Sunday, August 2, 2015

Wiscasset Memories Casket

Kate and Jack Hewitt's Collaborative Double Casket chronicling their hometown Wiscasset. Maine.
Kate Hewitt and her husband Jack have made a wonderful double casket together and are the subject of today's blog on casket finished and designs by students in Cabinet of Curiosities.  Their casket is also a collaboration of a husband talented in woodworking and the stitcher.  I love all these joint projects as they create wonderful heirlooms!

The frieze is populated by famous New England buildings
Their casket used the exterior dimensions from the templates I provide and the pictures of the interiors of antiques in the course.  Kate and Jack asked me many questions to help them with the interior.  The biggest hint is to leave extra slop space to accommodate the paper and silk that is adhered to the wood.

One amazing extra that Kate and Jack added was a custom made book that would fit in the interior with the story of the casket design and making.  They have added dates and other data that would be of great help to their heirs and future curators!  What a fantastic idea!  I am continually blown away by not only the execution and design but the
The Customs House built in 1870
creativity of the students!

I will let their words describe the casket - this is the text from the booklet:

Kate’s and Jack’s Sewing Casket
I always admired sewing caskets made by young ladies in the 16OO’s.  However, the scope of the project seemed daunting.  The opportunity to make a casket came along when Tricia Nguyen presented The Cabinet of Curiosities class. I joined the class in December of 2012. Jack decided that he would like to make the casket, rather than purchasing one from Trisha.
The process began.  So many decisions had to be made.  After much thought the theme, fabric, style, stitches, threads and edging were decided.  Making the casket seemed to be a daunting project. Tricia provided paper patterns which included the dimensions for the various components of the casket. These were mounted on foam board to make a mockup of the exterior panels that were to be
The pineapple motif on the top of the lid
covered with stitching. While this provided the exterior dimensions for the casket, the actual construction details of the interior of the casket were a mystery.
 
Reproduction locks, hinges, escutcheonsdrawer pulls, sterling silver woven tape, silver edging paper and keys were purchased from Tricia.  Stitching began in January of 2013 and was completed by the end of the year. Casket construction began in  the fall of 2013 and was completed in November 2014. 
Marbled paper was then applied to all drawer interiors.  Silk lining was applied to drawer fronts, interior panels, components of the large tray and the
small tray in the top section.  Paper edging, stamped with a silver design was used to cover all raw edges on the various components.  Finally, the stitching and the silver woven tape were applied to the casket as edging for all stitched panels and drawer fronts. The addition of drawer pulls and hinges completed the project.
Stitching Motifs
The pineapple design on the top panel of the casket was taken from an antique sampler which Pat Houghton charted for me. The two bargello designs were adapted from a stitching book. The slanted panels depict houses from Newport, RI which were designed by Virginia Creekman, of Tidewater Originals.  The doors are New England scenes adapted from Old Nantucket chart by Little House Needleworks.
Doors open
The Customs House (red building on left side of casket) located across the street from Le Garage restaurant was built in 1870 to accommodate all the commerce generated from the shipbuilding in Wiscasset at that time.  At present, it is a private residence.
The Nickels-Sortwell House (white building on the back of casket) is located on the Main Street of Wiscasset (2 blocks up from Red’s Eats).  It was built by successful ship owner Captain William Nickels in 1807 when shipbuilding and maritime trade were so important to Wiscasset.  It is a museum and a national historic landmark at the present time.

The Israel Crane House (gray building on right side of casket) was built in 1796 in Montclair, New Jersey by
A look into the small lid and the pull out tray
Israel Crane a descendant of the founding family of
 Cranetown (now Montclair). It belongs to the Montclair Historical Society and is a museum. I was born and raised in Montclair and liked the house.

Kate gave me lovely pictures of the interior and I just have to publish them all since their finishing was so expertly done.  It is comforting to everyone that students can and do finish their pieces and turn them into such wonderfully complicated pieces!  I also think it is great to hear how Kate expertly took charted motifs she liked and adapted them to cover her cabinet as well as working on elements of her
Large lid open
own.  It can be daunting to think about designing your own piece and I think that she shows how you can work with elements you love to complete a highly personal piece.

Jack also made a traveling case for the casket as well.  I find it quite charming that the husband's who make pieces all make traveling cases.  It is a subtle point of pride to insure that the casket can be taken to places to show!  Quite wonderful!!  We might have to make some traveling cases ourselves.  

Tricia

Interior of case, some of the panels and secret drawers are pulled out

pincushion and its secret drawer
Interior showing drawers after the panel is pulled out

Drawers pulled out
Interior set of drawers showing secret place for rings
Embroidered cover of the booklet
Interior of the booklet explaining the casket
Carrying case for Casket
Interior of casket carrying case



Friday, July 31, 2015

A Russian Fairy Tail Come to Life!

 For those who are starting to read with interest about the different designs students in the Cabinet of Curiosities have come up with, a very different piece to delight you today!  Jeri Zoubek has been delighting us on NING for six months with the designs and stitched versions of her vision for a Russian fairy tail casket.  The story of this stitched side of the casket is the Golden Bird.  A full recounting of the story can be found here and you can see how the embroidery translates the story.

Jeri Zoubek's amazing fairy tail embroidery for the side of her casket.
This side represents the story of the Golden Bird
Jeri says about her designs:  "The theme of my casket is my kids favorite Czech fairy tails.  I read these to them over and over every night for years.  They picked their favorite 5 to put on the casket, I love the traditional designs so I used those that Tricia provided and modified them as much as I could.  When nothing was suitable, I drew my own.  I had a lot of help from free images from Google.  I put in some personal "touches" that relate to my family.  For example  the crest of my hometown in the Czech republic and our dog on this [top] design.  I am doing the flat casket because I am afraid I would never finish the bigger one."
If you look carefully, Ralph the cat is behind the castle gate door.
It is fascinating to me to look back at her design drawings that she posted many months ago (she protests that they weren't finished and have a few changes that have been made - they look great to me!).  I am showing the one for this side and the top here.  So fun to see how the piece evolved.  I can't wait until she gets more of it finished!  But as you can see, the exquisite stumpwork she is doing is taking much careful consideration and work.

The design for the left side of the flat casket as published by Jeri late 2012 for comment on the student site. 
The design of the top circa late 2012, Jeri says a few changes have been made since this iteration.
The best part of all to me, is the poem that Jeri asked her daughter to write to explain what is on her casket.  She says she will stitch it to put inside the lid.  I am just over the moon by this collaboration between Jeri and her kids!  

Gathered around a treasured book,
Louis and Carolyn sneak a look,
What adventures will this next story hold?
Princes, dragons, a quest for gold?
With "Once upon a time," Mommy starts,
And they drift to sleep with the story forever in their hearts.

There is no bigger reward for all the effort running this course than the thought of an older Carolyn sharing that poem inside the treasure box with her grandchildren and telling the stories of her mother. In many ways, that is what this course is about; creating memories in thread.

Tricia




Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Edith and John Brewer's Casket Story

I have a great deal of material that I keep meaning to post about lovely caskets made by students in the Cabinet of Curiosities.  The students in the courses have access to a private NING chat site where they post discussions and pictures all day long.  So I often forget that those not in the course are unaware of the absolutely amazing works going on as a result of the course.  Some day I would love to see these pieces in person!

So today, I would like to add more about Edith and John Brewer's Casket.  Edith is a wonderful stitcher and loves to work 17th century band samplers (and is QUITE accomplished at it!).  Her inspiration for the design was a counted design by Tempting Tangles Designs, which she adapted for this cabinet.

Unlike the amazing casket worked by Janice Gail which used the Double Casket form we provide, Edith wanted to incorporate her extremely talented husband John into the making.  I think this is wonderful because it has truly become an heirloom for their children.  I sell the hardware and the locks to students who want to have a go at designing their own cabinet and interior.

Edith used basically the outside dimensions from the templates that are available in the course and
then the two of them took it from there and used the pictures of the old caskets to work out the interiors.

John had quite a bit to say about the process and the lessons he learned making the casket as well as the terrific carrying case that goes with it (if you make one - you HAVE to take it around to guild meetings!!).  John's advice is laid out here:

"Making the boxes was a challenge and still is.  There were no plans, just measurements of the outside of the boxes. I had to figure out the thickness of the stock and used 1/4’ stock which I doubled for the doors. The many pictures were invaluable and still are.  

One mistake I made was not allowing enough leeway on the drawer to accommodate the paper or silk.  It needs more leeway than expected. I used basswood on one box and it is easy to work and sand.  I got a deal on beechwood on the other but it is hard and heavier.  I was able to reduce the size of the drawers enough with my stationary sander which has a belt and a disc.  It would be difficult to do this project without that power tool. 

The ring holder in the hidden drawer I made too high so it will only allow for band type rings. The screws for the hinges would look better if they had smaller heads like nails. I agree the nails will not hold well.  In other boxes I have made I have filed down the heads of steel screws but that would take the tin plating off.  It was quite late in the 19th century before the advent of brass screws so one would not want the brass to show. It is important to produce a bevel at enough angle for the top lid to close well
and allow for the covering. That is the bevel on the strips on the inside of the tray area just above the little hidden drawers.  I used a plane and sander to make the bevels. I did turn out some fake ivory bead shaped pulls for the drawers of the first box. Ivory or bone had been used for a long time for pulls and lid lifters. I had bought some bone ones from England years ago when I made an 18th pistol box.

I turned the feet out on a lathe and the put the groove in with a carving gouge. Gesso was applied and paint and then fake gold leaf.  It is not difficult to apply the leaf. A coat of shellac was applied over the leaf. One good aspect of having all the wood covered is revisions and repairs and mistakes can be hidden.  The tools I used besides the sander and lathe were a router (not a requirement however, a fine Japanese saw, chisels,  a small hand plane, a small #9 gouge, table saw, a square, many clamps, and a tack hammer. The frame was nailed and glued. An English author of a book on making rocking horses I have stated that “one
never has enough clamps” and he is certainly right.

It was a fun project and I had small bits of wood every where making the 2 boxes, one with a flat top and the other with a casket top. The carrying cases for the boxes were made out of 1/2” oak.  I then applied an ammonia solution which combines with the tannin in the oak to make it dark brown. A little stain was applied and it was shellacked."

I haven't yet seen John's Double Casket yet as I am sure Edith is madly embroidering it!  Hopefully we will be treated to a view of it once finished!





Sunday, July 26, 2015

Frostings Club Update

Looks like I have had to draft a few extra beings to help me - just like the Tailor!  Here hamster #3 (also known as Miss Fuzz Fuzz) is climbing over the boxes and generally getting in the way of the sticking on of labels.   She generally keeps me company in my office (I think her attentiveness is actually a plea for more peanuts) and after the kids all went away this week (ok, five arrive in an hour to be taken to an outreach event - they never seem to be totally gone) I have been quite lonely so she has been assigned to keep me company when working.

Must make one more go over but I think we are close to pulling the lever to launch the club.  Which means ordering the boxes and packing and all that!  But first, the Stumpwork kits have to be packed and shipped - so September is looking like the right time for Frostings Box 1.

So stay tuned and hope that Miss Fuzz Fuzz learns to cut and bag as well!  It would make things go so much quicker.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Black Lives Matter

My robot team has been doing some outreach almost every week.  We partnered with a few organizations that do STEM education - The Edgerton Center at MIT and The Cambridge Science Festival.  I have been to their events before and, well, have to admit that it was pretty much populated by parents and kids like us.  Parents with professional degrees and kids who like to dabble in science.

A partnership with groups like this is part of the team's business plan.  Yes, I made them come up with a business plan because I want them to think like that.  You could call it a strategic plan as the point is to work three years to then be self-sufficient in the fourth to fund themselves.  They challenged us to come up with certain types of activities, more than just showing off the robot, that came in at particular price points.  This was great and the kids worked all year to do just that and so now we have low cost activities we can do as a charitable act or sell if the place allows us to fundraise.  The groups also have endless opportunities for us to go in their place or with them to various events around the Boston area to do our thing.  This saves us a lot of time looking for opportunities - now we just have to figure out which ones we can staff.

One of the groups, Cambridge Science Festival, has an arm that is called Science on the Street.  It's point is to pop-up at places and allow the people passing by to interact with the activities.  This is to get out of the situation where the only enrichment is going to kids where their parents are already enriching!

These kids weren't even supposed to come to school the
day we came!  They did anyways because they knew we
were coming. 
What has happened has been fascinating and so telling about our national politics.  We were sent to a underprivileged elementary school a few weeks ago to work with a 4th grade and 5th grade group.  The ratio of minorities to white children was about 8:2.  Then this week, into a inner-city community center park where other than the coordinator, we were the only white/asian faces.  Did I tell you that the 5th grade at that school had 'graduated' and weren't supposed to come to school that day?  They all did anyways because their science teacher told them we were coming.  OMG.  Can you imagine that in a wealthily suburb?  They would already be on planes to vacations.

We found that the kids were so polite, fascinated and were delightful.  Why am I saying that?  Well, a
few months ago we did an event at MIT with 800 kids.  Almost all privileged kids of professionals - and we wanted SWAT protection!  As a whole, our team came out discussing how we needed to buy
At MIT with 800 kids.  Note the girl on the right
taking apart the LEGO device.  I had to stop
taking pictures and start guarding our stuff
stanchions because the kids were rude and entitled and in the future we would need to keep ourselves and our stuff behind a barrier.  We had brought our competition robots and after awhile I had to stand there with the LEGO robot held above my head because all the kids were trying to take it apart!!!  Parents were not watching their kids and we were freaking out as they kept leaning over the robot barrier with their faces and could have gotten smashed by the big robot ('where are their parents??' The team kept asking).  In the end, the kids took apart our entire competition table of legos.  It was stunning to see how impolite they were.  The words my team used in the car were things like "dangerous", "rude" and "no respect".  They complained vehemently about how parents aren't watching or teaching their kids anything.  The attitude there was that we were there to serve and they could touch anything they wanted.  I kept having to say - 'hey, this is these kids work -- respect it!'

Contrast that with the park we set up in this week.  It was at a community center at the edge of the projects.  We came in and set up and the 'village elders' who were hanging out on the park benches watching the kids interact with the activities immediately came to our aid to help us out, such polite and helpful gentlemen!  I thought they were just nice old men sitting around in the park.  What I didn't realize was they were the community activists and self appointed public safety overseers.  There were basketball courts next to us and dozens of young men there playing in a league.

We got to business and it was a disaster for us.  The power supply didn't work and then when that was fixed the wheel fell off the robot and the robot wouldn't work!! We had even forgot one of the controllers.  We spent over an hour trying to recode it and debug it.  Had my son on video chat trying to help us.  Disaster.  Never worked or moved.

Well - it was a complete success.  We had designed this robot with a face and made it a 'mr. potato head' with velcro on face parts (some would move if it had turned on!).  The kids were enthralled.  They kept decorating the robot, interacting with the team, helping to fix the wheel, looking at the code and hearing the discussion on how to fix.  They helped us check the wiring and generally kept being fascinated.  They were polite, engaged, asked questions, laughed with us, were well dressed and groomed and the parents who came with them were constantly encouraging them to be nice and polite (don't touch that if they haven't asked you!).
The smiles were just huge.  Note the sign on the wall over the
young man leading kids in building KNEX on a tarp:
"Kids Eat Free".  Something my never-hungry-for-lack-of-food
 teens have to think about.

Essentially, we were paying attention to these kids and that was all they needed.  Like sponges with a never ending thirst.  It was just heartbreaking.  The director just came over and over and thanking us for just showing up because 'this neighborhood needs it so much'.  At one point a child was so interested in my son's face on the smart phone helping debug the wiring.  I told the girl, about 11, that he was in a dorm at MIT.  She asked what that was.  Now understand that we were maybe 10 blocks, if that, from MIT.  I explained it was the best engineering college in the USA and it was in Cambridge.  She didn't know where Cambridge was.  I asked her if she had ever walked to the river (against the river is the wealthiest part of Boston).  "There is a river here?!".  Later in the car, the team exclaimed something about how could she not know about the river that was blocks from where she lived.  I looked up and said, 'you sound like a rich white kid'.  At that moment they realized that this child had never strayed far from the projects in 11 yrs.

Before our time was up, the director came close to me and whispered in my ear.  "The public safety officers would like you to quietly and very quickly pack up and leave".  There was an argument between a group of spectator men at the basketball court.  They knew all too well where it could lead and so did I.   These older men on the benches were watching out for all of us, while we were three blocks from the main Boston Police headquarters, there were no officers anywhere.  "the kids are fascinated by you and we need them to disperse ASAP for their safety, so we need you to leave now, but we have to prevent a panic".  I noted that the other activities were being quietly and quickly picked up.  I turned to the two girls on the team and handed them boxes of stuff and my keys.  Quietly I said "Take this to my car and get in.  Don't come back".  To the lovely kids watching us: "kids, we are going to go because our robot doesn't work -- but we will be back next week and it will!"  Fortunately we had built a system that allowed us to easily carry in for these outside events.  So we were all in the car within 60 seconds.

Never had our team realized what an important mission that outreach to the right place meant.  We are sure that our disastrous hour and a half there had more impact than the event we did for 800.  I love the parents on our team - because we are going back next week and armed with lots of extras too.

Black lives do matter.  The contrast of our outreach experiences have taught us so much more than a bit of public speaking.  It is hard to believe the daily conditions that these kids have to deal with just to learn and our interactions have been a stark contrast to the narrative played on certain TV news stations.  We would rather go back to the projects than teach kids in our own home towns, not because we are being charitable, but because they are nicer to us!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pease Porridge in the Pot....

I know that many of you working with the lovely new threads we have been using for the Cabinet of Curiosities Course have been making some noise about how much green shows up in the 17th century designs.  There is the grass -- tons of hillocks! And there are the flowers, leaves, trees, etc.  This means that you really want more greens - greens in silks and other thread forms!

One of the things we did at first was note all the green types on the embroideries and knowing about natural dying of the time, we designed our first green family to include two greens that, while flowing in the family, could also be used to build off alternative families.  These were the 5025 and 199 color.  And we have been doing that!!  The stumpwork boxes that will be leaving here in August for the students will include the first wave of those threads and excitedly those will become available on the website at the same time.

BUT - the first of our silk purls based off two of the colors have come in!  This establishes an olive colored family that uses the Olive, Dead Gold and Gingerline as the light part of the family.  The new colors are called Herbaceous and Pease Porridge and are a dark and medium olive color.   The purls are not in the student boxes and I have limited numbers - but they are being added to the product line.

I also have the largest inventory I think I have ever had of silk purls with very few colors out of stock at the moment.  So if you have been waiting for purls to become flush again - the time is now.

The greens in Soie Gobelin are also finally done and on the site, but they will be included in the August kit that Stumpwork students will be getting.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Excuse Me Sir, Can I Get Off the Ride?

Don't we women really want to say that sometimes?  For many of us, life can go through acceleration points where it is moving so fast that we desperately want to get off the roller coaster for just five minutes to breathe (or actually - just to pee for darn sakes!).  

The last five weeks have been such a blur that my head hurts.  It is always like this in the summer; as
The team at one of the 12 outreach events this summer
teaching science projects or robotics to kids.
the end of school is approaching, I find myself taking that long draw through my teeth as if the coaster is clicking up that first big hill.  The anticipation of what is about to unfold is extreamly unknown except that it will be fast, jerky and somewhat terrifying.  

Taking a break from building by playing
sting-pong (don't ask).  A small crowd - only seven.
Was having a gathering this day planned - heck no.  
Not only are the summers wild with my husband's desire to cram as much of the world into whatever vacation time he can negotiate out of me, but my kids are just so damn high maintenance.  Not in that 'do everything for me mom' kinda way, they do the laundry and clean and all that.  But what they crave is stimulation of their own interests when school no longer demands all their resources.  And a result of this is THE ROBOT TEAMS.  Sometimes I wonder if I had known... would I have opened this pandoras box?  (Yes, of course I would have and I will mourn it terribly when all these kids leave me).  But there are days...

The robot kids are increasing in number (By last count we are at 21 between the two groups) and go to different schools that all got out of school over a three week period.  And what do mobile teens do before what ever summer program they are eventually going to starts?  They find some place to hang.  Well - that is my house.  And they have a perfectly good reason - we gotta do robot work, so it is so hard to tell them to go away.  This is also a terriably bittersweet summer as one of the core robot kids is moving to Germany
We have girls on the team now!
And the shyness of the boys is downright hilarious
for 1-3 years.  They want to hang together in a most sad, desperate way and always get a ton of stuff done too.  They are madly integrating two girls and a boy into the team, have done an insane number of outreach events with EIGHT more this summer and also came up with something totally off the wall to keep Nick on the team while in Germany.  

'Tricia - we'll build a telepresence robot'.  Ok, what is a telepresence robot you ask?  That is a robot that is face-timing/skyping with the person and allows them to see inside the room where you are and move the robot that the device is attached to.  You may have seen one on Modern Family (that was plan A - let's buy that one for $5000.  I said no, come up with Plan B).  So I challenged them to build one with the leftover electronics we and their families had laying around.  Never challenge these kids in the summer - you will find yourself making a spontaneous trip to an electronics store with seven teens in the car (rocking from the boom boxes blue-toothed to phones) in search of the most obscure cable you can imagine to hack a Roomba from Germany.   

Darn if they didn't do it - for $10 and old parts.  I can't tell you how hard that is because truthfully I don't quite understand some of this stuff anymore.  I certainly was a bit shocked to see some of the resourcefulness of the guys (please use these powers for good dudes!).  How would I have known how to hack into my internet router and open the firewall on only one channel for the kid from Germany to get into my wireless system and control a robot in the room.  Damm.  So now our team is not only open to Nick and his little sister Lena to stay on the team (founding member of the little team), but we can invite other kids we know who don't live here to participate.  (THIS IS CRAZY TALK!!) 
video
So that brings up Filip.  Filip is a kid from Sweden who my kid used to bite in day care - they are like brothers.  Long story - but a bite can bring two families so close we feel like family even though we live in different countries.  Filip came back to the US three years ago and spent two weeks, went to camps with my son and his friends and so knew the team.  Well Filip came back this summer for two weeks.  I didn't quite realize how the internet had kept all these kids together and how connected they were - we weren't home from the airport more than 10 minutes before robot kids started arriving and giving this foreigner warm welcomes like you wouldn't believe.  They stayed three days.  YES - a spontaneous three day sleepover.  Parents kept arriving and dropping off more food and clothes, shaking their head and laughing at me.  

This is how a typical day went for two weeks:  I get up with a plan to do something semi-quiet with
Did someone say waterpark??? Trying to squish the best
teen things in Boston in two weeks.  You wouldn't believe how
many pounds of lobster that Swedish kid can eat.
Filip and my kids.  The texts started around 10am from robot kids begging to come over and get involved with whatever was up.  If I was lucky - I ignored them for hours and got something accomplished.  Then they would get smart and ask to come over to get something on our summer team agenda done... smart.  Once you say yes to one - you have to be prepared as you might have all who are in town by default as the text chain would fire up.  Next thing you know you are scrambling for food for 15, they have made some crazy progress on the robot stuff and are building a fire in the fire pit for marshmallows.  The drink fridge is down by 30 sodas, you have doled out countless bandaids over the shoeless soccer game and parents are texting you asking if you know about the plan to have a sleepover and Indiana Jones marathon for the evening.  Suddenly you find yourself at a waterpark the next morning in a multi-car caravan.  WAIT - what just happened!?!

The team decided to cook dinner for us to
relieve me of the duty.  That can't go bad - right?
Notice that most of the cart is firewood.  No space
here to tell the story of how the gas
grill almost exploded.
Now add my sister-in-law and her parrot who is living here while her apartment is being reconstructed.  My parents come for the 4th and to meet Filip.  By this point - we start taking bets on how many people will be at each meal and will sleep in the house nightly.  I become obsessive about counting heads so no one goes missing under my watch.  And this isn't counting the little robot team who always had a few midgets running around playing or working on pre-work for the season.   

And this doesn't even begin to express the craziness.  I become trapped as we always need an adult around (as I say - someone has to call 911).  They aren't bad, just creative.  My SIL walked in one day as I came down with first aid supplies for some ping-pong tournament injury while assuring my youngest that his hair would grow back.  She stopped and looked at me quizzically.  "Caught his hair on fire.  Long story, I need pizza for twelve".  She said 'nothing surprises me anymore around here'.  I said 'wait until you see what they built downstairs today'.  Her eyes got big as she belly laughed.

So they took the Swedish kid in with open arms, they all weaseled their way into being here when he left with long drawn out goodbyes (these are guys - what the heck with all the emotion?!).  He helped build the demo robot we will use this summer at expos around Boston.  Seems I need to get another shirt printed.  And now my team is not just located in Boston but apparently in Stockholm and Berlin too.  This will be a very interesting year and we just might need another Roomba with Filip's name on it.  And if I am not mistaken in my prediction, he
Halfway through 'the shopping trip'.  Filip's
top list of junk food you can't buy in Sweden.
Some to eat, some to take home, and some to
sell to other desperate ex-pat teens in Stockholm.
and Nick will be coming back next summer for another crazy drink from the firehose at my house.

Ok, so I need to stop my five minutes off the roller coaster ride and get back on it.  1pm - go to a college an hour away for my little robot team to show off what they did at a workshop all week.  2pm - drive carload of boys back to Boston while they spend the fourth day trying to teach one the important life lesson of how to arm fart (really kids - if he can't do it yet, give it a rest!).  3-6 pm ship more embroidery kits.  6pm shop for tomorrow - that is when a team from New Hampshire shows up to stay with us for a mad weekend of us all training each other in the new robotic electronics system and Java.  I believe the head count for lunch is now at 20ish.  7 pm - pick up other kid from crazy month long MIT live-in program where he has to start a company and pitch to a panel of Boston VCs.  He needs to teach robot team tomorrow and just has to get out of there to get some sleep tonight.  Did I say that I made a mad dash yesterday to Pittsburg to consult for a company?  Still a bit tired from that flight.  

I guess that the corkscrew turn is just up ahead!!!  I think I will just close my eyes and scream this time!  Maybe I will even put my hands up in the air. 

September will come soon... right?