Mall-ady (mall shopping disorder)

So The Teenager had to meet a friend at the mall-ady, and The Associate required new clothes.  Her knees exploded out of her last pair of printed skinnies and winter is just gearing up to keep us inside.  I usually avoid the mall like the plague, especially after my last trip to Forever 21.  Floral onesies, oversized jackets, acid wash and tiny Keith Haring skirts?  I can see that the fabric was licensed from his foundation but I see no evidence of his cause or of the man’s life and career, a missed opportunity and part of the larger contagion.  I suppressed my nausea and off we went.

IMG_7258IMG_7257IMG_7256

 

We fell into the Gap Kids and headed to the back.  I used to pretend that I was looking everywhere in the store, but I no longer bother to keep up this charade,  clothing prices are inflamed and infected and I refuse to pay full price.  We probed the sale rack and extracted some samples.  Carefully we peeled back the stickers to expose the original price, the sale price, and on a day like today the additional % off that price.  I had her do some math and I watched her big brain bang around in her little head and then the eyes pop. Oh….  Next stop, the fitting room.  I remain patient because she wants no help from me, and insists I watch while she struts out with each new combination. We are able to purchase everything she likes because of the super low prices and She almost expires from excitement. On our way out her eye caught a rack of headbands, which she needs because she is growing out her pesky bangs. She inspected a headband, checked the price, then peered at me behind her fringe and exclaimed (a little to loud) that “This little, cheap, fake rhinestone headband is 9.95! No thanks!” and pranced out.

So proud. I may recover from this mall-ady after all.

accidental parenting.

I had an unplanned conversation with My Teenager. I have always been an advocate for conscientious parenting, but I  also believe that life unfolds and things may seem like “accidents” but in fact are opportunities.

Allison gave all of her girlfriends an emergency holiday survival kit. The jar contained many things, some hilarious. A Band-aid, lighter, tea light, panty liner, candy, quarter, condom etc….  In my holiday hurry I left the jar on the counter where The Teenager happened upon it.  The jar thumped onto the table and the top came off,  questions ensued.

You are smart so I am guessing that you know exactly which emergency item she wanted to discuss. This is a great way for me to take on hard topics. I hate conflict, and this evolved into a conversation between two humans that trust each other. It began with “why is it wet?” then touched deftly on STDs and rounded out with ultimately who’s responsiblity it is to provide such items.  I flashed back 16 years to when I made the conscience choice to bring her into this world and it became abundantly clear which wisdom morsel to impart to her. “You are responsible, you will have to make the choice to adjust and sacrifice your future, your sanity, and your body to emotionally and financially support another human for at least 18 years, or choose to end a pregnancy.”  I jest a bit to lighten the mood, but my tone is as serious as a I can manage, and she hears me.  She hears the passion with which I honor her life with my own.

Accidental?

 

 

 

three generations of awesome.

I have mentioned her before, my friend’s 90 year young grandmother, Lois and the publication of her first novel.

http://electricbelle.com/2013/11/23/i-only-hope-i-…e-when-i-am-90/

Lois Jeavons, also has a wonderful daughter, Judy who happened to give birth to one of my favorite people, Brady.  Brady did a write up for our community paper about her grandma’s book, and another friend Hillary came up with the brilliant idea of framing them for all three generations.

This is a very easy project and subject to many variations depending on what you have laying about.

Materials:

1. frame (s) plain shadow box

2. acid free glue stick and plain white glue (I used Elmers)

3. Xacto knife

4. scraps of foam board

5. full size pieces of contrasting colors of paper (look to bring out colors in the article picture)

6. several copies of the article in case of mistakes

I chose this small frame from Micheals craft store for several reasons. They came in a pack of three and I needed three, the price was reasonable, and it was small.  I didn’t want to create something large that would take up a lot of room, but small enough to be hung discreetly and still look nice.  Look around carefully because there are many options that are clearly marketed for other purposes then yours, but will work for you.

IMG_7790

1. cut out all parts of the article carefully with Xacto knife (newspaper tears easily) Including name of publication on front page.

IMG_7785

2. play around with the pieces to get a composition that reads well and is balanced.

3. when you are satisfied, glue each piece onto a colored strip of paper that is at least 1/4 inch larger.  I used the glue stick for this because it doesn’t buckle the thin paper (balance out the color so that it is spread throughout the collage.)

IMG_7786

Each piece is now outlined in color and you need to decide what parts you want to pop. In this case I chose the title of the article and the picture.

4. cut thin strips and or chunks of foam core and glue to the back side of your pop pieces (glue stick). You don’t want to see the foam, so you only need a slice.  place something on top of them to make sure they dry flat and let dry. I just happened to have a paint by number horse on my table so I used it.

IMG_7787

5. when you are dried and ready, carefully arrange your collage and glue down everything. I used the white glue for the foam core to base, and glue stick for everything else.

6. Once everything is glued on let completely dry and insert into frame.

TaDA

IMG_7789 IMG_7788

 

 

 

 

Those shady Southerlands.

Talk about an ironic title. These Southerlands I speak of are two of the most generous and loving people I know. Did I mention, patient? Well they have waited over a year for their custom lampshades, and not a peep out them until they arrived. Good people with an enviable collection of beautiful Mid Century items so I must do a good job.
IMG_3763

IMG_3760

IMG_3758

It all started in the summer on our annual Wilmington, NC visit, I got sidetracked by their new lamps they inherited from family and promptly set about re-wiring them,  after that the shades simply would not do, with the light shining through the stains showed up.

IMG_3756

I tried to clean them, doing my darndest to keep the shape.

IMG_3766

I could not save them.  We put them back on and they waited. The next summer I stole the shades leaving the pretty lamps naked.  I did some research and aimed to acquire yet another skill.  They came for a visit and I ended up wanting to spend time with them instead in my zone. They left shadeless and I had another bump in my education. I could not get the old lamp frame rings back to round no matter what I tried.  I decided to order new ones. They don’t make them the like they used to so I had to factor that in to the new shade and do some very dubious math. Then I decided to change the fabric, and the tape, and finally got down to business.

Materials needed.  (I purchased all of my materials from http://www.lampshop.com)

-2 lamp wire frames, one with bulb or harp holder, and one without. size depends on your shade. I used 12 inch in diameter. (tip- for your first go at this use two of the same size. It becomes much harder when top is smaller than the bottom)

-stryene shade liner (sold by the yard)

-white paper tape.

-fabric

-clips (I use clothespins)

-masking tape

-Xacto knife

-glue

-small paintbrush

-rag for excess glue.

IMG_6983 IMG_6996

– tape the very springy lamp liner to work surface and trace the old lamp shade on it.

-cut using an Xacto knife (material rips easily so scissors can be disastrous)

– Tape fabric face down on clean work surface.

-lint roll to remove inevitable dog hair, so it is not permanently trapped between layers.

-lay shade liner over fabric and trace if you wish so the design or weave is straight, or wing it like me.

-slowly peel back protective layer on the stryene while firmly pressing on the fabric.

-once it is fully stuck, cut remaining fabric leaving 3/4 inch of fabric all the way around.

-pin the shade all the way around folding extra over the ring. do top and bottom.

IMG_7504

-fold edges of fabric over and glue the seam, add a little weight on top to make it flat. (you might like me think this is a stupid step, but trust me it is important.)

-sit back and think you are really cool while this dries because it gets a bit messy from here on out.

-when seam is dry stand shade up on one end and get busy gluing, make sure you can complete each end without interruptions #The Associate

-damn lost the image, sorry.

-try to follow me.  apply glue to the paper tape with brush and fold over wire and fabric to connect everything together.  make sure your tape line on the outside of the shade is straight in case you don’t apply trim.  do a couple of inches at a time and wipe up excess quickly. let dry.

– don’t give up!

-once you have done both ends, pat yourself on the back and decide if need to cover up any mistakes with trim :)

-wait another month until a gigantic box comes into your life so you can send shades to your longsuffering friends.

 

IMG_7672

IMG_7720

YAYYYYYYYYYY

 

 

Stressmas.

It is that time of year when I wake up panic-stricken thinking that about the holidays. This particular morning when I awoke fresh as a daisy, I was concerned about a gift I purchased for The Associate from Brookstone. The other day I found a lonely card in the key bowl and discovered it was worth 38 bucks. Can’t waste that. Is there anything useful on the site, not really, is there anything for 38 bucks, not really? I was about to give up scrolling when I found this.

693796p

Let’s be honest… She doesn’t deserve a tablet :) and she wastes tons of paper. Perfect. I saw. I ordered. I still owed 7.34 cents. I checked one thing off her list.

My subconscious however had different plans, and I dreamt that it never arrived. Oh no… She isn’t getting enough stuff….(because that is what this holiday is all about right?) So she isn’t getting enough crap,no big deal, she has been pretty bad, and Santa was watching. I will have to call and get a refund, annoying, BUT then I have to troll the endless catalog of useless gadgetry to find yet another mass-produced piece of junk to avoid wasting 38 dollars, NIGHTMARE.

 

passive aggressive fish care.

The Associate…is…….driving me batty…..It is obviously not me, right? To ignore my contribution to the madness would only compound the issue and impound me further.  Blame is the name of this game, and I fold.

I made a conscious decision to have this child. She is “spirited”, strong, beautiful and exhausting.  I chose her, she chose me.  How many times have I exited her room high and mighty upon the words personal responsibility (tons)? How many times have I looked in the mirror and thought what am I doing wrong (many)? How to make it stick, how to remain strong when utterly spent?

The answer my friends, is to take it out on the fish.

“Katherine the Great, Matthew and Stephanie…… your mother, The Associate doesn’t love you anymore, so I must feed you or you will die from her lack of concern for your well being.”  I know, I know but I won’t let you down.”  I confess to my thankfully ear less friends.

and then giggle, and move on.

IMG_7192

 

 

 

dollars to donuts.

The race to consume commences. I make a conscious effort during capitalist crunch time to spend our money on gifts made locally or handmade anywhere. The husband’s gadget fix must be met, and China is most likely involved but you can’t win them all.

I force The Teenager and The Associate into the car in an effort to teach by example and hopefully allow them to knock out their lists.  The Teenager keeps mumbling about donuts, and The Associate piles on.

The Cleveland Flea has been happening here for over a year now and has quickly become a go to event.  I love venturing into unassuming and unappreciated Cleveland neighborhoods to see what local dish there is to eat, although 9 out of 10 times I inhale homemade pierogies.

The Teenager got her wish sooner than we had hoped as we popped a tire at 79th and Carnegie. We had many offers from friendly folks and our neighbor Angelo even happened by, but The Husband came to our rescue and put on a spare tire or as we call them “donut”.  She however did not find this amusing as I laughed somewhat manically at my own wit. Crabbypants.

Not to be detoured we continued on, per usual the Flea is efficiently run and jam-packed. We are slightly overwhelmed and The Associate is not cooperating at all!!!! We lost The Teenager only to find her outside at The Donut Lab with a smile on her face. Finally.

IMG_5912 IMG_7592

All in all it was a slow start, next up Cleveland Bazaar, Terra Vista, Zygote press and Art Craft, and most definitely more donuts (hopefully the yummy kind.)

 

paper to piercings

The Associate is learning about money or cash as she calls in school. Her tissue thin math sheets with crude renderings of coins are neatly lined up on her desk.  Awe, this is cute and then I think that beyond the random quarter she plunks into the parking meter while I hold her up and the very occasional vending machine,  this child never really uses money.  As our culture hurdles toward a paperless economy our children are missing out on very important lessons.

This became abundantly clear when I looked at my phone after the movies, only to see 6 feverish text messages from The Teenager who was at home alone and desperately trying to buy something online.

-WHAT DOES INSUFFICIENT FUNDS MEAN?

-Oh nvm

-transfer 30 dollars into my account and I’ll give you the cash

-MOOOMMMMM THIS IS IMPORTANT

-I’m doing all my chores pls…..

-NEVERMIND FORGET EVERYTHING I JUST SAID.

By the time The Associate and I arrived home she had worked through the problem and all was right with the world. I went to bed thinking about this conundrum, and dreamt of toilet paper.

My dream lecture went as follows.

“This is a case of needs and wants, you will always need toilet paper, butt (pun intended) you will want better toilet paper.  While you are mooching off of us you will get used to lush and soft toilet paper, because your father and I have already paid our dues. When you go to college you will be introduced to the single giant roll that can be purchased for 99 cents on the way home to your dorm. You may consider stealing our stash when you visit home but thanks to the luggage fees of air travel you will be forced to abandon your hard won prize at the gate, and stacks of absconded napkins will have to suffice.  After college when things are even tighter, you will have to think hard about this once seemingly innocuous purchase, and you will fondly recall the toilet paper of your youth and work harder. Blah blah blah.

I need a vacation, I used to fly in my dreams.
Grabbing my morning coffee I look up to see The Teenager striding into the kitchen asking  “Can I get my nose pierced?”
I answer “Nope, but your sister needs help with her math homework.”

Done and done.

IMG_7428

 

 

micro studio makeover.

My kids aren’t babies anymore, I am almost 42 years old and I am finally at peace with my brain funktion (no spell check that is spelled correctly)  It is time to work this out, and the first place is my studio, the smallest room in the house, and now it will be mine! (maniacal laugh)

It is really difficult to redecorate a room when there is a bunch of stuff that has nowhere else to go in it while you are redoing it.  I deftly moved everything into the middle and patched a million holes, primed and did some seriously acrobatic painting while simultaneously painting all of the furniture the same color in the same room.

It is also really difficult to organize a tiny room around a brain that funktions in spurts and sputters, highs and lows, and is always in creative problem solving mode.  Needless to say I have focus issues so I tried to create organized areas for specific purpose.

Here is the before.

IMG_5746 IMG_5753

chaotic and haphazard and now that I think about it, hazardous to my safety and to my mental stability.

I moved my desk and arranged my magnetic trays above so that I could organize my thoughts in a visual way.  Each tray will represent a project I am working out in my head or a page of my website.  Please excuse The Associate she was enjoying her last moments of being allowed in my room.

IMG_7463

To the right of my desk on my beautifully refreshed garbage picked bookcase I have all of my businessy housey stuff. I put them as far away as I could from the fun areas because nothing can kill a creative buzz like PTA newsletters and bills.

One of the thought morsels banging around my head all the time is how to re-purpose stuff that nobody wants.  Like these oven trays from the GW that I spent a whole dollar on. I soaked, scrubbed and then hung them on the wall to keep my jewelry sorted by what needs to be photographed, and what is up for sale.

IMG_7438

IMG_7459IMG_7457

wow these pictures are bad, sorry.

The next area I needed to resolve is my collage wall/ scrap booking table.  I no longer wanted to pierce the images that I was working with and splurged on three 2′ by 2′ metals sheets,  once again destroying my meticulous patch job with holes big enough for metal toggle bolts. I organized all of my scrap booking supplies and subsequent paper in the file cabinet and boxes below so they are easy to access.

IMG_7451

As far as the large work table is concerned I oriented it differently so I could work on three sides and still easily reach all of the supplies on the shelves above.  I kept all containers the same so my eyes do not jump all over the room when I enter which will likely make me turn right around and leave.

IMG_7453

IMG_7454

I made new curtains with fabric that makes me happy to replace the ugly ones that were there 12 years ago when we moved in, and hung my currently favorite works on the wall to inspire me.

The cuporama I made a while back is still doing a good job of  keeping small things I use often in sight, providing a good place for seed pod storage and jewelry in progress can be dumped in a cup if I need to clear off my work space.

IMG_7462

I streamlined all of my sewing supplies, giving up a lot of items I won’t ever use and made them readily accessible on this caddy.

IMG_7461

I am VERY excited to get started using this space, so excited that the tables are already covered with projects and I am about to make a sign that forbids any mess makers entry.  (The Associate and The Teenager)

I would love to hear what you think.

 

 

library girls.

I have two rugrats, 7 plus years apart.  One unique advantage of this age gap is that I can clearly observe the developmental pattern because the littler one isn’t getting it directly from the older, rather going through the steps on her own.  For example, they both started dressing themselves in crazy outfits at a very young age,  cut their own hair at the same age, and they both acquired an affinity for lopsided hairdos at 7 years. ETC…..

Now I find myself waiting in line at a quite elaborate library set up in my living room at precisely 7.7 years for both children.  coincidently they are both bossy librarians who force me to return my books before I am even finished with them, and neither kept regular business hours.

The “library” that the now Teenager kept had detailed logs, and as The Associate comes sprinting along in her footsteps she keeps more abstract records, however, she does get points for creativity.  The miniature air hockey table becomes a scanning machine and its paddle becomes the stamper. She does all this wearing the dress she “made” while holding it up with one hand.

IMG_7410 IMG_7412 IMG_7414

After borrowing, not reading,  and then returning the first 6 books in the Nancy Drew series, she put her hair up. On the right side we have a ponytail (she wouldn’t let me take a picture) and on the left we have  it down, lightly brushed and a clip. I said “You look fabulous darling!”

And then I went to vote to support our local library, because I am a library girl too.