Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Tall Book of Make-believe...

The pictures are by Garth Williams...so magical... so inspiring...!

Are you familiar with this amazing book? You can find it now and again online for rather large sums of money, I'm afraid!

I try to keep an eye out at garage sales...because you never know! My neighbor found one for 30cents and THAT was a bit of magic right there!

Our copy comes from our great Aunt Mar, (who owns a used bookstore by the way!) who searched and searched to get the one you see here for my husband (so she wouldn't have to give up her copy when we had kids!) Because, you see, you really can't have kids and not have this book...so, phew! We really do love our little Tall book, (though it looks it a bit)...but it is magical, magical...

So magical, in fact, that I thought to share it with you...(though my husband thought it better to hoard the magic) ...but I am a firm believer that magic shared, is magic grown! So here is some *magic* for you and yours!

see the little elves flying on the falling leaves?!

...love this page!

<-my absolute most favorite page!

May your New Year be filled to the brim with *magic*!

Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas, everyone!

whhooo boy, I am tired...Christmas is over! We made Christmas Magic for all of the 4 little Sousanises and I am beat.

But now, there's a giant mess everywhere...where to put everything?!!!
Must. Clean. Up. the. House! (but I am in such a making-mood!)
No. No making! Only Cleaning! Tidying! Straightening!

Okay okay okay, but first I gotta show you something silly I've been working on...
It's a quiet restaurant toy-in-a-box! I am still haunted by the whole amazing Muji Circus -in-a-box thing, and it occurred to me that I could re-create the ol' Shadowbox(!) Caffe as a shadow box cafe! Ha!!!
So here's what I've got so far...

See? It's a little restaurant to bring to a restaurant in hopes of keeping my litle ones occupied...

Think it'll work? I'm goning to try it out tomorrow... and I'll let you know.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

the Sound and the Fury...

So I was all excited to read A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote aloud to the kids...every review on Amazon.com was all like; "our FAVorite Christmas story EVER!" etc etc..."we know it's Christmas-time when Mom gets this book out and we LOVE this story and we have the best Mom EVER and we are a happier family than you, but you can be like us if only you get this book..." etc etc.

So I got the book. Actually, I didn't get this version (isn't that a lovely illustration by Beth Peck?!) , instead I got "The Complete Stories of Truman Capote" because, you know, it costs the same for the complete works, as it does for 1 tiny little short story...5 pages in my version...
(had I seen the above cover at the time, I would have bought it. Tiny little short and expensive as it is, it's illustrated!) (duh)
And then I read the story. Aloud. To the kids. And my husband. The kids kept wanting to see the pictures, but, there are none, (dumb Mom) save for the one photo of the iconoclastic (I'm trying to be kind here) author on the cover, wearing...um, an outfit unique to the 70's in blue and orange...

And the story is, well, dreadful. I mean it is full of dread. They (the two pictured above) go to buy whiskey for the fruitcakes from a run-down speakeasy known for having had murders there(!) Actual MURDERS. They are afraid, naturally. They are going to pay with hard earned money from killing flies, that past summer. One penny for every 10 they killed. An image of jars filled with crunchy dea... O.K, enough. YOU aren't getting much of a Christmas feel here either, are you?

They do make fruicakes, lots of them...(like 35 or something). They do make Christmas ornaments, and the idea of having to save your gum wrapper to have a bit of foil, is definitely something I'd like my kids to contemplate, but not worry about.
Oh, and did I mention the boy has been abandoned by his parents? ("Mama? Where are his Mommy and Daddy" "Shhhh, just listen to the story, maybe they're coming back...")
Nope. He goes on to military school and that's that.

Anyhow, I liked it well enough, it really is well written and poetic, but a taaaaad on the dark side. (Did I mention their beloved dog gets kicked to death by a farm animal?)

And are we a 'happier, more full-of-the-true-spirit-of-Christmas family' for having read this story?
Well, no.

My husband says we should read them "The Sound and the Fury" next.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas from Ikea and other blogging madness

So, have you ever seen something on someone's blog and gone completely bonkers out-of-your-mind sleepless with desire for the something they have got and you have not?

Non? oui?

(treefall, you are wicked good at this, this -showing-me-stuff-I-now-want-want-want! you-know you are!http://treefalldesign.typepad.com/tree_fall/) (must get that cut-n-make advent calender!!!)(and I do so appreciate all your help tracking down the origins of your personal possessions)(perhaps it is a clue to where I should be living, not in Michigan, no, but in England! Say, smack-dab in her house! ) ;)

Anyhow, I am delighted to say that today, after about a year of fruitless searching and occaisonal (lost) bidding wars on eBay, I was able to FINALLY ACQUIRE the Ikea Ekorre Toddle Wagon that someone (sooooo long ago now that I can't even find it in my computer's history) someone blogged about (...if you recognize the above artist's matryoshka pillow dolls, please tell me who, and I will properly atribute the photo) (Edit: turns out it's from here, but of course!) ...anyhow, Isn't it cute?!
But now,
You too can get it at Ikea here: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40060836
I think they just re-stocked them for Christmas
but they won't ship it to you!
Bwwahh ha ha!
Nope, you'll have to make the trek yourself, or hope it's on eBay... sorry! You can't have mine!

Christmas is NOT comin' from Muji, kids

MUST. GET. THIS. FOR. MY. KIDS. FOR. CHRISTMAS. Damn the expense. Import it from England? Japan? Sure, no problem.

I know I know, coveting is bad bad bad. A sin even, right? Oh, but I do so covet this Circus in a Box from Muji! I want it soooooo bad!

BUT it's not available anymore! At least, I don't think so after calling London, and New York, and visiting and re-visiting the Japanese website! Waaaaaaahhhh!

This is one BIG reason reading blogs can be dangerous! You discover things you must have, at any expense!

So I blame YOU, pandorapocket.typepad.com! I blame you for temptation and the neglect of the children whose mother spent hours searching the web in vain for this most awesome thingy!

Want to see another pic? There you go. You want it too, don't you. No? It costs under $20! Can you imagine such cool retro-awesomeness gracing your shelf? For $20?!!! (okay, plus, like a billion for shipping, whatever!)

It folds up!!! In a box! See?! How cool would it be to bring this along in the kids' diaper bag so they are (all)quiet and good during dinner at a restaurant!?!

Oh, I want one soooooo much it pains me. http://www.independent.co.uk/galleries/christmas-gift-guide/christmas-gifts-for-everyone-1039573.html?action=Popup&ino=61 LIARS! It's Unavailable!!!(I think I have lost my mind!)

Or, is it the fault of Animal Aid's Animal Alerts, asking people to complain about the inhumane treatment of wooden circus animals kept in pretty painted folding boxes?! (!)(oh come on!)http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/f/ACTIVE/actionalert//1/

Ok, so I must resign myself to living without this. Or...now I must make one! How hard can it be?!

hahahahahah I'm serious. Just you wait world! (but don't hold your breath or anything!)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Picnic, anyone?

These days have been so beautiful and warm...it's hard to believe Autumn is really here! And Olivia is old enough to sit up without me all-in-a-panic that she'll topple over! The days are long, but the months are flying by!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Homage to Amelie...

Do you see what I mean?...

My happy little container garden...4 kinds of basil, also chives, lavender, a tomato plant or two, sage, rosemary...and a funny little guy! (from Target, of course! my goodness, how I love this big box store. Just shoot me.) If it's an homage to Amelie' in my mind, does that make it less kitch? Hmmmm...

I promise to come back and tell you the name of this amazing 'morning glory' type flower...the kids planted it from a seed packet...where is that seed packet?...

Ok, I'm back. It's called a Dwarf Bush Morning Glory aka "Convoloulus Tricolor"...here's another pic :) Pretty, non?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


My little guy's are growing up so fast...I just realized my eldest thinks he's in a grand countdown till his 'Last Nap' which, according to him, is the very moment he turns six. Six! I've never had a six year old before! Maybe they Do take naps still! It could happen! "No way, Mom. Six year olds DO NOT Nap."
(Do they sit still and be as quiet as mice and let their Mama do her Etsy-ing and let their younger siblings nap? We'll have to see about that...)

(The baby pictured is the same boy about to turn 6! Wow. And there's Doggie and Bear, our wonderful Martha Stewart Baby sleep-aids, -oops, no, I mean Loveys )

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Introducing Daddy Giraffe and his darling Olivia Esme' Claire, a watchful Mama Owl and her baby, and "In the Garden" an original watercolor assemblage framed in a sahdow box frame (from Martha Stewart. gosh I love it's frame! ) but you'll have to go here http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=13771633 to see it! :)
All available in my shop now...and soon, another Matryoshka family! (nearly finished but not quite...)

Monday, July 28, 2008

A hint of things to come...

I've got a couple of Showcase spots coming up on Etsy and so I thought I'd do a major ("major"?) shop update... well, I am working hard, and it'll be hard to part with some of these things, they're quite dear to me in many ways :) but I'll let cha have a peek!...

Do you recognize whose 'lap' this little girl is sitting on? Hmmmmm...Yup, they'll both be available at the SHOP UPDATE: Tuesday July 29th!

Okay, back to work!

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Potato Gallette

This is usually John's domain...but we were so low on groceries all I had on hand were eggs and potatoes...Ok and a few other things but those 2 things actually made a meal! And the kids liked it!!!
Is this reeeally a "potato gallette"? I guess not, because in looking up the recipe I found there is no mention of eggs. *ahem*. And there is usually, I see, rosemary. I don't love rosemary. In the garden, yes, in my food, not so much. Sage neither. Possibly because people usually have too heavy a hand with it but I digress.

If you'd like to try this, I HIGHLY reccomend using or buying yourself a 'mandolin' http://www.nextag.com/mandolin-slicer/search-html. Not the musical instrument, this is an amazingly sharp slicing gadget and makes all the difference...

Anyhow, heat about 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy cast iron pan

(no bigger than one of your dinner plates)

slice up about 4 medium sized peeled potatoes

arrange slices in a tight, overlapping spiral to the edge of the pan

salt the spiral

add more potato slices in a new spiral

salt the new spiral

repeat untill you run out of potato slices.

It should be sizzling the whole time...

cover with a lid for about 5 minutes to trap the moisture and steam the potatoes...but check 'em to keep them from burning...

Now for the tricky part: Gingerly lift the edges of the bottom layer away from the pan's bottom to 'free up' any stuck potatoes...experiment with shaking the pan and using a spatula to see if the entire 'potato cake' can move...

Now lay one of your dinner plates ontop, hold the plate there, lifting the pan off the stove and flip it over onto the plate!

Now slide the 'upsidedown' potato cake back into the pan and continue to cook! Pretty, non?

This is when I added a salted and peppered mixture of 3 eggs, whole milk and thinly sliced chives, and let it cook till it looked done...

You can do it!

Friday, July 25, 2008

There's my Russell...we call him "The Blur"

Today, new beginings! Aurora and Constantine are off to Grandpa Dean's for an overnight, Baby Olivia is still sleeping ... only Russell is underfoot...under table, really...what is it about dirt and crumbs and dog hair that my kids find so attractive? Sweeping is next, but must computer first! :) And next on my list, the Studio! (Ok, the dining room, whatever) Organize, organize, organize and get ready for some major crafting for my shop's update Tuesday! Wheeeee, should be a fun weekend!

About Me

My photo
Mamazakka is Mommy blogger Autumn Sousanis; also-known-as Autumn Dunbar; and also-known-as "Mama" to six little ones, ages 9, 7.5, 5, 3.5 2 and a 3 month old! :) Busy,yes. A graduate of C.C.S. (Center for Creative Studies, School of Art and Design in Detroit) with my bachelor's degree in Fine Arts, I have finally found my calling as 'Mamazakka', maker of everything and anything that might improve your home, life and outlook. :) It's my goal to create things that truly meet Wikipedia's definition for 'zakka'; (here's an excerpt)..."cute, corny, kitschy is not enough. To qualify, a product must be attractive, sensitive and laden with subtext." Oh yeah! You betcha! Well, that's my goal, anyhow! I'm also known as an over-user of exclamation marks(!) and parentheses (can't help it) though I do try to keep my smileys to a minimum :)