lunch break




Children in neon swimsuits, squealing. A plane and a kite, both soaring. Cartwheels. I kick off my sandals and sink into the warm sand.

A brother and sister are carting small pails of water to dump into the hole they dug. Running down to the waves, trotting back with their watery loads, over and over. Why didn’t they dig the hole closer to the shore, I wonder? But they are not concerned with efficiency, just with the joy and freedom of being out of school, of being able to run in the sun, back and forth.

She is panting. He asks, do you want more? Yes, she says. Much more. And after that, let’s go play.






The night before L’s last finals. On the way to help her study, I get dinner at Chipotle. I try to Shazam the background music, but there’s too much interference from the ambient noise. I check the app’s Top 100 list, and note that I’ve never heard of most of the acts. I could blame my ignorance on old-fogeyism, but actually I haven’t followed popular music since my early teens. I watch the brown, long-legged girls in their short shorts and white tank tops giggle as they fill their cups with fizzy sugar water. I was never one of them, though at one point, long ago, I wanted to be.

Then a few hours with my own long-legged girl. My red-headed stepchild. We drill vocab. Aesthetic. Ascetic. Prodigious. Ponderous. Desecrate. Elucidate. Depravity. Autonomy. We roll them in our mouths, euphoniously, and find links between word and definition, ways to remember.

This is the girl I was.
This is the girl I still am.

toddler tshirt dresses

#calihepburn 's birthday gifts arrived so I can finally post pics. Upcycled toddler dress #1
Upcycled toddler dress #2 for #calihepburn

Upcycled toddler dress #3 for #calihepburn

Little Miss Cali Hashi recently turned one, and her gift finally arrived downunder (really, Australia Post? Three and a half weeks to deliver a small package?). So at last I can post pics of the upcycled dresses I made from cast-off tshirts.

I started with this tutorial, and just used what I had on hand to craft some cute-but-not-too-cutesy outfits for our little rock chick.


Mama and baby approve! Yeah!

public declarations of love make the world a better place

Public declarations of love make the world a better place

It’s not uncommon to find love notes in the sand, but I came upon this one in a local park today, and it really made me smile. I imagined a kid (aged 8 or 10) running ahead of his or her mother and quickly scratching the message in the pathway, for her to come across a minute later. And I felt the responding swell of love and joy that she must have experienced upon reading these simple words, publicly declared. I continued my walk with a spring in my step.

And that’s why PDAs are good for all of us, participants and observers alike. The beam of love that’s aimed at one person cannot fail to shed light on those around it. So go for it in public: cuddle, kiss, hold hands, stroke hair, write your love in the sand or in the sky. Others will surely smile. You’ll be making the world a better place.

car caddies and (too) tiny pants

More handmade Christmas roundup.


Above photo by Nettie.

For toddler nephews, a pair of car caddies. Apparently they were a big hit, which of course gladdens this crafter aunty’s heart. I should have included a matchbox car with each, but thankfully they can supply their own :-)


For Corey-pie, stretchy pants. But I was delusional about babies’ growth in the first four months of life, so these are gonna be no use to him. Cute, but tiny! Ahem, time to make some bigger ones! Sorry, Corey!

blank story books: free download


The blank story books I made for Miss Six back in July were so well-received, I thought I’d whip up some more for the other smallish people in my life. This time, I created a PDF that you guys can download and use. Just print whichever you pages you fancy, double sided. I reckon eight pages (two sheets, double sided, folded) is about right for a little kid’s story, but you can bundle them up however you like. Mix and match.


My covers are cut from manila file folders, and hand stitched with dental floss. Easy peasy. I’m sure you can do something prettier or fancier. Give a handful of ’em with a pack of pencils, crayons or markers, then sit back and enjoy the stories they create.

These PDFs are for your personal use, or for giving as gifts. You do not have permission to sell any materials created from these files.

Download for 8.5″ x 11″ paper here.
Download for A4 paper here.


christmas without you


I miss my family at Christmas. The excitement of littlies, the chaos, the food, the crackers, the tree. Yesterday we opened gifts via FaceTime, and later videos were posted (so I could see how much glee the bubble wrap brought), and that was all lovely. Thank goodness for the technology that allows these connections.

Today good food and wine were shared with dear people, and pleasantness abounded, but …. I miss my family. Especially at Christmas. Love you guys so so much. Big hard hugs to you all.

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