Monday, December 27, 2010

blizzard life

i don't need a blizzard to put my thoughts to paper or to tap some into my computer. it sure helps though. There seems to be something sacrosanct about being the first to inscribe their mark on freshly fallen snow
(or a fresh open blog page).
I just dared to do this by taking my dog to pee at 4 a.m. today. Yes, i am a night owl. Or am i just totally an insomniac? it is neither here nor there. There is a blizzard outside making its presence known. it is more interesting than today's subconscious getting to take a rest.
the howling wind, the rattle of the storm windows (the one right behind where i sit, was installed today... thank you graham!) and the still accumulating snow are making my house feel so cozy and appreciated.
Yet my mind is wandering all over the place.
Some stories are nudging at me trying to be told aloud. None of my family is interested in most of what i have to say. yet, they are fearful that something good might happen if they miss one of my tales. i insist upon being their modern day Sheherazade or someone like that.

several things have happened to me of late. i would say almost all of them were computer derived and profoundly touching. if only to me, then that would be a nice thing. i am finding somehow that they are interconnected and worth sharing outside of my silly familial range.
i am sincerely sarcastic and sentimental. for years, the inmates of this asylum have been asking me forever if i was being sarcastic . Even when they were well under 10 years old. my sentimentality usually scares them. of course when they hit over 10, i broadened my need to teach them more life as i see it.
i teased the issues of irony, sardonic and sarcasm into more discrete piles for them to investigate.
after all, how would they know if i did not express them, the secrets of my ever changing riffs?
in this, i shared a rather long and full figured story with my son, my two daughters and husband (as of today, for the 3rd time. this is yet another topic though. the ability to listen and do it carefully) . the dog doesn't care to ignore me, i feed and walk him, so anything i say is usually just what he wants to hear.
i can feel how much he adores me without pulling ear buds from his ears unlike the kids.

now when i told my son this round about story or set of circumstances, he asked if there was going to be a "hallmark" movie made from it. it was a snotty little response... which made me think he was too touched by the stuff i told him and he didn't want me to think he was sensitive or something. so his sardonic response gave him away. it proved to me that he was not only a little verklempt,
but also wily with his ability to take a lesson on sarcasm to heart and delineate appropriate sentiment as it applied to his feelings about the subject matter at hand.
i taught him well. now i am a little verklempt.

so it is time to try to tell the mass of small stories. and they come together somehow. at least in my own mind.
there is my re-telling them and of course altering them as i do... which is unintentional... but natural as they roll around in my head.
the first is one of life style change as told by one of the "brave girls" found at:
the long and short of this is that Melody, one of the brave girls,
has told a story of her family and an ordeal that they survived.
her husband had a traumatic brain injury that plagued her, her kids, her business and her husband. he is well now, but it was very disconcerting.
i recommend you read the link to the story, rather than my retelling it badly.
the moral of her story was : be gentle with others, you never know what has happened to them.

a second component is that i fell in love with a graphic artist.
i found her stuff on my facebook page under "handmade spark", a blog posting.
when i say i fell in love with her, i mean that in spite of very different ideas about life
(she being gifted with a religious part to her life and
me being a heathen with skittish interest in personal spirituality... ).
she is one of the nicest and most fabulous graphic artists.
I love her studio,
her generously created free images for graphic wannabees,
her sense of wryness and more.
She has posted some truly mind blowingly clever projects for folks to try out.
not every project speaks to me, but a lot do.
i missed the period that all the cool kids enjoyed a few years ago.
the one where folks put vintage decals anywhere they could.
i fell in step late behind everyone else. Now i am enjoying a personal renaissance.
there was lesson on how to make decal penny pendants and it put quite a twist into my knickers.
i had to try to make some.
i collected all the ingredients to try these out.
i know, it is really compulsive on my part, but i really wanted to try to be cool like cathe.
cathe holden that is.
this is her website. i found the nifty penny decal in her section "JSIM" aka just something i made.
i wrote to cathe, as she asks if anyone tries her ideas out, to let her know how they came out.
i felt a little shy at first, and then a little bolder by the second.
eventually, i practiced the art of "fan-girling" as my college aged daughter mocked me with.
rotten child.
but also is educated by my teaching and is known for her own biting wit.
anyways, i wrote to cathe and added some pics in the email.
she encouraged me to add them to her flickr pages set up for us sycophants to show off.
her clever tutorials allowed me to be in this club.
gladly i did this.
as we were emailing back and forth, i offered her a necklace that i made using my penny pendants with.
she was tickled i thought.. and i was still overdoing it in fan-girl mode.
i offered to send another necklace to another of her blog readers if she wanted to host a giveaway.
now you already know most of this if you have read my repetitive postings. ( i swear that i will get off this topic sometime soon (1) and i also promise to become interesting at some time(2) and ultimately, i promise to finish this long ass posting(3). NO, i am not being sarcastic here at all either).

the woman who won the necklace, Karin, also had a blog. so i read some of it. for a quite a few pages as well.
and this particular posting made me nearly cry.
(the monday dec. 6th 2010 posting)
suddenly, the second mention of the brave girls club made an appearance on my screen in the same day.
i was shocked... since i am a bit of a know-it-all and thought i was aware of stuff that would interest me.
well sometimes i forget how big the world is and how little i am entitled to take ownership of.
the net result was that i sent this woman, karin, her necklace.
i felt it was going to just the right person.
it made me feel really good to do it too.
so i got to send 2 of my creations into the wild of the universe,
rather than to a private school kindergarten silent auction fundraiser. it was personal and vastly more meaningful. not that my kids' schools don't need to buy and use multicolored skin tone crayons to embrace greater understanding and such... but this was for me.
and it felt good in a personal way.

now this all felt pretty well pulled together in a wendy styled package for a few days.
then my friend sheri asked me to make one of my necklaces for her sister. a bread and butter piece that i have made for years. not as many are done these days, but i would do anything for sheri.
apparently, her sister has been dealing with breast cancer.
i think that it is truly an evil disease.
no one likes it and there remains no sure cure at this date that i know of.
(my knowledge again on yet another important topic is tested with very poor results... sigh).
when sheri asked me to make a necklace for her sis, she asked that it be pink.
her sister used to love pink and it was once her favorite color.
with the onset of breast cancer and all the pink that accompanies the entire issue,
she became disenfranchised with it.
sheri's wish was that her sister rejoin her love of pink as she returned to good health.
i surely could agree with that.
so i made a pink necklace for one sister to give to another.
an intimate and hopeful gift between two dear women.
not only did sheri give this to her sibling, but she asked prior to the giving if i had a name for this necklace. those of you who follow my jewelry and stories about those pieces know i name all of them.
i have no reason to be so fluffy about this, but it is not uncommon.
and i went with it.
i was at sheri and her husband don's holiday party when i was asked what to call this necklace.
so i told sheri my stories that are above.
we were standing next to my husband at the time, who of course didn't hear any of it..
{since not one of the words included were ice or hockey.
hence my comment about careful hearing earlier}.
i suggested that we call this
in keeping with my sense of how
unsympathetic,selfish and rushed seeming we humans are seeming these days.
along with the gift of several other things and the necklace, sheri included my story,
the amalgamation of all the chapters of how i came to the name.

two years ago this coming spring, my husband suffered a small heart attack. we are both self employed and he was unwilling to let anyone know of his infirmity. macho .. right? well at this time i could have used a little love and support. i was not permitted to ask for it, as it would defy his wishes. i understood it and was willing to participate, but it was freaking hard to do more of what i had to do and what felt like his share as well.
i can only say, i understand the issue of being gentler with people.
you never really know when someone needs kid glove handling.

and back to sheri and her sister. when it came time for the present unwrapping and reading of the note, the sister had the epiphanic christmas moment. she felt all of what she had been experiencing in a fresher and rejuvenated place. she was ready to try to love pink all over again, and in a more fun way.

i really loved hearing this from my friend. my mental meanderings have been all over the place. still they did what they usually do... they came home to roost with me.
they are not really related, but the entire idea of gentility should be more of an every day idea.
if i forget about it for one day, i hope now to try to get myself back on track with it.
i want to try to return to gentler living.
if i didn't know myself better,
it might seem a little like some weird new year's resolution is in the making.
the new year starts tomorrow.
every day... or at least a little more regularly.

ok, i have rambled... thanks for joining me.

xoxo. wendy.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

ho. Ho. HO. pre-holiday jitters

It has been quite a slippery and fast flying week. I apologize for not sharing things properly... i feel like i am living within a silly sitcom.
Since it is very late now, forgive how my sensibilities are a little bit loopy ,please?

So much to report on... the boy for any of you who may be waiting on tenterhooks for news (yeh, sure you are...)... well he is just fine. back to crusty bread, pushing my limits and torturing his little sister. consistency is where he is at.
just as things are looking up, no dry socket seems as if it is occurring, the boy took up smoking for about two puffs. my reaction was so irate, that he lost his ipod for many days. on the up-side, he has finished his time sensitive job application for next summer. i suggest that he do this as he may lose his spot in the job program if he doesn't. Now all we need is for him to finish up with his college applications. as many of you may know, this is a very stressful process. i am getting very little sense that he is feeling that pinch. we shall see.

Later this week, i had a weird day. i shall report on this and all of the repercussions. it merits its own posting.

And just how did i miss out on having a coffee with one of my favorite people? so stretched, i misread the time... and screwed up my timeline to meet her. ugh.

End result of dealing with many grinched out folks... was a small ember of joy just burning slowly and surely in my heart. i am truly grateful for so many things. here is a short manageable list:

1. eldest child home from college.
2. eldest child came home on the train and i did not have to drive to boston to bring her home.
3. because i looked so shabby to others this week, i took the lock off of my pursestrings and bought a wonderful green blouse. i can't wait to wear it and look less yucky.
4. made a very nice necklace this week for a friend of mine... and i will get to see it in action at her party tomorrow night.
5. party tomorrow night.
6. found last copy of vogue knitting from this past fall. Now i have 3!!! patterns i want to knit. I have not had much interest in this for a few years. I think that between these patterns and perhaps making some socks i may feel cozier this winter.
7. i even feel like sewing again! the creative juices feel less stodgy and stuck suddenly.
8. i applied to get into a show in february. perhaps i will manage this experience based upon the last year, a whole lot better. this is of course if i make the grade to be admitted to the juried show.
9. dinner the other night with roasted chicken, smashed red potatoes and pan roasted white asparagus (sale on this for 3 bunches at a buck each made me want to try it). i charred it a bit in a cast iron pan with a little olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar. All in all , it was the tastiest meal i have made for a long time. the key is now to buy the koshered chickens at whole foods.
two nights of food was $18. the grand total price per inmate was roughly $2.25 and freaking delish. none of the crazies here had anything to whine about. this is very unusual.
10. i visited a couple of friends at their store today and was able to score a great gift for someone i love.
i can't wait to hang out with these two lovely ladies in january and do some promotional work with them. i am sure it will not feel like work, but more like a good giggle and some crafting. their warmth fuels my heart.

It seems like a good time to make a cup of tea and watch masterpiece theater. it's a repeat, but i am very forgetful. the show is as good the second time around...

night night.

earrings from this week. btw...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Balancing Act

Everyone is over subscribed these days. Plain and simple.
I see folks who cram art and living into every small crevice of their living.
I wish that I could be more productive in this way.
Maybe I am being too hard on myself...
or maybe it is just that there is not enough room to live all the things that I want to.
If tasks are accomplished to a certain internal expectation level, then they seem to be done.
Not everything is up to that personal level some times.

My son had his first pair of wisdom teeth extracted yesterday.
He was enthusiastic and prepared for the experience.
That was on the way in.
Novacaine helped on the immediate exit from the hospital.
That was temporary at best. I knew what fresh hell he was in for.
He was feeling a little cocky at this point.
We got home where i tucked him onto the sofa with a movie and an ice pack for the swelling.
By this point one of his dimples had disappeared from swelling.
I knew what would come next.
Rushing to get prescriptions filled, I forgot the gauze pads on the way home.

In that hour of shuttling the boy home,
getting his meds , ice cream and returning to the nest,
a rather helpless moaning person had moved into his body.
The joy of being the caregiver.
The joy of seeing predictable reactions.
The joy of seeing someone you love in pain.
It can be truly disenchanting.
Eventually, dinner happens, dishes are done, multiple ice packs are made and changed out, ice cream is scooped out... and exhaustion takes hold.
After a good 6 hrs of sleep, the boy has erupted into a more manageable patient.
That and a second trip to the pharmacy for more comfort items, gauze pads,
a magazine for me ( i think i deserve anything to take my mind off of things),
a fresh cup of coffee, a nap and a new movie... I can see the seeds of recuperation in hand.

thank heavens.

while under the cloud of this experience, I tried to fit some shipping, taking new pics of older jewels, editing those pics, listing a necklace for my etsy store, and walking the ignored dog...
Life begins to resume its normalcy.
Perhaps the following pictures will tempt someone to make a holiday gift giving experience more attractive as I continue to work on my delicate balancing act.

thank you for looking in.
xoxo .w.

Monday, December 6, 2010

SHIFTING and design gears

Firstly, all you folks who do not mind reaching for the capitalization key, I really honestly and truly apologize for being so erratic and slipshod about its usage. I try sometimes, but it gets in the way of my trains of thought. These are slippery enough to harness as it is. So, please forgive me for my lack of discipline.
So now I shall give my increased effort to slow down
and use you dear "ole SHIFTY".

It may simply be symptomatic of my erratic state of
organization and focus.
Maybe this ought to be on my upcoming list for self improvements for the new year.
I will think on this. I like the idea of making progress on some small task in my life that i feel is lacking.
One of my little ideas is that big changes may be the result of small tweakings.
I started with changing the direction that the toilet paper unfurled from its holder.
It held for a week.
It was an interesting experiment.
I figured if I could slow down and change something, another change might ensue.

Another shift is desired. I go up and down about my work.
Since it is all self initiated and imposed, it is all totally up to me.
The problem is that I get stuck a lot.
Now it isn't worth whining about... since it is easy to get unstuck pretty quickly too.
Recently there have been more than a few custom necklaces to make.
I genuinely love these.
Essential to forward movement with custom work is a little bit of cleanup between projects.
That is if I want to start another.
Not sorting and cleaning can cause an overlap of ideas that are just not worth finishing.
Sometimes, false starts allow for earring pairs or just an odd little bit to pop into a necklace
somewhere down the line.
Nothing is wasted really, it's just a little progress speed bump.

A customer from Oz, down under, asked me to start something for her.
I really want to, but the main idea was based upon something that I had already done.
The problems posed with this, is that I rarely have two of the same things to play with one after another.
I got stuck again.

I pulled all that I could and made a few arrangements that may or may not come together.
I don't know if my customer is inconsolably set on the one she originally liked. My ability to move the "jigsaw component" pieces around to make a fresh composition, is something I rely on heavily. I constantly am second guessing what is needed to start. At a certain point, I feel the need to just find a starting point and try. If i am really lucky, I can get a little traction and commit to beginning a fresh piece.
This is the necklace that was sold a while back. It is the model for my new design. I know the colors,scale and shapes are different from the original ones. I think that it can be pulled off though.
The newly proposed palette is this one.

I am telling you all of this, since it is on my mind today. I have no idea how other folks come to their designs, so I thought it was worth sharing. Now it's time to get this started. Surely, this will be shown off when i finish, since i am a little shameless.

thank you as always for dialling up....

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tickled Pink in Providence...

My kids have new word combos for everything. Of course myown parents might have said the same about kids in my own age bracket so very long ago, when i was similarly aged. If Fifty Cent were around then, i could have easily put my mom into her grave. She was busily flipping out then about that radical, James Taylor. oooh that Fire and Rain LP
gave her some good ranting juices.
Still, it is a sign both of the ages and of the times, that the same sort of stuff can make a parent scratch her/his head. Progress is rough on folks. Me sometimes in particular.

(Cathe's Penny Pendant to left)

Last weekend when my eldest child returned from college and was visiting in the most incommunicado method possible.... one foot in the house of her childhood and the other dancing with glee to the tune of her first semester outta here at college, we opted to go to Borders to read together. If she had nothing to chat about, then perhaps we ought to be like MEN. you know what i mean...
the way that they are most comfortable ...
spending time in barcaloungers with a drink at hand reading the newspaper.
NO TALKING is the best way of bonding for so many of them. I am not completely stupid. if my kid did not want to share with me intimately,
we would go into a public forum and share an experience that without divulging details would make
our time together commonly appreciated.
We got two of the comfy chairs and sat with our stack of reading materials.
Hers were mostly comic and manga related.
Mine were magazines about lifestyles and artistic sensibilities... the Stampington/Somerset collection.
As we were cozily reading, looking at pics and other self amusements...
a younger woman approached and claimed the seat next to me.
She point blankly asked me if I was a knitter.
She then flitted away to bring back some knitting magazines
( i wound up buying one, since the sweater on the cover was exactly what i need and have been looking for... ).
We chatted a bit and I admitted that I am a knitter, and have been passionately interested in the skills, design, and comraderie that its craft has afforded me over time.
Now this woman had no idea at all that I am a fallen knitter, nor did that matter terribly.
She was just looking for some company.
In a matter of a few rather disjointed conversations, she fell asleep in her chair. I fear that she is not a well person, but it was interesting to talk with someone with so much intensity, curiousity and intelligence. Unfortunately, I found that there was no way that I could have helped her other than to share with her the secrets of turning a heel on a sock (this is really magical too),
as she had her own up in her hands and off of her foot.
I have a little problem with folks. i do not always see when there is something more deeply wrong with them...
than the surface observations may allow me to deal with.
anyways, her friendliness and enthusiastic interest in things
allowed my daughter to share a term that is new to me.

It is "fan-girling".

Out of the mouth of my silent daughter...
writhing with the amusement of someone not in the "situation" i was in.
She thought I might have known this woman, since our conversation was so animated and on topic.
Of course I didn't.
More to the point, it seems my kid found that anyone could strike a conversation up with me and make it seem so personal and ooky at the same time.
It was totally funny to my kid and she shared with her siblings
that it was hilarious that i got fan-girled. Nice kid huh?

So this brings me to the point of this little off-topic posting (seriously, were you wondering where I was going if you were still reading by now?). I have integrated the phrase of my kids' age into my own ridiculously grey haired life and done a little "fan-girling " of my own. See the purpose of growing old is to refuse to learn new things. I know that I still have a moderately thirsty mind and am
more than willing to adopt some fresh ideas... ESPECIALLY when I can reciprocate and embarrass my kids with what was held dear to their furry hearts.
I can use their hip, rad lingo and for my own nefarious needs.

I am now fan-girling Cathe Holden She is a blogger who started out as a mom
and a graphic designer. She's got it all going on. So much so, that I snagged one of her ideas for a little penny pendant and made it my new best friend. The love is not stopping dead there. Cathe has a necklace for her own wearing, as well as the chance on her blog to give a
nother one away to a lucky commenter on her posting about this collaboration.

I implore you to take a look at her groovy blog and participate in the giveaway.
It is for the sake of the season, the ideas, the fun, the excitement and all else that this is going on.
Consider playing in her reindeer games if you will. It might be nice for you to have a little holiday love of your own.

thanks oodles... xow.

Friday, December 3, 2010

how i spent my sunny day...

today was a wash. i rushed to meet a friend to drink coffee and catch up. it is a standing date, but sometimes life gets in the way.
this created a fortunate opening in my extremely over scheduled existence... ok, being a firm user of sarcasm, you should know this is a shot at myself.

i had really wanted to make things move a little forward a
nd that is impossible unless i take decent photos of my work. recently, everything feels out of whack and a little stale. so i played with some earrings and took advantage of the sunny daylight. if things go well, it may be a repeating work experience tomorrow... sun, snapping, styling and luck. all would be well ar
e a few of my photos that i liked. More on this learning curve tomorrow.

well that is about enough of this particular vanity... maybe tomorrow i will finish it off.
nighty night all... xow.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

if only all my pennies had flowers...

I am sort of addicted to surfing the web.
Yeah, you heard me. One of my things to do is look into many of the etsy related blogs. Through one of these, I found the most adorable blogger, Cathe Holden. There is NOTHING that she can't seem to do. Her first post that I read was a tutorial for making small inexpensive gift bags with really cute graphics. Needless to say, I wanted to make them but reading about her other ideas distracted me and kind of took over rational thought. The following link is to the directory of things that the graphic genius has to offer for those of us headstrong design junkies, by this I mean dj's that can enjoy periodic instructions.

Truly I would love to make a lot of the things in that directory, but once I hit on the penny pendants with Meyercord decals, I was fixated. I collected all the stuff needed to make the pendants with and found the decal sheets at a nearby consignment store.
I waited til all of my family was asleep one night so i could start the project.
I taped a bunch of pennies to a board and drilled them with a drill press. Older pennies made only from copper were nicer since they had no little ring of nickel showing through. Now that is just a personal picky issue. These are so damn cute once the glaze and decals are applied, nobody would ever quibble about this.

these are what they looked like when
they were just out of the oven with their little protective coating of glaze material had been applied and heated.

Somewhere on Cathe's blog, she has a general request for photos of things made from her instructions. I wrote to her and let her know I was over the moon happy with having made some penny pendants.
I then was able to load the images of my penny
projects onto her flickr group for people like me.
As gracious as Cathe was to encourage my pennies joining in with other cool projects, she told me that she was liking some little bendywho necklaces made using the pendants. Now one of them is winging its way to her home somewhere over the design rainbow.

As our email conversations went along, I thought... whee! I want Cathe to give one of these little charm necklaces away to one of her many talented readers. Heck, it is the season of giving after all!
Cathe agreed to do this giveaway on her site and when that time is clearer, it will be all over facebook.

This one is
for Cathe on the left.
The one below is for the blog giveaway.
(i still have no control over where i position my photos... sorry folks)

this is the whole bunch of the necklaces.
I will update things as soon as i know more
giveaway news.

These are exciting times!
thanks for looking in.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

thrifting is good for me...

Friday,aka Black Friday, I spent hours in my car driving from one frosty rink to the next. It is my duty as an ice hockey mom. I do not wear red lipstick as some hockey momsare purported to do. Instead I enjoy finding places to get some of my crafty on while my kids are on the ice.Before you start thinking there is something truly mean spirited about not watching my kids in their respective gliding venues, please know, i get into trouble if I am there for too long. Last friday, after a spectacular junking binge and a mellow Thanksgiving at a friend's house, I kind of got into a fight with some parents in the stands.Honestly, I am not all that hot-headed all the time. There was only 2 minutes left in a mixed gender squirt(8-10 year olds?) game where the score was
The stand-side parents were berating the refs and one of those striped jersey fellows was my son. Simply, I recommended that the folks in the stands perhaps be aware that if the refs were able to hear what they were saying, they might be ejected from their perches. I truly was very polite. It has happened before and sadly will happen again. The 3 most unpleasant people there were loaded for bear... so I moved away.
Eventually the loudest, foamiest fool in the stands, interrupted a conversation that I was having later with a friend and fellow mother of hockey playing children. The very foolish man, eventually apologized to us both for being so out of control and disrespectful. My friend congratulated me for being the voice of reason. WELL, I never have been anointed with that royal moniker before, so I felt a tiny ember glowing in my gullet. shucks.In fact, the calls that were made by my son, the referee, were valid and educated. I was also most proud of him for his level headed professional behavior as well. A lot of days, I wish that I could be a bit more even tempered just as he is. He really lets stuff roll off of his back.

These little aggravations were put aside ... as I hold a death grip on a grudge, when the phone rang. We were in the car on our way to another rink for the boy to supervise another 3 games. The incoming call was from the junk shop where I had earlier spotted a child's sized roll top desk. Dare I holler with joy as I did that late afternoon? NOPE. In stead, when the daylight returns, I shall take photos of the
little desk to try to add to this posting. oh, and the price was absolutely yummy at $25.oo

Earlier that afternoon after dropping my son at the rink , I backtracked to the consignment store. It was on my way to deliver the boy, but in no way could he be late tohis job. In no way did I want to delve into this new source of consigned love and rush. It was something I absolutely wanted to take my time with and savor anyways. Words can't really describe how utterly positive I felt, but I am game to try. Within a few minutes of entering the door to a magic land and having put my name down for info about that rolltop cutie,
I found 2 floral vintage tablecloths. They were horribly stained, but I sense that Oxyclean will magically render them clean after a good soaking. I have confidence in a joyful outcome from this easy task. oh, and the tablecloths were $3.oo each.

Next, my greed focused in on some items I thought could be refurbished to be table-scapings for jewelry shows in the future. I was able to score not one, but two wooden cutlery trays. After cleaning and painting them, i think they will be wonderful earring displays.
Still no color has been decided for their futures. maybe black, maybe white.
I have time to decide.
They were $5. and $10.oo respectively. I felt guilty twinges about their prices, but in reality, I was having so much fun and could see them as being so veryhelpful when my show season resumed.

Oddly enough, a pair of two pretty pink girly lamps were available to my greed. Lacking in harps and shades, I thought they would be ideal bases to try out some new lacy shades made from old embroidered and lace trimmed linens scored earlier this month. It could happen... don't doubt me now... the winter will be hideously long
and i will need some fun to keep me busy. Did I mention that they were marked down from some ungodly inexpensive price to $8. 24? for the pair??? No, I did not think so. How could they be left behind if I had half a brain?

I managed not to fall down the stairs to the lower level of the consignment store. It was a possibility since I was feeling totally giddy. It was very full of ugly furniture and things my upholstering project-free hands could play with. This fantasy would hold a reality basis if given a little more household space, a bathtub full of tacks ( no, i do not store my tacks in my bathtub. it was merely a measuring allusion. ), appropriate supplies, a teensy, happy, tack hammer and all other things useful in re-upholstering furniture.

In this section filled with ridiculously unneeded things, my eagle peepers found me a small metal box with a handle that is banged up and useful vintage fare. As usual, i have NO idea what i might like to use it for, but Tole is Tole and I love it. Who on a bender would pass that up for another $5.oo? I ask you?

Near by, also a double decker silver plate serving dish wooed me. Sirens' calls enticed that into my basket as well for another $5.oo.(sorry I forgot to take a pic of this one...perhaps tomorrow?).

I thought that my trip was done, and then one last squeak was heard from within a china cabinet. There were three teensy salt shakers there. round and dumpling like. oh hell, and sterling silver too.
Now my husband was on the Cape of Cod with our youngest. They were at yet another Hockey event. I kept all my loot in the trunk of the car, to be silently off loaded into my overflowing studio space. Tomorrow will be a stupendous day for this sneaky little sortie. My hubby thinks of me as a hoarder.
I have NO idea why...
If I could get a little more organized looking, then no one would find fault with my collecting bug.

So many treats were left at this store by the way. I hope to get to go back sooner than later. There were plenty of things still waiting for me and my itchy fingers to get to. A set of green glass vases with ruffled tops, another pair of shade free glass boudoir lamps and a green ceramic pitcher with flowers painted on one side. I feel the shame, joy and luck of having too many cool things in my cottage.
Simple pleasures for me to revel in and to perhaps share.
Generally, this is the way that folks wind up having stores to sell their loot from. I suppose it is purposeful to look ahead to that as a possible dream. Dreams are very good to have too.

Thanks ... xoxo. w.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

hi gang,
it has been so long since i have been on here and tried to make sense of my thoughts and ideas. Perhaps it is due to the ongoing chaos in my little world. or maybe it isn't. i can't really guess... all i know is that in the spare moments i have had to write something, i have leaning towards net surfing. that may not be my most interesting way to spend time, but it helps to rejuvenate some of the frazzled thoughts and calm them to work on my jewelry more.
since it is a major holiday weekend, there has been a lot of hockey time for all of us. well all but my delightful art student daughter. she has been alternately doing her computer things, sleeping, eating and seeing her friends all home for the brief holiday weekend. today, we may find some things to do together that perhaps will resonate for a long time in the future or for the next 5 seconds. i found me another fresh junk shop with loads of stuff to look at and plunder. i am hopeful that in spite of living with my ultra cluttered house, the girl will see the joy that is found when a cool thing is unearthed for re-use in another lifetime.
she may even locate a special box that once held silverware to corral her own art supplies and that gives her a happy glow when she looks at its bumps and scratches while reflecting on the fun we were able to have junking together.
and the other 3... well they are rink rats. i can't really complain. they are pretty happy gliding on ice. the boy gets paid handsomely for his efforts, while he is able to maintain a sense of personal calm. he referees ice hockey games. this is a very nice way to earn high school fun money. also he had an experience where he was tangential to putting 3 men in jail overnight for misconduct at a tournament. pretty heady stuff for a kid. this is the subject of one of his college application essays. i guess getting paid and having an entree into the college admissions process is not a bad outcome for his sticking with refereeing.
the little girl is a sprite. although she is growing by leaps and bounds... she is the firey girl in the goal net. she really rarely takes anyone's guff. it is a pleasure to see her being not only a hockey player with interesting locker room chat, but the stones of a small person standing up to much larger players (and other people in off ice life experiences). when there is a small issue between her and other young women at school, she is ready to take it on. thoughtfully and productively almost all the time. (i could do with a little restraint rinkside when it happens, but i have raised her... so i know where her peppery language stems from... sigh.)

now it is time to get off of the sofa and enjoy some of today at the junk store, in between shuttling the boy from one game to the next. i truly enjoy his company and the challenges of driving in a timely manner to and fro. he is good company as well.

recent finds of junk,,, will be plopped into this posting. i do not have much c ontrol over how to do all the graphic stuff yet. so please bear with me.
i am going to try to do more posts... even if they are all kinds of hodged and podged.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

moving day in a hurricane...

It seems to be that most important things happen on the nights before special days. Today, we as a family of five are delivering our eldest to her new home at northeastern U. It is gonna be ridiculously emotional. Themantra I have been repeating, is that she will only be an hour away by car or by train. If i put my big girl pants on and try really hard, I will keep this in mind for more than the next 24 hours. It could be bad for my younger daughter or my son... but i worry most for the hubster and the dog. Always, it is certain, that i will be reduced to a mountainous poorly spoken mass of bad jokes while randomly blubbering and sniffling. I know you will all wish us the best of luck since, the delivery of her nibs is in the midst of hurricane EARL.

For some of you out there, my kids have earned their nicknames in efforts specific to all of their individual personalities. The youngest is Miss Ross, long story on that one. The "boy" is a devilish mixture of penrod and bart simpson. Our eldest is humorous, kind, thoughtful, intelligent and mercy free. she too has a name i call her when feeling a lot less sentimental than i do right now. somehow with all the impending changes, i am unable to remember what that is. it is a funny little trick of my aging mind. i will remember it and then it will be divulged.

so i promise to be better with this here blog, as if you were all dying of impatience for my next rambling stint. Perhaps, tomorrow will yield a little more info about the dorm room and its inhabitants. i know there will be no shortage of flaring emotions, complicated with the new roommate and her parents. the mini refrigerator is one such issue that has been discussed ad nauseum for the past two weeks. more on that later i am sure.

so goodnight all, see you soon. xow.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Chocolate Cake

Birthdays come and go, but Chocolate Cake... it is forever.

Simple, or some say "humble ingredients" can morph from stable pantry ingredients into tasty, mouth watering, delicious foodstuffs that dreams are made of. I am ridiculously partial to the Martha Stewart recipe for basic, never fail yumminess in the form of a chocolate layer cake and swirly melt in my mouth frosting. Now I know, you must be saying... Martha
Stewart? Well her staff is huge, they are always trying everything under the sun, they tweak everything until it hurts... so how could it go wrong? It
doesn't. It really just doesn't. I of course like to make some adjustments since my palate is a tad particular. Not big changes... but ones that add little nuances to suit my own tastes. It is my cake, so my needs rule. Just go with them, I really think you will be pleasantly rewarded. And yes, I am going to give you the link so you aren't tempted by another of her recipes. Not all of her recipes are as true to my goals as this one. This one has a little bit of wiggle room for erring or tweaking as follows (... or whatever you may want to alter).

The first part of the recipe that I fiddled with is where you cream the butter and sugar together. The butter used is never, ever, ever salted in my world. This is important, since you just have no idea how old it is. Salting butter is done to help extend its shelf life, with salt used as a preservative. Instead of using all white sugar, I like to switch out half of it for packed brown sugar. Scientifically speaking, brown sugar has a deeper more intense flavor due to the residual molasses. There is some chemical thing that happens here too... where the sugar retains more of the innate moisture in the cake. ( this is hygroscopic. here is a definition relative to cookie baking... which is pretty close to cake baking:
" Sugar is hygroscopic, which means it draws moisture or water to itself. In addition to its sweetening properties sugar helps make cookies tender and soft").

My most favorite part of altering the recipe is where the cocoa is put into a liquid form, by adding boiling water. I prefer to do this with freshly brewed coffee equal in quantity to the water in the recipe. This is subtle enough to pass the picky palate of my non-coffee tolerant brood. In fact, they admit that the addition of the coffee adds a good background flavor. I really appreciate that. I think it might be in lieu of making me a present or just to get cake back into the house. Either way,,, it is a "good enough thing".

The batter alone seems so good, you really ought to eat it all up with a spoon... and my handy assistant is willing to do just that. Her help up to this point is invaluable.

Sadly, when we had the gorgeous cakes come out of the oven, cool, rest and get frosted with "mrs. milman's frosting"... other obligations prevented me from taking a photograph of the final product.
We rushed with a slightly warm cake on a platter under a tent of plastic film to our next destination. I let it all rest in the freezer to firm up, later doing fresh dips and doodles in the surface icing.
Many children and adults snarfled this cake... leaving me with one clear, and new objective.

I need to make another cake as soon as it is humanly possible.
Clearly, It is not long lived , as long as folks are willing to partake in its delightful crumb, silky texture, delicate coffee notes and scrumptious chocolatey icing. It is good to have goals in life right?
As soon as the new prototype is manufactured, beautifully photographed pics will be provided. Until then, Martha's will have to do.

Friday, July 23, 2010

pliers for flowers...

It is Friday night live in our household. Time to figure out who, what, when, where and how much driving will be involved. I like to wait until all the members of the unit are in house. Now we can play family tetris. The older kids will be out bowling with friends. How completely wholesome.

The younger will enjoy a mass sleepover with friends from the pool.
This leaves the hubby, the dog and me to our own devices. Well at least for a few hours.
What it really does, is gives us a great chance to decompress and do something relaxing. I plan on working on a few new pairs of earrings and a revamp of a pretty silvery tangled necklace for a dear friend.
I feel the love of a few new big necklaces coming on too.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

the red bungalow

I am a new blog poster... I bet there are 12 step programs that go with that. It is quite easy for many folks to set them up. Unfortunately, I seem not to be one of them.. One of the little bloggy spaces to fill in, has a subtitle to the banner. In this case, I named it "Crafty tales of a woman and her family who live in a red bungalow". It feels wordy as all heck, and I bet it will be rewritten until it sounds closer to what I want it to say. Sometimes I can be picky that way.
In the mean time, let me show you what my industrious husband has morphed our street-side facade into. It is this compact, yet lush garden of curbside appeal. This is in a drive up and visit or cyber viewing mode. If google can take pics. I ought to do so as well. I pick the flowers from the nurseries and he plants his little heart out. We both are served well by this division of design and labor. Our own little variation on a famous O'Henry tale.

Our red bungalow is where more than a few hilarious events or funky creations have been started . It could do with a freshening, since the front steps look unstable and painting it is overdue. As much as it is needed, I don't think I can be too greedy right now.
Construction needs are being addressed in the rear of the house. My husband and son have started to rebuild the back porch ( I suspect that it will be the subject of another posting ). I really do know that I might be boring the pants off of you, but the porch construction is overdue by about 20 years. When we bought this house, it was the first thing hubby dearest wanted to update. Truly, I have been very, very, Very patient with him. I really have an obligation to show this project in progress, for those of you who have experiences with carpenters, contractors and other such clever but (ahem) frustrating artisans. It is a tribute to them saying that they will be back to deal with just one more thing on your wish list.
I am going to document when the worker bees are creating and updating the premises. Positive reinforcement is supposed to work (rhetorical knee slapping inserted here). I did what I could by drawing plans for the event 2 decades ago. Just in case the mood was right.
Perhaps, the weather and timing will hold up well over the next few days? We are all weary of taking the dog on the short trip from the front door to the backyard in the middle of the night.. He seems to hide his disappointment well ... after all he thinks he is going somewhere good, such as on a long squirrel seeking hunt, a neighborhood walkabout with a teen from our collection or in the car to see his buddies at the dog park. Sorry pupster. When this is all done, perhaps you will enjoy a fresh surface to shed on and relax.

I suppose that this is just about enough for now, but since this is my blog, surely more interesting things shall be reported in upcoming posts? It's up to you to keep stopping by....
plans for future posts include: family hi-jinxes... cooked items... baked items... jewelry created... other folks' clevernesses... and general day to day personal musings.

Thank you for visiting... xow.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

naming of the blog

In my world, there has always been some kind chaos. It is what I find normal in my day to day living. I think of it as my own little slice of karma. It started at birth and has followed me to this day. I must have been disorganized in all of my past lives. Right now, a camera crew following me around is not a bad idea to document how it falls together.
For no reason in particular, our family was never good at anything that required careful planning. It is the whole chaos thing, You know? Small stuff always seemed to go awry with inexplicably enlarged results. This is why my parents never seemed to give anyone a straight answer. And I mean about almost anything. Their default reply to most situations was consistent. If there was to be an "I don't know" or "Don't ask me now" response coming, my folks would say to me and my brothers....sure, wednesday 3 o'clock. we can do it then.
It was a reasonable answer that meant that it was never gonna happen and strangely enough, it worked for us. No one had hurt feelings and it was one of those "you had to be there" kind of inside jokes.
Our early training to apply this message was really useful. We had the power to turn away unwanted phone callers. This of course was in the days before caller i.d., e-mails, texts, faxes, and all other contemporary methods of communication employed now. The ones that introduce the message with the name of the sender in it already. We were also pretty well informed about how having a sense of humor would be beneficial.
Now, it can be a lot easier to wriggle out of those unwanted conversations by hitting a delete button or let a phone call go to message. In those days, we were expected to answer all questions and be very polite in doing so.
As things stand right now, I am often free of a good answer to much of what my kids ask me... or my husband ... or the myriad of other folks with inquiries. I guess I am not great at being on the spot without a good answer. Perhaps it is time to revisit the response that worked for so long in my childhood home. How does
Wednesday at 3 o'clock sound ?