Sunday, December 14, 2008

no pretty pix

My house is so sad. My kids are too young to know how little decorating was done this season. But the 15 totes of Christmas decorations that are not coming down from the attic know.

I usually decorate every inch of my house. Take down all my other decorations and replace with the holiday ones. I must admit defeat. The entry to the attic at this house is impossible. The only one who can navigate it is Vince, and since he's graduating from college next week :D he's been a bit too busy to ask! So busy that the poor kid turned 22 on Pearl Harbor day and we still haven't been able to get together and so much as blow out a candle.

In early November, my husband's employer gave 60 days notice that they were closing down their US operations. And 9,200 people were losing their jobs. Merry Christmas. Forget about the 18 years of service by DH. It's over. I'm not bitter. We saw it coming since spring and planned somethings accordingly - we didn't replace the mini-van after my accident, I started working on weekends to transition the family to me not being there for their every whim 24/7! So, until January I will be working a 45 week desk job with some really intimidating factors - such as if you are of Chinese descent, working in the US on a VISA, and a Canadian national, what do you need to travel to China for work? A trip to the consulate in DC? A bunch of forms that must be perfect??? Yep. AND I can't stick my part-time weekend coworkers and give notice going into the holiday madness. So, I'm working 7 days a week until January. God help me.

And I'm more that a bit afraid. DH is anxious to start collecting his unemployment checks and have some time off. And I have never, ever been married to someone who was unemployed even for a minute so, WTH?

I blew the cobwebs off of my resume and cranked out a cover letter using the remaining creative skills. And got hired within one week, at a company one mile from my home. :D I'm obviously more than just a glue stick wielding, dog walking, kid chauffeuring, volunteering type a gal.

So, I'll be trapped in my new office trying not to read pretty blogs. And feeling sad that my kids will be reduced to the ubiquitous studio print on my desk. And my Christmas decorations will be banished for another year.

If I can pull it all together, I may be able to get the girls pix this morning in their holiday jammies. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My name is Kelley and I approved this message:

The girls assured me that voting at school was more fun than accompanying me to cast my official ballot. The weather here was gorgeous, the lines - rather long - about 10-15 minutes, the parking insane, the sense of community - rather cool. It seemed everyone knew someone else and there was a lot of waving and hellos. But anti-climactic to the elementary school kids. Even with classmates in the same lines. Hopefully, we'll have a clear winner by tomorrow that will make it a bit more real to them.

I'm proud to say that my dear son was able to vote in his first Presidential election today. He was a month shy of being 18 at the last election. Kudos for the newest generation of Americans proudly voicing their convictions and casting their ballots.

You'll notice that I've stayed away from politics. I never started this blog b/c I missed my opportunity to go the political science route. I'm not that worried about convincing the rest of you all that I know more than you do, or that my right is the only way to go. I've always been politically motivated. I've volunteered for two local candidates. Stuffed envelopes. Wrote letters commending those who upheld their campaign promises. Traveled to DC on a bus to protest a President. Voted for him at a later date. My voting record is as checkered as my past.

My parents are likely canceling out each others votes today. That's okay. They raised us to be thankful for the mere privilege of voting. They're both manning the polls today. Hopefully, nothing too exciting happens there that will land them in the national spotlight. Good grief - my Dad would/could be the next Joe the Plumber or worse...

If you haven't already - VOTE!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

when life gives you reality

add rick-rack and ice cream.

Seriously. Liv's kindy class teachers decided that they should dress up as an "occupation". She shed tears and sobbed, "I don't wanta be a worker gal" .

Believe me kiddo, I hear ya.

Then, she bought into the propaganda the teachers were handing out. Suddenly, my little butterfly fairy planned to morph into her only other dream job, an ice cream girl. Forget that the rest of the school will be wearing Hannah Montana & Sharpei wigs, she'll be a sweet little ice cream girl.

From the first trip to Brewsters, she'd been a fan and wanted to be gainfully employed there. I decided it was an occasion for the great big jumbo rick rack :D And that makes me happy.
Or as happy as a middle age, over weight, pmsing woman can be at the moment.

and by the way. Could you tell people to back up, they're crowding me in line. And to keep their politics to themselves unless asked by me. Why have an automated prescription refill line if more often than not it doesn't process the renewal and makes me announce "ZOLOFT" over the drive through speaker. And people must stop parking so close to my car, and obviously stalking me so that they can leave at the exact same moment and make it uncomfortable. Everyone else needs to use their turn signals. And that one special person, stop eating all the caramel apple dip and leaving a smidgen in the bottom and dashing my dreams of chocolate peanut butter swirl with a caramel cap.

You all know who you are...

Monday, October 27, 2008

It's been a while, huh?


So long that I almost said "why bother" posting this. Then I remembered how nice it is just to post my pix for friends and family here instead of emailing, printing...

So, here ya go. The girls were invited to a church Trick or Treat party over the weekend. I thought I had until Friday to start/finish C's poodle skirt - instead I whipped that baby up in a morning. I work so much better while under a deadline. Felt is sooooo easy to work with, no wonder every novice is using it to craft their Halloween fantasy.

It has been an interesting few weekends at my national craft and fabric store - I've helped plan several SpongeBobs and Disney characters, M&Ms, a poker chip, a life size chocolate chip cookie (college gal going as "tough cookie"), a 6'4" football player in 10 yards of pink tulle for his tutu, Elvis robes, Tarzan & Jane, and yesterday's oddest costume - a life size sex toy. Not much else could raise my eyebrows after that.Here's my semi homemade TOT costumes, modeled by C and O. I cheated a bit and used a leaotard and black velvet shirt from their closets, and the wings were purchased, although I had good intentions of making them! It helped with the time crunch.

If I don't talk to you in another 6 weeks - take care!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sugar and Spice and Pig Tails

I love kindergarten! Not just the 2.5 hours of time to myself (that I often squander reading blogs!!), but the grade that I can dress Olivia any darn way I want and she complies, without peer pressure... Cathrynn has always been a tough sell. Comfort only for her first years, and then jeans and tshirts.

Anyways - I hope she doesn't hate me one day for her homemade outlandish outfits that I adore!! I'll just tell her they're all the rage and often purchased by mom-bloggers who also frequent Etsy!

Friday, September 12, 2008

of course

it's school pictures this week.

I've heard through the grapevine, from a pretty reliable 12 year old that I have the rep of being that "up-their-butt" parent. In the 'hood we have kids from 5-12 years old and I can't tell you how many near catastrophes I've singlehandedly prevented. One 12 year old is known for teaching little ones to play hide&seek in cars in 90 degree weather - even my littlest one knows to always check with me first!

I came home from work on Sunday and DH claimed they'd only been at the neighbor's house for a few minutes. Hmmm, it's free childcare for him, you calculate how long they'd been there. The mom doesn't hover like I do and it seems one of my kids always comes home with a story that raises my eyebrows or blood pressure! I knew from the moment I saw Cathrynn that something was up. She tried to blow it off. And then fessed up - they'd been down in the basement playing on the treadmill and the neighbor girl cranked up the speed and C got swept off. The mom didn't even know they were on it or that anyone got hurt. I'm just glad it wasn't worse.

On a cute note, DH told Cathrynn that they'd touch up the photo at the school. She explained to me that it would probably be the art teacher since she has the paints, lol!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11


Where were you?

I woke up with my baby daughter and staggered downstairs and was watching the TV for a few moments in disbelief. I called my mom at work. I woke up DH who just happened to be off that week. Vince was at school, a mile away.

I sat glued to the TV. I cleaned my baseboards. I could not stop cleaning.

The sky was insanely blue and beautiful. Has it ever been that way since? It doesn't seem like it. It lost it's bright blue just as much as we lost our innocence.

The days following were surreal. I live by a major airport and the skies were blank. It was eerie. When the planes started flying again, I started panicking every time I saw one. I'm still leery of them. Just today, the skies are full of military planes that seem closer and louder than normal.

But normal ended for me that day. Just as I always knew it could and would.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

perhaps

you're driving down the road, the same road you drive 10 times daily. You are driving to the elementary school, like you do twice a day, faithfully. But, you aren't listening to Hannah Montana on Radio Disney.

For some reason you are listening to Steve Perry and Journey, Faithfully. Important to note that it's Steve Perry. And not the impersonator/impostor who replaced him the late 90s. And you want to know why more people aren't outraged over this wanna-be Steve P. Don't they watch VH1, Behind the Music?

And then you can not imagine that 25 years have passed since high school. And you can't understand how time flies and stands still at the same time. And you realize perhaps you aren't crying over this band break-up and the reinvention. Perhaps you're crying over the fact that you are 43 years old and still struggling. With kids, spouse, finances... And it doesn't seem possible to have covered 25 years, and you wonder if you've gone anywhere.

Or perhaps, you're crying because your capris are too tight and you used to be really vain. And that these extra carbs are the baggage you'll carry through middle age. And perhaps you're crying because too much eye make-up at 43 looks silly, where as too much eye make-up used to be pretty sexy. And that you can change your hair color and style but the afternoon sun is unforgiving. Roots are roots and wrinkles are wrinkles. And perhaps, what you see in the rear view mirror is just that.

But perhaps you have a friend that you can call and not be able explain why you're crying. And they'll understand 100% and your tears will turn to laughter. And you'll think that perhaps PMS is better than menopause.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

my funky & fun brown eyed girl wears retro daisies

Liv models an outfit that I forgot I made her. I found it buried in my WIPs - also known as work-in-progress, or in my own case - stuff I start but rarely ever finish! The brown floral is some fun old stock I came across on a thrifting venture a while back, a few crisp yards of uncut polished cotton. The middle stripe is from a 1940s house dress. I loved putting them together :D
She's still having issues. She wants her Mommy. Yesterday was a better day as she only cried "two times". She isn't one of the ones that needs dragged from the car by brute strength. She waits until the weight of the 2.5 hours she's been away from me starts to mount. Can you imagine if she were in full day kindy??? Yikes...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

we've been lounging around...

Yeah, right! We just finished the first week of school. My baby went off to kindy!! This picture courtesy of my DS, Vince - as part of a photo shoot he did for an ad for his portfolio. It was a kid's clothing ad and I was happy to supply the clothing as well, lol!

I'm leading Cathrynn's Brownie troop this year. Yikes, the first meeting of leaders was a bit over the top and pretty darn loud, there are some people that are very passionate over the GSA. Now, I have to put my creativity to work and entertain and plan activities for 11 seven year olds. Hints, suggestions and virtual smacks in the head are welcome!

Off to cut fabric at Joanns... ttyl!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

~less asylum and more oasis~

Note to self: Please vacuum before taking pix. If you enlarge this photo you'll get a view of the debris on my floor and my messy painting on the the baseboard . And of course, the fabric banner I made would've been a bit more lovely had I pressed it first... I'm all about finishing, not about details if you haven't noticed!

PS, be sure and read Darly's comment for the official history of the junque featured here!!


Here's a sneak. I still have much more to do. Make a really long dust ruffle. I bought those cheapo white plastic risers from Walmart - and tadaaaa... I can hide 8 totes of fabric under this mile high bed! And I need a new quilt from my mom's stash. My bedroom at our last house was periwinkle, but that's my kitchen now, so I needed something different but love how soothing blue is in the bedroom. Heather, if you're reading, I know it must look like I'm a Pretty Petals wannabe - I'm hoping you don't think I copied too much but was just in love with your style! I generally go for more golden tones in my home, but decided after 10 years of debating that I'd give the cool white on white of shabby chic a try. If it feels too sterile and cold in the winter, I'll figure it out then. For now, at the end of summer - I'm loving it! I hope to get more pictures later. Off to the pool for now though...

By the way, the bed came from Dana's mom's basement. And had been dark brown. 4 cans of Rustoleum later and one week later and it is still pretty stinky, but quite pretty so I'm enduring it!
And the old record cabinet next to the bed was at Darly's the last I remember, and I'm pretty sure Dana's before that. I switched out that red toile fabric that was meticulously stapled and trimmed and glued a pretty floral bouquet heavy cotton and had the girls trim it out with mother-of-pearl buttons from my stash. Here are the girls and Skippy. He was purchased by the hubby from a puppy mill guy and has serious issues, but a good personality. Unfortunately, he must be tethered or crated or he'll destroy every thing in his path. We're trying to see how he does and briefly exposing him back to several areas of the house. Minutes after this, he messed on the kitchen floor. Skippy, why oh why???

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I'm so excited!

Edited this morning to add: Sheesh, it looks like a sterile hospital ward in the local prison! I swear I'll have it all junqued-up as soon as I complete my 8 hour shift at Joanns. Cutting fabric for other people for minimum wage, surely there is something ironic about this.

My bedroom redo is starting to really take shape!!! The wall color is Sea Glass. The pix makes it look a bit too gray...and dreary!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Back to school clothes

Life was so much easier with Vince. (well, at least for buying clothes, lol!) I'd buy him some khakis, jeans and t-shirts for back to school. Most of the stuff offered at the stores was stuff he wouldn't be caught dead in. And the final touch was the black backpack.Now, I'm faced with two little girls going to school. Yikes! They want everything they see. So much Hannah Montana stuff. Too much! They have some t-shirts but are drooling over the HM apparel at Walmart when I grocery shop.

A trip to another Walmart w/ a fabric department
(I swear my DH had something to do with ours closing after I'd skimmed off the food budget for thread, patterns...) presented us with HM fabric for $5/yard. Okay, I'll do it. I'll embellish and alter as much as I can. Add a $3.50 white tshirt to the capri set and less than $10 trendy outfit. Well, at least for a kindergarten student! I think Cathrynn will just want some jeans bedazzled and I may alter a few plain tshirts for her with the fabric as well.
Home improvement projects are wrapping up for the summer. I hope to have some final results to show you soon before I resume my career as my kiddos' chauffeur.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

sand & shells

This may be as close to the beach as I get this summer... I've moved on to my next painting project. I decided the paint upstairs needed to be a bit more sand than the taupe in the downstairs.

I somehow didn't notice the color I ended up with is Buttered Up. You can imagine that I freaked when it went on really yellow. But alas, it's nice and exactly what I wanted. Yeah!

And this spot in the upstairs hallway has been troublesome. It always ended up a stopping spot for the laundry baskets, toys... Then, this dresser was on the way to the curb, but DH wasn't in the mood to carry it with me and suggested it looked great there. I coat of white paint did the trick and the hideous 90s bi-fold door has been replaced with an extra panel of toile drapery, leftover from the family room. I love the end result. Just need a mirror or painting for over it...

Summer 2008 - Paint.

And, my mom mentioned that she used to spend every August at the sewing machine whipping out clothes for us girls. And here I am, doing the same... here's a little top I'm working on. The capris will be trimmed with ruffles of course. I love kindergarten... hope Liv doesn't freak and actually goes. Yikes...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Queen Anne's Lace

I've noticed that I can't take a camera on our walks anymore. A wild puggle keeps both my hands busy. So these pictures are my girls last summer at Dana's house picking Queen Anne's lace. We'd better get our butts up there or the birds will have finished off the blackberries!

Here's a batch we picked on today's walk, and watched three tiny does munching their dinner. We were in awe and Skippy never noticed them as they were about 30 feet away so he didn't scare them off. At home, we conducted an experiment. I've never dyed flowers in the days of Wilton gel dyes, but the water turned gorgeous hues - they're hoping the flowers will be just as bright. I like mine au natural in a messy bunch.
Did you read about Karla's husband bringing her a bouquet of it into a restaurant for her... now that's a scene from a romantic movie, dont'cha think???

Project Runway

To a middle aged wannabe seamstress - there's nothing more exciting that whipping up a little twirly skirt and watching Project Runway. Can you imagine that Jerell whipped up this beauty? I think it didn't make the top cut b/c it's more red carpet or night at the opera than the New York night life vibe they were after.

Btw, no one stands out for me so far as exceptional - I may venture and post my favorite 3 and see how they do, starting next week when I've had time to properly analyze the contestants, lol! A few are just so strange, talk about wannabes of season's past!
Here's what I was inspired to do... straight forward madras meets an urban floral. You can't really see but the middle tier fabric has a slight greyish grunge to it, distressed like a great piece of scrapbook paper. I believe it's by Tracy Porter and I bought the lone yard on the clearance bolt at Joanns. Speaking of my gal pal Joann, drum roll please... I am officially employed as a part timer at Joanns. Weekends and minimum wage, with additional discount. The DH thinks it'll be nice for us both. I'm thinking how cool it will be to mentally shop while I'm getting paid and he's "watching" our kids. By the time I'm done my girls will have every item they own embellished. Here's a pair a Cathrynn's capris that she tore the knees. I cut them off and made her some fancy shorts. To quote my friend Mel, "holy rick-rack!"

Monday, July 28, 2008

Serendipity!

I went with friends recently to an antique mall, certain that the petite French Provincial desk that had been painted glossy white with hot pink trim would be there waiting for me. It was unique (to say the least!) and a bargain for Olivia's tiny room and her youthful color scheme - we're doing butterflies, stripes, lavender, yellow and pink... it would be perfect!Nope - it was gone! But, the decorating fairies were with us. Cathrynn's room redo has stripes of chocolate, light aqua and pale pink. Pale polka dot sheets and stenciled brown daisies.

This kidney shaped desk/vanity is perfect for Cathrynn's room! And it's painted just a shade brighter than the wall color. At another booth, we spotted the chair, which has a brown checked fabric! And it was painted the same yummy color.
IMO, it's trendy but not over the top like her request for neon animal print and faux fur with pleather trim. I'm not kidding - no more accompanying me to Joann's - she was all over the dance apparel fabrics!!! YIKES! Who's kid is this?? On a solo trip I found this great silk shantung with embroidered roses in brown and pink... yum! She loved it once I got it all put together...
Desk = $19.95
Chair = $12.00
Not having to paint 'em = Priceless!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

a little laughter to share...

"I'm grow'd up.
Wanta know how I know?
'Cause I don't watch Mr. Roberts and the Muffins anymore."

Olivia, age 5



Have you ever noticed

that painting is never ending? I feel like I'm doing the Golden Gate bridge here. I started in the family room. And then realized that the hallway nearby really needed painted. And all the walls in the dining room needed refreshed. And then, I finally finished the wall in the living room. Started over a year ago and I ran out of paint and momentum.
And I started up the the stairs. And realized that the H (nope, no DH, he's just the H these days) has misplaced my extension pole to paint the ceiling there. The man has everything he's ever touched, but can't locate something that's 4 feet long. Whatever.
So, I moved upstairs. After doing a switch-a-roo of all the bedrooms a couple months ago, I decided to tackle Cathrynn's room. She wants to have play dates over and frankly, the room was more shabby than chic. Or as we like to call it, Shabby Shit. Inspired by a picture someone posted on a message board I frequent, I decided to paint stripes. Because I'm an idiot. And hate measuring. She's young enough not to have noticed (yet!)and there's some sway to those lines and a lot of touch ups to do.For now, it's like a yummy bowl of Neopolitan ice cream, with a cool stripe of pale aqua & brown daisy ribbon. I still have to paint the centers of the daisies a bright pink. And the dresser and desk while probably go the obvious antique white. Of course, all the crap from her room is piled high in the closet and hallway, but this is the closest to clean it'll be - so I went for the photo opp. And the drapes - gorgeous pink and brown roses embroidered on silk shantung for $3.00 from Joanns! I love the red tag 50% sale!! Still no comforter or quilt, but I'm, on the hunt. This brown/pink/aqua thing is still happening if you believe what Target's selling. So, I may be slacking in Blog land, but I'm quite busy at home, regardless as to what you've heard otherwise...

Your paint splattered friend,
Kelley