Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Special Visitor

A couple of days ago, I told Ruben to put the gift that he made at preschool under our tree as the first Christmas present.  He said, "Okay!" but then disappeared for about 10 minutes.  From the other room we heard, "Everybody close your eyes!"  We closed our eyes and then heard a few minutes of clomping around, rustling under the tree and then receding footsteps.  Then, again from the other room, "OKAY! You can open your eyes now."  The gift was there (we cheered), but the boy was not, so we called him to come out to us. 

Turns out that while our eyes were closed, this jolly fellow had paid a visit:

Of course, some of us had to take turns sitting on his lap and telling him what we most want for Christmas.

(Another rubber duck)

(A slingshot)

This Santa costume was made out of a red silk suit from Hong Kong, black cowboy boots, a Santa hat and a pipe cleaner beard and glasses.  Ruben wore it every day last January and February, and many, many times since then.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Little Holiday Toys

I've been having so much fun making tiny toys for our holiday play time.  Here are Santa and Rudolph, made of clothespins, pipe cleaners, yarn & wire:

And here I made the snowman, not the little wooden animals:

He is a part of this miniature winter scene that we all made together.  Can you tell what I used to make him?

It's popcorn!  I stuck together three little pieces with a toothpick, and broke off one end of the toothpick and colored it orange to make the nose.  The snow is coconut, and the trees are little bits of Christmas tree stuck in clay.  We had six (!) kids come visit us today, and our little winter scene was played with by everyone!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More Preschooler Portraits

Here are a couple more of my recent favorites:

(Click on them to view larger)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Preschooler Portraits

I love taking portraits of preschoolers.  I prefer to photograph these kids spontaneously when they are in the middle of their day.  That way they are both busy and relaxed and are wearing their everyday clothes and hairstyles.  Sometimes they are even in costumes, or there is paint or food on their faces.  They usually look at the camera and give me a practiced "Cheese" smile, but if I wait just a minute or two, it goes away and something real happens.  Sometimes I try to warm them up by asking them questions or joking around with them.  If I am lucky (and quick), I can catch them in one of those magic moments, and in their portrait we will see a glimmer of their future adult selves or a fleeting expression of genuine emotion.

Monday, December 13, 2010


This is one of those things that may sound totally ridiculous until you try it, and then once you do you'll go around thinking, "This is the best wallet EVER!"

The humble binder clip (also known as banker's clip, bulldog clip, or foldback clip) was invented in 1910 by Louis E. Baltzley, and in my opinion should be recognized as a marvel of industrial design.  Seriously, it deserves its own pedestal at MOMA.  It is so small, strong and flexible and it securely holds as little or as much as you'll ever need.  It is very easy to get cards and money in and out without spilling the other contents, and nothing ever falls out.

I switched from wallet to money clip just after college.  I was doing a lot of international traveling, and wanted a slimmer and more discreet way to carry my cards and money in my front pocket.  A couple of years later, my fancy silver money clip broke, and I grabbed a binder clip off of my desk to use as a temporary wallet.  That was about twenty years ago, and I am still using the very same binder clip.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Home Improvements

Sometimes all it takes is a little package of googly eyes to spruce up some of the otherwise less attractive corners of your home.

Gotta' love a little DIY!