Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dear Kid Saturday

Welcome to this week's installment of "Dear Kid." As always, full credit to Christina of Cutest Kid Ever for the fabulous idea. Want to write a "Dear Kid" letter of your very own? Learn more about how to participate here.

Yeeeeeeeehaw, cowgirl!

This week was "Texas week" at preschool and you were really into it. I find it hilarious, by the way, that every time I break out the camera now, you feel the need to model for me. Where in the world did that come from? You silly thing.

Our week got off to a bit of a rough start. Sunday night I caught you watching TV in the playroom at about 10:45. That was a new one - you'd never come out of your room after bedtime before, and I certainly never expected to find you hiding up in the playroom. We had a little talk about how important your sleep is (and how sneaking around is not OK), and got you back to bed, but you were up bright and early the next morning at 5:15. Although you insisted you weren't tired, you sure were grumpy all day. This not-sleeping-much thing seems to be a little bit of a trend, and I'm hoping it doesn't last long. I'm kind of thrown for a loop - it's not as though I can make you sleep. Maybe it's just another way you're trying to exert some control over your world. It's hard to be three, huh?

After the crazy game of family freeze tag we played Monday night, you'd think you would have slept in Tuesday morning, but you were up at 5:00 again. I was a little worried that you wouldn't make it through preschool, but you actually did fine. You wore a fabulous outfit that day, by the way - brown skirt, bright pink and yellow striped socks, light-up tennis shoes, too-small Colts jersey, and a tiara. Lately you really like to choose your own clothes, and I feel like it's a good way to let you express yourself a little bit. I tend to think if I let you have control over things that don't so much matter (what's for lunch, what you're wearing, what kind of craft we'll make, etc.), you're be more likely to listen when it's time for me to be in charge. So far, so good. Besides, what's the harm in mismatched clothes if they make you feel like a princess when you walk out the door, right?

We had a very interesting conversation on Wednesday about "showing off." For some reason, you pressed hard for a precise definition of "show-off," and then spent a long time trying to convince me that you "never ever ever are one." I asked whether something had happened at school, but you insisted that you were just "wondering." I think there's more to that story, but I didn't want to push it.

On Thursday, you got to wear your cowgirl outfit to school. Fun! That hat sure did look funny on you! When I picked you up, though, you seemed sort of sad, and you told me that one of the girls had forgotten her cowgirl stuff. I asked if she'd been upset and you said, "No. I just felt sad for her." That's so sweet, girlie girl. I'm so glad to see that you're starting to think about how others feel - now we've got a great foundation to work from on a whole lot of interpersonal issues.

You were bored Friday morning, so I decided to let you "cook." I pulled a bunch of old stuff out of the pantry, gave you some water and some measuring spoons, and let you go to town. Here's what you made:

Mmmmmm.... muffins! That was fun, huh?

I love you so much, sweet girl. Can't wait to see what next week has in store for us.


Friday, February 27, 2009

I Swore I Wouldn't Do This...

Sorry to all my Facebook friends who tagged me in their "25 Random Things" notes. I've forsaken you and decided to post my list here. Why? Because it's Friday, I suppose, and I'm feeling... candid. Deep breath.... Here goes.

1. Aside from once when I was too young to remember, I'd never been on an airplane until I was 23. Growing up in a small town, I also had zero experience with public transportation. My first flight was solo, and to NYC. Learning to get around the city changed my life forever.
2. I talk waaaaaay too quickly, too loudly, and too much. I know this about myself, and yet can't seem to change it.
3. I have a tendency to change the subject or go off on strange tangents.
4. I am curious about everything and annoy my husband by asking questions constantly to which he can't possibly know the answers.
5. I had an adverse reaction to a prescription drug in 2002 that caused very pronounced Parkinson's-like symptoms for six months. I still experience tremors and myoclonic jerks from time to time.
6. I am incredibly, horribly, debilitatingly shy. I overcome it daily.
7. I mostly hate to talk on the phone. This does not mean that I mostly hate my friends, which they sometimes fail to understand.
8. I dearly love hot weather.
9. Lots and lots of random things choke me up - pageants, standing ovations, kids singing, marching bands (why?!), reading to my daughter... The list goes on and on.
10. Most days I feel pretty, regardless of my weight, my clothes, or whether I'm having a good or bad hair day. This has only been true since I hit 30.
11. I never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. Now I can't imagine having taken any other path.
12. I've written poetry since I was a little girl, but have only shared a few pieces I wrote for a class in college. I have books and books and books full. I can't get rid of them, but don't know what to do with them.
13. I spent a year in college intentionally waking myself up from dreams to write them down in detail. Those journals are some of my prized possessions, but are way too personal for anyone else to see.
14. I pierced my own ears several times in high school while working after hours in a salon.
15. I absolutely love thrill rides.
16. I have a strange and horrible phobia related to corpses and large bodies of water.
17. I would very much rather be busy than bored. I go nuts when left alone with my thoughts.
18. I'm absolutely never satisfied. Never.
19. I need quite a bit of personal space. I don't like this about myself and want to get past it... or at least hide it better.
21. I sometimes eat bologna sandwiches for breakfast.
22. I was a print model for about 5 minutes (OK, maybe it was a little longer) in 1998. I found it incredibly strange to be paid for looking a certain way.
23. My hair caught fire once at a wedding.
24. My husband spilled an entire glass of red wine down the back of my dress at our wedding.
25. My life, despite my perpetual grumbling about minor annoyances, is really pretty great. I'm very lucky.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fab Etsy Find -- Amazonite and Coral Necklace

Alright, I'll admit it - I'm ready for spring. Hence today's fab Etsy find, this gorgeous amazonite and coral necklace from 57 Design Studio. I just love this simple, positively juicy color combo. Makes me want to throw on a white linen dress and bury my toes in some warm sand. Mmmmmmmm....

Longtime blog readers may remember Hilary and 57 Design Studio from a previous feature. Hilary blogs at Designing Hilary - please pop in and say "hi."

What's your fave Etsy find of all time? Share it with us here!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday -- Sheer Auditory Perfection c. 1967

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stocking with Artiste Tomorrow Night -- 9 PM EST!

Join me tomorrow night, Wednesday the 25th, at 9:00 PM for Artiste's final February stocking. I'll be bringing you lots of brand new stuff from the Freshly Crafted line (yes, I've been a busy girl!), and a couple of Retrocrafted surprises. Here's a sneak peek:

If you're new to Artiste or to HyenaCart, you're in for a treat. Artiste brings you a wide variety of gorgeous, eco-friendly, handcrafted goodness, all made for you with love by a work-at-home mama. All of our listings go live at 9:00 PM sharp, so be sure to scope out your favorites in advance and be there on time to pounce. Fair warning - the best stuff goes fast!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Featured Artisan -- Pinka's Productions

This week's featured artisan is Pinka of Pinka's Productions. Pinka's shop is filled with interesting little Indonesian glass charms and pretty, simple bracelets crafted from seed beads.

Tell me a little about yourself and what you do.
My legal name is Veronica but I've been going by Pinka my entire life. It's a nickname that my sister gave me as an infant. I even have relatives that forgot what my real name is!

I've been a stay at home mom for the past 5 years after a work related injury took away my ability to stay on the computer for more than a few minutes without being in agonizing pain. Though I enjoyed my previous life as an accountant, I actually find myself happier as a mom and getting to see my son grow. Sure, just like any other family with only one income, it would be nice to have a newer car (mine is 16 years old) and some new clothes every once in a while, but you give up what you have to in order to make ends meet and still save for retirement.

I've been crocheting ever since I can remember. My brother taught me how to make the basic chain after my mom taught him for his boy scouts badge. I took many breaks in between, but at about 18 years old, I started to teach myself how to read patterns and play with different types of techniques. I also took knitting a bit more seriously during this time as well but didn't enjoy it as much as crochet. Since my injury has taken so much away from me, I can only make small projects and my family and friends can only use so many beaded and bead crochet necklaces, bracelets and rings - which is what lead me to open my Etsy shop last year.

What 3 words best describe your work?
Amusing, humble, pleasant

What inspires you?
Color. I love to play with color. I have been playing and learning how colors complement each other for the past year. I used to have a really hard time trying to find colors that contrasted but did not clash. It still takes me a while to apply what Iʼve learned, but my sense of color is getting a lot better. When I see a natural stone or bead, I try to imagine what colors would go well and how much. Maybe the smallest amount of color in a certain bead would look wonderful as the background. So I try to imagine what a finished piece will look like as Iʼm picking and choosing my supplies.

Sometimes it can something as simple as a technique that I get excited over or something that I see in a magazine or on TV. Itʼs really hard to say exactly what drives me to create but I just love to do stuff with my hands. Iʼve never been an idle-hands type of person so if Iʼm not beading, Iʼm crocheting or knitting. I guess it can be called "itchy hands" because even when Iʼm driving I feel that need to do something!

What makes your work unique?
I know that my work is not unique. Someone, somewhere in the history of time has made something exactly what I make so I cannot say that what I make is completely unique. Itʼs just simple bead crochet or beaded jewelry that Iʼve made in colors that I think work well, with beads that I enjoying working with and a bit of pride that I like to put into all of my projects. I would hope that someone would think my work is unique enough for them or special enough to enjoy. I know that my work is done well because I wouldnʼt be selling it otherwise.

What role does your work play in your life?
Because my son is so much of my life right now, my work is just done on the side when I get a chance. My son starts kindergarten later this year and I know that Iʼll have to find a way to reinvent my career as an accountant again or as a jewelry artisan. Since Iʼve already put so much working into my jewelry making, I would hope that I can continue on this path. I did enjoy the challenges of accounting, but playing with color and beads is so much more fun even if I do seem to work more at this job than I did at my last.

What role would you like your work to play in your life?
I would hope that with enough time, patience and experience that Iʼll be able to pull jewelry patterns together with more ease. I also hope to take some of my designs to the next level and look at getting them published. I know that Iʼll never be able to make the kind of money I did in accounting, but if itʼs enough to support my beading/crochet/knitting habits and maybe pay for a cartful of groceries every once in a while, Iʼll be thrilled.

How do you see your work and/or your business evolving in the next five years?

As my last child starts going to school, I'll find myself with a lot more free time. I would hope that I can get my business off the ground and get some sales and inventory moving. I hope that in five years that Iʼll not only have a presence on the web through venues like Etsy, but also in various art fairs that are available in my area.

Where can we find you on the web?

Are you an artist or craftsperson? Would you like to be featured here? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment here with a link to your shop, and I'll be in touch about future opportunities.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Funday - Have a "Campfire!"

Credit where credit is due on this one - my girlie came up with this fabulous idea on her own. Essentially the idea is to simulate a camp-out in your living room, complete with darkness, campfire, hot dogs, smores and ghost stories. Take it from a mom who absolutely dreads the nightly "witching hour," this is a great way to get from nap time to bed time with a happy kid, while still getting all those pesky nighttime tasks taken care of. This is also a perfect activity for rainy late afternoon when everybody's suffering from a little cabin fever. Here's what to do:

1. Turn off all the lights in the house (and shut the blinds if there are outside lights nearby).
2. Grab a flashlight for each member of the family.
3. Start a fire in the fireplace and/or turn on your favorite "crackling fire" DVD.
4. If you have a fireplace, you can avoid the kitchen entirely and cook your hot dogs right there. Otherwise, make dinner together in the kitchen by candlelight. For a preschooler, it's really the lack of overhead lights that makes this activity so amusing, not the fire itself.
5. Follow hot dogs with smores, either roasted over the fire or melted in the microwave (again, your kid won't care).
6. If a bath is part of your standard bedtime routine, pretend you're bathing in "the river," and use only flashlights to "light your path" to the tub.
7. Follow bath time with story and/or song time, with everybody sitting in a circle on the floor in front of your "fire."
8. When it's time for bed, send everybody off with their flashlights to find their "tents." If you have sleeping bags, this would be a great excuse to use them!

Voila! Your kids are fed, bathed, happy and in bed. Now, Mom and Dad, flip the lights back on and pour yourselves some well-deserved Cabernet.

Got a great family activity idea you'd like to share? Click on the "Contact Me" link at the top and shoot me an email. Planning to try this week's activity at home? Come back and leave a comment when you do - I'd love to hear how it goes!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dear Kid Saturday -- Half Birthday Edition

Welcome to this week's installment of Dear Kid Saturday. As always, credit for the great idea is due to Christina of Cutest Kid Ever and Uncharted Island (which, fellow LOST fans, is just for you). Please pop in and say hello after you're finished here.

Dear sickie,

You poor thing. You got sick right at the end of the week and had to miss several things you were looking forward to on Friday. Today it looks like we're not going to swim class either. Sorry, kiddo. Let's get rid of that fever so we can have lots of fun tomorrow, OK?

Monday morning started with some very serious pretending. You wrapped up one of your stuffed puppies in a blanket, put her in a cradle, called her "Bella," and told me she was a real baby. You took very good care of her until you decided to be a hockey player instead of a mommy. We set up a fun game of hockey in the kitchen with spatulas and marbles, and you ran around like crazy. You were pretending to be the announcer and you insisted there were three players on your team - you, your "brother," and your "sister." Your pretend brother and sister are becoming pretty important around here lately. I need to be careful not to sit on them, we need to bring them a fork at dinner time, and we have to always be on the lookout for your brother's car on the road (apparently, he always parks right next to us at the store). You tell everybody we meet that your brother is a super fast runner and that he's as tall as our ceiling. You have such a great imagination. Speaking of imagination, you told me a pretty fabulous story on Monday too. It went a little something like this: "When the princess was born, she got killed by a witch. The end."

You were super funny this week in general. You told me you loved me "under God, with liberty, and Justin for all." You were watching something about a dog show on TV, and you told me you wanted to "trade in our dog for a precious poodle." And, on a sweet note, out of nowhere you said, "The reason why I love you is the reason why you're my best friend." Aaaaaw. Thanks, Sweets.

On Wednesday morning, you were all business. You informed me that you had a lot to do and disappeared into Daddy's office, and then later, to the playroom. It's so strange for me that you're so independent all of the sudden, but I know it's good for you. Aside from "checking on me" (thank you, by the way), you stayed out of sight most of the day. I could hear you singing and playing upstairs with your stuffed animals and the dog, but you didn't need Mama one bit.

Thursday was your half birthday and you were ALL about it. When I picked you up from preschool, we went to get cupcake ingredients at the store. I let you pick out the cake mix, the icing, and the sprinkles, and you literally danced through the aisles to the checkout stand. You were singing a little song about "cupcakes for my half birthday," and you made sure everybody in line knew about it.

It's so much fun to make things together in the kitchen now - there are lots of things you can help with, and you stay interested for a long time. You got a teensy bit anxious about waiting for the cupcakes to cool, but, overall, you were incredibly patient.

I felt so bad for you when you woke up yesterday with a fever. No dance class for you, and it was supposed to be your performance day. I know how hard you worked on your dance, and how excited you were to show it to me, Daddy, and your grandma. You were disappointed, but you understood why we had to stay home. We don't stay home all day very often, so we had to really get creative to keep from getting bored. We played the world's looooooooongest game of Memory (look!), watched a movie, and finally broke out the craft supplies to make some super cool jewelry.

Seems like you're feeling better this morning, and I'm so glad. I want you back to your usual silly self as soon as possible. Get well, chickadee. Can't wait to see what kind of fun you have in store for next week.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Stuff I Love -- Crafty Moms Edition

I'm feeling particularly visual this morning, so I thought I'd offer you a bit of eye candy from my Etsy faves. Each of the pretty little things you see here was handmade with love by a fellow crafty mom from the Fabulous Artistic Moms street team. Aren't we mamas amazing? I mean, really. How do we even find the time to be this fabulous? Feast your eyes.

"Fly by the Peach Pie" necklace by The Ardent Sparrow

Medium Side Tie Park Bag in Lime Green by Carissa Black

Vintage Typewriter Key Necklace by The Empty Nest

Mother Earth scarf by Valerie's Gallery

Silver and White Pearl Earrings by Michon

Black and White Minky Dot Blanket by Antoinette's

Love You to the Moon pendant by The Pretty Peacock

You have two more days to enter to win a huge prize package from the Fabulous Artistic Moms street team. Take a peek at the FAM blog for contest details and to enter.

By the way, thanks to many of you for your nice comments and tweets about the blog and shop(s) redesigns. They're still works in progress, but I very much appreciate that you notice the improvements. If you've not seen it yet, check out my brand new, second Etsy storefront, Freshly Crafted Paper Goods. I'm adding new listings almost daily and hope to have an "official" grand opening bash sometime soon!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

February Featured EtsyBlogger -- Donna Pool Designs

Congrats to this month's featured EtsyBlogger, Donna of Donna Pool Designs and Donna Says.... A stay-at-home mom and former freelance photographer, Donna offers buttons, photos and all kinds of vintage fun in her Etsy shop. In her own words:

Think of my shop as a place where you can find something traditional...with a twist! All my soft toys and Christmas ornaments are very child-safe and every stitch is made by hand (I don't use a sewing machine).

I used to love looking through old Life and Look magazines my parents and grandparents had saved and I've collected old photography magazines for years. I make my vintage buttons out of recycled images from those because they're like preserving tiny bits of history...a fascinating little peek into the past.

Check out Donna's blog, Donna Says..., where she writes about her current projects, new creations, her life as a mama, and more. Congrats to Donna Pool for this well-deserved honor. Enjoy your month of EtsyBloggers fame!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Fabulous Artistic Moms!

It has been one year since the birth of the Fabulous Artistic Moms of Etsy! To celebrate our membership, 388 fabulously talented mamas, we are having a birthday bash. Thirty-eight artists have donated prizes. There will be one grand prize winner who will receive handmade items from 28 of these FAMs and 10 honorable mentions, who will each receive one prize. Here's how to enter:

1) Visit one or more of the participating shops and look for the cupcake hidden (like the one in the image above) in one of their listings.

2) Head to the FAM blog, and post a comment with the listing URL (http://...) where you found the cupcake, your name, and your e-mail address. (Your comment will not be shown to the public.) The game runs from February 15-21, 2009. A list of winner will be posted on the blog.

But wait! Want an extra entry?

1)Visit a different shop and find another cupcake! Post an additional comment on the FAM blog with the listing URL (http://...) where you found the cupcake, your name, and your e-mail address. Find five cupcakes and get up to five entries!

2)For every item purchased from a participating shop from February 15-21, you will get an extra entry. Simply post an additional comment on the blog with the transaction URL link with your name and e-mail address.

Good luck! And happy birthday, FAM!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Artisan Feature -- Polished

This week, I'm happy to feature Tracy Owens Chasteen of Polished. Polished offers gorgeous vintage-inspired jewelry, handcrafted from materials ranging from traditional Czech Republic glass beads to Ming Dynasty pottery shards.

What 3 words best describe your work?
I think the words whimsical, bold, and colorful would describe a variety of the pieces I've made. My pottery shard necklaces are fairly bold because I often combine chunky beads with the large pendants to create a real statement piece. I also love to boldly combine colors. Other pieces I make are whimsical because they incorporate woodland and forest animals, tiny flowers, or adorable little charms.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by everything around me, including my messy desk! It all depends on the day. Sometimes I'll be reading a copy of InStyle magazine and I have to stop to make something that I think would be perfect with a featured outfit. Sometimes I'll see someone wearing an interesting color combination and I have to get to my work table to make something inspired by their creative fashion sense. And other times I am simply inspired by something I need...the perfect pair of black dangly earrings, a whimsical hair accessory for a night out, or a bold necklace that I know nobody else will have.

What drives you to create what you do?
I'm often driven to create by my customers. They have given me some of the best ideas! I have been creating or crafting ever since I can remember, so its just a part of my normal day, but these days I'm often driven by the urge to make a sale in my Etsy shop. I find Etsy to be such a supportive community -- both with buyers and other sellers. Whether sellers are sharing their best crafting or business tips or buyers are asking for custom designs, I'm always driven to get back to my studio and make more. The wonderful thing about being online is that there's often an immediate reaction: I can post my latest designs and get comments on what I've done through the various social networking sites or through the Etsy forums or by a potential customer who has very specific questions about an item.

What makes your work unique?
Often its really just how I put my materials together that is somewhat unique. Many of my "parts" are one-of-a-kind--like the pottery shards--but I haven't invented any techniques or styles. I really just try to create jewelry that is a reflection of what I'd want for myself. I feel lucky to have found a niche in making what I like--and having other people like it too!

What role does your work play in your life?
My work in making jewelry plays the role of my creative outlet. Some people are great in the kitchen, some make amazing music, but I like to play with beads. It is how I close out every, my beads, my tools, and a head full of ideas. When I don't have a specific idea, I just look through all of my supplies or try to stay organized. Having jewelry design as a creative outlet helps me leave behind the stress of the day, keep my calm, and get a peaceful night's sleep.

Where can we find you on the web?
Shop -

Are you an artist or craftsperson? Would you like to be featured here? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment here with a link to your shop, and I'll be in touch about future opportunities.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Dear Kid Saturday

Happy Valentine's Day! May your weekend be filled with love and laughter.

Dear Snanna,

That's your superhero name - isn't it the coolest?! Even as I type this, you're practicing your kung fu and hurling fireballs at me. Luckily, you've given me "super ice powers," so I "won't have to worry about getting burned up." Whew!

This week absolutely flew by. You were filled with creativity and cuddles, and all the weird behavior stuff from last week seems to have simply disappeared. I'm both relieved and proud of you. I knew you could do it!

Monday morning started with our weekly playdate with L. When we got home, you told me you were done being a superhero. You informed me you were going to "consummate on being a princess" (oh my goodness!), and then broke out the dress-up box. Once you were equipped, you spent the rest of the morning upstairs in the playroom, which is becoming a bit of a trend. I love that you're becoming more independent and are able to entertain yourself... but don't forget to come by and say, "hi" now and then or I might get a complex.

When I picked you up from preschool on Tuesday, I could tell you'd had a great day. Even though you were excited, we gave nap time a try. You spent a long time upstairs singing a funny song about poop at the top of your lungs - you silly thing! There was a thunderstorm rolling in anyway, so we gave up on sleeping and instead had a lovely chat about birthdays. You're obsessed! You told me you can't wait til you're 10, "just like Dad," and you made a long list of things we're going to need for your next birthday party. I hated to break the news that your birthday's not til August, but you didn't seem to care. Apparently the party details are more important than the date.

That night, we had some crazy weather and the tornado sirens went off again. I had to run upstairs and get you out of bed to hide in the closet with me and Dad. As usual, you were totally unfazed - just grabbed the "storm shelter toy kit" and started coloring a picture of a pony, which, by the way, you informed me would be a really good addition to your birthday party.

We had a lively discussion Wednesday morning about cartoons. We're going to California in March, and I told you about it. You said you wanted to visit Handy Manny in Hollywood. I tried to explain that we can't visit cartoons, but it didn't go over well. I think somehow you felt cheated - like cartoons are nothing but a lie. I was sympathetic, but didn't know how to make it better. You seemed pretty sleepy, so maybe you were just feeling extra sensitive. I used the opportunity to talk about how important it is to get your sleep (since you've started staying up late and playing in your room), but you weren't having any of it. I guess that's a pretty tricky connection to make when you're three.

That night I let you make your own dinner 'cause Dad was running late. I'm not sure how it started, but we decided to sing the instructions, and things got pretty loud and funny in our kitchen. You wanted cheese toast, so I let you put it in the "popper" and then the microwave by yourself. You also did the veggies and some fruit - nice work, girlie girl! When Dad got home, you spilled the beans about his Valentine's Day surprise ("Nice Krispy Treats"), but you insisted that you'd "said it quietly, so it's still be a surprise." Oh well - we sure made Daddy laugh, and he'll enjoy those Nice Krispy Treats anyway.

We had a special lunch together on Thursday after preschool and the gym, and you wanted to talk birthdays again. It occurred to me that this Thursday is your half-birthday, so I suggested a celebration. Instead, you were mad that you're just NOW turning three and a half. You said, "Mom, you've been lying to everybody!" I attempted to explain "approximately," but finally had to agree that you were right. Honesty is very important to you right now, and I definitely don't want to give you the impression that fudging is OK. I'm sure this was the first of many such discussions to come...

You had your dance class yesterday morning, and I couldn't believe how much you've learned! Just two weeks ago, you were frustrated that you couldn't point your toes, and now you can point and flex like a pro. When you guys practiced your dance for parents' day (I was peeking), you remembered all the steps and watched your teacher like a hawk to make sure every move was perfect. Great job! At the gym, you made me a valentine, and you made up a brand new language so you could say, "I love my Mom." It sounded kind of like "Flerf," but I didn't mind.

Last night you let Mommy and Daddy go on a date for Valentine's Day and spent the evening with "Tiny and Big," as you affectionately refer to your grandma and grandpa. You got a great report - apparently you were a model citizen. I'm not surprised.

I love you so, my little Valentine.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Once Upon an Uncharted Island

Confession - I'm a huge fan of the show LOST on ABC. So I was absolutely beside myself when Christina from Cutest Kid Ever and Uncharted Island asked if I'd be willing to a guest post about all the crazy parental relationships being revealed this season on the show.

I had so much to say, I didn't even know where to begin. But when I sat down to write the piece, I found myself totally paralyzed - I can write for this blog and not care if I'm incomprehensible, but writing for somebody else's blog was a whole different beast.

Anyway, I finally got it done after well over a week of procrastinating. You can read it here. I'm not sharing it with you because I think it's a particularly well-written article - it's really not. But I got my points across and I delivered the thing, despite an overwhelming desire to rewrite it to death and/or toss it in the toilet and go off the grid for a week. I'm sharing it with you because I'm proud of forcing myself out of my comfort zone and for doing something less than perfectly without regret or shame. That's no small feat.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Super Cute Handmade Valentines in a Snap

As a card-maker, it's rare for me to find myself without an occasion-appropriate papercraft on hand, but earlier this week I realized, at about 8 PM, that my daughter needed 28 valentines for her preschool class the next morning. Given that I had nothing pre-made, and simply didn't have the energy to put together anything too terribly elaborate, I was thrilled to find these super cute printables on the Secret Agent Josephine blog. I was able to create these adorable "valenpops" in four easy steps:

1. Print 'em on fancy schmancy textured card stock (or don't - I just happened to have it).
2. Trim 'em up.
3. Attach a flat lollipop (we used Jolly Rancher heart-shaped pops and attached them with Zots, but I'm sure any old double-sided tape would do).
4. Sign 'em.

And voila! 28 cute, creative, and preschool-appropriate valentines in under 30 minutes. Frankly, my kid loved them more than anything Mommy's ever made, so I didn't even have to feel guilty for not planning ahead. Many, many thanks, Josephine (if that's your real name) for saving my sanity, my pocketbook, and my little girlie's reputation!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sweet Giveaway from FringeLore

Honestly, I hate to spread the word on this one, as I'm pretty determined to win it myself, but I recently stumbled on a super sweet giveaway from indie jewelry artisan and fellow Etsy seller, FringeLore.

Leave a comment on the giveaway post and be entered to win a membership in a 6-month Earring of the Month Club worth over $200! From the artisan's profile:

For as long as I can recall, I've had a fascination with old things. They seem to embody tales and stories of previous lives, of people since past and because of this provide a sense of connectedness with generations past. I like to think of the tales and lore carried in these items as being on the fringe; the fringe of memory, the fringe of society, the consciousness...about to blow off in the wind and be lost forever. With all the various items I've collected over the years, I try to assemble or reassemble them in an intriguing way so that perhaps once again, they can tell their stories and share their lore.

I work with all sorts of found objects, deconstructed mechanics and some ordinary objects that I hope to help people see in a new light.

You have until February 28th to enter. Good (but not too good) luck!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Featured Artisan -- Linda Lee Studio

Gorgeous, right? This week's featured artisan is none other than Linda Lee Tritton of Linda Lee Studio. Linda Lee's Etsy shop is filled with gorgeous and unique handcrafted jewelry with a fun, fashion-forward vibe.

Tell me a little about yourself and what you do.

Designing jewelry is one of my biggest passions. Apart from that, I am married to a fantastic man named Brett. He is fully supportive of me in every way. Currently, we have 4 kitties and a dog.

I am self-employed as an instructional designer/training specialist—I design and help develop online training courses for companies (large or small). The courses I create range from soft skills, like customer service and leadership, to technical skills—such as learning an internal computer program for monitoring sales.

I devote a lot of my extra time (what's that again??) to friends, family, and volunteering in an organization called Pathways, which is an experience-based training where you can work through past events and craft a life that you're excited about. The program changed my life, and it is a privilege for me to give back to it.

What 3 words best describe your work?
Whimsical, sophisticated, and unique

What inspires you?
Honestly? Everyday life. Once last fall, I sat in Starbucks and I gazed over at the coffee mug display and saw different colors of coffee mugs smushed together. My brain started going wild with design ideas. I specifically buy or make lampwork beads and gemstones that speak to me, and I love challenging focals.

I once received a free set of beads from a lampwork artist that were technically wonderful, but the color combination was a bit of a stretch. These beads weren't the most appealing to look at on their own. I let them sit in my bead box for almost a year, and then one day when I was bored, I pulled out that set of beads and turned them into a necklace that makes the color combination successful. Occasionally I will place limitations like that on myself specifically to flex my design muscles.

I love color!! I used to say that I liked every color but yellow (long story!), but right now I'm working on a piece with citrine as the central gemstone! Color, autonomy, fun, and individuality are imperative in my life, and I like to let my jewelry tell that story.

What drives you to create what you do?

I am an artist at heart-- always have been, always will be. I also love sparkly things... and yet-- there is a side to me that's very earthy as well. These characteristics definitely show in my work.

I am driven to create because I can't NOT create!

One of my biggest thrills is watching a customer's face light up when she finds the perfect necklace. Everyone deserves to feel special. I feel like my creations are a tangible reminder that whoever is wearing the piece deserves to feel beautiful! That may sound corny, but it's the truth.

What makes your work unique?

I think jewelry should be fun and colorful, and it should brighten your day. I create pieces that evoke feelings. If I'm feeling a little blue, I have certain pieces that literally cheer me up when I put them on.

I also think it's important for jewelry to be fashion forward yet sophisticated.

The biggest thing that makes my work unique, though, is that it comes straight from my heart. I've never seen anyone create jewelry quite like mine, and I dig that.

What role does your work play in your life?

At this point in time, jewelry design is a passion that I cram into the tiny slivers of time when I'm not working my day job, volunteering, or spending time with friends and family.

What role would you like your work to play in your life?
I would love for it to play a much bigger role. If we were in a position for me to be a full time jewelry designer, I'd already be doing it! That is my goal, though.

How do you see your work and/or your business evolving in the next five years?

I've tossed around a lot of ideas and thought about this very question. The struggle is finding a balance between growing my business, concentrating on expanding my customer base, and keeping my designs fresh and full of passion.

I am careful to take a break from designing when I feel my designs reaching a plateau, or when I feel my passion waning. That being said, I have been featured in boutiques in New York City and Dallas, and I hope to continue adding more boutiques to the list.

My biggest goal this year is to get my website up and running. I would also like to get my lampwork studio built, so that I can start making lampwork beads at home.

Where can we find you on the web?


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Funday - Go Bowling!

Parents, ever find yourselves faced with a bored kid, no plans, and zero ideas? Ummmmm... I do. All the time, actually. To help myself (and you) avoid this potentially terrifying situation in the future, I've resolved to start keeping track of the activities (only the successful ones) we've tried as a family and post them here each weekend with some quick pros and cons so you can decide if the same activity might work for you. First up, bumper bowling!


1. Amusing for almost all ages.
2. Reinforces taking turns or (as illustrated below) teamwork.
3. Kid-friendly food and drink available at the venue, but not a required expenditure.
4. Can't be mastered quickly, requires practice and perseverance to get better.
5. Great for multifamily get-togethers.
6. Once the general ground rules have been established (don't cross the line, bother the other bowlers, or smash your fingers, basically), potential for adult conversation while the kids play.
7. Relatively inexpensive.


1. "Extras" can get a little spendy (e.g. video games, food, etc.).
2. Potentially grungy and/or smokey - be sure to check the venue's indoor smoking policy ahead of time.
3. Tricky for non-walking siblings - be sure to bring a containment device for anyone under 12 mos.
4. Potential for long waits if you go on a busy night - leagues and birthday parties are your enemies. Call the venue in advance to see if there are lanes available.

Be sure to let the staff know you want the bumpers up for the kids in advance to avoid gutterball-induced frustration. You may want to bowl with them too - you'll be amazed what they'll do for your score!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dear Kid Saturday

I approach this week's "Dear Kid" letter with a little bit of trepidation as the last few weeks have been kind of a blur. The Monday following our trip to Seattle found me battling an unexpectedly aggressive illness that ultimately left me couch-bound for the rest of the week. It wasn't really until Saturday that I was able to sit up for a few hours at a time. Then, by Sunday, was finally feeling a bit more like myself.

So, given my relative absence the week before, this week was all about re-entry. I was back to processing orders, back to babysitting, and back to being the head honcho around the house. Things were a little wonky, but I suppose I wouldn't have expected otherwise.

As of this writing, I've not checked the Cutest Kid Ever blog to see if this week's letter from Christina to TJ is up, but please take a second to check out her blog and say, "hi." I owe her one 'cause I flaked on her earlier this week and didn't put together the guest post I promised for her LOST blog, Uncharted Island. I desperately hope to get past my crippling fear of writing for someone else and get something together for her this week.

Without further ado....

Dear sweet girl,

I just realized you've not been naming yourself so much anymore. I kind of miss that. Lately, you are very concerned about accuracy and completeness, and you tend to introduce yourself to everyone with your first, middle and last name. You have a little bit of trouble with the "L" at the end, and you get a little testy when people don't understand your whole name the first time. Don't worry - we'll work on it. You may not like it (in fact, you keep insisting that you're five), but you're only three, after all.

This month has been a little crazy so far, huh? All last week, Dad was in charge while Mommy was sick. You guys took great care of me - thank you. You kept asking if I was "STILL not feeling well?!" Several times a day, every day, actually. I think it must have been a little scary to see your mom all helpless and tired. You were also pretty exasperated by how difficult it was to get the things that you wanted when Mom was asleep and Dad was trying to work. You got quite a lesson in self-sufficiency, which, I have to admit, was in order. We're going to have to work together to identify more things you can do for yourself, even if you may prefer to have help. Until I wasn't able to do it all, I didn't realize how much I still do for you.

On Monday, we got to see your little cousin for the first time in two weeks! You were so excited. Our friends came over for a playdate and you guys did great. Ms. Twinkle wasn't feeling well, and sometimes that makes you feel like you need to play "sick" too, but this time you were sweet and sympathetic. You didn't take a nap that afternoon, and were grumbly later that evening. At one point you said, "Hey, Mom? I don't always love you. Sorry, Charlie." Ouch. But then we had a really good conversation about what it means to love somebody, like Daddy and I love you and love each other, and how, even when we disagree or get upset with you, we will always love each other, and that's the great thing about being a family. You seemed to think it was pretty cool that Daddy and I would love you no matter what, but you insisted that you only plan to love me as long as I let you have treats and don't "give any consequences." Hmmm... I think this whole "consequence" thing is really starting to set in.

Tuesday was a preschool day. When you left with Dad, you were happy, but when I went to pick you up, your teacher had some bad news for me. She told me you'd been given a time-out because you hit two other children, evidently for no reason other than the fact that you were in a grumpy mood and they were in your general vicinity. We tried to talk to you about it together, but you wouldn't make eye contact and kept trying to change the subject. I told your teacher we'd talk about it as a family, and that there definitely would be a consequence for your behavior. I usually bring a treat for after school, and you asked if you could still have it, but you knew better. I let you know that there would be no treats and that, since you'd misbehaved at school, there would be no TV for the rest of the day. You were very, VERY mad at me (mostly because you REALLY wanted that lollipop), but I stuck to my guns. Later, we had a family meeting to talk about what happened. Daddy and I were a little thrown off by this one - hitting isn't like you at all, not even when you were younger - so we were a little lost as to how we should address the issue. We asked you why you'd done it, and you really didn't have an answer, but you did seem to understand that it wasn't OK and that we wouldn't tolerate it in the future. I wasn't convinced that we'd really solved the problem, but we didn't know what else to do.

The first words out of your mouth Wednesday morning were, "Mom, I'm sorry I hit people at school." You promised not to do it again, and we had a big hug. Later we went to a playdate with some friends from my parenting group. Everything was going well until you suddenly you came down from the play structure to tell me you'd hit someone - a little boy who, according to your friend L, had apparently threatened to hit you. At least you told me, which showed me that you knew you'd done something wrong. But, once again, I was so surprised that you'd done it, I felt completely unprepared. Ultimately we had to leave, and I told you in the car that, as we'd discussed with Daddy, there would be a consequence at home for your behavior. You played it cool for a while, but later you were really angry when you didn't get to watch "Little Bill." I just hoped you'd get the picture this time and that we wouldn't be going through the same thing the next day.

Thursday was another school day, and we had another big talk about hitting before you left. You were all smiles and gave me a big in-advance high five for good behavior at school. I have to admit - I was a little nervous when I came to pick you up later, but you got a great report! You were so proud of yourself, you couldn't wait to tell me what a good day you'd had. In addition to good behavior, you also wrote your whole name, all by yourself, for the very first time! I knew you could write the letters, but I'd not been able to interest you in putting them together before. Nice job, girlie! We had Twinkle with us, so we headed home for some lunch and play time before naps. You guys were cracking me up. Twinkle likes to follow you around and "talk" to you, which you tolerate, but are not entirely thrilled with. You were working on a puzzle when she crawled up and started saying her version of your name, over and over. Finally, you smiled at her sweetly and said, "Do you have an actual question or are you just wasting my time?" A little later, you decided to pretend we were all in a storybook, and you started "narrating" everything Twinkle and I did. You said things like "Suddenly, the beautiful princess baby jumped out from behind the chalkboard!" and "But then, the queen Mom had to change the princess's poopy diaper, and everyone was sad." You put yourself into a hysterical fit of giggles. For a while there, anytime I said something, you followed it with "said the man with the nice socks." You sure do know how to make me laugh!

On Fridays we have your new dance class. You love your teacher because she plays great music, and because this class is all about being creative with your movement. I love watching you figure out how to make your body do what you want it to do. You are getting more and more coordinated every day. You can do super fast forward rolls now, and hop on one foot, and do awesome leaps. You've got those pretty "beach ball" ballet arms mastered, and can even do a pretty good curtsy! The look you get on your face when you're dancing is priceless - so serious, so expressive. I still can't get through an entire dance class without getting teary. Isn't that silly? I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the fact that you're growing up so fast? Or that it's so cool to see things in you that remind me of being a little girl myself? Maybe I'm just really proud of who you're becoming. The other moms don't seem to think dance class is such an emotional experience, so, as usual, I just grabbed a tissue and pretended to be allergic to something. Kiddo, your mom might be a sappy mess, but at least you'll always know how much she loves you.

We learned a lot this week, chickadee, just like we do every week. Looking forward to a weekend of family fun (swimming today and bowling tonight - woohoo!), and can't wait to see what next week has in store for us.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Handbag Tag!

This is fun for a Friday, right? I was so excited to be tagged for this game by Andrea Baker, as I consider myself an absolute EXPERT at getting great handbags for ridiculous bargains. The opportunity to show off my skills in this area was just too much to resist.

“What kind of purse do YOU carry?”

Here’s how this works:

1. Post a picture of whatever bag you are carrying as of late. No, you cannot go into your closet and pull out that cute little purse you used back when, you know, you “had a life”. We want to know what you’re carrying NOW.

2. We want to know how much you paid for it. This is not to judge - sheerly for entertainment purposes only. So spill it! And if there happens to be a story to go along with how you obtained your purse (a.k.a. “luggage”), we’d love to hear about it!

3. Tag some gals and link back to this post so people know why on earth you’re yammering about your bag!

And so, without further ado, here is the bag I've been carrying for the last year or so, the Georgia II Shopper by Elliott Lucca:

I love it because not only is it gorgeous, super soft, and incredibly comfortable to carry, it's big enough to hold a large diaper tote (when I babysit), a sack lunch for the girlie, my own wallet and "essentials" pouch, my racquetball glasses and ball, and a 32 oz. bottle of water. No lie!

As for price.... I wasn't able to find a current price for the Georgia II Shopper, but I did find similar Elliott Lucca at, which retails for $398. Naturally, that's a little too spendy for me, so here's how I got mine.

First, I found the bag at Amazon, which is a surprisingly great source for handbag bargains. They were doing a promotion and were offering three of the bags at $99.99. I grabbed one, then applied a $30 gift certificate I'd been sitting on for a year, bringing the total to $69.99. I qualified for free "super saver" shipping - it's not like I was in a hurry. Also, and this is the kicker, I signed up for an Amazon Visa, and got $30 back since the bag was my very first purchase. Which brings the grand total for my fabulous bag to $39.99!

You may now envy me. And I'm off to do some tagging! Have a great Friday, all.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Stocking with Artiste Tonight -- 9 PM EST!

Join me tonight at 9 PM when Artiste goes live with our first listings for February. As always, I'll be stocking new OOAK and limited-edition items, as well as offering some great deals exclusive to HyenaCart shoppers, like a 15-piece sampler for only $10, a Buy 2/Get 1 special on one of my best-sellers, and an auction starting at $1 for a set of these super cute minis:

Here's a peek at a few of my other Artiste-exclusive offerings:

If it's your first visit to Artiste, be prepared for some irresistible offerings from this great group of super talented work-at-home mamas. Fair warning - the best stuff gets snapped up fast, so be sure to scope out the scene in advance and be ready to pounce at 9:00. Best of luck!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Static Style

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Our Press

3/12/2008 ~ Wickedly Chic
Wickedly Chic Daily Ditties - Vintage Schoolgirl Notecards

4/21/2008 ~ WFAA TV Style Insider
Saying Thanks in Style

4/26/2008 ~ Keepsake Couture
Take 5 - Macaroni and Glue

10/13/2008 ~ This Mom's Life
EtsyFAME checkout Macaroni and Glue

10/20/2008 ~ Etsy Featured Artist
Macaroni and Glue

12/27/2008 ~ Mom Fuse
Etsy: Meet the Maker of Macaroni & Glue

01/01/2009 ~ The Bride and Bloom
Spring 2009 Issue - Gina and Sadler

04/09/09 ~ Maternal Spark

Featured Creative Mom - Kelly of Macaroni & Glue

06/06/2009 ~ Cafe Handmade
Mommaprenuer: Kelly Drill, Macaroni & Glue Handmade

10/15/2009 ~ The Bad Cat
Mmmmm.... Pasta and Paste

11/26/2009 ~ The Creative JAR
Full of Thanks

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