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.

IMG_8713 IMG_8710

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!

Fastest Homework Ever.

The Associate enjoys lengthening the homework process.  What could easily take her 10 minutes can turn into a hair pulling, “you don’t care about me” exhausting dilemma.  On Wednesdays I drop The Teenager off at her dance class and I do a quick and scan of the thrift stores in that area.  Occasionally she asks if she can also attend a Ballet class before at a completely different venue and the schedule gets ridiculous. I usually leave The Associate at home for this because she despises thrift shopping and thankfully The Husband is usually home.  Today he was other wise engaged and she was going to have to come with me.  Her homework was still undone and as I was running out the door, grilled cheese for the taller child in one hand and my genius cap on.

me “I need you ready to go with me at 5:45.”

her “WHERE?”

me “daddy has to go so you are coming with me to take your sister to dance.”


me “If your homework is done by the time I come back we will not go thrift shopping, but if it isn’t we are going to scour all of them, your choice.”

I dropped The Teenager at ballet, hit CVS, dropped off my Zappos returns and picked up the prints from the sweetheart dance.  As I rushed back in, ready to battle, she was ready.  We picked up The Teenager from ballet and rushed her to the regularly scheduled dance class.  With two hours to kill, no thrift shopping 😦 , and a surprisingly flexible 7-year-old, we got more errands accomplished and had a little food and fun.



three generations of awesome.

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


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.


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


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.)


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.


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.


IMG_7789 IMG_7788





budding art collections.

I decided to re post this blog, I regret that I cannot at this time show you the pieces I bought this year (I already wrapped them) but I did purchase both of them at Zygote Press.

I almost have a complete aversion to shopping in general. I do love a good and thorough Costco trip with a car filled with a million semi healthy snacks and plenty of Kefir. As far as holiday shopping I limit myself to what the local stores and artists offer.   Occasionally  I am in one of these holiday shows, and I try to barter as much as possible. Win. Win.  At the top of my shopping list is always art for the The Associate and The Teenager. It doesn’t have to be expensive or collectible, just a cool piece by a local artist that I think they will like.  These were 2013.

IMG_5216 IMG_5219

I always buy something from this woman, she is multi-talented and I love that her mom is just as talented and always has booth somewhere nearby.

Here are a few from years past of which I happen to have pictures.


I bought two of these  in 2012 from local artist Debbie Apple-Presser.


The Teenager loves ballet so this is hers from 2011.


My Friend Sarah painted this from one of my photographs of The Associate, I believe I gave it to The Husband, but it will probably go with The Associate when she ejects herself.


This is one of my favorites, I got it at a garage sale from the artist on my street. bargain!


And this one, the one that inspired this post. The Associate turns 7 tomorrow and I finally found a frame for this to go in her room.I purchased this from a student at a local high school where my friend Sarah teaches.  I always get to judge the senior art show and fell in love with this.  I gave him 50 bux and the confidence that comes when somebody buys your first piece. The title of this piece is “Big Ass House”  I haven’t told The Associate the title because she would find a way to work it into casual conversation just to mess with me.

Hopefully when they get ready to start their own lives they will be proud owners of an eclectic and inspiring art collection. I do make sure that I like all of the pieces too, just in case. 😉

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.



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.


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


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

-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.


-clips (I use clothespins)

-masking tape

-Xacto knife


-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.


-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.







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.


-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.

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.


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.