Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fall Doings

P's class recently had a field trip to the apple orchard. We are so lucky to have such a beautiful orchard so close to our house.









I also taught a class at the shop where I am a vendor. This is one my students with her Halloween cone.

For my next class, which is tomorrow, we will be making this little guy!

And I've been filling my booth with sparkly Christmas beauties!



And the big news is that I am working on my Etsy shop so that you can buy online and start your Christmas shopping, all while supporting a stay-at-home mom and artist!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Busiest I Have Ever Been!

This has been a busy couple of months, here in my little world. September started with First Friday Weekend at Brocante Bliss, then sharing a booth with some friends at The Fleeting Flea, and last Saturday was The Gathering, a day of workshops and creative ideas up in St. Joseph. Carol Spinski of Raised in Cotton was the guest speaker, and she was so inspiring! She talked about following your bliss, making time to do the things you love, and all those things that are so hard for us women to do sometimes — not because we don't have supportive people in our lives, but because we feel guilty taking the time for ourselves. Or maybe we have been doing other things for other people for so long that we don't even remember how to do what we like. One thing she touched on is branding, for those of us who are trying to build our own businesses. I need to talk to her more about that!


Here are some photos of the day!







I also have been busy, busy making too!






This week I am teaching my very first class at Brocante Bliss! We will be making Halloween paper cones (tussy mussies) to decorate the home or to give away. Then we're back to First Friday Weekend for October!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Back again. Seriously.

So a new friend said to me, "You have a blog?" Yes, I do. I have one, one constantly neglected, yet always here for me. One that I always intend to get back to and only sort of do. I have been super busy with new creative adventures, so I really need to keep up with things here, and make it another part of my business. I also often have more to say than is appropriate for Facebook, where I live most of the time). Things will still get personal because that's how I am. An open book. But there is more too.
[Photo by my friend and fellow vendor, Chris of Pemberlie.] I have finally found a place where my creativity is appreciated AND brings a little much-needed money into the home. I am selling my jewelry and home accessories at one of the many vintage markets in Kansas City's West Bottoms. There are at least 8 markets that I can think of off the top of my head, and I have a booth in the newest one, Brocante Bliss, at 1222 West 12th Street. I absolutely love it! It is so energizing being around so many like-minded people. It is good for my soul and good for my head. It is a wonderful distraction from real life, which is still hard and beautiful all at the same time. Little P is doing well in her therapies for her cerebral palsy, and we got her a new walker to keep her walking going strong. She doesn't need to be held up anymore, which is BIG! I haven't posted about it here, but last summer she was diagnosed with epilepsy, and we have been trying for this past year to get it under control, to no avail. We have been through five meds and two diets to try to control the seizures, and nothing has worked. Just a couple weeks ago, we switched doctors to someone who had been recommended on a special needs parenting Facebook page I am on. He is not a warm and fuzzy guy, but he has a plan but also had some bad news. He diagnosed her with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, which is a rare and severe seizure disorder. I cried. He told me that she would never be free of seizures. I cried some more. But just like with the cerebral palsy, it's a little comforting to know what we are dealing with and make a plan, rather than stabbing in the dark like we have been for the past year. So we are changing meds around and have added a new one. Things are changing slowly for the better for her. She also will be having a device implanted next month called a VNS, vagus nerve stimulator. In the simplest terms, it's like a pacemaker for the brain. Since her new meds are working well, I'm excited to see what the VNS does. But I have to keep reminding myself that we are going for relief, not cure. On the other hand, she has never once done what a doctor said she would or would not do!
I stood at my kitchen window yesterday as a cold front came through. It was grey and windy, which I love. I had dinner on the stove and had just made some pumpkin bars. Fall is coming, my favorite time of the year. The kids are back in school and are loving it, thank goodness. Although fall means the end of some things, it feels like the beginning of others. This is my time of renewal.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Be fab!

This started as a Facebook post, but it went on so long that I figured I ought to post it here.

I had the craziest but extremely detailed and clear dream last night. I dreamt I was walking through a "mall" but in an old building, like Dewitt Mall in Ithaca or Thorne's Market in Northampton. There was a small Tibetan woman who had a small booth selling Buddhist items. I started talking to her, and she handed me some cards and told me to choose one. I picked one called "Grey" (one of my favorite colors). She told me that it said that I wasn't doing the world any good by not being awesome. That I needed to show my true self all the time, but I didn't know why that true self was. She said my true self was kind, loving, sparkling, adorable (she used that word). She said I DO show that, but that I needed to do it more. What she said was basically this quote from Marianne Williamson:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

I love this quote! I read this article last night, which probably contributed to my dream. If you know me, you know that this is NOT me. I have pretty low self esteem. I was raised to be put on a happy face when things were truly crappy. I was so meek in high school that people thought I was a snot because I couldn't talk to other people (NOT because I thought I was better, believe me). I am grateful to be friends in real life now with people that I wasn't friends with in high school. I think (but I've never asked) that some of those friends were amongst those who thought I was weird in high school. I was Ally Sheedy's character in The Breakfast Club, but I really wanted to be more like Molly Ringwald's character (at least in looks and in popularity). But that's not ME, not even now.

So, to shine is NOT easy for me. But I get it! What if we all showed our fabulousness and delighted in the fabulousness of others? What if we complimented instead of belittled? So, GO and be fabulous today, and I will try really hard to do the same!

I will start with five things I think are good about myself:

1. I am kind to other people. If I see a stranger wearing something nice or with a great hairstyle, I will tell them so. I hope that it makes their day. It might be the only nice thing they hear all day and might turn their mood around.

2. I think I have a good eye for color and style. I love browsing through my own Pinterest boards. My home is beginning to look like my Home board, but I need to dress to reflect my style more.

3. I have really smart, really adorable kids. That's not all me, of course, as they have an awesome dad.

4. I am a good cook.

5. I am funny. Well, my husband laughs at my jokes, anyway, so either he's deranged or I am funny. I hope it's a little bit of both.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Zinc Table Tutorial

Today I want to share a project I have wanted to try for a while. I love the look of zinc tables and old industrial furniture, like shop tables, workbenches, etc. They are cool, but SO expensive. I recently saw a zinc dining room table at Anthropologie and I seriously did not even dare to look at the price. I can sure imagine though! I also love these aluminum pieces from Restoration Hardware. Again, don’t even look at the price. You will need medical attention if you do.



You looked, didn't you?


There have been a couple great tutorials on making Anthro’s zinc letters, so I used those principles to try on a larger scale. We bought this console table at Target about 4 years ago. It’s got an espresso finish, which I do like, but I wanted something more vintage looking.




To this project you will need some inexpensive tools.


Table (or whatever you want to zinc-ize)

Modge Podge

Craft paint (I used Martha Stewart’s metallic silver and black and Golden’s Micaceous Iron Oxide)

Cheap brushes, foam ones will work too

Nails

Hammer

Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil (it must be heavy duty; you will thank me when your project doesn’t rip)




The instructions are simple: Coat the piece with Modge Podge. Work in manageable sections so it doesn’t dry out before you stick the foil to it. I started with the legs and wrapped the foil around them. Keep in mind that as you overlap sections, hide the serrated edge that is created when you tear the foil off the roll. You would never see an edge like that on a table like this. Also when you are overlapping on the legs, make sure a piece higher up on the leg overlaps the lower section.





**REALLY IMPORTANT**

Put the foil shiny side down dull side up. You will forget this a million times and have to pull off the foil and start over. Or maybe you won’t. But I did. Have the dull side up gives you a good start to the zinc look.



Okay, back to the table. When you get to the table top, kind of make like hospital corners when you wrap around a corner and edge.




Then mix your paints with water. I can’t give you an exact formula because what shade you want depends on you, but don’t leave it too thick or it won’t spread and streak properly. Don’t make it too thin or you will still see too much of the foil underneath. You can always go over thin layers to get the right shade.






When your piece is dry, pound in some small nails wherever makes sense to you. I did at the corners, seams, and every 8” or so around the top of the table. Then I used my finger to apply some Micaceous Iron Oxide paint around each nail head for a more worn look. You can add some wherever some weathering makes sense to you.


See? No big deal! Easy peasy.


The knobs came from Hobby Lobby and were about $3 each. (They have 50% off sales ALL the time. I hardly ever pay full price for anything there.)





Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Small Christmas Tour

Our house is smaller, so our decorations are downscaled a bit. But that's okay because I got it all up before Thanksgiving and we had an early Christmas with the in-laws. I'm getting ready to take it down, but before I do, here's a little tour.

We had a fake tree from Target, but one section of lights crapped out last year. I just made-do and strung some lights across it. It was good enough. So this year I started to put it up, but when I checked the lights, all but *one* little strip at the bottom of the tree were out!

So, I the next morning I went to ... (duh, duh, duuuuuh) Mallwart. Yes, I did. I was on a serious budget and I needed something right then. I browsed the trees online at Mallwart, Target, and Hob Lob. Mallwart had a cute flocked tree for cheap, so there you go. I hate that store. Hate it. But in these times, I'm sorry, but budget wins out.

And it's a pretty gorgeous tree, I must say.

And guess what? There one damn spot where the lights crapped out! One evening the Hubby noticed they were exceptionally bright, and when we turned it on the next morning, they were dead. You get what you pay for, and that's what I get for shopping at Mallwart. Next year that spot will go to the back (provided no other lights go out), and then we will get something else after that. Jeez.

(There's a little preview up there of the kitchen. There are these weird folding doors with sheer fabric panels. Those ugly babies will be out of here as soon as the tree is down. That cabinet behind the chairs is gone, and there is a whole wall of new cabinets in its place.)




This is the bookcase on the other side of the wall unit. That "believe" is all red, glittery goodness. I bought the flag at The Elephant's Trunk Flea Market the fall before we left Connecticut. It might be hard to see, but the round silver tray is collaged with a picture of my sweet grandmother in her garden, photo by my cousin Jon.



This is the bookcase below the TV. Those little silver cups are (I think) antique ice cream or sherbet dishes from someplace called Snow's. It has the name on them in a font that has snow on top of each letter. They are so cute. I coveted them at my favorite store, Taken for Granite, but they were a little pricey. I went back a little after Christmas and they were in the sale shed for 50% off!

My poor husband got worked to death over the Christmas break. We had a whole kitchen's worth of new cabinets from Ikea that we never used. Out of those cabinets I got pantry storage in the laundry room, an 11' wall of kitchen storage, a craft room, and a workshop for Hubby. Over the break, he built all that (except the laundry room one) and we made the family room/teen cave in the basement.

I'll post pics as soon as I can. They might be a little crummy as I broke my camera and have had to use my phone. Phooey!

Update: I called WalMart yesterday and went around and around with an assistant manager who said I couldn't return the tree, not even for a store credit, because it was a seasonal item and I didn't have the receipt. I argued that while that is true, it is still defective and didn't even last through the season it was intended for! And once I plugged the tree in and everything was fine, why would I have kept the receipt? Because I should have expected the lights would die on it so soon?! I offered to bring the tree in and plug it in for him so he could see I wasn't just "renting" it for Christmas and then trying to return it.

So last night I wrote a nasty-gram to WalMart on their site, and got a call today from a different assistant manager than the one I spoke to yesterday. She said to bring the tree in tomorrow and she is going to give me a store credit for the full price. I would rather get my money back so I could get a tree elsewhere next year, but that's okay. I know that if I returned anything there without a receipt that's what I would get in return. So, I'll use this to get another tree next year, and I will keep the receipt FOREVER! So, the squeaky wheel gets the grease -- or the persistently complaining customer gets the store credit. :-) Just wanted to give credit where credit was due.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Summer's End

It's hard to believe that this summer is over. It has been a big one with lots of change, all good. We spent out first summer in our new home, in a different state, learning about our new town and all the great things to do around here. I have been visiting our local farmer's markets (I can reach at least four within 30 minutes).

I did a lot of canning this summer. I wish I had time to do more, but I ran out of time and storage space! I can plan ahead for next summer. ("Can plan ahead." Get it? See what I did there? Canning?) I bought some beautiful peppers and made some pepper jelly from them. I had no idea what color these peppers would make all mixed together, but see for yourself.




It looks like honey, doesn't it?


I also made some jalapeƱo jelly, and both of these are going to be so yummy either on cream cheese with crackers or baked with sliced summer sausage.

We closed on our new house in September, so I have started painting! I bought a can of bright white trim paint the day before we closed. For some reason, the previous owners decided to paint every stick of wood in this house grey -- the trim, the doors, the cabinets. Everything. One thing I took from living in Savannah is the beauty of bright white trim. It makes everything look so fresh. I think it's modern and traditional all at the same time. I'm going to have lots of "before & afters" for you!