A little antidote to my last post...Q at MoMA.

 My dad used to make sculptures like this when I was small - made of found objects, all stained ebony. He made one into a round coffee table that occupied one of my childhood homes - with a circle of glass over it. A wonderful, abstract, imaginary world under glass.
Q enjoys her hotels...just like her mommy ;)


 It's a funny thing about branding, isn't it? 
The first time that Q saw the Sephora logo - that big stylized "s" on a slick black background, she loved it. Same with the Target bullseye. 
I won't lie, that kind of early-onset branding scares me. 

I was raised on the earth-mother end of the spectrum (though you could never take my mother for a hippie), no refined sugars, no junk food, no Barbies, no pink clothes, no toys that weren't wooden, handmade, or Steiff. And yes, I am a product of that upbringing to an extent. For instance, I loath the whole Disney Princess cartel and everything that goes with it. I abhor the mass-merchandising that goes along with every film made for children (how can you make your fortune by unscrupulously manipulating toddlers, and still sleep at night?). And yet, I harbor a curious lifelong fascination with Barbie dolls and suburbia (bred of complete and deliberate isolation from these things in childhood),  and I eat an entire 3.5 oz chocolate bar every morning for breakfast. Every single morning. So much for no refined sugar.

So when my husband advised me that denying her things like pink clothes, potato chips and princess paraphenalia would only make her crave them more, I decided to give his viewpoint a chance. 
Why not? After all, I'm still me. Q knows exactly how I feel about things  ("Oh, Mommy doesn't like Barney!" she'll say. "No, mommy doesn't like Chuck E Cheese!"), and she will be influenced by me in whatever ways she chooses. My husband has as much of a chance of being right as I do. We're both smart, well-read, well-educated people. 

So when Q entered her pink phase, I counted myself lucky that she didn't want Disney Princess dresses, and let her have the pink rollerskates, pink soccer ball, pink briefcase, pink bike, pink crash helmet, etc etc etc...

 And when, upon passing by a Sephora shop, a sales rep (mistaking her, as so many do, for a much older child) offered to apply a flavored lipgloss sample for her, I vacillated, hummed and hawed, and then shrugged, sighed, and said, "Sure, why not. If she so chooses."
 I have to say that the look on Q's face was priceless.
She was so entranced that she stood absolutely still, and I swear that she did not move her lips for the next half an hour for fear of messing up her "makeover".
 Here she is looking in the mirror. Oh, the gravity of it all! She felt so grown-up. 
Since it was my birthday, she also got a free Birthday Cake scented bubble bath when we left, courtesy of Philosophy. All wrapped up in a big, shiny black bag with that oh-so-seductive "S" on it.
My girl. My half-grown, half-baby. My basketball-wielding, pink briefcase-carrying, torch song-belting, rock-climbing, satin bow-wearing girl. If you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, she will say "A writer", or "a doctor", depending on the day. She could as easily grow up to play pro ice hockey or join the circus. That's my kid. We're both winging it.


Q  in the city.
Yes, I am finally getting there!


 The girl loves her Happy Cakes.
 And I love to buy her her Happy Cakes.
Who could resist that look on her face? 
If I could bear it on my conscience, I'd get her happy cakes every day. 
In that last picture, I like to think that she's looking at the poster of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow...quite possibly my alltime favorite movie character. But probably she was just thinking about cupcakes.
Busy, critters on the workbench today!
But I am working on getting another post up...soon...soon!

ps - find my work over at the Try Handmade Gallery today!


 This morning was daddy's morning to himself, and so, it being a bit chillier out than it has been during our balmy "false spring", Q and I decided to hit up the Denver MCA again.
 Oh, what a hit the paper flowers have been!

The silliness doesn't end. 
 We just get goofier as the day goes on.
 Q and her BFF Keroppi...Or is this "Other Keroppi"? I can't tell from this distance. One of them has a bandaid on the bellybutton that has mostly worn off. The original Keroppi tends to get more Q privileges than "Other Keroppi", but you never know. She does sometimes make an effort to be equal-opportunity. And both of them are required to be present at bedtime.
 In the cutting room. She loves to cut.
 Oh, how she loves to cut. Daddy doesn't like her to have real scissors at home, so she goes to town when she gets her hands on them at the museum.
 Carefully arranging the petals of a paper flower.

 I love her face when she's concentrating on work...the shape of the eyes and the lower lip... the intense focus. I can't get enough of it. I actually took close to forty of these pictures, but I'll spare you ;)
 Well, I'll spare you a little.
 A black heart.
 The dress and coat, btw, are by the fabulously-talented Jane of Anais & I. Her spring/summer just out and I can tell you it's gorgeous!! Look it up on facebook for a sneak peek.
Sunning ourselves in the roof garden.
And then, because it's our girls' day routine, to the icecream shop for a snack.


And then there's this. 
As you can see, the weather has been fluxuating wildly here, from summer to winter and back again nearly on a daily basis. Colorado can be such a tease!
It's safe to say that we have five more weeks until real spring sets in, but we will certainly have a wild ride in the meantime!
This was Q on our trip to the zoo the other day. I think she was excited. 
The litter of baby tigers are so big that they're hardly distinguishable from the adults, and personally I was most excited by the napping arctic foxes (cute squared). But Q is most fond of the snakes, the monkeys, and the "up-down" aka the carousel.
A little sale in my shop this weekend ...since it's not only a long weekend here in the US (I don't love long weekends, since I work from home), but my birthday weekend, so I feel like celebrating!
Go here for details!


 OK, try and stay with me here (sorry), but I'm jumping back to NY again. 
On our last day in Woodstock, we all piled into my mum's Subaru and drove to the Rhinecliff train station where we then hop on Amtrack down to the city. It's my favorite way to travel south, and I much prefer it to the thruway (even though, when I was a child, we always drove to the city).

ps - this first photo is for Merisi, because you always offer such a lovely cup of coffee ;)
 We generally try to leave enough time to stop at Bread Alone in Rhinebeck for lunch. We're not all that organized, and we have a three-year-old, so we are usually running a bit late, and most trips we only have time to grab a cup of coffee and a sandwich for the train. But this time we were early, and had time for a sit-down lunch en famille, which I HIGHLY recommend, if you happen to be in the area. I mean, just look at the above photos. Really, need I say more?
Well, I guess I should say that's a three-beet salad with chevre, mache, candied walnuts and a balsamic reduction. Are you drooling? 
 It's also fun to walk around Rhinebeck while waiting for lunch to arrive. Q is one of those people who has trouble sitting in one place for any length of time. She takes after my mother in that respect (they're both Leos, so if you believe in astrology, which I don't particularly, you might make a connection there. It's obviously not hereditary, in any case!)
I myself can sit in one place for long periods of time as long as someone is telling me a story (otherwise I wouldn't get much work done in the studio, now would I?)
But actually, I enjoy the opportunity to walk around and see the sights with Q as an excuse.
 Sometimes I have trouble keeping up with her ;)
 Well-fed and well-coffeed, we bundled up for the long wait on the tracks for our train to arrive. It was unusually long this time since it has been such a cold and snowy winter in NY state, and the trains kept stopping for ice alarms. I'm sure there is a technical word for this aspect of train travel, but I don't know it. So "ice alarms" is the best I can do.
 Q, softened by the mild Colorado winters and with not an ounce of body fat to call her own, got quite chilled during the wait, but she's a trooper and does her best to keep up her good spirits. She was born in a place of extremes. Her part of China is known as one of the "furnaces" of the country, and I can tell you from experience that the heat in summer is something I've never experienced anywhere else. But the winters can be fierce and feral there as well. So I think she's probably made of some hefty cloth.
 Once on the train, we were able to relax and enjoy the ride. This stretch of the Hudson River is spectacular in nearly any weather, and the train was uncrowded and quiet. There are few things more soothing than train travel when one isn't afflicted by crowded cars.
btw I am wearing a wonderful scarf woven with gossamer bands of silkworm cocoons that my mother brought back from a recent trip to Turkey. It was my Christmas present. I love it.
We were able to spread out along an entire bank of bulkhead seats, which allowed Q to take a comfortable nap along the way. Here, a sleepy Q and daddy watching the icebreakers go by on the river. Sigh.


I spent this early morning setting up a new backdrop for my menageries.
This has turned into one of the most enjoyable aspects of my work week since I've started working in three dimensions. Setting up a new backdrop and the ensuing photo shoots and editing sessions is like alchemy. It's a little bit intoxicating. I'm sure there's a point at which even the most enjoyable work becomes routine, and maybe those are the points at which one should think about moving to a new topic or evolving to a new artform. But for right now, my workaday world is full of magic. 
How I enjoy it!


 It has been very summerlike here of late...more like June than February. The interesting part is that there's still snow on the ground, so it looks a bit incongruous.
 But Q and I have been taking advantage of the weather to hit as many playgrounds as possible this week.
 btw, I have to address the elephant in the room and say that she's killing me with this gigantic bow that she's wearing everywhere right now. She usually loathes hair accessories, and I can't get her to wear so much as a clip or tie in her hair. But she found this bow on a St. Paddy's Day display the other day, and for some curious reason she just adores it.

 Greeting a miniature husky. Who knew there was such a thing as a miniature husky?
 I mean, does this bow not kill you??
 Seriously, she is such a ham sometimes.

 This is not a pose, however. She's indicating that she wants to go climb the giant butterfly...
 This is the giant butterfly. She is quite the natural climber, our three-year-old. Climbing classes at the rec center don't take kids this young, and it's too bad, because she's just a ringer at it. But as my husband pointed out, it's not like you want them running off to scale a wall every time you're not looking, not at this age!
 A big thumbs-up at the top.

 Isn't it odd, this much snow on the ground, and bare feet? But it really is that warm out!

 She's so graceful, I just love to watch her move.

And here's the cake-topper: building snowmen in a tank dress and sandals. In February. 
Only in Colorado!