Wednesday, July 30, 2008

catholics got nothing on me

I've heard it said that "Catholic guilt" is as bad as it comes, but let me tell ya, Catholics- they got nothin' on me.

I find things to feel guilty about in all areas of life. Religion and house keeping keep me pretty riddled on a constant basis, but five years ago I entered a whole new realm of "mom guilt". It's always something. Either I missed a night brushing his teeth or a let him eat Kraft Macaroni and Cheese twice in one week.

A couple of months ago Thomas started talking. ALL THE TIME. Seriously, the kid can talk a blue streak and then keep going. I never realized how exhausting it is just to listen to someone. My head aches every night by the time he finally nods off to sleep and peace falls over the house like a sweet, soft blanket. And so I feel guilty.

Guilty because I should love to listen to my boy. He is my world. Thing is, right now my world has too much talking going on. Car rides are a exercise in metal control and patience. I just want to scream "Shut Up! For the love of Pete, stop talking! I can't hear myself think!" (By the way, the 'hear myself think' part I got from my own mother).

It was really only a matter of time. I knew I wasn't going to be able to make it through this phase without losing it and today I did. I was cleaning out my pantry, crouched in the crawl space under the stairs, sweating like a pig, trying to organize the cake mixes and Jell-O. Thom was sitting behind me on a bag of flour talk, talk, talking away. And as if it wasn't hot enough in there, Finnigan was panting his hot dog breath over my shoulder assuming that if he looked at me long enough, I'd give him a treat from the shelf. Thom kept asking questions and telling me to look at this or that. I tried to turn around to see what he wanted and I bumped my head hard on the ceiling. I snapped. I yelled at them both to "Get out! Get out! Get out! and don't talk to me until I say!" Thom said, "I just wanted to help you Mom."

Guilt. Guilt. Guilt and shame. So what do I always do when things aren't right in my world? Go shopping. My idea was to take Thom to get Pizza with friends (a lowly make-up gesture) and then stop by to get some jewelry supplies I need for an Etsy order. We did all that, but I also found this.

I know that someday, this boy of mine won't want to talk to me at all. I'll be very sad when that day comes. And guilty, because I complained and yelled when all he wanted was for me to listen.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

hello sam i am

Let me first just say that I realized I have become a true Californian when this morning's earthquake (5.8) caused me no concern, just irritation for making me smudge my mascara.

I have a wonderful friend that just had her second son on Friday. They named him Sam. Good name don't you think? It's a strong name. It says, "I'm capable." Anywho- I crocheted around the edge of two pieces of flannel and embroidered a matching onesie. Because losing the lime light so startling quick can be rather tumultuous for older siblings, we thought we would ease the way with a stuffed sock monkey for older brother Jack. I think he liked it. I have a thing for classic toys. They seem somehow, better, more reliable than the toys kids have now.

If you want to enter the Top Rockstar drawing (see previous post), but don't have a blog or web page, you can also add a link to your My Space page or any other networking site page. Just leave the link in the comments.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

design sunday

Okay, I need to order me up some of these little badges. I think I will sew them onto my bathrobe, next to the grape jelly stain. I thought about getting a canvas tote to sew them onto, but then I would be walking around in public with a breast on my bag. And besides, the breast badge is the one that I think needs a little tweaking ( not that way! get your mind out of the gutter!). What I mean is, here you have a badge for breast feeding and the breast they chose to represent this is still full and pointing up. Some thing's wrong with that.

Motherhood is a thankless pursuit. Reward yourself.

Also, I have decided to extend the Top Rockstar contest (see previous post) until the launch date of September 1st. Below you will find a graphic for you to use as a link in your side bar or main text, so come on people, get blogging!

Friday, July 25, 2008

top rockstar contest

To help promote Top Rockstar, I am running a little contest for the next two weeks. To enter the drawing, you must simply add a link to on your blog or website then leave me the link in the comments of this post. On August 8th, a winner will be chosen at random from all of the entries. The item up for grabs is, of course, a $50 gift certificate to iTunes.

A website like Top Rockstar needs to grow organically, by word of mouth. If you have friends who are into indie music, let them know about. They'll thank you when they win the cash prize.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

the little red hen

One day as the Little Red Hen was scratching in a field, she found a grain of wheat.
"This wheat should be planted," she said. "Who will plant this grain of wheat?"
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
"Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did.
Soon the wheat grew to be tall and yellow.
"The wheat is ripe," said the Little Red Hen. "Who will cut the wheat?"
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
"Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did.
When the wheat was cut, the Little Red Hen said, "Who will thresh the wheat?"
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
"Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did.
When the wheat was threshed, the Little Red Hen said, "Who will take this wheat to the mill?"
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
"Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did.
She took the wheat to the mill and had it ground into flour. Then she said, "Who will make this flour into bread?"
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
"Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did.
She made and baked the bread. Then she said, "Who will eat this bread?"
"Oh! I will," said the Duck.
"And I will," said the Cat.
"And I will," said the Dog.
"No, No!" said the Little Red Hen. "I will do that." And she did.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

the oprah moment

This summer, I am really grappling with trying to find a balance between work and play. The problem I'm having is that sometimes I know I should be playing when I'm working. Case in point- today I really wanted to get my Etsy shop updated with new jewelry and work on a presentation that I am giving to a possible client tomorrow. I wanted to get my work bench organized, but I knew what I should do is take the boy to spend the afternoon in the pool with his cousins who he adores. I knew that I needed to sit in a lawn chair, drink a soda and clap whenever the kids did a trick. And this is what we did, and I totally enjoyed myself. However, I have so many projects I want to do that summertime play has become somewhat of a chore in and of itself.

But I really believe in letting children play creatively. I want Thom to look forward to his Summer break. What I really want is my child's life to be full of enriching activities that help him grow into an interesting, well-rounded individual.

And then there's the work I know I should be doing instead of the work I want to do. Namely, laundry, heinous beast that it is.

I was thinking yesterday as I cleaned out the lint trap to the dryer, that I really live a very mundane life. I make the beds, I do the dishes, I clean out the lint trap. Where's the creativity in that? It didn't help that five minutes earlier, I had rushed the dog to the toilet bowl so he could throw up the grass he ate. (Most of you are probably thinking- ew gross! But the rest of you, who have kids and pets are thinking, damn she's good!) I was really feeling the monotonous life that is the stay-at-home mom's existence.

And then I remembered something. Years ago, I'm talking like maybe fifteen years ago, I saw a story on T.V. about a woman who creates art from dryer lint. That's right, dryer lint. I looked it up on the internet, and I found her right off the bat. Her name is Saira Lloyd and she lives in England. Her whole philosophy is finding beauty in everyday life.

And so, I had a bit of a (forgive the phrase) Oprah moment. I realized that it is high time I started seeing the creativity and beauty in my everyday tasks, after all, this is the life I choose and many people would love to live the life I have.

So tonight, as I cut out biscuits for dinner, I tried to be creative about it. I thought about how I always love to see gleaming crimson jars of strawberry jam stacked on the counter when the canning is done. I thought about a girl I know that makes her living making beds for photo shoots. I can probably do a little better job making the beds look inviting. Living a creative life doesnt just happen. It is going to take work. Work that hopefully won't get put aside while I try to get my other tasks done. Now, please excuse me, I must go change out the laundry and clean up a gorgeous smear of macaroni and cheese.

Monday, July 21, 2008

rising gas, tumbling kids

Bloody Hell. It now costs me a hundred dollars to fill my gas tank. Granted, I drive an SUV (although a small one) when I probably should have bought a Civic. But I hate Civics, and anyway, I buy a lot of plants and crap that takes up space. But this is reedickuloous! I have had thoughts of riding my bike to run my errands. Thing is, where would I put the groceries? In one of those cute little baskets made to fit a chihuahua? That's a no go. And what about the boy? Am I to purchase a kid carrier and chauffeur him around like he's some sort of prince in a rickshaw? At least we wouldn't fight over his window being down. I simply can't take the thumping noise of an open back seat window.

So for now, I guess I'll just cue up my errands and take the gouge at the pump. Drat!

Thom is participating in a tumbling camp this week. I signed him up hoping that he would be returned to me in a near comatose fatigued condition but when I went to pick him up, he bounced up to me with the most absurd grin on his face and announced that he wanted to go to the pool. Drat!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

the scoop on the big party with a side of design sunday

Every summer we host a dinner party for our friends. We haven't had one since we moved into our new house. It takes time to get to know people. For me, it takes a while to make friends. I am, by nature, a shy person. I decided when we moved that it was time for me to break out of my shell, turn over a new leaf, and make a specific effort to form new friendships. It hasn't been easy for me. I have to force myself out of my comfort zone on a regular basis.

But here's the thing- in the last two years, I have met more interesting people than I ever expected. I have become friends with people from all walks of life. There are a few areas where I feel that I have been blessed beyond what I deserve and my friends fall into this category.

I had around forty guests at my party last night. I had friends from England, Australia, Vietnam, Canada and South Africa. I had Catholics, Mormons, Jews and Protestants. I mixed the Democrats with the Republicans in hopes that no one left offended. And to my knowledge, nobody did. My friends mixed and mingled and formed their own new friendships. For me, just watching my friends become friends made it a really fun night.

This year I decided I needed to do more than just a host a party. I solicited handmade items to be raffled off at the end of the evening. I made a couple pieces of jewelry and put together a "box of romance" with about five different gift certificates in it. My sister-in-law of Whatnots jewelry donated a gorgeous necklace that was very popular. I had embroidered items from Deliciousdesigns and a handmade crazy apron from my good friend Jenny. Tami Foulger is starting a small flower design business. She has a background in interior decorating but she has also worked as a florist. She went with me to the flower market and helped me with my center pieces. She also donated this fabulous arrangement to the raffle.

Tami is my pick for Design Sunday. She is really good at non-traditional flower arrangements. She has a great eye for color and texture. If you live in the San Diego area, and are interested in her work, leave a comment and I'll get you her contact information.

After all was said and done, we raised $220 dollars which I will be sending to Craft for China.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

rock on

I have been blessed/cursed with an entrepreneurial husband. Ben and his best friend are forever coming up with new business ideas. Thing is- most of their ideas are really good. They formed a company a few years ago that taught new real estate agents how to understand and fill out the necessary documents when buying or selling property. It went gang busters until the housing market went down the toilet. No more swanky dinners for us. We are back to eating at dives. Oh well.

Anyway- they have a new brain child and they are launching it this week. As I write they are in San Francisco handing out fliers at the American Idol tryouts.

Top Rock Star is an social networking site where aspiring musicians can upload their work and have it judged by their peers. Each month a cash prize is given to the winner in each genre category. That winner then advances to the finals, which take place every six months.

It only costs five bucks a month and you can upload as many songs as you like. If you are a closet rock star, try it out.

Oh, and I'd like to put out a big smooch to my Sugar Daddy in San Fran. Thanks for working so hard so I can live my rock-n-roll life style.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

design sunday

I found Greg Ham's blog on accident and I have been in love with his work ever since. You must go take a look and have a good laugh. I would LOVE to have him animate our family into super heroes.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

fruits of my labor

I came home to 77 degrees and a peach tree full of ripe fruit. It's peach pie for dessert tomorrow!

The nest in my fuschia plant is full of baby birds as is the nest under my bathroom window. They chirp wildly every time a parent arrives with a morsel. I am so glad they have survived. It isn't easy to water around a nest full of chicks.

I picked a couple juicy tomatoes for breakfast tomorrow. Nothing is quite as good as garden grown tomatoes with cottage cheese first thing in the morning. The Kyoho grapes are finally turning purple and will be ready to harvest in just a few weeks.

It feels good to be home.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

in this little house

This modest little home has a great legacy. In 1957, a woman named Naomi Randall was raising her family here. My grandmother and Naomi were both serving on the General Board of the Primary Association in the LDS church. The board asked Naomi to compose a song for the Primary General Conference, and after praying for help to accomplish this task, Naomi awoke in the middle of the night and wrote the words to "I am a Child of God".

This little house sits just up the street and around the corner from my parent's home. Thom and I leave to go home tomorrow and although I am really itching to get back to my work bench and garden, and I am really missing Sugar Daddy, I am always a little sad to leave my home town. I have so much history here. My ancestors were some of the founding families. I am quite sure that "I am a Child of God" was one of the first songs I ever learned.

I Am a Child of God
I am a child of God,
And he has sent me here,
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.
I am a child of God,
And so my needs are great;
Help me to understand his words
Before it grows too late.
I am a child of God.
Rich blessings are in store;
If I but learn to do his will
I'll live with him once more.
I am a child of God.
His promises are sure;
Celestial glory shall be mine
If I can but endure.

FYI: "I am a Child of God" has since been translated into over 90 languages. It is one of the 45 hymns that the church publishes in its basic curriculum sources that are used in areas of the world where the church is new or underdeveloped. Thus, it is typically one of the first hymns that new Latter-Day Saints receive and learn.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

mango and sweet rice

There is a little something that has been brewing lately. Emily Falconbridge and Tara Whitney are two great artists who conspired together to bring eight women to paradise for a week of art and self exploration. The trip is in October. Somehow, I am lucky enough to be going.

We have formed a Yahoo! group to get to know one another. We are strangers all. Hopefully, our internet chatting will make us friends before we leave for our adventure.

I am really looking forward to the inspiration I can glean from this trip. Hopefully, I will return with boundless ideas for new art projects and jewelry pieces.

Mango and sweet rice is a traditional Thai dessert that just happens to be one of my favorite things on the planet. (See recipe in Cucina Chronicles.) Thai food- here I come.

Monday, July 07, 2008


Sugar Daddy likes to say- you can take the girl out of Utah, but you can't take the Utah out of the girl.

We took a picnic up to North Fork Canyon. This is the place I learned to cross country ski when I was a child. This is where I went to Girl's Camp and learned how cruel girls can be to each other. This is land that my father knows like the back of his hand. Today, I took my son there and stood at the waterfall and watched him cry big crocodile tears because we wouldn't let him scale the rock wall. It seems he got a healthy dose of the Campbell gene for outdoor adventure.

I find my western roots are peculating to the surface of my life. I love that there are so many country western stations here. I love that just up the street from my parents house the Barker family still runs a small dairy farm. Although my home town has grown and is no longer the "Mayberry" I once knew, it still has a small town feel. People still smile and wave from their pastures as you drive by.

The Skipping Stone necklace was one of the first things I listed on Etsy. I have sold every one I have listed. I picked up a few stones on our little hike tonight. I can't wait to get home to my work bench to make them into jewelry.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Meet Charley. Charley is two. She likes Otterpops, Cinderella, dancing, books and her older cousin Thomas. She doesn't like to be bossed.

We did all the traditional 4th of July activities and I am still tired. I'll have some photos soon.

We will return to our regularly scheduled program of Design Sunday next week. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

the lost boys

My baby brother turned 26 today. He graduated from college a couple of weeks ago. He still doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up. I just hope he ends up in Carlsbad.

Originally uploaded by secondsister

Thomas, more commonly known as "Lord of the Flies", is seldom seen these days. Standing at the back door of my parents house, I call his name and he appears from seemingly nowhere, a sweaty dirty, mongrel boy. I hope these few weeks as a ferrel child stick in his brain like the memories I have of growing up in the Outback of Australia.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

the things they carried

"And the boy loved the tree very much and the tree was happy." - Shel Silverstein

Boo Radley Necklace

What tiny treasures rattle around in the bottom of your jewelry box? In your travels, have you ever picked up a shell, a cool pop top, a skipping stone? Do you keep your children's teeth as they fall out?

I find that for most of my life I have been a bit of a squirrel. I gather and stash all sorts of tiny things. To me, they are like the crumbs of bread that Hanzel and Gretel dropped to find their way back home. My little treasures lead me mentally back through the years, back to my childhood. When I am old, I will gather up all my whatnots and create the most meaningful work of art. It's on my life list.

A friend of mine suggested I start making a few pieces of jewelry that weren't priced as high as the pieces I have been making. I think it was good advice. Here is a little necklace for only $15.

North Shore Necklace