Friday, May 29, 2009

This is Ralphie

This is Ralphie.

I found him at the Long Beach Outdoor Antiques and Collectibles Market that takes place on the 3rd Sunday of the month in Long Beach, CA.

He was haphazardly thrown on a blanket with various other gee-gaws. I almost walked on by, but then I saw HIM. I stopped dead in my tracks. I gazed into his big, perpetually surprised, eyelidless felt eyes.

I picked him up. Those hand stitched features.

The funky acrylic beard. The brown boots. Who doesn't love brown boots?

I had to have him.

Quickly feigning a detached sort of interest, I nonchalantly picked him up and asked the guy in charge of the blanket strewn area how much. I held my breath. How much would I spend? $20? $30?

"Three bucks," the man said.

Blink. Someone at some time MADE him. Three bucks???

Okey dokey!

I tried very hard not to dance for joy, as that might have tipped the gent off that I was getting (in my own mind, remember) the bargain of the century.

We completed our transaction and I lovingly placed Ralphie in the basket on my bike. I giggled half of the way home.


He now occupies a wee nook to the left of my computer monitor. A sort of constant companion in the studio, I guess one could say.

My husband thinks I am insane. But he loves me enough to share his space with my odd finds and my boxes 'o' junk that I use in my work, which means that he must truly, truly love me as well. It balances out, don't you think?

Until next time, happy bargain hunting!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why Tae Bo is Abusive

OK, maybe it isn't abusive to everyone, but it erodes my self esteem every time I get that DVD out. Just a little.

Granted, it is a great workout...for those people who can actually follow basic dance steps. And I can do all of the leg lifts, punches, and footwork. Just not together.

I have found that I am a danger to people, pets, small children and furniture. It is just not right. The cat sees me move the coffee table and runs to hide under the bed until the music stops.

Smart cat.

Attempting Tae Bo reminds me of the early 90's when I thought I would jump on the club fitness bandwagon. I became the proud owner of an official gym membership that was automatically deducted from my bank account on a monthly basis so that when I realized I was a) totally clumsy and b) not likely to use it half of the time, I would be under contractual obligation to continue.

I was so excited! It was going to be fun! And it WAS until I actually went to the gym.

It was bad enough that all of the girls with the perfect bods were in every class that fit my schedule, but I just could not get the hang of ANY of it. If they were moving left, I was going right. If they were moving up on the step, I was coming down. If they were criss-crossing forward, I was stepping on my shoelaces.

And forget trying to hide in the back. Mirrors, mirrors everywhere. One of the instructors, subconsciously sensing my distress, used to switch the back to the front and front to the back. My attempts at fading into the background were useless. I ended up step tapping from side to side for most of the class, trying not to bump into anyone.

And, unlike the lovely little lycra outfits on most of the fit, firm gals, my boyfriend's sweatpants would bunch up on me in the most unattractive way at the least opportune times. Blah.

It was then that I discovered treadmills. LOVE them. No skill required, other than walking, of course. Even I can walk. Most of the time. Sheesh! The the whole sweatpant bunching thing became a non-issue.

Does any of this really matter in the big scheme of things? No. But it is a sad, sad day when I am alone in the living room with a DVD I have done dozens of times and can still, on occasion, have the fleeting sensation that I am a clutsy dink.

I do know that, should I ever join another gym, I would just do my own thing in the back of the class and chuckle. Steps, schmeps. I am there, right?

What I realize now that I didn't realize then is that no one cares that I am a lame-o. And if for some odd reason they did care, it wouldn't matter anyway.

That is the best thing that comes along with aging.

Time for a cookie. Or two.

Until next time, happy tripping.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Squints The Angry One Inch Bear

You'll have to pardon Squints. He is a little bit angry and a lot bit jaded. You would be, too, if your creator thought it funny to give you only one eye.

It's bad enough to be super tiny, but to be tiny and have one of your better features removed? Unforgivable.

He was supposed to be a two eyed "cute" little bear, but I liked the grumpy countenance so much that I just had to leave it be.

Given the look on his face, I don't think I will be forgiven any time soon. He is looking to move in with that Blythe hottie. She will understand his sensitive side and give him a cuddle or two regardless of his physical appearance.

Squints is one inch when seated, a scant 1.5 inches when standing. He is thread jointed and can move all of his limbs and his head. Head movement makes it easier to scowl at everyone.

Until next time, happy creating!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

You'll never have to keep an eye on your coffee again...

Because it has an eye of it's own!

This is what I made for the May Felting Challenge. It had to be something that had a practical/functional use.

I can't decide if it is creepy cool or just creepy.
Here's looking at you, kid!

Until next time, happy coffee consumption!


Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

What did you do today to honor and remember?


Sunday, May 24, 2009

What's that Lassie? Timmy has fallen into the well?

Talk about being duped.

My cat is a solitary little beastie. She can be affectionate; she just chooses not to be most of the time. Don't get me wrong; she sleeps in with us, she wants to be patted on her little kitty head and "talks" to us. She just isn't a lap cat and fails in the cute interaction category.

That is why this morning set off my alarm bells.

Let me explain.

It was about six in the morning when she first popped her head over the side of my bed. She was dipping her head down towards mine, nose to nose, kitty concern written all over her feline brow. "Meow"?

I rolled over. After all, it was six'o'clock on Sunday. I can sleep in on the weekends. 'Nuff said about that.

She was persistent, however, which was a bit of a shocker and extremely out of character for her. Usually if things don't go her way, she instantaneously abandons her mission and pretends like she didn't really care if you noticed her or not. Cleaning her nether regions is the activity of choice at times such as these. Just enough to say, "See how little I care? I am cleaning my various parts! Ha!"

Back up on the bed, pacing, little chuffing noises, touching me with her nose. Very out of character.

By now, I was awake enough to let my mind start to stories of how the family cat woke everyone just in time to escape a horrible fire, tales of heroic animal persistence that ended up alerting the family to an earthquake just prior to it hitting, posts about the cat who predicted a child's seizure and subsequently saved the boy's life.

Now I was awake. Fully.

Feeling quite energized, I leaped out of bed and followed her fuzzy little feet down the hallway. To the Perhaps there was a fire in there? Nope. Perhaps something was dreadfully amiss? Nope.

She was hungry.

Sometimes I hate my cat.

Happy weekend!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Polymer Clay? Nope! Cake.

OK, I thought I would be working with my clay by now. This is the ONLY craft that I haven't been able to jump right into! Weird! I don't usually balk at new-to-me products.

I ended up making a graduation cake instead. It isn't a stellar example of what I can do, but since I only had a few hours to throw it together, it is just "OK".

My tiles look dingy in the picture, too, which means I will have another job on my plate next week. Grout time!

As I made this cake, I came up with a million dollar idea. Feel free to take it and become rich, if you wish. I am far too lazy, but will surely grouse about how I came up with the idea when I see your new yacht and polo pony.

If one could come up with an inexpensive way to make cake "decorations" that didn't look possessed by Satan, one could surely make some money. Every little gee-gaw I saw at the cake supply shop was wall-eyed, cross-eyed, poorly painted, or missing paint. One of the poor graduation girls had no hair in the front. She looked like some kind of cult member. Another graduate had a green dot on the nose. Honestly, who in their right mind would buy a figurine with an obvious disfigurement...on the FACE, no less. (Unless, of course, you happen to have a big green blotch on your nose, in which case I owe you an apology. Sorry!)

Not to mention that one doesn't know what kind of paint was used. Mmmm. Lead-y. Makes the frosting stick to your ribs.

This was the best one in the bunch and it took me fifteen minutes to find him. Note the uncolored hair resting on his forehead. Could be a tumor or some sort of wicked wrinkle. Perhaps Botox would be of help?

At any rate, it should be tasty, and that is the real purpose of cake, right? And my nephew will know that I cared enough to attempt to make something for him rather than buying it. (When he sees it, however, Costco might seem like a glowing beacon of "fabulous-ness" in comparison.)

I had to add the guitar. My nephew is obsessed and is getting really good. It is so exciting to watch, as he has found his passion. Wonderful!

Until next time, happy crafting and happy lead-free cake baking.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

This is how I roll.....

Here we go! The weather is great, the time is here and I have a little more breathing space in my schedule.

My youngest and I have a lot of fun tooling around town with this get-up. He is almost ready for his own bike and, if I may be totally honest, there are some windy days when the trailer acts like a kite and the resistance makes it not so fun for old mom, but it is fun for now.

I am going to break into some polymer clay tonight. Will I like it? Or will I end up frustrated and full of ennui? Only time will tell.

Enjoy today!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hamster Escape Artists and more..

Look carefully. Have you seen this escapee? Granted, he looks harmless enough, but no cage has yet been made that can hem him in and hold him down.

For reasons unknown, he goes by the name of Chocolate Milk, but he is widely known as Houdini The Mystical Disappearing Hamster.

When my daughter brought this hamster to my house she told me. She warned me. Even so, I thought the error was due to the poor quality of the previous cage. Scoffing, I gazed into his little jet eyes and wondered how something so darned cute could ever get past the well built wiring of the heavy duty cage we had purchased.

Just in case, however, I insisted that she shut the cage door and CLIP it as well using a strong metal clasp.

Of course, on the one night that my daughter is not home for the evening, she not only fails to clip the door shut, but she also leaves her bedroom door open. We have a cat. A very catty-cat. With teeth and claws attached. Not a good mix to say the least.

That night, I slept securely, knowing all was right in my world. Smug? Perhaps.

The next morning, when I went in to feed the various pets, I noticed right away that something was dreadfully amiss.

The cage door was flung open. Hamster? Nowhere.

Did I mention that the cage is up about five feet off of the floor?

My first thought was that the cat probably had had a lovely little snack, as I was fairly sure our little hamster friend had to have addled his wee little hamster brains when walking off of the dresser. Unless, of course, he had stashed a teensy hang glider somewhere out of sight.

(Note: If your child wants a pet, a rat is a much smarter choice. I have never been bitten by a pet rat, nor have I had one walk off of a table. Nuff said.)

Back to the story: Shudder. Mental cringe. Various scenarios running through my mind, none of them very good. Please keep in mind that I had not yet had my coffee, so it was mental muddle city.

As I pondered the possibilities... a streak of fluff, a waddle of tail tuft, popping into the very messy closet.
Whew! At least I knew that Wild Kingdom hadn't been played out somewhere in the house. That was a relief!

Now all I had left to do was find a way to entice the little bugger into coming out without his getting crushed in an avalanche of pre-teen gee-gaws and laundry. Lord knows, he really didn't need to come out, as there is a lot of candy and such stashed in there. (Didn't know that until this happened. Perhaps the escape was for the best?)

I trotted to the kitchen (after having posted the boys as sentries), grabbed a little melon, trotted back and started making the kissy noises I usually make when giving him a treat. Why melon? This is the diabetic hamster from many, many posts ago and I thought something sweet might get his attention as he had been on a low sugar diet.

I don't know if it was the melon, the noise or the desire for sleep, but after only a few minutes he came creeping out from under the laundry basket. It was as if he were dancing a cha-cha. Two steps out, one step back, two steps out, and so on.

The minute his hamstery little lips locked onto the proffered tidbit, I scooped him up and plopped him back in that cage. AND I put the clip on it.

And I still managed to get the kids to school on time.

The things we mothers do!

Until next time! Happy hamster hunting!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Parental Problems Solved!

Well....almost. But hey, it's a start!

Here is what I am talking about-

My children are great little people, truly they are. But they had fallen into a bad pattern. I called it the

"Hey! Don't worry about it! Mom will pick it up/scrub it/put it away/sew it/buy it/pack it/tug it/tuck it/find it/remember it/fix it/take care of it so we don't have to!"

Gets old quick, no? Laziness is a pet peeve and kids who expect something for nothing work my last nerve. Gratitude it good.
My dh and I decided to install ye olde chore lists again, this time with better long range thinking behind them. Each child has several chores for which he/she is responsible. The chores rotate and change each week and I don't remind the kids which chores belong to each child. (The youngest one has pictures as well as words to show him what to do.)

What a difference in attitude! The kids are motivated and self monitoring! They are looking for additional chores to add, since it makes the list look "longer" and they then feel as if they have been more helpful. The youngest, in fact, is the best about checking his list throughout the day and making sure he is on track.

The oldest, who is very busy with a play right now, has even expressed REGRET that she has not been able to get all of her chores done but assures me she will "make up for it" on the weekend. (Whether or not that comes to pass, at least I feel as though she has given the matter a little thought! Much better!)

The middle guy, my pleaser, has been quietly picking up his sister's slack. I make sure to give him lots of kudos. It is heartwarming. And helpful! I am in a much better mood now that I am not cleaning up the same messes over and over with little respect or appreciation. Another great side benefit is that the kids are now saying things like, "Can't we just all use one glass all day long so there are less dishes to do?" and "Rinse the toothpaste out of the sink! It is too hard to clean when it dries in there."

Another added bonus? Less arguing. They have less time (or perhaps they are too tired) to bother yakking at one another. They still have a few minor skirmishes, but less than before. Hooray for improvement!

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend! Until next time, happy crafting, happy parenting, and happy life!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Mushrooms

Here is a picture of the latest pixie/mushroom combination. A lovely friend requested it to use as a wedding gift.

Why is it always more difficult to do a commissioned piece than a regular one? I guess it is because what the person ordering it is seeing in their mind's eye may or may not be in alignment with what the artist, in this case me, visualizes.

At any rate, she is happy, which makes me VERY happy.

I think it is sort of cheerful and outdoorsy.

Speaking of out of doors, today was a miracle. As I walked to pick up my youngest from preschool, I smelled something amazing in the air. Was it someone doing their laundry? A new perfume?


It was Spring. The smell was a combination of the spicy cleanliness of a eucalyptus and the sultry musk of jasmine. Intoxicating! I actually had to pause and just breathe for a few beats. What a wonderful gift to have received today!

Hope everyone is doing well.

Until next time, happy crafting!


Saturday, May 9, 2009


In addition to my wool problem, I may now be addicted to the McDonald's sugar free vanilla iced coffee.

There isn't a support group for the about the coffee?

Happy weekend to all!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Bee Tree

Yep, Spring has definitely sprung in our neck of the woods! Here is what my kids affectionately call the "bee tree", though it is really more of a large shrub.

This time of year you can hear the tree before you see it. Once the morning is warm enough, they arrive by the hundreds-bees, bees and more bees.

Their little legs start to look like old fashioned cowboys' chaps, all puffy and plump. Sometimes they are so laden with pollen that the list and bump when trying to fly. Very cute.

Looking at them in this way makes me wonder why I was so scared of them when I was a child.

I also have a sneaking suspicion that the large number of our little friends is what has made such a difference in the amount of plums our tree is making. It looks like another bumper crop year!

That's it for now. Just a quick observation during a lunchtime break.

Happy day to all!


Monday, May 4, 2009

Gone So Long...But Here is a Recipe to Make Up for It

I have been really busy lately with the kids' needs and activities, so I haven't had time to put together anything worth reading. Last week was truly tiring, so I wasn't certain I would have even made any sense! Ramble ramble whoops ramble blahhhh. I haven't had time to finish many new pieces, either, but am working on some fun commissioned items. I hope to post pictures by the end of the week!

This week, I also get the chance to make some hats for my daughter's theater group. I am happy to be able to help, though coming up with a pattern that didn't waste a ton of fabric was a little frustrating at first. (Remember, I was pooped out and bleary eyed. That, plus my kids kept coming in while I was working it out and asking me questions. Repeatedly. And loudly. Woof!)

Now that I have the pattern ready to go, I should have them done by no later than Wednesday. Hooray! (If you ever need to cover a In-N-Out hat, let me know. I'll send you a copy of the pattern! LOL)

I was watching my youngest today as he did one of his "chores". He was supposed to be watering the grass in the backyard, and he was....sort of. Seeing how he went from one spot to another, dripping water on his pants (on purpose, mind you) and watching him stop to drink from the hose (I know, we aren't supposed to do it, but I loved it as a child) I swear, my heart ached. My other two are already getting so big. I feel like time is falling away in large bits and soon I will be left looking for my babies and wondering what happened.

I find myself catching these moments more and more frequently as of late. I took my youngest to visit his father's grandfather last week and took a picture of them together. The contrast between young and old, new and not-so-new, was striking. I couldn't help but think how the great-grandfather was someone's baby, too.

Enough of that. I'll be back when I have something visually interesting (or just plain interesting) to share.

Almost forgot! BEST ever recipe for individual shortbread cookies.

1 lb butter at room temp (Take a minute to roll that around in your brain. A POUND! Yum!)

1 c confectioner's sugar

1 c cornstarch

3 c flour

Cream butter and sugar. Add cornstarch to flour in a separate bowl. Gradually add cornstarch/flour mix to butter/sugar mix. Continue until well blended. Take walnut sized scoops of dough and roll them into balls. Gently flatten the balls and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-11 minutes. These should not be browned and will be very pale if you have done it correctly.

These are so good. Bliss.

Until next time!