Monday, October 29, 2012

the night we saw the trading tortoise

The Trading Tortoise, project by artists Monica and Souther Salazar, came to town. We went of course! But what to trade, what to trade? Turned out our 100 year old, well travelled, well loved Dutch-Chinese rice scooper. It's been around the world and was a fitting time for departure from our (too) small home. And... an origami finger puppet born on the street corner in that very moment by the name of Han Foldo, who left Sam's possession the mere evening after creating it. An object from an old life departs, with one from the new.

(ps/ Sorry guys that the scoop is a tad big for a travelling, single sedan Trading Tortoise. I thought of that. But, it's a beautifully tough item. Chuck it around, stuff it full of treasures, strap it to the top of the car until it reaches it's next destination... the scoop will not mind.

...But ok, next time I will follow Han Foldo's lead and stick with paper.)

We waited in line for enough time to make new friends, evolve a new chapter to our objects' stories, and in the end came home with a trade of a lovely handmade paper flower, and a doll called Martin Sheen. Hey, and books!....

waaaay past bedtime

Thanks Monica, Souther, and Mark too. You guys are awesome. We will always remember the night we gathered under the stars on a University Heights front lawn to meet the traders in the Tortoise. 

When our trades are logged I will post it here, but in the meantime, click here to know more about this delightful project.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

the plants : first rain, first new growth of the season

california broom
paradise manzanita



island bush poppy

mountain lilac, burned by heat week before but bouncing back.

nevin's barberry
blue eyed grass
pink flowering currant

 lemonade berry

electric blue sage


bush poppy searching for sun

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

mottainai and the crayon box

I hate waste. Or rather, I feel really happy and super satisfied for myself (and the object!) when something is used up completely. Just this week I learned there is a word for this : mottainai

From WikipediaMottainai (もったいない, 勿体無い?) is a Japanese term meaning "a sense of regret concerning waste when the intrinsic value of an object or resource is not properly utilized". 

OMG! There is a *word* for this strong desire to save that basically fine but too small and even a little bit ugly shirt with the raspberry stains, because you know it could be used for something. And which also encompasses that odd sense of defeat, when the basically fine but too small, a little bit ugly shirt goes into the Goodwill box. (Which the Goodwill will hopefully recycle to a rags dealer, and not trash, which I can never bear to do.) There is a word for taking the time to cut up failed paintings and printing over the little rectangles to make business cards, because the paper is just too nice. There is word for enjoying seeing Anna wear holes in the play-shoes Sam once wore. I have been a bit of a mottainai nerd my whole life it seems, without really knowing it.

So that brings us to the anti-mottainai: birthday party goody bags. For Anna's birthday goody bags this year I was determined to come up with something (anything) that wasn't plastic and ends up in the trash by the end of the afternoon. So the kids and I made recycled crayons from the overflowing supply we had, as well as harvesting the ones at the bottom of my purse, the book bag, the car seats, etc. etc. etc. The kids loved spending time hunting wayward crayons, sorting the colors, and tearing the paper off. It was a trip down memory lane of every kids' meal ordered out over the last eight years. All put back to good use!

The trick is to not heat them for too long or too high. Wax separates from pigment and floats to the top very quickly, which is what makes most recycled crayons look a little vomit-y, instead of cute. I pulled them from the oven one second before they looked melted and flat. Twelve minutes in the toaster oven, 170 degrees max for these ones.

Mottainai VICTORY! So satisfying.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Almost 100 year-old engraved greeting card, found in a box of stuff left behind. Fine detail, face illustrations no bigger than a fingernail.

Monday, October 1, 2012

and I thought ewoks were just cute or whatever

big mistake, dude.

Respect the Fuzzy Wuzzy. Lest you suffer the same fate.