How to Sew a Button
How to Sew a Button

Grandpas & Friends on Fox

January 17th, 2011

Yesterday, Grandpa Kelly, Grandpa Toth and I made our debut on Fox & Friends talk show to discuss How to Build a Fire. Here’s a super lo-fi clip of our segment.

After the show, the grandpas, their lovely wives, and I posed with the hosts for this photo.

And here I am with Grandpas Joe Toth (left) and Bob Kelly (right) in the green room, post-show. They were such charmers that after our segment, they were even asked for their autographs!

It was such a fun morning! A huge thank you to the grandfathers and their families, Sandra Kelly, Frances Toth, and Tracy Deluca Morgan for taking these great photos and making the trip to the Big Apple for the day!



Happy New Year!

January 2nd, 2011

Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays! Me? I ate way too many cookies, sipped hot chocolate in a ski lodge, spent some quality time with my family (near and far), and now I’m back in Brooklyn, feeling utterly grateful for my life.

2011 is off to a great start, too! This morning, I appeared on NPR’s Weekend Edition, which was a blast. I got to talk about all the amazing grandfathers I interviewed for the book, and then Liane Hansen even bestowed upon me the great honor of reading off the prizes for Will Shortz’s Sunday Puzzle. Click here to listen to my segment (or to just read the transcript).

After my interview aired (and also, I have to admit, as I was clicking refresh on my book’s Amazon sales ranking), something really important happened. I got an email through Facebook from a woman named Kerstin Stock, who lives in Denver, Colorado. She wrote:

“I just heard your interview on NPR and find myself in tears. My father had me and my brother a little later in life (for his generation.) I am 35 and find myself maintaining my 82 year old father. Your interview reminded me of the wonderful lessons that he has given me instead of the many frustrations that currently dominate our reality. Thank you for this Sunday morning blast of emotional awareness, I am really looking forward to your book. Happy New Year.”

Walter and Kerstin Stock

So thanks, Kerstin and Walter, for reminding me of what’s really important. After the excitement of being on the radio dies down, your story is the one I will take away from this day. Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!

Twitter is on Fire!

December 15th, 2010

Last night, something wonderful happened on twitter. After WNYC’s Brian Lehrer asked his listeners to share stories about their grandfathers, a friend joined in, tweeted about what her grandfather taught her and encouraged everyone else to share. By the end of the night, there were hundreds of tweets with the hashtag #howtobuildafire. Some were really sweet, some funny, some a little heartbreaking. Here are a few:

“My Dido taught me that sometimes those who talk least say the most & to always keep a 2nd fridge in the house just for beer.” -@NatalieOksana

“My grandpa taught me that when the fish call, you don’t let a little thing like cancer get in the way.” -@denise_hinson

“My other grandpa taught me that you’re never too old to pinch your wife’s behind and call her gorgeous.” -@jabrockmole

There are now almost 300 tweets about grandfathers, with the tag #howtobuildafire.  If you search the hashtag, you can read them all. In case you’re not on twitter, you can see some here.

I woke up this morning, and people are still sharing. The best part of writing  this book (besides the grandpas in the book): Now other people are remembering their own grandfathers. Like another friend on twitter said:

“I’ll be sure the stories I’ve heard about the grandpa I never knew will be told to his great-grandchildren.” -@jbbmegan

Keep it going!



Meet me at the Bust Craftacular

December 12th, 2010

Hey New Yorkers! I’ll be at the Bust Craftacular today from 11 to 2PM, signing copies of How to Build a Fire and How to Sew a Button. Please swing by, say hello and pick up a free pack of firestarters!

Feel smarter in 90 seconds

November 12th, 2010

Check out my new video for How to Build a Fire, featuring some of the best (and funniest) advice from grandfathers.


Cracklin’ Hot New Video

October 28th, 2010

This past summer, I perfected (well, almost) my fire-building skills on the shore of Lake Erie, and while I was at it, I made this little how-to video for you. If you’re anything like me, you’ll start drooling at about the two-minute mark.


Celebrate Summer with Dandelion Wine

July 11th, 2010

I’ve waited all summer to taste this batch of homemade Dandelion Wine, and man o man, is it good! Watch the slightly goofy video below to learn how to make your own (and then invite me over, please).

Gone Fishin’

July 10th, 2010

Yep, I think I’ve finally mastered the tip on how to catch a fish for my next book, How to Build a Fire: And Other Handy Things Your Grandfather Knew. Hope you’re enjoying your summer, too!

Everybody loves pasties!

April 22nd, 2010

Holy cow! I about died when I opened this month’s issue of Real Simple. Guess whose smiling mug is you’ll see on page 237? Mine! And my mom’s! A few months ago, we were invited to share our family recipe for a pasty, which is basically beef, onions and potatoes wrapped in a pie crust. This recipe has passed down through the women in my family for generations.

We had so much fun together at the shoot. Notice how nice my mom’s pasties look in the photo below. Then, look how long and weird mine looks.


And now, look at the gorgeous one the food stylists made.

meat-potato_300I guess the great thing about the pasty, much like the great thing about pies or really any homecooked meal, is that it doesn’t really matter how pretty it looks. It  always tastes good. I like poking a little hole in the top of my pasty and pouring in some melted butter before eating it.

A few days after the issue came out, I got this sweet email through facebook from a woman named Gail Higgins Ledin. Here’s what she wrote:

“I am on my lunch hour in Minnesota, picked up the REAL SIMPLE magazine to read, as I saw “Just Like Mom Made” on the cover. I was so curious what the recipes were… Pasties are one of my BEST childhood memories with my grandmother. My grandfather came from Cornwall to Michigan, and then lived in Northern Minnesota. He and his father were both Miners, and of course Pasties were eaten during their lunches. How fun to read your article!…When you know about pasties, you LOVE them!”

So true! Here’s the pasty recipe, if you’d like to try it tonight. What recipes have been passed down through your family? Do tell!



The Luckiest Ride on the Lower East Side

March 26th, 2010

I’ve heard of guerilla knitting—anonymous crafters will leave knitted graffiti in public places—but I’ve never seen it until last night. I’m not sure what my grandmother would’ve thought of this bicycle, but I think it looks like one sweet ride.


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