December 30, 2011

December 29, 2011

An Outfit for New Years Eve

The hat was a Hanukkah present and the scarf a Christmas present.  The skirt is borrowed and packed in my suitcase because where ever I end up -- be it hot or cold, an inside venue or an outside party you can't go wrong with a silver sequin skirt!

I have my New Years Eve outfit all ready to go.  I just have no idea what my plans are or where I'm going to be.  Less than a week ago I booked a commercial IN POLAND.  That means my 4 Original cities have changed slightly and all my flights, trains and travel plans which originally had me going to Quebec for New Years have now been rerouted to put me in Eastern Europe.  Luckily both regions seem to be compatible weather wise so everything I have in my suitcase will work nicely.  What a way to end my year of Sparkletonaneity!

December 28, 2011

            As my loyal readers will most certainly recall, last week my seven-month-old daughter was sick with a cold. 

            This week, my seven-month-old daughter is still sick with a cold.  This, I am told, is normal.  Kids get colds.  But now there’s a new development:  the R.P. is now also afflicted with a cold that he undoubtedly caught from that same seven-month-old daughter.  This, I am told, is also normal. 

            But this column is not about the Recent Paterfamilias.  This column is about his beloved offspring. 

            Truly, it must be admitted, my little urchin is a trooper.  She maintains a good spirit even as she crawls through the viral trenches of her own snot.  And this said snot is considerable, as the very S.K. of SKART (ie. the business proprietor of this blog) can attest. 

            S.K. was recently in my part of the world, and she was spending some time with the Wife of the R.P. and the Daughter of the R.P., although not with the R.P. himself.  While accompanying the R.P.’s people home after a few hours of people-watching and whatnot around the Upper West Side’s Columbus Circle, S.K. apparently, reportedly, allegedly, witnessed a…what shall I call it?...she witnessed an instance.  While headed north on Broadway, strolling beside the Child of the R.P. (who, at the time, was strapped to the chest of the Spouse of the R.P. in a chest-borne baby carrier), S.K. saw the Child of the R.P. blow a snot bubble.  According to those on the scene, it was a bubble of significant size.  Apparently, and I feel like I’ve been saying that a lot lately, but apparently, it, the aforementioned snot bubble, was literally, not figuratively, literally the size of the infant in question’s head. 

            Nobody wants a daughter who blows snot bubbles the size of her own head.  Nor does anyone want a daughter who does so without any acknowledgment of said bubble, bouncing along as if all is right with the world, noticing nary a whit of that growing protuberance floating about in front of her adorable little face. 

            And then it happened.  At 63rd and Broadway, the inflatable was spotted.  At the corner, while waiting on a walk signal, a young boy’s eyes widened, his gaze did not falter, he got his mother’s attention, and then…he pointed.  And then another little boy pointed.  And then another.  And then a young girl joined her peers.  And then, I am told, a pigeon turned its head to look, too. 

            And there she was, my baby, with a public snot bubble big enough to be pointed at.  Ahh, this is how proud fathers the world over must feel upon hearing of their respective offspring’s accomplishments. 

            So, I have decided, in the future, when my daughter (the snot bubbler herself) is waiting hand-in-hand with me at a street corner, any street corner, waiting on the Don’t Walk Signal to change to the Go Ahead and Go signal, when she, my daughter, turns to notice a snot bubble blowing from the nostril of some anonymous infant on some anonymous street, as she, my daughter, raises her arm, in order to so rudely point, I will not slap her hand back down, I won’t hinder her, I won’t correct her, no, no, no, instead, I have decided, I will encourage her—in fact, I will start pointing, too, just so some other father, some other future anonymous Recent Paterfamilias, won’t miss out on the feelings that this Recent Paterfamilias is feeling right now.  

December 26, 2011

A Hipster Haven in Manhattan

I found a great deal on a hotel in Manhattan.  $99/night to stay in the center of it all.  For that price I wasn't really expecting much.  So I was pleasantly surprised to find the hotel to be such a high designed oasis.  From the soap on a rope next to the sink, to the quirky signage everywhere, this hotel delivered style AND comfort.  Every little detail made me smile and then of course I had to take a picture to share with you.   When booking I used the code "JINGLEZOO" -- I'm not sure how long the special offer is on for, you can see more about the hotel at their website

And of course what would a super hip hotel be without an awesomely hip lobby! 

December 23, 2011

4 on Friday: Last Minute Wrapping Ideas

1. Shirt Wrap -- example by Jennifer Playford
2. Brown Paper packages tied up with string - photo credit Ithyle
3. Newspaper  - photo credit Shelton Davis 
4. Yarn -  this box is by Cakies 

December 21, 2011

A Brief Season’s Greetings Anecdote:

Earlier today, while attempting to pacify (with a pacifier) my infant daughter into what she apparently did not realize was a much needed nap, I watched as she arched away from where I held her in our nursery’s rocking chair, raise her tiny little left hand over her tiny little left shoulder, and extend her tiny little left middle finger in the general direction of our apartment’s front door (a gesture which I had to assume was directed to the outside world, and not simply at the door itself).  My daughter then kept said finger extended, in order, I suppose, to convey some sort of message to the outside world and the rest of humanity residing there. 

“Yes,” I remember thinking at the time, “this is definitely my daughter.”

Happy Holidays from the Recent Paterfamilias.  

(In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that my daughter is currently teething and suffering from a rather heinous cold.) 

December 20, 2011

Early Skårt

I've been in Toronto for the past few days and I have been given the task of going through bins of stuff my parents have kept over the years. I've been told to keep the treasures and toss the trash. Where does my collection of Puffalumps fit into the equation? Are they treasure or Trash?

I did however find a trove of artworks from my early years ---

This one, circa 1980 - grade 1,  is obviously an early rendering for my Dancing Robot series

Then we have the famous "Wild Cat Project" of 1983.   I might have to borrow some images from this project because I was actually planning on releasing a Wild Cat series in 2012.

2 boxes down 4 more to go.  Can't wait to see what else I find?!!!  The trouble is now deciding what to throw away.  Any advice?

December 16, 2011

4 on Friday: Winter Vacation

It's official: Skårt is on Winter Break!

In honor of the vacation I am about to embark on.  Today's 4 on Friday features the four amazing cities I am going to visit over the next two weeks.
Do you recognize them all? Have you been there? Do you live there? Any recommendations of things to do and see? 

December 15, 2011

Presenting THE ottoman

It's not perfect, but considering this is the first time i've even really sewn anything never mind attempted piping, i'm pretty proud.  I was going to do a DIY post.  But let's be real, there are other people out there in internet land far more qualified to tell you how to make something like this.  So for the DIY portion of this post,  I suggest you do what I did and google "Reupholstering an Ottoman" -- tons o great tips and videos to help you a long.

I did take a few pictures of the process

And of course the obligatory before and after:

December 14, 2011

Why is a nook a Nook?

            The Recent Paterfamilias is confused by many things.  One of these things is the Nook, the electronic reader from Barnes & Noble.  The R.P. isn’t confused about E-readers in and of themselves, but only about the Nook. 

            But please, allow him to explain. 

            As one of America’s creative geniuses of the 20th century wrote (the italics are my own):

            “We took a look.
            We saw a Nook.
            On his head
            he had a hook.
            On his hook
            he had a book.
            On his book
was “How to Cook.”
            We saw him sit
            and try to cook.
            He took a look
            at the book on the hook.
            But a Nook can’t read,
            so a Nook can’t cook.
            what good to a Nook
            is a hook cook book?”

            Precisely.  “A Nook can’t read.”  So, naturally, this begs the question:  Why would anyone in their right mind name a reading device a “Nook”?  A Nook is a thing that cannot read.  Quite honestly, this seems a conflict of interest.  The R.P. must admit that the term Nook from B&N is probably an anagram of some sort or another clever little marketing device (like NOOK stands for Not a bOOK), and an extensive search of the internet might reveal in one or two nanoseconds what Nook actually stands for, but the R.P. is not concerned with this.  The Recent Paterfamilias wishes to know why, intentionally or otherwise, a reading device has been saddled with the same name as a thing that cannot read.

            This is confounding to the R.P.

            (That being said, it should be noted that, in the near future, in acts of shameless self-promotion, the Recent Paterfamilias is slated to have his novel, Mr. Johnson’s Dogs, available for purchase and perusal on the Nook and the Kindle early next year, and the R.P.’s loyal readers should expect shameless acts of self-promotion to that end.  Said E-book shall also be “priced for all,” as the R.P. likes to put it.) 

            But please, if anyone out there has any idea as to why Barnes & Noble, in her infinite wisdom, chose to name her electronic reader after a thing that can’t read, do n0t keep it to yourself.  Tell at least one friend, and that friend will tell one friend, and that friend will tell one friend, and so on and so forth, and ultimately the Recent Paterfamilias will almost certainly learn why the Nook is called the Nook.  

December 13, 2011

Call off the Search - I found THE Ottoman

Lookie lookie what I found! It may not look like much now but you just wait and see.  Just happened upon this beauty at a great vintage shop near me, called: This is Not Ikea.  Check out their site.  A treasure trove of great finds.

Operation "Chair for Sunshine's Nursery" continues.  And this time, I'm taking the reupholstery into my own hands.  (all I can say is thank goodness for You Tube!)  Just in case you are not familiar --- you can read the last chapter in the chair saga HERE.

December 12, 2011

Custom Star Wars Skårt

I was recently commissioned to do a Warhol-esque version of Hans Solo's Blaster from Star Wars.  After much deliberation of color combos my client came up with the brilliant idea to simply use the color Palette from the movie.

Each color combo represents a character.

December 09, 2011

4 on Friday: Gifts that Give

T'is the season to buy a lot of things --- some are needed some are not.  In the spirit of of holiday gift giving today's Four on Friday are some suggestions for gifts that also do good.

What are you giving or hoping to get this year that reaches beyond yourself? Me.. I'm hoping someone gets me an elephant : )

1. Clean Drinking Water - $40 for a water bottle may sound expensive but each bottle purchase helps fund clean drinking water for 2 people.
2. A bear for you and a bear for me - For each bear purchased and second bear will be donated to a child in need
3. The gift of learning - share the world - this is a young readers version of Greg Mortinson's Three cups of tea.  A portion of each book is donated to help fund the building of schools in Pakistan.
4. Foster an elephant - A donation gives you info and pictures of an African elephant that you are helping to feed and keep.  AND you can keep up with their progress online all year long.

December 08, 2011

Inspiration: Black and White Circus Nursery

Inspired by the Missoni for Target Crib sets which just became available again.  Check em out before they are gone!!!

Cohen Glider by Olio Studio
Circus Act Pillow by Melanie Rhea
Paper Lanterns - DIY - paint black stripes on simple white lanterns
Monkeying Around Print on Paper $26 - Skårtshop on Etsy
Kosa Convertible Crib and Change Table set by Oggi - availabe at amazon for $629.00
Missoni crib sheets, skirt and bumper - available for limited time at Target
Custom Marquis letters by West Vintage Trading Co.
Cats on Unicycle print by Judy Kaufmann

December 07, 2011

Animal Heads in the Nursery - Appropriate or Not?

            The Recent Paterfamilias has found himself wondering as of late if dead animal heads are appropriate in a child’s nursery. 

            Frankly, the Recent Paterfamilias is wondering if dead animal heads are appropriate anywhere. 

            Frankly, he’s predisposed to say that they are. 

This, he realizes, will be offensive to many of his readers.  (Just between you and me: the R.P. is little concerned with whom he offends and whom he doesn’t.) 

            So, here we are:  Dead Animal Heads:  Why we like them

            The R.P. has a soft spot for the trophy head of an eight-point white-tailed buck hanging on a wall.  Now, whether said Recent Paterfamilias has the (how shall we say it?) cojones, or simply bad taste, to execute said eight-point white-tailed buck is another thing altogether, but the idea of dead animals, for whatever sick reason, hanging or lying about his household is something the R.P. likes.  (Not that the wife of the R.P. would ever permit this to happen.  Hand-woven faux cowhide, cow-shaped area rugs are too close to the real thing to make it into his…uh…no…wait…her apartment.) 

            At any rate, the Recent Paterfamilias is curious if hanging a trophy head (real, plush, cardboard, papier mache, or otherwise) in the room of his infant daughter, as an accent piece, is in bad taste.  All trophy heads mentioned above, actual and recreated alike, are available at reasonable prices on the internet (the real, for whatever reason, typically tend to run much cheaper than the…uh…unreal), so it really just comes down to whether or not it is in good taste.  And, of course, there’s always the principle of the thing to consider.  Is it in bad taste to hang a dead deer’s head in a nursery?  Is it in bad taste to hang a cardboard rendering of a dead deer’s head in nursery?  And what’s the difference?  At some point, little Johnny or little Julie is going to ask, “What is that?”  Is it in bad taste to hang any such trophy head, real or otherwise, in a child’s nursery in an effort to be ironic?  And is this effort to be ironic actually ironic, or is it simply in poor taste?  Is a papier mache deer’s head in a child’s nursery avant garde, or is it just tacky?  And, per the interior design of one’s daughter’s future modern dollhouse, is a three-dimensional rhino’s trophy head, in 1:18 scale, with a 1:18 scale zebra hide rug, in the dollhouse’s study, simply a design aspect, or is it an invitation for impressionable young American girls to  go run out on safari, rifles in-hand, so they might come back with miniature trophies of their own, two-inch elephant tusks and lion hides which fit in a shoe box and stuffed cheetahs that stand almost to your ankle and other trophies of animals that can be tracked down if only you put your mind to it. 
Deer head by Banana Tree Studios

December 06, 2011

A Modern Take on the Grandfather clock

This could be a DIY project if you had the time and/or inclination to either paint or cut the shape out.  I had these professionally cut on a C&C router and then sanded, stained and finished them myself.  One is in Sunshine's Nursery (yes, here is a sneak peek, the big reveal coming soon), the other can be found in my living room.  However, for a reasonable price ($37.00 + a clock) you can order a stick on vinyl in a variety of color options right from the source of inspiration:   -- an amazing resource for fun yet temporary wall decor.

December 02, 2011

4 on Friday: Mustache Mayhem

Movember might be over --- so just in case you are missing your mustache, here are some ways you can bring mustaches into your nursery decor.

Available at:
1. Mustache wool pillow - $49 at Room and Board 
2. Funhouse Decals by Fred - $10.60 on
3. Mustache peel and stick wall paper - $169 at Wall Candy Arts
4. Mister Numbers Art Print - $20 Sugar Fresh

November 30, 2011

Is it Time? -- to start the Potty Training?

            Last Wednesday, at approximately 11:37 in the a.m., the daughter of the Recent Paterfamilias, clever little animal that she is, discovered how to open her own diaper.  The expression which spread across her face, as her fingers decidedly pulled that Velcro strap off to the side, has not been seen on a human visage since that Greek guy sat in his bathtub, saw the water rise, and then ran through the streets screaming Eureka, Eureka.  As many of my readers might suppose, this discovery of my daughter is, decidedly, not good. 

            This is not a good development.  And it must be admitted, even by this observer (the closest of close observers of that tiny human): This child is smarter than I am.  This is an established fact.  And, thusly, she can thereby outwit me, distract me, bamboozle me, and then there we are: a diaper-less baby accompanied by a man who’s a mess in a room that’s a disaster.  This, it must be acknowledged, is hardly an enviable position in which to find oneself. 

            So what does one do?  Does one potty train early?  Does one yell, scream, chastise, and then repeat as necessary?  Does one duct tape the diaper to her tiny derrière? 

            The Recent Paterfamilias finds himself conflicted.  Duct tape is easily accessible and reassuringly economical, but is it worth it?  And how does one train an infant out of learning that which she has already taught herself?  Frankly, to this R.P., that seems like an exercise in futility, if not downright impossible. 

            Per my personal experience, it should be noted that babies, as a species, don’t seem to want to learn all that much, but that which they do learn, they don’t seem to forget all that easily.  The Recent Paterfamilias supposes that they are much like the common, ill-bred housecat in this way. 

            So what am I to do?  The R. P. appreciates expressionistic art as much as the next idiot, but Jackson Pollack-esque splatters of baby bowel movements on my living room walls are, artistically, pressing the boundaries of good taste. 

            But the Recent Paterfamilias is open-minded.  Maybe the graffiti art movement, established and influential as it is, is decidedly over, out of vogue, dated, kaput.  Maybe it’s the nouveau-infant-stool-flinging-school that has recently, and officially, and decidedly, established its foothold in the art world. 

But then again, should this be the case, what will we be left with?  And who is going to want to go see an exhibit of it at The Guggenheim?  If we ain’t careful, should we allow this unfortunate art movement to proceed, they (the art-loving public) will have no choice but to label that particular Fifth Avenue corkscrew-shaped building as the The Poopenheim.  (Although, frankly, given its downward-spiral physical movement, like that of water down a toilet bowl, I’m beginning to wonder if this wasn’t the intention by Mr. F.L. Wright in the first place.)

November 29, 2011

A new NEW color chart

I've done it again.

A new color chart.

This ones is for reals!

I printed each color on a piece of birch wood and then scanned the colors to make the chart. This is the most accurate representation of the colors I have been able to achieve. Of course it's still not 100% because every monitor is calibrated slightly differently.  But, art isn't like upholstery or curtains, if the color doesn't match 100% I think it's okay.  However, just in case you think differently, I am now offering color samples at two for 1 dollar (to cover the postage).  So, if you do want to make sure before you invest that the color is what you want click here to order a sample then order your art with confidence.

Also please let me know in a comment if you think that there is something missing? Any color that you would like to see that is not on the chart.

November 28, 2011

The Holidays Have Begun

I've been so good with blogging this year, I decided to take a few days off.

 It's thanksgiving (here in the US) so I figured it was a good excuse opportunity.

--- but in reality, that's not the reason I shirked my blog duties last week.

The real reason is that I downloaded The Hunger Games onto my Kindle and became obsessed.  I read all three books in the span of a week.  No time to blog because I was reading (and eating some turkey).   I can't stop thinking about them.  Have you read them? I highly recommend them.  Not only is it entertaining but it really gets you thinking.

Now I  need a new book -- any recommendations?

"Once Upon a Time" by Jolline available on ETSY

November 23, 2011

Precious Moments

            I often feel like I’m taking advantage.  It’s not fair, I know this, but I can’t seem to help myself.  Maybe it’s a side affect of being a Recent Paterfamilias.  Maybe it’s a result of existing in an exalted state of sleep deprivation.  Maybe it’s because I’m a terrible father.  But, for whatever reason, I occasionally, often, continuously, constantly, find myself taking advantage. 

            But please, allow me to explain. 

            My daughter has recently been introduced to real food.  Thusly, my daughter typically has food all over her face.  In addition to breast milk, as of late, she’s also been “sampling” “real” food (or “solids,” as we call them in the “biz”), which result in “residue” on her hands and on her face and in her hair and on the dog and everywhere else within sight, all except within the confines of her stomach.  This, I am told, is normal.  (Out of good taste, I won’t subject my dear reader to even a mild description of the rather noticeable impact these “solids” have had upon this Recent Paterfamilias’ offspring’s bowel movement, suffice it to say that the impact is “significant.”)  But whenever her face is plastered with destroyed peas (peas, not pee, which is different, but has also been known to occur) or destroyed bananas or destroyed pears or destroyed prunes or destroyed squash (squashs? squashes? what is the plural of squash?), but, at any rate, when my daughter has painted herself with destroyed food-like items, I find myself reaching for the camera. 

            Is this wrong?  Am I taking advantage?  Am I the world’s worst Paterfamilias? 

I sure as hell hope not.

            But, my dear reader must admit, there’s something somewhat intoxicating about a food-covered face.  (For whatever reason, this does not apply when considering the food-covered faces of adult humans.) 

            I am aware that many such situations will present themselves during the life of my daughter.  There will be no shortage of opportunities (see: embarrassing opportunities) where I will want to grab a camera and capture the moment.  But, of course, all those moments can’t be caught.  Consider the case of my infant daughter’s own mother.  She was under three years old.  She got out of bed and went to the bathroom all by herself.  She hopped on up.  And then she fell on in. 

She called for help. 

And then help came. 

The help laughed.  The help called for the rest of the family.  The rest of the family came running.  They laughed.  They pointed.  They laughed and they pointed and they didn’t help her out of the toilet and I’m sure that one of those people wishes that they’d had a camera handy to capture the moment.  (It should be noted here:  three-plus decades later, my daughter’s own mother is still upset about the aforementioned incident, and she, my daughter’s mother, still remembers who laughed and who pointed and who laughed and pointed, and she, my daughter’s mother, is still threatening that those who laughed and pointed are going to pay for what they’ve done, even if those who laughed and pointed do find her own daughter adorable.)

November 22, 2011

November 21, 2011

From Night Owl to Day owl

New Background colors - Customize to match your decor.  These featured are pink, sunglow and avocado on whitewash.  Visit to make pick your own combination

November 18, 2011

November 17, 2011

Another Attempt at Love

Last february I posted a DIY on making sequin art.  I got a lot of great response from this post.  I also got a lot of questions on how to make it.

Then just a month ago I saw a Facebook post of one brave soul who actually took the DIY challenge.   She sent me some pictures of the process to share here, and maybe inspire more budding artists (would make a great holiday gift!)   I am beyond impressed at how her's turned out (I think it might look better than mine!)

Pretty amazing!

I also asked if she had any tips and this was her response:
Couple of tips: I ended up using 20 x 30" foam board and had to put 3 of them together to make it deep enough to take the #17 straight pin and having 1/2" left sticking out. The foam board is only 1/4" thick each so that is why I needed 3 boards. I took the pattern to Kinko's to have them blow it up to size for me and they actually transferred the pattern right on the foam board. I ended up using #6 flat sequin.I'm actually hoping for a finished framed picture of 18 x 28.

There is still time to make your own Love for the Holidays - click here to download the grid for this pattern