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Posts Tagged ‘impressive’

On Metamorphosis

The title of this post does not indicate that a deeply meaningful treatise on change will follow. It means that we actually grew some butterflies. In our apartment. In a cup. No kidding.

Apparently Jr’s preschool recently raised three pavilions of butterflies, and during this time some lovely friends gave the young man a Butterfly Garden of his own. Once we were confident that the weather was suitable for releasing butterflies outside, we followed the instructions in the package to order our larvae online. Three days later, the postman rang our doorbell with a little box and said curiously, “Um, this parcel says ‘Live Caterpillars.’ I didn’t want to leave it in your mailbox.”

The brilliant thing about Insect Lore‘s set up is that there’s very little one has to do (and so, very few ways to mess it up). The caterpillar larvae live in a little cup that has air holes and a quarter-inch of food at the bottom. When they arrived, they were about this long: —-.

Within two days, they looked like this (————).

Within seven days, they looked like this:


And then three of them climbed to the top of the cup, attached themselves to the disk of paper and turned into chrysalises. We were a little worried about the remaining two caterpillars, but the next day they followed suit. The little bit of caterpillar remaining outside each chrysalid turned out not to be their disembodied heads, as I feared, but rather just their shed skin.

I carefully removed the paper from the cup and transferred it to the mesh house. For several days we waited. And then we went away for the weekend, leaving the chrysalids in the capable hands of Bald and Effective, who must have sung little songs of encouragement to them, for when we returned, three Painted Lady butterflies were happily sucking on orange slices and flying around the mesh house.


By the next morning, all five butterflies had emerged. We observed them for a couple of days, recorded the finer points in Apparently Jr’s field notebook and fed them sugar water and orange slices. And then last night we walked them to a nearby park and opened up the house to set them free. Much like at preschool, the butterflies were not terribly interested in leaving. But we coaxed them out and placed the most reluctant ones on a tree, and after considering the merits of our leafy neighborhood, each eventually flew away.


Have you seen the incredible Book Carvings of Brian Dettmer? Go look.

photo from Brian Dettmer

via Incredible Book Carvings by Brian Dettmer.

From the Future: Spray-On Fabric

In just a few years, this won’t seem so weird. Or rather, this precise application will remain completely bizarre, but I’m sure we’ll have found some sort of good use(s) for peel-off fibers sprayed directly from a can…

Make Clothes Out of a Can With Spray-On Fabric | Gadget Lab | Wired.com.

Freedom: A Novel

freedomI’ve waited nine years and endured two books of sludgy nonfiction for Jonathan Franzen’s latest offering, Freedom: A Novel.

It’s delicious.

I don’t want to say much about it yet, but if you’d like to read the first chapter, you can find it at The New Yorker. Another chapter was also published in The New Yorker, but I don’t know that it stands on its own. Just buy the book. And then set aside as many long sessions of reading as you can manage. It’s hard to put down.

I am currently suffering from that unsettling mental state that occurs after closing a book that’s occupied you for some time. Despite the fact that the characters lean towards the officious, self-involved and occasionally downright absurd, I already miss them. Fortunately Barnes & Noble was kind enough to send me an email today with a link to a video interview with Franzen, which has scratched the itch. Here’s twelve minutes of Franzen on writing for your viewing pleasure:

Franzen on Freedom

Would You Like Fries with That?

More internet awesomeness: the Bacon Cheese Turtleburger. I don’t know if there’s anything more to say that these before-and-after photos don’t address.

Interwebs Randomness and Other Inspiring Tales: Super Bowl Bacon Cheese Turtleburger.

via Humerus, via Editorial License

The Days, They Just Unravel

Swiss Miss, one of my favorite sources for design and inspiration, not to mention cool photos of the view out her office window in DUMBO, links to this knit and printed calendar, from Germany, that one unravels as the year passes.

File under “I wish I’d thought of that!”

swissmiss | Calendar Scarf.

Darling Typefaces from Tart Workshop

Tart WorkshopI have a little blog/website crush on my friend Christian’s wife. I’ve never met her, but she designs typefaces. Lovely, hand-lettered typefaces suitable for invitations and stationery and whatnot your next whimsical advertising campaign. Wouldn’t Silverstein look sweet on the cover of your next novel? Or Seasoned Hostess on a package of homemade cookies?

One can even purchase a complete stationery kit for tarting up your own beautiful correspondence with the charming Carrotflower font.

You can check out her web site, Tart Workshop, or her blog, where she displays some of her custom illustration work.

And look at this sweet little signature she sent me. Thanks, Tart Workshop!


So Hip It Hurts, Indeed

One of my dream hobbies is reupholstery. Once, when I was a foolish young thing of 24, I dragged a loveseat in from the snow, tore off all the upholstery with a needle nose pliers and recovered it using a staple gun and judicious use of hot melt glue. I don’t think I would attempt such a project now (or at least not until I own an old farmhouse with a studio in the barn).

Susan Petersen bought a couch for $30, took an upholstery class, and turned an old textured sofa into a sleek modern beauty. Check out the time lapse before-and-after video (at the link below)!


Is it wrong that I liked the Before sofa, too?

Freshly Picked: Couch Before + After Reveal (Finally).

Momofuku for 2

momofuku for 2 logo

Years ago, in the midst of a ramen fixation, Mr. Apparently and I wandered into a little storefront in the East Village that turned out to be Momofuku. Since then David Chang has turned his love of simple Asian food into a mini empire and followed it up with an enormous cookbook, which I recently ordered not so much for the recipes but for the stories. I have a thing for foul-mouthed chefs.

Now a woman from Canada has hopped on the blog-your-way-through-a-cookbook bandwagon (with no apologies) and tells us about what it’s like to make every single recipe:

Momofuku at home – Cooking the Momofuku cookbook at home | Momofuku for 2.

And here’s a special link for Mr. Apparently in particular: using meat glue to attach bacon to bacon.

Miyuki Sakai Paints with Thread

The June issue of Martha Stewart Living has an article on tartlets by Clotilde Dusolier, which is charming enough by itself, but the lovely illustrations of vintage plates by Miyuki Sakai made me look twice. Sakai works entirely on a sewing machine, using only thread.

thread illustration by Miyuki Sakai

The images in her online portfolio are sweet, but the plates in the magazine are stunning. You can see all eight of them here on Miyuki Sakai’s site.

Miyuki Sakai Sewing Illustration.