Thursday, March 31, 2011

dream big

Okay so the April wall paper I made doesn't even have "April" anywhere on it.  Whatever. Enjoy.

I turn 37 tomorrow. I don't like the number 37. Not one bit.  I don't mind getting older, it's just that 37 is such an ugly number.  Not that I feel that strongly about numbers, but thrity-seven? Blah.

But I'm declaring April the month of April, as in me.  I'm gunna lose a few pounds, I just know it.  My head if filled to the brim with creative ideas.  April is the month to execute them.  I'm going to try to tell my children yes more often.  I'm going to stay on top of the laundry.  

I'm dreamin' big girls.

Maybe you are too?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I have come to believe that I am a fearful person.  Not a worrier per say. Fearful.

I have a lot of special types of fears in my life. Take for example my constant fear of being hit in the face.  This is a fear founded in real life experience.  My babies regularly whack me in the face with toys and books. And on more than one occasion they have bucked and the special hard spot on the back of their cranium has smashed my perpendicular plate of the ethmoid bone (looked that one up, a girl likes to know what exactly has been crushed in her face).

The pain of having a hard little head crash into your nose is acute.  It brings tears to your eyes and swears to your lips.

So I live my life with something akin to post traumatic disorder. Constantly flinching when I catch a swift movement in my peripheral vision.

And there's the goo factor.  I live in constant fear of what goo I might encounter.  Coming across a wet patch of carpet makes me shudder. There's no telling what it might be.  If I'm lucky it's just a pool of spit. That's if I'm lucky.

I also have the special fear called nudophobia.  Fear of being nude in public.  Most phobias are unfounded, but mine is not.  My children consider my clothing to be scaffolding.  My neckline is the go-to grip used to hoist themselves up.  If I wear a skirt, they think I have a brought along an extra blanket for them to pull over their heads.  I am forever checking to make sure my boobs aren't exposed and my butt is covered.

So when I say I'm a fearful person, you can see, I'm not just blowin' smoke. 

I got issues people.

I'm planning on a lot of therapy later in life.

P.S. It's been really warm and the caged animals have been let out.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

spark 2011

Okay folks.

Big announcement.

If you have followed me longer than a year you know that I have taught at Spark for the past couple years.  This year I am going to be a creative partner with Margie Romney-Aslett, Christy Thomlinson and Alisa Holland

We have started planning this year's event and let me just say, it's going to be amazing.  I am so excited about the look and feel we have created.  The teachers are going to be unique and fun.  There will be many different types of classes going on. We are trying to broaden our scope regarding creativity. Amy Dalley will be making sure the food is fab.  The decor will be, as in year's past, magical.

I will probably be mentioning Spark quite a bit here on my little piece of cyber space.  It's going to consume a fair amount of my life.  I feel honored to be working with the creative woman partnering in Spark.  They are all amazing, bright, kind people.

I feel lucky to be a part of Spark.  

I want to personally invite you to come along with me.

Registration opens April 1st.

Monday, March 28, 2011

frankie's high seas birthday

Henry's first birthday was a handmade affair.  We kept the guest list small so we could make each person feel welcomed and special.  The invitations were created using Paper Source products and hand carved stamps. I used twine from The Twinery on the invites and the favor bags.  The ship on the cake was made of paper mache wood and fabric. I got inspiration from the whimsical ships of Ann Wood.  You can view full sized photos of the party on my Flickr.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Well it's back to our regularly scheduled program.  The grumps are gone. I'm my snarky old self again.

I'm working on the big birthday party today.  I will have pics to share on Monday.

Here are some fun things for you to think about this weekend.

A gorgeous iPhone case.
The cute couple at Vintage Restoration paint old furniture and make it great again.
When I move my studio the new floor will look just like this.
Have I ever told you how much I love the accordion and how the girls in this video are too cool for school?
My kitchen needs this.
My body needs to fit into this.
Really want to find time to make this.

And two babies in a bucket make me happy.

Okay my darlings, that's all for today. So much to do. Party planning is fun fun fun.

Have a fab weekend.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

where the sun don't shine

It's cold and wet again. And I'm in a surly mood.

I'm in the kind of mood when you just say "eff it" and eat a bunch of chocolate and junk.

Then you feel even worse.

Nothing serious. Just the grumps.  It'll pass.

In the meantime, here's a playlist for your listening pleasure.  Music mavens that make me feel better when I get a bad case of the pissies.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

a dog with a stick

I'm going to admit something here that a few of you might find shameful.  

Whenever a news report comes on about the devastation in Japan I turn it off. I turn away.  

I don't let myself think about the people who are suffering. It's a totally selfish thing on my part and I know it.  It's just that there has been a fair amount of sadness happening to people close to me.  Sometimes I feel like I can only allow so much sadness in.  There's a tipping point when I become overwhelmed.  

Right now I feel that my efforts are best spent helping those standing before me.  So I change the channel.

But yesterday I listened. Just for a while.  I heard the story of Taylor Anderson, an American girl, who was only 24. Taylor taught elementary school in Ishinomaki.  When the earthquake hit, she made sure all the children where picked up safely by their parents before she left.  She was last seen riding her bike down the road, away from the school.  Her body was found some days later.

Taylor Anderson

So as I was driving and listening it all came home to roost.  The loss. The devastation.  The despair.  Taylor's mother.

I choked up. Couldn't breath.

At this moment, when I was beginning to think that the world was all a big piece of crap, with terrible happenings to everyone, all the time, I happened to glance over and see a woman walking her dog.

He was a big fat black labrador retriever.  And he had a huge stick in his mouth.  The stick was probably three times as long as his body and had lots of branches jetting out all over it.  He could barely weld such an unruly prize, but the pure joy written across his face was plain as day.  The curve at the corners of his lips and the twinkle in his eye were so completely infectious that I loss my train of thought and began to smile.

His tail was wagging a million miles a minute, causing his entire back end sway,  which made it even harder for him to lug the stick. But oh he was a happy dog. A dog with a stick.

And in that moment I was reminded of a life truth.  We must live in the moment. We must enjoy today.

Crap happens everyday.  Small inconveniences. Tragic occurrences.   No one is immune.

But we have a choice.  If we are given something unruly to bear we can lay down and whine or we can smile and wag our tail and lug that damn trial around until it is taken away.

Sometimes I hate my dog Finn.  But I think I will keep him around because dogs have a way to teaching you stuff.

Like how to be happy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

the art of living with caged animals

It's been raining.  Which is really good for the plants, but not so good for me.

The rain makes me feel like a complete blob of laziness.  I want to crawl back into bed with an old black and white movie and Milkduds.  And please don't bother me you needy children.

The rain also turns my kids into little crazed varmints.  Which in turn makes me want to flee the house.

It's an ugly business.  Rainy days.

Yesterday, the babies decided if they weren't allowed to go out, they would make as much noise as humanly possible.

They banged silverware on the tile. They screamed bloody murder at nap time. Birdie gave us a nice, albeit, very loud rendition of "Oh No".  A little known classic.

At three-thirty I realized I was pacing. Frantic, really to get out.  But there was nowhere dry to go. So I unloaded the dishwasher and changed wet diapers and sat slumped on the couch trying to tune out all the noise.

It turns out there is no art to living with caged animals.

Like I said, it's an ugly business.

Monday, March 21, 2011

bionic blather

The problem is that really great clothes just don't look the same when you have a muffin top.  This is what motivates me. Fashion. Shallow? I don't really care.

I have been a very good girl. I haven't missed a workout.  I did have some sweets yesterday but they were of the most delectable type that are worth every calorie.  Besides, this is a lifestyle change for me, not a diet. And my lifestyle will always include delectables.

When the Boy was two I ran a marathon.  Here's the problem with running marathons (other than blood in your pee and your toenails falling off): After the marathon you are used to eating what ever you like.  So you eat all this stuff but you aren't training any more so you don't burn off the calories.  It really sucks.

Thus the muffin top.

But I do have good news. I have had two, count them, two days where I felt like my old self again.  My energy was back and I felt really good.  It's not a lot, but it gives me hope that the good doctor might be worth his weight in beans.

So I'm starting to feel good and bionic and all.  But I am in desperate need of some good tuneage.  This is where you come in.

What songs do you have on your workout playlist?  Don't be shy. I'm am an admitted music snob, except for workout music.  Bring on the 80's hairbands, show tunes, teeny bopper jive, rap, whatever.  Really.  

Saturday, March 19, 2011

happy birthday frankie valentine

You know the opening part of the movie Superman when the special space pod with baby Superman inside comes crashing down to Earth and scares the hell out of his adoptive parents?

That's how Henry arrived in our lives.  Not in a space pod, per say. But he did come crashing into our family like a bullet.

One year ago, I went to bed on March 18th the mother of two children and woke up on March 19th as the mother of three.  I had learned of Henry's birth at around one in the morning.  To say I was scared is a huge understatement.  Amelie was only ten months old.  I was beside myself.

And the Sugar Daddy was in Taipei.  

Holy smokes.  When I think back to that time all the emotion comes back to me. Even now, as I write, I feel the tightening in my chest.

I wish I had known what I know now.  I wish I could have foreseen the enormous joy that a four pound baby boy was capable of bringing into my life.

If Birdie is the cayenne pepper in our family, Frankie is the vanilla sugar.  He is the sweetest child I have ever met.  That sounds a little dramatic, but its completely true.  He was born with the kind of personality that makes you happy to just be around him.  I think he got the charisma that I always wanted to have myself.

God has never let us have any say in when our children joined our family. He likes to surprise us. Big  time.  We thought our third child would be coming from China. 

I never would have been able to imagine that a super baby would come barreling into our life from out of nowhere and inject our family with sweetness. 

Today, Henry turned one. We had a mini birthday with cupcakes. The big birthday party is planned for next Saturday when the Sugar Daddy is back in town.  When I put Henry in his crib to go to bed tonight he smiled at me and kicked his feet.  I stroked his hair and cried.

How did I get so lucky?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

i'm scottish

My mother used to pack me an entirely green lunch on St. Patrick's Day.  I loved this. Even as a senior in high school.  I was never too cool for my mom's lunches. For me, comfort always trumps cool.  That's why you may see me running errands in yoga pants and purple Crocs.  So uncool, I know. But, meh, whatever.  I blend. I live in a surf town. I once saw swimsuits under Easter dresses at church. True story. 

My mom also cooked corned beef and cabbage on St. Patty's.  This I didn't love so much.  Who was the Irish bloke that decided that turning a roast into a salt lick was a good idea? Riddle me that.

And now it seems the Sugar Daddy is leaving me for a few days. And on St. Patty's! Not that it matters all that much. St. Patty's I mean.  Alas, I am Scottish. I don't make green lunches or corned beef.  I don't drink beer or go around kissing any greasy old stone.

 I do pinch bums though.

My mother is French Canadian but she fully embraces the Irish and anyone else who wants to start a holiday.  If you are wondering, I could also claim to be half French Canadian, but I've always associated more with my Scottish roots.  I feel like a Scott.  Which is my dad's first name for the record.

Not that I spend that much time thinking about all this anyway.  I mean really. This is America. We are pretty much all mutts, except Andre the Greek. He's purebred. Not to be confused with noble.

So I'm on my own with this pack of heathen children.  Don't expect me to get out of my yoga pants all weekend. Or brush my hair.

We aren't sure about Frankie's ancestral heritage but he does believe in kissing stones. I'm supportive of this decision as long as there isn't bird poop on the rock.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

a word?

A word about craftsmanship, if you will?

First, I feel very strongly about it.

Secondly, I will pay for it.

Finally, true craftsmen will always find a place in my heart.

Also this:

A word about the revival of facial hair in indie artists.

What gives?

Oh and this:

The Sugar Daddy has grown a beard and claims that it won't be cut until after he runs the Moab Half next weekend.

The only thing he is crafting at the moment are briefs*. And I don't mean quality underpants.

He looks sexy but his face feels like a badger's butt.  (Not that I go around feeling up badgers. It's just an expression.)

*Boring legal documents.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Janie Jackaroo

I've started the work.

I'm going home to my roots.

I'm studying my turquoise stones wondering how to use them.  I pulled out my leather and laid it in my lap.  I ran my hands across the grain.  I smelled it's sharp rugged smell.

It's going to take some time.  Some careful thought and meticulous craftsmanship.

I'm trying to tap into my Great-great-grandmother's moxie. Surely she passed some down the line?

I'm giving myself all Summer.

I sat at my bench and held my ball hammer in my palm.  I arranged my blades and mallets.

I thought about what I want this collection to mean to me.  What I want it to express.

I decided it was beauty in strength.

I want to honor my grandmother and other woman who settled the west.  I want to honor their strength and to see if I can emulate that strength in my own life.

I'm calling this jewelry collection Janie Jackaroo.

It will be ready to debut this Fall. Stay tuned.

most images from here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

hanky panky

Spring is birthday season in my life.  It's my birthday on April first so maybe it just seems like the birthday time of year, but I also have many friends and family members that were born in the Spring.

Here's a little craft idea for a quick and cute gift to take to a friend's birthday lunch.

Vintage Handkerchief   $5.00
Vintage Brooch  $20.00
Small Tulip Bunch  $5.00  

You can find old brooches for a lot less if you are lucky. Garage sales are the best place to get a good deal on costume jewelry.  Old hankies can be found in almost any antique store. There are also many online shops that have really fun selections.  I have found vintage hankies for as low as a dollar.  If you use flowers from your garden or wildflowers this gift could end up costing very little. 

Wrap the stems in a little plastic wrap to avoid staining the hanky.  You could also use water tubes if your hanky is on the large size. 

You can also skip the brooch altogether.  Use chocolate cover strawberries on skewers instead of flowers. Hand embroider the hanky yourself or fill the hanky with sweets in a cellophane bag.  The possibilities are endless.

Happy crafting!

Please check back later today to see if you are the lucky winner of the dala horse stamp.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


In case you didn't already know, fat baby bodies are God's gift to the world.

And you thought it was George Clooney.

Well, he is delectable, but friends, have you kissed any baby fat lately?

Let me tell you what I have on my hands here.

When I go to get Frankie out of his crib in the morning he greets me with a huge body smile and shakes the bars of his crib like a little gorilla.  His pajamas stretch tight across his belly. And when I pick him up, he kicks his legs like mad and then clamps onto me and buries his chubby face into my neck.

I don't mind the slobber. It's Frankie's way of claiming me as his own.

Next it's down the hall to retrieve the Bird.  She pops up when the door opens and instantly starts an indiscernible dialogue about who knows what. Usually something about books and babies and jammies. I lift her up and stand for just one moment alone with her in the sunlight that streams in through her windows.  She allows me to stroke her hair as long as she is sure that I'm paying complete attention to what she is saying.

I love to tickle her cheek along her jawline. It's just a circle the disappears into her neck.  Particularly kissable.

The Boy hasn't an ounce of fat on his entire body.  It's sad.  He's all elbows and scabby knees.  When I try to hold him in my lap his bum bones dig into my leg.  He feels like a robotic octopus.

I reminds me that the fat is fleeting and I better get my fill.

Wish my own fat was fleeting.

Thanks to everyone for your kind comments over the past few days.  I read them all. More than once. And I carry them around in my head during the day.  They make laundry bearable.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

tales from the bionic woman

So I went to the doctor and you're not gunna believe what he said is wrong with me.

I'm really quite stunned and disappointed truth be told.

He said there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. I am super healthy.  No mono. No thyroid problems. No anemia.  No pneumonia. Not even high blood pressure.  I'm like, the epitome of good health. I'm the freakin' bionic woman.

He was talking. I could see his mouth moving. But I was thinking, Then why the hell do I feel like I'm dragging day in and day out?  Surely there must be something wrong. Why have I been sick ALL winter?  Why do my limbs feel like Jell-O at three-o-clock everyday?

And then I tuned back in to hear him say that dreaded of all diagnoses- stress.

How very obtuse and non-commital of him.

But deep down in the scratchy dark corners of my being I thought he might be right.  Just maybe.

So I have a little stress. I do. I know. What?

Then the good doctor went on to prescribe exercise.  Four days a week. Reaching my anaerobic threshold for at least fifteen minutes. It has something to do with adrenaline levels and a bunch of other scientific stuff.

In my brian I'm all, Are you kiddin' me? For the love of Pete man! You are sitting here telling me I suffer from too much stress, and, oh yeah, you need to add more things to your schedule?

Here's the deal-

Nothing is wrong with me and that means everything is wrong with me. I can't be the person I want to be without losing it.  I can't do all that I want to do without feeling like the living dead.  I can't.  I'm not cut out for it.  

I'm not the person I always thought I was.  That hurts to realize. It's a little like when you are a kid and you realize your not as cool as your mom told you are.

So I have a choice.  I can start cutting things out of my life. I can simplify.  I can give up blogging and Secondsister. I could walk away from my studio. Shut the door for a few years.  

Except I can't.  

So I'm left with the doctor's solution.  To have enough energy to keep up with my crazy life I'm gunna have to run faster, harder.

I'm going to have to get up early and go to the gym. Ew.

It's going to be hard.  

But I owe it to the littles.  They deserve to have a mom that can keep up. How can I justify running a business if I don't have the energy to make them dinner?

This is it. No excuses.  I'm putting this bionic body to the test.

Damn it all anyway. I was sure it was mono.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


My Uggleboos came in the post.  All the way from Sweden.  Custom made to my specifications.  I was inclined to go red, but I already own two pairs of red clogs. I do love me a pair red shoes.  But this time the robin's egg blue was calling to me.

Alas, they are perfect.

They put a skip in my step and a twinkle in my eye.  

So I was skipping and twinkling yesterday when I noticed that I had lost a blog reader.

For reals.

At first I was like, what's one little reader?  Who cares? Good riddance!

But then as I sat and peeled my cutie (have you noticed how good the cuties are this year? I mean I'm eating like ten a day which kind of gives me the toots but I like them too much to stop, and the babies don't ever care if I toot) I felt bugged and a little worried. What if I'm slipping? Have I gotten boring? Why would this person reject me this way?  

Feeling peckish, and a little gassy, I slinked into my studio to do a little painting.  Turns out I was also feeling a little Swedish.  

I was trying to not think about this person out in the world who had decided to cut me out of their life, and I was thinking how ridiculous it was to take it personally. I mean, lots of people make bad decisions every day. It's not the end of the world.

And then something occurred to me.

Maybe they were in it for the giveaways.  I used to do a lot more giveaways.  Maybe that is why they subscribed in the first place.  Shallow fool!

So out of spite I am doing a giveaway today.  Yes, that's right. Out. Of. Spite.

Who wants a hand carved dala horse stamp?

Just leave a comment. That's all you have to do. I hate when I am sent on a wild goose chase just to enter a giveaway. I mean who wants to be responsible for marketing another persons stuff on all the social media sites?  Poohey I say.

So just leave a comment.  I'll pick a winner on Friday and pop this little guy in the mail to the lucky reader. Who is still a reader.

Just like that. Because I'm spiteful.

Monday, March 07, 2011

monday monday

Did I mention that I'm designing for The Twinery?  Well I am.

They make lux bakers twine in eleven colors.  I am currently working on my March project and it's coming together quite nicely.  

What is it about twine that we all love so much?

The doll is Birdie's treat we brought home from Chinatown.  It was strange to find a faux kokeshi in Chinatown.  The Asian lines are a little blurred there.  But isn't she cute?

I have several projects I'm working on that will debut in the Fall.  It seems like everything is happening this Fall.  Should be exciting.

In other news, I've been sick so much this Winter that I'm convinced I have mono. I'm going to the doctor, again, to try to get to the bottom of it.

I don't have time in my life for phlegm and headaches and sore throats. 

Sugar Daddy took the kiddos and the dog to the park yesterday while I tried to get some rest.  This is the text he sent me:

"I'm having a hell of a time with this crew. Scrapping and mixing it up."

Clearly, you can see why I love this man.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

midnight rooster

Well I've got more stamp stuff to share.

Midnight Rooster is a paper craft kit club that commissioned me to draw a set of illustrations that they would offer as exclusive add ons for their kits.

I asked what they wanted me to draw. The response was, "Just draw anything. We don't have a theme. We know we will love what you do."

Wow. If only each job could be so free and easy!

I wonder if it will ever get old seeing my work made into a tangible product.  I get so excited with each project.

You can purchase the stamps and other really great paper crafting goodies from Midnight Rooster.