. Birthday + party = cupcakes. Right??


This year, we got all fancy with our party and actually hung decorations!


We love having a barbeque at this time of year, not just to celebrate our hope for Tom getting wiser, but to give our friends a chance to see Tom’s parents. They usually fly in from Adelaide some time around the end of May. It’s a nice time for a visit because the school year is wrapping up and there are such great events – picnics and open house and dinners in the park.

I absolutely love this time of year. I still get the same old thrill when I realize that summer vacation is close enough to touch. Just thinking about the last day of school brings a wash of memories to my mind – the hum of lawn mowers and the tick tick ticktickticktick of sprinklers, the smell of rain on warm pavement and the prickle of grass under bare feet. Summer was always such a broad, slow smile. I hope our kids will have the same feeling about it as they grow up.

After our barbeque on Saturday, we all trucked up to the Book Passage in Corte Madera, where our dear friend Lissa Rovetch was having a book signing with her mother, Gerda. They just teamed up to create a wonderful book titled

There Was a Man Who Loved a Rat  

And Other Vile Little Poems

Hard to beat a title like that. They gave an inspiring and entertaining presentation that no one wanted to end. Here they are:


Aren’t they stunning? You should have seen them – smart, funny and gorgeous. (And check out how Lissa’s dress matches the circle on the cover of their book. She’s brilliant and coordinated.)

So it worked like this – Gerda wrote all the vile little poems, and Lissa did the vile little drawings. The result is far from dull. Here’s one of my favorites:

There was a cunning little mobster

who kept a large and lively lobster.

He aimed the beast at people’s ears,

and some remembered it for years.


Gerda was a treasure chest of stories – rare and glimmering and abundant. From her family’s narrow escape from Germany under Nazi persecution, to her years as a draftsman during the war (she mentioned in an aside that “trigonometry is really nothing to sneeze at – it comes in very handy when you’re called to do war work”) to meeting her husband when she was a potter at Oxford and he was there on a Fulbright – every story had the entire room laughing and in awe. Lissa is an incredible story teller as well, and it was a treat to hear them play off of each other. What a gift.



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Gift wallet

Posted by laura on Jun 04 2008 | Reusable, Sewing

Sometimes the end of term/year teacher gifts can be tricky. One of the teachers we were appreciating this past week is just about to go back to school for her MBA and some friends and I decided that the last thing she needed was a mug. (Ok just kidding there – NO teacher needs a mug. Let’s just be clear about that.) We figured she’s looking at a lot of ramen noodles in her future, so we thought the best gift would be cash. Yes it’s impersonal, but it’s a happy day when you’re young and you get unexpected money. To make it a bit more thoughtful, I figured I’d sew up a little wallet for it.


I’m crazy about this material (leftover from pajamas), and the bag was a snap to make. It’s lined with some pale pink raw silk (leftover from a dress) and uses a bit of green yarn (leftover from a baby hat) that wraps around a button.


This couldn’t be any simpler, and yet I still managed to make 2 mistakes while I was doing it. Doh. The beauty of making small things, though, is that they don’t take long to fix!! 

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Happy Birthday to Tom

Posted by laura on Jun 04 2008 | Holiday

We make a poster for every birthday – just like my mum always did when I was growing up.


We also made some little flag signs for the table, and Hotwheels wrapped up a bunch of his cars for Tom and gave them to him for his birthday. 


Tom’s parents are visiting from Adelaide, so it’s extra fun. We had birthday toast (vegemite, sprinkles and candles) and tea. What a way to start the day.

Happy Birthday Tom! We love you. 

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Thin pizza

Posted by laura on Jun 02 2008 | Tasty

We’ve always liked making pizza. Ever since my sister made it in 7th grade home ec, she and my brother and I would bake pizza religiously on Friday nights. We always made it the same way – thin crust, tomato, cheese. I’d be hard pressed to think of a better way to start the weekend.

Some time after college, I tasted a super thin crust pizza that had been baked in a wood oven. Cooked so hot and slim that the dough bubbled and the bottom was slightly crunchy…. it was perfection. Over the years, Tom and I have tried to make it that way at home. The fact that we didn’t have a wood burning oven didn’t deter us in the least. We had a pizza stone, dang it, and we were going to make that pizza one way or another. Well we tried the one way, and then another, and another, and another, but it never quite worked out the way we hoped. (Poor us – we had to eat all those failed pizzas. It was a tough job, people, but we struggled through somehow.)

Recently I came across this recipe over at Apartment Therapy and it looked promising. So we gave it a go – and it’s delicious! Here’s one of ours from last week before baking…


We put tomato, olives, sundried tomato and basil on for the first bake, and added some fresh mozzarella and a sprinkling of aged gouda for the final few minutes. Since they’re cooked at 500 degrees, they’re done before you know it! And here’s one after baking…


This one has sauce and fresh mozzarella. It can’t quite replicate the hot wood-fired taste but it’s pretty close! They’re fun to make, and our kids are crazy about the taste – double score. Ok, now I’m hungry.

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