Blog a la Cart

Month: March, 2013

Chick Norris and friends

Meet Nugget and Chick Norris. Francis Turkey’s new friends. They’ll find their way into the girls’ Easter baskets tomorrow morning. We’ve decided to forgo baby chicks this season and will wait until next spring, so these plushes are filling the void.

Arguably, they are not nearly as adorable as the real deal, but the knotted knees are pretty dang endearing.

Happy Passover, Easter, spring to all! The pattern for these lovies can be found here.








My Mother’s Attic // 3

beforemma-march-ndad-1 copy

AFTERmma-march-ndad-6 copy

My March project for My Mother’s Attic is up over at New Dress A Day. I turned a vintage Pierre Deux dress of my mom’s (that was stained and didn’t fit me on the neck or cuffs) and turned it into a mother/daughter ensemble. Full details here.



We’re off to the Cape to spend the weekend with my parents and Kimmy. We’ll celebrate (early) birthdays for me and my mom on Saturday night, and then spend the morning on Sunday hunting for treasures from the Easter bunny. I don’t know who’s more excited, Momar or the kids. Enthusiasm is at an all time high. Happy weekend, all!

Knit Letter Banner // diy


Last week, I powered through all three seasons of Downton Abbey and knit up this inspirational letter banner. Why, you ask, is that how I thought my time was best put to use? Well, in all honesty, I love a good excuse to curl up on the couch and knit myself into a zen stupor, and bonus if some decent viewing material can serve as a backdrop to the activity.

This particular knitting frenzy was inspired by Project Postal, the brain child of Joy from Frock Files and Theresa of inspirationCOOPERATIVE. I’ve written about my love affair with stationary and snail mail before, so it should come as no surprise that any excuse to send and receive some tangible words was right up my alley.

I received this brilliantly appropriate letter from Joy. Inspiring words, particularly for a longtime sailor.


For my own package, I wanted to mix things up and experiment with words and texture and process. For Christmas this year, I knit a poster for our Tine that read “SOME THINGS TAKE TIME.” I loved that the process of knitting those words, the very act of creating them, referenced the essence of the saying itself. And I loved the textured, tactile nature of the final product. (I realized that I never shared pictures of this project, and will have to remedy that soon).

Since then I’ve been cataloguing phrases and words and ideas that I want to knit whether as a poster, or in this case, a banner. Clearly the arrival of this piece of art in our home had an impact. Thanks, Jimmy Marble, for inspiring!

I figured I’d start with a simple, short phrase, as I didn’t want the banner to be too long or overwhelming and didn’t know how the individual knit letters were going to look once hung.


I used Frankie Brown’s free Alphabet patterns on Ravelry to create each letter. In order for the letters to hang properly without warping, I secured each letter with fabric stiffener once they were complete. I laid out some old plastic bags, saturated each letter in fabric stiffener and smoothed each letter flat to dry. Once dry, I used miniature clothespins to hang the letters on some simple cord to give the effect of a clothesline.


I packaged everything up carefully and shipped a few extra clothespins in case any of them broke in transit. Overall, I was pleased with the result, and given that Mere, the recipient of this project, is both a knitter and lover of the color green, I thought she’d appreciate the attempt regardless.


Head on over and check out Mere’s blog, Not Merely Living, to catch a glimpse of her pretty slice of The Interwebs.

The Day Facebook Turned Red


I am so thrilled for my daughters’ generation. They’ll look back and wonder how there was ever a time when certain people weren’t allowed to marry. But it will be an ugly past, not their reality. I was filled with such hope yesterday as nearly my entire Facebook stream turned red in support of marriage equality. Let’s hope that the legal structures upholding this discrimination crumble in these next few days. For them. For all of us.

And take a look at this remarkable story courtesy of one of my oldest and dearest childhood friends, my prom date, my Pook. It made my heart swell times infinity. I promise it will have the same effect on you.

Bow Head




She emerged from her afternoon nap like so.

At a recent parent/teacher conference, her teachers commented that Sunny is one of the more mature kids in the classroom. The example they cited for this behavior was the fact that she is not easily influenced by her peers. If she’s happily playing a game and one of her friends tries to lure her away or get her to play their game instead, she’ll quietly and matter-of-factly say, “No, thank you” and continue to do her thing.

So what I’m saying is – those bows are a metaphor. And I don’t think I could wish a more valuable or admirable trait on my daughters; a strong and confident sense of self.

I’m so proud of this bow head.

Reason #1258: Why I love my husband

James’ cousin is expecting her first child and she emailed us asking for some guidance on L.A. area maternity care, specifically our thoughts on our doula and our experience delivering Addison at Cedars Sinai in Beverly Hills. James responded before I had the chance, and once again, swept me off my feet. Here’s a man that really gets it. I am so lucky to call him my partner.

I’m sure Ashley will respond in more detail – but I just want to come out of the gate as a strong Doula supporter. It took me some getting used to the idea when Ashley first threw it out there, and then even when we met and decided on one I thought she was way too hippie for me, but it was for Ashley, so she got to make the call — then, when it was all happening, I couldn’t have been more thankful that we had her. Ashley frequently recounts that some of my first words after we left the hospital were “best money we ever spent” on that doula.

It’s really worth more of a phone call than email but my short version: Today’s medical system doesn’t stack in your favor for continuity of care on delivery day. There’s no promise, and in fact it’s rare, to have your OB be the one who delivers your baby. Even if it is your OB, they likely won’t be there until the last hour or so anyway – when the pushing starts. Hiring a Doula ensures that you have a partner in your corner for delivery day. Someone who knows your preferences, your birth plan, your 1st 2nd and 3rd choice scenarios as things unfold on that day. Someone who can calm you down, someone who can calm your spouse down and explain what’s happening without being distracted by the 15 other patients they’re attending to at the same time.

There’s credibility I can never have, being a man, but I think Ashley will agree that there’s no need to head to Cedars, unless you have a high risk pregnancy. Even so, it may still be more beneficial to be at Torrance. TMC is a great hospital (at least it was 4 yrs ago). Little Company of Mary, San Pedro was right around the corner from us, and if we had it all to do over again we’d have been there – but hindsight is 20/20. Courtland’s birth at a little Southern Vermont Medical Center, where I think she was one of maybe 3 babies born that day – was a very different experience for us than the “baby factory” of Cedars that I believe generally has 40+ babies delivered a day. That’s not to say that Cedars’ was bad — more just that it was overkill for what we needed — and more pertinently, overkill for what we thought we’d even need. There’s this mentality of “be in a state of the art hospital just in case” that really just gets in the way of what is one of the most natural experiences in everybody’s life…

There are a hundred right ways to have a baby – it’s about what makes you the most comfortable. Doulas help achieve that in so many ways – and just to reiterate — they’ll really help your partner, too — or any loved one you choose to help/witness that incredible experience.

Swoon. Swoon. Swoon. How I love this man. And here’s a more thorough post on hiring a doula.

Currently Playing

Just when I thought I couldn’t admire Melissa Harris-Perry more than I already do, she goes and does something like this…

And so I am sorry, because  we have failed to teach your male peers that they have no right to touch you without your consent or to use you to meet their needs or to discard you if your victimization does not fit their life plan. I am sorry we have failed you.

With the Band

As James mentioned, this past week, our talented friends of the band Darlingside were holed up in our neighbor’s pool house song-writing and recording. It’s always a treat to have them nearby, and the girls so enjoyed visiting them mid-process. They even got to try their hand at the drums and rock out to a jam session.




darlingside-march-3 copy

James was beyond thrilled when the guys asked him to “lay some vocals” for one of their songs. All of them, James included, sang a capella for Williams during their college years, so James was excited to get back in the game for an evening. As he said, “I have really small testicles, so I can hit those high notes for them.”

His words, y’all. His. Words.


One night we had everyone down to our house for dinner, and Sunny was ecstatic as she has a major crush on Auyon (don’t we all?). We let her stay up and hang at the table, and, to no one’s surprise, she lived up to her age by boldly declaring mid-meal that she had to defecate.

She headed off to the bathroom, and reappeared shortly thereafter. James and I, concerned that she had not requested our wiping assistance, inquired if she had indeed pooped, and if so, why she had not required our help. She glared at us, clearly enraged that we had suggested that she was incapable of wiping her own ass in front of company, then dramatically pulled down her pants, bent over, and shouted, SEE! I WIPED! THERE’S NO POOP!

And boom! Apparently, preschoolers are the world’s best birth control.To gross out an entire band of 20-something year old dudes with a full moon takes real talent. James is so proud. And Darlingside may never accept another invitation to dine chez Cart.

Perhaps the girls’ dance moves can convince them otherwise.




“A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.”

Sunny: Loves everything mismatched. Her pajamas. Her socks. Especially her shoes.
Kaki: Loves everything strawberry. Her ice cream. Her bread. Especially her pancakes.

More details about The 52 Project here. To view all the portraits in the series with explanations as to why I’ll be capturing the portraits in the early morning, visit here.

Jamescapes // 9

Our friends from Darlingside came to crash at our neighbors’ farm this past week for a song writing session, and so I decided to voyeuristically photograph the group under cover of darkness. But, in classic ADD fashion, I lost interest in the group and the evening progressed as follows:

1. Man, I’m going to snag some totally candid shots of these guys. They’re gonna be like “Whoa! Where did these photos come from??” and I’ll be like “I came up to the barn one night and started taking pictures under cover of darkness.” And then they’ll be like. “Cool…I guess. Creepy…yeah, I’m not sure if we’re really ok with that” and then, ignoring their concern, I’ll be like “Yeah, I was going to photograph you while you slept, and then come inside and…”

Man… That really is a pretty awesome barn. I should take a photo of that. Good thing I have my camera with me.


2. I mean really – isn’t it pretty? I wonder who designed it? I bet I could ask someone. What would it look like from over next to the pool? Oh, this is what it would look like! So glad I walked over here. I’m a good walker.


3. Maybe I should walk somewhere else since I’m so good at it. Like over there — “WAIT!! LOOK!! Shiny sky and blinking lights!” ….Wow. Now I feel awkward because I’m alone and I just shouted “WAIT!! LOOK!!” … I should get away from the barn, and see if I can capture those lights shooting into the heart of Williamstown. I’ll get a better shot down there… They kind of look like alien lights. Aliens are awesome. Maybe Williamstown is full of  aliens and that’s why Williams professors are so smart – ’cause they’re Aliens. I wonder where Sigourney Weaver is right now. I should take a photo.


4. When did Sigourney shave her head? Was it the 2nd Aliens or the 3rd?…I’m a little freaked out right now. Better turn around and make sure I’m safe…Man, there’s that barn again. How awesome is that? How lucky is it that I have my camera with me? Pretty lucky.


5. I didn’t even realize there was a whole house right next to the barn! I wonder if I can get them in the same frame?


6. Nice. I got them in the same frame! Look how big that sky is…look at all those stars…there could be aliens anywhere out there. ANYWHERE. Even on the moon….Man, the moon kind of looks like a spaceship. Or God. WHOA am I about to take a picture of God?? Quick, better get the shot before he disappears!


What if God or aliens don’t like having their photo taken…I didn’t get a signed release from either of them. I wouldn’t want them to be mad at me…better go home where I’ll be safe. Ashley will protect me.