Foos and her cousin, Yayi, enjoying a cup of tea. A moment of peace during an otherwise unruly “girls only” sleepover.

Photo: Seth




Inspired by a google search of embroidery art and my daughter’s current obsession with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I created this little dude for her room this past weekend. I take great pleasure introducing Foos to amazing women, usually through books or a google search. She took to RGB as if she were made of candy. If adding streaming video to wordpress didn’t cost money, I would post a video of the awesome song and dance Foos dedicated to RGB.  Though my embroidery skills really need improvement, this wasn’t difficult to do; It was a quick project, and in a weird way, fulfilling.  I used a photo found on the web, which was printed on photo paper for my base image (a post card would work so much better), and embroidery floss for the rest.  I think I am going to try my hand at doing more of these.  I’m thinking Bukowski wearing a flower crown telling you to go “fucking read,” ha! The possibilities are truly endless.




I have a close friend, April, who scours flea markets in Miami for things to send to Foos, and occasionally, me.  A couple of months ago she sent me a super sparkly knock off of those Herve Leger bandage dresses, which looked great, but I don’t have the type of life that calls for such a dress.  To the bottom of the laundry basket it went!  Fast forward to Foos’ recent obsession with mermaids.  For a week or two she walked around pretending all sorts of things were her “mermaid tail.”  I resolved to make her one, but was being super lazy about driving to JoAnn’s. Then I remembered the sparkly green dress at the bottom of the basket.  So here, my friends, is a tutorial of sorts on how to turn the clubbing dress of the life you don’t have, into the mermaid tail of your kid’s dreams.


1.  This is the dress.  I’m pretty sure the devil made it (forever21). It was made of super scratchy/stretchy fabric. Perfect for play clothes you’ll only be in for minutes at a time, but not for a real dress you are expected to function in.

2.  I was only going to be using the “skirt” half of the dress for the mermaid tail, so I separated the skirt half of the dress from the top half.

3.  I measured Foos’ waist. I turned the skirt upside down and roughly sketched out the shape of the tail with a piece of chalk, making sure the intended waist of the tail was at least an inch wider than foos’ waist.  As you can see, I did not bother to make the sketch perfect, or even symmetrical. It’s play clothes, not couture, it was fine.

4.  Cut out the sketched shape of the skirt.


5. Sew it together!  I have a beginner’s sewing machine, which isn’t very good, but mostly does what it’s supposed to.  This was a knit fabric and I did not have the right sewing needle attached to my machine.  The needle broke three (!) times while I tried to sew two feet of fabric.  This was super frustrating, but in the end, I won.

6. Admire your handiwork.

7.  For the mermaid fins I took apart these little iridescent play skirts she already had but did not fit.  They can be got at the the dollar store.  You can use any piece of tulle or fabric you find suitable though.  I even considered using the top half of the dress as the fins, which that would have worked fine, too.

8.  I cut the iridescent skirts into two pieces that wrapped around the “v” shape at the bottom of the mermaid tail.  I sewed them on.  Tah dah! Skirt is done!

Foos is super happy with the tail. Last week her cousins slept over and they were fighting over who got to wear it – success!



LIBRARYHAUL11.The Enemy: A Book About Peace by Davide Cali and Serge Bloch 2. The Girl And The Bicycle  by Mark Pett 3. Edgar Wants To Be Alone by Jean-Francois Dumont 4. Sam & Dave Dig A Hole by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen 5. The Conductor by Laetitita Deverney

This library trip was actually library date with our good friend Alyse and her son Oliver.  We took the skyway downtown, had lunch in the library’s courtyard, and came home with these gems.

The Enemy is a book I very much enjoyed as an adult, but had a little difficulty explaining to my four year old, which is good. I don’t mind being uncomfortable. The Enemy tells the story of two soldiers stuck in trenches in opposite sides of a very long war. They both want to go home to their families, they both want the war to end, they are both filled with misconceptions of who “the enemy” really is. Foos actually read The Enemy alone before we had a chance to do so together. She kept saying “mom, the enemy is real, the enemy wants to kill us,” which as you can imagine freaked me out. Reading it together put what she had been repeating into context. The Enemy is beautiful and the message the story puts forth, that war is futile, is incredibly important and worth the slight discomfort you may feel explaining this story to your kid.

The Girl And The Bicycle is a wordless picture book. We are big fans of those kinds of books (looking at you, David Wiesner!) because the story always changes slightly in the telling, and everyone has a different way of explaining the story as put forth by the illustrations. The Girl And The Bicyle is about a girl who really wants a bicycle she spotted while on a walk with her brother. She counts all the money in her piggy bank realizes she doesn’t have enough.  Instead of giving up she works hard performing chores for a neighbor, and saving her earnings to purchase the bicycle. Judging by the change of seasons, it takes her about a year to earn enough. When she finally goes to the store to purchase the bicycle, it is gone. It isn’t a sad story (there is a really nice surprise at the end); it is a story about perseverance, kindness, and hard work.  The illustrations are lovely. If you look closely, there is a lot in the illustrations about the background of the woman she does chores for, too. A side story of love and loss, a hint of the person who probably helped her with chores around the house in the past.

Edgar Wants To Be Alone is a book a bout a paranoid and cranky rat, who hates the other animals at the farm he lives in, treats them poorly, and gets his comeuppance in the end. Throughout the book Edgar the rat is convinced he is being followed by an earthworm. By showing what Edgar is doing with what is going on underground simultaneously, the illustrations do a really good job of letting you know if there is anything to Edgar’s paranoia. While I thought it was fairly predictable, Foos loved it.

I spotted Sam & Dave Dig A Hole in the “New Arrivals” section of the library AFTER I had checked out my other books, and just had to have it. I love Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, together, individually, anyway you want to set them up, their work is always amazing. We had to read Sam & Dave Dig A Hole like three times before we realized what was going on, and even then I’m not quite sure. The book is funny, Sam & Dave start digging a hole to look for treasure, and every time the get close to finding something, they change direction or get tired. Their dog comes along and the poor dog always seems to know exactly where the treasure is, but is unable to communicate it to the boys. The ending is a bit of a mind fuck — they end up back “home” except its not the same house at the beginning of the book at all.  They go in for a snack and I just want to yell “DONT GO IN THAT HOUSE IT’S NOT YOUR HOUSE!” but they do, and that is how the book ends. For all I know they are in another dimension, or got murdered, or maybe they got their snack. I don’t know and neither will you, but its a great book never the less.

The Conductor is another wordless picture book.  I was attracted to the Goreyesque illustrations and the unusual dimensions of the book, which lent it an air of a being interesting/artsy. The illustrations show an orchestra conductor, conducting nature; a flick of his hands wills the leaves off the trees, turning them into birds.  It’s a really beautiful book, whimsical and dreamy, but it doesn’t lend itself to much story telling.