baseball cupcakes

The Associate is a tough interrogator, and can sniff out the truth like Matlock.  She is full of questions all of the time, and doesn’t hesitate to grill me.  My parenting style has always been to give as much information as possible without giving my direct opinion.  One of deeper conversations while driving about town was about metal detectors in stores.  After figuring out what the heck she was asking me, I paused (a little too long for her.)


me- yes!!! sweety!!! I was just framing my answer.  Do you know when you try on clothes and there is that annoying tag in a really bad place?

TA- yes.

me- well that is there so if you try to leave the store without paying for the clothes that metal detector thingy sets off an alarm, and the police will come.

TA- why would somebody do that?

me- that is called stealing, and it is against the law to take something you haven’t paid for or doesn’t belong to you.

TA- but that store has plenty of money.

me- *sigh* Wellllll, that store has to buy those clothes from another company, and then this store adds some money to the price and sells it to us.  So…. if someone leaves the store without paying the store loses money and then it will go out of business.

TA- so….

me- That store creates jobs in our community  (this is where it gets tricky. We are actively shaping her power to work for good, so my answers are straight forward, but lean towards the consumer and the worker, without demonizing well run businesses.)

me- (in my head, how the heck does she do this to me every time, why can’t we have a nice ride in the car and look at the trees!)

me- Ok, we are going in this store to get one thing, we are on a mission to get things we need not things we want.  (mercifully she does not argue and we make it all the way to the counter without incident)

TA- Why do they need to make these?


what the heck?


why would anyone collect cereal?


me- at least no one will steal that junk.

The associate’s bloody tale

She was born smiling, her teeth popped through in all the right places creating a perfect set of teeth, straight and white.  We ignored the gentle warnings of our dentist that this was not going to last, and we snapped a million pics of her beaming smile.


(That was her cramming raspberries into her face phase)

As they fell out we realized that Dr. Dorothy was in fact correct and our little smiler was quickly starting to look like Sponge bob.  She wasn’t fazed at all and kept flashing her chiclets.


About 6 months ago we began the arduous task of correcting her jaw and she was a trooper.  She would obediently lie down on the couch so I could crank open her palette and crack jokes all the while. The Herbst appliance was next and she became bionic.  You can hear the hydraulics inside of her mouth operating like one C3PO’s limbs.   She soldered on and only slightly complained, always looking forward to her braces, which for some crazy reason she thought was cool.

Then one day I decided to obey her and hang the hammock. I went in the house to grab some water and then heard a blood curdling scream.  I ran out the door to see blood spurting from her mouth and through her fingers, while she yelled “MOMMMMMMM”  I grabbed a towel that was luckily blood-red and dashed over to apply pressure.  Leaving her alone I ran up the stairs to find The Husband trying to get off of the phone face stricken from what he overheard downstairs.  While The Husband dug around in the grass to find the missing tooth I called the dentist, and she cautioned us to put it in a cup of milk.

The Husband- what?

Me (very loudly)- Just put it in a glass of milk!!!!!

Our dentist met us at her office so she could take a look but it was very clear this child needed to be knocked out, so we headed down to the ER.  Somehow I managed not to throw up while holding her, and her cup of milk with tooth while looking up the number for the ER and requesting a pediatric dentist.  The Husband at the wheel got us there in no time flat.  I was half in the bed with her trying to calm her, as people came in and out.  Apparently the new method in the ER is to give very specific directions about what they are going to do to you.  I interrupted knowing that this child or possibly I would not benefit from the nurses’ over sharing.


We managed to get a movie playing on the TV and were calm for a bit, but by the time Dentist arrived the poor kid was anticipating the needles and moaning.   One nurse sat on the bed with her knees around The Associates head, another was trying to distract her with a huge ball and another with an ipad, all the while the Dentist tried to trick her into opening her mouth.  I came in and out of the room my heart pounding while she screamed at the top of her lungs.  The Father sat solidly by her side and as per usual tried to distill the tension with humor.


Screaming, crying and definitely over stimulated the The Associate hushed us all up.  We all backed away, hands up and she declared “Let’s get this over with!  The mayor is waiting for me!”  Stifling giggles they got back to work and the tooth was finally wedged back in. The room was quiet and she was instantly better, still excited to see The Mayor.  Sanity partly restored we were freed to go back to home.


As we drove out of the hospital. The Associate came up behind me and reminded me that The Mayor was waiting in a conspiratorial lowered voice.  I laughed as I braced myself to go to at least 3 pharmacies to get the medicine we would need.  Three weeks later her tooth looks alive, but we shall see, one step at a time.

jewelry converts #7,8,9 (ongoing DIY series)

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Life is pretty busy.  I am working on a huge project called ARTFUL and my days quickly get filled up with meetings and such.  In an effort to stay creative without the benefit of time I am continuing this series.  These are meant to inspire you to fix something instead of throw it away and to develop your eye for finding the parts, among the trash.

So first we add some items to our arsenal.  I love this glue, it works on most surfaces and is durable and flexible.  It is expensive so make sure you close it up tight and you use a coupon.  The second item, ring blanks can be found at many craft stores and come in several finishes.  The last item (not pictured) is a soft toothbrush,  which comes in handy when gentle cleaning of caked on ick is necessary.

#7 I have been looking for a good case for my round business cards forever, and I finally found it. It was right under my nose in a box in my studio, but timing is everything.   All this project needed was a good cleaning with that toothbrush and some dish soap, and we were all good.



Perfect fit.

#8 This next project I have been meaning to do for a while.  The original concept is so great that all I needed to do was clean it out (toothbrush again), refill with shea butter and add a chain. It still smells like the original lipstick, but oh well.



I am waiting to see if the shea butter melts in the heat before I fill it all the way up.

#9 This pretty pin was in a bag of stuff a friend gave me to play with.  it was broken, so I decided to turn it into a ring.  Using my pliers I carefully removed the other half of the broken latch and simply glued it on the ring blank.


It is still drying, but I plan to wear it asap.

now back to life, have fun!



Jewelry Converts #3,4,5 (ongoing diy)

While flipping my closet out for summer attire I realized that my wardrobe has lost its flavor.  I used to be prone to outrageous combos, and was a real fan of double-knit.  Maybe now that I am “older” I am shying away from my more whimsical ensembles, and the last thing feel like doing is shopping for new clothes. They are expensive and made to fade these days,  so I’ll tone it down a bit but that means it is time to accessorize!   This was the first bunch I encountered when I closed my eyes and dunked my hand into the FREE miscellaneous bin in the church basement.

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After thoroughly cleaning off the layer of caked on 80’s foundation, they didn’t look half bad.  Using wire cutters I snipped the metal holding the posts to the drop, It is that rigid, close to the ear thing that makes them really look bad.


then I simply slipped on regular earring wires.  (When apple comes up with a phone that makes me look gorgeous in selfies, I’ll take a pic.)


the final pair was pretty chunky and ugly but I wouldn’t give up. So I clipped them onto my high heels for a dash of 80’s glam.

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The most important thing is to have fun and try to find little morsels of coolness. Unless you want to look like everybody else :)


jewelry converts #1 and #2 (ongoing DIY)

There are many cool earrings out there in the wild masquerading as clip-ons.  I have tried to wear them but, no thanks, it is less painful to change them quickly and cheaply.  I own an abundance of tools, but if you can’t make it over to my house to use them you should probably stock up on a few.

First of all don’t go anywhere near a craft store until you have a coupon from the paper, mail or online, if you forget yours you can google and it can be scanned right from your smart phone.  You can also get your pliers from a hardware store, but the prices are pretty similar when you use a coupon.

We won’t use all in each project, but I will add the most useful as I think of them

1. Round Pliers (I am sure there is a more technical name but it is escaping me at the moment) are good for making rings and curving metal wire.

2. Standard pliers (these come in all shapes, colors and sizes, just make sure they feel good in your hand)

3. Wire cutters (mine double as standard pliers so they are multipurpose, you can get snub nose cutters and two pairs of pliers,  whatever your preference you will most likely need two pairs of pliers at your disposal for proper jump ring action)



4. Assortment of headpins

5. Assortment of jump rings (I like to have lots of colors and shapes around)

6. Ear wires  (These are the basic ugly ones that I adapt, or you can purchase prettier ones at the store or make your own if you are really ambitious)


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7. You must have interesting tidbits that you have found.  There are a ton of cool components at thrift stores, garage sales, or your mom’s dresser.  Try not to think about it as a whole but as pieces that can be broken up, and be sure to inspect them carefully and make sure the cool parts aren’t broken or chipped.

#1 These earrings would be discarded because they are clip-ons. NO!  Simply remove the clip-ons with your pliers and replace with regular ear wires. I takes mere minutes to bring these beauties back in style.


#2 requires little skill but a few more supplies.

When I am out and about, well not anymore because I have enough for a lifetime. I buy necklaces that have a lot of bang for the buck.  They have a lot of dangly things or a lot of chain that can be reused. Like this one.


Ugly to the untrained eye, but very useful to me.  Just one section released from what looks like Skeletor’s head makes a lovely pair of earrings, with a few additional goodies.

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After freeing these cute diamonds, I simply wrapped the chain around once and toggled it on the jump ring.


These are my new favorites.  Light and long with an unexpected black accent.

Don’t forget to find a toolbox and some containers to keep your new crap organized.

Hey! Thanks for reading.





imaginary friends

The Teenager, had three very elaborately concocted imaginary friends when she was little. “Salad” was the first to enter her world.  She (Salad) was very particular about what she consumed, opting most often while dining for “just salads.”  “Black eyed Susan” didn’t actually have a “black eye” but was always referred to by her full name and really loved black beans.  “German” was a bit more elusive and was always traveling. When questioned about his whereabouts, The small Teenager would be ready with an extensive list of destinations that “German” was currently visiting.  It has been to revealed to us just last week that “German” was her imaginary boyfriend.  We have yet to delve into the reasons why he was never around, but I feel we will be informed in time.

Around the same time The Niece was very vocal about her Imaginary friend whose name was “Matthew Bloopbloop” sex, female.  “Matthew” was also an avid traveler and was known to visit her grandma who lived in Manchester, New Hampshire, but was originally from Managua, Nicaragua.  “Matthew” has vacationed in many real places that I didn’t even know existed, but such is the crazy smart brain of The Niece.  When I have the pleasure of her company I learn more from her than she does from me.

This cast of characters are a distant warm memory now that both girls are Teenagers, but The Associate did not disappoint. Approximately 5 years ago she appointed her very literal imaginary friends.  “Mirror” was the first to arrive, and being eager to hear her explanation, I questioned her immediately.  Her answer was very rational “I can see her in the mirror” – “so she is your reflection?” -“yep.”  Whenever we happened upon a reflective surface she would happily converse with it.  Next, “Shadow” appeared,  and The Associate explained that she is always with her, and you can’t argue with that.  Mirror and Shadow’s presence dwindled over the years until we went on a recent vacation, and they came back and multiplied.  Being the youngest by 7.5 years can be tough, especially because The Teenager is very mature for her age, and laughs at all the adult jokes. The Associate’s wit is quick and when the topic goes over head she kind of just wanders away to text her imaginary friends whose names have been changed to “Miranda and Shada.”  Yes, that is correct in the span of 8 years technology has come so far that you can imagine you have a smart phone and on it you can reach anybody you can conjure up.

We chatted about this quite a bit while we were away, and it came in quite handy when I was questioned while muttering angrily to myself about “Religious Freedom.”   When The Associate asked me why I was upset I could easily keep the conversation age appropriate without spewing my anger onto her.

me- “Well honey, Some adults have imaginary friends too.  The difference is that they feel like their imaginary friend can tell other people what to believe and how to live their lives.”

TA- “Why would you want your imaginary friend to be a bully?”

me- “good question.”

playground politics.

-I believe the children are our future, and that is why I am officially blocking out all presidential politics.  When the yahoos are weeded out, I may squint at the news for an update.  In the interest of self preservation I will concentrate on 2nd grade playground politics, and hope to help The Associate safely navigate her issues.

She has officially started to sort her feelings about boys. I know it is the first stage so I try to keep it light, because her drawings are a little dark.


Apparently boys will die if they go in her room, and they have cooties.


I especially love the sideways glance the cootie ridden boy is getting from the girl.

-There is a little boy in her class.  He is adorable and all the girls “like” him.  We have talked about this off and on for awhile now.  Slipping into the convo a little pep talk about girl code.  I am a proud mama because she instinctively gets that if all the girls like one boy that it is better just to stay away, and think of her friends feelings.  She came home the other day quite upset and we discussed.

(Names have been changed to protect the innocent)

The Associate- Fred told us that he liked Sally so Jane and I decided we would back off.

me- Back off?

TA-  you know, not chase him around the playground.

me- AHHHHH. and?

TA- well, Jane isn’t backing off, and we made a promise.

me- You can only control your own actions honey, now it is between Sally and Jane.

TA- still sullen

me- what is it about Fred that all the girls like?

TA- He has dignity. (clutching her heart)

me- well that is a great quality in a young man.


-Now it is my turn to be confused because later that week she drew this picture.


The girl is represented by a pony-tailed vampire, that wants to suck the blood of her mummy zombie boyfriend.

I am thinking we might want to grab the dictionary and look up dignity.


Amid the nonsense, teachers are still teaching.

Social media has been bombarded by testing nonsense. I personally think the wrong people are making important decisions and changes to the public education system.  I do what I can, opt out if necessary, but I find myself angry and feeling very futile.

So today I would like to focus on the positive and draw attention to just one of the many good things that happened at my daughters  school yesterday.  It is quite simple, but The Associate thrives on positive reinforcement and I am not very good at giving it. I usually obsessively recycle everything that comes in her folder. I glance, I recycle. The other day she asked me if I saved her timed tests, I said no, but promised to keep them in the future.  After thoroughly ignoring this cue she sent directly to me, a reminder followed her home in her folder.


Hey, your kid did well!!!! I just wanted to make sure that you saw how great your child is doing so please sign and return. Thanks for reminding me.  Teachers are awesome.

The Associate turns 8.

Me- (one day prior to birthday celebration) “Good morning sweetie pie, it’s almost your birthday, what kind of cake do you want me to make you?”

The Associate- (eyes still unfocused) “Can’t you just buy a cake like a normal person?”

Me- ( taken aback) “No, your mother isn’t normal, and she never will be.”

The Associate- (resigned) “Fine, chocolate cupcakes.”

I think that it is important to mention that I am making her a duvet cover per her request.  It is apparently perfectly normal to sew a duvet cover instead of buying one, however it isn’t normal to bake a cake. This was fairly easy because Serge is my friend. IMG_8793 and I already had sheet size Bloomcraft fabric from the eighties.  A quick measure pin and sew.

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Unfortunately Serge wasn’t feeling very well and in my rush I neglected to oil him properly.  He is now in hospital at the Husqvarna shop.  I did not finish it time for her actual birthday.  We had a fun friend party in which 10 little girls wore berets and painted with watercolors and frosting. IMG_8817 IMG_8821 IMG_8822 IMG_8823 IMG_8831 IMG_8833 IMG_8838

Each little girl made her own wish, and she got 8 new fish!