Paper Dolls for Boys

Raising 2 crafty boys and thrifting every chance I get.

Fate and the Heavenly Sandwich August 30, 2008

Filed under: Random Bits — twlowenstein @ 7:51 pm
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I grew up in Thailand and people often ask me where to get good Thai/Southeast Asian food around here (like how I set myself up as an expert there?)  My answer is always that I haven’t found it.  After today, I will have a new answer!

We headed to Boston’s Downtown Crossing & Chinatown for some school shopping and general good times.  After hitting H&M (cool kids clothes for a fairly reasonable price) we headed to Chinatown for some yummy vegetarian mock meats at Buddha’s Delight.

After carrying my younger one and his stroller up to the second floor we were greeted by a sign that read, “Closed for renovation.”  Now it was time for a little redo, no doubt about it, but we were bummed and at the breaking point.  We stumbled into a Vietnamese Sandwich shop down the road and it was one of those lemons into lemonade situations, or fake gluten “meat” into some lick smackin’ cow or something like that (Sorry Geeta and Ted).

I present to you the BBQ Beef Sandwich:

Found here, at the 163 Vietnamese Sandwich and Bubble Tea Shop.  I had an unpleasant experience while pregnant involving bubble tea so I did not partake but that sandwich was a little bit of edible perfection.  It was filled with “BBQ” beef but if you have never had Vietnamese BBQ don’t conjure up memories of southern BBQ, whole different beast.  It’s light and amazing.  Also stuffed in this little imperialism byproduct was fresh cucumber slices, shredded carrots, shallots, tiny bit of white onion and cilantro.  You either love cilantro or you don’t.  I’ve heard people call it “soapy” but luckily I am not one of the haters.  Yum.  And also, it is served in a little wax paper sleeve.  I am a sucker for wax paper.

If you are within 2 hours of Boston I highly recommend a trip to 163 Vietnamese Sandwiches & Bubble Tea at 66 Harrison Ave, Boston MA.

And did you see those prices?

For the record, no free sandwiches were obtained in trade for this glowing review.  I am, however, open to free sandwiches in the future if the proprietors happen to stumble upon my site.

Edit:  Here is the Wiki page for Bubble Tea for those not initiated.


Quality Me Time August 28, 2008

Filed under: Random Bits — twlowenstein @ 9:43 pm

I got a bad haircut today. Not as bad as this:

or this


Just kidding Melissa! – I wish you had taken the scissors to my head instead of the woman I PAID to jack up my hair.

I got a haircut that at once looks like droopy and puffy dog ears on either side of my mug. And did I mention that she cut me some WISPS??? Like the kind I used to cut by myself when I was in 6th grade. One weekend in 6th grade I was curious how cutting my own hair would go. Since I was a little worried about messing up my waist length hair, I figured if I just took a little from the front it wouldn’t show. I am not claiming to be a hair genius, but then nor am I passing myself off as a stylist! Like someone I know…

My friend Vonda came over and watched the boys so I could go have some “me” time. How in the world did having kids turn getting my hair cut into quality “me” time? Anyhow, when I came back she was supportive but she did suggest I brush the wisps to the side. I spent the morning trying to convince her, and myself, that I didn’t really care how my hair looked and I succeeded, at least at fooling myself, for a while. This was strongly supported by not actually looking in a mirror. But then I did and found out that I do. I do indeed care that I look both juvenile and like the completely unhip minivan driving mom that I am. But it’s not who I am in my soul people (the minivan part, maybe) because in my delusional soul I have a little funk. It lives underground now and has for a long time but I remember her – that little patch of funk. In my mind this haircut was going to be her coming out party. I was going to let my funk see the light of day. Big plans I had.

So instead I got wisps and puffy bozo hair. Wisps! Believe me when I tell you that I do not have the face for wisps. Me + small scale= Funny. The sad kind of funny. I should have knocked the rounded brush out of her hand when I saw her approach my hair with it. I should have given her a mouth full of truck when she finished with the cut but instead I paid and tipped her. And I was voted “aggressive” on the assertive scale by my peers in my mandatory touchy feely class freshman year in college.

I am going to shower the blow dry out and sleep on it and then in the morning if I still have “Do your eats hang low, do they wobble to and fro?” playing in a loop in my head I am going to a DIFFERENT salon for a fix it cut. Sweet goodness. Wisps!

And I tried to fix them for you right before this shot.

Lesson learned today: Maybe it’s not the best idea to say to your hairdresser, “I am not that into my hair.” just before she cuts it.

Second Lesson: Don’t get your hair cut right before the beginning of the year potluck picnic for your son’s Kindergarten class. I mean it.


It’s “ME” Week!

Filed under: Craft,Random Bits — twlowenstein @ 12:15 am
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And this is my 100th post! Cue balloons dropping, corks popping, eyes tearing, hands clapping, dogs farting, stats dropping, clocks ticking, hats tipping and me trippin’!

Happy 100th and THANK YOU for making this more fun!

This is the envelope I found while organizing (I use the term loosely) the basement and garage. The school photos and some of my early drawings were in there. It’s postmarked 1994. I am thankful my Mom saved them and glad I didn’t accidentily toss them out. So since this is a “craftish” blog and these might be the latest examples of my creating something, I present to you: Art by Little ME!

I think I see my mother’s hand in there a wee bit. She’ll deny, but since she’s on a cruise ship in Alaska I have a little bit of freedom to accuse! Love you “Perfect Stranger”!

What? This just makes me laugh.

FREE: if anyone wants to get this tattooed on their flesh, have at it! Don’t say I never gave you anything.

I always liked a good party.

And on a totally unrelated note except he asked me as I was typing this —> Kid Quote of the day: The folks are in the process of moving in downstairs and my son, E, asked me, “Does having new neighbors impact my Irish jigs again?” Pretty much son, pretty much!


A Smattering of School Shots August 27, 2008

Filed under: Random Bits — twlowenstein @ 12:39 am

I am the kind of person who will go to your house and joyfully look through every single photo in your photo albums. So maybe I don’t have any perspective on this kind of thing, but I am going to plaster my little school self of yore here in a minute. Notification sent.

I found these in an envelope today while cleaning out the garage. It appears that even though I am trying not to think of school starting up again for my oldest and for my husband, I can’t escape it. I could not escape it then either. Look at my expression in this pre-school shot, not exactly overflowing with excitement.

I was going to offer a prize to the first person who picked me out of the class photo but then I remembered that I haven’t sent the prize still from the whole WonkaTonkaMoose thing so I better not. I WILL think you are super cool though and that’s kinda like a prize, right? I don’t remember much from this year (or any of them, really) but I do recall thinking the boy third row up, far right was cute. Also from this year, that I don’t remember but my father likes to tell the story, is how I almost got suspended but it was the last day of school so they just sent me home early. My friend and I were practicing hurdles around the track at recess and two boys were teasing us and throwing rocks so I told my friend to chase one guy and I’d get the other. I tackled my guy and shoved his face into the gravel, giving him a bloody nose. My dad is very proud of this story.

This is me, so proud with my new lunch box, on the first day of pre-school in Thailand. It is not surprising so many people collect these metal lunchboxes. When we were young they evoked such a sense of freedom, marching off with lunchbox in hand to spend the day with ‘others’ and yet in that very lunch box were goodies packed by our moms and/or dads to let us know they were still taking care of us even while we were away at school. I should start buying up Bentos now to tuck away and then sell them as vintage on Etsy in twenty years !

I wish I had all three of these dresses today. To keep, not to sell.

It has been a good summer and I am feeling sad for the transition to fall. Even these goofy photos didn’t cheer me up that much!


WHOOT! August 20, 2008

Filed under: Random Bits — twlowenstein @ 12:48 am
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I made the front page Etsy Treasury thing!!! I’m the maracas.

I logged on for the millionth time and THERE IT WAS! My husband who was cutting colonial paper dolls for the birthday party (and I quote, “These things are asinine”) tried to be happy for me but Treasury West doesn’t quite have the meaning for him as it does for me and all my Etsy addicted friends!

I’d like to thank Strange Little Bird and Painted Horse Creations

for coming to the rescue of a stranger and capturing the screen for me. Check out their cool etsy shops as they should have some good karma coming there way!

How is it that etsy is calorie free?


The British Are Coming, The British Are Coming August 17, 2008

Filed under: Family & Friends — twlowenstein @ 5:08 pm
Tags: , , , ,

If you remember, my 2 “rules” before marriage were 1) No ice hockey and 2) no reenacting. I said the first because I think it ceases to be a “sport” when they allow/encourage fighting. Take up boxing or play the damn game. And I said the last, in part because I thought is was hilarious. Like saying, no space travel on an empty stomach or something. So left field. And yet, here I am. I am the mother of a son who asked me for a colonial birthday party and implored me to keep it “authentic”, I am the mother of a son who said this morning he wishes he had the uniform of a Hessian, I am the mother of a boy who is teaching me all kind of lessons. Lesson #247, you can’t really plan the future. You can plan for it but…

I found myself on the Boston Common yesterday in a “reencampment” (I think I made that term up) a quick Google search proves I am not as clever as I thought I was 3 minutes ago. In celebration of 50 years of the Freedom Trail they staged a reenactment of the encampment and we were there.

It was a pinch colonial mall, a couple of shakes drama (seemingly random cannon fire), a good helping of learning and hella fun!

I know I shouldn’t lead with this and I am not mocking, my mocking days are loooong gone. But this was the first shot I took of the day and it pleases me.

After this crew passed us, my husband said, “That wasn’t really a baby. It was a 40 year old woman reenacting the part of a colonial baby.” He’s funny. And I’m in love with Picnik and am experimenting with my photos. The absurdity of a Polaroid of this scene is the stuff giggles are made of – for me!

This colonial sailor was my favorite costume. There was a time in my life I could have pulled this look off. Minus the hat. There is a colonial wedgie shot but I think posting it wouldn’t be in the spirit of the day. Turning 39 has really matured me.

“Hi, can I take your photo please? Just face the sun. Yeah, right there -that’s good!”

Not my best shot but I wanted to give a shout out to my reenacting women friends-to-be. Drum and fife baby, drum and fife 4 life!

I did not mean to make a reenactor come close to tears. Really. I just wondered what the translation of this flag was in English. Too bad they didn’t have Google in colonial times. Quo-Fata-Vocant = Whither the Fates call. Still not sure what it means but I love the colors.

We saw quite a few men and boys sewing and mending yesterday. I appreciated the good modeling for my boys.

Folks put up these tents and actually slept out on the common. When I was living in DC I came up to Boston to check it out and while walking through the Common saw one homeless man stab another. Just something I’d be thinking about all night if I was in one of those tents.

We bought a tri-corn hat from the man that belongs to these shoes. A nice man up from New Jersey with his family for a summer vacation, reenactment stylie.

I edited to add these photos because I couldn’t help myself.

Something about the orangemanogbanana headed reenacter makes me happy. Even the reenacters have to get their caffinati-ON:

My big little guy sporting his new hat. Coming and Going:

Here is my little history buff. He and I wanted to take the silhouette cutting class but we had to go to a ninja/sword fighting birthday. But that’s a post for another day!


She Got Me GOOD! August 16, 2008

Filed under: Family & Friends — twlowenstein @ 5:52 pm

When I was a little girl, my parents and their friends passed around a rubber lobster as a joke. If you threw a dinner party you were likely to crawl into bed (perhaps a little tipsy) to frightfully find the rubber lobster under your pillow. Or in your sleeping bag on camping trips. I have fond memories of that sport.

When my mom was up for a visit she brought my youngest a little stuffed doll that I found terrifying. My friend V and her sons were over for a playdate and I asked her, in front of my mother, if she didn’t find it a little demonic and she answered in the affirmative. There were many signs, but that was a big one that we were going to be fast friends. Most people would have done the “polite” thing and faked it, not V. I dropped off a jacket at her house soon after and put this little guy in the sleeve. Scared her and cracked myself up. That was a loooong time ago and I had marked the game as dead. And then today I get an envelope in the mail, which I excitedly tore open, wondering which forgotten etsy or ebay purchase I was about to feast my eyes upon and inside was the little half Winnie the Pooh half baby doll. I am still laughing. She got me good! And to make matters worse, my little one has taken to carting the beast around, I hope he doesn’t think he has finally picked a lovie!

Be warned V, your time will come!

If you have small children in the room you might want to adjust your screen or cover their eyes.

Did you ever see the movie with the doll that comes alive? The suitcase scene still haunts me. Sleeping with one eye open tonight.


I’ve Got My Procrastinati-ON August 15, 2008

Filed under: Family & Friends — twlowenstein @ 11:36 pm
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Okay, I swear, I will stop. I will get my cessati-ON.

This one is for one of my oldest and dearest friends Julie, who says I have been quiet lately. “I’ll have a blue Christmas without you. You-oo-ewwww” She’s having a baby girl and since Tracey isn’t really an option for a name, we need your help. Please offer suggestions (I said it in my head but I refrained from typing it. Baby steps) in the comment section below! Please do not suggest the name Giddeon. It would not go down well.

Glad you asked Julie. My weekend plans are as follows (grab a bag of chips and something to wash them down with):

  • Move bunkbed from playroom to small bedroom (and by move I mean badger the man to do it)
  • Feel guilty about not making the placemats yet. Avoid email asking if I have mailed them yet. I will not be a swap flake, really.
  • Go to reenactment on the Boston Common. Hoop skirt here I come…
  • Attend child’s birthday party at some kind of Medieval fencing venue.
  • Paint desk in “diamond pattern” with oldest son for his room.
  • Check my etsy shop compulsively to see if I have any sales. Will fight urge to spend hours in the community forums moping because I have no sales.
  • Try and squeeze an estate sale in (or two).
  • Make tri-corn hats for the birthday party no one can attend. edit: going to purchase them
  • Make pouches for the hard tack we are giving to those who do show up as a party favor. edit: can’t find the hard tack
  • Try and gather at least 5 bags of stuff for donation. (it’s hard not to do it, and I don’t mean the donating part) edit: no way, but did wash
  • Return coffee mug to Target because it leaks from the bottom. How hard is it to make a travel mug that doesn’t leak? Wouldn’t that be the main goal?
  • Try and make it to the mall to get some poprechat from the Indian stall. Also try and figure out how to spell poprechat.
  • Mail package to Julie and her little girl to be!

This is my new avatar on Etsy. Isn’t he dapper?

I will gladly be accepting any and all awards for most random/scattered post! Send ’em on.


We Got Our Precipitati-ON August 14, 2008

Filed under: Family & Friends — twlowenstein @ 10:37 pm
Tags: , , ,

Tip for a kickin’ car campin’ trip:

High powered walkie-talkies. We caravaned up with our friends and each car had a talkie. We also gave each other handles:

Ice Man, Oxygen, Fever, Pussycat and Yardsale to name a few. Put your thumb on your nose if you can guess which handle was bestowed upon me. Clue: It ain’t Pussycat.

It was fun to be silly and share in the anticipati-ON of the trip to come. I highly recommend them. But don’t get your feelings hurt when on the way home, after you’ve packed up all your soaking gear and the excitement is naturally lower, radio silence is maintained. I mean how many times can you whine, “I’d pay 50 bucks for a shower” into the WT?

We camped at Pillsbury State Park in NH and had a blast despite the fact it rained pretty much the whole time. We were proud of ourselves for making it work for a couple of days but we knew when it was time to pack up and call it a trip. When the tent starts leaking, that’s a wrap. Also the camp is a “remote” site and has the unsavory combination of “pit toilets” (outhouses) and no showers. You don’t think of running water as a luxury until you don’t have it.

This is from the first night, full of promise and pioneer spirit:

And this is the next morning, still raining.

The first morning my friend and I got up and made a yummy breakfast. Blueberry pancakes with chicken sausage and Bloody Marys! We surprised the guys with a banner, thought up during our food stocking trip. My friend and I were cracking each other up, telling random people that we were going camping. Feeding off their bored and annoyed responses (or lack thereof). I’ve tried to tell a couple of people this story and it doesn’t translate. It was slap happy at it’s best though and almost as fun as the trip itself. The pancakes were super good, better than I make at home. We used bisquick, apple sauce, chai mix and a little maple syrup (egg free solutions). They were fluffy and good. Everything always tastes better camping though.

You can blame the guy in that last shot for my current addicti-ON. He got me hooked on the wordplay like in the title. For example, at night when the kids were all asleep in the tents we got our inebriati-ON (sounds like inebriashawn). As I type I realize it’s probably not as cool or funny when I break it down like that. Sorry G. I’m trying to get my imitati-ON.

Here are some shots from our trip. We’re already planning next year’s trip. Any good campgrounds to recommend?

Even though the forecast called for rain, we forgot to pack a raincoat for my youngest son. We fashioned him something from our emergency poncho that is always stuffed in the car. It didn’t slow him down any.

I don’t know what is up with my camera. I haven’t figured out how to adjust the size of the photo and now as I am trying to post they are either huge or tiny. I’m just going to treat you all like grandparents today though and ply you with tons of photos (big and small) – hope you all have gum in your purses and a big wet kiss for me and the boys when next we meet!

My husband channeling his inner Macgyver, beach umbrella as rain shield for the fire!

These are our friends. You can tell by their expressions that WE are really fun folks to camp with! And I think everyone was a little over me getting my documentati-ON.

Good friends, good fun and good times! Thanks G,L and O!

And on an unrelated note -I have scores to share with you soon. You know we hit an an antique store on the way home!

Hope you are all staying dry!


Gone Campin’ August 9, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — twlowenstein @ 6:55 pm