Friday, February 29, 2008

Rube Goldberg

Okay, so the premise of these things is: 1) You have a simple task to perform; 2) The process is super elaborate to complete the task. There was even an episode of Mythbusters where they made one, and I'm planning on having the youth I work with make them this summer.

Thanks to Katie for this site . Enjoy!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

How did THESE get here...???

El Diablo. Beelzebub. Satan. Resident Evil. El Chupacabra.
Pleased to meet you...hope you guess my name.

Pictured above is the latest bit of holiday devilry to enter my home. I have a very large and well-known weakness for sugar. No chocolate (I know, I know...but honestly, it does NOTHING for me!), just the sweet goodness of sugar in many forms. Caramel. Cotton candy (my highlight of 2007 involves a carnival-grade cotton candy machine at my disposal, at WORK). Sweetened condensed milk, straight from the can. Baskin-Robins Pink Bubblegum ice cream. Chewy Spree, Runts, and Sweet-Tart candies. Skittles gum. And the best candy ever? Razzles. First its a candy, then its a gum. Brilliant mad sugar scientists are working very hard in a laboratory somewhere to keep me addicted/happy.

In a pinch, I've been known to carmelize brown sugar with a bit of butter and drizzle it over fruit (everyone knows that fresh fruit negates all sugar calories, right?). Don't worry, once these cookies are gone, I'll be sated...until the Easter version shows up at the grocery.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Short & Sweet

Do you know how excited I was to see a high of 22 degrees for the day? Oh man, that's like French Toast with lots of butter and syrup right about now: awesome.

So, its another work week down, and tomorrow I'm off on a ski trip to the Porcupine Mountains. First time going that far west and not continuing on to Minnesota. These last two weeks have just been a blur. I can barely remember what has happened, what I promised to whom, and if I even brushed my teeth before bed most of those nights. I'm hoping that this next week will get me back in the groove of things. I've got a visit under the bridge planned, and then....


First some greasy an delicious pizza, then off for a sauna before bed.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Creativity Calls

Okay, so a few days ago I said I'd write about my new art projects. Well, here's my plan:

In the past few years, I've made pieces that fall into one of three categories: 1) clothing items made from maps; 2) small hand-embroidered versions of photographs; and 3) needle-punched/felted images that are usually more somber than the other two types of work.

So I'm going to make a series of images now, and I have an idea for each category. Category #1 all relates to my life, in the autobiographical sense; #2 relates to family (and by this I mean the people I'm related to AND those people I choose to call family); and #3 are 99% the result of dreams.

These categories are really just a pattern I recognized in past work that I'm now using as a basis for future work. Does this make sense to anyone besides me? I hope so. Look for progress reports in the next few months, but for now I hope you enjoy the photos of past work (TOP: "Baby's Toys" 1993,oil on paper. BOTTOM: "Glance" 2006, felted wool.).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Shout Out

I still have 7 minutes left, officially, of Valentine's Day. I spent the evening in the company of My Favorite Redhead and her co-worker (My Favorite Half-Shiksa, if there is such a thing) dining on "eh" Mexican food (honestly, how hard is it to make refried beans and warm up some tortillas?) and drinking waaaaayyyyy too many vodka gimlets (which for me means "more than one").

I love my girlfriends. If you are a female and have girlfriends (no matter which other category they fall into- sister, aunt, etc.), you know what I'm saying: Girlfriends=Sanity. So there.

But now my night is coming to a close, and my eyes are beginning to droop even though its not yet close to my normal bedtime.

Here's a shout out to my girlfriends: S.S., B.B., L.P., L.G., I.M., P.F., N.Mc., J.W., J.A., J.K., D.D., and ALLLLLL of my sistahs, cousins, aunts, sisters-in-law, my Mom, my mother-in-law... All of you. Happy Valentine's Day. I love you all.

And NO, I'm not drunk. :o)

Make It Work!

Happy Valentine's Day, and didja see "Project Runway" last night? W-O-W! I have to say, I thought the judges made the right decision by allowing Rami and Chris to both continue. Rami's draping (while getting boring, sure) is to die for, so chic and flattering. Chris' costume-y pieces are so fantastic- I was thinking exactly what Roberto Cavalli said about the couture-ness of Chris' work. Who doesn't love a little drama with their fashion?

I can't believe they didn't notice (or even call to attention) Jillian's crappy hem job on that dress, though. She makes a mean jacket, and if I had mile-long legs like those models, I'd sure as hell wear that gold dress, even in the (much warmer than two days ago) 16 degree snow storm here in Upper Michigan.

Christian. Oy! Pretentious twit. Conceited. Snooty. I love him. The clothes are awesome, and the styling is impeccable. I can't wait to see what he showed at Fashion Week.

And then out goes poor Sweet P. The judges earned their money there, didn't they? Her clothes ARE wearable and flattering and commercial, but they're not that exciting. I could probably find that dress she made last night at twenty different stores, no? Double kiss, and I'm sorry, you're out.

Next week is the reunion show. Aren't those fun? I'm wondering what sort of drivel will come out of stiff Victorya's mouth (I never liked her), how that crazy Grace Jones hairdo girl will behave (I can't remember her name...), and if Ricky will cry. It's always good when someone up and leaves during the discussion, too.

Also, did you know that there's a Tim "Master Guru" Gunn BOBBLEHEAD (pic above)? My friend Jessica emailed me about it. It is, of course, the classiest bobblehead ever. I'm waiting to see if they have a Tim Gunn Magic 8 Ball thingy...maybe in the shape of one of those tomato pin cushions? Master Guru Gunn, do these bronze ankle strap pumps work with my new jeans, opaque black tights and Kelly green sweater? (shakeshakeshakeshakeshake)

"This worries me."

Tomorrow, a word or twenty about my new art project (yes, I still make pieces of art...that fancy schmancy degree from that fancy schmancy art school ain't going to waste! I'm too practical to waste the kind of money it cost me!).

Click HERE to get your very own Master Guru Gunn bobblehead. And smile, already- its Valentine's Day, and really, there IS somebody who loves you!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Rockin' Friday Night

Sad, but true. This is really how I spent my Friday night. Dinner at a faux-diner with Mr. Fix and Daughter #2, then home to a single beer, computer time, and then- call it, Sarah!- a visit from my friends Stacy and Clinton of TLC's "What Not To Wear."

Yes, Katie, they ARE my friends. Sarah's, too. So there.

Two evil Loft House frosted sugar cookies later, and I'm comatose under the electric blanket. Honestly, what could top beer, sugar, and fashion in the same night? Sex? Hmmm...

Does anyone else find it difficult to not make over people you see in public? I don't mean just commenting on their awful "mom jeans" or terrifically bad hair, I mean, does anyone else seriously think through how you could change a person's life if they'd just let you voice your opinions on their attire? I hope its not just me who is shallow like that. And I don't even think I'm that shallow. But for someone who loves fashion, aspired at one point to be a fashion designer (going so far as to get into art school under that guise), its very hard for me to absorb so much bad clothing when I'm out in public.

Not that I'm a fashion diva. I've been known to rock the snow boots with my pant legs tucked in (this more out of practicality than a deliberate fashion faux pas). But I do know that personal image IS important, that people DO judge you by how you look, and that you only have one chance to make a first impression. So I heed the advice of one of my favorite style gurus, and each day I try to "Make it work!" I wish more people would heed the call. Sigh.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Pretty Birds, Bubbles, and Bling

This photo is for My Favorite Local Celebrity and the new friends she made recently in Norfolk, VA. I gave her one of my tote bags as a "Good Luck" gift, and she got some compliments on it, so...

A brief word about the totes: I love making them; they are my favorite handbag to make. And now details: They are vegan (important to many people), made from vinyl and 100% cotton linings. There are two basic designs, but I have been known to create and construct custom designs (like a bowling pin/bowling ball combo).

"Pretty Bird" is, of course, the bird design. I love birds, but they do gross me out sometimes watching them feed their young and rip apart roadkill. But they can FLY! And those feathers! It also goes back to the whole "roots and wings" philosophy. Not familiar? Its a parenting thing- show your children their roots, but give them the wings to fly out on their own. (Awww...)

"Bubbles" is a reference to a guilty pleasure television show, "Dharma and Greg." There was one episode where Dharma and her mother were talking about negativity and issues that were bothering them, and then mother and daughter did what we should all try to do with our troubles: put them in a bubble, and blow them away.

The "Bling" is there because I like the sparkly, okay?

You can have your very own bag if you'd like. Email me ( and we'll talk.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Must. Get. Warm.

It's a balmy -9 degrees this morning. I am so cold. My blood pressure must be somewhere around 40/70. Winter, is by far, my least favorite season. I'm all about sitting on a beach somewhere with a good book, iPod, snacks, and a Coca-Cola Classic getting warmed by the sun (me getting warm, as well as the Coca-Cola!).

Flashback to adolesence: Lisa, do you remember laying out on the balcony off Mom & Dad's room? For those not in the know, it's really the roof of the front porch, although it extends the width of the house. It is covered completely in tar. We would go out there with a crappy radio tuned to KIIK 104 or 97X, slather on some BABY OIL and bake. For hours. So far, the Skin Cancer gods have looked the other way.

When I lived in Illinois, I never really thought about Winter all that much. We'd go to school (high school, anyway) in shorts in mid-January. ("But, Mom- I'm going to be INSIDE all day! I'll be FINE!" Eye roll, disgusted teenage sigh, feet stomping out the door, aaaaannnnddd CUT!) Even in grade school we'd sometimes brave the elements without long pants under the skirts of our school uniforms. (Ahhhh...Catholic School plaid!)

I've tried to like Winter. I even learned how to ski, and I have snowshoes and a down jacket. I wear hats regularly. I think a remote car starter is a great investment. I drink hot chocolate or coffee with yummy alcoholic additions. None of this, however, helps as much as the sun. I guess the only way I'll truly enjoy Winter is by escaping its clutches. Donations to my newly established Winter Travel Fund can be directed to...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Subversive Knitting & The New Etiquette

Here's a link to a really intersting interview that was on NPR (Katie's favorite!) and forwarded to me by my friend, Bobbie.
Click here for the story.

I think, but am not certain, that Bobbie's sister-in-law (the new librarian in town and my neighbor) is a knitter. Why do I think this? Well, I kinda remember Bobbie saying something about it, and then there was my trip to the library the week before last.

It started when I was looking at my lastest issue of Interweave Knits (thank you, Doctah Freuh), and in the new books section was a book on knit kimonos. I made a mental note to find the book and look it over my next visit to the yarn store. Later that same day, I went to the library to pick up some children's books for work, when- lo and behold- there was the kimono book on display with the other new acquisitions. I quickly scooped it up and ran to check it out before any of the old ladies circling the stacks knew what I had. The clerk checking out my selections mentioned that the knitting section was greatly improved with the new librarian in charge...So does she knit, or is she just being a good librarian and staying on top of trends?

Whatever. But I'm thinking that when my living room is done being renovated I'll host knitting club and issue an invite to her. Here's a question for you: She and her husband and son have lived in the house behind ours for about a year it bad that we haven't introduced ourselves? I mean, we have people in common, so I'm fairly certain that we know who each other is. Is that a comment on the lack of etiquette that can be so pervasive in today's society? And wouldn't you think it would be more easily found in a larger city than in a small rural town? Thoughts?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

New Music & Dancing

One of the things I like to do on the weekends is find new music. Now, there are several ways one can do this- recommendations from friends, listening to the radio, whatever- but one of my faves is to scan the Celebrity Playlists section of the iTunes Music Store. Another is to hang out at the Dirty D with My Favorite Redhead and My Favorite Local Celebrity and groove to some seriously filthy dance music. Some of that music is just N-A-S-T-Y! And I love it. It kinda makes it fobidden, and therefore somewhat sexy.

I wish my husband could dance sometimes. If I ever get him out on the dance floor, its to a "slow song" and his dancing consists of his arms around my waist and a slow shuffle of his feet back and forth, almost in rhythm to the music. Think back to the gymnasium scene at your high school prom, and you've got it.

Best times dancing? Good gravy...we used to have dance contests in our living room as kids. My brother Peaches (oooo, I'm gonna get it for calling him that!) would act as DJ and judge. My sisters Lisa and Sarah and I would dance to the same 45 record (!!!), and then a winner would be named. I think the winner got to pick the next song for the contest, but I'm not sure. I can't even remember any of the songs now.

Dancing with my sisters is a theme, I guess. There was that recent trip to Florida/ Disney World Marathon and our time spent on Pleasure Island at a club called "8 Tracks." Best. Dance. Music. Ever. And (more importantly) I looked hot. Family weddings, nights out in small town bars, my mom's living room, driving in the car to the start of the Chicago Marathon...always music, always laughter.

Challenge for the day: get up and dance.

Friday, February 1, 2008


So how does everyone feel about the political landscape these days? Big changes after the Florida primary races, and now just two Democrats, really, and two and a half Republicans.

Here's what I want to see: I want Barack Obama to stop the preaching and get down to the meat and potatoes of the meal. I've said it once, and I'll say it again: what bothers me most about him is that he seems to be the personification or embodiment of what I like to call the "Oprahfication of America." I'm all for hope and a new way of doing things and all that jazz, but I'm too practical-minded to go on faith alone. And I get the feeling that I'm not really welcome by his campaign if I can't believe he's going to make a change with this idealistic message of "hope."

And now Senator Clinton: Isn't it sad that the media and others are portraying her as the "Old Guard"? I like that she has experience, I like that she's direct about her goals, I like that she's unapologetic about her past. Why is it that strong, smart, independent women who are driven to succeed are labeled as "bitch" or some other unfeminizing name? It's happened before (hello, Martha Stewart!), and it'll keep on happening.

That being said, I'm still undecided at this point. So serious today! Maybe I'll have some fun to share later.