Sunday, January 31, 2010

penguins in socks, in the snow

Originally uploaded by lakbdesign/fergusandme

caroline says: "bored? got penguins? (or any small stand up type stuffed animal) got old socks? then snip, snip, snip until you've created some freeform clothes for them . . . cool.


via Make and Craft Daily

weirdly, this seems to be inspiring that hungry feeling. and, the bitten apple is clever.

Friday, January 29, 2010

foodie friday will be back as foodie saturday, for kids, tomorrow

amy perrotti's lovely valentines

images copyright amy perrotti, via

as soon as you get a look at the lovely valentines on etsy, you won't ever be happy with those old sponge bob or transformers ones again, especially since the very talented illustrator Amy Perrotti has put together these compilations, ready to snip and give to all your kids favorite people (or to give to all your favorite people -- why should kids have all the fun?).  i discovered Amy's valentines while looking for some things for my own family (shh! don't tell caroline she'll be getting something sweet from Amy's shop for valentines day . . .), and i figured they'd make a great lead in to a few posts about gifts for valentines day, and loving gifts in general.
and even better, Amy is a north carolina girl -- support handmade, and local, at that!  you'll never want to look at a mass produced box of valentines again.  and check out Amy's blog at



north carolina artist patrick dougherty's stick structures

image credit finn mcrae, via the junior society 

isn't this AMAZING? reminds us a lot of where the wild things are. every child that i've shown this to has been nothing less than captivated . . . it brings me an instant memory of being four years old, and building a secret "house" in the warm, long grass near where i lived ~

image credit rob cardillo, photo via the junior society 

north carolina based artist patrick dougherty weaves these incredible structures from sticks and saplings, creating each one in harmony with its site  . . . see more here 

and, we're thrilled that patrick is working this spring on an installation at the community performance center on main street in rock hill, under the auspices of winthrop university ~ we will be able to experience this for ourselves!  can't wait! (thanks to our friends at the junior society for sharing this)

fergus in the blogosphere

thanks to Ann at Scottish Terrier and Dog News for blogging this photo of the inimitable fergus . . . but we wonder, why does no one understand the hair?!  wild and woolly, always best.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Freebie Alert : Printable Mini Valentine Banner!

Freebie Alert : Printable Mini Valentine Banner!
from and sweet talented amanda at kindovermatter
we'll be making this one tonight:)

harry and guinevive visit hong kong

harry and guinevive are excited to see the hustle and bustle of hong Kong.  guinevive has dressed in her best, and is sporting a pink feather "fascinator" in her long brown hair.  harry has popped on his dapper yellow morning jacket, and sports a blue plume in his lapel.  watch out for those trucks, harry and guinevive! (by caroline)


or, this post could also be captioned, "how The Make-it Book, c. 1928, took over our Sunday", and i have a feeling, many Sundays to come.

The Make-it Book, an old how-to book of the "busy children are certainly staying out of trouble" genre, resurfaced at our house last week (i think it was purchased at an estate sale last summer, but its precise provenance is lost to the mists of time) and was promptly set upon by caroline and teddy, who found any number of excellent time devouring projects to get started on (remember, this book was published in 1928 (by rand mcnally!) when children's lives were bereft of travel soccer, ipod touches, and tv; a time when beribboned and pantalooned youngsters presumably had all the time in the world to make a horse and cart out of vegetables, or a houseboat floating on corks, or any number of other delights) ~~ after some negotiations, we agreed to start out with clothespin dolls, as described in the book.  caroline got to work, and the result today was the charming couple harry and guinevive (she made that one up), who, we have decided, will travel the world on exciting adventures, mostly roaming afar from their delightful yellow house in Washingline, DC.  First stop, hong kong. so, these are their travels, to be updated every monday. i think we're going to call it mondays with the Make-it Book.  it's a return to old fashioned pastimes, maybe. definitely better than sponge bob. we'll post how-tos on making your own clothespin dolls, like harry and guinevive, later today :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tiny Thing Conversion Factory: Pandas to Gnomes (1)

Tiny Thing Conversion Factory: Pandas to Gnomes (1)
Originally uploaded by Mochimochi Land

apparently i have become obsessed with flickr. today's find, mochimochi land, is unbearably cute. wish i could knit better. and she sells knitting patterns (like dumbledore, i do so love knitting patterns) on the website at


Originally uploaded by tinyevilhog

for my fellow scots reading this, i've spent entirely too much time over the last couple of days looking at tinyevilhog's wonderfully evocative photostream; definitely not time wasted -- you should look, too.

Friday, January 22, 2010

pola heart

pola heart
Originally uploaded by renée anne // artist illustrator

isn't this fun, with valentine's day coming up and all? ~having recently tracked down a bunch of polaroid 600 film (from a dentist's office, who knew?!), i might have to do this. i like the pink wall idea, too -- very valentine-y and sweet. also a good project for my eleven year old? xlove it.

fergusandme, for vintage

i wanted to thank amanda at for helping me out with this cool ad; also, my family, for being so amazingly fun-looking ('specially you, alex ~ that tough guy cool look is pretty awesome).

foodie friday: scrumptious pavlova, the perfect party recipe

well, predictability is not my strongest attribute, but i've decided to bow to blog conventions (is there such a thing? really?) and put recipes and goodies all on one day each week, which i'm calling, with appropriate cheesiness, "foodie friday".  trust me, the alliteration is for my benefit, otherwise i won't remember.  so, without further ado, on to today's first foodie friday recipe: scrumptious pavlova, with fruit and cream heaped on top of a ten inch circle of crackly on the outside, slightly gooey in the middle, meringue -- a british standard (the explosion of sugar and cream makes you wonder how british people, at least until recently, have managed to stay so trim?)  and compliments to my mum, who made various delectable versions of this when i was little, and still does to this day. mum and i both promise you -- you will completely delight and amaze your guests with this deceptively easy delight.

photo via

feeds about 14

you will need:

for the base

8 egg whites
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract   

for the topping
2 2/3 cups heavy cream (if you skip this, this dessert is fat free!!!, - NOT, however, calorie free)

your choice of fruit - loads of berries, mango, passion fruit -- whatever floats your boat
if you like, you can puree a bag of frozen raspberries with a couple of teaspoons of confectioner's sugar, and make a lovely sauce to pour over your other fruits ~ yum! 

what to do:

1. preheat the oven to 350 farenheit
2. line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
3. whisk (i just put these in my kitchenaid mixer and beat the heck out of them) until satiny peaks form, then mix in the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until the meringue is stiff and shiny (keep going -- it might take a while)
4. sprinkle the vanilla, vinegar, and cornstarch over the egg white mixture, and fold in gently
5. plop the meringue on to the parchment paper in about a 10 to 12 inch mound, flattened out with a spatula
6. put the meringue in the oven and reduce the heat to 250 farenheit right away; bake for an hour, then turn off the oven and leave it to cool completely
7. when you're ready to serve your creation, gently invert the meringue on to the serving plate, or fancy plate stand, and be sure to remove the parchment paper 
8. whip the cream until thickened, and swirl it on top of the meringue
9. arrange the fruit in an appealing pattern (i think it's tempting here to create a sort of formal garden look with concentric circles, but what i like to do is just pile on a massive bunch of fruits of the forest -- berries -- of various types. it's very appealing, trust me.)
10.  make the raspberry sauce, if you want -- you can drizzle some on, and leave the rest to the side for self service, in a pretty jug

that's it -- a genuine ten-step program to discover dessert divinity.  and don't be scared: it isn't actually difficult.  

Thursday, January 21, 2010

covered stool with hezlein

covered stool with hezlein
Originally uploaded by whereyourheartis

okay, it's not all about the bunny. but she is cute! i also love the ikea hack -- wish i could crochet!

Polar Bear Tshirt for Kids

Polar Bear Tshirt for Kids
Originally uploaded by chopshopstore

and again, arresting image, arresting message. clever, really, and i think fun to wear.

weGo for Kids Black

weGo for Kids Black
Originally uploaded by chopshopstore

if you're like me, you're tired of the same old, same old mall offerings for kids, especially boys. i love these chopshopstore ts for kids -- unusual, arty, full of sly commentary; sort of just like my kids, really.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

hey, check out our blurb on kind over matter

i'm very excited to be the blurbed-about sponsor today on one of my favorite blogs, kind over matter.  check it out here. thanks, amanda and jenn!

vintage framed chalkboard

every kitchen, every studio, every home needs a chalkboard.  we love to make chalkboards out of pretty vintage frames, like this one.  it's quite easy.  first, you need to find a good sized old frame (they are readily available, usually devoid of artwork, at flea markets, antique malls, and consignment shops).  next, cut a piece of wood that fits snugly into the opening in the back of the frame (we use pine or maple boards, and sometimes, if you ask really sweetly, the hardware store people will cut it to the size you need).  Paint the board with a couple of coats of chalkboard paint.  if you want, you can use magnetic paint before the chalkboard paint, but you will need to do multiple coats, otherwise magnets won't adhere very well.  Tack the chalkboard into the frame, and hang. voila! pretty, unusual chalkboard.

or, if you can't be bothered, we'll be listing this chalkboard and some others on our etsy store,  


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

home with heart ~ sweet valentines pillow

home with heart . . . sweet valentines

here's a sweet, simple way to put your personal stamp on valentines (and anytimes) decorating: sew a primitive little free form heart on to a burlap styled silk pillow . . . pretty.  i just used a west elm silk handloomed pillow cover in a neutral tone, and then sewed a little heart on with an embroidery needle (a big one) and some embroidery silk.  i just used scraps, but if you don't have any, Michaels has plenty.

you may also love this old favorite west elm pillow~

photo via

how to reuse old flea-market-y watercolors without spending big bucks for framing

if you're anything like me, one of your favorite things to buy at tag sales and flea markets is those old charming-yet-somewhat-inexpert watercolors and drawings done by less than famous artists.  the problem is that the frames for these old pieces tend to be less than charming, and are often in really poor shape, and as we all know, new custom frames are devilish pricey these days.  so, what to do?  what i do when faced with this predicament is to pop out to my local west elm/pottery barn/ikea or the like, where i buy a nice plain frame with a mat for a very reasonable price.  then, as above, i might just leave the mat as it comes, simply attaching the artwork from behind so that the most appealing parts of the scene show through the "windows" -- totally a new way of looking at the piece; or, alternatively, i just get to work with my exacto knife and adapt the mat to suit my purposes (more on this later).  so, here, i took a $20 flea market watercolor of san francisco (complete with filthy, broken frame and some water marks), ditched the old frame, and popped it into a plain white west elm frame, which came with a mat for three 4x6s.  i arranged the art behind the mat (without cutting or damaging it in any way), and used the piece to anchor the master bedroom mantle.  perfect, since my husband and i have happy memories of some weekends away in SF when we lived in california . . .) easy and fun, perfect and done.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

more for Haiti -- Claudia Pearson's lovely valentine prints

image copyright/via claudia pearson illustration

and also to help the Haitian people, Claudia Pearson is going to donate a percentage of proceeds from her gorgeous new valentine prints (this one is perfect, isn't it?) to Yele Haiti . . . .so, do something beautiful, AND meaningful, here

haitian craft, in my house

FW: Stray Dog Designs Haitian Worker Relief Fund

Haiti Relief Fund Header
We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to our many friends, customers, and colleagues who have called and written expressing concern about Haiti and the people with whom Stray Dog Designs works there.Those of you  who have admired and purchased products created by the folks we work with there, have a connection. As you know, we went to Haiti five years ago for the purpose of bringing work to that impoverished nation. There is no better relief from poverty than a chance for gainful employment at a meaningful wage, both of which we were happy to be able to provide.  

Haiti artisian
In the wake of the recent tragic earthquake we, like the rest of the world, await more information and news of our workers and friends in Haiti. We know that there is a high probability that the building where our artisans worked was damaged, thereby taking their place of work away. We pray that was the worst of it, but we don't yet know with so much post earthquake chaos at this time.

haiti artisians

At first we planned to make a donation to  an organization like Doctors Without Borders, but decided instead to create a direct relief fund for the very workers with whom we work. Noted designer Kathy Bazemore illustrated our feeling perfectly when she wrote:
Dear Billy & Jane,
I am so sorry about what is happening in Haiti. Any word from your friends there?  During Katrina's aftermath, getting a donation right into the life of friends of friends was quicker relief than sending a donation through an organization. So let me know if there is any way that I can help - or if there is a specific effort or organization you think would be most beneficial to families you know I would like to know how to help.
We have set up the Stray Dog Designs Haitian Worker Relief Fund. The money we collect will be used to directly help our workers and friends of Stray Dog Designs in Haiti to rebuild their lives, whatever that means -donating blankets or clothing, acquiring medical assistance, rebuilding homes, or  maybe help relocating to another area.

Whatever the need, we wish to continue to help the very people we went to help in the first place.
 In addition, Stray Dog Designs will match $.50 on every dollar raised up to $10,000.00.

Obviously there are immediate needs for everyone in Haiti, and should you feel moved to give to other helping organizations we urge you to do so. Our goal at Stray Dog Designs will be to address the needs of the few hundred people and their families with whom we have a connection.

We have set up a  Paypal  account called the Stray Dog Designs Haitian Worker Relief Fund.  If you wish to join our effort we extend our deepest gratitude. Those who donate to our Fund will receive detailed information as to how their money is used.


Donations can be made by clicking above, or by sending a check made out to Stray Dog Designs Haitian Worker Relief Fund to:


Stray Dog Designs

611 E. 11th St.

Chattanooga, TN 37403

Quick Links

coconut macaroons


scrumptious macaroons
as often, we are indebted to martha stewart's cookies for the recipe

you will need:
3/4 cup sugar, or a bit less if you use sweetened coconut

2 1/2 cups shredded coconut, unsweetened if you like, but, i use sweetened
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

what to do:
preheat oven to 325 farenheit
line a baking sheet with parchment paper
in a large bowl, combine sugar, coconut, egg whites, and vanilla
using your hands, mix well, completely combining ingredients
dampen hands with cold water
use 1 1/2 tablespoons of mix to form haystacks, and place on prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart
bake until golden brown, about 16 or 17 minutes, rotating halfway through
let cool on a wire rack.
yum!  told you it was easy!

CHOCOLATE ALERT *you can also add 1/2 cup of semi-sweet choc chips, and make a few more.  cooking time is 15 to 20 minutes for this variation*

At the bookstore yesterday i saw the sugar-sweet but strangely compelling "little boy" picture book by Alison mcghee and Peter Reynolds -- ends with 'little boy you remind me of how / so much depends on days made of now' -- I guess it's the usual reminder to live in the moment and celebrate those 'little' things that make all our lives worthwhile rather than waiting and waiting for the big things that we think will make us happy -- also, to adore our children for the all too brief time they are little, and even not so little (see my post a couple of days ago about big boys). A little Saturday morning sentimentality! anyway, the book is adorable and charmingly illustrated but I think more a heart tugger for the parents of little boys than an entertaining book for the little boys themselves . . . On that slightly sweetly sardonic note, happy Saturday!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

paperboy wallpaper, and penguins

photo via bodie and fou

every day, it seems, design for boys gets better.  case in point, new Dya-think-e-saurus wallpaper from paperboy, available at bodie and fou.  i especially love the tiny silhouette of a boy among the dinos . . . if only teddy would let me redo his room -- but no, we're stuck with orange and planets. 

and another wallpaper treasure, this one from Atacama

photo via bodie and fou

and as caroline adores penguins, i might get to use this one.  thanks, bodie and fou.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

can you believe these funny little guys? so compelling and creative

photo via Milk
i was looking today at Milk, a french online zine about kids and design, and i spotted these little creatures/people/trolls, "Les Bonhommes du bois", all handmade apparently by "une jeune creatrice toulousaine", Son-Ca (of Glandiose).  Since we appear to have missed the exhibit in Toulouse in December, we will have to content ourselves with looking at them here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Have decided that my new favorite look is "industrial farmhouse" -- I think it's perfect, sort of quiet but strong. Examples later!

i got the blues thinking of the future . . .

i got the blues thinking of the future, so i left off and made some marmalade. it's amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor. dh lawrence

today, as i took our little guy for kindergarten testing, i was thinking of these boys, his older brothers, and how they'll be off to college all too soon, when to me it seems that only last week they were little, too. in fact, this photo is a do-over of our 1996 christmas card, when a preschooler and a toddler sat in this very spot . . . .

~~~~ maybe i need to get to work on some marmalade? and my kitchen floor definitely needs a good scrub.

Monday, January 11, 2010

tempting treats for a frosty evening

chocolate gingerbread cookies, meringues, gold dusted and sparkly iced stars, and coconut macaroons

last night, we were happy to serve as the dessert stop (what else?!) on a delightful progressive dinner, and we decided to extend the holiday sparkle that we're all missing a good bit just now with some shimmery, fluffy, possibly even festive treats for our guests. and this isn't a royal "we" -- baking is a family affair here in the fergusandme household, with pretty much everyone pitching in and making favorites, or at least hanging around chatting and waiting for the first batch to come out of the oven, whereupon they are rewarded not only with a couple of meringues, but with some quick washing up to do . . . . 

so, the above are some of our tempting treats for a frosty evening, and below, after the jump, you'll find the first of a batch of yummy recipes . . .  first up, by popular demand, chocolate gingerbread cookies (they're the chocolatey-sugar frosted ones in front)~

Sunday, January 10, 2010

call me leo, or alex, or just king cookie, if you like

right now, this is possibly our favorite mass(ish) market, mall available home deco thing out there -- anthro's lion cookie jar.  i saw it a week or two ago, and even tweeted it, and then  caroline and i were prowling around (sorry!) the other day and she honestly stopped in her tracks and said, "mom, look at this -- i love it!" ~~ BIG praise from a hard to impress design savvy eleven year old.  we love his friendly face, his tiny feet, his perfect glaze, and the fact that he is a COOKIE jar . . . .

house photos

some photos of our house from today . . . .

red toy storage, redux

remember a few weeks back we were trying to clear up and clear out the holiday~birthday toy explosion at our house, and i mentioned the possibility of using ikea's red ps cabinets to store teddy's prodigious collection of toys?  it's a happy ending -- we got the cabinets, cleaned out and sorted the toys, and now teddy can find his trains. plus, at around 25" tall, the cabinets an ideal height for a tall preschooler to stand at and create . . . fun, funky, and affordable at 99. each. we used three, pushed together to make a long surface, suitable for Thomas the tank and his many, many friends to chunter along, very happily.

Friday, January 1, 2010

graphic via tiny prints, always v. adorable

and all the best for 2010, from our family to yours~