Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Etsy Treasuries -- Buy Handmade

Do you know about Etsy treasuries? Sellers curate collections of their favorite work by other Etsy artists and it's an interesting way to see what others are looking at. I started making lists only this month -- you can see mine here -- after being featured in nearly 20. Believe me, every time I'm in one, I'm absolutely thrilled -- and honored -- to be in such amazing company.

This holiday season, consider using the Etsy treasuries to find handmade, unique gifts. When you buy handmade, you have a connection to the artist. You contribute directly to a small business. You get something very special.

Learn more about the Buy Handmade movement here. And get 15% off anything in my etsy shop when you enter "Buy Handmade" at checkout.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Warning. This is a kind of dark post.

I'm warning you now. This is not a funny, fun post. I'm having a hard time feeling fun. Or funny.
Okay. You're still reading? These mushrooms represent my family. My tightly knit clump of a family. We've been hiding out in plain view, occupied by school and work and trying to get the wheels moving in one uniform direction. But mostly, we've been bound by illness this fall.

Recently, we've all suffered sinus and ear infections, increased asthma, strep and colds. For over a month, at least one person in this family has been sick at any time. Nothing brings a family together -- for better or worse -- like multiple people staying home sick.

Some of you know that Paul has been suffering from an especially bad bout of debilitating headaches since just before Halloween. He's missed a lot of school this November (thanks, by the way, to his class for making all the great cards -- much appreciated.) The headaches are severe and persistent, even though sometimes he seems to have crazy bursts of energy that leave you wondering what's really going on. I've asked why he can read or watch tv at home, but can't make it through a school day (and yes, I felt terrible for asking), and he explained that he can lay down at home while doing those things, but at school he has to sit up, and the noise and light and all the movement make his head feel like it's exploding. And no child should ever wake up every night of the week yelling because of the pain in his head -- it's terrible to watch as a parent and makes you feel quite powerless. We're trying all sorts of things -- medications, etc. to get Paul up and back to school, but there hasn't been a lot of success so far (zero success. Zero.) We're waiting for an appointment with a pediatric neurologist (earliest availability? End of January. Really.) In the meantime, we've started acupuncture, which seems to make Paul dizzy, in addition to the headaches. I hear that improves. I hope that improves soon. Something has to help, right?

Yesterday, I felt like I hit a wall. Like there's no end in sight and I don't have any plan how to proceed. Like things are falling apart and and I don't understand how or why and I'm powerless to do anything about it. And then I think about those parents who have children with terminal illnesses and I'm filled with jealousy -- they handle this stuff (and far worse) every day. I can just barely handle it for a month. And I feel like I'm failing at this whole parenting thing.

UPDATE: I want to thank everyone for all the kind words -- it means a lot to all of us to know that so many people care. We're trying lots of different options -- the acupuncture works for a bit, until it doesn't; we're trying to get into the pediatric neurologist earlier (they'll call, they say, they'll call); and we're trying different types of pain management. I think the real lesson here is that not everything gets fixed fast.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday Morning Music

I know I haven't really posted much about this summer -- and I've really wanted to write about Solid Sound Festival. But, as you can see from my etsy shop, I've been awfully busy making weird art (yay me). So watching Jeff Tweedy perform this amazing acoustic version of Spiders will just have to do until I have some downtime. Which is highly unlikely.

(Many thanks to NoMorePoety for posting this video on YouTube!)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hmmm. The dawning of a new era. For me.

Those of you who have known me or followed my blog for any time (and many thanks to the five of you I know about!) know that I love to take photos -- lots of them. I've always been proud of being able to get really great results with a point & shoot camera. Well, those days are over*. I have finally traded up to the big leagues. I looked for a long time. I got advice from all sorts of sources.

I am so happy with my Canon T1i. Thanks to my sweet, patient, understanding, wonderful husband.

(Who am I kidding? I'm still going to carry my trusty Canon PowerShot SD900 and my beloved iPhone, but you know what I'm saying.)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I'm totally becoming my mother.

I really want those glasses. And the dress, which she made.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I have found a new love and we're going to be very happy together.

(Yes, yes, I know. It's been a few months -- all summer, really -- and I have a lot to tell you about. And I will in another post. I promise. The reunion was fine. Solid Sound Festival was amazing. School is off to a rollicking start. I'll do all that next week, but I need to get this off my chest now.)
If you know me very well (or at all), you know that I have something of an obsession with espresso. Remember when my last little humble machine died? The tears? The move to the moka? For you old-timers, the month of cappuccino experiments? Good times, good times.
When we moved from San Francisco to DC, one of the most difficult things was trying to find good coffee beans. Luckily, at that time, we lived right across from a Quartermaine. But then Starbucks moved in and Quartermaine closed the store and...well. Sigh. But then Peet's started their delivery program and all was right again with my world -- I could have good California coffee at home. And Trader Joe's moved into the DC area. No need to move back to California. Phew.
I've been pretty faithful to Peet's over the years. My three-pound boxes from Peet's come every month, and one of my favorite things in the world is opening that box and burying my face in its caffeinated bags. Happy. Happy. Happy. Of course I've ordered many a iced venti americano, extra shot, no room at Starbucks (who doesn't?) but I've kept true. I've heard about the local coffee scene (Murky and the rest), but I have been true to Peet's.
Until this summer, that is. First, it was intelligentsia at Solid Sound. The best espresso I'd ever had in my life. Fantastic. Amazing. Charles thought it was a little strong. Not me. Life affirming, that's what I say. Life. Affirming. I was an addict. Can't even count how many shots (and iced coffees) I had over the two days that intelligentsia was open. I even kept my last little paper cup. And I nearly shed a tear when the barrista poured the last of the coffee down the drain as the festival closed. He understood. He talked me down. (Actually, in retrospect, that was a little embarrassing.) We came back home. I made my iced espresso with Peet's and it was...okay. But I'd tasted something more. The bloom? Off the rose.
And then yesterday, I found my new love. Peregrine Espresso. I'd read a lot about Peregrine and was jealous of my hipster friends who actually get to visit espresso bars (two kids ruin my cred). But with the onset of the school year... We went for a late brunch (and homemade poptarts) at Ted's Bulletin on H Street, NW. Then we walked up Pennsylvania Avenue and, after a little searching, found my new home. The staff at Peregrine is very knowledgeable and extremely nice. The barristas are fantastic. I had an amazing shot of their Apollo. We came home with a pound of that and a pound of Espresso Aficionado. I've made the Aficionado as straight shots and as an iced americano now, and I couldn't be more pleased. Really. It is that good.
I just thought you might like to know. Also? I'm having an iced americano and a couple of squares of a Hershey's bar for breakfast. I'm nutritionally complete.
660 Pennsylvania Ave SE Washington DC 20003
Hours Mon-Sat. 7am-9pm Sun. 8am-8pm (We should go for an espresso.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I think Maggie really captured my good side.

Especially since it's the mid-point of summer.

-- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome

Monday, July 5, 2010

Two days and counting.

Maggie lost her first tooth on Saturday morning...

Since she and The Boy were going to a special sleepover at DC Grandma's house, we packed it up in a little bag in preparation for a visit from the Tooth Fairy.

Maggie decided she wanted to keep the tooth -- at least for a little while -- and that someone should let the tooth fairy know so she didn't waste her time trying to get a tooth that would not be hers. That's fine, I thought. The tooth fairy knows where you live. It's better at home.

It's Monday now. She doesn't want to part with the tooth. It's still in the bag with a white ribbon tied at the top (for identification purposes.) Pretty soon, I'm going to tell her that the tooth fairy has a tight timeframe for such matters and can't keep rescheduling her visit.

-- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome

Thursday, July 1, 2010

We had this conversation.

Someone I am married to (aka SIAMT) cares a lot about his clothes. He has cultivated that effortlessly put together, "This old thing?" look, but he truly cares. Way more, it should be said, than I care about my clothes...I mean, have you seen me lately? There is balance in our marriage.

But this morning I got a look behind the great curtain. It was startling. And weird. You see, SIAMT was having a shoe crisis.

SIAMT: "These shoes drink Negroni and have an Italian girlfriend who doesn't talk and always looks angry. They eat good cheese."

"These shoes are married to a girl from the Midwest. She smiles a lot."
Me: "But they're falling apart."
SIAMT: "Oh, they'll stay together. We should get some Negroni."

I'm proud to say that he wore the Midwesterners.

EDIT: Charles points out that the Italian girlfriend has ringlets. And she does smile, but only under very specific circumstances, which I won't go into here.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summertime...and the poster is lazy.

Makes me happy.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

So...how's your summer going?

I always associate the 4th of July with the midpoint of summer, so I'm kind of amazed that we're nearly there already.

-- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I said yes to my high school reunion.

What have I done?

I've managed to avoid the others (pregnancy-related bedrest, opera jobs, general disinterest) but I'm going next month. True story. If my parents and sister weren't in Colorado I probably wouldn't really consider it, but we haven't been back for a few years so it seems like a good time. Honestly, I've become much better friends with some former classmates through FaceBook than I was when we were in school. And I learned that my assessment of my high school experience seems to have been at odds with other people's assessment of me in high school. Here I always thought I was a total awkward pathetic weirdo. I may have been a little mistaken. OR I was right all along and this will be horrible. Maybe I should start a pool...

Okay, I'm kind of looking forward to this. And if John Cusak (circa Gross Pointe Blank) could show up, that would really seal the deal. Really.

Maybe I'll skip parts of the weekend (just like I skipped most of chemistry -- I figure the statute of limitations has passed and I'm safe in that confession) and hang out at the Market drinking espresso and trying to be cool. Or maybe at City Park. Or the IHOP in Cherry Creek. I still wear pointy shoes, maybe I can dig up a black tutu. Gee, this is already getting weird...

(Also, that's me in high school. I know.)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

End of an era

Our family has been part of the Cheverly Weekday Nursery/Mother's Day Out family for the past seven years. Both Paul and Maggie attended nursery school and summer sessions in these programs, which have been running for 30 years (give or take). WDN/MDO is an institution in Cheverly, and we've been very happy to be part of it. Today, we're done.

I remember carrying Maggie through the halls in her carseat as we delivered Paul to preschool. I remember how terribly excited Maggie was to get her chance to stay at school (how could she run off without even kissing me goodbye?!) even as Paul would sob and cling to me when it was time to begin class. I remember the days spent with other parents painting murals in the hallways to enliven otherwise drab areas that the kids & teachers use. We had fun creating the first concert series last year, and our favorite parts of each holiday season have been the Halloween parade and the Christmas pageant. I don't know how many cookies I've baked for WDN/MDO over the past seven years, but I suspect that number is in the thousands.
Today was Maggie's last day at WDN. She's now an official graduate of preschool (with a diploma to prove it), ready for the rigors and challenges of kindergarten. And that ends an era for our family. I'll miss seeing the very capable, creative, compassionate teachers whom I have come to count as friends over the years. I'll miss the murals in the hallways. I'll miss the countless art projects. I know she's ready for new challenges, but it seems like these years have gone by so fast. Too fast, really. We don't have a very young child any longer. We have two elementary school kids. The door to very special time of our lives closed at 12:15pm today. I'm sad. I'm happy. I'm all sorts of things. I guess that, most of all, I'm delighted at the thought of what's next on the horizon.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nothing much to say, really.

The pool opens in five days. That's about it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday afternoon.

Incidentally, Paul's report on Greece was a big hit and Maggie had a pretty good day at nursery school, despite being dragged away from the festivities at the "big-kid school".

Curse you, Martha Stewart.

Dangit. Why do I get that newsletter? Why do I ever go to that site? Why? Why? Why?!

Okay, now that the MarthaHaters (or MHers) have moved on to another blog, I have a confession to make: I really like Martha Stewart's staff, even if they scare me a bit (not intimidate. Scare.) A lot of it is over the top, and frankly, Martha is never going to do the kind of bedroom I'll love (I get a kick out of the subject line in the emails, though, so thanks for that.) There are some fantastic recipes and great crafts for all levels of craft expertise, and I've picked up a lot of basic ideas and tooled them into something I like even more. And, to her credit, she published my all-time favorite kid's magazine. (Which is now defunct. Bad choice, Martha. Body & Soul totally could have gone.) Also, my friend Scott (of Eat With Me) won her cookie contest a few years ago, so the woman obviously knows something.

Niceties aside, I hate that the site loads ridiculously slowly. (Why do you seem to hate photo optimization, friend?) I hate that her face is on my tool bar when I visit the site. (Logo, okay. Face, not okay.) I hate the tone of writing on that site. They do a very good job of capturing her voice, which grates. (A lot.)

This is a real love/hate/love thing.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

-- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome

-- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome

Friday, May 7, 2010

Only a few weeks left of preschool.

-- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010

Maggie made it.

So I'm still excited by the prospect of homemade poptarts, but it's so hot and muggy today. A perfect day for...

Homemade canteloupe ice! Maggie made it. Really. Easy enough that a five-year old can do it (with the assistance of a bigger person and an ice cream ball.)
Here's the recipe:
2 c. canteloupe
1/2 c. sugar
1c. water
(you could also add herbs, like lavendar, basil or thyme...)

Combine everything in the blender and whip until very smooth. Chill for about an hour.

Make the ice following directions for your ice cream maker. I'll totally plug the ice cream ball here (http://www.icecreamrevolution.com). After filling the canister with the canteloupe mixture and the the other part with ice and rock salt, Maggie and I rolled ours back and forth for 10 minutes. Perfection. And even her big brother agrees, so you know it's good.
You know what would make it really good (in a grownup way)? Some port. That would be awesome.

-- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome

Smitten Kitchen Wants Me to Die Happy


-- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome

Monday, April 26, 2010

My new favorite website

I visit the Craftzine site every day (honestly, more than once a day -- it is that good.) Today, they had a great post about Agence eureka, a site devoted to vintage graphic stuff. It's great inspiration for anyone who loves the art of craft.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What I learned from Michael J. Fox this morning

"Our happiness is in direct proportion to acceptance and inverse proportion to expectation."

I already believe that (some say to a fault), but Mr. Fox put it so eloquently. He has a book coming out soon (I didn't catch its name) and I intend to read it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

There's a total chick in our house.

She's five and very in touch with her emotions.

For example, pissed that she's not allowed to bring teeny tiny plastic dogs and cats to the park.
I told her that her face would freeze that way if she didn't stop, but that had little to no effect.

Also, I've just been informed that I'm "the meanest mommy a girl could ever hope for." That's another way of saying "I love you and you're totally awesome, Mom. AND I'm going to do what you say because you are so very smart." That's what I caught, anyhow.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Lemon Meringue Pie

Happy Easter.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Cherry blossoms

Day 2 of spring break was a trip down to the (insanely) crowded Mall to see the cherry blossoms...

I don't remember so many people in years past, and I admit to feeling a liitle proprietary (local vs. tourist, silly really.) Could be the amazing weather and Good Friday. Anyhow, the Cherry Blossom Festival is in full...ummm...bloom (ugh).

There were bands. Paul and Maggie drew in their journals (me too) and we hung out behind the Lincoln Memorial for a bit before walking a long, long, long way to meet Charles at the 17th & Penn McDonald's, aka the Bill Clinton MickeyD. I understand the appeal of proximity (across the street from the White House) but gee, that's a bad franchise. Unfortunately, it's the only way I could bribe the kids to keep walking and I was desperate.

We tortured the kids with more walking and a metro ride home before the final payout: root beer floats.

Honestly, we all deserved that. And probably some hard liquor and a massage.

-- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


What do you call the end if March? It's not the ides, and it certainly isn't April Fool's...

The girls are right. Brothers ARE stinkers.

-- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome

It's official: spring break is here.

You can tell by all the papers and projects littering our front door (a big old pile right as you walk in). Having already enjoyed his celebratory Spring Break Slurpee, I think Paul plans to stay inside... something about "Halo Camp", which I'm certain has nothing to do with God. And Maggie has decided to circumvent (or maybe it was help) the Easter bunny by preemptively hiding the candy she got at her school party today. Luckily, I already found the hard-boiled egg. Under the cat's cushion. By the heating vent. I'm sure someone -- or something -- else would have found that treasure eventually...

However, I'm putting my foot down. It is just too damned nice outside. We're off...I dunno where.

Ps. The Wilco show at the Strathmore last night was the best concert I've ever attended.
Pps. Including Jessye Norman.
Ppss. And Elly Ameling.
Pppss. And Thomas Hampson.
Pppsss. And the Stones Halloween night at Oakland Coliseum.
Ppppsss. And the Cure and Siouxsee and the Banshees on Halloween Night at The Rainbow Room in Denver.
Ppppssss. Seriously. Amazing show. Over three hours, including an unbelievable acoustic set.
Pppppssss. I'm not being weird.
Pppppsssss. I just wanted to balance the Ps and Ss out in the end. Unbalanced would have been weird.

-- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome

Monday, March 29, 2010

Paul, seeking to influence his world.

Delusions of grandeur...and an attempt to deepen his voice.

-- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sunday is a very, very busy day.

This can only mean that warmer weather is on the way! Join Charles & Kelly of The Hot Noodles for their first acoustic show of the spring on Sunday at New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt.

Before you take get over to Greenbelt, however, stop by the Efantis' for a Meet & Greet with Mayoral candidate Mike Callahan, sponsored by ChvChick.
You can thank me for figuring out your Sunday afternoon plans for you any time. I like espresso. And champagne that comes in little pink cans with matching bendy straws.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

crafty girl

Remember how I kept having craftastrophes last fall? Nothing was working and I still don't know why. Well. Things seem to be on the right track (or I've unconsciously done some karmic balancing or something.)

I started this project during Thing-a-Day. Like most knitters, I have a stash of "seemed like a good idea when I bought it but what to do with it" yarn. I think this varegated yarn was initially meant to be a dress for Maggie.

(Those are Tabitha's paws at the top.) I finished knitting yesterday -- by finished I mean I ran out of yarn (there was no pattern, just a general idea about creating something like the fantastic SuperMaggie felted scarves). Knitted -- not felted -- it measured about 4 1/2'.

Post-felting (this was two hot washes and a trip through the dryer), it's about 3' and has a really cool ruffle on the edges (bonus accident!) It's almost exactly what I pictured, though I'd like it a little wider and a teeny bit longer.

I have a varegated olive wool -- lots and lots of it -- I'm excited to experiment more with this!

-- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I know it's wrong, but...

I'm watching "Food, Inc." and it's making me really really really hungry for McDonald's.

It's possible that I'm missing the point.

-- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome

Friday, March 5, 2010

Lots of work...

I've been working a lot! In addition to etsy, my work will be featured in Chicago's Necessary exTRAVagance very soon. And I'm also hoping to make the rounds of some craft area craft shows this spring. I'm very excited about these opportunities...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Spinning my wheels, running in place.

It's one of those days (weeks, months...) Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's the wide variety work I'm doing for a bunch of different things (description fail). Whatever the reason, I feel like I'm spinning my wheels like mad just to keep in the same place. No real sense of accomplishment. No real sense of movement or change. Just going, going, going. And I am doing just that -- always doing or making or fixing or finding something. If I do sit still for a moment and try to think about what I'm doing, it's nearly impossible to focus in any single direction. And the most frustrating part is that I don't feel like I'm ever actually doing anything for myself. I've heard that's a good thing to do. Rumor has it, anyhow...

What do you do when you feel like this? I'd really like to know.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Toy Camera App Dork

Have I mentioned how much I like the toy camera app for the iPhone? Seriously, every good shot I've had in the past few weeks has been a result of this app.

You should probably start reevaluating your life when geeking this hard is a normal event...

-- posted from the iPhone of awesome

Thing-A-Day 2010 has come and gone

So another month-long creative binge has come and gone. This year's Thing-A-Day felt very quick -- usually I'm wracking my brain for projects during the final week. And yes, if you count the blocks, there are more than 28. I made two things a few times...I blame the snow.
If you haven't looked at the Thing-A-Day 2010 site, you really should. There's all sorts of stuff there, from illustration to writing to metal work...some great, some not so great, but the idea of a whole bunch of people commited to doing something creative appeals to me.
Now, on to the next project...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Spring cannot come too soon.

For real.

-- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snowpacolypse Brownies

School has been cancelled for the remainder of the week.

Also, it's snowing. Again.

-- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome

Playing with knitting and photo apps

I've been working for the past few days on a ruffle scarf for Thing-A-Day. Just finished it this morning.

Of course, I have to play with the photo...

I'm glad I took "prepare to shelter in place for 4-5 days" at the beginning of the last snowstorm to mean "head to the craft store and stock up or you will think twice about the long-term prospects of living with your family."

I think it's time to bake something.

-- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Greetings, 10:15 Saturday Night

We went for a walk on the snow.

-- Posted from the iPhone of Awesome