Thursday, April 30, 2009

sugar fix

Today I need a lot more than sugar...but I'm nothing if not true to my word, so I will post my Spoonful of Sugar despite the crushing need to hide forever. It makes me pretty happy to find cute things, so I guess I get something out of it too.

I happened to find this next item on the recently listed screen of Etsy. When you feel like crap, it helps to watch them just flash across your screen. So much prettiness. It's like getting distracted by something shiny. Then, I have this game I play where I see how fast I can click on something and add it to my cart. Bonus points if I've paid in under a minute...Just a little mental health tip from me to you.
So here the cutest thing I've ever seen besides my puppy:

It comes from Renee's Funky Country. She's got all kinds of adorable hand painted art and signs (lots that you can customize!). The crosses are stunning, so be sure to check those out as well. You can visit her shop here:

Her stuff makes me want to pinch some one's cheeks. The face cheeks, folks. I'm not quite that desperate yet.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

hard doesn't give you an excuse to be a jerk

Ok. I was all showered and laying in bed, but something is bothering me. I even got up and changed my pillowcases, which usually makes me feel better, but it was a no go. Not even my Ambien has knocked me out yet. That's never a good sign. I keep a journal by my bed so that I can write things down. I keep lots of stuff in there; to-do lists, blog ideas, shop ideas, things to say to my ex-husband next time he actually answers the phone when I call. I'm weird like that. I have to get things off my mind and written down so I can remember to say/do/think them the next day. I scribbled a whole danged page on this crap. Hopefully after this I can rest peacefully.

So here it is. People can be so nasty! Unprovoked and everything. It has to be a crappy existence to be that miserable. Ok. The beginning. I was hanging out in the forums on Etsy doing some networking and chatting. One of the kind of etiquette things you do is to make sure when you promote yourself, to look at the other people's shops and comment on their stuff. Kind of a give and take deal. I have no problem with it and would probably do it whether it was expected or not.

Now, remember when your mom always said, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything"? Yeah. Some people didn't get the memo. This chick gets on, posts her items, and starts talking trash about other people. She was critiquing rudely and just being downright mean. Then she starts asking why we all waste our time promoting other people's shops when we had ourselves to look out for. Really? Wait, really? I. Don't. Get. That.

Someone asked me the other day why I feature other people's shops in my blog and not my own. I mean, I'm no saint. There's links to all my sites in the sidebar...Anyway, this person was being sincere and not at all mean-spirited. They just wanted to know. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything wrong with promoting yourself. I'm sure I will on here at some point. I sure do everywhere else. However, I believe in karma or whatever you want to call it. What goes around comes around, pay it forward, do unto others, and gee, I don't know, BE NICE! What good does it do anyone to be ugly? And why do people think that it's ok to be that way? Does no one punish their children anymore? People are seriously growing up thinking it's ok to be like that.

Ugh. Anyway, that's not what I was taught. My parents led by example on how to treat other people. I suppose I was really lucky in that regard. Even in my divorce, when I want to be nasty and vindictive and bitter, I can't. It's not right. He's being generous and kind most of the time. Besides freaking leaving me. It's a hard situation for us both, but hard is not an excuse to be a jerk. When I was telling my parents about how we were splitting things, etc., I told them that I wasn't going to be difficult and drag things out and make things harder just because I was in pain. You better believe I fought my ass off though. Don't think I didn't. I kicked and screamed and clawed. I sobbed, cried, yelled, begged, reasoned, bargained, guilted, and generally pulled out all the stops. I still haven't totally given up on the idea. There comes a point when you have to let go though. When acceptance becomes necessary. There's a difference between being nasty and letting yourself get walked on.

Ok, focus. So I was telling my parents that I wasn't going to be nasty and stuff, and my dad just looked at me and said, "I wouldn't expect you to be. That's not how you were raised." It was simple, but it's so true. It really struck me. I did everything I could. I fought for what I wanted; for what I thought was right. But when it comes down to it, you have two choices in life. You can be miserable or you can be happy. And you can bet your boots it's a choice. If you start blaming someone else for your feelings and attitude, it's a cop out. What happened to just doing what's right because it's right? Integrity? Decency? Kindness?

Ok, focus for real. This is a sore spot for me. Obviously, since I just went on a page long rant. I just want to make a point though. If you want to be selfish and do something that truly benefits yourself - help someone else. Smile at someone. Say something kind. Hold the door for a mom with her kids. Let someone in front of you in traffic.

I'm not saying I'm this calm, serene, pleasant person all the time. I'm so not. I'm bitter, sarcastic, angry, and downright grouchy on my good days lately. But that's me. That's not someone else's fault. So no one else should have to pay for my problems. And I find that if I make an effort to just do the right thing, I feel a lot better at the end of the day.

Really. This time I will focus. So, why do I promote other people's shops? Because they work hard and they deserve it. They put part of themselves into the things they make. Because making someone else's day makes my day. Plus I need all the good karma I can get after all the awful things I think about my soon-to-be-ex :)

Your attitude will make or break a relationship, a business, a family. The only way you can truly be a successful human being is to share your good fortune. To be grateful for what you have, no matter how much or how little, and let that show through the things you do. Of course, there's the whole "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" thing. It's true. You usually get back what you give tenfold. But how much better would things be if we all did what's right just because it's right? If we were all kind and nice just to be kind and nice?

Some days I think it will kill me, but it makes me a better person. I don't ever want to reach a point where I'm not actively trying to be a better person. I ordered myself a (handmade!) bracelet that has my new motto on it: "Be calm. Be strong. Be grateful." It's been my solace, my downfall, my mantra, my yearning, and my heartfelt plea for the past few months. But you know what, I'm ok. I will live the rest of my life knowing that I conducted myself in a way that I can be proud of during the darkest time of my life. And believe me, that's what makes life worth it.

I'm a little calmer now. Breathing a bit deeper. The Ambien-induced hallucinations are setting in. I'm not trying to preach or be holier than thou. I'll be the first to admit that I'm the last to be perfect. But I try. And you know what they say...It's the thought that counts.

So give someone else a boost. Share the love. Put a good word in. Think of something nice to say. Be encouraging. It may not be today and it may not be a year from now, but it will come back to you when you least expect it. At least, that's what I'm counting on. Run your life and your business in a way that will stand up to scrutiny and in a way that you can be proud of, no matter what comes. Because, in the end, that's all you can really do. Everything else just happens.

you're invited...

To Jersey's 4th birthday party! Not really, but I'm posting pictures. She loved her cake. She was adorable, by the way. I've had "friends" call me weird for getting my dog a cake. Some friends :) Here's what I think: it brings me great joy to do things like that. I need joy, people. Like for real. AND there are bakeries just for dogs, so I must not be alone. I know one cake a year isn't keeping them all afloat.

And now, before my pictures, I'd like to introduce everyone to a new friend. She's hilarious and she's made my day multiple times today. That's not easy to do! Check her out here: or here: Give her some love and send some cash money her way :) Thanks so much, Keirsten!

And now the moment you've all been waiting for...doggie pictures! And I promise, from now on my blog will be more about art. Well, mostly. I'll try, ok???

Hahaha. Ok. I'm just a proud mom. She's the most precious thing in the world!
Ok, now; art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art, art!

today's sweetness

I totally just realized that I'm going to run of of catchy titles for my Spoonful of Sugar feature real quick. I wonder if you can title more than one post the same thing or if blogger will yell at you. I'm going to have to try pretty soon, I think.

I'm going to try to get this done before I have to go get my doggie's birthday cake. It's way cute. I'll post pics later :)
Anywho, in honor of my doggie's birthday, my sugar fix (literally!) is just for her. These treats are so adorable! They come from Diva Dog Bakery. I picked the sampler because I couldn't decide which were my favorite. Although, the donuts are front runners right now.

Not only are they darling miniatures of "people" food, they're as good for your dog as they can be! Check out their whole shop full of doggie yummies at

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

this is how we do it

Tomorrow I put grout sealer on two new items! I'm excited. Sometimes I wish there was a little more instant gratification in tiling. I lay the tiles out and try to see the finished product, but without grout it just looks strange. I get so excited about the piece that I can't stand not seeing the actual end result right away.

It's so not a fast process though. First you have to figure out how to arrange and space the tiles. For me that takes about 4 days. Ok, so not really. But I do rearrange over and over. The tiles slip and slide around till you have them stuck down, so I'm always adjusting a little here and there; knowing the whole time that it's not going to be perfectly straight cause I can't make them stay exactly how I want. Not that the actual sticking part is any better. I twist and turn and nudge the tiles to within an inch of their lives. It's a good thing tile adhesive takes so long to set.

If I get things figured out early enough in the day (rarely...) I can stick them down in time to be able to grout the next day. I got excited once and grouted too early. My neatly arranged tiles were sliding all over the place and I couldn't fix them because I had grout all over my hands. You're supposed to wear gloves, but they get in my way so I just use my fingers. It makes for raw fingers most days.

Ok, off topic. Focus. If I get them glued early enough, I can grout the next day. I always do 2 coats of grout. Call me anal retentive, but I can't stand those little air bubble holes or if the grout isn't the same height in all the cracks. Trial and error have proven that it's a whole lot easier to do one pass and then perfect with the second. But grout has to dry for 24-48 hours, depending on the kind I use. So there goes another day. The actual grouting itself probably takes an hour. Then you have to let it set awhile and clean it off. That takes about another 30-45 minutes.

The next day, the second coat of grout goes on. That's just a repeat of the first coat. The day after that I do a coat of grout sealer. This is important. I use a little paintbrush and I'm all kinds of careful because it's a bitch to clean off places you don't want it. Again, I'm anal and I do two coats of grout sealer. That's another two days.

Then it's done! But man is it a process. The payoff is worth it. I just sometimes get real impatient. Oh, I forgot. If my piece happens to be wood, I have to stain or paint it. Two coats of stain or paint: 2 days. I can usually get my two coats of paint sealer in in one day if I get up really early. Combine all that with the time I spend staring at things in the store, and you've got a heck of a long time for one thing. I guess that's good though because it means that every one of my pieces is my baby. I worked on it and shaped it for days. I watched it grow slowly from parts to a whole.

I try to do things in stages so that I finish something every other day or so. I'll stain a piece or two, glue two pieces, grout a piece (or two if I can), seal a few more and do some admin stuff every day. It makes for a long day, but I always feel like I got a lot done. I have multiple pieces going at one time. Right now I have 6 different things on my work table, all in different stages.

Today was a particularly long day. I was making a custom piece for my sister to give to her boyfriend's parents as a housewarming gift. No pressure...I'm also trying to get back into writing. My blog, obviously, but I'm working on some articles for some different sites too.

Tomorrow is my dog's birthday. She'll be four. I went and picked up her cake and got her birthday presents today. Her cake is done in her colors. Yes, my dog has colors (red & black). It says her name on it too! I don't think she'll wear the party hat I got her, but man would that make a cute picture!

I'm not sure if there was a point to all that. New blog rule: there doesn't have to be a point! I warned you all in the banner that I rambled. You did this to yourself.

Loving Spoonful!

Who doesn't like to help the environment? Who doesn't want to "Go Green"? Who else is as intimidated by all of that as me? There are so many options. So many things you can do to make a huge impact. Some of them seem completely unreachable. Then you have the good old "what's my little part going to do?" mentality. Well, you have to start somewhere! Why not start somewhere way cute?

This darling necklace is part of the recycled jewelry line at {Re}Create It. I love the simplicity of it. I don't do big jewelry. I look dumb in it. Not everyone does, but I certainly do. This is right up my alley though! Not only is it adorable, it's recycled!  Feel good about a little splurge on something pretty. Take a look at all their recycled stuff at

Monday, April 27, 2009

spoonful of sugar

Today my sweetness comes from Gramkin Paper Studio. They make gorgeous invitations, cards, stationary, announcements, and on and on. One of their sections sets them apart though. Check out the WTF section on the right. Some of those cards say things I've been dying to tell people for years! It's hysterical. This is one of my favorites...

Visit the shop at Beautiful products and great for a smile!

pour some sugar on me

Ha! Now you're all going to have that song stuck in your head all day.

But seriously, who doesn't like sugar? I think I might be addicted. Well, I'm a recovering addict. I gave it up completely at one point. What followed was not a pretty thing. Mood swings, headaches, nausea, exhaustion...the whole spectrum of withdrawal symptoms. I kid you not. I don't joke about my sugar. As you can tell, I ate a lot of sugar. Lot's of candy and cookies and brownies. Gobstoppers are my favorite. Mmmmmm, Gobstoppers. My detox went on for about 2 months. Then I slowly started integrating some sugar back into my diet. I'm proud to say that although I splurge sometimes, I'm still doing quite well.

There is a point to all that. I'm attempting to introduce my very first blog feature. I shall call it "Spoonful of Sugar". Every day I'll find a handmade shop or item that I adore and post it on here. A little taste of handmade sweetness from me to you.

I'm a teeny bit proud of the name because it has some meaning behind it. Here's my reasoning: life sucks sometimes. It just does. There's no getting around it or avoiding it. Some days it just downright bites. So today I was sitting around not eating (ok, I was) a few (twenty-three) Gobstoppers, and I got to thinking about how sometimes you just need something sweet to enjoy. Something for yourself. For some people it might be a bath. For me, it's sugar. I realized that life is kind of like that. In all of the crap we get loaded down with, sometimes we just need something sweet. Then I started thinking about Mary Poppins. I have no idea how my brain gets from point 'A' to point 'B' sometimes. But there's that song on the movie about how a "spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down." The point? Life is medicine. Some days you can hold your breath and shoot it and some days you need some help.

So I hope that my daily "Spoonful of Sugar" helps life go down a little bit easier. Just something pretty, fun, touching, charming, indulgent, hysterical, colorful, calming, unique, decadent or whatever other adjectives you like. Something to look at (and maybe buy!!) to restore a little bit of something you lost.

Plus it's a heck of a lot of fun for me! Not that a shopping addiction is going to be any better than a sugar addiction...

maybe you're gonna be the one that saves me

I've been asked a few times why I started my shop and why I create the pieces I do. I've always felt uncomfortable answering that question. I think I feel like it should be some big creative genius love story. I think I should be someone who’s always had art in my soul. Unfortunately, it wasn't like that. It was actually born out of incredible pain, anger, and maybe a little bit of desperation. I'll start at the beginning...

I was never good at art. Not just not good, but bad; really bad. I think I failed art in kindergarten. All I remember is having to sit on the naughty carpet square because I finger painted another kid. I was hopeless at art from then on, and I really had no desire to experience it. I blame the naughty carpet square. To this very day stick people are a challenge for me. Heck, even my handwriting sucks.

Then one day that all changed. Don't get me wrong, I certainly didn't get any better at finger painting, but I changed. I changed because my husband asked me for a divorce. I was blindsided. I didn't see it coming. I lost my partner and best friend all in one fell swoop; in the space of mere seconds. I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this. This isn't about poor me, but it's relevant to the story seeing as how it was the catalyst for all this. But suffice it to say that I have never felt pain of this magnitude. I didn't want a divorce. I still don't. But you can't control other people, so you do the best you can with what you have.

It was so much easier to avoid it all. I was holed up, hiding out. I was doing what any woman would do - lying in bed and watching TV all day. My channel of choice was HGTV. That was rather strange in itself because I've never much had the patience for HGTV. Most of the time, I get bored and fast forward (DVR is the best invention ever!) to the end so I can just see the before and after. The worst is when they paint a room bright orange with neon green shelving units or something. I die a little inside every time that happens. I don't have anything against green or orange, but there's a time and a place...

As it tends to do, reality caught up with me and I had to start *gasp* coping. As I began my journey, I realized that I was completely empty and lost. I gave so much of myself to my marriage, to my husband, that I didn't have anything left for me. I didn’t have a definition of myself anymore. For those of you who haven't experienced that, it's terrifying. I just kept thinking, "What am I going to do now?".

So what does HGTV have to do with anything? I began noticing how intent and interested I became when they used glass tiles. They were beautiful. So many colors, shapes, sizes, and textures. I was transfixed. How can you look at those suckers and not feel happiness down to your soul? Mostly they were putting them in kitchen back splashes or bathrooms, but I don't own a house. So tiling is out for me. So I sucked up as much as I could on TV.

I wanted those tiles so badly. I had this strange urge to touch them; to feel the cool smoothness. I wanted to hold them up every which way and watch the light play through them. I wanted to feel the weight of them in my hand. That may sound odd to some people. To be honest, it would have sounded really odd to me a few months ago. Now I realize it was just something shifting inside of me.

One day I was telling one of my friends about my tile fixation and the resulting dilemma. She just looked at me and said, "Why don't you find something else to stick 'em on?" God love her. What she lacks in eloquence she makes up for in truth. So I did what she said. I started to think about just how many ways I could use them. The possibilities are truly endless.

Of course, my dream would be to make a career out of this and support myself. I don't have any false illusions on that front though. If it happens, it happens. If not, well, I guess that's why I went to college. But at the worst time in my life, I've had the chance to do something important to me. I’ve been able to create; to put a little of myself into every piece and share it with someone else. I know it sounds way sappy, but I kind of feel like I can breathe a little deeper with every tile I lay.

I don't know any fancy art words. I can't tell you the difference between the Impressionists and the Expressionists. I can’t hold up the fraying end of a deep, artistic discussion. In the educational sense, I haven't a clue what I'm doing. I just love creating my pieces. I enjoy the entire process, from picking out the elements to sealing the grout. I make huge messes. I'm forever finding grout on my elbows and ears. Sometimes I want to take one of my pieces outside and use it to shoot skeet because I'm so frustrated. I'm the farthest thing from a professional artist, but now I think I know how it feels to have art in your soul.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

grand opening...

Well, I've gone and done it. I got a blog for my shop. I'm sure the world was just dying for another place for me to run my mouth :)

I have all sorts of wonderful posts to write, but it is currently 12am local time and I have spent all day up to my elbows in grout. My fingers are raw and my back hurts. So I'm going to get in bed and watch NCIS re-runs.

Until tomorrow...