Mighty Life List
Oct 29 2010

Friday Mixtape

I’ve always wished I knew more about music, and this is part of my Life List project to listen to 1,000 new songs. Right now I’m up to 678, and on Fridays I share some of my new favorites. If you’d like to share some music with me, please send your picks to maggie at mighty girl dot com, and I will listen to them.

When the Night Comes from Dan Auerbach

Help, I’m Alive from Metric
(via 826 Valencia’s benefit CD Give, Listen, Help)

Lauren Marie from Girls

Fix Up, Look Sharp from Dizzee Rascal

Oh My God from Ida Maria

Still looking for more music? Here you go: Mixtape 1, Mixtape 2, Mixtape 3, Mixtape 4, Mixtape 5, Mixtape 6, Mixtape 7, Mixtape 8, Mixtape 9, Mixtape 10, Mixtape 11, Mixtape 12, Mixtape 13, Mixtape 14, Mixtape 15 , Mixtape 16 , Mixtape 17 , Mixtape 18, Mixtape 19 , Mixtape 20

Oct 28 2010

Go berry picking? Check.

Blackberries were a big part of my childhood, some of you may remember that Berry was my maiden name. We had blackberries in the backyard, and when we went camping, I would spend hours on my own picking berries so we could have blackberries and heavy cream for breakfast. My hands were purple all summer.

My gathering instinct is still strong — the idea of free food is exciting. You do the work, and then you have your bowl of berries right in front of you. So direct, and different from the kind of work I usually do.

It’s been years since I’ve gone picking, and this summer we nearly went the whole season without staining our fingers. The Life List reminded me that it was time to get out and do it. The berries are right there, we just had to choose an afternoon for picking.

It’s been a busy couple of months, so I have some catching up to do on my five things in three months goal — November 15 is approaching like a freight train. How are your goals coming along, lovies?

Oct 28 2010

Cooper-Hewitt Pop Up Collection

I got to see some pop-up books from the Cooper-Hewitt library while I was in New York. If you’d like to see some in motion, the museum has very smartly uploaded several You Tube videos. I didn’t realize that pop-up books are still hand glued in China.

This one was hand cut and sewn in 1551 to illustrate mathematical concepts.

This is a modern advertisement.

Daily Express Children’s Annual, 1933

A modern anatomical pop up.

Alice in Wonderland pop-up, with the modern version in front and its inspiration behind.

I particularly love the concept behind Paper Blossoms: A Book of Beautiful Bouquets for the Table, which is still available from Chronicle Books.

It’s a pop-up book full of centerpieces. Genius.

More pop-up photos on Flickr.

Oct 27 2010

I Didn’t Want to Get Spit on Me

Oct 27 2010

DIY Nemo Fish Costume for Your Toddler

Since Halloween is looming, I thought I’d post a quick tutorial for Hank’s costume from last year. Here’s what you’ll need:

A sweatshirt (3T) and matching sweatpants
About 30 felt squares (15 of each color) for your scales and tail
1 white felt square
1 black felt square
Stiff, starched fabric for the crown
Clean 28 oz tin can
Glue Gun
2 hours in front of the TV
Glass of wine

Sweatshirt costumes are great for toddlers because they feel familiar, so they’re easier to get on and off. This costume is great because you can use any color combos you want, which means that the stained sweatshirt you planned to throw away will work fine. We chose orange and yellow because Hank was into Finding Nemo at the time.

The tail is two pieces of felt hot glued in place. To make the bottom piece, I folded a felt square in half on the diagonal, cut away along the fold to make the tail shape, then glued the two sides together for extra stiffness. The top part of the tail is just a piece of scrap left over from cutting the scales.

I smooshed a large tin can until it was approximately scale shaped, and used it to trace the scales onto the felt. I folded felt squares in half so I could trace once and cut out two scales at a time.

The eye is felt too. I used drinking glasses as templates for the circles. The crown was a little trickier.

Mine is made from a reusable shopping bag, which was just the right stiffness. I cut a bunch of uniform rectangular strips, then bent them in L-shapes and glued the bottom parts of the Ls in a line along the top seam of the hood. I alternated which way the bottoms of the Ls were facing, and overlapped the strips slightly, so each strip kind of supported the one next to it.

I trimmed the top into a rough half circle, and trimmed away excess fabric from the bits I’d glued down. Then I took a leftover felt scale, cut it in half, and glued one piece on either side of the crown for added structure, and to hide the messiness.

You can see from this photo how I glued the scales — this sweatshirt is a 3T. I started at the bottom and worked my way up with the sweatshirt zipped closed. Take care not to glue over the zipper.

Same deal with the back, and voila!

You have yourself a little fishy. Happy Halloween!

Oct 26 2010

You Lost Me There

Mr. Baldwin is in San Francisco doing a reading tonight at the Ferry Building (6 p.m.). I hear his approximation of a Maine accent is without parallel.

The best parts of You Lost Me There:

“I tried playing housewife for a year to an empty house.”

“Russell squeezed my arm and gave me a light hug. While he strode toward the airport, compact and hustling, his suit bag like a shadow on his back, I thought, I don’t care if I ever see him again.”

“Sara always said it was a hindrance of mine, that I expected people to tell me what they needed.”

“After the coffee he was still focused on how she liked it, how she took it, he put it, going into details to show off his good fortune for discovering a woman who didn’t mind facing away from him during sex.”

“She longed for honor. For Eagle Scouts.”

“I won’t have a normal relationship. That’s not who I am.”
“Of course not.”
“I won’t be dragged down to what other people do.”

“You’ll have worked tremendously hard to build your life after a certain fashion, and then suddenly, one morning, you want something different. You want anything but what you have, you want it new, and you want it just right then. It’s terrifying, the desire’s so powerful, you’re just sick with it.”

Oct 26 2010

National Design Awards, 2010

This is my magic friend Margaret, you’ve met her before.

A couple weeks ago, she called and said, “I have an extra ticket to the National Design Awards. You have to go.”

Margaret is spectacular like this. You’re in labor? She happens to be in town from out of state! She made you a baby blanket. Your beloved wallet was stolen? Her sister just gave her a box of wallets she didn’t need anymore. There’s an identical one in there. You like chocolate? Willa Wonka is a childhood friend.

Margaret says yes to every opportunity, and whenever possible she takes her friends along. In the last few years, she’s taught me to ignore inconvenience in the face of potential, which is how I found myself on a plane to New York.

We met at Sunny Bates’s place to have our hair and makeup done. I’d never met Sunny before, but she’s the one who ululated for a friend onstage during the ceremony. Sunny is not a cautious sort, which makes her easy to love. I consider her an excellent addition to my collection of women who whoop in cocktail dresses. Soon, I will have an army.

I’d never had my makeup done before, not even for my own wedding, because I’ve seen too many friends leave makeup counters looking like angry clown brides. Plus, I am a control freak. Well, I was wrong, it was officially fairy princess land.

Speaking of which, if you’re in New York, call Sacha Selhi and ask her to do your makeup. She sent me a list of all the products she used so I could go get them myself, plus gave me application tips while she was working. She made me look amazing. I’d have made out with her, but it would have wrecked my makeup.

This is what I was wearing when Jenna Lyons, J.Crew’s president, complimented my feathers. I’m going to pretend to act cool about this. Join me, won’t you? Margaret told her the feathers were a hair clip I bought at a stripper store on the Haight, so Jenna laughed and took a little video. I refrained from demanding that we sit down with a bottle of champagne and talk about clothes all night, which required restraint because there was already some champagne in my system. Plus, I still feel guilty for knocking off the Astrid sweater. Sorry about that, J.Crew. Thanks for making all that cute stuff lately.

And speaking of champagne courage, the Mulleavy sisters were there to accept an award for Rodarte. I’ve admired their work for years. Just look at this action:

So as they were leaving, I took a deep breath and introduced myself to Kate. I told her I was a fellow California girl who’d often contemplated driving down to Pasadena with a plate of brownies to say thanks for all the pretty stuff. Except for the creepiness involved, of course. Kate graciously said she would not find that creepy. And so, baked goods for the Mulleavy sisters goes on my life list. Hooray for dresses that make you want to celebrate.

So thanks for taking me along, Margaret. As always when you’re involved, it was a fantastic time.

More photos on Flickr.