When my physician self and my artist self collide… look out!

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A dozen new cards and three boxed sets are being slowly added to the shop this weekend… I’m enjoying seeing them come to life as cards, after I put so much of my soul into painting each one… it’s fun to think of them reincarnated as a greeting to some dear friend or love!

There is one card I want to showcase to you in particular.  It is my favorite, but I think it is likely to get overlooked.  It isn’t my best painting, or my splashiest colors, or even instantly understandable.  But it is my favorite, none-the-less.  Because it fills a huge gap in the greeting card world that is being ignored.

This is where my physician self and my artist self merge.  There is a real need for cards that you can send to a loved one who has been recently diagnosed with cancer, or any other illness for that matter.  There are so many traditional physicians out there that will launch head first into a very terrifying, overwhelming list of *statistics* and survival categories and such, all while a patient is still reeling from shock.  I understand the well-meaning intentions behind providing a patient with survival statistics and categorizing stages of cancers… but at the heart of it all, there is a fear that is not being addressed, and emotional needs that are not being met, in deference to facts and statistics.

This painting came about because I fell in love with the quote:
“Give me a fruitful error any time, bursting with it’s own corrections. You can keep your sterile truth for yourself. – Vilfredo Pareto”

I just love that statement. It so perfectly captures what I feel about life in general. I’d rather live it, muck in it, get dirty with it, dance in it, roll around in all the sweetness and the errors and mistakes along the way… drink in all the honest raw goodness… I love when my kids and I “mess up” and love each other any way… there just isn’t a deeper trust or better feeling then knowing you are loved in an organic, real way, with no pressure for it to be perfect. That is how strive to appreciate my life… organic and raw, no need to be perfect. The rainy days and the awkward silences and the bruised egos… I’ll take it all, with gratitude.

So I think card would be SO PERFECT for someone who has been diagnosed with cancer and has heard some horrifying statistic… I kept the inside blank, but what I’d love it to really say is:

“F*&ck the statistics. The only statistic that is true for you is that you are 100% loved.”

Something like that. Because really folks, facts can only get you so far. Love will get you the rest of the way.

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Homemade skivvies

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A few days ago, it was sunny enough for a *before* picture of a bunch of T-shirts I intended to do a little sewing on.  And considering the title of this post, I bet you can figure out what I’ve made out of them… at least, if I’ve spelled skivvies right, and assuming it is a real word used by families other then ours.

Today the world descended into a gray, dismal downpour, and an hour of sewing is just what I needed to feel like I got something uplifting done today.  Because since nothing is as uplifting as putting on a soft, thread-bare, worn-in, comfy t-shirt at the end of a long rainy day, just imagine how it feels if you put said T-shirt around your unmentionable zones and wear them as underwear.

I’m telling you, it is worth every minute of figuring out how to make them.  They don’t have to look good.  Look at mine!  Did I bother to match the thread to the garment… no!  Did I bother to slow down as I sewed around the curves of the leg holes… no!  Did I bother to measure before I cut?  Did I even trace the pattern on to my garment before cutting? Hell NO!  Because this is underwear made out of an old T-shirt, folks!  It naturally stretches to fit in all the right places.

Every woman has two types of underwear… the good ones, that you wear when you are feeling happy about your body and you want a little spring in your step… and the bad ones, that you save for when you have your period.  Right?  Well, after making homemade underwear, I now have three piles.  The good ones, the bad ones, and the HEAVENLY ones.  Both of my children feel the same — they say my underwear is more comfy then the thirty dollar organic ones from Hanna Anderson, for goodness sake.  If that doesn’t convince you, nothing will.

Here are the results… one for my son… one for me.  One for my daughter… one for me.  See how that works?  Fair enough, isn’t it?

If you would like to make your own, and I demand that you do, here are the websites that got me started.

for girls:

http://belleandburger.blogspot.com/2009/06/panty-tutorial-how-to-make-your-own.html

http://www.rustybobbin.com/inklings/sew-panties.html

by far my favorite one is:  http://www.craftstylish.com/item/47762/how-to-make-your-own-underwear

for boys… or girls who like boy shorts style undies:

http://underwear.sew-ing.com/boxer.html

Have fun!!!  Oh, some shop news:  I just heard from my printing company that the notecards will not be ready until Friday, so the give-a-way will be next week instead of this week… stay tuned!  xoxo

My Organic Poptarts Suck

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You know how most of the blogs out there make you feel like you aren’t doing enough?  Every blog I love and faithfully read has two things in common.  One, the crafty women writing the blogs are genius.  The things they come up with are amazing.  Two, everything always comes out perfectly.

I couldn’t be one of those blogs if I tried, so I’m not going to try.

This was *supposed* to be an awe inspiring post about some homemade, organic pop tarts that I made.  I saw this post on Smitten Kitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/04/homemade-pop-tarts/ and you really have to check it out, it is gorgeous and overwhelmingly impressive.  It made me print out the recipe and vow to make them myself right on the spot.

Well folks, this blog is not that blog.  Because here is what I came up with…

It started out promisingly enough.  Good, organic ingredients.  Fantabulous recipe.

First I started off making the strawberry filling, and my heart started sinking instantaneously.  And yours would too, if you used a jar of 100% organic, home made, hand-picked strawberry jam, made from strawberries that your gorgeous, precious sweet little children had painstakingly collected for you under the duress of the hot South Carolina sun… for which you then slaved over a hot, boiling, sticky stove making and canning your own jam… Preserved blood would not have been as precious to me as this jam, I’m telling you.  BUT.  Smitten Kitchen’s recipe is THAT GOOD.  Homemade jam kind of good.

So back to my sinking heart… I could tell the jam wasn’t setting firm enough after boiling with the cornstarch.  I should have turned back right then.  But dammit!  After wasting an entire jar of that jam, I’m not calling it quits just yet!

Instead I forced myself onwards, to creating the dough, rolling it out, trying to get the jam to stay on the inside, and then baking it… yeah, I was in a foul mood after all of that.

My poor innocent husband walked in through the door from a long day of work to see me giving my oven the middle finger as they were baking.

Here is what came out.  Empty squares of plain pie crust.

And my husband?  He ate every single one of them.  God I love that man.  He is my world.  For him, I will make a double batch of strawberry jam next year, and I won’t waste it on homemade poptarts.  If you go for it, please let me know how yours turn out!  xoxo

A peek into our animal world

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This weekend, lots of time was spent (as always) caring for our pets.  I love all of them, and there a quite a few.  I thought I’d start the week by giving you a small glimpse into our world of animals, and the joy they brought us this weekend.

My favorites are the guinea pigs… by far.  I’ve had guinea pigs my entire life, and just never get sick of looking at their unique adorableness…  I mean, they are like walking, living, “mmwweeeet”ing stuffed animals.   Just balls of fluff!  They are so silly they make me laugh without fail, every time.  Go on, I *dare* you to look at this picture and not at least smile!

My daughter’s favorite is the cockatiel, and my hubby and son both love the dogs the most.  I’ll start with that selection, although we have quite a few more pets to star in this blog at other points along the way.

Oh my, all our our pets are quite spoiled… but none as much as our cockatiel.  I’ve snuck that bird into every hotel we’ve ever stayed at because my daughter doesn’t want to leave him home for a night.  He even gets brought out in a travel carrier to spend time by our pool, for goodness sake!  It’s a pet spa over here, I’m telling you.

And while we are on the subject, am I the only mama out there who cooks up extra bacon slices each morning so that our cat can have her own slice?  I know you thought I was going to say dog… and yes, they get all the extra crumbles plus the bacon grease drizzled all over their kibble… but really, our cat Jenny is *obsessed* with bacon.  I’ve never heard of that before, I’d love to know I’m not alone here… anyone?  Awkward silence?  Anyone?

Check back later this week, as my new line of note cards is being launched and I am going to have a free give-a-way of a set of 8 cards!  See you here soon… xoxo

Never thought I'd be so excited about a book called The Ugly Guide To Being Alive And Staying That Way

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This sight not only made my heartsong pelt out a loud and happy tune, but also took an enormous weight off my shoulders.  My daughter picked up a book… and read it cover to cover!

I knew she had been teaching herself to read for a long time now.  Hours spent squirreled away up in her room, her floor littered with chapter books, picture books, bird magazines, cat magazines, comics, you name it.  But she preferred to sound things out and figure things out in private.  Without.  (Sob!)  Me.  No phonics lessons.  No sitting on my lap while we took turns reading sentences.

Nope, this mysterious, lovely, chocolate haired beautiful soul of a daughter did things her own way, as usual.  Wanted no part of the *teaching* of reading.  Straight to the actual reading.  And I was never totally sure what stage of reading she was even in!  Sure I knew that she could read functionally — signs and commercials and snippets of words in every day life were navigated with ease… but books?  I just didn’t know.

Well, today my daughter emerged from her cocoon, casually picked up an Ugly Doll book right in front of me, and read it cover to cover easily.  Laughing to herself over the jokes.  Repeating the good parts out loud to me as I was building new guinea pig cages further down on the back porch from her.  Those giggles and silences were music to my ears and a joy to my heart.  My private reader let me in to her world, and it was well worth the wait!

And where was my son in all this?  Right on the other side of the door, in our living room, in his favorite spot of our house — in a sofa fort.  It is his favorite routine lately, and it brings my husband and I so much joy to watch him build, destroy, upgrade, sing in, read in, snack in, play in his forts.  He loves them totally dark, with little peep holes, a large indoor section and a smaller *outdoor* section… more like a loft.  That’s what it is, a sofa loft.  He happily takes his stuffed animals, action figures, Nintendo DSi, books, snackage, etc… inside, and totally hooks up his loft.  He should have his own show, called Dude, Pimp my Sofa.  I wish he’d pimp up our house the way he can magically create worlds out of our sofa.  He has skills, people.  Skills!

Here he is in a rare sighting emerging from his sofa loft.  And folks, there he goes…  xoxo

Panning outward…

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Today was spent with friends, more crafting, some swimming and jumping on our trampoline…  but what made my heart sing today was a quiet moment in the front yard with my two babies (okay, they are 6 and 8, not exactly babies, but *my babies* still!  forever!)

I turned on the hose to water a newly planted palm tree — we love that tree, and the bottom leaves are turning brownish.  As the water ran out, my kids set about building a dam so that the water stayed around the base of the tree.

While they were busy having fun, I took a step back.  And a deep breath.  Ahhh yes, I had forgotten to breathe all morning.  Now another step back, deep breath, and *appreciating* my kids for exactly who they are and what they are doing Right Now.

(And yes, those are the same cut off jeans shorts she wore yesterday… told you she loves them!)  Okay, now another breath.  Another step back.  Another moment to appreciate my home, my yard, the sky, the clouds, the wind, the planet… yes… THIS is what I’ve been needing all day.

Sometimes you just have to pan outwards a bit, stop being so focused on the *right in front of you* and allow the fullness of *this moment* to sink in.  Yup, found my heartsong today, right here in my front yard.

Now back to scrubbing potatoes for dinner.  If only I can figure out a way to pan outwards from my kitchen stove!  xoxo