Thursday, June 30, 2011


Do you ever marvel at every day things?

Take the United States Postal Service for example.  Now, I know there are many problems there. But really? Think about it. It's actually quite amazing. All the sorting and shuffling and machines and man power. I personally think it's fascinating.

How about the Golden Gate Bridge? Try to really wrap your mind around it.  You might blow a fuse.

And cameras.  The camera might be one of my most favorite of all inventions.  I like to think of it as a mechanical butterfly net. I can capture memories before they flutter away, out of my mind, forever.

I can remember how she often went down for her nap with the faintest of milk mustaches on her downey lips because the camera records it.

I can remember her little hands with dimpled knuckles.

I can capture all my beloved moments and keep them. Forever.  How amazing.

Sometimes I look at photos of myself as a child and I wonder if I would remember that moment if it hadn't been captured on film.  Would it have slipped away without the constant reminder of how everything looked when it happened?

A tin type photo of Billy the Kid just sold at auction for 2.3 million dollars.  It is the only known authenticated photo of him.  It is simply fabulous.  

Why would someone spend so much on an image? Because it's the closest anyone could  ever hope to get to actually seeing him in person.  It's history, captured.

I will never forget what she looked like on a summer afternoon in June when she awoke from her nap.

Never. Thanks to the camera. An everyday miracle.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

twinkle twinkle little star

I attended a benefit lunch this past weekend. I sat next to a round Jewish grandmother named Millie, who happened to also be a jeweler.  She had stones on her fingers that made me feel like a big ol' moth to the flame. I simply couldn't stop staring.

Or drooling for that matter.

I'm a jewelry girl through and through. Diamonds go right to my heart.

So I said to Miss Millie, "Let's talk diamonds."

And she leaned in close and said, "Oh let's!"

So I told her how I'm saving a spot on my wedding band for the perfect cushion cut pink diamond. Pale pink with an orange blush to be precise.

"Yes. Yes. This can be done." she told me in a thick accent I couldn't quite place.

Her eyes twinkled. I knew I'd found a kindred spirit.

As an aside I need to reassure Sugar Daddy that I did not make any deals with Millie last weekend.

But I have her card...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

on being brave

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die discover that I had not lived.”   ~ Henry David Thoreau

I don't know if I am brave in the way a solider is brave. Or in the way a cancer patient is brave.

I don't know. I haven't faced those enemies.  If I had to guess, I'd probably say that in a life or death situation, I'd freak out and talk everyone around me to death.

But I'm working on my everyday bravery.  I'm doing hard things. I'm stretching myself more than ever before.  I'm doing things that scare me.  I'm taking risks.

I was speaking with a woman the other day. She showed me photos of her family's trip to Asia.  I told her I'd love to go. I'd love to take our family on a adventure but the thought of getting on an airplane with two babies scares me to death.

She looked me in the eye and said, "Don't think about it. Just do it."


If people knew exactly what they were getting themselves into when they start a new venture, nobody would do anything.  My husband never would have gone to law school. We would have never had children. We would never have bought a house or got a dog or started our own businesses or taken our children to Disneyland. Not if we knew ahead of time what was in store for us.

I'm still not getting on an airplane for twenty hours with my babies, but I'm going to leap more. Push more. Seek out opportunity.  I want to suck the marrow out of this life.

Here's some food for thought: What is it you want? What's holding you back? Fear?

Come on. Jump with me.

Monday, June 27, 2011

a sticky situation

Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want.

The first batch of taffy was cherry flavored and hard as a rock.  It went into the trash.

I followed the directions.  I did exactly what the experts told me to do.  It was frustrating, and when I could see where it was headed I cursed and stood in my kitchen with my fist on my hip trying to think where I must have gone wrong.

This is where I realized that baking candy is just like everything else in life.  If you desire to do something extraordinary, you must pay the piper.  There is a reason that most people buy salt water taffy.

In case you're wondering, the piper is paid with time and persistence.

Very few people fall into success.  Very few.  Some would have you believe that it was easy.  They don't admit to toil and strife. But I'm here to say that everything I've done in my life that has brought me  big rewards has cost dearly. The piper has grown rich on my exertions.  I think he has plans to retire to Dubai.

So I tightened my apron strings and went back to work.  This time I cooked the candy slower.  I made sure the sugar crystals were all melted. I enlisted the Sugar Daddy to help pull the candy.  It was pineapple flavor.

And we made taffy. And it's delicious.

But still, it is a little stiffer than what I want. It's dangerous for dental work.

So I will try again.  I will gather up the experience I have gained and put it to use.  I will try to be patient and persistent. Hopefully I will be rewarded.

I think the next batch will be apple.  Or maybe watermelon.

I wish all of life's problems could be so sweet.

Friday, June 24, 2011

i'm bored

Ahhhh. It's that lovely time of year when the phrase can be heard reverberating through the halls of home, "I'm bored Mom."  It can easily become the Summer mantra if you aren't prepared with an arsenal of activities to keep it at bay. 

Here's some of the things I have ready to dish out this season should the boy, heaven forbid, run out of things to do.

First off, the ice cream ball. We tried it out. It was super easy and it kept the boys occupied for at least a half hour.

We made pink peppermint.

Second idea: Where is it?

I went around my house with my iPhone and took a bunch of super tight photos of things found in different rooms.  The game is for Thom to try to remember where in the house the items can be found.

He wandered around the house for a good forty-five minutes trying to find where the picture were taken.

So, I shared. It's your turn. Gemme some ideas for easy time fillers. What do you say when your kid says, "Mom I'm bored."?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

kitchen season

There are certain times of the year when the kitchen beckons to me like a lonely siren with a secret to tell.

Christmastime is a given. It is the season of cookies and sweet breads and prime rib.  Perry Como keeps me company, singing the holiday classics.

Then there is February. February means French onion soup and rosemary olive bread.  Clam chowder is a mainstay, as is roasted chicken with root vegetables.

And then there is a very short period of time in late June, right before Independence day.  It's strange, almost like a Indian summer. I like to think of it as my culinary muses last hurrah before the kitchen closes down for the season.

Now during this Indian summer of kitchen time, my thoughts always turn to candy.  There are a few cold pasta salads to be had, but for the most part, it's candy.  

Last year I made sea foam. It was delectable, and I will be making it again soon. But before that project, I have a little something I've been wanting to try.

I've gathered up all the supplies. We are going to pull some taffy!

Pictures to follow. Or maybe not. Depending.

Also, has anyone out there tried the ice cream ball? I just ordered one. Lately I'm into making my children work for their treats. You know, like circus poodles.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I got me a bad case of wanderlust. I got it something fierce.

I've been dreaming of spices and old buildings and beads. Always beads. And noodles.

I have a passport that sits in our safe. Just sits there.  Ready. Empty pages.

I'm hungry for inspiration. I want to see something I've never seen before. Something I never knew existed. 

Lately my thoughts have leapt out of the box.  So far out of the box they cross oceans and continents. They fly over London and through the streets of Paris. They take me to the markets of Marrakech and on Safari in Tanzania.  

The Sugar Daddy humors me so. I talk and talk. He listens, and on occasion throws in an idea or two. At the end of the day, when we lay our heads down to sleep, he says, "Sleep tight big dreamer."

And dream I do. Of Chinese fire dragons and aboriginals playing the didgeridoo. And beads. 

Always beads.

Monday, June 20, 2011

for the record

Henry Wyatt 10 weeks old

I've been thinking about infertility. Not sure why.

I don't have any grand bit of wisdom to impart.  I don't understand the complex emotions involved. I can't tell you how to deal with it.

But I know I made it through something like twelve years of wanting a child.  I know I am now standing on the other side of that trial and au revoir to that thankyouverymuch.

As I sit here on my sofa typing this, with slobber spots on my pants and little finger prints all over the furniture, these are the things that come to my mind. It's not wisdom. It's just what I know.

The joy we experienced when our children finally arrived was equal to, and may have even exceeded, the sorrow we felt at our darkest moments.

Unlike childbirth, you never forget the pain of not being able to have a child.

Just because you wanted children for much longer than most people doesn't mean your kids won't drive you up the wall. Just because you went through hell to get them here doesn't mean they will appreciate it. At the end of the day, you are just a parent like any other.

Refraining from buying baby things until you are pregnant is just a silly way of trying to insulate your feelings. Go ahead and buy stuff. It will put you ahead of the game when it finally happens.  Wanting those little baby things means you still have hope.

Feeling bitter and nasty towards others who are having babies is completely normal. It doesn't make you a bad person. However, if you behave badly in these circumstances, down the road the bitterness you feel will be of regret.

When you have infertility you must think of it as a war. You will loose battles. It will be expensive.  Plans will be made and then cast aside for new plans.  If you want to win, you will not retreat.  You will regroup and press forward.

And you will need a good mate for the fox hole. If this relationship isn't right, you might want to lay low and reconsider.

Here's the last thing I know. It took me years to realize this. In fact, it only dawned on me a few months ago.  I could never figure out why I had to go through infertility. What was I supposed to learn? Why was that part of my life path?

Here's what I know today. I had to experience infertility to lead me to adoption. I had to wait for my adopted children because at the time I started wanting them their birth mother was only fourteen. My children were to be born by this girl and only this girl. That was the plan. Sometimes the Lord has to work with logistics.

I'm not at all sure why I am writing this today.  Maybe there is someone out there that needs to hear this? I don't know.

But I'm writing it down. For the record.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

it's coming...

So. Jewelry.

Ah yes. Jewelry.  I will only have one jewelry collection this year.  Life is such. You know how it is. But let me tell you. Seriously. It's going to be spectacular.

Not only will it be a large collection, but the individual pieces will be large statement pieces.  There will also be smaller, conservative pieces for those of you out there a little daunted by turquoise the size of silver dollars.

I'm working away. Finding time here and there to design and fabricate.  The collection will also have an accompanying look book that will be sent to other designers and the like.

Suaviloquy readers will be the first to see the collection. I will put the look book here first and I will reserve items for readers through email.  The collection will then be available at the Spark Artisan Market. Finally, it will go into the shop.

I'm shooting for mid September.

Fingers crossed that everyone loves it as much as I do!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

one boy's summer

One of my good friends, Tara Whitney said she was making her kids "Summer" baskets for the last day of school.  I thought it was a great idea, and it just might help alleviate some the mom guilt I have over not being able to help out in the class room for Thom much this past school year.

We have a fun summer planned and I want to kick it off in style.  I made Thom and his buddy matching pillowcases for sleep overs.  Pillowcases are fun to make because they don't take any time and and if you find your fabric on sale, they can be really cheap.  You will need about a 3/4 yard to make a standard pillowcase. Buy a full yard if you want contrasting fabric on the edge.

Here's the other things in Thom's "Summer 2011" basket:

Big League Chew
Roasting Sticks & Marshmellows
Pool Toys
Summer Reading Books & Chart
Glow Sticks
Beach Ball
Sketch Book
Flip Flops
Bottled Rootbeer

Got any other great ideas? His last day is tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

damn good jam

I was in Target with all my kids. You'd think I'd learn. But I don't.

So I was in Target and harried and trying to get out as fast as possible but I needed to get some pectin to make the strawberries into jam.

The strawberries had been sitting on my counter, ripening for two days.  Strawberries rot all too quickly if you ask me. I always feel it's me against the time clock of rotting berries.  Waste not, want not. Or whatever.

The berries were picked mostly by yours truly. I learned that taking two seven-year-old boys as cheap labor to the berry fields does not yield good results.   I think they picked a combined total of thirteen measly little green berries.  Jokers.

Anywho, the berries were ripening and I was under the gun and by damn I needed some pectin stat, along with other miscellaneous sundries.  And the babies were causing a ruckus in Target even after popcorn peace offerings were made. So I resorted to asking an employee.

"Hey do you carry pectin?"

"I'm sorry, what do you need?"


"Um. How do you spell that?"


"Hum. One minute. (Gets on her walkie-talky.) I have a guest here who is asking for pec-tin."

Here's where Birdie lets out her trademark pterodactyl screech because someone has touched her bag of popcorn. And the Boy has found a box of latex rubber gloves he can't live without.

And the employee on the other end of the conversation appears to help the first employee figure out how to type on her little handheld gadget.

"Pectin? What is pectin?" employee #2 says to me as if I were asking for uranium.

"It's used to make jam. It would be in the canning section if you have one."

"Oh. Let me see. (And now she's back on her walkie-talky asking someone named Shayla if she knows anything about pectin.)

At this point the popcorn has been dumped. Frankie's got his mouth on the handle of the cart getting all kinds of diseases and the Boy is mad because there are no rubber gloves in his future.

And here comes Shayla. And she looks promising. Like she is in charge and knows stuff.

"What is it? Pec-tin?"

And now she has the handheld gadget and she's typing away.

"Yes," I say, "it's used in canning."

"It's used in canning." Says employee #1 as if she knew all along.

"Oh yes. We do have that. Just a moment though. Just let me show these girls what I did here..."

I'm dying now. I'm so ready to pull out the ugly witch scream and let all my children have it. But you know, I'm in Target.

So finally Shayla leads me to the other side of the store, down the baking aisle.

And she hands me a box of gelatin.

Now. People. It took all I had to nicely say that isn't what I need and walk away.

As I drove home to the market I was thinking to myself, who doesn't know what pectin is? I mean really? Who are these people? 

But then I realized something. I'm lucky.  I know what pectin is because my mother taught me to make jam. I have never bought jam or jelly from the store. And maybe that's one of the many, many ordinary amazing things about my life.

And P.S. I make damn good jam.

Oh and P.P.S. Target does not carry pectin.

Monday, June 13, 2011


The Sugar Daddy flew away to Hong Kong. 

Now, I want to fly away to Hong Kong like, oh, a billion times a day. But he really did.

He had meetings to go to. 

I'm thinking I want to start setting up meetings with people on the other side of the world too. Who wants to meet me for lunch in, say, Bangladesh? We could talk jewelry and blogging. Serious stuff.

Anyway, I was left behind. Alone. With the beasts kids.

My children are wretched when their father is on the other side of the world.   I have said three serious cuss words, eaten two huge cupcakes and cried once.  

Single parenting is ridiculously hard.  I have a true reverence for those of you who do it on a permanent basis.  

Anyway, today he is finally back and we are headed out for a "fun" family day.  At Disneyland. Right now,  "fun" to me is sitting in a silent, clean room with ne'er a child in sight.

And while I sit in my silent clean room, I'd like to get online and buy some tickets to Bali.

In fact, I think I'll check on those flights right now...

Friday, June 10, 2011

a monogram party idea

I'm Sure you all know that I design for The Twinery.  They recently teamed up with PSA Essentials to put together a blog hop and big giveaway. The challenge for all 27 designers was to make something using both their products.  If you would like to see all the projects that people have made, start here.

I happen to be a monogram sort of gal and I thought I'd show a simple idea for a monogram birthday.

Okay now to the giveaway.

PSA Essentials will give one lucky winner a prize package valued at over $75.00 - the package includes: 1 Stamper, 3 Peel & Stick Packs and 1 Monogrammed Tote Bag!

The Twinery will be giving away 6 spools of baker's twine to one lucky winner (retail value $84.00)...the winner can choose any six colors they would like!   

Here's how to enter:
As you make your way through the blog hop make sure you leave a comment on each of the designer's blogs. Go here to start the hop. Each comment you leave will be a entry for you to win the prizes!

You can also earn extra entries by:

Becoming a fan of The Twinery on Facebook {Write on the wall and let them know that you're stopping by from the blog hop this week}!

Becoming a fan of PSA Essentials on Facebook {Write on their wall and tell them that The Twinery sent you}!

Following The Twinery blog {Just click on the "Follow" button on the right side bar and you'll become a blog follower.

Following PSA Essentials' Stamp Camp Blog - you'll love all of the fun projects that happen over there!  

And just in case that's not enough...

The Letter Tree is generously giving 30% off all PSA Essentials products now until this Sunday 6/12 at 11:59 pm EST (no discount code needed)

And visit The Twinery's website for 15% off your entire order with discount code: PSAHOP15(discount only good through 6/10 at 11:59 pm EST)

Okay! The next stop in the blog hop is Stephanie Jones! Hop on over!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

love at first wrinkle

My mother hates linen. She won't wear it, no way no how. But she also irons jeans and bandanas. The woman likes her fabric crisp and flat. She's fairly Victorian that way. And while linen irons like a dream, it also wrinkles like a mad.

Which doesn't bother me one single bit. In fact, I kind of like the way it softens and becomes all flouncy and light. It's character!

I've been drooling over this tunic for some time now.  It's made by a french woman. Of course.

And then there's Pamela Tang in Australia. I mean really. Her stuff is so me I think we might have been separated at birth. Except I can't sew like that. And she's obviously Asian and tiny. But sisters. We could be sisters.

If you didn't watch it when I mentioned it before, do it now. Really.

I madly in love with linen. Now you know why.

photo credits: 1. a firm knock on the door..., 2. Simply Pretty Ringbearer Pillow, 3. Untitled, 4. Untitled, 5. Linen and Lace, 6. coconut buttons and linen, 7. Linen piping trim, 8. linen_linai, 9. smocked linen dress

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

everyday angels

First of all, I don't think angels have wings.  It's a fun concept, but it doesn't sit right with me.

I don't know much about religious theology.  I can't list all the angels from the scriptures. I could tell you a few. And of those few,  I could probably only tell you a little about them.

I have never personally had an encounter with a heavenly angel.  I can't say I even know someone who has.

Here's the thing. I don't think angels come with wings and halos. I think they show up with a hot meal after you have a baby.  They come over and help you move. They call you up to tell you a joke when they know times are tough.

What's the nicest thing someone has done for you?

I'll tell you mine. Once when we were poor and down and out, someone gave the Sugar Daddy and I a truck.  We really needed another vehicle and it made all the difference.  She just put the keys in my hand and said, "It's yours."

What's the nicest thing you have done for someone else?

On the day my great-grandmother died, she awoke early and went out into her garden. Friends came by to pick cherries from her trees.  She and my grandpa then went to deliver strawberries to their children.  They visited. I'm sure they played with the grandkids.  It was a warm day and when they returned home my grandmother said she was going to sit by the cooler for a while before she came to bed. She died instantly. Right where she sat.

My great-grandmother was beloved.  I didn't know her. She died a year before I was born, but I am told she was a constant everyday angel in people's lives.

If I ever do encounter a heavenly angel, I hope it is her. And I hope she brings me some berries from her garden.

And I really hope to become the kind of woman she was.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

frozen serotonin

I've been wondering why ice cream tastes so much better when you eat it with someone else.  Especially the Sugar Daddy. Is it the way he purses his lips and swipes his tongue across the roof of his mouth? He likes to savor. The man loves his sweets. He's not called The Sugar Daddy because of money.

Sometimes when I eat something super delicious it relaxes my body. My shoulders fall and my eyes close.  And when I open them, there are my babies. Mouths open. Squawking.

I love to feed my little birds like this.  They stand on their tippy toes. They smile between each bite.  There are so few ways to make children so happy so fast.  Ice cream is like milky frozen serotonin in a cone.

When I was little, I loved to buy a treat from the ice cream truck.  I don't remember being told no. The answer was always yes.  We'd hear the music in the distance and race for the house to get money from our parents. It's such a happy memory for me.

The ice cream truck that comes around our neighborhood is pretty sketchy.  It looks like it drove up from Tijuana.  The driver may or may not be on the work release program.  I say no. 

And I feel terrible about it. Why can't it be the same as when I was little?  

I began stocking the freezer with various frozen treats in an attempt to alleviate my guilt at withholding happy memories from my kids.  

But last year the Sugar Daddy bought a shave ice machine.  At first I was skeptical of the large cumbersome machine.  But I have been won over. Wholeheartedly.

My kids happy Summer memories might not include the ice cream man, but they will be of their dad, cranking his big green machine. Shaving off happiness.

Monday, June 06, 2011

first come the peonies

Did you realize that Summer has arrived?  It crept up on me with little cat feet, quietly, slowly. Standing silent and waiting for me to notice.

And just like a fluffy little kitten I am delighted and charmed to see that it is here. Ready to play.

But first come the peonies.

I thought maybe I wouldn't be able to find some this year but my top secret source came through for me. My top secret source is Trader Joes. It just makes it feel more special if I think that I'm the only one who buys my peonies there.

Peonies come home looking like pink golf balls. They are bound so tight one wonders how they will ever become waffy frilly flowers.  But given a few days and a long drink of tepid water they just fall right open. Like magic.

Summer arrives the same way.  The end of the school year is so bound up with things to do and places to be.  You wonder how you will ever have any time to relax. And then over the course of just a few days the Summer opens up to you.  It rolls out like a long plush carpet. And you realize that the days are longer and there is less to be done. Voila! There is time for loafing and art projects and rocket pops in the sunshine.  It's magic.

I think I can probably get one more bunch of peonies before they vanish from the market.  Just like Summer, their season always feels way to short.

Friday, June 03, 2011

faschizzle mac dizzle

Oh June. I do love you. You bring end of school activities. And Summer clothes shopping. And peonies. Don't forget the peonies.

I wanted to mention to all you blogsters out there that the blogging panel I put together for Spark this year is basically the faschizzle mac dizzle.

If you haven't registered yet I say, "What's up with that?"

Here's the line up:

Do you have questions for these lovely ladies? Email them to me. We will address your deepest blogging concerns!

Spend some time this weekend checking out their blogs and pontificating why it is you haven't registered for Spark 2011 yet.

Seriously. It's gunna be amazeballs.