Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Update on Lilac Bud post from October 29th

Picture below was taken a few days ago. Not much of a lilac if it was May, but this is November!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pumpkin Soup

Not sure I every knowlingly ate something from Hungary? Paprika - Kathryn tells us she got it at a market stall that sold nothing but paprika! And I thought it was just that orange powder stuff in the McCormick tin can! If you don't recognize it, those bright red threads are paprika. And the soup the threads are floating on was delicious!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving - Bark, Bark, Bark

Just in case you actually read the title above, "Bark, Bark, Bark" is Maya Louise's latest favorite noise. You haven't lived until you've seen a PHD Child Psychologist sticking out her tongue, and going "bark, bark, bark, bark -------". Thanksgiving was wonderful, and if you leave me out of the equation, there wasn't even a weird old uncle to deal with! One of those put the camera on the radiator and run like crazy to beat the timer pics is below, and in case you thought Powdermilk buscuits were a figment of the imaginagion, I've added a picture of the real thing! And they really are tasty! They are actually rolls, etc, but I couldn't resist the picture!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Marlboro Mushroom

Mushroom growing under tree on the walk from our hotel to the show this weekend - detail below. --- click to enlarge.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The joy of being a toymaker

One of the joys of being a toymaker is watching kids play with them! These boy's grandmother was my freshman year Psych 101 professor, and still a friend! Their grandfather is one of my two best friends! A great many years ago I made a toy car for their dad! He immediately drew all the details of the under side of a car on the bottom - muffler, shocks, springs, axles, everything! A while later he apologized for messing up the gift I had given him. I hope I adequately made him understand how very special it made me feel that he wanted to participate in the creation I had begun, but he finished! I'm not sure I succeeded because as I remember he carefully erased it all? I wasn't at all surprised that these two - third generation - immediately began spinning their tops upside-down! Grown-ups tend to hang our artwork on the wall - usually from the proper hanger we provide - pretty much aways right side up! Kids just try to figure out what else they can do with our work! If that includes upside-down, two tops battling with each other, or moments later dancing with each other, that is just the normal course of childhood! The electronic games our kids get these days seem to only work in one way, and to direct the kids down a narrow defined path to the a very specific goal. Give me the creativity of trying it upside-down every time! The camera stopped the action, but those tops really are spinning!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

More Engineering - Less Work

In an image from our show in Charlotte, NC a week or so ago, a fellow artist stands by as an electric winch in the front of the van pulls the entire contents of the booth up a couple of ramps into the van! Talk about engineering! As the leading top edge entered the door, it "flicked" the spring loaded latch. One inch less - wasted space - one quarter inch more - torn out van roof! Off to another show tomorrow, so not sure when the next post will be. Check out our new Etsy store - only a few items for sale so far, but it's a start! http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5265759 Any feedback will be appreciated.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I'm not sure babysitting is exactly the right term when you are taking care of your own family? There was not a lot of sitting involved - she likes to move around. Maya is a baby, but even that is changing. She is definitely becoming a person - actively looking around at her world, smiling when happy, scowling with lower lip stuck out when not, and bursting into loud protest when her family doesn't act correctly and with great haste! Cheryl and I loved it, and Casey and Deanna got their first "date nite" since Maya arrived!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Spinning Top Show

One of my favorite things in the whole world is showing kids some of my spinning top collection! Today I got to do that twice for two wonderful groups of kindergarten kids! They love to see the tops spin, wonder at all the marvelous things they do, and just generally have fun. I sneak in a little bit of learning too, but they hardly notice! Click here to learn more.

That's me spinning a Japanese top balanced on top of a stick, and below, guiding a spinning top through one of the mazes we make.
A big thank you to all teachers! They do the second most important job in the world. Only being a parent ranks above those who teach the young!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Dirty Ernie's

When the sign on the highway says "Dirty Ernie's Ribs and Gifts", you pretty much are required to stop at the next exit and see what's up! Unfortunately closed for the season. My first ever handicapped picnic table.... the phrase "half a bench short of a picnic table" comes to mind, but actually a pretty good idea..... I wonder if there is a fine for using it without the proper tag hanging from your mirror?
Homer Simpson cast in iron.
And in a day where technology makes pretty recent stuff seem like an antique, I think this might be a record for the total bill to fill my tank. I've paid more per gallon, but today I was pretty much down to fumes when I found this pump....... there wasn't even a slot for the credit card, and those little white numbers spun around like crazy! Nothing digital here!
Nice to be back home!

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Next to our hotel is a brand new school. It is located on the site of an old all black school. Times have changed, but they have celebrated history with tiles made by the kids decorating the outside wall of the school, and with tiles that include pictures of the old neighborhood, and even a picture of the old Second Ward School high school band --- no indication of what year?