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.


-Oh nvm

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


-I’m doing all my chores pls…..


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.




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.

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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.


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.



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.


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.



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.


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.


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.

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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.

My Icarusey ride…

I was flying high when I entered the gallery and saw myself and my people on the walls.  How amazing to be painted by someone who knows you so well.  I felt like a movie star for 10-12 minutes and it was beautiful.

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Maybe life is always like this, up-_down up-_down up-_down, or maybe I got a little to close to the sun this time because the fall felt sharper then usual as I ended up in the mall.  I hate the mall, but The Teenager needed a dress for homecoming.  (Back story) My offspring are 7 plus years apart, which is good and bad.  Beside the fact that the older can babysit the younger the only other “good” I can summon today is that she and I can reflect together on her poor fashion choices as I guide the younger through THE EXACT SAME THINGS.  Facing the all too stark reality that The Teenager + the current fashion trends = lurching stomach, I awoke to The Associate brushing her hair so furiously that I was afraid she would rip it out.  What in the heck was she even doing out of bed? I usually have to drag her about to get her out the door, but she had “a style” in mind.

I took a deep breath and said,

“let me do it how I think I would you like it and you tell me if it is ok. ok?”

She agreed with me! phew.  As I hurried The Teenager into the car I reminded her of some her particularly bad fashion choices as she complained about her sister, and she recounted my first fashion talk I gave her with amazing accuracy.  I was a shy girl and expressed myself through my clothes, and still do. I was shopping at thrift stores at a very young age, always striving to be different for the least amount of money.  I clearly had a child with the same purpose, and I gave her this talk when she was about 8.  Out of 365 days of the year I get 7 vetoes.  Assuming of course you are appropriately covered because those vetoes don’t count.  She wanted to know why I would ever make her change her clothes and I explained the importance of dressing for an occasion or a gramma.  You can still make your impression but do it with more elegance on those days.  I have never had to say this twice to my eldest spawn, and she hasn’t been vetoed in years. Until, the mall yesterday.   She just happened to be wearing her signature cat eye makeup with her thick platinum hair flowing down and three-inch heels and a “dress”.  She looked stunning and I stammered.

“you looked absolutely beautiful but you look like you would feel at home on a pole, so…… no.” We settled on a less curve hugging ensemble, and she complained about looking like a fifth grade teacher, I smiled, and thought here I go again as I strapped on my wings.

Pictures to follow.




I took the bait…

I took that slimy bait and swallowed because I have a bad habit of not finishing projects, or that is at least what I am telling myself.  It absolutely has nothing to do with the fact that I have little to no control over my second born child.  Either she is the youngest Jedi master ever or I am just plain exhausted. I did find this though which helped her case.


We went to purchase our new family members only learn that we needed to buy more equipment first.  We shelled out cash for a heater and purchased a plethora of colorful plastic plants (thankfully there were no pineapples.)  We asked the same questions of a different employee, got different answers, and scurried out before I got even more confused and irritated.

Two days later….and a warm tank… We are back, hovering in front of a million fish, and the pressure is on. The UV light is highlighting each fish and I try to explain that this is not what they will look like in our tank while the employee that is on duty today says we can get 8 fish at a time (5 more than other employees said on previous visits.) I roll my eyes and wonder exactly how much commission you can make on 4 dollar fish that is on sale for 2.24.  “WE are only buying three fish” I blurt and somehow step away with two additional African dwarf frogs.

I artfully dodge all other adorable items, by illustrating exactly how much money we have leaked, and we are bobbing out the door changing the names of our new friends, for the fifth time.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you…….

Stephanie, Kathryn the great, and Matthew.. Tropical tetra fish


Victor and Vanessa the African dwarf frogs (possible daytime soap characters) have yet to come out of hiding, and hopefully will live forever.

I am trying not to take the bait….

The Associate wants fish. I resisted for a long time because of the many misfortunes of previous fish. I asked The Teenager if she was scarred by my ruthless though unintentional slaughter of her pets. She says she isn’t, but I am.

This conversation happened at least year ago and the threat of never having a fish has been wielded frequently,  so much that it isn’t taken seriously at all anymore and I begin to consider this new addition to our family.  Being practical ( I do try) I first address the placement of this tank, and where would it be least likely the fish die by my hand. So kitchen. Next up what will this tank look like, and where will it come from. I am very frugal when it comes to purchases like this and I am pretty sure there is an abundance of fish torture chambers available for free.

Duh. I have one in the dining room that I have been using as a terrarium forever and is sorely in need of a replanting.  We clean it out.


buckled it in and took it to the aquarium store to get a second opinion.


They were very helpful and thrilled by my tank. They had never seen one like it, and tried to convince me to get jellyfish, I was sold, but The Associate didn’t want a salt water tank.  OK then.  We went home with a filter, a pump and a very stern warning to make sure it was watertight before any further action was taken.


We set it up on the porch and filled her (she is definitely a she) up to see.  The Associate thought it was funny to splash water on the cardboard to make it look like it was leaking, but we had too much momentum to stop now and my empty threats fell upon deaf ears.  She held her water and we did some research about fish and ease of care.  After the test was done we emptied her again and moved her around the house to find a good home before I filled her up again.  Following the advice of our fish friends we let it run for two weeks and then set about getting some fish. I unfortunately fell ill and couldn’t pull it together until Sunday evening to make it to the store and they promptly closed as we pulled in.  Melt down ensued… “I am devastated, I have had to wait through winter, spring, summer and now it is fall again!!!! I am paraphrasing of course, but it went on and on.  The Teenager chimed in “and you will have to wait a whole 24 more hours, get a grip.” “you get a grip!” was shouted back but the mood slowly wound down as we strolled through whole foods looking for soup to make me feel better. 30 minutes later she is singing about being on top of the world, and The Teenager inquires about her roller coaster ride.  I go to bed wondering if she is stable enough to parent fish, because we already know that I am not.  What to do….


remove…… layers of skin! and tile your kitchen!

The cabinets were painted 6 months ago, and the hunt for the back splash ensued (yes, I know backwards). I wandered the isles of the tile shop, aimless, looking for something to jump out at me and grab me. I did this multiple times, each time leaving slightly more confused.  When it finally occurred to me what I wanted I headed out to purchase it and it was discontinued, not to be detoured I happened upon the perfect choice whilst trying to convince the salesman to call every store so I could have what I wanted.  It was just lying there staring at me.


Being the somewhat transformed wife that I am today, I only bought a sample.  “I must show The Husband.” (these are very new words for me, just ask The Husband) The salesman’s stunned expression only made me more proud.  Because we have been married for 11 years The Husband barely glanced and said “whatever you think.” (Whaaaaaaaaa? he is apparently also transformed.)

The demolition began immediately considering that I had plenty of work to do before I could get to the tile.  I made quick work of these beauties.  The Teenager arrived after school and didn’t even bat one long lash. I prodded her and she said “this is how our house always looks” :(  The Associate’s only concern was how long this was going to take.

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When The Husband toured our home before we purchased it 12 years ago, the previous owner was particularly proud of these fruit tiles. He removed the earlier accent tiles adorned with anchors carefully so as not to disturb the luxurious dimpled tile surrounding them, but with no regard for the drywall. With each fruity tile removed a deep gaping hole was left.   Patches were made.


Once all of the tile was removed and the surface was almost clear of dust,  the naked drywall had to be primed with a coat of oil based sealer.  The next step skim coating.

If I was a more poetic person, my first efforts would be titled something like “ode to drywall magician”  If you are paying someone to plaster or drywall and the price seems high, it is worth it.  After what seems like days, countless moist towels, possible lung infection, and glob removal,  I have a semi smooth surface on which to tile.



After several YouTube videos and reference books I am going for it. I painstakingly apply thinset (also a art form) and get busy setting my tiles.


before grout.  The grouting is actually kinda fun.  I channel my Italian grandma Carmela and use my best tools, my hands.  I am free forming it I know, but how else am I expected to get in those tight spots.  I am so into it and every so often I stop to rinse my hands, The flesh of my palms is so tight because of the drying grout that a layer peels right off.


Kitchen is done and I have palms as smooth as a baby’s bottom.



A little rusty after summer.


I have been walking past this for two weeks now on the way to my micro studio.  It is posted on The Associates’ bedroom door as a declaration of some kind.  I mumble “fafarit?” as I meander by each time hoping to decipher it.

Today I got it!!! It reads as follows.


part of



lunch good

eat food B+

Ok,  so we (I mean she is) are a little rusty after all good intentions of reading everyday this summer failed.

Seeing as she needs to read more I wanted to give her a bedside table to keep books.  On possibly every excursion to Ikea I have purchased book ends, but in reality the bookcases in our house are so crammed that there is no need for bookends.  I couldn’t get rid of these, and they screamed for a hack.


I cut down a scrap piece of beautiful mashed together shreds of wood.


Look at that quality.

I drilled holes in the bookends so that they could be secured to the “wood.”

This is before


and this is after she got to it, not what I had in mind….


Three days of my life that I will never get back were spent Ikea hacking The Associates room. Roughly translated this means I used all the same furniture but rearranged, cut and rebuilt it to look brand new. I was hoping to share pictures with you but she has already destroyed it, maybe next year.




this crazy and that Krazy glue #2 (starburst mirrors)

On a particularly deep dungeon dive I unearthed about five boxes full of discontinued countertop samples. When I have gone that subterranean  I have to use the material because,

1. justify having stored it for 1-12 years

2. and because it is awesome which is why I stored it for 1-12 years.

Krazy glue was looking for some home decor ideas, and technically you could ask your local laminate retailer for their samples and re-create this yourself so off I went.

I bought a good quality round mirror from the craft store and marked out the middle on the back (after placing it face down on a towel)

In my case I had multiple samples of each black finish so I divided them up in groups so they weren’t all grouped together when it was all said and done.


I built on each layer and went around and around and around.

Gilded Ice Cream Mirror and Minimalist Sunburst Mirror

I made it in colors too.





this crazy and that Krazy glue…#1 (monster vacation)

I was invited to help devise some craft projects for Krazy Glue, and I had some fun creating little scenes to be hung on the wall in a kid’s room (not gender specific.) Full of ideas and insecurities I headed down to my dungeon to seek out suitable surfaces, and any other tidbits that might suit my venture.



I started with the frames and painted them all the same color. This is a great way to use old frames because you do not need the glass and the odd sizes make for more interesting compositions.  I had red spray paint, so they are red.

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I then cut out white foam core to fit in the back of each frame and secured it with glazing points and a flat head screwdriver.

I am not sure if I have told you this yet or not, but I cannot draw.  So, using the infinite interweb I googled “monster drawing images” and was delivered a million options (copyright free of course.) After a little image resizing I printed out a black and white monster shape. I then taped this image to a piece of vinyl wallpaper and cut it out using an Xacto knife. (pictures are missing, sorry) Once I had the monster and family or pets. I could visualize the rest of the scene and started cutting, arranging and Krazy gluing,  building the image up layer by layer.



My favorite one is the mountain climbing lizard.


Here is a whole family on a sightseeing tour with their dog.


This monster is dressed up for a night on the town.


I could keep going and going, going and going.