Monday, 29 June 2009


Almost overnight, he's turned into a little boy.

He's busy all the time. He's into everything. He specialises in emptying drawers, throwing toys and shoes into bathtubs, obsessing over things with wheels, and climbing into baskets of laundry to stir the clothes with kitchen utensils. Don't ask, I don't know. But it seems to be very important work.

He's running everywhere – arms tucked behind him for more aerodynamic performance, and head tilted forward so his feet have something to catch up to. He comes a cropper sometimes (you should see the grazed lump on his forehead from yesterday) but on the whole he just careens crazily from potential disaster to potential disaster, saying "whoa!" at every near miss. An average minute is "whoa ... whoa ... WHOA ... whoa, whoa ... whoa."

He climbs everything – getting up on top of (unstable) boxes, the coffee table, the TiVo, Berry's toy shopping trolley, and once – heart-stoppingly – he clambered up the stairs, after the safety gate popped back open after being closed too hard. When I heard the music of his Imaginarium activity block floating down from upstairs, my heart froze. That's never happened again.

Most times, he helpfully scolds "ahh-ahh!" as he climbs on to a forbidden chair or overturned Tonka truck – just in case I fail to notice independently that he's doing something naughty.

I never dreamed that they would be so completely different – that she would be so careful and orderly and particular, and that he would be so bent on destruction-though-investigation, and so skilled at giving his mother mini-heart-attacks. Chalk and cheese, sure – but he adores his sister and she adores him back.

Yeah... I really need to keep my camera on a sports setting or something...


Sunday, 28 June 2009

Green thumbs and pink bugs

While I was putting Kickboy down for his nap yesterday, I heard a story on NPR about Guerrilla Gardeners.

It reminded me (1) that guerrilla gardening is a great idea – especially for neglected public lots – and something I would might do if I didn't have a knack for killing every plant I touch; and (2) that the first time I'd ever heard of it was in Sydney, where I got this on-the-fly shot of one of their installations through the window of Jodie's car.

Crooked picture, really cool work.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Room envy

How come someone else owns my ideal kitchen? Hmmmmm. If I knew where it was, I'd move in.


Friday, 26 June 2009

Birthday boy

I've been so scattered that I even forgot to mention Kickbaby turned one year old in May. (Of course I'm an excellent mother.)

We went to Florida for the weekend and he ate, with gusto and determination, at least 10 percent of Pensacola's beach sand.

This, then, seemed like the most appropriate birthday cake I could make...

Happy late-posted birthday, Kickbaby. And because he's not really a baby anymore, I am (also belatedly) going to have to re-name him – just for blog purposes! I'll let you know...

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Letterpress Business Cards

Running out of business cards is actually kind of great! It gives me a chance to revisit the look of my Sweet Olive Press card and – in this case – redesign it altogether.

I started printing these using a blind impression for the flower pattern, but I quickly switched to printing the pattern with transparent white for an "almost blind" impression. The pattern just looked better and more uniform with a little ink on the press.

The text is printed in a hand-mixed dark charcoal ink that jumps right off the card without being too harsh (black would've been a little much, really).

The press is in fine form and all ready to start printing the many (many!) custom projects and new stationery designs I've got lined up for the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more pictures as we keep rolling!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Letterpress happiness

I've had a steady stream of packages arriving this week, full of letterpress stock and new magnesium and polymer plates.

Lots of excitement! Lots of playing with the press! A little bit of frustration here and there!

At the moment I'm taking every spare minute either to print or prepare for printing, so I've been too busy to take photos – but they'll come, I promise.


Sunday, 21 June 2009

Being excellent

In this household, mama is the go-to girl – but daddy is the Grand Hero. The kids make this abundantly clear with daily daddy-homecoming-fanfare and much wrapping themselves around him.

Not that I blame them; he is pretty great.

They can thank me later for getting them a fabulous dad.

Happy Father's Day...

Friday, 19 June 2009


I'm a super-organised household-maintainer, if I do say so myself. But how am I supposed to stay on top of the laundry, when they are?


Thursday, 18 June 2009

Little green men

I was going to write only: "This is the coolest house in Florida" ...but then I fell down the Google rabbit-hole ("ufo house pensacola" did the trick) and found all kinds of fascinating bits and pieces about this spaceship we saw on our beach holiday.

According to Prefabcosm and Roadside America, this is one of the "Futuro" dwellings designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen in 1968, initially for use as a ski-cabin or holiday home. The ideal was of a new era, a space-age, where everybody would have more leisure time to spend on holidays away from home.

Built by the Finnish company Oy Polykem Ab, the Futuro house was completely furnished and could accommodate eight people. It had a single bedroom, bathroom, U-shaped kitchen area, separate dining area, a curved 23-foot couch and a central fireplace that doubled as a grill. It was constructed entirely out of reinforced plastic, a new, light and inexpensive material back then. The plan was to mass-produce it, so it would be cheap enough to house all people around the earth. Mobile living was seen as the new possibility for the future – people could now take their moveable home with them wherever they went, and live like modern nomads.

Unfortunately the 1973 oil crisis spoiled all these plans. Prices of plastic raised production costs too high to be profitable. Only 96 Futuro houses were ever built. Besides the 48 made in Finland, at least 48 more were manufactured abroad on license.

This one at Pensacola Beach is said to have been lowered on to its "launch pad" by helicopter. If you look closely at the windows in the top photo, you can see the little alien face peeping out.

{I took these photos out the window of a moving car zipping along Pensacola Beach, hence the "omg-I've-just-seen-a-UFO!!" crookedy-ness. Authentic, no?}


Monday, 15 June 2009

Aussie kids

I smuggled some Weetbix back to America, but not enough. We ran out very quickly, which is a real shame because the kids loved Weetbix.

I would suspect that they'd been brainwashed by the television ad jingles ("Aussie kids! are Weeeeet-bix! kids!") except I don't think that one's even on TV anymore.

So it must be in the genes.

{Above: Berry and Weetbix, in happier days.}


Sunday, 14 June 2009


I've been ridiculously busy, and I have absolutely nothing to show for it.

Last week I designed custom letterpress stationery destined for New York and Washington D.C., letterpress business cards (not usually my first choice, but I felt inspired by this particular project), and I came up with a new wedding invitation design for Sweet Olive Press.

But since all the artwork has only just been sent away for plate-making, there are no photos.

So here's picture of my “other work”, rabbiting around in the gazebo. They haven't been designing anything at all.


Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Elephants going international...

A picture from Paris – Amandine kindly sent me this photo of the Sweet Olive Press letterpress coasters at home in her fabulous new apartment.

I'd love to be back in Paris, so yes – I am a little jealous of them...

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Doing and not-doing things in Sydney

If we wait until I have something clever to say to go with these pictures, you'll never see them.

So without further ado (side note: I saw someone write "without further adieu" the other day, and I think it was done with a straight face! The horror! Now I'm wracking my brain trying to recall whether it was one of my friends, and if they'll be offended.)

Ahem. Where was I....

Right – Sydney! When we weren't battling public transport and delighting in the luxury (*cough*) of the Travelodge Wynyard (serviceable, but definitely un-plush), Mum and I did manage to see some sights with the kids.

In fact, I was determined beyond reason to do many many many things with them, and I frequently lamented the fact that Kickbaby no longer fits in the Baby Bjorn (and hasn't for a good six months) because then we could've ditched the stroller and done soooo much more.

But stuck with the stroller, we took a ferry to Watson's Bay (where we saw the charming waterfront "Gondola House", above), to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and to the Opera House.

Berry ran up and touched the Opera House with one fingertip, and then ran away. Kickbaby (I have to get that poor child a new name, he's so far past being a baby) climbed every single step, all the way up to the Opera House. It's a real feat, and I'll have to show you a picture another time.

More Watson's Bay... Mum kept telling me about this great hike we could do there, "but not with a stroller... and not with the kids" – so really, a great hike we couldn't do, which she claimed had totally made their last trip to Sydney. Naturally I was delighted to hear about fabulous things we couldn't do.

People really are creative with their gates and fences in Watson's Bay, aren't they. Well, not this next one – I just liked the view through the little tangle of progress.

Ah Sydney. Very cool.