Monthly Archives: February 2010

Crosby and Grand


I’m spending a couple days in my NYC office this week. I had hoped to see some early signs of spring, but the weather is cold and rainy, the streets are dreary and gray, and here in SoHO, where coolness is queen, black is de rigueur at least for outerwear, and preferably head-to-toe. We are left with a bleak and cheerless landscape.


Black is my new Black


When I bought my house two years ago the kitchen was red and white. I could live with it, but since things needed an overall upgrade, I went with a snappy new look of black, white and cream. I painted the base cabinets a slick, glossy black and the uppers cream with white trim. I installed new countertops, sink, etc., got new black appliances, and even tiled backsplashes all by myself! Yeah, I’m bringing home the bacon and frying it up in the pan. (then making bacon jam, see previous post) ANYway, all that aside, my favorite part of this new look is the chalkboard. I had a giant picture frame moldering away in the basement, drug it upstairs, penciled in the inner dimensions directly on the wall and got out my chalkboard paint.

Chalkboard paint is fantastic, but keep these things in mind:

  • You need a very smooth surface (might want to sand a bit first)
  • You must lay down at least 4 to 5 thin coats of paint

When the paint was dry, I simply hung the frame and Voila!

I have a small eat-in area in the kitchen that I smartened up with some Tommy Bahama fabric on the table, chair pads and window  The chair pads took a little sewing, and I ran a rod pocket for the curtain and trimmed it out with bias tape, but since the fabric has a very loose weave and fringed just beautifully, I pulled out some threads and left it unhemmed for a bit of a casual air.

A few weeks later I was shopping and heard the siren call of  a set of luncheon plates in the same color scheme. I have a serious problem with china.  Had to bring them home.

Now it’s on to the odds and ends of finishing.

Questions from my 20-something son


My son is a smart guy. A smart alec as well, but that’s fodder for another post. For a bright boy, he asks me some ridiculous questions. Everything you are about to read is true. Moms, I’m sure you’ll be shaking your heads right along with me.

Q. How much is basic cable?
A. Call Time-Warner

Q. Well, then how much is basic cable and broadband together?

Q. Do you have anything I can eat?
A. Check the Fridge.

Q. Where’s the FedEx building on Manitou Rd?
A. On Manitou Rd.
Q. How do I get there from Buffalo?
A. I don’t know Joe, I’m driving home from New York City.
Q. Can you look it up?
A. <sigh>

Q. How much material do you need to make a cloak?
A. (I don’t ask why he wants a cloak) 4 to 6 yds depending on fabric width and how long you want it to be.

Q. Do you have anything I can eat?
A. Check the Fridge.
Q. Would you warm it up for me?
A. Don’t push it, Pal.

Q. Do you have an ax?
A. (NEVER ask why!) A resounding NO.
NB: a few days after this question he showed up with a bandaged thumb, still seeping blood

Q. Can you help me make a cloak?
A. (still, do not ask why, he’s a grown boy and his apparel choices are his own) Sure, Joe.

Q. Can you make me Dark Brotherhood Armor?
A. Sure, that sounds like fun. Whatever it is.
Q. Can you do it tomorrow?
A. <sigh>

Q. Are you home?
A. No, I’m in New York
Comment: Oh, I guess you can’t switch my laundry to the dryer at your house then.

Q. Do you have anything I can eat?
A.The Fridge, Joe, The Fridge.

Boxy Little Bags


I love making little bags, boxes, things to put other things in. This one gets to store my camera.
I came across a great tutorial, which you can find here:
The thing I love about this is that all the seams are tucked away between the lining and outer fabric, so you end up with a very professional looking product. In my geisha version today, I didn’t use the wrist strap, but added a ribbon to the zipper pull. Isn’t it cute? A girl can’t have too many.

An here’s another bitty boxy bag.  I changed this one up by bringing the corners together and stitching by hand on the outside rather than squaring them off on the inside and adding a wrist strap. This one’s the perfect size and shape for a spring girl’s-night-out.  Phone, ID, cash, lipstick and a chocolate bar. Hey, you never know when you might need some fast energy.

Bacon Jam, condiment of the gods


Bacon what, you say? Yeah, bacon jam. You’ve never had anything like it.

Visit for this fabulous recipe.

I followed the recipe faithfully, adding about a tablespoon of Tabasco to my taste. When it came to the “cook for 2 1/2 hours” part, I plopped the mixture into the crock pot so I didn’t have to tend to it so much.

So far we’ve had bacon jam on toast and Triscuits, in a tuna sandwich, with avocado, mixed into scrambled eggs, as a topper on meatloaf, dolloped on a burger and a baked potato, and if the whole truth be told, right off a spoon when no one is looking.

Hover Mothers


I didn’t cry when my kids left home. I didn’t mope around the house thinking how sadly quiet it was. I cleared out my daughter’s bedroom and made it my sewing room. I boxed up my son’s leavings and stashed them in the basement. I cleaned the bathroom and it stayed that way. I thought it was heavenly.

This morning I was reading some sad and whiny posts by facebook friends bemoaning their new lives without children underfoot. These kids are still alive, they’re still around; some have only moved into campus housing no more than 10 miles from the ol’ suburban homestead. These lonely moms bake goodies each weekend, then deliver them. One even visits her sons to clean their apartment!

Am I the only one who thinks this is wacky? I really don’t get it. I mean, isn’t our job as moms to help them grow to be independent, capable members of society? If they’re old enough to drive a car, get to class and binge drink, they are old enough to figure out how to get food into their mouths and clean their own clothes and toilets! Don’t you think? I get that mom wants to show her chicks that she still loves them, but can’t she find a way to do so without keeping the young adult in the role of perennial child? Is it so mom can continue to feel useful? Perhaps so she doesn’t have to have a relationship with dad? Because she’s projected so much of her being into the children that her “self” can’t be found anymore? Or maybe because she doesn’t know how to come to them as adults? I don’t know, I don’t understand it.

You never stop being a mom. Your role changes, you help them grow, you give advice when they ask, sometimes loan some money, offer a shoulder to cry on and turn into a trusted mentor. But mama, let your babies grow up (even if they want to be cowboys)!