The best spray painting tool

My mom and I have been working on a lot of spray paint projects lately. It’s just the best way to transform something and bring a scattered room together.

Take this once ugly, now turquoise mirror, for example.

So one day at Home Depot I found myself in the spray paint section once again and I noticed this little tool that you attach to the top of a can to make it easier to spray. Genius! I think it was $3.

It really does help you spray smoothly without drips, and it keeps you from getting the dreaded “spray paint can finger.”

I will not be spray painting without this guy anymore!

Loving: Ikea kids stuff

The other day we went to Ikea to get Harper a high chair. I couldn’t help but notice how adorable all the toys in the kids section were. And so cheap! (Isn’t that what you always say until you get to the checkout line?)

I know her grandpa already has his eye on the play kitchen, but I have a feeling we’ll be filling a cart with some of these other toys when she gets a little older.

1. Children’s tent, $19.99
I bet that pays for itself over and over.
2. Market stand, $14.99
Lemonade stand/puppet theatre? Yes!
3. Easel, $14.99
This plus a $5 paper roll seems like it could be hours and hours of fun.
4. Small Poang chair, $29.99
Every time I see this in the store I want it. We have the big one, too.
5. Doll furniture, $12.99
Everything in miniature. So cute.
6. Swivel chair, $89.99
A little pricey, but I’m sure it beats designer versions.
7. Mini kitchen, $99.99
Any child of ours must know how to cook, so she might as well start practicing!
8. Doll bed with linens, $19.99
I have to admit, I kind of want this for myself.
9. Table and 2 chairs, $19.99
I can’t imagine kids treat their furniture well, so that’s about what you want to pay for a tiny set.

Loving: July edition

The grandmas have been sending lots of baby clothes, so Harper has a new look pretty much every day. I love these legwarmers my mom sent. They inspired me to try making mine a little longer, and now I’ve come up with a new design to sell.

I also adore the Organic Farm Buddies teething toys. When your baby puts absolutely everything in her mouth you like to think her toys are not full of harsh chemicals.

I’ve been working on making my own super thick wool yarn for years and I think I’ve finally perfected it! I have so many big ideas to go along with this. Right now all I’ve got is a swatch but I love it.

Snacking on: Hope Hummus. I bought it at the Berkeley Bowl because it was on sale and it turned out to be delicious. I turned over the package to see where it was made. Boulder, of course.

In the department of useful things, I found one of these Medela breastmilk labeling lids in a box of pump parts. It is so handy for remembering what day you pumped the milk that’s in the fridge.

I’ve been playing around with the macro lens on our new camera. This drink will be coming soon to the Goodsmiths blog. (Bonus points to Erin Shaw if you recognize it!)

Random picture of my baby looking like the Berkeley child she is. (Also, post-nap spacey.)

And since I had to make the switch over to Feedly I’ve been catching up on a backlog of blog posts I haven’t had time to read. Found some links to share:

• The cutest idea for a DIY teepee

• Whitney Deal is selling her little line of baby clothes. Wishlisted!

Art summer camps look like so much fun.

• Did you know you can rent vintage Airstreams for your summer vacation? I was not aware this was a thing, but apparently there are lots of places to do this in Southern California. This place sells them too.

• Or how about a trailer bed for your dog?

• What to do when you’re jealous of other biz ladies. Sage advice.

Now that Harper is almost 5 months old I’m starting to clear the cobwebs a little and trying to get my business back in shape and my life generally in some kind of order. I feel like I have an appointment every week just trying to catch up on everything I’ve been putting on hold. But I have a lot of ideas I want to pursue this year (better photography, a Mary Marie Knits web site, new products, more travel…) so it’s time to get focused!

Looky what we got

I’m excited to say that we finally got a DSLR camera. We have been wanting one for years — me for better food photography and product shots, Mike for shooting birds at a distance. And of course just generally to improve the quality of our photos. (OF THE BABY)

Here she is.

We got a Canon Rebel T4i, which came highly recommended. We also got a 60 mm macro lens and 55-250 mm telephoto lens in addition to the one that came with the body.

I will need some lessons on how to use the camera — I’m a little intimidated, honestly — but I’m so glad we finally have it.

Orla Kiely soap!

Spotted yesterday at Target and practically ripped off the shelves.

Orla Kiely/Method soap! I really liked the primrose pattern.

Don’t tell Mike, I’m going back for more.

June happenings

May was kind of a nutty month. I had a ton of orders (which was awesome!) and most for rope knit items that also needed to be dyed. Days were busy busy busy. I had a package fall off a FedEx truck and thankfully be found by a very nice old man who wanted to help me get it to the right person.

June has felt like a reprieve in comparison. I did get called for jury duty, but the trial only lasted 3 days, and sales have slowed down enough that it wasn’t a problem.

I’ve been reading Pride and Prejudice in my free time. I have all these classic books that I have never actually read, so I figured it was time for a little Jane Austen.

I got my first strawberries out of the garden. They grew so easily I am thinking of planting more in the future.

I made egg salad with fresh dill from my herb garden. For some reason slicing the eggs in rounds makes it seem more sophisticated.

Mike doesn’t like watermelon, so I found a small one at the store that was just my size.

I busted Sadie hiding under a pillow fort. She is the queen of burrowing.

Oh, and if you haven’t tried Sonia Kashuk’s nail polish, you totally should. Not only are the colors great, but the polish stays on really well with hardly any chipping.

We’ve gotten to that point in the year when it stops raining for several months. It’s sunny and warm now, but soon the morning fog will start rolling in every day. So for now, I’m enjoying dappled sunshine, Jane Austen and pink toenails as much as I can.

Loving: snails!

Northern California has a pretty thriving snail population. The other day I woke up on a rainy morning and there were snails on pretty much every surface of the front porch.

I am totally fascinated by them. I suppose I could probably gather them up and have them for dinner, but that just seems wrong.

It’s bad enough when you’re walking somewhere and you hear that unfortunate crunch under your shoe.

In other news, I bought a stuffed squirrel for the dogs and Reggie carries it everywhere like it is her new best friend.

“Step away from my squirrel.” 

I also put our sun jar out in the backyard for a little extra light, and I love how it glows back there.

And most importantly, Mike just got back from visiting our new little neice Grace. Apparently she likes the blanket I made for her.

Those cheeks!

Loving: spring edition

First it rained, and I thought the way the clouds were resting on the El Cerrito hills was especially pretty.

Me and Reggie just hung out and knit for a while.

I whipped through the second Hunger Games book. I actually thought it was pretty good.

Mike and I enjoyed spring rolls at our favorite Vietnamese place, Nong Thon.

I also finally broke down and bought some dried billy buttons to put around the house. They just belong in that little vase.

When the sun finally came out, my outdoor flowers were so happy. The gerbera daisy fully opened, revealing a bright orange flower.

The rest of the daisies in the ammo box and pretty irises opened, too.

Sadly, something ate my mint. But I did decide to move both the tomato plant and the orange tree into the sunniest spot in our front yard garden. They both really seem to like the extra light.

Sadie has been doing this thing where she plops down in a sunny spot next to the house and refuses to come inside. Such a diva.

The best thing that happened this week, though, was an impromptu barbecue we had in our tiny backyard. We invited our next door neighbors, so I thought it would just be four of us. But it ended up being nine people and three dogs!

Party people. 🙂

This is Monkey. He lives next door.

Mike made lamb burgers with caramelized onions and feta cheese.

I mixed up a little vinaigrette for heirloom cherry tomatoes.

I also made strawberry shortcake for dessert. I’m still using the same perfect recipe.

We strung up the lights from our wedding throughout the yard, and that really transformed the space into a great spot for entertaining. Now we definitely want to get more furniture and a firepit so we can do this again.

Fun times!

56 Up

Have you guys seen the Up series? I’ve confessed my love for documentaries before, but the Up series is kind of the ultimate. It’s been following a bunch of British people (of various socio-economic backgrounds) since they were 7 years old. Every 7 years another film is released, and usually most of them participate. It is fascinating! You get really caught up in their lives, rooting for some of them to be successful in their careers or get married, etc.

So I was excited to hear that the next film, 56 Up, is coming out in May. At the time I watched them, only some of the DVDs were available on Neflix instant, but now it looks like they all are. So you should definitely watch them if you haven’t. You will be hooked!

Loving: grownup pb cups

Growing up, my favorite candies were definitely anything with Reese’s in front of the name, so of course I loved these organic peanut butter cups. They feel a little more special, a little more grownup. And they taste better, too!

I’m also loving that Trader Joe’s has such cheap bunches of flowers. I couldn’t resist these bright orange gerbera daisies the other day ($4.99 for a bunch of 8 or so). Gerberas just make me happy. So happy, in fact, that I have one tattooed on my foot. But the real thing is just as good.