Sunday, December 28, 2008

In my head there are Wine Spirits and Robots...

I made some really fun stuff today. I love how they all turned out.

These are the Wine Bottle Spirits. I have been trying to find a crafty way to use the corks I've been collecting, and today I did! I LOVE these ladies so much. The photos do not do them justice. I'm very proud of them.

And then, do you remember this guy from a while back?

He was one of my favorites, so I remade this drawing in Sculpey:
Even the worm is smiling! Isn't he too cute?
And I made a tiny robot charm as well. Here is the whole gang together.
I wish I could get a better photo of the grape detail in their hair. It is really cool looking.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"My Christmas" - A photo blog

This is basically what our Christmas has looked like so far:

Moo says, "Peek-a-boo!"


Are you ready?



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Em & Her brother 2009 calendar is here!

Just click HERE to order!!

"OK, this is the part where you are supposed to slide down the chimney..."

Support independent publishing: buy this calendar on Lulu.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Big Love Santa

For all of my family, cyber friends and people just stopping by; I made this for you! Happy holidays!

Snail & Lolly

Today we have seen more snow than I have ever seen in Seattle. It is cold, and slippery out there. I've opted to stay indoors and do productive things. I'm four pages away from that children's book I promised earlier this year, and I finished the Em & Her Brother 2009 calendar. Who knew that all I needed was a snow day?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mama's guide to surviving the recession ...

I know a lot of people are worried about money these days, maybe a lot more than they used to be. Since I was a young, single mother once upon a time, I'm a champ at spending less. I thought I would share some of my favorite money saving tips, because, as Ben Lee would say, "We are all in this together."

Cocktail hour: Bars are expensive. No doubt about it. Going out drinking with your friends can easily cost you $40-60-even $80 in a few short hours. I have a few tips to let you still go out and have a good time, but not wake up with a hangover and an empty bank account.
Bring cash. Put a certain amount of cash in your wallet and promise yourself that is all you will spend. If you have no will power after a drink, leave your plastic at home. Even if you end up taking a cab, and have no cash left, you can always have them wait a second while you run in and get your card.
Be your own mixologist. There are a few bars that my friends like to frequent because of the atmosphere. You know the place. It has all the right people, music, lighting, art, etc... The problem with these places is that a simple well cocktail will cost you $9, add the tip, that is $20 for two small cocktails!! (And that isn't even the good stuff!)
Enter the mini. You know, those cute little airplane bottles of booze? You can buy them at your local liquor store for under $2 each. You can even get top shelf stuff for $3! My drink is Vanilla Vodka and Diet Coke. I will throw one or two of those in my purse, and order Diet coke. Some bars don't even charge for soda, but if they do, it isn't usually over $2, add a tip, that is $3, plus $2 for the mini, you have saved $4!!

Dinner Time: Over the years, I've had times where I had to get really creative about stretching my food budget. I've learned that having these ingredients in my cupboard at all times will guarantee that I can always put a hot meal on the table. The root of all of my favorite low rent meals are:
Frozen mixed veggies (My favorite is the carrot, broccoli, cauliflower mix)
Cream of mushroom condensed soup
Cream of chicken condensed soup
Johnny's Seasoning Salt
Buy them on sale

Coffee: I had to give up my $5 a day latte habit. These days, I allow myself a latte twice a week. Invest in a couple of really nice travel mugs and a coffee maker. If you have a few travel mugs, you won't be able to convince yourself to buy coffee "Because your mug is dirty" or because you "forgot it at the office"

Pizza: There comes a time where even the thriftiest person just needs to order delivery. This is the one time where I think coupons are amazing. We get them in the mail, and I always flip through for the best pizza coupons. I keep them in the file where we keep the menus. You might also keep in mind that frozen food companies have tried really hard to be competitive and have improved the quality of their products quite a bit over the years. Frozen pizza is pretty comparable to delivery nowadays and you can usually buy it on sale, two for one. If you always keep a couple in the freezer, you will never have to order delivery again! You can also pimp out frozen pizza with your own fresh toppings. It still cost less than delivery and tastes just as great!

Clothes: Buy all new clothes in-between seasons. Stores need to clear out for the new season and everything goes on the clearance. The best prices are in early January because stores need to clear out everything they can before they do inventory and pay taxes. Whatever they still have in stock during tax time, they have to pay for, so they are really motivated to move.
Mid to the end of January is also the best time of year for any big purchases. Last year we bought a couch that was originally priced at over $1100 for around $500.

Money: I have a strict "NO PLASTIC" policy. I spend what I have, not a penny more. It is as simple as that. If you have the willpower to keep an emergency card, keep it in a safe, out of your wallet. Better yet, keep it with your parents, so you have to get the info from them if you ever have the urge to impulse buy.

Happy saving!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Don't judge me...

but I think I actually love him MORE now.

In no particular order...

I don't typically do year end lists, but here I am, bright and early on a Friday morning making a list. I think I've been inspired by all of the gift idea themed morning shows that have been playing in the background all morning.

Music: The two musicians that I "discovered" in 2008 are Ben Lee and Joshua Morrison. I've probably listened to more of them than anyone else in the last three hundred and fifty something days.

Television: Mad Men is the best show on television. Hands down. It has been a long time since I last had a TV show that I was truly excited to watch each week. This show has everything. It doesn't hurt that the cast is easy on the eyes and the costumes are amazing. I wish people still dressed like that every day!
Runners up: I think I would add 30 Rock to this list if I had seen more of it. So far I have really enjoyed every episode I've watched, but I have not had a chance to catch up with the series yet. Maybe in 2009?
Also, I really liked Pushing Dasies for how it is shot, the costumes, the cast and the set designs, but I think the writers strike killed the show. This season makes it seem like it might have been better off as a one season show. I read it was canceled, so I suppose I am not the only one who thinks this.

Books: I will admit that I got sucked in by the Twilight series in 2008. I read all four books in August and even went to the book release party. I won't say they were the best books of 2008, but they did keep my attention this summer. I'm a total sucker for a sexy vamp.
The other books I really got into this year were all about Tudor history. I found a book in a thrift store about King Henry viii and his six wives and became obsessed. I read everything I could find. I am now a walking encyclopedia on Tudor history, but I didn't have one particular favorite book.

Movies: This is a hard one. There is not one stand out movie. I though Tropic Thunder was hilarious, but it was not what I would consider the greatest movie of the year, it was the funniest movie for sure, but not one I could watch more than twice.
I recently rented Mrs Pettigrew Lives for a Day with my daughter and we both really, truly enjoyed it. I think I would consider that my favorite of the last four months.
I've seen several movies I really wanted to be my favorite, but they all fell short of my expectations. Mrs Pettigrew is the only one I walked away from pleasantly surprised. I guess 2008 was not the greatest year for movies.

Other 2008 discoveries:
Mrs Meyer's Basil scented soap- Everything about this is YUM!
O.N.E. Coconut Water
Synergy Kombucha tea- my favorite flavors are Mystic Mango and Cosmic Cranberry.
Febreze Air Effects: Vanilla & Baking scented air effects. Turns out this one only comes out during the holidays, but it is my favorite room freshener.
SoapNet on the weekends (Mostly because they play all of the old school 90210 episodes every morning. It reminds me of the 90's in a good way.)
Gossip Girl. Yes, I got sucked in. - I want just about everything on this site.
The Triple Door - The only place I ever want to see live music in Seattle again. (Unless they re-open The Croc.)
The Tudors - A very fun series that covers my favorite part of history.
Sweet Riot Dark Chocolate Covered Cacao Nibs - YUM!!
HUE: Faux Fishnet Pantyhose - I love them and I think they look great on everyone. I was SO sad when they stopped carrying them at Nordstrom. I bought out every pair they had left. At least I can still find them online!
Hugh Jackman. No explanation needed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

secret squirrel

Very early in the morning, while the rest of my family were fast asleep, some movement by the window caught my eye.
This cute little guy was hanging out on my windowsill and was not at all afraid. He would lick the window when I would put my hand on the glass. It was kind of weird how unafraid he was. I'm wondering if he belonged to someone as a pet and escaped. He stayed up on the window for quite some time and watched me watch him.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I know it is a little late....

But here are some Halloween photos...
(We had a movie theme for our costumes)
Bree was the shower scene in Psycho!

I was doing my best Sylvia from La Dolce Vita.

D was a young Indiana Jones.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Friday, November 07, 2008

Living on the fringe...

After a very long and very sad morning, I went to my hairdresser for a pick-me-up. With my new job, I can't go all crazy with color like I used to, so I decided to try out a different haircut.
I got bangs! (For my readers over the pond, I got a fringe!)
It is the first time since I was 20, and I was really nervous about it, but I love it! It feels like a more updated style than what I have been sporting and they are still long enough to hide to the side.
Here is a nice blurry photo I just took.

I will take a proper photo tomorrow when I feel up to it, but for now, this at least gives you an idea of what I did.

Goodbye Ripley. We will miss you.

Ripley passed away a few hours ago. He lived a long and happy life. We are all very sad.

Goodbye old friend.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


This photo is from my neighborhood last night.

I have been fighting back tears of joy all morning.
We live in a new America today and I am so proud to be a part of this country for the very first time since I was 18 and voted for Clinton the very first time and watched him win.
Last night, I watched the world change. I saw things I will remember for the rest of my life. People spilled into the streets, and hugged and kissed, and cheered. I watched a crowded, super loud bar go perfectly silent so we could all listen to PRESIDENT OBAMA speak. (Just being able to type that, PRESIDENT OBAMA, brings more joyful tears.) People cheered and hugged and cried happy tears.

Anything is possible. We just made history and we did it together.
YES, We can!

I leave you with the last paragraph of our new president's speech last night.

OBAMA: America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves — if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.
This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.
Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

True Love.

It is looking less like "We got a new kitty" and more like, "We got Buddy a new kitty."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Another reason why she is amazing...

D: Mom...
M: Yes?
D: Sometimes I feel really bad.
M: Why, kiddo?
D: Because I know there are a lot of people out there who don't have as I much as I do in this life. I'm so happy, and so many kids don't have that. So, sometimes I feel really bad for them...
M: I am so proud of you.
D: Mom
M: Yes?
D: You are so cool.


Most. Amazing. Kid. Ever.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Happy 14th Birthday!!

My baby turned 14 yesterday! I can hardly wrap my mind around it. The time has just flown by!

We had a wonderful party, and lots of fun family time. She had Ladro pie instead of cake. We are big fans of Cafe Ladro pie. We even had it instead of wedding cake at our wedding!
She got a Wii fit game, so we have all been playing on the balance board today.

Yesterday, the girls made "Haunted houses" out of chocolate graham crackers and candy. That was great fun.

Here are some of their wonderfully creative creations:

It did turn into a frosting mustache and mono-brow contest, which was also fun, but too close to my brand new couch as far as I was concerned. Luckily, the chocolate stayed on the faces and in the tummy's and off of the furniture!

Now, I am ready to sleep for a week.

Here is a funny photo from when Darian was less than a year old. She was sad because her friend had just left with her mom. I always thought it was an adorable photo.

Since many of you asked...

What happened with the kitten?
I tried to adopt him off to a wonderful home, but it turns out he was not having it. As soon as I left he turned into a bit of a Tasmanian devil kitty and didn't act normal again until I came to pick him up the next day. It seems he and I bonded more than I realized. As soon as I brought him home, he started acting like he owned the place. He is healthy, happy and has become a fast member of the family.

Since they say, "A picture is worth a 1000 words", I give you the answer to your question:

Moo, doing what he does best these days.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Be the bacon!!

If I didn't already have my costume, I might have tried to talk Bree into being the bacon!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

As of about 5 minutes ago...

the sweet little feral kitten is now letting me pet him and give him scratches behind his ears. He was purring and rolling around for most of the last half hour.
This is a major success because now he is a huge leap forward to getting into his new home. That is all I could have dreamed for him. It is really hard to not want to take him myself after all of the work, I've become quite attached to the little kitty, but I know he will be happy in one of the possible new homes. He has really stolen the hearts of the whole neighborhood.
I can't explain how exciting it has been watching this process unfold. It is strange to think that this is the same kitty who I first saw a month ago crouching and hissing under the dumpster. He ran from everything and everyone. The neighbors and I were putting out food for him. The upstairs neighbor broke the ice by getting him to get closer to the doors, then I moved the food that I was giving him closer to my door. I spent the majority of my day off sitting in the sun with and playing with him with a toy and a string. That really broke the ice. Then I bought him a cat bed, which I put near the food. It took a day for him to get used to lounging in it. The next evening, I came home form work and he was lounging in the bed waiting for me to get home.
He has been like that for the last few nights. Tonight, I got home and there he was. I fed him, we talked, we played for a bit, then the neighbor came down and took over for a while. I went back out later and he was purring in his cat bed. I slowly reached my hand out to him and this time, he let his guard down and let me pet him. He went from a super scared feral kitten to a super sweet kitten who purrs when he gets scratches behind his ears. It was the purest most amazing thing I've witnessed in a very long time. I think he will be ready by the end of the weekend to go to a new home.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Can you say no to this face?

This is a little Feral kitty that I've been feeding outside of my apartment. He is finally to a point where he trusts me enough to come to me when I call and he even sat on my lap today. He is still very scared around other people, but improves every day.
I'd really love to see him find a nice home. I think with some work he could be a very lovable little guy. He is just really scared of humans right now. He LOVES other cats though! He gets super happy and purrs when he spots my cats by the door!
I think he would be happiest in a home with another cat, but that doesn't mean that a person without one should not adopt him. I would just love to see him find a nice place to live. I know a couple neighbors have been considering taking him in, but if you know anyone who wants to be considered, please drop me a line! I would love to take him, but we already have two cats, and Ripley has lost his vision over the last year. I'm not sure how well he would do with a new cat right now.
Here is another adorable photo of the little guy chilling on the little cat bed I got for him. (It is shaped like a cat, I thought he might like it since he reacts so well to my cats.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

RIP Wasabi

My hammie, Wasabi passed away today. My heart is broken. He was my favorite. He just hit his 2nd birthday this month. They told me dwarf hammies only live to be 12-18 moths, so I did get a lot of extra time with him.
Here is a photo of him, and a doodle I made of him.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Why all the vids?

Because I got new editing software that I'm all excited about learning how to use. I spent the good part of yesterday going through all of the random footage I have on my computer. One of the major upsides to said new software is that it can handle the better/higher res format video files that the HD camera Jon's mom gave us last year creates. It was awesome having a cool camera, but sad that I could not use it because I had no way to edit, now we can! I'm planning on using it a bunch. (Not that most of you who only see stuff on my youtube will notice, because you have to reduce it so much to upload. But I can see the difference. I even made my first honest to goodness DVD, with menus and everything!)

There are a few mistakes on the vids, for instance, I spelled Gavin's last name with one "s" on the first one, and I typed in "2009" on one of the Jon vids, but I guess that is not too bad. There is certainly a learning curve. After several hours of messing with the controls, I think I'm starting to get a handle on the software.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Best costume ever!

I found my Halloween costume today! It is a dress very similar to the dresses worn by those Polygamist wives who were all over the news a few months back.
Now if I could just get my hair just right. How does one get that much "air" in the front? Hair spray?

I will also have to watch these videos to get the robot voice pattern down. I don't know if it is an accent or just too many years of cult programming.

Monday, September 01, 2008

You've changed so much but it's still you.

Some mornings you wake up and you just know what is going to happen. No matter what you do, you can't stop it from happening.

This morning I woke up thinking about a person who I have not seen or talked to in 13 years. Someone who used to be very important to me, but is now someone I don't ever want/need to see again. In a strange way I still see glimpses of him every day, but that is only because my daughter happens to share chromosomes with him.

This morning I woke up and started going through my day in my head. Then I thought, "We will be on Broadway school shopping. What will I do if I see him there?"
You see, I got word he might be passing through Seattle about a week ago, but really I have not spent a lot of time thinking about it until today. I went through all of the possible scenarios in my head and decided I was worrying for nothing. The odds are a million to one I would ever see him.

We got dressed, and went on our merry way. We went down to hit the first store, picked up some cute things, and like I called it into being, I stepped out the front door of the store and right into him. The face I've been avoiding for the last 13 years was right in front of mine looking me in the eye.
We locked eyes. It was like it was happening in slow motion. First that somewhat confused look that says, "Where do I know you from?" then the look like they are flipping through their mental Rolodex, and then the "BINGO!" look of recognition.
I swear, we locked eyes for all of two seconds, but it felt like a lot longer. It was long enough to watch his expression go from confused to down right icy.
I wonder what my face looked like? I will have to guess shocked. I bet my mouth was even a bit agape.
He has the same face, just a lot older. It looked like life has been unkind to him. It seemed he was carrying all of his worldly possessions on his back. His friends looked like your typical Seattle street punks. Basically, not much has changed other than his apparent lack of an address.

It is funny how life works. If I had hesitated for ten seconds I would have missed him in the crowd on the street on this busy shopping day.
It is also weird how I run into him today, where if it had been last weekend I would have had two of his children he doesn't know with me! I'm not sure what I am supposed to be getting out of all of this, or if it is all just one giant coincidence, but it sure is a lot to swallow.

At least he lent me the kindness of continuing to walk and not stopping to meet the grown child he has never met. If he tried to talk to her, I don't know what I would have done. After we locked eyes, he turned his head, eyes forward, and kept walking. I just stood there watching him like a protective mother tiger ready to attack if need be, making sure he walked away before I let Darian come out of the store entry. When he reached the end of the block, he turned and looked at us one last time and then disappeared in the crowd.
It shook me to the core as much as it left her un-phased. Jon has always been her dad, so it didn't mean much to her. She was more concerned with how obviously shaken I was by the whole thing. That makes sense, I have 5 years of crazy history with him from before she was born, he was long gone before she was born. At the end of the day, chromosomes don't mean much.

I was not shaken because I am somehow afraid of him, in fact, it probably would not have bothered me as much if she was not with me. It is just instinctual. I've spent the last 13 years trying to protect her from him and that world he chose to live in.
It's interesting how two people who used to know each other so well, who lived together so long, who's lives were so intertwined, could have turned out so differently in such a relatively short span of time in the whole grand scheme of things.

I hope that is the only reunion we will ever have. Some things are better left buried in the past.

"Right now I'm hearing nothing but silence
High beams are on - I can feel you
Every piece contains a little bit of violence
and you've changed so much but it's still you."
-Ben Lee

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hang the DJ

Speaking of Pandora...
I've been working on a station of my favorite songs. In theory, if you have Pandora you should just be able to click here and you will be on my station (It is called Dreamingviola Radio.) If you don't, it only takes a second to sign up and you don't have to download anything at all, you just need a decent internet connection.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Opening pandora's box was not so bad after all....

I was recently introduced to Pandora. For those of you living under a rock, like I apparently was, Pandora is an intuitive streaming internet radio device.
It is awesome!
It is free, you get to hear loads of new music without commercials, and you get to kind of guide it along by inserting your favorite music/artists/songs.

For instance, today I created a station by just inputting the song Everyone Moves Away by The Posies. Pandora took that song and played a long string of songs with similar qualities. This is a mix of new songs that I really enjoyed and can now go buy off of iTunes if I want to. (Actually, I'm extra excited about being introduced to so many great new songs because I was getting pretty tired of my iPod play lists. I've been really jonsing for something new to listen to.)

Here are the new songs I found today from just adding that one title to my new Pandora station:

Song Name- Artist
I'm Only Sleeping- Jeff Rolka
Following A Red Balloon- Bart Davenport
Welcome Home- Radical Face
Mistress And Maid (Demo)- Elvis Costello
Lazy Man (live)- Blue Dogs And Friends
Social Frankenstein- Waste Of Aces
Andalucia- Yo La Tengo
Caroline- Kirsty MacColl
Hiding Behind The Moon- Jeff Hanson
Drift Away- Tim Oxley
Abomination- Art In Manila
Holyrollercoaster- Alan Singley & Pants Machine
It's Simple- Rose Hill Drive
A Plain Morning- Dashboard Confessional
Say It To Me Now- Glen Hansard
Holy Ground- Kan'nal

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

D & her big brother

Darian's older brother came to visit us this last weekend. The last time they saw one another, she was less than a year old, now he is 18 and living in Oregon.
We showed him around Seattle and they spent as much QT together as they could in four days.
I was going to write a long blog about all of it, but it seems all too personal. So, instead, I will just tell you that it was a pleasure to have him here, and our time together went too fast. I look forward to seeing him again sooner than later. Here is a sweet photo of the two of them at The Triple Door.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Em & her little brother

Playing "Spaceman"

More of Em & her brother HERE

"I wanted to go to the moon

I knew that it had to be fun

I told 'em to send me real soon

I wanted to be a spaceman

I wanted to be it so bad

But now that I am a spaceman

I'd rather be back on the pad"

My new curves...

I had surgery in my mouth on Friday. Now, I've had plenty of dental work over the years. A root canal is no big thing to me, but this was different. I have a genetic mutation that makes the very end of my roots curved. My teeth are straight, just the very tips of the roots have little hooks.
Most dentists find this very difficult to deal with if I need a root canal because it is hard to get back into the curved tip. Like everything else with me, I just have to be difficult. My dad says he is the same way, so I guess I inherited it from him.
I have even had a few dentists who won't work on them. They are of the mind I need a specialist. I've had good luck so far, and managed to not have any problems.

Recently, I started having a pain in the back on my jaw and my ear. Turns out on the very last top tooth, my root canal was infected. I didn't even know it could get infected after you've had a root canal and crown, but I guess it can.
Since it was already worked on, roots filled with cement, etc, there is only one way to get to it. Yes, go in through the top! EWWW!
I imagined something small, like a teeny incision and a little cleaning and it was over. I mean, I'm the girl who went camping hours after having all four wisdom teeth pulled. No big, right? I'm tough and I've never met a tooth issue that could slow me down.
I never expected what happened. I walked out with nine stitches from the back to nearly the front of my mouth. It was horrible. I slept for like a million hours and woke up looking like someone had punched me in my cheek. It was crazy. Half my face was not working. Luckily I could part my hair to cover that side of my face, but it was still too weird to be seen in public.
I woke up this morning, and it looks almost normal again. At least I am recovering quickly, but it isn't something I want to do again!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Another way to say goodbye.

My Sunday morning ritual is pretty much the same every week. I wake up, get coffee and settle in to read this week's installment of Post Secret.
I have a feeling that my Sunday morning ritual is similar to many people around the world. It is a pretty amazing community art project. It is art that lives and grows and breaths. I can't explain just how much I love it.
My favorite part is deciphering secrets that are not obvious. There was a perfect example of this kind of secret today.

This is a scene from one of my all time favorite movies, Brief Encounter. I recognized it immediately. This moment in the movie always leaves me with a lump in my throat. It is that moment that all good movies have where you know it is coming, but when you get to it, it still hits you like a slap in the face. Here is the scene on Youtube. You should really see this movie if you have not already.

Two going on twenty. Template by Ipietoon Cute Blog Design