So, here I am.....

The girl that said she'd never blog. The far from computer savvy girl that is always up for a challenge despite a serious lack of time.My blog goals. Do I have blogging goals? Hmmm, I guess I should. So I pledge to be funny, lighthearted, not vent or complain to much and maybe just maybe share a crumb of wit and wisdom on occassion.I will most likely chat about etsy, my addiction and muse. the incredible artsists and friends I have found in a community that oozes with creativity, friendship, support and a home for all things handmade.You will hear me ramble about the insanity of my life including my 3 boys, ages 12, 16 and 53. Yes, that last one I am married to, but trust me, he is just as much boy as man. After 17 years of marriage I find myself raising him along with them. Then again, he would probably say the same of me at times. I will often speak of friends I would go to the ends of the earth for and a family that more often than not defines dysfunction. Then again, I strongly believe a functional family is the stuff legends are made of.I am a lover of music of all kinds and not so much the TV ( except maybe Glee). I have an addiction to handmade glass, especially venetian and lampwork beads as well as unique pottery. I have made a concerted effort to tame my jewelry fetish with my own creations which can be seen at http://www.kjbeads.etsy.com/If you haven't figured out by now, I can jabber my jaws and my fingers as if someone could care what I have to say.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Whole Week

without a post. Where has it gone? The holidays, family, craziness has just taken its toll I guess. Then again, 65F in December is enough to make any Chicagoan get out of the house. Unfortunately it didn't last. Nows we have over a foot of snow melted and frozen as an ice pond in the back yard. Luckily, no flooding in the basement. I don't know if I could deal with that at this time of year.

Mark is home for one more week and I am making a wish list. He would condider it a "honey-do" list but I don't care. Surely there is more on it than could ever be accomplished, hence, the "wish" part. Hopefully we will figure out the basis for reworking my workroomtoday. Actually accomplishing the rework is a whole other story. We should finish the painting upstairs and the boys bedrooms forst but I may comit hiicide if something in this room doesn't give soon. Elfa systems cost as much as raising a child, so it will be the Markaroo system for us (would you really expect anything else?)

It seems everything we do the past few weeks is a money pit. Painting, Christmas, planning vacations, organizing. Geesh! I hope we find that $$$ tree soon. It all needs doing, I just don't know how. Truth be told, no one can blame us for not doing our part for the economy!
See what happens when I don;t post for a week, my fingers start babbling all over the map. non cohesive ramblings.
posts to come:
Grandma kicked butt
The Johnsons go to Washington
dysfunction fest '08
Why is my meanager still alive?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Few Favorites

for a few of my favorites!
It's the time of year for yummies and these are some tried and true favorites fro over the years.

Bacon Wrapped Waterchestnuts

1 lb Bacon
2 cans whole waterchestnuts drained
1 cup catsup
1 cup sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
wooden toothpics

Cut bacon strips into thirds. Wrap each chestnut in bacon piece and secure with toothpick. Place in flat pan and bake 30 minutes at 350○. Drain fat. ( can be refrigerated at this point and finished on day of use). Mix catsup, sugar and wrocestershire sauce. Pour over Bacon and let sit for 20 minutes. Bake 25 mins at 350○. Serve hot.

These are a sure hit so be sure to make more than you think you'll need!



Spinach Squares

4 Tbsp butter
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 (10oz) packages chopped spinach (thawed and drained well)
1 lb Monterey Jack cheese, grated (I use cojack or cheddar)
1/4 cup chopped onion

Preheat oven to 350○. Melt butter in 9x13 pan. Beat eggs and add flour, milk, salt and baking powder. Mix well. Stir in spinachm cheese and onions. Spoon into buttered baking pan. Bake 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes and cut into small squares.


For a great hot spinach side dish try this family favorite. Even those that don't like spinach like this one.

Spinach Souffle


2 cups cottage cheese
3 eggs, beaten
3 packages (10 oz each) frozen shinach, thawed and well drained
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
salt

Mix cottage cheese and eggs. Add remaining ingredients and pour into greased pan. Bake uncover at 350○ for 30-45 minutes.
( I save a small amount of cheddar to sprinkle on top)


and no Christmas is complete without the Rum Pudding with Raspberry Melba Sauce. I don't remember ever there being a Christmas Eve dinner without this dessert. For those that don't like eggnog, vanilla icec cream or a decadent cheesecake makes a great host to the thick and sweet raspberry sauce.
However, that one I will scan and add in. just click and enlarge.

Friday, December 19, 2008

For Moms Everywhere

especially if you have managers.
Snow shoveling and cookie baking have me quite busy today but I must leave this for you. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's Never to Late


I had the pleasure and shame of writing a most overdue note today. This past summer, I received a request to send a congratulatory greeting to a most special person. I don;t know if I misinterpreted the request or felt the need to say more than a quick, "way to go!" but the bottom line is, I never did it. I didn't ignore it, I just set it aside. The time passed and the event took place without my sentiments, still, I left that request in my "to do" pile. It was too important to ignore but needed the time to be done just right. Well, the year is closing and as I wrote my holiday cards I decided this was the time. I had been too long overdue and needed to be said. I would have to bite the bullet and say what needed saying. As a lesson learned from this lovely person, take time for the small stuff. Slow down and appreciate the world that surrounds you every day. And so I did. It ended up being almost a two page letter and I'm still not sure that my heart was reflected. Here's why.

There are two very special people in my life. Not my parents or my children, but two very special nuns. Now, you know if you read this blog with any regularity that I could use a little help in the spiritual department. Then again, maybe that;s what has kept me out of major trouble considering some of my antics. I do believe that despite my life as a punk and my ability to be a royal bitch at times, these two loveliest of souls have also shared in my ability to be patient and understanding and charitable, not to mention an advocate for all children.

Sister Miguel and sister Louis have been a major influence in our family since before I was born. Having taught my mother, aunt and uncle in Kindergarten and 1st grade, sister Miguel has shared her life with us. She became fast friends with my Grandmother as a young parent and has stayed close to all of us her entire life. All 93 years of it. She has just celebrated her 75th year in the order and her 93rd birthday. What an accomplishment.

Now, it must be said that these sisters are not your typical Catholic nuns. They may have worn a habit and wielded a ruler back in the day but I find the ruler part hard to believe. Sister Miguel spent many, many years as a primary grade teacher and not always in the best of neighborhoods. Her gentle spirit and genuine kindness touch more souls than can be counted. If that wasn't enough, she went on to profess early childhood to another generation (or three) at what is now Concordia college outside of Chicago. Sister Louis earned her law degree and passed the Bar in her fifties, going on to represent many a wayward youth in the family court system and beyond. Working for gift of doing for others rather than a paycheck, she has touched just as many lives in her lifetime.

These ladies have had a significant influence in my life. They can throw back a Manhattan over a poker table with the best of them. They will indulge in the sweet richness of a good fried walleye cheek and dance the hula at a luau. Someday, when old enough to actually get the joke, my son will smile at the comment, "I've been waiting for that my whole life, now I can die happy" when he said, I have a lei for you at the last Luau for my grandmother's 90th birthday. You see, that is the humor and life they have taught us to so enjoy. I know many a teenager that would love to be able to hit a wiffle ball the way Miguel did at seventy five, sleeves rolled up in the backyard with a couple five year olds. I do believe that if she had her eye sight today, she'd be out there with my kids, giggling at her curve ball.

So, in addition to watching 3 generations receive sacraments and comforting us through some tough losses over the years, the woman have been great friends. Actually, they have been family. There for the good and the bad. They have comforted, guided, consoled, celebrated and rejoiced with us. Holidays, birthdays or just a good old family meal.
Today, I took a lesson they taught me. I slowed down to appreciate life. The everyday life we seem to not have time for. I reflected on some of these thoughts and stopped my busy life to share them. I had the privilege of expressing what they've meant to me. How they have influenced me and my gratitude. They are the embodiment of friendship in every sense of the word. Wise, gentle, caring souls that have blessed my life in an indescribable way.
Thank you Louie and Miguel! You will never know what you mean to me.

Monday, December 15, 2008

No Time Today

As usual, I have quite a "to do" list. Blogging was definitely on that list but my day seems to be taking on a life of its own. Today is my cyber Monday, it seems. Orders I have been hoping for are finally coming in droves. Everytime I try to accomplish something, I hear that little email ding and there is another order.

I must say, I am just a little anal when it comes to orders. I have even been known to hit the post with orders more than once in the same day. I want to get them packed with care and off to the post office as fast as possible. The post office is conveniently located adjacent to the kid's school, so not a bother to go. I wish I could say as much for the lines and one of the desk clerks there. People may think of me as considerate to let them jump line on me but the truth of the matter is, I do anything to avoid him. I just don;t need another rude, obnoxious jerk yelling at me.
Today I am under the gun time wise. I have food to make for Mark's Christmas party at work in the morning. It's not like i can put it off til later in the week, but I also have orders that just MUST get mailed. Aterall, what if they are gifts. People need time to do with them what they must. I also have a mess of a house and laundry to do (like that ever changes, ha!)
So, I am off and running once again. If you see one of my boys in dirty jeans or fussing for a clean shirt, please comfort them and let them know the world will not come to an end if they wear a pair of pants more than once. Spin that "be green" theme on them and remind them I do love them more than life itself but I also have customers to tend to and they pay. (I will know you have run across them and done this when they try to pay me to cook them dinner)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Saturday Morning Catch-Up

You know the past few days must have been a little nutso. I haven't posted for nearly a week. Oh, the humanity! Well, let's see if we can tie up a few loose ends before I move on to cleaning the natural disaster we call home, wrapping gifts by the dozens and head out for a night of girl fun and gambling. Ohhh, that last one sounds a bit precarious doesn't it? So, Alex made it to the concert. I was so happy for him and bursting with pride. He did a great job, especially considering he could barely breathe from congestion. How he blew that horn I'll never know, but he did.
videoOf course, the mental not to not turn the camera sideways because I don't know how to rotate it once uploaded went completely out the window in all my excitement.
video

So, a concert, 2 board meetings, catching a kid up on homework, Christmas shopping, attending the Gem & Jewelry show and a host of other adventures have left me reflecting on a week that zoomed by at warp speed. The excitement of the concert tempered with the sadness of a wake and funeral that came out of the blue, completely unexpected and all the in between has left me feeling a little jostled and out of sorts this morning. So, I will don my supercape and head in at full speed. I refuse to let this full moon get the best of me. I have a list and I plan on tackling it today.
Today, I vow to,
wrap gifts
clean house
do laundry
return DS' slippers ( that should be fun this time of year on a Saturday)
make an appetizer
call mom
pay bills
complete show applications
address and write Christmas cards

oh, I have to stop. I refuse to defeat myself by putting more on here than I can do. I guess I need to make a list for tomorrow also.
balance checkbook
do paperwork
file a mountian
grocery shop for cookie baking supplies
help with homework
more laundry(it never ends)
cook dinner
complete jewelry orders

and on and on and on and on

I better get started!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

To Be or Not to Be..........a Mom

that is the question. Anyone raising teenagers knows that's the question more often than not. You just really don't know how diffucult watching someone fail, fall on their face, screw up, live with consequences, and sometimes make bad decisions is until you're the mom of a full blown teenager. It's part of the game. Some call it payback, some call it God testing you. There's no denying it's tough.

I have had friends convey raising daughters as 24 hour hostage negotiations. You see, I do believe that girls leave the human race for about 7 years. Alien life forms. Then I count my blessings and thank the good Lord I have boys! Okay, one of them has the propensity to PMS like a 16 year old alien invaded mean girl, but I soooo know it could be worse. Then I tell him, " you know, the worst part of all this is that you make me feel the need to call your grandmother on a daily basis and apologize." He grins.

If you have read anything in this blog, you have read that I was (repeat WAS ) a self proclaimed punk with a capital P! For me, and the pure enjoyment of my mother, this is payback. The highly intelligent student pulling low C's (of course there's no valid reason!), the mumbling, eye rolling facial contortions only a body between 13 and 20 can make, the "why is my life so hard" whine. Oh, and the new one, at least to me, "If I had a cellphone!"

Well, today, I need to be the Mom. The loving, caring, compassionate, wish i could make you all better, MOM! I can't even bring myself to refer to him as a meanager today. Today, I just want to hug him and make him feel better. Even more so, I want him better. I want the miracle cure for the common cold today. You and I both know, its not going to happen but I have to be positive, hold out hope and make lots of chicken soup.
Alex is home with a terrible cold. Maybe the flu, but probably just a cold. The headache, stuffy nose, can't breathe, exhaustion inducing cold. It's going around. Seems more are sick than well. I should be glad it's now and not during Christmas, right? Well, normally I would be, but tomorrow is his big concert. His 8th grade year, star of the Jazz band, 3 solos in 3 songs concert. He has worked so hard this year. Moved to the tenor sax, helping out the younger band students, taking on bigger and tougher solos. His biggest role in the band to date and only one more concert after this before moving on to the high school. Many family members are schedule to attend the performance. He is proud. He is playing the best he ever has. Now, I don't even know if he can blow a horn much less make it through a solo.

So, I am cooking soup, administering liguids, and zinc, and motrin ( even the decongestants have been flowing) and feeling my heart break for him. this is not like those tough ones aI mentioned earlier. This one is harder. He did everything right, he put in the effort, he gave it his all, he even took advice and that's no easy feat at 14. yet, he is almost certain to be disappointed. This is one of those bittersweet mom moments. The more you love 'em the more your heart breaks.

So let's make it all about me and will him back to health so I don't feel so bad, hehe

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hug a Tree, Drink a Pint


My latest exciting find on etsy is onewintrynight. I am just loving these mugs! The fact that her customer service is stellar and her warm, friendly personality just shines through are added bonuses to these mugs that I just love, love, love.
What better way to stay warm all winter than to hug a treehugger mug full of coffee, cocoa or tea. Oh, and your secret is safe with me, I won't tell anyone that wassil your drinking is really Glugg.
So, once again, the pottery fetish has reared it's ugly head and I am addicted to the gorgeous purple/reds, blues and earthones in all of these pieces. Not to mention the leaf impressions. What a fantastic decoration for the table a casserole dish full of warm, creamy broccolli and rice or spinach souffle would make.
Could someone please call my husband and turn him on to this little shop? We all know he's not going to hunt through etsy himself. Not to mention, finding my favorites and then ordering from them. At this point, it's obvious that getting a gift I covet could actually kill me, but a girl can dream; especially at the holidays.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


show that tree a little love with one of these great felted ornaments by Ohsewhannah

The Holiday Season is irrevocably upon us. The tree has been going up for what seems an eternity. I have finally started shopping. I must admit, shopping in December is new to me. I am usually close to if not done shopping by now. The crowds make me crazy. I do enjoy the Christmas music, decorations and atmosphere though. I would always make at least one trip to the store at this time of year just to get that "silver bells" feeling. It is decidedly more enjoyable without the pressure of searching for the perfect gift.

Renegade was an funfilled experience yesterday also. Snow, blowing wind, no parking, huge crowds. Just what a good craft fair should be filled with. However, this is NOT and everday craft fair experience.
Mucca pazza
yet an experience to NOT be missed. What a fantastic treat!

But, I digress. I must get back to the mini lights and boxes of ornaments to be hung, along with stockings and holly and maybe a few cups of cheer. (OH crapstain, I think we drank all those last night). There is homework to finish, dinner to make, jewelry orders to complete and that Nekkid tree in my living room. Something just must be done about that Nekkid tree.
stay tuned for pictured of the transformation

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I'm a Renegade!

or at least I'm headed there. Today and tomorrow are the Renegade Art Fair in Chicago. I am headed out shortly in hopes of some great handmade finds for holiday gift giving, and myself of course.
I can't wait to meet some fellow etsians ther also. I already have choices picked out form shanasays ,

cookoorikoo


and ellembee.

Did I mention, lunch with the gals and no kids/husbands for the entire afternoon.

I am dancin' in my chair!
wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Friday, December 5, 2008

Awesome Wishes

How utterly adorable are these?

by bubbletime
and trust me, so is their creator. Bubbletime is a shop full of surprises and cuteness and adorable items for children of any age ( you know. That 1 to 99 thing Nat sang about). Well this kid wishes for these cuties to adorn her holiday decorations someday.
I started talking about wishes the other day and somehow got a little sidetracked. It must have been the pottery. If you know anything about me, you know I love, love, love pottery. ( and glass, and jewelry, and.....) Well, that list does goe on and on. My glass fetish doesn't stop at beads or the above mentioned for that matter. You see, I have an affinity for many things handmade. Here are a few of my latest desires

by sticknymph
and just to make things even better, I recently discovered that sticknymph art is available on cafepress in many other forms. woot.


by clandestinearts
I do believe my tree needs a few of these designs. It truly gives a whole new meaning to fold and cut, don't you think?

but who could resist this dude?

by Studiomarcy
reserved for another breaks my heart, but I covet none the less. (I wonderif marcy could be persuaded to make a pen full of these coolest of swine?)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Baby it's Cold Outside

Someday I'll figure it out, but for now I'll have to link it

I am really feeling the bone chilling today. 11 degrees. It's just too cold! Nothing by Chicago winter standards but each year I seem less able to bear winter. Maybe I'm just getting old.
Now, my 11 year old had a great idea the other day. Snow in summer. See, he loves the snow and ice skating, sledding, building snow men and forts and all other fun winter activities. He gets that from his mom. It's the cold we share a dislike of. Why can't we do all those fun things and not freeze out keisters off?

Oh, to be 11 again. At 11, I probably still dreamt of the possibility of Mr. Peabody's way back machine. I know I did plenty of dreaming. Oh, the things you can think of when you have innocence, imagination and time. At least I still have the fun of hearing my kid's dreams and imaginations. Today it is this.




Not just another in the long line of drawings, doodles and rambling my boys covet (and store all over the house, the car, their school lockers, etc). This is a full blown, Inconvenient Truth inspired, renewable energy system
compliments of Erik C Johnson.

I really have to make a mental not to share more of them with all of you. These boys of mine can really be quite entertaining.


What, you're still looking for an explanation?
Why it's a lightning harness. Can't you tell? It captures all the lightning and distrubutes the massive energy to all the wires running through town.
Oh, no! don't worry about the voltage or heat or sporadic, unknown location of the source at any given time, He's got it all figured out.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Are You Smarter Than a............

5th grader? 7th grader? How about a 2nd grader?

Now, as a substitute teacher with fair intelligence and a history of decent grades (effort of course could have improved them, but past posts indicate my propensity for being a punk), I can make it through most assignments. Truthfully, I can usually do much more than babysit and enjoy it.
I still have the ability to figure slope and slant, teach the FOIL system to help a kid with the distributive property. Heck, I can even get through teaching a Spanish lesson on indirect objects.
Today, however, I may have met my match. I always thought it would be Algebra or Geometry that brought me down but I do believe it is science. Molecules, atoms, amino acids, protein strands, etc.
Not completely foreign to me, I do understand what these things are. Through many years of dieting and nutrition reading (yes, knowing it and practicing it are very different) I can expound on the benefits of eating complete protein strands in a meal. I can follow along while watching Alton Brown **swoon** explain the reaction of an acid on a protein, etc. Believe me, if knowing and understanding were equal to doing, I would be a size 3!
So, how did this skunk me, you may ask. Well, today, they are actually building molecular structures of varying foods. Yep, the actual amino strands, etc. I may know what they are, how they work, the need and purpose but constructing them properly is a whole new ball game. Even in the depths of my brain, I am at a loss for some background knowledge here. I am wondering the purpose of needing to learn this in depth of a subject at 12 years old but I'm sure there is. I don't know that I have needed to use this information over the years but I am sure it has some purpose.
with that, I return to my reading. Who says you don't relearn something new everyday?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Wishbook


Do you remember the "Wishbook"? It would arrive in the mail just around this time of year and all the kids would clamour for a view. Each of us would have our trusty sheet of notebook paper on which to write our list, not to mention our own system of prioritizing our hearts desires.
Many a letter to Santa (and grandma) was born from the pages of that thick as the phonebook Sears and Roebuck catalog. By the dawn of the new year it was tattered and torn, marked in and dogearred. For my siblings and I, it was the Christmas dreammaker. From a new pair of skates to an Easybake oven, that was the place to find it, mark it and add it to the list.

Well, times have changed and this lovely desktop contraption has moved our global existence into a new frontier. We now have the ability to make wishlists around the world and for all to see. This makes me wonder how discerning I need to be on my wishlists.
You see, my wishlists are not just my wishlists anymore. I tend to use them to mark things I am considering for others. I fill them with potential purchases in an effort to make one shipment purchases. Then there's etsy. Oh, the myriad of reasons for that list of favorites. treasuries, gifts, supplies, admiration and plenty of my own desires. I hope and encourage many to look to this list for shopping inspiration. It meets all the requirements.
Buy Handmade
I'm sure to like it
Probably One-of-a-Kind
Support independent artists
Get to know etsy better
It's full of awesome choices

So, when people ask me what I want for Christmas, I generally don't have an answer. No Wishbook list these days,though, it could still happen given the right catalog full of magic (oh wait, I have that in etsy and handmadefuzion )I often reply these days with "nothing. Well, you can always check my favorites on etsy".
I may end up getting items I think are perfect for others, or look great in a certain treasury but the bottom line is, I will still love them. There is just no limit to the possibilities.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Feature, Feature, Who's got the Feature?

It seems it's been my week for features. This is a new experience for me but I have to admit, I like it. It has been a lousy week and if not for the ego stroking, I would have considered it a complete loss.
Lousy you say? yes! Lousy! I know it was Thanksgiving and the kids were off school and DH was home from work and we had lots of time.................whoooooooooaaaaaaa. there ya go! Lots of time. That is code for your week is gonna SUCK! The time Gods heard that one and Bam! they threw a party on my week. a cold, painting the house, a cold, laundry, a clod, making jewelry, a cold.

Did I mention, I caught a crappy, head stuffy, coughing, burning eyes, all I want to do is sleep cold? So much for tasting the turkey. so mcuh for making jewelry, cleaning, laundry, shopping, or anything else I had hoped to do. Not to mention, sitting through a show feeling crappy is the worst.


OMG! can I whine! Must be why I like cheese so much. Sorry about that. So, I do believe the title of this post is features. Yes, I had a few. Handmade Fusion listed me on the front page as the featured artist complete with interview

.

That was a special feeling. Not to mention, I was chosen as the first ever featured artist there. I'm sure it was a pull of the hat, but I will fool myself into thinking it was all becasue I am special (works for me, hehe)

I have also been featured in a few treasuries on etsy this week. It's been awhile and it was nice to be recognized by my peers. best of all was today's Front Page feature on etsy

kj

If you are not all that familiar with etsy, suffice it to say, the FP(frontpage) is akin to winning the etsy lottery. Tons of exposure, lots of attention and the ultimate etsy feel good.
I have only had a front page feature once before and it was very short lived. The item sold immediately and poof, I vanished. I have made a few treasuries over my etsy career that I felt worthy of FP status but I was mistaken. It is a great and true honor to make the FP as an artist or a curator. Thankyou justEARRINGS for making me feel good!
I now return to my mundane lifef on the couch with the kleenex, remote and a big glass of Gatorade.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Diagnosis---Potteritis

Prognisis--not fatal yet no known cure has yet to be found.
Therapuetic regiment-- avoid gorgeous pottery finds
Chance of managing disease--- little to none

Yes, it's true, I have an affliction. Not alcoholism or diabetes or other ailments that are detrimental or manageable, I have Potteritis. I had an awful flare up this morning too. You see, I am shopping for Holiday gifts and heard someone on my list was interested in some nice serving dishes. Much like offering a cold one to a lush, I was intoxicated with the thought of searching the world over for that perfect piece. Oh, a better job, I could not imagine.
Where to start? Oh, the choices. Home Goods, Pottery Barn, The One of A Kind Show, etsy. Well, if you follow this blog or even read my intro, you can guess where I started, etsy, of course! It really does fit all my criteria. unique, handmade, supports small business, beautiful selection and the ability to find new talents. Oh yeah, that chance of fulfilling the one for you, two for me shopping prophecy, well, does that really need mentioning?

I cannot think of a better way to spend a few hours, head cold as an excuse for not accomplishing other things than to search etsy and get the warm fuzzies from the comfort of my own PC. Now I have a new problem. Maybe not a problem, but what do I choose? Do I keep the favorite for myself? if so, how do I explain it's appearance?

(oh, look, here it is)
Not really the kind of thing you can say, "oh, I've had that forever. I can't believe you never noticed."
So, here's a few lovlies to help explain my affliction.
wabiSabo
clearmountaincraft
thewheelandi
natureofclay
pastembraces
Please be understanding of my illness. Afterall, how bad can appreciating art be?

P.S. These may not be serving pices but they sure serve me.
gorgeous
incredible
useful
and just plain fun

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble til you Wobble

Thanksgiving is here and the holiday season is offically upon us. Lucky for the angry pilgrim (DS#2), we haven't come across too much inthe way of Christmas yet. He earned that nickname after getting overly upset and considering knocking on the doors of the overzealous Christmas decorators for completely ignoring Thanksgiving. He was barely over Halloween and bam! red and green, snowglobes and santas, wreaths and reindeer had started taking over the neighborhood. Between you and me, I think he was worried about missing a day completely devoted to food.

That's the nice thing about Thanksgiving. No pressure, no gifts, no rushing or worrying. All you have to do is eat. You eat and eat and eat and eat. then you have dessert. Yet another reason the angry pilgrim was worried. He does believe pumpkin pie to be the perfect dessert. No utensils or plates needed (in his opinion), and no gunking that baby up with whipped cream either. He's a minimalist when it comes to food.

I am thankful for my angry pilgrim and his brother (despite the teenage angst). I could not imagine my life without them. Okay, maybe sometimes I long to travel to Italy with girlfriends or pub crawl through county Cork with an old friend and his guitar, but most days I wouldn't trade them for the moon. I am also thankful for my husband, Mark. Yes, he is cheap and stubborn and ADD, but he is also generous and kind and talented in ways I cannot explain. Now that family of mine that puts the fun in dysfunction, they too make me grateful and blessed. I count my blessings every day that I have with my grandmother.

Today may not be a most traditional of Thanksgivings. It seems many of us are fighting colds and working on projects and feeling like staying home. It just might happen too. Time will tell. So, while we are thankful for our health, today, we could stand it to be slightly improved.
I'm not sure if you have an angry pilgrim in your house or just a grumpy snot fountain, whatever you have, give it a hig, say a prayer and be glad for what you have.
Now GO EAT!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Crimson Soles and Crimson Linings

There's only one thing that brings to mind. I believe it to be the greatest story ever read (to me, that is). I remember that little Golden Book, cracked at the spine, pages loosening from the binding, corners tattered. It didn't matter, that just showed how loved that book was.
The memory of crawling up in my Grandmother's lap and listening to the story of tigers, tail to mouth, holding crimson umbrellas and wearing pants, filled with greed and jealousy until the run themselves int o melted butter will stay with me long after the pancakes are gone. She never tired of reading that one and I never tired of hearing it.
I think it's a shame that the story of Little Black Sambo has been banned or at least the name has been changed and the wording made more politically correct. The same with the stories of Unclie Remus. Every child should hear the story of Brer rabbit and the Tar Baby. they should have the joy of seeing Johnny smile as he laughs through the lafin' Place in Song of the South.
I don;t believe banning these things will change history or a single persons mind. These stories are not what fuel racism and predjudice. To act as if they never existed will never make it so.
Instead, share them, celebrate them and learn from them. they are stories of friendship, love, problem solving and courage. they are stories of wisdom, acceptance and childhood innocence. What's so wrong with that? And what;s so wrong with the title? At the time that story was written, people were referred to as black. To change the name, again, does not change the fact of the time. We should not forget our past, or rewrite it. We should learn from it. History forgotten is bound to be repeated.

What brings me to this soap box, you may ask? Well, memories of my grandmother are always welcomed and enjoyed. As she approaches her 92nd year in frail condition, I find myself thinking of her and our time together more and more often. I know it is borrowed time and I cherish it. I don;t see her enough and I talk to her less. It seems the phone calls make matters worse by confusing her, and so I try to be kind and not exasperate the situation. It doesn't mean I don;t think of her every day. I thank God that I am blessed with memories and lessons and the love only she can give. I am thankful that my boys know that love and joy also. How lucky they are to havve had so many years with a great grandmother to love them.
so, truth be told, there was no soap box. tangent thinking, definitely, but not really a soap box.
You see, I made these today.


They seem to have opened the flood gate of tigers and pancakes and grandmothers and censorship and life. Wow, that's some pair of earrings!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Low Fat and Delicious

Not to mention, you are sure to show up with a dip most have never had. This is not an easy task to accomplish. This recipe is easy and if you crave that sweet/salt balance like i do, it is a sure bet.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Advertising, Marketing and Promo's, Oh my!

Ah, yes, Dorothy, we're not in Kansas anymore.
I have spent enough time marketing one thing or another this week, I think even the Cowardly Lion would be proud. If not, at least Glinda would understand. Afterall, she worked so hard to be ♫Pop-u lar ♫.

When not at the book fair helping all 535 kids fill their wishlists, I was using all the smoke and mirrors I could muster to promote both my etsy and handmade fusion shops. Between you and me, I think the wizard lived an existence as exhausting as a stay at home mom with a colicky baby.

It is no secret that my photography is lacking. However, it is nothing compared to my skills at photoshop. Amazingly, none of the above seems to deter my need to torture myself. Be assured, many a SD card was harmed in the making of my advertisements.

This is where I give the shout out to my great etsy friends. It is their humor, their commaraderie and their pity for me that melts the wicked witches in my life time and time again. This time I can hang my hat on the lovely, talented, effervescent and eyernally cheery Yobo! With the wave of her wand (more likely her mouse), she in no time had a batch of resized photos for me. As if that wasn't enough, the queen of the prickcushion herself, Miss Elli (abitabite) swept in and dazzled me with her wizardry. Before you knew it, not only did I have useable, attractive and enticing ads, they were animated!!
okay, not animated here, but it should be. I guess I need another couple mirrors.


So, you may see me around internet town, flashing on a blog or working the sideline of majaba. Let's hope many others do too. Maybe it will make me a little
♫ Pop U Lar ♫ too.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Memoirs of a Punk

Yep, that would be me, or should I say was me. At times I do actually appreciate that I am not the person I once was. Halloween is one of those times (sort of). That sick, twisted part of me still grins at the thought of my youthful antics but the responsible adult in me cringes as she wonders why I am 1) not dead and 2) not in jail.
As the trick or treaters ring the bell, I am reminded of my meanager days. Yes, along with my "so called" friends, I too rang bells on Halloween. The difference is I usually ran as soon as I did, often leaving a not so pleasant remnant of my visit. These remnants varied house to house and year to year but had the potential to include explosives, excrements and toilet paper among other things.

What was I thinking? well, chances are, I wasn't. I was 14, 16, 17 and stupid.

Now, you may think that a horrible prank and it was. I only wish it was my worst.
Before I go incriminating myself beyond belief, there was plenty of innocent fun to be had as well. Clancy the ghost is definitely a favorite memory. It's amazing what grocery ad dispay soap bottle, a sheet, some chains and fish wire can accomplish. Every kid in the neighborhood became enthralled with Clancy. He was our mascot.
Oh, and there were hours and hours or trick or treating with the biggest pillowcases we couldn't carry. Soemtimes 2, 3 or more hauls in a night. Some years were highlighted by parties with peeled grapes (eyeballs) and oily spaghetti (veins) and a cauldron of dry ice. Cupcakes and brownies amongst the sugar overload finished with a kick-the-can game the size of Chicago or a mass viewing of The Holy Grail. Afterall, it's not really Halloween until someone chants, "bring out yer dead!"

Now back to the good stuff. I will preface with a slight disclaimer. I was never the mastermind and never the instigator but fear not, I was a willing and able sicko just the same. Lastly, if you happen to be my offspring reading this, don't. Don't continue reading and by all means DO NOT do such things. Be a better person. Know right from wrong, show restraint and think things through. For you too may someday sit down to write a memoir and want something positive to reference.

And so it is. My most vivid of Halloween remembrances. The dead man hanging. He was great. A true collaboration. A youthful prank with no limits. Vivid, life-like and memorable.
Ingredients:
1 rubber mask
1 set of clothes
1 sutrdy knife
1 bottle ketchup
lots of sturdy fishline
add:

1 dark, tree lined suburban street
a few semi alert drivers
good tennis shoes (for running)

a recipe for hysterical laughter and traumatic stress. You see, we built the dummy, stabbed and bloodied the dummy and strung the dummy from trees to hang in the middle of the street, just above eye level, dead center. Fish line is NOT visible after dark but a dangling, bloodied body (fake) sure is. It would be fair to say we can all probably sprint at olympic speed still today at the drop of a stopped car. The driver I remember the most was the pair of police officers that stopped, approached, and then laughed hysterically. Of course, they ended our fun, but they admitted it was clever, scary and funny, but dangerous as hell.

so, that was the end of Guts McGee, or so we thought.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Surprise, No Surprise

It's been one of those weeks. Hmmm, do I start all my posts that way? It seems like it, that's for sure. Maybe because so many things in my life are just the same old, same old. Grouching at school about kid issues, meetings, running non stop and what seems like always behind. That never used to be. There really was a time when I was the Queen of preparedness. The gifts bought, the table set, the prep work done, early and well read for meetings. I'm not sure what happened but somehow I became lax. I don't think I like the new, not so concerned me. I am always rushing and hurrying to get it all done. Always forgetting something or going without. Nope, I like the old me. If you see her, please send her back. Plead my case. Tell her I'll be nicer and more thoughtful of her. I'll show her the appreciation she deserves. You can even bribe her for me. I am not against buying her gifts.

Well, aside from the usual, we had debates to watch. Yep, more of the same, just like my life. Unkept promises, unrealistic goals and fingerpointing. I don't like it surrounding me I sure as hell don't like it leading the country I reside within. Now, finances I'm glad to say is not the same old nor is it a surprise. Who didn't see this coming. OMG! We have been hearing this crap for years. Anyone who so "joe" buying that McMansion on a janitor's salary should have seen this coming. Heeeeellllllloooooo?! Not to mention those in charge, those leading the way, those responsible for preventing such a fiasco. I know they may bank offshore but I was not aware that they had to stick their heads under the sand to make a deposit. Someone should warnt hem about the concrete floors in prisons.

Not enough no surprise for ya yet? How about those Cubbies. You would think after 100 years people would stop getting their hopes up. Start to expect that pin pricking their balloon. I do believe I am a Cubs fan for that very reason. Eternal hope. It's like the kid in us. The silver lining, the gumball hidden inthe botton of your ice cream cone. Loving the Cubs makes us happy. Watching the Cubs makes us sad.Like the teenager with the invincible attitude, it kills you to watch them fall on their face but it doesn't mean you don't love them just the same. I have adopted the low bar on this one. Expect nothing, hope for the best and if they do well, good for them. How else can you be at this pont.

So, with all this lack of change, more of the same, I did need a little surprise in my life. Once again,m etsy to the rescue. I participated in this fun little venture and I have to say, it's a real "feel good". I was skeptical, I had my reservations, I was looking for the ole BNR lurking under the surface but nope. It was fun.I'm not sure the seller isn't in a panic filling orders, but hell, that's my kind of panic. The kind with money in the bank. The kind that makes you warm and fuzzy. The kind that brings you into a community full force. I think I might be a part of this again sometime soon. after all, a feel good surprise is way better than watching another depressing ballgame

Friday, September 26, 2008

We Need to Find a Way

to make this work. It is the most common sense I've heard in a long time. Yes, the #'s are flawed but the concept is right on. That's the kind of bail out I could rally behind and support.
I don't know the answer, really, I don't. I do know that lack of accountability and bandaiding the problem is not the answer. Handing over this country's financial freedom to China is not the answer. Watching millions of Americans that borrowed within their means and planned for a financially stable future fall apart and loose everything is not the answer. Mostly, I do know that letting the political cronies and financial terrorists walk away, or better yet, be put in charge of fixing a mess they orchestrated is definitely not an answer that gives me confidence. I think it's gonna be a long, long time, if ever in my lifetime, that we have a warm and fuzzy again.
As an American right now, I am embarrassed. We should all be embarrassed. and ashamed, and disgusted and scared shitless. We are on the brink of a financial disaster of epic proportions, we have those responsible in a position to fix a mess they couldn't prevent and people with the IQ of a Miss Teen America in a position to rule us for 4 long years. I have to say, if I was sitting in Canada, or England, or China, or Iraq or the friggin North Pole for that matter I would be laughing my ass off at the arrogant, wasteful, self absorbed greed mongers that are getting what they deserve in the land of plenty.
Yes. I am truly embarrassed for us as a nation

The Technology Time Suck

That's what I've officially named this week. I have spent more time on the phone with tech help boneheads than Katie Couric has trying to figure out what Palin said to her. I bet that took a few Appletini's and some headshakin'.

The only thing that beats a wasted night on the phone with DTV troubleshooters is spending it with SBC.com script readers trying to get my internet connection back. Wow!, they are about as knowledgeable and experience as Ms. Palin in their ability to do their jobs. Granted, I had a nasty cold, was dead tired and hanging just about upside down under a poorly lit desk in an electrical rat's nest wasn't particularly conducive to patiently interpreting babble and waiting for that snippet of script that actually pertained to my problem, but really, if that's what we have at our disposal why not just leaves us to the devices of the auto help computer guide.

Hmm, maybe that goes for politics too. I mean, at least with Bush we know what we're in for. We see through his motives and know not to trust a damned thing he says or does. We know he's a psychotic whack job with a personal agenda and that his ability to think for himself rivals that of Lambchop.

Okay, back on track, I know way better than to spew politics in public. **just keep whispering, no good can come of this, no good can come of this** See, I should stick to those lovely promos of etsians I love and trivial pursuits of my days, where people can laugh at the fact that the highlight of my week was a dog drunk on Valium just for a $40 manicure. Mind you, I have never even paid $10 for one myself, but then again If someone gave me happy pills and a biscuit, I might consider it.

Yes, leave it to me to have a dog that needs more Valium than Paula just to get a dew claw clipped. I mean, it should be expected, right. Neurosis's seems to surround my life. Why should I expect anything less from a pet. Well, now we have a nice little bottle of doggie downers in anticipation of this lovely monthly ritual.

So, I still have a host of needs to meet this week and it's Friday afternoon. The head cold has packed its bags and relocated in the scratchy throat hotel. Laundry seems to have gained squatter's rights and Lord help me, after a sorely needed coiffing, I have to shop for a dress.
Just shoot me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Stinky Teens

Yep, I have two. Well, technically one is still a preteen but man he can bring on the stink like a full grown man! Living in a house with three humans of the male persuasion can be an effort in olfactory gland protection on any given day. From sweaty heads to sweaty feet, you have to be ready for even the most stealth attack.



So, I share with you my first line of defense. the Dennis Anderson Soap Company. Now, growing up in a house full of sports playing brothers, I have some experience with offensive odors and let me tell you, this stuff works! Actually I think it should come with a disclaimer for addiction.

I have never been much of a "girlie girl". More of a tomboy. Until recently, dial or Lever were my go to soaps. Whatever was cheap and did the trick. It never occurred to me to indulge or pamper myself in such a way. Well, let me tell you. I do now! Not only with a lovely and subtle oatmeal bar but with the pleasure of the scent of those closest to me.
I finally succumbed to the pressure of others and the admiration and addictions professed by so many others. So yes, now, without the slightest objections from our significant others, Dennis and I shower together daily. He really knows how to make a girl tingle with joy.


If that's not enough, he's great guy.

You couldn't ask for better service and quality. Trust me, he will do you right. How many times can we say that in this day and age? How often can we be satisfied in such a personal and natural way? After all, all those soaps are vegan friendly!

So run, walk, swim, or type your way over to etsy, handmadefuzion, or the andersonsoapcompany that is coming soon and get yourself a little chunk (or jar) of heaven. Everyone is doing it. I mean seriously, the man is so good he quit his day job! I guarantee, this man does NOT disappoint.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oh Sew Happy

You may be family, you may be a close friend, you may be an acquaintance. Heck, you may be seven degrees of Kevin Bacon from me, but no matter what, chances are you know that I do NOT sew! It's so obvious and out there, complete strangers can probably guess it just by looking at me. I don't do it, I don't pretend to do it, I don't even like to think about sewing. For God's sake, I don;t even like saying the word. It's a mental block the size of the Chinese wall. It could cause an allergic reaction of utmost proportions. Now, I have tackled the ocassional repair or mending if it is a life or death matter, but you'd be hard pressed to catch me at it.

That being said, I have a great appreciation for those that do. The ones that do it well, are truly talented, IMO. Hell, most days I could be impressed with a nice button reattachment. I know several of these people, or goddesses as they may be considered when it comes to sewing. It's a good thing too because everyone can use a good seamstress now and again.

Soooo, what brings me to a subject of such distress? Especially with a happy title. A title that even states the activity that shall not be named? Well, It's this. Ohsewhannah happens to be a great SIL and a wonderful gal. If that's not enough, she sews. She likes to sew. She LOVES to sew, and I still like her. that should give you some idea of just how much I like her. I'm willing to be compadres with someone that sews FOR FUN! Okay, so maybe she's a little unstable mentally but she enjoys it. She actually finds comfort and joy in something that conjures images of the depths of hell for me.

Well, in awe of her talent, creativity and overall "niceness" I introduced her to etsy. Her shop is full of goodies and trinkets for just about everyone. I have fallen in love with these little coin purse/keychains.




I had to have one.


Worried that my hearts desire was already snatched up or spoken for, I had to hurry to stake my claim. Little did I know there were more yet to be unveiled.
I suggest you take a peak and rummage through her shop. You might just get a good portion of your holiday shopping done from the conveniece of that chair your sitting in.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Can You Canoe?


Well, if so, you can probably do it in our yard. Record setting rains of almost 8 inches in 36 hours has left us an island. Barely an island I shoudl say. The dirt levee against the back door (becasue sand is not worth dying for at the local hardware store) is all that's keeping us from having our own private waterfall down the basement steps.
They keep telling us the end's in sight but with hurricane Ike finally doing it's thing on the Chicagoland area I am less than confident. Afterall,how often do you count on the local weatherman for accuracy in reporting? Outside of professional baseball, they are the only other profession that can be applauded for doing their job well 30% off the time and get paid millions! Think about it. The rest of us would get fired for that quality of work.
So, we sit, we bail, we pray to the sump pump Gods, and those of us under the age of 15 make lemonade out of the situation.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The More things Change,

The more they stay the same. I believe that's how the story goes. Well, the more I try to post, the more I just don't get to it. Why, you may ask? Well, let me tell ya......
House, kids, school, bitchwork, dog, doctors, etsy (oh yeah, etsy the ultimate fun time suck), HandmadeFuzion, jewelry making, grocery shopping, working out (HA!)........someone stop me! Please!!

So, most days I go now stop. It's okay, it's who I am. The busier I am, the more I get done. Maybe I am the world's worst procarastinator, I don't know. All I know is, the more idle time, the bigger sloth I become, and let me tell you, man can I give a tree Sloth a run for his money in the lazy ass department if I try.

So, the point of this post? I guess it would be that I have added more to my plate. Someone slap me, hard, NOW! I don't know what posesses me to do these things. I must be a masochist deep down. You see, if you were reading the first paragraph you would have noticed my reference to the most fun, zany, interesting time suck, etsy. I love it. I use it as an excuse for so many things I choose not to do. I make a little, spend a lot and have made some great friends. So, if that's not enough, what have I gone and done but added Handmade Fuzion to the mix.

What is Handmade Fuzion you ask? Well, it's more selling, more promoting, more friends, more chatting and yet another blog (because this one is sooooo overindulged!). I enter this new adventure with trepedation. Cautiously and a little overwhelmed, but hey, i'm usually game for anything. So, come check me out next week and see for yourself how interesting it is.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Perfect Storm

You know, the perfect storm, where all the elements come together in just the right way, at just the right time with just the right composition and create something phenomenal? Well, my latest creation feels that way to me right now.
Great beads, the kids going back to school, Raku (my favorite), motivation of an upcoming show, nice silver, and the desire for some new bracelets.

BAM!


Now, it is rare that I keep pieces for myself. Especially really nice ones becasue I always think I can sell it. I always convince myself I'll keep the next cool one. The dear old hubby encourages me to sell them becasue we need the money and he hates that I am always looking for a bigger jewelry box. This one I am very tempted to keep. It will be going up for sale this weekend at Septemberfest, but if it doesn't sell, who knows. Then again, it may end up on etsy because I can keep the next one, right?

Routine Memories

Let's see if I can remember how to do this. It's only been a good 6 months since I found the time to ramble (at least on here). This is a week of getting back in the swing, returning to a routine, structure, blah, blah, blah. Bottom line is, the kids are back in school. So, I hope against hope for a little normalcy, a little peace and quiet and a little "me" time. Then again, I though that would happen once school was out and the list of commitments dwindled. Nothing like a lack of carefree summer days to smack you up the side of the head with a dose of adulthood reality.

Speaking of reality, I have an official "meanager" now. yep. Crackling voice, outgrowing shoes before your eyes, attitude filled, myspace obsessed, girl oggling, meanager! Now, I knew this was coming. Afterall, his 13th birthday was in January. I was just hoping it would take a little longer. I wasn't quite ready for a daily dose of guilt-induced craving to call my mother and apologize, and yet I thank the good Lord himself daily that he is NOT a girl. I don't know either of us could survive me raising me as a teen.

Truthfully, he's a good kid. Both of my boys are. I babble on and get fed up like any mom, but in the end, I am lucky. If I could just get them a little boot traiing I might have more time to create and less time playing maid.

I am making a concerted effort to begin blogging more often and get back to some featuring of art I love and am inspired by. Maybe the ocassional funny story will get thrown in. There's no shortage of funny mishaps in my world, why not share. So, stay tuned and who knows, I just might get a handle on this yet. If not, you'll get a good laugh watching.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

It's A good Thing!

We all know who's line that is. Yep, the one, the only

Martha.

If you live in a cave and avoid any and all media coverage, maybe you don't know her on a first time basis. Oh, wait, you are here and on line, and most likey an etsy seller, shopper or frequenter, so forget that last statement. of course you know "the Martha"!

Well, now "the Martha" is getting to know etsy. The Martha Stewart Show will be featuring etsy, in all it's glory, this Friday. You can get the full story here. Name dropping is not my usual m.o. but it seems one of our own "hussies" will have the honor of being mention durting this segment. The original "Girl Savage".



I will admit, I have been green with envy of the girls' ability to land on the etsy front page, in treasuries, the subject of endless blogs, etc. However, that envy is always tempered with the utmost congratulatory glee. She does fantastic, custom, special, unique work.
Feltidermy is not something you can find just anywhere!

The hussy's, being hussies by nature, have clamoured with excitement since the announcement. This, of course, includes our own, jump on the bandwagon attitude. I mean seriously, it's Martha!!!!! Etsy on Martha is bound to bring people to etsy in droves, .............packs,.............herds. Creative people, art/craft/dyi people, people whom understand and appreciate the concept of "buy handmade".

This brings us to the heart of the matter. The Hussies are celebrating. Treasuries, sales, forum threads, shop announcements, the works. We have pulled out all the stops and rolled out the red carpet. ( oh, wait, we just rolled that up after the Oscars). We are supporting, cheering and celebrating the wonderful Girl Savage and others lucky enough to get the nod. We are giving great deals on our own items to mark the special occassion, we have shown our best side in our effort to welcom the occassion. Hell, Karma even uveiled a special trollbie.

Martha is a Hussy at Heart

So tune in on Friday, and/or its replay on Monday (Fine Living Network). Support etsy, keep spreading the word about this great site, and check out all the Hussy regalia. Watch this blog for an update of the sale announcements, treasuries and other Martha related news.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pay Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

yes, pay very close attention. You see, lately, even more than usual, I have that heavy, weighing feeling that we're not in Kansas anymore. I think they officially call it adulthood, but I myself keep checking the sky for flying monkeys.

Sick kids, fighting the system, tax season, winter doldrums and a serious need to kick my own ass for lacking the self discipline to track my etsy activities ( always goes back to the tax man, always) have left me in need of some ruby slippers. We all know my drum has a different beat though, so I had to go with RubyShoes. Believe me, there is magic in her Kansas! She does things with polymer clay the Wizard would never dream of. No smoke and mirrors here, just plain talent.

I first met RubyShoesSam on the Military Homefront Street team thread. Every Monday they have a little Monday Madness party, and I stopped in for a few. What a fun group ( that's its own seperate post, toot those people's horns) Well, madness it was! I have been "mad" for this and this, and this and this ever since. Imagine, my madness when you check out all the great shops on this team.

So, as usual, I waited and lost out on this lovely.
Take it from me. Don't wait for the house to fall on you to get your ruby slippers, buy them, and fast. Afterall, the yellow Brick Road awaits. I hope to return to Kansas one day soon with a handful of these magic pendants to inspire my own creations with them. Auntie Emm will be thrilled

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Me and Netta June

What a perfect match. What a perfect Valentine. After a terrible, "Mom Goes on Strike" day Wednesday, I could not have spent a better Valentine's Day Thursday. Okay, maybe I could have afforded to skip the loveless relationship with the middle schoolers I was teaching all day that day, but then again, they're middle schoolers. If you loved them it would be a sure sign something was wrong, you or them. However, the thought of a night with my Netta was getting me through.

Now, you may be a bit confused. Maybe this talk of "my Netta" is making you scratch your head a bit, well, truth be told, she's not "MY" Netta. She is the 6 month old, permajoyful, cute as a button, fill your heart with warmth, betcha can't help but smile little baby girl of my Cousin and his wife. Yes, I will admit, all predjudice aside, that she is one of the cutest, happiest babies I have ever experienced. And she was mine, all mine for four lovely hours Thursday night.

We played, we laughed, she cooed. I was tired, exhausted really, and looking at another day filled with middle school ingrates, but I enjoyed every minute of it. The rocking, the cuddling, the feeding, even the diaper changing was memorable
(okay, I really need to get out more). It has been a looong time since I had a baby to care for. I think I really enjoy this "other's babies" thing. Knowing you are ( reluctantly) giving her back. Not the one walking the floors, changing millions of diapers, easing her teething, pumping breast milk, unable to find 10 minutes to shower, saving for college and generally responsible for raising a healthy, happy, productive adult rally adds to the joy of the experience. The added bonus of walking in your own front door, looking at your own preteens and thanking God they are fairly self-sufficient, healthy, happy and on their way to that productive adult stage has an extra satisfying edge.

How does this all tie in several days later? Well, I find myself thinking of babies, reminiscing about my own and wanting to indulge others. Where do I start? An etsy search of course. 4,452 items that is. Now, I don;t have that kind of time, but boy, it sure is fun perusing much of it. Yet it all leads back to Pook.
Pook is a very talented half of PookThy. She is hands down, my favorite Canadian gal. She talks a mile a minute, has that great "eh" that rolls of her tongue after every sentence and just oozes sewing talent to boot. Her ability to thrift shop and turn an old table cloth or spread into this is just amazing.

Now, I encourage you all to meet Pook. Talk with her. Fall in love with her. It's inevitable. Her effervescense is contagious. Her baby clothes amazing and her purses stunning. I only wish I could buy her out and dress Netta in all her glory. In the meantime, I wait for those occassion when i can and I keep toasy warm on a Chicago winter's day with this.
Now I'm off to weasle another great babysitting experience out of Netta's parents.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's That time Again ( I hope)

I have just been under the time crunch forever. All of a sudden, it was here. Home Show time. Then, once again, as usual, my life got in the way.
So I have spent a week vascilating between doing my regularly schedule open house, or postponing til mid April. I fear a postponement for so many reasons. Life, beig the biggest. I just never know what life is gonna bring, or should I say kick my ass with. More often than not, my hopes for a showing are dashed for a myriad reasons. I just hate to take that chance. However, is a week enough notice? A people booked solid? Will I be wasting my time and money?

There's just no telling. So, after frantic printing, shopping, peeling, sticking, stuffing and posting, it's done. i will be having my usual February showing. Now, let's all pray ( novenas welcome. you know who you are) that the snow ends, the bitter cold lifts and the customers show ( and buy)

I have some great new items, and some tried and true staples. the food will be scrumptous, the wine will be flowing and the goods will sparkle. if that's not enough, a coupon for use at my etsy store is the "pies de la resistence" ( okay, sorry, I took Spanish)

For those of you in the Chicagoland area, come on by. Google it, call or just meander aver for a glass of wine, a good hearty laugh, a snack or two, and who knows, yuou may just find that perfect Christmas, I mena Valentie's, no I mean, easter, Mother's Day, Birthday, memorial day, Arbor Day, Independence day, Armitise day, D-day, gift. or maybe just a little sumin' sumin' for yourself.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Give and Take

seems to be the theme of the weekend for me. For the first time in weeks I actually flowed creatively this weekend. Creating new pieces is always relaxing for me. If I could only say the same about photographing them.It seems this piece was both my alli and nemesis this weekend

Now, this led to my first mistake of the weekend (only a matter of time til the inevitable). I should have followed my head and continued on my productive journey, but nooooooo, my heart convinced me to participate in the infamous SNS Sale on etsy. What ensued was a frantic mad dash of photography that proved as uncooperative as a two year old with an purple crayon
(we all know how that one ends).

I know by now there is no need to bore you with the intricate details. We are all adults. We know it always gets worse before it gets better, and it did. Suffice it to say, it did get better. It had to get better. I MADE it get better.

And now we return to the regularly scheduled program. It's Sunday night, beef stew is on the stove, it's bitter cold outside and I am rewarded with this. Oh, there's more, but as usual I have to have things special. I never have been one to conform, why start now.
Jpat is the perfect fit for me. She is the master of non-conformists. She loves custom orders and delights in accomodating the most finicky of customers. Now, I have yet to find an item in her shop I don't like, so why is it that fincky rears it's ugly head? well, becasue it can!
So, I admit to indecisiveness and an order larger than necessary, but that seems to be my M.O. I will spend this busy week awaiting this

, and this(sorta) and yet a few others to arrive. See, that's the thing. Janese will take those lovely, incredible fabrics, do that thing she does ( that no one else does quite like she) and give you magic.
Yep, it's magic.
Why? you ask.
well first off, it involves sewing. Anyone who knows me, knows I consider that akin to magic.
secondly, she does it perfect. time and time again. perfect fabric, perfect shape, perfect quality, perfect service.

So yes, I sold this, and this, and have a few irons in the fire. I made these beauties too. However, the highlight of this weekend will be the arrival of my new purse. On that note, I dare you. Double Dog dare you to go here. You to will be pining for your mailman to arrive.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Super Gini!

So, you know how everyone stops, stares into the sky, points and ponders what it could be as Superman flys by? Well, the same thing happens when people meet Gini. My dear friend Gini. I swear, if you listen keenly, you can hear the rumbling...."It's a fish, it's a plane, no, it's SuperGini! Why, you may ask, are people so enamored? It's out of their control, hence the name, Super Gini!

Jack of all trades, master of many. In the year I have known Gini, there is nothing she won't do. Adventure seems to be her middle name. From Deep Sea diving to metalsmithing, this girl can talk in a plane full of people in a tornado with one hand tied behind her back. If that's not enough, she'll make you one of these.


Guaranteed to make you shoot Coca Cola out your nose, no practical joke or witty remark goes unnoticed. This girl can turn a phrase on a dime. Maybe it's all those years in the air traffic tower, maybe it's all that time spent searching for Bikini Bottom ( Spongebob's homeland), maybe it's all those years in support of a military spouse, but her warped sense of humor is right up my alley. Afterall, it's not every gal that perpetually searches for the Missouri Ocean.

Now, I have been making jewelry for more than a decade now, and have always been self taught. Gini has opened a whole new jewelry world to me. Her creativity is overflowing and ideas run faster than she has time to enact them. I have watched her produce amazing things from the simplest of supplies.

She has taught me many a trick of the trade and continually impresses me with creations like this

I could wax poetic about her compassionate ear, her hysterical humor and her uncanny ability to make you think you've been lifelong friends within 5 minutes of meeting, but she will just crack wise on me. So, the best I can say is, find out for yourself. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, February 4, 2008

A Great Lady

I have met a really talented lady on etsy. We actually met a year or so ago, but have recently reaquainted. She really impresses me, but then again, having two adolescent boys I am ( more often than not) proud of, any woman willing to have 2 children in 13 months deserves more than admiration. A padded cell comes to mind.
regardless of the reasons, Lynette, of Originals by Lynette is that woman.
She has a fantastic eye when it comes to repurposing. She has style and grace, not to mention her affection for vintage evidenced here

and through her shop.

It's not enough that she create beautiful accessories by day (or sometimes night), but she is a loving mom to Charlie and Nancy, a wife to the infamous TonyO ( this alone should garner a medal of honor), a sales consultant to a start up family business and still finds time to hang with some good friends.

So, outside of dazzling me with her charms (or beautiful bobbies), she helps me to reflect on my own limitations. Between recent conversations and a little help form my recent weekend jaunt (a story in itself), I have reaffirmed some strong beliefs that have been brewing for some time.
Yep, there's no denying it. I am soooo glad I am past that stage of my life. It may be that it is greatly responsible for my ability to multitask, and if so, well worth it, but I have no desire to go back to that part of my life. Now, I love kids. All kids (okay, most kids) more than the average person. As I said, I even have 2 of my own. I spend the better part of my life with children in some capacity. But, as I listen to Lynette spin a tale of her day, I am reminded of the reality of it. You see, as they get older, and more independent, especially their mouths and attitudes, you often long for the sweet hugs, the grape jelly kisses and copiloting aircraft with a full cargo hold of peas into a tiny mouth. What is so easily rose-colored is the bathroom crimes not so contained to it's owner, 30 second showers being a luxury of "alone time", laying your life on the line for the opportunity to run a errand your loving husband insists on taking care of as a favor to you, because that 3 word exchange with the checker at Walgreens is worth a drive in a foot of snow. Oh, the desperation for an adult conversation that doesn't have the word tinkle, Dora or Barney in it.
So, listening to Lynette lamnet about her day coupled with a 2 day jaunt to one of those Family" resorts in tourist trap USA, I have reaffirmed my appreciation for the age my children are. Watching parents tote half the house everywhere they go and feel the need for 6 pair of eyes able to work independent of each other at all times, I slink into a hot tub, Seabreeze in hand and wonder just which attraction my two are currently enjoying (indepndent of my cautious eye). I read a magazine leisurely poolside as they trot off to do whatever it is they do.
Yes, I have the ocassional twinge when I see the belly laugh of a 3 year old, but it fades quickly as I turn my head and catch glimpse of a mom , childs feet in one hand, clean diaper clutched in teeth, reach to hand another a snack while balancing the sippy cup waiting to be filled with one knee and think, WOW! I have no desire to go back to that part of my life and I take another sip of that seabreeze.

So, I'm not quite sure how, with her children at their tender ages, and a husband in need of her stellar salesmanship, Lynette finds time for her fancies, but she does. And, if that's not enough, she has time for this too!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Chain, Chain, Chain,,,,

Yep, now you've got that song running through your head, I just know it! That's okay, at least it's an upbeat tune. Would you rather I start with "99 bottles of Beer" or "I Found a Peanut" to rustle the memories of an old cross country family truckster vacation?.....I didn't think so.


by the lovely and talented avionmaille

So, I leave you with my originally intended head warping verse and images it now conjures for me. Chainmaille. I have to admit, I have fallen for it hook, weave and ringers. It's silky feel, it's versatility, not to mention affordability.
Yep, I'm sold!
Now, I will admit, I am mostly a sterling or fine silver sort of a gal. This is not a problem. Plenty of "maille", as it's known by its creators, is constructed of fine metals. Yet, what I love about Lanie's creations, is that usually they're not. This lends itself to affordability and a rainbow of color combinations not available in fine metals. Rest assured, the annondized aluminum and copper is sturdy and beautiful, without a doubt, not to mention light as a feather.

Now, etsy introduced me to chainmaille as an art form, but Avion (as she is known by many etsians) made me a fan. After watching the construction first hand this fall, I have a newfound respect for the time and effort put into each and every creation, not to mention the toll it takes on the eyes. This is not a craft I am likely to undertake anytime soon.

Riddled with patience, detail and history, Chainmaille weaves date back thousands of years with uses that amaze this modern day gal. Oh, don't worry, as much as I'd love to, you won't have to witness me walking down mainstreet it one of these anytime soon.(at least not until this diet is more successful), but you can almost always find me sporting one of these

Monday, January 28, 2008

Time

usually the most precious commodity for me. I am almost always going six ways at once. I have become such the consimmate multitasker that it has even earned me this.

Miss KJ Queen of Time

by the lovely and talented Miss KarmaRox
I have always been aware of the fact that the busier I am, the more I get done. It's the whole, "do it right the first time" motto. rarely is there time to do it again, or fix screw ups after the fact. On the rare occasion that I do single task, I usually fall on my face. For example, a lonely trip to the grocery store with no kids in tow, no schedule to adhere to, no cellphone ringing can often take hours versus minutes. I loose the ability to concentrate on the task at hand. As I fumble in the checkout line with no need to send a repirimand to someone under 4 ft tall, I am unable to write a check or locate a frequent buyer card. Ha! I suddenly realize that I have worked in momy mode so long, its all I know.

And so I've digressed. the point of this tidbit is that today I have looked at a calendar with not one, not two, but three blank days ahead. oh, there's the usual bitch work and a mountain of bookeeping to do, as always. It's that lack of appts, meetings and activities that's unsettling. There is a definite fear of the unknown. I know its only a matter of time before I get blindsighted and all hell breaks loose. Experience has taught me that interruptions are expected, but I am not good at conquering the final frontier. I'm no Annie Oakley!
So, off I go to relish in a smidgen of "me time" before the other shoe drops. Its been so long I'm not sure if I know what to do with "me" time, but I'll give it the old college try. I know if I fail, there are dishes, laundry and paperwork waiting to comfort me back to reality.