Sunday, February 26, 2012

from the sea to grilled cheese

We were on vacation this week. Bliss! No school, no homework hell, no shuttling about and around, unless it was my choice to do so. Stayed in my pajamas until nearly 11 every day. Doodled. Doodled more. Penned this ode to the sea. I love living so close to the edge of land -- the air tastes and smells so fresh here that I want to take a bite out of it.

Continued work on the banner. (My plan was to have this finished two weeks ago; now it will be done when it is done ;))

Took an afternoon trip to the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut, on Cathy's recommendation. A terrific and watery spot on Long Island Sound.

little surprise
Got a sweet little something from my friend Robin. Is it bad that I still haven't opened it? I like looking at the wrapping, wondering what's inside, letting the suspense build.

Watched my birdie watch the birdies.

Spent a gorgeous day in Central Park. Climbed rocks, ate waffles from street vendors, played around in the sunshine. (This is February? Not complaining.) Then I made them walk from 81st to 33rd street on the way back to the train. They didn't like that part, but I did.

The thrill of vacation wore thin by Friday and my kids were sick of each other. I was sick of the bickering, so I put paintbrushes in their hands and let art do its thing. It worked!

And, lest I forget, I also had an amazing grilled cheese.

That's this week's bliss list. Go see Liv for more!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

measuring up and belly laughing


1) When I feel like I'm not measuring up to the world around me, this little guy offers joy and reassurance. He tells me to wear my color with pride. That my path can take the long, winding road. That he'll be there if I do need to take the fast, direct, accurate route. That with a push of the button in the middle, he'll take the measuring stick away entirely, no questions asked.

2) There were exactly two juice boxes left for lunches on Friday. I'm usually one short of everything when I'm packing lunches, especially when I'm in a rush. It was a good omen.

3) I doodled five letters for what will be an 8 foot banner when I'm finished. Peep here. (I put a lot of works and creations in progress over on my Facebook page if you want to hang out with me there too!)

4) I'm soaking up the new Design*Sponge book. I rarely buy home decor books, but something told me to get this one and it is a prize winner. I spent a couple of heart-thumping nights this week making lists of ideas and spinoff ideas.

5) I cleaned out the car for the first time since leaving Kansas. It was bad, so bad I can't even tell you. It's remarkable how reclaiming one small space like that emboldens me. Right now I feel like the most powerful woman in New Jersey driving around in my clean car. This will change as soon as someone drops a Cheerio or M&M in it.

6) Karen opened her beautiful home again yesterday to Lisa, Jen, Beth and me for a crafty afternoon. It is restorative to be around friends who make me feel at home here. Thank you online world for connecting us all.

7) Last night I took my regular walk up the hill to my Distant Perch, which rises just above the treeline and opens up to a beautiful view of New York City. Up above I saw stars and planes; down below I saw the trains; in the distance I saw the beautiful skyline through the fog and rains. I didn't mean for that to all rhyme. It just did.

8) My kids belly laughed themselves to sleep last night. My older one has a giggle that sounds like a high powered waterfall; my younger one has a deep, hearty, healthy cackle.

{That's the bliss list this week!}

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

caffeinated mini journals

I have something up my (coffee) sleeve today: more itty bitty books! The last time I made these, i didn't explain how I did it. How rude! This time I will.


Drank lots of coffee. Saved sleeves. Begged baristas and neighboring patrons for more. Dug them out of trash cans. Then: I pulled each one open, trimmed a 2.25"x4.5" rectangle out of it, and put two coats of metallic craft paint on each side.


While those were drying, I chopped up rectangles of the same size from paper bags for the journal innards.


Went magazine diving to get collage material for the journal covers. (This is my favorite part!)


Painted larger rectangles out of paper bags to layer with the collaged pieces on the cover.


Then I folded over the dried coffee sleeve rectangles (corrugated side facing out), inserted five paper bag pages and glued on the little collage pieces.

Using a mini hole punch, I made a hole at the top and the bottom of the spine (punched through all the pages, too), and bound it with craft wire. From there it was guesswork and fun; I added beads, threads, sequins, and other doodads.

And that's it! :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

happy heart valentines












A mama/daughter collab in progress: happy heart valentines! I'm cutting, she's drawing, we're both stitching, and crossing our fingers they'll all be done for tomorrow. So far we've completed 11, with 14 to go. Factory work shall resume today when the school bell rings. (Something tells me this might be a crafty all nighter for the mother...)

Friday, February 10, 2012

from bowls to stanley

1. Bliss starts this week with my happy little patterned bowls. Not one was broken this week. (I can't say the same for last week.)

2. My coffee. Any form. Always. It is such a staple in this household that it was my third grader's first idea for a science fair project. Experiment: she wants to drill a hole in the top of the coffeemaker and flip the switch. Hypothesis: coffee will brew upward.

3. Happy mama Lisa invited me over to her house this week.  The instant I walked into her house i felt like i was being hugged by sunshine. You can see why.

Her colorful creations are all over the house. I adore this banner. It's so bold, bright and right.

4. And, though it wasn't planned, this morning turned into the Nibble Doodle Hop. I took my pen & paper to the Midland Park Starbucks for a cuppa, migrated to the Kosher Nosh cafe in Allendale for matzo ball soup, and finished with a cappuccino at Sook Pastry in Ridgewood. I got more work accomplished in one morning than I have all week. Gotta keep moving (and eating) I guess ;)


5. Seeing my kids' things strewn about the tiny apartment (aka the wicker hellhole).


6. I took a lunchtime break to go thrifting at my favorite vintage shop. It's the kind that is so great that you want to tell everyone about it -- but you can't tell anyone about it. I got a seriously 70s polyester dress that disguises everything it needs to, plus a pair of Prada shoes for next to nothing. Also picked up a pair of Camper flats for $10.


7. I love whipping up colorful doodads to go in my Etsy packages. These little coupons are going in all of my February orders.

8. We got a huge bag of tortilla chips from Tito's Burritos. They're the best! And -- I finally got Flat Stanley off my desk! My poor nephew has been waiting a month for him. I have a terrible track record as a FS hostess. But he did manage to take his tour of north Jersey, he is on his way back to Chicago, and I am formally retiring from the Flat Stanley business. If one comes home with either of my kids from school, I plan to fake his journey ;)

That's the bliss report this week. Go see Liv for more! Happy weekend!

Friday, February 3, 2012

how liv held me accountable

"make a little bliss list," she said. huh? what's that? i've been so preoccupied with trying to whittle down my rapidly growing non-bliss list that i had paid virtually no attention to the good. but there were plenty of lovely moments this week -- some fleeting, some enduring -- and here they are.
i wore my favorite ring by mirthmarket.

yesterday was mix or match day at school. my girl went for the mix.

i found the only fresh market in new jersey. but it doesn't carry wine. scratch that second part -- that goes on my non-bliss list.

these are doormats that understand me.

i found the celery farm nature preserve. there is no celery and there is no farm. just a lot of nature in the middle of urban mania.

indian food always makes me happy.

a kind soul knew that these kinds of lights should be left up all year round.

i watched my little one play with her train on the magic carpet.

and i started on the next magic carpet. anyone who needs immediate therapy should pick up a crochet hook; the tension just melts away. this one has kind of an 80s modern look. it started from a pair of ripped pants.

my kids' artwork. i want to hop on that sky pencil.

and that's not all.

i ran into my new friend beth at the gas station yesterday while refueling for an escape to jerry's artist outlet in west orange. we made a coffee date & off i went. 

then i loaded up with art supplies.

panera lemonade kicks ass.

someone asked me for directions and i was able to give them, successfully and correctly. i guess that means i'm a local now.

my daughter found $20 on the playground and turned it into her teacher. i was so proud of her.

on a few occasions when i could have completely freaked out, i listened to benny hill and spanish flea and burst out laughing instead.

oh, there were so many things. thanks liv. i can post this with a smile. if you want to share your own little bliss list go here. and happy weekend :)