I always liked the (apparently apocryphal) story of an English king with a stutter accidentally calling what was previously known as a “flutter by” a “butterfly”, and everyone else following suit so as not to embarrass the monarch. Based on some googling, it appears they’ve actually been called butterflies for some mysterious reason that reaches far back into the murky parts of language history. But I’ll stick with my stuttering king. Whatever you call them, I never get tired of the magic of metamorphosis, and as such I’m on the mailing list of Insect Lore, whose live insect kits are my absolute favorites. We’ve raised many caterpillars (both purchased and found) into butterflies in our butterfly garden, not to mention the generations of spotted lovelies who’ve come through our ladybug land. So when I got an email that it was caterpillar weather and painted ladies were on 2 for 1 special, I got on it. Two cups of teeny caterpillars arrived promptly 

 We put them in a warm spot by the gecko’s tank and they grew prodigiously 

 Within a few short weeks they were hanging in J’s from the lid of their cups 

 And soon after they had developed their beautiful golden chrysalises 

 My daughter carefully pinned the paper holding the pupae into the butterfly garden and we settled in to wait a bit more 

 One morning when the kids were at school, I noticed something exciting! 

 Almost all hatched on the same day. We enjoyed their fluttering for a few days, then released them into our garden


 Now what I’ve looked at their website for the links above, I see they have a praying mantis kit… Now I know what’s next!



Write On


Have you heard about Write_on? It was started in 2014 by a couple of letterpress companies and joined by Sakura USA, an excellent maker of art supplies(like the koi watercolors I mentioned last time). You can click over there for the full story, but basically everyone who takes part writes a letter a day for the month of April. So far I’ve managed to stick with it, and I even got my son to send a letter to my mother after he saw me writing. The kids are curious who I’m writing to and what I’m writing about, plus they love putting the letters in the mailbox and raising the flag. I used to be an avid letter writer, sharing stories, collages, and mix tapes with friends across the country and the world. Some of those friends I’ve lost touch with in the shuffle of adult life, so I’ve done a bit of Google stalking to find addresses for them to send them letters and let them know I still think of them often. Who would you write to in a month of letters?  


Watercolors on the Go

I can’t tell you where(see yesterday’s post on sleep deprivation and brain function), but the minute I saw these Sakura Koi travel watercolor sets and brushes I knew we needed at least one. I got one for my purse(for art emergencies), and one just for my oldest daughter on her birthday. Today at the park, my middle daughter and my son took turns using my set on a little block of watercolor paper I brought with me 

I was pretty impressed with the loveliness of the colors, ease of use, and the art the children made, and honored when my daughter presented me with her mini masterwork 

 I will be framing it, and probably getting a set, or at least one of the neat water-filled brushes, for each child.

Cocoa Nostalgique


I grew up in New York City, and my parents were very good to me. I have happy memories of very indulgent times I spent as a carefree young adult, and some of my favorite involved being at Payard, back when they had a beautiful cafe and bar. In the looooong summer(it stretched from June to January of the following year!) between graduating and getting a job, I went there almost daily to do “research” but mostly for a Croque Monsieur and pot of their insanely delicious hot chocolate. The waiters were all very distinguished and snooty. I knew I had become a regular when they maintained their snooty demeanor but just brought me “the usual” without being asked, sometimes with the addition of a complimentary macaron. I was waxing nostalgic to my dear friend Natalie about their cocoa being my version of Proust’s madeleine, and how I had heard they sold the mix now. Wouldn’t you know, not a week later a box of the mix arrived in the mail, with a lovely note from Natalie, who had surprised me with this special treat, just because. Of course I didn’t wait, but followed the directions on the box, using my beloved Breville induction milk heater and frother. I used to scoff at single use appliances, and when my husband bought this I may have sneered a little but I was SO wrong. I love this thing. I use it at least once a day and it is genius for hot chocolate. 

  Look at that! Gorgeous. And having a cup while the baby naps and the big kids are at school *almost* feels like being a carefree 20-something again.