Friday, December 12, 2008


Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1969, John and Mary Pappajohn, Des Moines, Iowa

So after an amusing interaction with my son, my self and my painting, I decided to show the boy some Rothko paintings. Now I just can't stop staring at it. I get drawn right in.

It makes my mind go off in flight.

More, here

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tiny City

From Sparklerama on etsy. How cute is this? I found it via Melissa Loves on a post about things she would love to give to a child. But I have to say, I would want it for myself.

I have loved miniatures since I was a child. I used to make my own little clay dolls out of plasticene. When I was a teenager, I graduated to Sculpey.

I also love boxes. Little boxes, little assemblages. I love squares and grids, something that I have decided comes from growing up in the city, walking around with streets and apartment buildings. I imagine all those little rooms in those big buildings. All those little lives in that big city.

I imagine walking around a big city, with a little tiny city in my pocket.

Oh yes. That pleases me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Instant Gratification

Folded Magazine Trees, from this morning's Crafty Crow.

Saw it on my googlereader this morning. Grabbed an old magazine, and a few minutes later, the kids had their own Christmas tree for their playroom. They decorated with appropriate, and sometimes not so appropriate, toys.

I should make a star to go on top.

I really do love making things with paper. Even more so when it's recycled paper from things I have around the house.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fun With Play Clay

Ho Ho Ho.

This looks like a photo from the 70's but I took it this morning, underexposed, and then played with contrast and brightness and turned it black and white. I kind of like the grainy look. Those are the play-clay snow men we made, and the Christmas tree, too. And behind them is a photo of my Grandmother. She died when I was born. I like the picture, though.

Okay, the kids didn't make the snowmen, I did. Because I didn't know if the solid balls of clay would ever dry, or dry without cracking, or even stick together if they did dry. So these snowmen are hollow. I made a hollow tube around my finger and just pinched and squooshed the tube into snowman shape. The tree is also hollow. I made the cone and then squooshed and stretched it into a kind of seussical shape. We'll see if they dry correctly. Maybe we'll paint them. Or maybe not.

Play Clay Recipe
1 cup Flour
1/2 cup salt
1 TB oil
1 TB cream of tartar
1 Cup water

Stir over medium heat until of good consistency. Add dough and food coloring to zip top sandwich bags. Mash and mix in the bags. Store in bags in refrigerator.

As an added plus, the kids thought it tasted awful, so none of that pesky eating the play clay nonsense. Yay for home made!

Monday, December 1, 2008

No No No No

No. I mean, really, just too stunning for words. Fiona Watson created these beautiful still life books called an Unwritten Book. Via dear ada

Elephants are lovely

Oh how I adore maya*made. And this elephant. and this bucket. Adoration abounds.

There's a giveaway on crafty crow, too. Another site full of joyous projects for small hands, made from the heart.

I really want to focus on doing more of this.

The Hunt for Stuff, the Hunt for Meaning

Estate Sale Camera and Vintage Hat, or Thrifting Adventure with My Mom

I have been taking pictures daily for the last year and a half. It has been quite the adventure.

Usually the pictures are of my children, although sometimes a landscape, cityscape or self portrait will sneak in there. They serves not only to document my early years taking care of my children, but also helped me develop my photography skills, even with my dinky point and shoot... which I love, by the way. I lost it once and upgraded to a later model, which was cheaper, by going refurbished. Sometimes, new is not more sensible, especially since I treat my camera pretty roughly.

Simple Beliefs, by sfgirlbybay

But I was looking through my googlereader subscriptions and came across this entry by sfgirlbybay. I just found her blog and really love it. Sometimes we find what we need when we need it. Like, for instance, a set of lovely diptych photos documenting things in her life/apartment that represented larger concepts in her life.

I think I'd like to do that more. I would enjoy playing with "stuff" more, especially since I spent the last two years purging, and doing with out. I'd like to build up my collections again, and that means it's time to start getting out in the world more and looking for soulful things on all my journeys.

I love the hunt for the wild repurposed item. Or the challenge of searching for just the right dress in a wilderness of dusty salvation army castoffs.

But aside from finding things to love, I also want to pay attention to the things that I have and the value I find in them... whether or not they actually cost a lot of money.

For instance, the hat and camera above? Well, they represent that hunt for vintage soul, sure they do, but the hat also reminds me of the style I used to have and how much I loved coming up with new looks. And the camera? Well, that reminds me to be adventurous with my art. To take photos that maybe aren't so straight forward, but play with a worn look or change the way I am looking at the ordinary. And it was two dollars!

I think this would be a fun exercise. And I think this is a good place for me to document the small and heartful world that I live in.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Holidays Are Over, Long Live the Holidays

Halloween is over (above are my little ones in the mommy made kitty and ghost costumes. I am especially proud of the kitty ears made of felt, glue and hair clips). Thanksgiving is creeping up, and the freight train (full of presents, of course) that is Christmas is barreling down that track toward us.

Ai Dios Mio, save me from the Holidays.

I really want to be Martha Stewart and fabricate handmade swags out of pine needles, felt shaped into flowers and organic berries, but I need to be realistic.

I've got too much going on to have to live up to Martha's glorious standards. It always fills me with anxiety and I never manage to do it all.

Will I be able to make the kids presents? Perhaps, since I am not budgeted for big bang presents from the store. Will I be able to bake and decorate christmas cookies? Maybe even a gingerbread house? It would be so awesome, but I don't know. Can I manage handmade presents for friends and family, both near and far? I'd better get cracking right away.

I plan on wrapping presents in brown paper and twine again. Some Christmas tree twigs as accent. Simple and direct, as well as nostalgic.

But before I go on and get all wrapped up in the coming holidays, I am going to take a moment and celebrate something non national, non religious, non over the top.

In fact, a day I have a tendency to ignore every single year.


I will be 38 on November 19, and I have already decided, with some prompting from the party happy boy, that I will bake myself a cake and have balloons and maybe even party hats.

I will send my kids off with their grandma to buy ME a present. I will give grandma a list of things I might like and let the kids choose from that. I will suggest they go to Target, but my mom is creative and will probably manage to deal with yard sales, consignment shops and used book stores.

I will also make that outing into a MommyDate. Some time with myself, celebrating myself before my actual birthday. And artist's date. A movie date. Something for myself, just for myself. Alone, baby free time. Ahh.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Stop the Presses! Cake Madness!

Over a year ago, I discovered this cake made by Molly on orangette. I think it might have been the beginning of my long, slow, hidden wedding planning. Briliant, I thought. Homemade. Not fussy. Lookin' like one delicious dessert. Unique. I said to myself, "self, you could do that, and freeze it and voila." Love the idea of skipping the big weddingnessfroth cake, which often isn't that great tasting.

And I have just discovered THIS post by Faith over on Kitchn, in which she took orangette's idea of a simple almost flourless chocolate cake and took it, like 65 steps into fabulousness with this table of amazing godlike ambrosia/cakes. No seriously, are you kidding me? That looks like an old master's painting. And I think it's the same cake, tiered with a whipcream/creamcheese frosting. Plus, excuse me, what is that olive oil lemon cake thing? Holy cow. Wouldn't that go with the whole Spanish food thing, olives and lemons both being very Spanish. At least in my mind. I wouldn't do the figs and grapes, but I might do raspberries, strawberries, kumquats, even.

If Faith can do it, I think I can. But don't worry, I am not crazy enough to try to make my own ice cream.

I didn't even make the connection that this was Kitchn, which is Apartmenttherapy, which I have been in love with for years and years. You see what I'm saying about avoiding the huge wedding sites and all their madness? Who needs that tangle?

This whole wedding thing is starting to come together in my mind. Now if only I can find the place and the money to get it done. Then I can instruct S that he may initiate proceedings on the official "asking" part.

Oh well, I guess we still have to find a place to move first.

One good thing about waiting so long is that the kids are getting older and are not so high maintenance anymore. So it will be less stressful for me and S.

To top off all the cake wonderfulness, I love what this couple did with cake serving. No smooshing in the face. The couple cut the cake and then proceeded to SERVE all of their guests. To me, that is not only community oriented and DIY, but also very symbolic. Lovely touch.

Now I have to leave this party world and go back to my normal blog and do my work and clean up the house that has been torn apart by small little beings. They look like elves, but they make puddles on the floor and throw tantrums when they don't get more goldfish crackers.

Quaker Words and Paper Poofs

Interestingly, just after writing about having a friend officiate, I found this post on a backyard wedding. Not only did she have a friend officiate (they got married at city hall previously, so no worries or pressures on friend to be "legal") but she also had this beautiful, community ceremony. Out under the trees. With paper tissue poofs and pretty paper pennants, both of which I had thought of for my wedding. See. It can work!

Hmm. I think I like this idea of just writing a bunch of posts when I am researching. My mind is fresh and I am in the wedding mood, which is not actually where most of my attention goes.

Another thing I like? Never touching or looking at any of those wedding magazines that seem to multiply like big poofy tulle fungi. I swear, I start to get sick when I look through those things, and everything looks alike. I'd rather get ideas from the internet and various party hosting articles in various lifestyle magazines.

A wedding is just a party to celebrate someone's marriage. It is not an industry. Okay, well, it is. But mine won't be.

DIY Dreams

This is a lovely diy wedding, found on stylemepretty. I love the setting. If only I could find a grove of aspens. I love the informal feel of people just wandering along the path, gathering around in a meadow. Very pretty and touching. I also love that it is so family and child oriented. Games! How clever and important for a party with many children. Great idea.

And to go along with the family focus, the clothes line with all the photos. Old and new family photos. I really like that for myself, particularly since this wedding that is yet to be planned or have a date set is, in part, for our children and our families. I guess all weddings are, but our wedding would have actual little people running about, not the abstract concept of future children. And no one will then feel compelled to ask us, "so, when you having kids?" heheh.

I plan on doing a LOT of my wedding DIY. This is one of the reasons I started this to plan and research ideas and maybe even use to keep track of projects. Because I don't want to have crazy stressed out time before this wedding, whenever it happens. And that's pretty hard to do if you're DIY everything.

Witness my current plans of DIY, and my rationalization on why I can do it (or can find a family member and/or friend to do it for me.)

Invites. I am an artist and writer and setting up a whole system for printing currently.

Vows. Both S and I are poets (shhh, don't tell anyone.)

Table settings. I have read Martha Stewart for 20 years, and besides, I will simplify the whole thing because I like simple. and small. and heartfelt.

Favors. I am an artist and would probably do something to reflect that.

Flowers. I've done wedding bouquets before, and because I would go for something kind of wildflowery/handtied looking. And because my mom is a horticulturist and I could pass this off to her to do.

Music. I do not have the skills for this, but S's best friend is a musician and DJ, and my sister and her fiancee are musicians, and I would probably like an Ipod playlist, although we don't have an Ipod yet. This will take some work. I might put S in charge. He might be able to find friends to play for free, actually. Hmm.

Photography. My dad and my uncle are both professional photographers and I am an avid amateur. Would it be weird if the bride ran around snapping digital shots during the wedding?

Decor. Artist, amateur decorator, wannabe stylist and martha afficionado, that's me.

Guest book. So many options for creativity here, I can think this up. I can do most anything on paper, owing to my lifetime of arts and crafts and writing.

Hair and makeup. I would do my own hair and makeup because I like a natural look, but my sister is also a professional hair stylist and makeup artist. I'm not talking to her right now, but I have plenty of time to work on that. ;)

Officiant. My bestfriend and I both registered to be officiants at the same time. I haven't finished the process, but I think she has. And if she hasn't there's plenty of time for that.

Bar. I, S and my sister are or have been professional bartenders over the course of the past 20 or so years. I think we got this... although we wouldn't work during it, obviously. Thinking more we stock our own bar, create a specialty punch/drink, and then hire a friend to tend bar.

And my possible DIY plans

Dinner. I have dreams of having a Spanish style fiesta with Paella and tapas and simple good food that I could plan all myself with my mom... but I am not that crazy and will probably have to hire someone to do this (or whatever we plan).

Cake/cupcakes. I still think about doing this. Plain cupcakes aren't as difficult as a big white tiered wedding cake which I think is unnecessary, or I have a flourless chocolate cake recipe that can be made ahead and frozen, and served with whipped cream and icecream and berries. Yumm. I want that now.

Apps. See "Dinner." How hard would it be to set out olives and manchego and nice crusty bread? Or make some tortas and slice up some chorizo. Doesn't that sound like a good pre party snack?

Glasses This is probably dreaming, but I'd like to scour yardsales and fleamarkets or even Ikea and pick up plain glass tumblers and vintage juice glasses and use those for everything from water to wine to whiskey.

Plates and Utensils. Also probably dreaming. Same yardsale/thrifting and using mismatched vintage place settings. The biggest problem with this would be cleanup and storage.

The things I wouldn't do myself?

Dress. Seamstress, I am not, but I will get a simple, inexpensive dress and possibly add some embellishments like a ribbon or a shrug. I'm not a princess and don't want to pretend that I am.

Tables and chairs are looking pretty much NOT diy Unless we do a picnic on the beach or in a field, in which case I would like to thrift up some blankets for "seating"

Venue. I just don't know where it will be and we first have to move, which will probably define the location. And the date, actually. I could find a park somewhere, but it would take much research, especially since we still have a move to make, and that will define location. Without knowing the location, it's kind of hard to define most of the plans. Hence perhaps my longing for a grove of aspens.

Bartending This could just be self serve, but a nice touch would be someone behind a bar.

Food serving Well, there probably won't be formal servers, but someone to set things out and care for the dishes. Probably the same person as set up and clean up, actually.

Set up and Clean up the day of. I don't want to do this. But if pressed, I'll probably make my mom do this. Sorry mom. :)

Possibly day of coordinator. This is a new thought. If I do everything myself, why not hire someone to organize and set up everything for the big day so I can actually have a party rather than HOST. Seriously, I don't want to do anything the day of.

Am I crazy? Just a little? Remember also that we're talking TINY wedding here. Not big. Luckily, we have small families, spread far and many of them won't or can't travel much. It does depend on where it is, though. If we do it in NY that's a different guest list than if we do it in Florida which is a different guest list than if we do it goodness knows where we end up moving.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thinkin' Off the Beaten Path

I found this lovely wedding on Offbeat Bride. None of the fancy stuff. Not even a party with this one, just a ceremony and what seemed to be a wandering about exotic scenery.

I don't know if this is what I would want to do, because, well, we've been together so long, and had kids and everything, I think it would be kind of important to our families to see us get married, so i don't really want to elope. I still like the ideas here. And I like the way it reminds you to think outside of the box. Strip away all the orthodoxy, the idea a "wedding", the matching candle sticks and napkins, and there you have something important to them.

So pretty.

On a side note, or really not that side-ish at all, I want to post about the cake that I have thought about for quote some time. I found this recipe for a dark chocolate, nearly flourless cake at orangette, oh, I don't know... a year ago, and thought it looked so tasty and unexpected. My first idea had been a bunch of cupcakes. Cupcakes are nice and tasty and festive without being a big crazy deal. I might still go with cupcakes, but nice to know there's an option here. I also like that you can make this gateau ahead of time and freeze it. No need for last minute stuff, if you're diy.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Tell Me To Go To Sleep

I love this blog, Snippet & Ink with all it's inspiration boards, especially the budget friendly variety. So great at getting rid of the fuss and pomp and leaving unique, personalized things... plus with hints about how to save money. So many. Great ideas. This one is very similar to ideas in my head, with a few more I never considered.

The Dress that Keeps Popping Up

I haven't found much that I like better than this simple Sophia dress from J Crew. I keep looking, and there's more adventurous stuff, but I keep coming back to this one.

What's Important?

That's the real question.

Love, Happiness, Smiles.

Family, People who stand by you, Good friends.

Creativity, Honesty, Ease.

Commitment, Community, Celebration.

It's not about ruffles or fondant ruffles or melting ice swan sculptures. It's not about excess or proving yourself to people you don't care about. Even the Joneses can't ever keep up with the Joneses.

Screw all the magazines and the must-have lists and the etiquettes.

Frankly, we already messed up what we should have done by having kids before we got married, so why should we bother with all the old standbys?

So here's what I'm looking at.

Me, S, the kids. Parents, siblings, the dearest cousins and uncles. Best friends from the various parts of life. Some good food, drinks for all. Something fun to listen to. Handmade touches. The wide sky. Finally making it legal in front of the people that matter. That's about it. And maybe a flower in my hair.

These are the non negotiables, more or less. I refuse to fuss over the right shade of peach, matching motifs, save the date letterpress cards, a ridiculous budget, getting a fancy name on my dress label.

I'll probably go barefoot at some time in the night.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Don't tell anyone. I'm starting a wedding blog.

It's just to keep track of the beautiful ideas I've been finding lately. I'm not even technically engaged... or rather, I've been "engaged" for the last five years without the slightest step towards setting a date or making any plans or wearing a ring or actually even calling myself engaged. I suppose we might be considered common law, anyway.

Things are different when you have been living together and have kids together. Especially when you aren't interested in the regular old rigamarole of conventional weddings that cost a bazilliongillion dollars. I'm sorry, even if I had the money, I don't know how I would feel RIGHT spending it all on all the little things that just don't matter.

So I'm going to start planning and sorting through the options before I even get a ring. By the way, I'm thinking of telling him to get me a nice fake. I don't want him to spend our money on a real diamond. He said it's coming, and I'm afraid he's going to waste it on that, instead of getting me a new computer set up. Shows where my priorities lie.

So here I am, starting this little secret blog. Cheap wedding. DIY. Toss out the conventions (or at least those I don't care about) Think Small. Think celebration. What makes a wedding touching for me? These are the things I will be looking at, at least until I start making my decisions on what, where, when, how. I suppose I've already got the who and why.

So in my first post, I'd like to show this wedding. A couple with kids, like me and S. A couple not interested in the fancy stuff, but a lovely, touching wedding all the same. They did it in two parts. The actual ceremony which was tiny, and a "wedding walk" the next day with a few more people. Hmmm. Ideas. And how about that kick ass photography?
And while I'm at it... a PICNIC wedding! Outstanding.