Thursday, September 30, 2010


Sometimes I really get sick of myself. Or my brand. I guess I should say I get sick of my aesthetic.

I want to be sophisticated. I want to be chic.  At the very least, I want to be interesting.

Today I'm sick of Secondsister. I'm sick of my girl with the birdcage  and I'm sick of my koi fish that I've loved for so long.  His name is Cisco by the way.  Bet you didn't know he had a name.

Anyway, today I want to be someone else.  I want to sell chocolate or vintage items instead of jewelry and doodles. I want to have an office with a fancy little holder for my cards so when people meet me they know exactly who I am and what I do. I want those cards to have scrolls and flourishes.

Tomorrow I will be happy to be Secondsister. But today- today I dream.

P.S.  I also want this hat from Anthropologie.

P.P.S. Dear Brothers Record,
Please do not pee in your pants. I will not require an entire site redo. I won't be rebranding anytime soon. But a girl can dream right? However, don't get too comfy either.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

greetings from my universe

The concert and benefit dinner has taken on a life all it's own. Dare I say it's coming together "organically"?  Oh I'm so clever. The theme is woodland.

Anyway, things are really underway.  My dining room table is command central. Sugar Daddy is a dear sweet man for putting up with all my mess, amongst other reasons.  He just shakes his head and says, "Where do you come up with this stuff?"  I think I really baffle him sometimes. Oh well, that adds to the spice of our life wouldn't you say?

I could try to explain to him just how my mind grasps onto ideas and turns them into something similar or not similar at all.  I could try to describe my creative process, but I fear it would be for naught.  He lives in an entirely different universe with depositions and briefs and evidence.  We both spend a lot of time with paper. The difference is I cut the paper up into to bits and rearrange it.

But here's my best go. This is how I create:

I start with gathering inspiration:

In this case I created a virtual style board from photos I found on the web, some of my own and some sent from friends.

Then I stew and brood until some ideas creep into the corners of my mind.

Then I begin. Usually with paper, fabric, metal, clay or paint.  And I see where it takes me.

Dearest Sugar Daddy,

I fear you will never understand me or the things I do. I know you think me compulsive and at times, harried and driven to distraction, and in this you are correct. But I know you love me the way I am. I'm so glad the edges of our universes touch to create this wonderful, crazy family of ours.

P.S. Did I mention Mindy Gledhill is coming? Have I mentioned that? She is. Mindy is coming to sing in my backyard. She's coming. I can't believe it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

granny chic scalloped bracelets

Having two babies has taught me to plan ahead. For the most part anyway.  I still leave the house without an extra diaper on occasion, which baffles me. You'd think I'd have the kid stuff down to a science. I don't.

But I am planning ahead for Christmas.  I'm already looking at different gifts I'd like to get for people. I'm thinking about what I might like to make the neighbors.  I'm keeping my eyes open for a cute stocking for Frankie Valentine.

And I've started making gifts for girlfriends.  Which brings us to today's topic.  Crocheted bangles.  They are granny chic. They can be made quickly. They are seriously the easiest, cutest handmade gift around. 

What you will need:

* small crochet needle (2.10mm-2.27mm)
* cotton pearl embroidery thread (I like Valdani, or you can often find DMC in your local craft store)
* thin metal bangles or hoops (round works the best)
* jewelers glue or super glue

Now as you all know, I suck at writing patterns. However, I can tell you that all you need to do to make these darling scalloped bangles is to single crochet around the bracelet until the metal is completely covered. Then, to create the scallops, chain seven, skip five stitches, single crochet and repeat until you have gone all the way around. Tie off and put a small dab of glue to secure the knot.

I own one pair of hoops and these are it. I love them. Same pattern, just on a smaller scale.

I worked up a lavender pair for a teacher gift.

For a seasoned crocheter, these bracelets can be made lickity-split. If you have the know how, you can change the pattern to make shells or something else fancy. For the beginner they might take a little finesse, but they are totally doable.  I dream of wearing ten or more on one arm. They would make a gorgeous statement piece. They are like friendship bracelets- for adults.

Oh and last but not least? Presentation is everything. Brown craft jewelry boxes can be found without too much effort.  Add a little lace and ribbon a you have yourself a seriously awesome handmade gift.

Friday, September 24, 2010

fortuity and the rise of frankie valentine

The strangest thing happens to me all the time. I'll meet someone, say a friend of a friend, and the first words out of their mouth are "Oh you're the girl that adopted two babies! Aren't they, like, under a year apart?" And I say, "Yes, yes that's me. And yes they are."

So now let me tell you why this strikes me as strange because you are probably sitting there thinking, well you are the girl who adopted two babies in under a year. What gives?

It's strange because I don't define myself that way at all. I can go for days, nay, weeks and not think about my children being adopted. People don't stare at us in public because we aren't the same color. They stare because we are a circus to behold.  I'm rarely reminded in my daily life that I didn't birth my babies.  

And that is why I find it very curious that other people hold onto that fact. It doesn't offend me in the least.  I don't expect other people to know the true nature of adoption until they have experienced it firsthand.  It's a spiritual concept that must be learned.  I just wish that if people are going to talk about me, and tell my story, could they also throw in that I make jewelry and do illustrations? Maybe pass out a business card or two?

I love that my babies are adopted. Truly.  What fortune our family has had! To most of the world, adoption might seem like a second choice option, but for those of us who have found our kids through atypical ways, we marvel at our good fortune to have been given a wondrous gift. The journey to adopt a child is a real life adventure tale, with magic and monsters and all sorts of battles.  To triumph at the end of the sojourn is the most amazing, relieving, incredible experience. Everyone should know such happiness.

On October 12th we will finalize Henry's adoption.  It seems like such a trivial thing. It only takes ten minutes before a judge.  It's hardly a blip on our family's lifeline. But it means that we can write the last page of our adventure tale and start a new story.

Speaking of stories, here's a true one: On the way to the hospital to see Henry for the very first time we had to pull over so I could throw up.

It was a mixture of medicine-induced nausea and panic over the thought that I might look at this tiny little boy and know that he wasn't mine.  We all know that isn't what happened. Seeing Henry for the first time was like looking at my own hands. He was mine in every way. Happy ending.

Everyday he changes and becomes more of a little person.  He has a scratchy little voice and a rather square head. He's the happiest baby I've known.

Here's another true story: When she was little, my mother-in-law lived next door  to a boy named Frankie Valentine.  She told me about Frankie and how years later, while walking through her living room, she caught sight of Frankie on T.V. He was all grown up, but it was him alright. He was a police officer.

Ever since I heard that story I can't look at Henry and not call him Frankie Valentine.

It's the perfect name for him. Half Baby Face mobster, half Eddie Munster.  All sweetheart.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

bath tub season is now open

It's officially bathtub season in case you weren't aware. Three cold evenings in a row? Yep. It's here.

I'm one of those people who tends to be cold more often than not.  My husband thinks what I wear to bed is designed to lower the romance level to zilch. But the truth is I'm just cold. I have no qualms acknowledging that I'm a weather whimp.  How many times do I have to tell people, I know I live in Southern California but I'm still cold? Get over it already. The beach isn't always sunny.

The sure fire way to warm up before bed is a hot bath.  One of my life list items is to own a claw foot tub.  Sadly none of these bathrooms belong to me.  I could lie and say I did own one, but I'm a bad liar but I'm a guilty liar. The guilt just eats me up. But I do aspire to own a bathroom like one of these.

Oh the time I could spend in there!  Ben would have to pull me out, naked, kicking and screaming to go to church or take the kids to school. 

That wouldn't be pretty. No, not at all.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Yesterday I made the best damn dessert I've had in ages. Yes I do say so myself.

Warm applesauce with whipped cream. That's it. I know. It sounds so very simple. So pedestrian. But let me tell you, it warmed my belly and my heart. And my family nearly gave me a medal.

I got the idea from my friend Jen Vu who is a wonderful cook. Here's what you do:

Peel and quarter as many apples as will fit in your crock pot. You must use a crock pot because then the apples cook all day and your house smells like heaven and you find yourself happy even while folding laundry and thinking that you have the coziest house around.

The best apple sauce is made with a mixture of different types of apples. I used pink ladies, red delicious and gala. Before you put your apples in the crock pot, give them a spritz of lemon juice to keep them from going brown. I stuck a cinnamon stick and several Tahitian vanilla beans down into the apples and put in a few tablespoons of water. No need for sugar my friends. As my mother likes to say, "apples are nature's candy". I didn't buy it as a kid, but after you taste fresh homemade applesauce you will agree.

Let it cook all day. I set my crock for 10 hours but they were done in 7. The apples are done when you can smash them with your potato masher.

Smash them up good and serve warm, in a lovely dish, with a big ol' dollop of whip cream melting on the top.

Be ready to lap up rare moment when your children think you are wonderful and your husband gives you the look. You know the one. What's that they say? The way to a man's heart...

Gemütlichkeit  is a German abstract noun that has been adopted into English. Its closest equivalent is the word "coziness"; however, rather than merely describing a place that is compact, well-heated and nicely furnished (a cozy room, a cozy flat), Gemütlichkeit connotes the notion of belonging, social acceptance, cheerfulness, the absence of anything hectic and the opportunity to spend quality time.

Monday, September 20, 2010

last call

Okay guys. This is the last call for those Southern California peeps who want an invited to the benefit dinner with Mindy Gledhill on October 9th.  She will be performing songs from her new album Anchor.  We are asking for a twenty dollar donation per couple that will go to help a family who lost their father last July.

If you want an invite, you need to contact me asap with your address and I will send you an invite.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

beauty and the creep

My husband is a wonderful teacher. I marvel at how he seems to be able to pull a lesson together out of nowhere and how he finds answers to Thom's complicated questions.

I suck at teaching, but it turns out I'm pretty good at teaching those that don't really need to be taught.

Being a teacher at Spark was amazing and humbling.  The art that was made in my class dumbfounded me. Hardly anyone made collages similar to my own. The diversity was a small glance into just how different each person is from the next.

This piece was done by Jasmine Bailey-Barfuss.  Jasmine is one of those people that is so beautiful they take you off guard and you want to just stare at them and take it all in, but you can't because your an adult, so you try to be sneaky and stare at them while they aren't looking.  After all, you don't want to be creepy.

That's how it was with Jasmine. And then she opened her mouth and I knew she was just as beautiful and interesting on the inside.  At this point I started scouting out hiding places because I felt totally under-qualified to be teaching anything to anybody,  especially the likes of this girl.

I could go on and on about how much I adore Jasmine, but I think I'll just let you decide for yourself.  I will feel a whole lot less creepy when everyone else is in love with her too.

Here's the link to her Etsy shop.

Here's the link to the most touching blog post ever written.

Here's the link to her blog so you can see her many talents and stare as long as you like at her photos.

Don't worry, she's not looking.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

spark through jefra's lens

These photos were taken by the uber talented Jefra Linn. Check out her work. She rocks.

And last but not least, Mindy, our super star. The cherry on the top of the Spark cake.  The darling of the event.  I'm going to let you in on a little secret. If you live in the So. California area and you would like to see Mindy perform, you have a chance. She is going to be coming to sing at a benefit dinner I am hosting in October. If you are interested in attending, please contact me and I will send you the details.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

gimme a scollar hollar

1. white chenielle scollar, 2. Aqua cordoroy scollar, 3. chocolate wool scollar, 4. Black chenielle scollar, 5. Printed Linen scollar, 6. Teal chenielle scollar, 7. black and white chenielle, 8. Moss chenielle scollar, 9. Chocolate and grey scollar

Okay girlies, and some husbands. (I learned this last weekend that some husbands read my blog.  It makes me oh so happy and a little embarrassed at the same time. I mean, I've talked about my boobs and everything.  Sheesh.)

Here is what I have to sale by way of scollars.  Some of my favorite pieces sold and I plan to remake them in all my spare time. But until then, there are some great pieces left to buy.  They vary in price depending on what I used. Some have vintage brooches and silk, others have cashmere. They start at $35 and go up.

If you want one, first off please know you are a fashion forward individual. Kudos for your good taste.  After you blow a few French air kisses to yourself, shoot me an email and let me know the piece you would like and I'll send you the price and reserve it for you if you decide to buy.

I'm seriously so excited about my scollars. They look so cute worn with a sweater or over a coat.  They are just chic. Plain and simple. And wouldn't you just agree?

Here's to fabulous Fall fashion! I can't get enough of it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

heart of india

And now, as promised, I give you the
Secondsister Winter Collection 2010:
The Heart of India

If you see something you would like to purchase, please go to my Flickr page and find the item you would like. It will have a number. Email me and let me know which piece you want. I will respond as fast as possible and let you know the price.

I will start loading my Winter Collection into the shop on Thursday. If you want something reserved, please let me know by then or who knows, I might get lucky and everything will fly out of the shop within a few days.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

i do, over and over again

I can't remember where I got this photo, but I do remember reading that it was a wedding dress and the bride crocheted it herself.  Isn't is amazing?  It steals my breath away and wish I could get married again and wear one just like it.

Which I would do a million times over if I believed in it.  I'm one who tries to live up to my wedding vows everyday, hoping they won't fad over time.  The original promises I made are graffitied all over my heart.

I married Sugar Daddy sixteen years ago.  We were young and stupid and crazy in love.  Most of all, we were blessed to find each other. I'd say it was dumb luck but I know better.

I've had my struggles in life.  I've been down and out and so poor I had to eat canned pineapple for an entire week until the pay check came.  I've seen some sadness and weathered some storms.  I have some scars.

But. Here's where I'm so very very blessed: I've never not been absolutely head over heels in love with my husband.  It's an amazing gift. I stand all amazed most days at my good fortune to have married the very person I would choose every time to be in the fox hole with, no matter the battle.

Oh sure we have our fights and disagreements.  He wishes I wasn't directionally challenged. I take issue with sweaty running clothes dropped on the floor and stinky yerba maté  cups in the sink.

We needle each other out of spite or boredom. We mutter sarcastic remarks under our breath.  We play ro-sham-bo over diaper changes and bedtime chores.  We both think the other has a poor memory.

But at the end of the day, even if I'm irritated and out of sorts with him, I want to cuddle up to my husband.  I want to smell his neck and put my hand on his cool cheek. I want to fall asleep with the comforting heft of him on my right side, listening to his deep bear breaths.

I'm crazy about Sugar Daddy. He's my Clark Kent. And there's not a thing known to man that can change that.

Lucky, lucky me.

Monday, September 13, 2010

still buzzin

All photos by Collin Kartchner

Is it really over?

I still feel the magic buzzing in my head.

I still have so much to say to my new friends.

Just one more trip to the Spark Snack bar please.

Just one more class of bubbly women getting paint on their hands please.

Just one more song from Mindy Gledhill pa-leeeese.

Alas, it's over. So much hard work for just two days.

Two days that make it all worth it.

If you were there please friend me on Facebook. I want to stay in touch.  If you weren't there, you might want to start saving for next year.

Spark is pure magic. Undeniable.

I personally didn't have time to take photos at Spark this year so I started a Spark Flickr group so I can see what everyone else captured.  Please join and share.

Now to the winner of the needle keeper. The random number picker chose number five which is Tracy of It's my Life. Congratulations Tracy! Send me your address!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

the mascara effect

My mother believes that a little mascara can cure anything.

Stomach flu? "Put on a little mascara honey, you'll feel a lot better."

Broken heart? "Oh go fix up a little with some mascara and things will seem better."

Nine months pregnant with three chins and cankles? "If you put on a little mascara and run a brush through your hair you'd feel more like going out."

My mother truly thinks that mascara is the cure-all. And I have come to love that about her. It's one of the little idiosyncrasies that makes her my mom.

I'm telling you this to make a point. And the point is this: a little cuteness never hurt anybody.

Spark is happening. This weekend.  I've been working like a mad dog. My eyes are boggled and my fingers are sore.  I think I'm ready.

It's been a long haul, but I'm lucky in that I get to work in my studio which is filled with everything I love.  Cuteness abounds.

Not too long ago I bought a little needle holder from My Friend Amy to keep track of all the wicked sharp needles that have made my fingers so very sore.  I named her Lucy. She has red hair and green eyes and she likes peter pan collars. She's a mini me and she makes my sore fingers feel just a little bit better looking at her.

The Amy behind My Friend Amy is a girl who left a corporate job to spend more time with her family. My kind of gal. She makes all sorts of fun little do-dads but needle keepers and tinker spool dolls are her specialty. The fun thing about these little dolls is that you can use them for so many things. They can hold needles, pencil lead, pills, beads, toothpicks or just about any tiny thing you need to keep track of in your purse.

Amy is giving away one of her needle keeper dolls right here on Suaviloquy. See the photo above? That's the cutie up for grabs. If you would like to enter to win you must leave a comment. I want to hear what you do to make life just a little easier to take when the chips are down.

And please click on over to Amy's shop. It's a charming little place to visit, and you might just find your mini me.

P.S. Did you notice that Lucy is yet again, another wooden doll? I just. can't. help. myself.

P.P.S. I'm going off the grid for the rest of the week. I'll miss you all like mad, but this girl's taking her show on the road. I will return and report next Monday with all the Spark details and the lucky, lucky winner of the needle keeper.

Friday, September 03, 2010

the project

Simply put, I think that Mindy Gledhill's new album "Anchor" is the best album I have heard in a very long time.  I used to wait with baited breath for Ben Folds to release his albums. Then more recently I have been anxious for Ingrid Michaelson to put out new stuff.  I had a short love affair with The Weepies and Josh Ritter still makes me sway, but lately, more often than not, you can find me driving car pool, singing along with Mindy at the top of my lungs.

So imagine, just imagine, what I said when she asked me to do some illustrations for her music video.

Hell to the yes. That's what I said. And oh. my word.

After waiting for what seems like forever, I finally get to reveal this little project that has been like pink frosting on my life.

With a cherry and sprinkles. You know the ones. I think they are called nonpareils, which is a French word, so they must come from France. The tiny colorful ones, but, oh just watch the video.

Thanks Mindy, you make my world that much better by being you.

You can purchase "Anchor" and the rest of the album on iTunes, or buy the CD here.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

a room of ones own

Growing up I always shared a bedroom.  We had two twin beds, a nightstand and one dresser. Her side was tidy, mine a mess.  When we fought a line was drawn down the center of the room, which was problematic for the person without a door, but which never lasted too long. Especially if the doorless girl had to go to the bathroom.

When my older sister Heidi moved out, I had my own room for a year or so.  I thought it would be heaven, but alas, sometimes it's nice to have a bed fellow. Like on Christmas eve and when you get home from a really good date. A girl needs to talk about things.

Now I, of course, share a room with Sugar Daddy and I can honestly say that I never, ever, want my own bedroom.

I finished my studio exactly one week before Henry was born. We didn't think we would be needing that last bedroom.  When you make plans for your life, God laughs.

Henry's crib is in our bedroom.  He's nearly six months old and he really should be in his own space.  But oh how I love my room!  I love to sit at my work bench in the late afternoon, when the sun streams in. The whole room glows a warm pale blue. I open the windows for the evening breeze and my butterfly chandelier rustles and sways.  Everywhere I look there are things I love, things that inspire me. I keep a stash of chocolate and mint gum stowed away in the cabinet and it makes the whole room smell like a peppermint patty. I tell ya, it's my happy place.

Eventually, I am going to have to move my studio. We are talking about what we could do.  The Boy's room isn't big enough for two beds. The Bird wouldn't sleep if Henry was in with her. We will need the last room.


After one has had a room of one's own, it's awfully hard to give it up.  But maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to recreate my little utopia somewhere else.

Stay tuned.


Also, you should know that seven years ago today, my son Thomas was born.  He looked like an old Jewish man. He only weighed five and half pounds.  He was nothing like I had imagined but all that I had hoped for.  Everyday he says something funny. Everyday he gives me a look that says, "I love you Mom." Everyday I fall in love with him just a little bit more.

Friday night is the birthday party. There will be hyper boys in pajamas. There will be video games. There will be shave ice. There will be potty humor.

And I couldn't be more happy about that.