Friday, September 26, 2008

rain gods, go away!

dabney heads off to dc this weekend for the crafty bastards arts and crafts fair.

i'll be here in mo praying that it stays dry there for her. with a little luck, it'll be pleasant and bring out the crowds of past years (see above).

right now: 50% chance of rain.

Thursday, September 25, 2008



i am in love with this chandelier. so pretty. so delicate.

hundreds of individual iridescent swarovski crystals make up each flower. i bet it's amazing in person and alit.

Chandelier Close-up

created by dutch designer tord boontje, the blossom chandelier can be yours for a mere $37,500. the one pictured above hangs in gwyneth paltrow's dining room. color me jealous. i hate you, gwyneth (though i'll probably read your new lifestyle website anyway).

the chandelier reminds me a lot of the paper cherry blossoms that some genius set decorator created for the movie "lost in translation." dabney and i searched in vain for look-alikes while traveling through japan in 2004. instead, we tried to make our own.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

countdown to demo

been getting lots of questions about where we stand in this whole house renovation project.

truth be told - not one finger has been laid on that house. instead, it's been a summer of talking, measuring, planning, and drawing. but autumn is now upon us.

we think we are just a matter of days (ok, maybe a week or two) away from starting the demolition on the interior. we'll salvage what we can of the floors, the two coal-burning fireplaces (now decorative), and some interior walls, but that's about it. the previous owner made some poor decisions over the last decade. as a result, a majority of the interior is going away.

Front Facade


here's a rendering of the front facade and a photo of how things stand now. as you can see, very little (in fact, NOTHING) is changing. that's the deal we've got with the state of missouri and that's fine by us. we think its damn cute already. we're just replacing the transom windows that have been boarded up for years and the door on the left that leads up to the old owner's unit upstairs will be sealed up for good.

we're hoping that the state will at least let us frost that big old window. otherwise, it's going to be an interesting extremely boring view from across the street, "there's annie and dabney eating fish tacos at their dining room table... there's annie and dabney watching project runway on the couch."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

now, i know 5 years = wood

saturday marked our fifth wedding anniversary. we're usually low-key about such things. we usually just do dinner out someplace special. this year (with a little help from chowhound) we found ourselves in a psuedo-suburban bistro not far from my parents' house with a delightful prix fixe menu but a decidedly faux tuscan/early 90s design scheme. really all that mattered to us was the champagne though.

at dinner, i decided to surprise dabney with a dabney-unique gift that only i know she would like.

at dinner, i presented her with this:

Gift to Dabney

dabney has a penchant for little wooden toys as evidenced in many of the souvenirs she picks up while traveling. turn the handle on the lower left of the box and the little men bob up and down.

Gift to Dabney

it wasn't until until JB wished us a happy 5th anniversary did i find out that wood traditionally marks 5-year anniversaries.

it must have been meant to be!

Monday, September 22, 2008

goof balls

golf rarely comes cheap in new england. as a result, it's something i have been looking forward to since we decided to move to the midwest. over the weekend, i got my first opportunity to play.

as we teed up to the hole #4, i couldn't help but notice this little setup near the tee box.
Goof balls

"goof" balls -- 3 for $2 or 75 cents each. alli is obviously an enterprising young girl.

Goof balls

and she wants to be a "pet doctor." so awesome.

Friday, September 19, 2008

mogo, ella, and elliot

mogo has a new neighbor to the north... ella and elliot.

located in toronto, ontario, ella and elliot specializes in all things chic for the modern baby (including items from mogo). check out there website at for more information.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

what my mom and a witch have in common

i am indeed living in my parents' house. there's red wine in the fridge, a freezer full of unrecognizable (and unlabeled) slabs of meat and industrial-sized vats of EVERYTHING, including coffeemate.

but i got the biggest reminder this morning when i needed to sweep the patio.

in their household, this is a broom:

i don't know if you know any filipino families personally or have been to their homes even, but i bet you a dollar that they own one of these babies. my mom swears by this broom and it is the only kind she will ever buy.

it's probably hard to tell in the photo above but it's only about two and half feet long, so one is forced to use a one-handed sweeping motion. i find it a little awkward and not to mention, tiring.

i don't know why it never occured to me growing up that it would be the perfect prop for a witch costume.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

rainygade craft fair

Mogo in Bucktown

weather has been a major hurdle in nearly every outdoor show this season. the flash flood and lightning in brooklyn, the extreme heat in boston and d.c. and now, this.

the remnants of hurricane ike nearly washed out the renegade craft fair, but crafters are a hardy bunch. we stuck out the 7+ inches of rain (a chicago record, mind you) and the 35 mph gusts all under our rows of ez-up tents.

we have to hand it to the even hardier chicago shoppers who braved the wind and rain. to those who came in support and kept this weekend from going down the drain, we thank you from the bottom of our waterlogged hearts.

Rainy Renegade

i, of course, did my part, too. three doors down from us (that's about as far as i perused in the rain), i picked up this mini-tie necklace from i like you. i don't know how exactly how and when i will wear it, but it sure made me smile in the middle of the storm.

New formal wear

the obama support was palpable being in illinois and all. no longer the land of lincoln solely, there seemed to be many a renegade crafter with their own handmade tributes to the senator. i especially loved these screenprinted posters from

Obama Screenprinted poster Obama Screenprinted poster

Friday, September 12, 2008

midwestern renegades

this weekend marks our first midwestern craft fair as official midwesterners.


click on the image above for more details.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

no more little house on the prairie

moving from little town vermont back to a city is like being shot like a rocket from little house on the prairie into the 21st century. we've gone from a summer without cell phone service and internet into a environment of the opposite extreme.

between the 1000s of channels of digital television, the state-of-the-art sound system, and the electric salt and pepper grinders, our heads were spinning upon our first visit to my sister's house. however, the piece de resistance was yet to come. downstairs in the geared-out basement complete with wet bar, my sis unveiled a birthday present she had given to her husband earlier this summer - the video game "rock band." i picked up the drumsticks and all was lost. i didn't re-emerge from that basement until two hours later (and a little bit sweaty, mind you).

it was love at first drum roll.

Monday, September 08, 2008

new homecoming

it's a miracle we arrived in saint louis at all in that overstuffed wagon of ours. numerous items were precariously balanced and tied down on top. the back end was so weighed down, it looked three inches lower than the front. and just forget opening any of the rear doors without causing an avalanche of all the random crap we had stuffed into every available crevice. in fact, it looked like that station wagon might have popped off the set of the beverly hillbillies. honestly, all we were missed was granny riding on top.

but here we are.

we rolled into town earlier than we had expected and decided to do a quick drive-by of our soon-to-be house and neighborhood. as we approached, we both remarked on the butterflies we were each feeling. we had been staring at this house on paper and in pictures for so long that it seemed like a faint memory. i compared it to what i imagine the first meeting of an online love connection must be like. would we be just as in love as our first encounter? or did we just leave our lives behind in new england for nothing?

as we pulled up to our shell of a building, still boarded up and still awaiting its new life, we were relieved that we both still felt good about our decision. most importantly, we are excited and looking forward to it all: excited to live down the street from the library, excited to be near some great restaurants again, and excited to be close to a gorgeous city park.

now, if only we could skip over these next months of anticipation... and living in my parents' house.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

a comedy of errors and eventually a departure

after a day of packing up the wagon in the downpour provided by hurricane hanna yesterday, we managed to hit the road this morning. i'll skip the parts involving getting drenched while securing the roof box, our realization that all our stuff would not fit, and a last minute dash to the post office.

the PO window closed 10 minutes prior to our arrival and that of our three boxes of shoes, jackets, and precious rice cooker. eventually, we had to beg louise, the mail clerk, that there was no way we'd make it to another town's post office before closing time. for added effect, we explained that we were moving TO MISSOURI and that we were hoping to leave first thing in the morning. mind you, this whole conversation transpired through the gap in "stamped mail" slot.

i am happy to report that louise eventually relented.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

a trip to the vt state fair

what better way to ring in the labor day weekend than a trip to the vermont state fair?

Canning Contest

it was the cutest little state fair i have ever seen. i'd say that my hometown county fair in missouri might have been bigger back in its heyday. but between all the fried food, long trail beer, pig racing, and livestock judging - it was a blast.



4-H Goat Judging
we couldn't get over all the kids who showed their livestock. what pride of ownership!

i just love this picture that dabney took. this little girl sits and enjoys her comics with her cows while on a break between judging.

dairy judging is serious business in this state. i am proud to say that i picked this jersey winner from a mile away.

there are some highly unusual competitions at the vermont state fair.

Pig Race
pig racing

Unusual Flower Arrangement
the best flower arrangement in a shoe contest

and of course, what's a state fair without contests for unusually large vegetables?

Big Cabbage

of course, we spent extra time in the maple sugar barn where we saw the prize-winning syrups, watched the production of maple candy, and devoured an entire bag of maple cotton candy.
Maple Syrup

Maple Candy

Maple Cotton Candy

Maple Cotton Candy Moustache

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

quick trip to maine

poor little superette, neglected all this time.

honestly, we're in our last week of new england living and we've been busy saying our goodbyes.

thanks, j & m, for a wonderful visit to maine.

Dyce Head

Dyce Head


Dyce Head

for years, dabney and i had been searching high and low for an affordable canoe and what-do-you-know - j & m were nice enough to pass theirs off to us.
Xmas present

when we returned home, we promptly took it out for its maiden vermont voyage.
Maiden Voyage

Maiden Voyage