The Composer Is Dead

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When people find out that I am a piano teacher, one of my favorite questions that they  ask me is, “What age can kids start taking piano lessons?” My answer? My answer is a bit long winded because we have to factor in their motor skills, reading skills, and ability to sit still for at least 20 minutes… then I can stretch it to 30 minutes. But what I’m really thinking in my head is, “Now.” Doesn’t really matter if it is the piano or any other instrument. Teach music now. Listen to it, sing songs, clap with rhythms. Because what music does for our brain, is more than just what we hear. It helps our minds to work with others, to start and finish a project, helps our motor skills, our reading skills, the ability to do multiple things at one time, and stimulates parts of the brain that no other activity can reach.

composerisdead2

Okay, there’s my abridged version. Now for what inspired this post. My son received the coolest book for his birthday. The Composer Is Dead by Lemony Snicket. How can you not be intrigued by the somewhat maniacal children’s book title? A captivating mystery which takes the reader on a journey interrogating all its subjects… the orchestra. composerisdead3

The illustrations by Carson Ellis are detailed and thoughtful with perfect artistic lettering. The very clever ending offers lots of wit and charisma with a tinge of deviousness. If you don’t know already, you will learn about the orchestra and all its parts. The music by Nathaniel Stookey is a must-have when reading this book. Ours came with the CD, so make sure yours does as well. I enjoyed the music very much, and can’t read this book without it!

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Before and After: Magazine Rack

BEFORE
magazine rack before

My sister gave me this magazine rack about ten years ago because I just had my magazines in piles everywhere. They’re still in piles, but probably because I hadn’t used the rack in years. After ten years, it has become a little outdated and looks like it belongs in a college dorm room. Rather than throwing it out, I decided that it would be easy to spruce up with a bit of paint and new fabric. I wish that I had found a fabric pattern that was more modern, but this hipster pregnant lady at the fabric store had hoarded seven bolts of fabric. One of which I adored, but she bought the whole roll. Oh well, still like my new and improved rack. My son and I now share it with the books that we read. Re-purposing stuff feels great.

AFTER
magazine rack after

magazine rack after

Okay 2011, Here We Go

I am letting out a deep breath that I have held since December. “hooooooooooooooooo.” The holidays are over and look, still here. It was a fun and eventful 2010 holiday, but let me tell you, I am ready for 2011. 2010 brought good and bad events, so I am looking forward to moving on. A book that always brings a smile to our face (the little one and I), is Leonardo the Terrible Monster. All the books by Mo Willems are fantastic, but Leonardo tugs at my heart. Maybe it’s because when I was a kid, I was the one who couldn’t run fast or was picked near last. I hated raising my hand up in class and dreaded the sound of my name if the teacher called upon me. I tried to be good at sports, but no matter what I did, my head seemed to be the target for flying balls. But, I made good friends along the way, and after going through 2010, I love my friends and family even more. My plea to everyone for 2011 is just to be nicer to one another, because you don’t know when they’ll go. Do I still have an immature sense of humor and act like a butt-head sometimes? Yes. But Leonardo couldn’t let go of all his ways either.

Read: Anthology Magazine

Currently, I am at home most of the time. I watch my little one, I work in my studio, and I bum around at home. If I’m not here, then I’m at the park. I get inspiration from my friends who are A LOT more design savvy than I am when it comes to decorating my home. One of them came out with a new magazine, Anthology. It is beautiful, it is fun, and it inspires the home decorator in all of us! My home is being taken over by baby stuff, but I have reserved one room for me. The living room. Let the decorating begin.
And by the way, Meg… get some sleep!

OMG GOPD

So the other day, my husband walks in with this package and out comes this book. Ladies and gentlemen, this ain’t no ordinary board book. It is a birth announcement from none other, Lisa from Good On Paper. Apparently, because she put in so much work into it, (and didn’t realize that she wouldn’t have that much time after the baby was born…. go figure ;) ), only a few were sent out. I’m amazed that even one was sent out. (Shoot, people were lucky they even got an announcement from us! AND it was late!) So browse through the pictures and “ooooh” and “ahhh” like I did for hours.

Wooden Book

We were in Anthropologie last weekend and check this out, my husband was the one who picked up this book. The illustrations are charming! And then he picked up the book, How To Behave And Why that was right next to it. We were both very tempted to buy that right when baby started fussing… ;)

Write It OR Forget It

I was given this diary by Tamara Shopsin a couple years ago and decided to keep up with it. Now that I’m forgetting everything… like I said in another post (although, I seem to remember that I forget everything, ha.), I thought this would be perfect to write down any “firsts” that our baby has. Only a few lines for each day to fill in, so the commitment is non-threatening. AND, I think it’s so cool that you can see exactly what you did a year or two, or five years ago on the same page.

Check Out Bruno Munari

I’ll be out next week for the Thanksgiving holiday.  First car trip with the baby… uh, hope it goes well!  In the meantime, check out Bruno Munari (1907-1998).  He was an Italian artist and designer.  His children’s books have captured my eyes and will capture your kids eyes as well.  They are simple, provocative, and some are great learning tools for children.  I can’t wait to use Drawing a Tree with our son and learn how to draw a tree together.

How Uncanny

smiles!

OK, so out of all of the books our baby has, he just LOOOOVES Baby Flip-a-Face: Smiles! by SAMi. Something about those bold lines and the contrasts of the colors in the illustrations just grab his attention in an instant.  

I also find it a little uncanny that the “mom and dad” pictures look so much like me and my husband…. weird.

smiles!

The Red Shoes Revisited

the red shoesThis adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen story has been revitalized with stunning illustrations by Sun Young Yoo. The Red Shoes is a typical dark Hans Christian Andersen story, but this one ends well with a positive message.  These labor intensive drawings are exquisite and sure to catch the eye of any child!

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What a Delight

Charley HarperThis is such a neat and delightful coloring book by Charley Harper.  They didn’t have coloring books like this when I was a kid.  It may be a coloring book for kids, but I think I might sneak a few pages to color for myself…hehe.

What a Wonder

wonder bear

wonder bear

Our wonderful sister-in-law gave us this book, Wonder Bear, by Tao Nyeu. It’s a book of illustrations and no words so that your little ones can use their imaginations when marveling at the pictures.

wonder bear

wonder bear

Parents can also make up their own words to the pages to join in on the fun.  I love this colorful book and think it’s a great way to jump start your kids imagination skills.

wonder bear

wonder bear

Baby Footprints

baby foot printWe had no idea what this was when we first opened it.  When we figured it out, we were so excited for the baby to come so that we could use it.  This was designed by Marlies Von Soden and you can get this from the MoMA store.  Inside, there are two foam blocks where you can make an imprint of your baby’s feet.  We were a little nervous at first, but you get the general idea once you’re finished.  Word of Advice – Do this when the baby is sleeping and make sure your hands are steady!baby foot print

baby foot print

baby foot print