Sunday, December 12, 2010

a little update

I sorta fell off the blogging universe a week or three ago. my last post goes into more detail about the health issues i've been having. on top of that, my mean, but precious little kitty, Oscar was diagnosed with diabetes 2 weeks ago, so we've been adjusting to life with insulin and watching for signs of improvement, which thankfully, we've seen. on top of that, the kid also has 2 ear infections, so yeah - this is a sick house. but... my meds have been changed, and i've started to feel a difference with that - more energy, more myself. this is good.

and i've still managed to squeak out some creative time.

i've had some ornaments to attend to for my ornament swap. i tried one idea. it failed miserably. i then had a stroke of inspiration and sat down to create 3 ornaments. they turned out great, until i tried to add one final touch to each of them. not a great idea. i had to start all over, but that's ok, because i'm really happy with how they turned out and i learned to avoid that last technique. :)

i also completed an ATC challenge, and waiting for my swap cards to come back. it's so fun getting art in the mail!

our house has also been transformed for christmas, and we have one very excited little 3-year-old around here. it should be a fun christmas morning!

pictures and more regular postings to come.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

'round here

for some reason the counting crows are in my head this morning, but the title seems to fit with what i'm going to write about.

'round here i've been coughing.  a lot.  for like 3 months.  first it was a cold.  then the cold went away but not the cough.  i've been going to the doctor.  the doctor thinks i might have asthma.  so right now i am on steroids and an inhaler but i also have a cold again on top of all of this.  colds make you cough and so it never ends.  needless to say, i haven't felt 100%.  most days i feel about 75%.  some less and sometimes - for snippets of a day, i feel more.  by 7:30 at night i'm usually pretty tired.  it stinks.  i am trying to not make a big deal about it, and i'm sort of surprising myself that i'm even writing about it here, but i feel like it should be acknowledged, so i am.

this definitely impacts creative time, but i'm sort of pushing myself to make the time despite how i feel.  why?  well, for one - sitting at my desk is like meditation for me.  i zone out - i leave my worries and i'm just there with whatever it is i am working on and the music i am listening to.  i feel better mentally and spiritually after hanging out in the paint room for even a few minutes.  for two, i have a lot of stuff to do.  i've signed up for a lot of things and i have two deadlines by friday....eep!  thank goodness i've taken a PTO day today and the little person in our house is going to daycare.  the morning is mine to do with as i'd like, and then the afternoon will hold time with heather (movie, perhaps) and thanksgiving preparations.  for three - even though i've been working towards returning to an artful life for a lot of this year, i still feel like i have to be conscious of working it into my life.  it's feeling more and more natural, especially on saturday mornings, but to take the time other parts of the week sometimes feels weird or like i'm not deserving.  i hate that feeling of not deserving something i love, and i don't know where it comes from, and i want to get beyond it.  getting beyond it takes the practice of doing, so that's why I go in the paint room.  that's why i write here.  and that's why - asthma, cough or whatever i'll keep doing what i love. 


i totally didn't expect point three.  but there it is.  it's true.  it felt a bit angry, or perhaps defiant.  a middle finger to my lungs or my cold or things that get in my way.  i will not lose this part of me again....  i think that's what's really there.

isn't writing interesting?  stuff comes out of no where sometimes and it hits you like a truck. or maybe like a train on a track?  which reminds me of this song, which i love a whole whole bunch...

wonder if the counting crows and florence + the machine would make a good mash-up?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The weekend to-do list

Lot's going on round here this weekend.

First up - chores.  I hate them, but they must be done.  I'm going to bust through them quickly so I can move on to the following:

1.  Ornaments for Louise Gale's Color Ornament Swap challenge.  My ornaments include a bit of wood, a bit of paint, a bit of string and perhaps a wee bit of glitter.  I received my three recipient names, and I hope they will like what I'm putting together.

2.  December Daily Album - simple and easy...that's the goal.   Going to get at least 1-15 done this weekend.  As much as I would love play with some of the ideas Ali did with her book this year, I just don't have the time.  I'm being realistic about that so I don't start something that I can't finish and I will enjoy what I can do.

3.  Playing the memory game with Em.  She calls it the fish game, and I have no idea why but I promised her that today we would play, and today we will.

4.  Going to ICE-Atlanta.  We went last year and it was a great show!  Looking forward to this year - just Em and I going I think, but she should have fun (last year she slept in her stroller).  It will give me a chance to do a bit of Christmas shopping without other eyes around.

Because no blog post is complete without a picture, I'll leave you with a clue of what Emily is busying herself with this morning:
This was taken a few weeks ago, but this morning I've seen a witch, a 'mommy', princess heels and random purses and necklaces.  Maybe Santa will bring her some more dress up clothes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday - 11/17

Ever since stumbling across Jamie's blog a month or two ago, I have loved the concept and spirit behind Wishcasting Wednesday.  I don't always participate, but they do inspire me and give me pause to reflect on my own wishes and desires.  If you aren't familiar with what this is, I strongly encourage you to check it out and wish along.  The positive vibes that come from this are contagious!

Today's question is:  What do you wish to celebrate?

I've been reading the celebrations of other wish-casters and letting the idea roll around my head.  There are so many things that I am thankful for and celebrate, but as I've continued to think about this, one thing kept coming to the top of the list, and that is my relationship with my partner, Heather.

Fall 2010 - Heather (L) & Missy

Heather and I met almost 9.5 years ago.  A few years after that, we bought a house together and a few years after that, we decided to have a baby.  Our relationship was rock solid up until that point. If there was a disagreement, we worked it out pretty easily.  We found compromise in areas where we didn't see eye to eye. And overall we had a great time together.
Em's 1st Birthday - 2008

In 2008, we took on a lot of things all at once.  In hindsight, it was too much, and it started to have an impact on the pretty perfect relationship that we had.  In 2009, we decided to move back to Atlanta and try to find a balance again.  Both years were tough on us - for so many reasons.  We both handled the changes in different ways.
Montreal - 2008
2010 has been the year of the come back.  I've been trying to get back to what makes me happy.  Heather has been trying to work on a few things of her own.  We've both been working on parenting together, but we have also been working really hard at coming back to who we are as a couple.  What we've learned (and are still learning) is that we aren't really going back to who we once were as much as finding a path to a new us.  For the first 6 years, we weren't parents.  Life without kids is easier (no offense kids).  We've been challenged in so many ways in the past three years, and I'm so proud to say that we are still here - together.  There have been times where I didn't think that would be the case.  We've made a hundred changes big and small this year, but the changes have been things we've discussed.  We've taken caution with decisions (rather than flying by the seat of our pants) and we've decided together on what's most important for us.  I feel like our hard work is starting to pay off.  There are many more good days than bad.  There is a lot more laughter and peace than tension.  We are talking more.  We are spending time together more.  We are enjoying our life together more.  I'm so incredibly and humbly grateful for the gift of this relationship.  I've learned so much, shared so much, loved more than I ever thought possible and had so many dreams come true through this journey.  I have much to celebrate.  We have much to celebrate. Thank you, Jamie, for the moment of pause to recognize this.
Christmas 2009

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

observations on being a creative mama

I know that somewhere along the way I've talked about my struggle to find time to create now that I am a mama.  When Em was first born, my struggle was lack of sleep, going through a very tough 6-month adoption process and adjusting to everything new that comes with being a new parent.  There were a few days of creativity, and I remember putting Em down on the floor next to my desk so that she could play while I worked on whatever it was I was working on.  My process back then was that I'd have a general idea of what I wanted to work on and then take 3, 4 or 8 hours to play with the idea, work on it and finish it.  I remember getting REALLY frustrated with the fact that I couldn't find that time when she was so little.  My thinking was very black and white/all or nothing.  I was stubborn.  I wanted my old routines.  Since I couldn't have 6 hours at a time, then I did nothing.  And I did nothing for another year and a half.  I showed myself, didn't I?

So here I am in 2010.  I decided earlier in the year to find a way back to creativity.  I got really tired of sitting on the sidelines and watching other mamas create and do, and I knew that I wanted that back for myself.  But it totally freaked me out.  What if I couldn't?  What if I forgot?  What if I got frustrated by not having enough time?  What if, what if, what if?  

I got stuck in a 'what if' coma for a bit, but I pushed through.  I started this blog.  I moved my creative space to a room that was more accessible to me.  I organized it so that I can find things.  And I slowly started to spend time in there.  Sometimes I did nothing more than sit in my chair with a cup of coffee and think about colors or ideas.  Sometimes a little sketch came out.  Sometimes more.  I also started to look outside and find other mamas and creative spirits. I watched and I listened and I've been continuously inspired by so many people - mostly across the web, and mostly people I've never met, but the inspiration has been a gift. And all of this has led up to things I never expected.

1.  My interests are changing.  
Earlier in the year, I would have been happy just to get back to scrapbooking.  I have always, always had a thing for paper and textures, and scrapbooking allows me to play in a way that painting never has.  I have been scrapbooking, and the process seems easier/quicker to me than it has before.  I haven't spent hours laboring over a page.  I play with an idea, I do the page and get it done.  If I can't quite work it out, then I put that particular page aside and move on to another.  No big deal.  I used to be all about order and doing things chronologically.  That has changed and it's totally freeing.  I have found that through the process, I'm actually more happy with the final result, because I'm not trying to force something that isn't ready to be done yet.  

But scrapbooks are just a very small part of what I am doing these days.  My interests are still fundamentally the same - I like paper.  I like paint.  I like texture.  I like colors.  But I'm doing things will all of these elements that I've never quite done before.  It's thrilling.  It's fun.  I'm just going with it.  I've been working on some pieces that combine everything I love and it's so fun.

2.  It turns out that you can be creative and get things done in short blocks of time.  
Who knew?!  It also turns out that I don't mind this process.  At least one morning each weekend, I do try to have 2-3 hours in the paint room.  Em is usually with me, so I don't get all of that time for just me, but that's ok.  I've started to use that time to set up new projects and then throughout the week, I'm adding to things where I can.  So it's 10 minutes here - 30 minutes there.  Yesterday, it was just a coat of gesso - 2 minutes in and out, but those 2 minutes give me a mini rush and boost to my day.  I felt like I did something.  Tonight might just be cutting a couple of pieces out and then tomorrow might be the beginning of the assembly process, but I love it.  I'm really not quite sure why I thought it was impossible before.

3.  I accept the fact that I will be interrupted.  
4 years ago, the general rule in our house was that Sunday mornings were my time for mellow music, coffee and time in the paint room.  People learned that it was not wise to disturb me.  I got really cranky.  Now I have come to accept the fact that interruptions will happen.  On the weekend, I will need to pay attention to Em.  Sometimes I will need to get her paper/paint/glue.  Sometimes I will need to tie her shoe or help her in the bathroom or get red or brown raisins for snack.  During the week, I get interrupted by unknowns.  This week, it's been the process of buying a new car, but next week it could be a phone call or a burnt dinner or who knows what, but I'm ok with that.  It's all apart of the new process.

4.  Stating your intent is a good thing.
I think this is sort of implied throughout this entire post, but I think stating my intent and desires have really helped me to realize that this is possible.  You know that saying (or maybe it's a fact) that people who write their goals down are more likely to accomplish them?  I'm finding a lot of truth in that through this journey.

8x10 print from thewheatfield etsy shop

5.  Admitting vulnerability and letting go is a bit like riding a roller coaster - terrifying at first, but the high afterwards makes you want to do it again and again.
I like the idea of getting things right.  I like the idea of not admitting when I am wrong or stuck or scared.  I've liked the idea of things being perfect.  But I'm learning that those things really take a lot of energy and the create a funnel-like environment where you just get stuck and you spin around and around and don't really get to where you want to be.  I've found sanctuary in a couple of communities where I can put my random fears or thoughts out there.  Acknowledging those vulnerable parts with people has allowed me to work through them and not get stuck like I have in the past.  Putting those vulnerable parts here, even if I'm the only person that sees it allows me to let it go.  

I loved, loved, loved the challenge of stating what "perfect is" for me.  It's freakin' exhausting.  Good enough is fun.  Good enough is freeing.  Good enough lets you fly and gives you wings.  I like the feeling of your feet being off of the ground and I like that I've been able to have that feeling a lot lately.

I love this journey. <3

Friday, November 12, 2010

banana salad

We do meal planning around our house.  If I'm lucky, we pull the plan together and I shop for the coming week on Sunday mornings.  Every week, I ask the people of the house what they want in the coming week.  And almost every week, I get a request for breakfast.  So...most weeks we have breakfast for dinner at least once.  We vary it up.  Sometimes it's pancakes (with or without bananas, chocolate chips and/or peanut butter and/or strawberry or 'purple' jelly on top).  Sometimes it's waffles with eggs and/or bacon.  Other times its quiche or egg based casserole, frittata, etc.  So this week, when I asked what we wanted for dinner - I put breakfast on the list because I wanted to try out these 2 ideas from one of my current favorite food blogs -  First up:

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit Muffins

picture respectfully borrowed from
I didn't get a chance to take a picture of ours because we gobbled them up too quickly.  They are yummy and you should try them.  The recipe is here.  They are perfect for little and big hands and I see lots of easy ways to vary this up.  When I purchased the can 'o biscuits, I got 2, so I think I'm going to treat us to an actual Sunday breakfast but using spinach and a bit of onion in lieu of the bacon.

To accompany our biscuit/muffins, we had banana salad.  I figured Em would love this concept, and it turns out, I was right.  As I picked her up from daycare last night, I told her that we had to go home and help Felicia make dinner.  She asked what we were going to make, and I told her 'banana salad.'  It got a great reaction and she thought it was super silly, as only a 3-year-old would.

So we got home and made our version of the salad.  This was another idea I took from cookingwithmykid and to give credit where it's due, the recipe is here. I decided to document our adventures in making it, because Emily was having such a good time.

First we cut up the bananas ('on the orange plate for halloween' - says Em)
She got really excited when she actually started cutting the bananas completely in half.  By the third one she totally had it down.

Next, we added the bananas to the bowl:
Then we added the Craisins:
See that smile?  That is a smile of a child who loves craisins. At this point it was like the child had won salad lottery, and believe it or not, she actually has been known to eat the green variety.  To have bananas in a salad was silly, but to have craisins is divine.  Must remember this for the next green salad.

Next step is the pecans:

This container is the last of once was a 5 pound bag of pecans that Heather's mom gave us last Christmas.  Do you freakin' have any idea how much a 5 pound bag of pecans is?  It is a lot.  I've given co-workers bags, we've made countless things and here we are - almost a full year later with just a little bit left.

From here, I drizzled just a little bit of honey, and added my own secret ingredient to the mix - cinnamon.  Just a little sprinkle.  Our photography skills are not the best, but here's the final result, which we all loved:

I won't name any names, but one little person had seconds of everything on her plate.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

the color of happy feet

Some people wear mood rings.  Some people sport their favorite t-shirt or jeans or probably even sneakers when they are feeling all groovy and happy inside.

I wear fun socks.

These are my favorite pair:

I'm wearing them today.

Wanna know why?

Because I started my day by creating a background for a piece I am working on.  Here's a peak at the progress:

Is there really a better way to start your day than with the sun just coming up, a warm cup of coffee and a paintbrush in your hand?  Not for this Thursday there wasn't.  Bliss.  Joy.  And a positively delicious way to start an otherwise ordinary work day.  Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My wish for growing older

Jamie Riddler posted a wishcasting question on her blog today and I thought it was intriguing....

How do you wish to grow older?

There are a few things that immediately come to mind.  I want to grow older with more patience and laughter.  Right now, those things are inextricably linked.  I think that if you can laugh more, both at yourself and the situations life presents you, then you can stretch your patience and things don't feel like they are gnawing at you as much.

I want to grow older and be more creative.  I really wouldn't mind being an old lady shuffling through the grocery store with bits of thread or paper on my shirt just because I was so absorbed in a project.  Right now, being a mama, my job, my relationship and my to-do list take up the majority of space in my day and I think more about my creative wishes than I do spending time to execute, so that is definitely something I want to change.

I also want to grow older with a continued sense of curiosity and adventure.  When I retire (or before that time if I can figure out how to swing it), I want to drive around the U.S. in an old RV.  I want it to be all decked out in crazy colors and contain old, silly pottery that we find at country road flea markets.  I've had this dream for a long time, and I guess with that is the wish to grow older in good health so that I can do the things that I want to do.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Now that I've found my sketchbook again, it's getting a lot of use.  I'm also sketching at work and bringing things home.  Here's a quick snapshot of some of the things I've been noodling around lately:

This was something I was playing with in early October.  I have a few of the heart/wing combos flitting around right now.  I really like them.  The top part of this sketch has some ideas I was playing around with (and still might implement) for the top of this blog.

Been having lots of fun doodling birdies lately.  These little guys were done over a couple of days at work.  The things I do while sitting on a conference call...

These were some ideas from Saturday morning.  This heart/wings is likely going to be a mixed media piece.  The stuff on the left is a few more ideas for kid cards.

Oh - I've also created a flickr page for my green bird stuff.  You can find it here.  

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Design Sponge Contest : My Caterpillar font

Oh my gosh! I am so excited! I just submitted my entry for the design sponge font contest that I've talked about a couple of times before. I think my design is cute, but I am really more thrilled by the mere fact that I did it. I ACTED on something I wanted to do - stuck with my initial idea, even though, for a minute, I feared others would find it corny, but then I threw corny to the wind and just did it. The other thing I'm really excited about is that I still have some photoshop skills. There was a bit of clean up work to do on my title as I hand cut the pieces and scanned the whole thing in. The edges were showing, and well - you can't have edges for a contest, can you?

Here's my design:

The deadline is the 9th, and from there they will announce the 10 finalists for viewers to vote on. I'm really looking forward to seeing the entries!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

on being vulnerable.



still here.  just busy with my day job.  was in Chicago yesterday, and when I wasn't sleeping on the plane I was thinking about all of the things I want to get done in the next weeks before Christmas.  I need to make a calendar because I have a lot of stuff:

  • Christmas Cards (always handmade, except for that one year we lived in NYC)
  • Baby blanket for Em.  I have about 3 inches so far, and it's coming along pretty well.  
  • a few more card designs to launch my shop (have them in my brain - just need to get them out on paper)
  • Submit my font to the design sponge challenge
  • Decide which holiday ornament swaps I want to participate in and make said ornaments. I signed up for the Creative Color Challenge, but there's another I am considering.
  • Create 3 ATC's for a swap I signed up for.
  • Not to mention cooking, baking and all of those unexpected things that holidays bring
I also want to create a project for Em and I so we can talk about thankfulness.  I have something in mind, but it might morph a bit before it's done.  

So that's all - busy mind, not enough sleep or coffee and lots of FT work to do.  I'll leave you with a picture of our little pirate - this was taken the day of her school Halloween party:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trying new things

There seems to be a lot of "new" in my life lately and I'm really loving it.  In addition to all of the other things I did over the weekend, I also learned to knit.  I've wanted to learn for a really long time and my friend Erin has been threatening to teach me for almost as long as I've wanted to learn, so we decided that Saturday was going to be the day.  She showed up at my house Saturday morning, and she and the kids all piled in the car and we headed to Michael's.  Felicia got beads and has started to make some really pretty bracelets.  I received a green one on Saturday afternoon. Emily got some stamps, but seemed to have more fun painting with the foam brush and her hands than stamping with the actual stamps.  I got some yarn and some circle knitting needles as well as a half buggy full of other stuff.  Erin taught me the basics, and I wound up with 2 practice pieces.  The first was a little square that was ok.  The second was a slightly bigger piece on different needles (because I was having a hard time with the circular ones).  Here's what the second piece turned out like:

Emily thought that it was the perfect size for a mask:

I started the official knitting project yesterday afternoon.  I'm working on a simple baby blanket for Em's babies.  If I manage to get that right, then I'll likely try making a hat as Felicia loves to wear baggy knit caps. Wish me luck!

I also got some glitter and flocking materials to try out.  I've never used super-fine glitter like this before and I quickly experimented with it on Saturday, but found that the glue I used probably wasn't the best fit.  I want to play around with it some more though to see if I can find the right depth of coverage, because I think it could be fun to use on cards.
The flocking was an impulse buy.  The checkout line was incredibly long and those dollar bins next to the registers get me almost every single time.  These were a dollar each.  I'll probably do a little research online to see how folks use this stuff and what glues work best.  If this gives the effect that I think it does, I have a sketch in mind that this could be fun to apply to, and if that goes well, I'll try it on a card or two.

Two other new things to note.  I officially signed up for the sketchbook project.  

I either tweeted or mentioned this in my blog a few weeks ago, and I sat with it awhile to see if I would forget about it or if it was something I really wanted to do.  Not only did I keep thinking about it, but every few days I would happen upon a blog where someone else had signed up.  Each occurrence felt like a little nudge, so I registered yesterday.  I received an email this morning telling me that my sketchbook was on the way.  And do you know what theme I picked?  Happy Thoughts.  Should be fun!

Final new thing for the day.  This - the Creative Color Challenge.  

I LOVE decorating and crafting for the holidays and I love the idea of getting some new homemade ornaments for free (well, minus the shipping I will pay to send mine out).  Very excited to do this and to also find Louise Gale's blog through the process.  I've already added her to my favorites and look forward to seeing more of her work and reading more of her musings.  I LOVED her post today about 'putting yourself out there.'  I'm definitely feeling the amazing energy that comes from that, even if I'm only putting myself out there in small ways for now.  

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Weekend Projects

I took Friday off, so it's been a wonderful 3-day weekend filled with lots of creative fun.

Friday, I finally had the chance to work on the ideas for my etsy shop.  Here's a sneak peek:

Here's a look at the inside of the ice cream cone card:
 So far, I've come up with 4 different themes.  Each card group will be sold in small groups, so here are the different groups stacked together.  Can't wait to share more of this work soon!

Friday afternoon rolled around and Felicia came home from school.  She decided to paint, which I was excited about because she doesn't do it too often.  She found some butcher paper and plopped down in the paint room while I was working on my cards.  Here's what she made:
I think it's super cute.  When Emily came home, they painted another piece of cardboard that says "cousins" since they are very proud of their cousin status.  Nothing is cuter than hearing Emily talking about or asking for "my cousin."

With today being Halloween (my favorite holiday of the year), Em and I decided to amp up the spook of our front door a bit yesterday with some spiders (have I mentioned that I hate spiders?).  Here's a look at our work:
Spiders with googly eyes are probably the only kind of spiders we'll ever have around our house.  This was the first project where Emily cut paper into "something."  We used my paper trimmer to cut the thin pieces for legs, and then she used her scissors to cut them up into leg pieces.  She was very proud of herself and I was proud of her. 

Door + spiders + wreath + jack-o' lanterns: 
Felicia's is the top right one.  Heather's is underneath.  We all think it looks like Squidward from Spongebob.  Mine is on the left.

And here's our little witch that wanted to scare her mama as she arrived from work. 

We got these spiders and her witch gear on right before Mama got home and she hid behind the azeleas until her mama got out of the car.  Talk about a scary greeting!

Final pic comes from Em's breakfast this morning:

Peanut butter and jelly toast with spooky sprinkles.  Full day of fun ahead.  Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Work in Progress

I finally got my paint room clean (right after I took pictures, wouldn't you know it) and thought it could be fun to chronicle what I'm working on. While I was cleaning up, I came across an old sketch book that only had 3 or 4 things inside.  So this first shot is actually a sketch that I did probably 3 or 4 years ago.  If I remember this idea correctly, I was going to do a mixed media/painting piece from this.    It reads" Rules are for board games (but even then you can cheat a little).

Sometimes when I have an idea but I either am having problems working out which option (because sometimes there are too many floating around in my head) to go with or trying to decide how things will look, I do a really rough sketch.  I never get too hung up on making it perfect or to scale, because what I usually find is that the details change a bit as I get into something.  I don't remember which struggle this sketch was born out of, but I really like the idea for the painting and it might be something that I pick up and play with again.

A couple of days ago, announced that they are having a font contest and participants can submit hand-drawn or computer illustrated fonts.
 I have always had a thing for letters.  Ever since I was a kid, I've made cards and banners and explored different types of letters, etc., so this seemed like a no brainer for me.  I have 3 ideas that I want to submit.  This is a peek at the first idea.  The contest states that we must show at least one case of alphabet and then show them to spell out the name of the font.  I'll likely use some colored pencils to do the font name.  I'm excited to see what other participants come up with....such a fun idea!

Finally - here are some quick snapshots of a scrapbook that I am working on.  This is from Halloween 2009.  My goal is to have this sucker completed by the end of October, and I think I can do it especially since I'm taking a day off tomorrow.

For this particular project, it's not so much the contents that have me excited as much as it is the process.  I found the process again.  I found the joy again.  Some people think that scrapbooking is a really geeky hobby, but I love it.  It gives me an opportunity to tell our family's story and show moments in time that we might otherwise forget about. 

I think my Grandma was a scrapbooker before the term was ever coined.  She had dozens of photo albums - from her and my Grandpa's trips to Hawaii, to pictures of her kids and me as a baby and on and on.  She kept all of those albums on a shelf that was built into a day bed, and I have vivid memories of sitting on that daybed and going through those albums again and again and again on every visit to Ohio.  Since both she and my grandfather have passed away, the albums have been distributed among family members, and I feel so very lucky to have a few of these albums.  So geeky or not, I think I come by this hobby and love honestly.  Thanks Grandma!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Things I like Tuesday 10/26

We got sort of slack over the weekend and only planned our meals through tonight.  So this morning, I've been thinking about dinners for the rest of the week.  When I think about dinners (and breakfasts and snacks and treats), I start turning to some of my favorite food blogs.  Here are a few along with links to recipes I have tried:

If you are a mama (or a daddy) and you want to have fun with your kid in the kitchen, then check out this blog.  It's one of my daily reads and I have tried a few of her recipes so far.  Just last week, we made the frittata shown above and blogged about here.  It was delicious and definitely something we will make again and again.  I want to make the banana nut salad (sans nifty banana cutter) and I have the pumpkin muffins on my list to make this week - can't wait!

Oh my, where do I begin with this site?!  L-O-V-E!  I discovered this blog earlier in the year, and I slowly started turning my co-workers on to it.  Now, there is a small gang of us who follow this blog and we'll often start the day with comments like, "did you see what she posted - I HAVE to try that!?"  And we all know that the "she" is Annie.  Between my co-workers and I, we've tried A LOT of these recipes and well, they are all amazing.  I really don't know how she does it. 

Before finding this site, my partner and I were on the hunt for the perfect pizza dough.  We've tried everything - all of the stuff in the stores (that are eww for the most part), a myriad of different recipes, and we didn't find anything that we loved, until this....Perfect Pizza Crust.  :Let me tell you, it is perfect.   Also check out her tips and tricks for this dough, which include tips on freezing.  I have a tip of my own - don't use wax paper to freeze.  I learned the hardway and spent 30 minutes picking bits of wax paper from defrosted dough.  Not a fun way to spend 30 minutes.

We've also loved the white fish tacos, the make-my-mouth-water Chicken Caesar Sandwiches, these fantastic Chocolate Chip Scones and the ice cream that lives up to the name:  Dreamy Creamy Strawberry Ice Cream.  Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!

The Barefoot Contessa
Ok, so there's no blog, but can I just tell you how much I love this woman?  She's like my chef crush.  She just makes everything look so lovely and simple and I have tried a few of her recipes and they are all divine. But the thing I love about her is her show.  I want to shop and cook with her.  I want to make a surprise dinner for Jeffrey and 2 of their very best friends.  I want to chat about celery root or storing flour while drinking a glass of wine in her kitchen, because if anyone can make those topics interesting (sorry Martha - I'm sure you've tried), I think Ina can.  I love her.  And I love her pomegranate martinis.  As a matter of fact, we were just talking about them over the weekend.  They are so good, but they are very potent.  I passed out at 10pm one new year's eve thanks to these puppies, and I didn't even drink 10 of them - only 3!  Forget Anthony Bordain or that Hell's Kitchen dude - give me Ina any day of the week!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Paint Room

I've been meaning to share pictures for months, but I've been waiting for the perfect moment - the clean spaces, the organized tables and desks and the tidy shelves.  I don't think that's ever going to happen.  So here's a peak into my room and what it looks like on most days.

View from the door:

Do you know who Dr Bob is?  He's a wonderful folk artist from New Orleans (one of my favorite places) and he makes all sorts of stuff, but I think his most well-known works are his "Be Nice or Leave" signs.  I simply heart these things but Dr. Bob has become quite popular, and well, I just couldn't afford a sign at the time that I wanted one.  So, I borrowed the idea and made my own.  I actually made this 3-4 years ago, but it didn't sit well with me in my previous space for some reason, but when I moved my paint room upstairs, I thought it was perfect - so there it is - the mantra for the room.  On the wall just to the right of the bookshelf are a few things including the first ATC's that I received in a swap, some Georgia O'Keefe postcards from a trip to New Mexico from about 7 years ago and a watch/locket that belonged to my grandmother.

Emily's space (this I do try to keep a bit cleaner, but she's had a LOT of fun with stickers lately):

The bulletin board over her desk holds all of her artwork and includes things that she's made at home and at school.  She has her flamingo lamp, which she loves to turn on so she can "be like Mommy."  We keep stacks of coloring books in her desk cubby.  Depending on the day, or week, she'll have stickers, crayons or pipe cleaners (aka caterpillar legs) laying around her desk, but her staples are glue and scissors.  The kid loves glue, as evidenced by the 2 bottles of it on her desk.  She's pretty responsible with it, so I just let her at it and try not to interfere with her creative process.  She also loves her little scissors and is starting to be able to cut things out, rather than just cut little slits in paper. 

The picture to the left of the window is something Felicia did when she was little.  She made me a folder of her artwork for a birthday present, and I had not seen it in years.  I found it unpacking from our move back from New York and I fell in love with the book all over again.  This one is called "crab apple" and I loved it so much that I wanted to hang it, so I did.

The bottles in the window are just a few remaining members of the original bottleheads.  I churned out probably 300-400 bottles about 10-12 years ago that were heads, bodies and a few non-human forms.  I did a few craft shows and had an online store for a bit but I eventually closed the shop and stop making them.  My santas were probably the most popular.  I still have one downstairs that Emily recently discovered.

And here's a shot from standing in the corner by Em's desk:

The other side of the room stays fairly organized.  I found the library card catalog in upstate New York about 2 years ago.  I was so excited because I have wanted one for years!  The price was awesome, but the only downside to the whole experience was that we found it while driving a fairly small rental car.  But, we snatched it up, and rode all the way home with it stuffed in every possible part of the car. It's home to all sorts of bits and pieces including finger paints, stamp pads, pipe cleaners, glue, strings and sewing materials, markers, scissors, etc.  Each drawer has hand stamped labels naming the contents, but I have a re-vamp of that on my to do list.  Em is big enough now where she has her own drawers, and overall, she knows which ones are hers, but there are some new things that need to be put away, so I'm thinking of just a simple color system where the purple labels will be Em and mine will be blue or whatever color I land on.

The three pictures hanging up between the card catalog and ikea storage are the first three things I did in college that brought me back to painting.  I will never forget that night.  It was me, a radio and some left over cardboard in my tiny (10x10) dorm room and I sat on the floor and held a paint brush for the first time in years and discovered just how much I loved, missed, enjoyed it.  I love those paintings not so much for what they look like, but what they symbolize to me.  If I am buried when I die, I want these to be tacked inside my coffin to keep me company.  To the left of the ikea cabinet is more of my work.  I don't have any close-ups, but perhaps that is something else I can put on the to do list.

This is typically what the table looks like, especially the area where I sit.  If you look closely, you'll see my morning coffee amidst all of the fray.  The bench and the second table are the areas that need to be cleaned up, but regardless of the mess - this is my space and I love it.  <3

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Perfection is Exhausting

A few weeks ago, I started seeing all sorts of posts about perfectionism and the idea of protesting perfect.  I really thought it was a cool idea and wanted to participate but was sort of stuck as to what it meant or didn't mean to me.

Ironically, I've been stuck with a few other things too.  Months ago, I posted about moving into my new paint room area and I talked about how I wanted to share pictures of the space.  Well, I've been waiting for it to be be perfect.  Here's the thing - it's NEVER clean, because I'm always in the middle of something.  Emily is always in the middle of something.  Creating is messy and fun and liberating, but I've felt stifled and under pressure and like a failure for not posting those pictures!  I've also felt those same things about the room in general.  I've wanted it to be more organized.  I've waited for the perfect moment to try X, Y or Z (and as a result, not done any of them).  The list goes on.  It's been pretty exhausting to worry about all of these things.  I'm done with exhaustion.  I'm done with perfection.

 Perfectionism sucks.  Perfectionism kills. 

This sign now hangs on my wall right next to my table to remind me to let go.  Em joined me in the last take of my mini photo session, and this photo will serve as an awesome reminder that I don't want her to be any where near perfect, because the truth is - she already is. 

P.S.  Thank you, BrenĂ© Brown for the the inspirational protest!
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