Sunday, April 27, 2014

Oh Yeah, It Was Easter

A few years ago, I got all kinds of crafty and made this Easter card for Chad with cut papers and glue stick. (I suffered pretty bad insomnia, and needed quiet activities to fill my vampire hours.)

Each paper egg had a spring-themed, affectionate note, and could be removed from the paper basket. 

This year, however, I've got my insomnia more under control. Which means I don't have loads of time to channel my inner-over-achiever. Chad and I tried out an all natural egg-dyeing kit on our pasture-raised, organic eggs. Each egg had to be soaked for 20 minutes to get the vegetable-based dyes to set. Painter's tape fell off during the extended soak time. Crayon worked pretty well to mask out designs. Chad won the unspoken contest (we're both competitive, but hate to admit it) for best Easter eggs with the dark purple bunny and the "I love you" egg. I liked my purple zig-zag belted egg, but the others didn't turn out quite the way I hoped they would. I highly endorse the pasture-raised, organic eggs, but I'm going back to good old unnatural Paas egg dyeing kits next year. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

You Can Thank Me Later

Chad and I went to a show for musician Laura Mvula and her band tonight at the intimate venue, The Parish. She (and her band) transcend my humble description. If you ever have a chance to see her live, go. Get on over to your favorite music peddler and scoop up her tunes now.

*Amazon link*

*Waterloo Records link*

Here's the video for the first song of hers that I heard, and by which I was dazzled.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sounds Like a Fun Job!

I fully admit that my job as a Visuals Associate & Home Stylist sounds fun. Just make products look pretty all day, right? Wrong. My job entails a lot of ladder carrying, ladder climbing and lifting of heavy shelves and furniture. I get mystery bruises, broken fingernails, snags in my clothing from sharp edges and cracked, raw skin on my hands. I also get a lot of "do you work here?" inquiries as I stand twelve feet up a ladder with heavy stuff in my arms or power tools whirring softly in my hands. I am usually tempted to reply, "No. I just like climbing ladders and using drills on the wall in random places." Instead, I slap on my best customer service smile, and either offer to call over a salesperson or say, "Give me just a moment to climb down and help you."

I styled some shelves with very loose corporate directive, which means I got to be a bit creative. Here are photos to prove it happened. I keep color stories together and highlight current products. Tah-dah.

I'm thankful to have a job that pays a (small) bit of money and allows a (tiny) bit of creativity, but make no mistake, it is not typically fun. The fun I have at work usually stems from joking with coworkers or the rare interaction with a customer who isn't afraid of color or pattern.

I think I (like many people) am an artist trapped in the lifestyle and body of a responsible adult. Sounds like a fun job, huh?


In early March I began an apprenticeship with Christine Fail of Fail Jewelry. I love Christine's geometric meets organic clean design aesthetic. I'm being paid in experience and instruction (not money), learning to make cold-forged jewelry in sterling silver and gold-fill. Cold-forged means that the metal is shaped by hand or by tapping/pounding with a hammer versus melting and/or casting. My paws get a bit grubby with sterling and gold-fill dust after a day in the studio. I call this sparkly stuff under my nails glamour-dirt.

The ladies of Fail Studios are fun, inspiring and great company. They keep me from joining gangs (like the Junior League) or doing drugs (like drinking margaritas in the daytime). Click here to peruse Mira's portfolio.

Ladies in my life, if you have pierced ears, I think you can guess what you'll be getting for your next birthday or holiday gift.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

There's a Good Reason

There's a good reason that vacation/tourist destinations have an "off-season". In the case of the trip that I came *this close* to impulsively booking on Expedia for a week in Belize in July with deep discounts, it's due to the extraordinary rainfall. Oh yeah, that's why parts of that region are called rainforest. Who wants to sit in a soggy tree house at the eco-resort and watch it rain buckets? Who wants to get ringworm and mosquito bites? What if you pay only half of the regular cost? Does that sweeten the deal? No?

There's a good reason I run things past Chad before acting on my crazy whims and impulses. He actually takes the time to read the full reviews, look at photos and check the weather patterns for that time of year.

I know we talked about going to Big Sur for hiking, resting and driving the California coast, but look at Belgium: Belgian chocolate, Belgian beer, Belgian fries, lovely old world architecture. Yeah, Belgium. Oh! I found a deal for Ireland too. Look! Here's a package tour to Scotland.

Wait. What?


California coast.

Friday, April 04, 2014

We Went Some Places

On our (sometimes) annual trip to visit all ten of our nieces and nephews, we went some places in the Atlanta/Marietta, Georgia areas and in the Raleigh/Wake Forest, North Carolina areas.

Baseball and Soccer Practices

For security reasons (and laziness reasons on my part) no paparazzi allowed at youth sporting events. There was much watching, some sidelines monkey-in-the-middle playing and chewing of bubble gum, and only a small, pre-approved amount of cheering allowed. Adult spectators can be sooooooo embarrassing.

This is more of a world market grocery store than traditional farmers' market with many types of imported produce and specialty imported foods. We made huge to-go salads for lunch. (Sadly the dining area features windowless fluorescent lighting and cramped quarters.) 

If I lived in Decatur, Georgia, I'd be on a steady diet of Dekalb Farmers Market salad bar and Revolution Donuts coffee and pastries. That's real raspberry in the pink glaze, and it is phenomenally delicious. 

Hello, pretty fountain. I love Chihuly glass art. Winter was still loitering at the gardens, but we loved taking the skywalk suspended bridge path among the treetops, seeing the humid house orchid environs, the rainforest greenhouse and some master-of-camouflage jungle frogs enclosures.

Later in North Carolina:

I could live here happily ever after. Jamie Meares, the grand empress of Furbish, is who I want to be when I get it together and act like a fabulous grown up. Calling this place a store, or even a studio, is too diminutive. Furbish is an interiors design destination. 

So. Yummy. We had savory pies for "real food" lunch and amaze-cray sweet pies for dessert. Bananas in Pajamas and Crack Pie were my favorites on the sweet end. The welcoming atmosphere with sit and stay for a while vibe added to the overall wonderfulness.

In response to Raleigh's famous (really?) First Fridays, Wake Forest holds Second Fridays until 9:00 PM for early-bird-night-owls to explore boutiques and galleries along the main drag of Main Street.

Again with the winter loitering. I qualify this as more of a nature hike with a creek running through it, than a traditional botanical garden at this point. Fun was had by all, even the thirteen year old among our group. Nature walloped me with an allergy attack later in the day. I see how you roll, Nature.

On a walk

My mom requested a trip here for her birthday lunch at The Tavern. My sister's family took a short spin in a horse-drawn carriage. Uncle Chad gave piggy back rides in the square for nieces under thirty pounds.