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Friday, April 29, 2011

Five Things

Yesterday, S reported, BB decided that preschool is "not so bad." Why? Because, she has decided, it is a short thing, not a long thing. Because, she said, "I only have to do five things."

They are:
1. go inside
2. go outside to play
3. go inside to eat lunch
4. take a nap
5. go home

Apparently, framed like this, it's not a big deal. She then informed her father that she would no longer have any trouble at preschool, no crying or fussing.

And when I picked her up that afternoon, she had been true to her word! As the preschool teacher said, spelling it out to make less of a big deal I suppose: "She had a really G-O-O-D D-A-Y!"

If past experience is any indication, once BB decides she is OK with something, that's pretty much all it takes. (My mom will recall when BB announced, "Giki, I'm not going to have any trouble with you any more." And she didn't, though up until that point she had been rather shy of my mom for whatever reason.) I'm not making any bets yet, but I think this is a Very Good Sign.

(Fingers Crossed!)

Friday Feature -- Linda B's Jewelry Designs

This week's featured Etsy artist is the Etsyblogger of the month for April -- big congrats to Linda B's Jewelry Designs! Her shop is full of pretty, sparkly, elegant items. I especially admire the wire work involved in this gorgeous Women's Wire Beaded Kippah

Enjoy the interview!

1. Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?

I design gemstone and glass beaded jewelry. I am self-taught. I took a few classes in wire wrapping leading to creating my women’s wire beaded kippot (headcoverings for Jewish women), new chain and wire wrapped necklaces and wire wrapped pendants and rings. Also, I create bottlecap and scrabble tile pendants and magnets because they’re fun.

2. Do you participate in any Etsy teams?

I am on the EtsyBloggers team, EtsyBead team, EtsyTwitter team, Etsy Promotional Frenzy Team, Handmadeology team, and I lead the EtsyChai team

3. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you.

I am married to a great man for over 30 years and he encourages my jewelry making and comments on my designs. We love our 3 cats, Buddy, Fritz and Sammy (more pictures are on my blog)

I am an avid reader and a few of my favorite authors are Stephen King, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Steve Martin (yes the comedian). Currently, I am reading books about Social Media, to gather information for How to Guides to Facebook and Twitter.

4. What inspires your creations?

I am inspired by the beads or gemstones: the colors, shapes and how they look together in eclectic or classic designs. The more color the better. I create both balanced and asymmetrical jewelry. I subscribe to beading magazines and challenge myself to pick one design, change the symmetry or bead shapes and colors to create a masterpiece.

5. How did you get involved with Etsy?

A jewelry designer I used to work with mentioned Etsy to me and I decided to try it. I forgot about it for a few months and then starting listing items. I started joining teams and entering design challenges. Then, I met Tim Adams of Handmadeology online and started taking some of his advice.

6. What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?

It’s tough to compete in the heavily saturated jewelry market. Each jewelry designer has a style. I work in eclectic and classic styles. It’s difficult to know what shoppers will purchase; therefore, I offer a variety of colors and design styles in my shop.

7. What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite?

Today it's my Personalized Swarovski Bracelet

The design is a variation of a design one of my new clients showed me and ordered for Mother's Day. I'm exciting to be offering these custom order bracelets (a little late for Mother's Day), but birthdays and other events apply.

8. What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?

Join a team! Team members provide support, friendship, and information I promoting other Etsy sellers on my blog; it is one of my favorite blog posts. Also, I am a Twitter addict and I tweet items for team members too.

9. If you had a gift certificate to Etsy for any one item you wanted, what would you buy? (Please provide a link.)

Just one?
Today, I'd like this handmade wearable Turkish bath towel.

10. If you had to be an animal for one week, which animal would you choose to be? And what would you do?

I would be a cat, so I could catnap during the play, be spoiled by my parents and play with shiny beads, milk rings, and other toys.

11. If money were no object for just one day, what would you do?

I would create the jewelry designs I have in the back of my mind and I might take another beadweaving class.

12. What does buying and selling local handmade mean to you, and how has it affected your life?

It means taking the time to design an item, visualizing the gemstones and shapes fitting together in a pleasing design. Putting my heart and energy into each piece I create.

13. Give us some insight on how you personally, or your shop, gives back to your community.

I create jewelry and accessories out of upcycled, bleached bottlecaps and previously owned-jewelry. During certain months, I donate a percentage of sales proceeds to Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Fund.

In fact, right now, if you buy anything pink in my shop, I am putting aside money to donate to Susan G Komen.

14. Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?

Online Shopping

Congrats again, Linda!

Monday, April 25, 2011

One Year Later -- Same Family

Much of the wall space in the kids' playroom and bedroom is covered with their own art -- various drawings from the last 15 months since we moved to the apartment. A few days ago, BB fixated on an older drawing and decided she no longer liked it. She was going to make A New Picture to replace it!

Since it was one of my favorites -- her first drawing of her family -- I had taken the time before hanging it up to jot down the date. Drawn in May 2010. Of course I now squirrelled it away for posterity. Here's a scan:

From left to right, it's her dad (upper left grey scribble, hard to interpret but there are eyes and a smile in there if you know where to look). Then, BB herself (big oval with yellow hair and green "neck"), Pop-Pop (hard to see, a yellow oval in the middle), me (blue circle with brownish purple hair), Giki (purple circle below that, also with brown hair), and her brother BJ on the far right (blue circle, yellow hair and expression a little hard to see).

Here's the replacement that she drew a few days ago:

From left to right: me (all red, with a blue "shirt," my hair in "braids"), Butchie, Giki, BJ (note those are Definitely Pants he is wearing -- she was careful to give them a clear outline so we wouldn't think he was wearing a skirt), Pop-Pop, herself (all in yellow with a green shirt), and her dad.

With the addition of the cat, it's the same family! Fascinating to see how her drawing skills have developed in almost exactly a year.

I got to watch her draw it, and I love how she started off using yellow, her favorite color, to draw herself first. Then she drew BJ in multiple colors, then Giki, then Pop-Pop. By the time she was drawing myself, her dad, and the cat, she'd mostly dropped into monochrome and just used whatever marker she had at hand for everything.

Kids' art is such fun! And I find it deeply reassuring that she so consistently draws smiles on her people. Mostly, she's a really happy kid, I think. And she sees us all that way as well. A good thing.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day today, BJ and I took a trash bag with us on our walk to school so that we could "be nice to the Earth" (as BJ put it) and do some clean up. He'd been wanting to do this for a while -- it's astonishing how much trash can be found on our typical daily route.

Earth Day is one of my favorite things about April, so I thought I'd write about it for this round of the Etsyblogger carnival.

Our 15 minute walk yielded a pretty good bag's worth of garbage. Mostly paper, wrappers, fast food cups, bits of plastic, straws, a big piece of black plastic something that had been discarded. And lots and lots of cigarette butts. (PSA to the litterbug smokers out there: THE WORLD IS NOT YOUR ASHTRAY. Sheesh.) All that was in the white bag. Plus one can and one bottle we could recycle, both in the brown bag.

He was pretty proud of our work, and it will make our daily stroll a little more pleasant, so it's all good.

More Earth Day related handmade goodness: last night, I made some family gifts -- a bunch of cloth napkins and a reusable tote

I was pretty pleased with how they all turned out, especially the re-usable shopping tote. I was using reclaimed fabrics (two very nice cotton canvas decorator fabric scraps). Both had been acquired at a recent FabMo distribution, so it was especially eco-friendly, both in purpose and in materials. Yay!

Happy Earth Day to you -- what are you doing to be a little greener and show your love for this amazing, irreplacable planet of ours?

Friday Feature -- Bayside Design

This week's featured Etsy artist is Bayside Design, home to many beautiful works of art. I especially admire "Inked Impressions," a Handmade Artist Book. The combination of architecture and color is so striking! I'd love to see this in person.
Enjoy the interview!

1. Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?

I make prints, artist books, collages, and mixed media pieces. After retiring from architecture a few years back I took an intensive training course in etching at Crown Point Press in San Francisco. This captivated me so that I have been making etchings for the past six years as an artist in residence at the Kala Art Institute in Berkeley. I sketched a good deal during my training and professional career in architecture so doing etching was a kind of natural extension of that work. I found that etching can take many and complex directions. In addition to using various resists (wax or liquid) on the copper plate I picked up techniques for photo etching (using a film process for an image that is exposed onto the plate) and aquatint (application of a fine powdered resin that, when heated, forms tiny bubbles on the plate resulting in a tone in the final print).

I typically use some form of stylus to make marks in the resist which, when placed into the acid bath, will make lines. The aquatint coating can be covered with a liquid resist wherever I don't want an etched tone. From then on I cover successive zones and place the plate in the acid bath each time so that areas have graduated tonal shapes from light to dark.

One of my latest techniques involves a combination of the etched plate and Japanese "kozo" paper. I compile various shapes, color blocks, and images in Adobe Photoshop and InDesign and print these on the paper. This paper is then soaked and placed on the etched plate with wheat paste so that, when run through an etching press with a fine art paper, it bonds together resulting in an interesting "collaboration" of the two techniques and styles.

I have also trained at the San Francisco Center for the Book where I learned letterpress and the essentials of making artist books. I made a series of three accordion-style books 5 1/2" x 6 1/2" (two of which use letterpress) that are based on my travel sketches and photographs. Each one used Adobe Photoshop and InDesign for image manipulation and layout. The digital files were then printed on a large format printer on Innova Smooth Cotton fine art paper. I then hand cut each larger sheet into covers and backs along with the interior pages that were then folded and spliced with archival tape at the joint. The covers and backs were assembled using PVA archival glue, wrapped around binder board.

More recently I have thrown myself into mixed media pieces and collage. I can work quickly with acrylics (since it is fast-drying), paper, sandpaper, screen material, and whatever is within reach. Sometimes I even throw in bits of a discarded etching of which I seem to have an unfortunately large collection. I just finished a collage using mostly bits of colored paper and, yes, more etching shards, that will soon end up hanging in the nursery of my very first grandchild!

2. To which Etsy Teams do you belong?

Printmakers and SF Etsy

3. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you.

I have to take my camera and sketch book with me when I travel overseas. A lot of my travels with my wife involve home exchanges. We are trading with two couples from England this coming May and another couple in North Carolina in the fall. We find that, aside from the considerable economies, we pick up a great deal of local lore from our trading partners and have a far more comfortable living situation than a hotel.

I've also made two audio walking tours of sections of the Financial District in San Francisco that are available on iTunes for the iPad and iPhone. This was an earlier passion after retiring but the art had a greater pull. Other pursuits involve running an independent study group for young architects and working on that novel-that-will-probably- never-really-get-written.

I sneak in a few rounds of golf and love to bike from our place in the Mission Bay district to points along the Bay. Other hobbies have included renovating my condo and my son's new home in L.A. My wife is a former banker who is now also enjoying retirement. I have two wonderful "kids": my son who works as a web designer for a well known entertainment company and my daughter who is with a major foundation with grantees primarily in Africa.

4. What inspires your creations?

I find that my inspirations come principally from my business and leisure travels. I guess that's when the mind is most unencumbered and is stimulated by unique and different surroundings. A good part of that travel involved working on several architecture and urban design projects in different settings including Hanoi, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, England, and the U.S. Subliminally, I found I stored away a vast amount of cultural insights from these places layered with a broader appreciation of the world in general.

5. How did you get involved with Etsy?

I had been aware of Etsy for some time. A long-ago friend talked about it but since I didn't know anyone who used the site I didn't jump in. Recently, having little luck with sales from my own web site, I thought "Hey, why not try good ol' Etsy?" I am gradually making my way around its various parts and finding it most enjoyable and educational (and hopefully some day, fruitful).

6. What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?

My biggest challenge is figuring out how to MAKE MY FIRST SALE! I just recently joined and I know that miracles don't grow on trees (sorry for the mixed metaphor). So, more recently I have tried some "soft initiatives" like joining teams and circles and getting to know fellow Etsians' shops and how they approach setting up their own sites and products.

7. What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?

Be patient and be unique.

8. If you had to be an animal for one week, which animal would you choose to be? And what would you do?

Because I'm an urban kinda guy and I love waterfronts I think I would like to be a seagull. Seagulls are a more socially acceptable and elegant bird than a pigeon. I would love the feeling of flight over my domain and especially would enjoy those late night "cleanup missions" after a night game at the San Francisco Giants AT&T baseball park where all manner of leftovers is to be found. But, rest assured, I would be selective about where I dropped the aftereffects of those missions.

9. Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations?

My web site. I am about to start a blog. I am hoping to get a better handle on my Facebook and Twitter sites so I'm afraid they're not all that interesting right now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Right Mommy

BB has been having some major separation anxiety and stranger fears for the last month or so, which has been stressful for all of us. (Except perhaps for BJ. And the cat.) Drop off at preschool is extremely difficult. She no longer wants to go to ballet class because we're not right there in the studio with her. Even beloved gym class has had issues -- she was in tears last week because a new teacher tried to talk to her. Poor boo, it breaks my heart.

I know where some of it is coming from. There are not one but two new aide teachers in her preschool classroom. New teachers -- especially men -- are often a challenge for BB. The new gym teacher who tried to talk to her on Friday was a man (in fact, it was BJ's own coach, which is funny -- she just hadn't met him before. He's a bit of a boisterous individual, which is great for BJ, but I can well imagine how his attempt to be friendly could have freaked BB out.) And the ballet incident happened few weeks ago, when I had to leave her at ballet class to run an errand -- which she'd agreed to and which I'd done before without any trouble -- and apparently she had a meltdown when I wasn't in the waiting room. Even though she knew that I wouldn't be.


When this kid first became mobile, it was a standing joke that she seemed to have absolutely no separation anxiety. She was the kid at the park who would head out to wander and would just GO. Most kids will at least do an over-the-shoulder check in -- Are you watching me? Can you see how far I'm going? -- but not her. I remember reading somewhere about research with small kids and parents that shows how the point at which most kids will do this check in corresponds pretty closely to the point at which the parent starts to feel that the kid is getting too far away. After reading about this, I actually did a little trial once with the help of some other moms, on the perimeter (to be sure she stayed safe). BB was was two or so, and I wanted to see just how far she'd go. She walked off a good 50 feet and was well beyond my own comfort zone when I called off the test. And She Still Hadn't Looked Back.

Now the pendulum has swung. She's had bouts of separation anxiety before, but we were doing pretty well there for a while. Preschool had been deemed "fun" and babysitters weren't a problem. But now we're back in the tearful throes of Mommy I Miss You Mode.

And you know what seems to have set it off this time?

I lost her in the Safeway.

Or at least, that's her version of the story.

"Mommy, remember that time you lost me in the Safeway?" Or, when we're shopping (it happened at the grocery that we visit almost daily) we'll pass through the aisle intersection between frozen foods and the checkout lanes, and she'll say, "That's where I got lost."

Here's what happened: I made a quick stop for milk at the store with BB and BJ on our way home after school, and just as we were headed towards the checkout, I realized I had forgotten something. Apple juice, or tortilla chips. I don't recall -- something that was on an endcap and it caught my eye as we were getting ready to leave. I turned around, grabbed the item, and as I was figuring out how to carry this one extra thing and also hold BJ's hand . He's still insistent on holding my hand almost everywhere we go, which is extremely sweet -- and interesting given BB's anxieties -- she still isn't much of a handholder, even in the throes of all this. She's more of a "lean in close, stay at mom's side" kind of kid. It makes it hard to juggle everything at times. I then realized that BB, who had been right at my heels five seconds before, was no longer with me.

I whipped around, and almost immediately I saw her. The two or three heartbeats between not seeing her and seeing her are not ones I would care to repeat. But there she was. Thank God. About ten feet away, her back towards me, stock still. About two or three other adults were between us, folks waiting in line to buy their groceries. To her, it must have seemed a sea of long legs, surrounding and drowning her. She was turning around when I called out her name and rushed up to her, kneeling down to hug and reassure her through her tears.

To a kid, one mom in jeans can look almost the same as another. Eye level is waist high in the world, or lower. I still have a terrifying memory of unknowingly following the wrong pair of jeans through a maze of metal aisles full of bins of bolts and nails and tools on pegboards and other parphenalia. I followed those jeans out the back door of the neighborhood hardware store. I was into the parking lot before I realized This Is Not My Daddy. I was maybe five years old? I don't really recall. Nor do I recall how I was reunited with my father (the guy I'd followed probably brought me straight back) though I do remember the visceral flood of relief when I found Daddy again.

That hardware store is long gone now. Looking back, I imagine I was separated from my dad for maybe a few minutes. But to part of me, that memory is fresh as yesterday, and the time we spent apart still seems like an eternity.

BB and I got separated just a few weeks ago. For her, it's as vivid anything in her memory. One moment, I was there. The next, I was not. I was gone, and she didn't know where. It was maybe ten seconds. But an eternity for her.

Several times since The Grocery Store Incident, we've been standing side by side and she's leaned up against my legs or put an arm around my knees. She looks up at me, making sure to catch my eye, and asks, "Am I with the right mommy?"

It squeezes my heart. Trying to reassure her, several days after all this, I'd told her about the time that I got lost in the hardware store when I was a little girl. "I followed the wrong person out the door," I'd explained. "I was with the wrong daddy. I thought it was my daddy, but it wasn't." I told her it all worked out okay, but that I was pretty scared. I was trying to tell her I understood how scary it could be.

Her takeaway? She followed the wrong mommy. And now all I can do is hug her close and tell her, "Yes. You're with the right mommy." And realize this too shall pass.

(Though if her memory is anything like her mama's, I'm sure she'll have stories to tell when she's all grown up about the time her mom lost her at Safeway, which ain't safe after all.)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dollhouse and Dinosaurs

During spring break, BB and BJ had many opportunities to play together. They weren't always as wonderful about it as one might wish, but for the most part they did really well. It's fascinating to see them figuring out how to go about this -- how to intersect BJ's interests and BJ's imaginative world with BB's. Case in point: when BB is playing with her fairies in the dollhouse, and BJ wants to join in with his dinosaurs, what happens?

I was able to catch some of it on video! (Apologies for the laundry in process in the background!)


I love how at this age so much of play is actually setting things up. BB already had most of the things she needed, having dragged the dollhouse and accessories into the living room, but BJ kept leaving to get more props. Here's what the setup looked like from the other side:
If only they'd always play together so nicely!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Water Cycle

New addition to BJ's list of scientific topics of interest: the water cycle! Thanks to the Magic School Bus Catches a Wave video that he received for his birthday, he's been obsessing about evaporation, clouds, rain, and the like. I love his enthusiasm for this kind of stuff -- it's so much a part of who he is. So naturally, when his teacher told me the next set of letters in the curriculum were "W and H," I immediately knew what science topic we could use for BJ's next extracurricular project. The Water Cycle! (Also known as the Hydrologic cycle!) So we've been working on that during spring break. BJ wanted to make a big chart of the water cycle and also do an experiment about evaporation. Here's the chart he made: Note how he put the title in a circle, since it's a cycle. He was pretty proud of that. Also of how the letters in "rain" fall and "river" and "groundwater" run downstream with the letters. Clever kid! For his experiment, we did a simple but illustrative test to see what effect sunshine has on evaporation. He poured 1/2 cup of water in the sun and 1/2 cup of water in the shade and watched to see what would happen. And when I say "watched," I mean watched. The kid was intent on that puddle! When he's interested, he can be amazingly focused. (Given this level of focus, who knows but he might be deciding to watch the grass grow next...) After 10 minutes, here's what the puddles looked like. In the sun: In the shade: And then after 18 minutes, the puddle in the sun was gone. It took 52 minutes for the puddle in the shade to evaporate. (After about 20 minutes of watching, after the sunny puddle was clearly gone, he decided to check in on things every so often. He's focused, but not that focused as to do nothing but watch water dry for almost an hour.) Interesting that the results were so clear and there was only 3 degrees difference between the sun and the shade (73 vs 76 degrees). Here's BJ making sure the puddle in the sun was truly gone after 18 minutes -- you can still see what's left of the puddle in the shade. Who knew that watching water dry could be so entertaining to a six-year-old? All in the name of science...

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Today while BB was at preschool, BJ and I tried out one of the science kids he received for his birthday. This one was a "make your own slime" kit from Auntie L and T, and BJ loved it!

We made "protoplasmic slime" from sodium tetraborate solution and guar gum. After we mixed it up in the jar (see, there was a good reason I was saving that empty pickle jar!) BJ "released" it...
Ewww! Neat! Lots of ooey, gooey fun! Thanks, L and T! Next time we'll try making it magnetic or color changing -- or even glow in the dark! It looks like a nifty kit that will be fun for some time to come.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hiking With Tia

BJ is on spring break, so yesterday we took advantage of a free Monday morning to go on a hike with my dear friend M!
Once upon a time, in my PK life (Pre-Kid, that is) M and I were big hiking buddies. (As well as being kindred poetic souls -- we met at the open mic that she used to host.) We traipsed about, chatting and soaking up the sunshine, spotting wild turkeys and deer and once, to my horror, a rattlesnake. (While I shrunk back, M noted, "It's a baby one!" and then leaned in closer to take a look. She's fierce like that, fearless enough to be foolish at times, flinging herself into life in ways that are admirable and sometimes a little astonishing. Which is much of why I adore her.)

It had been quite a while since I went hiking at all, much less with M, and even much less with the kids. So I was a little nervous about galavanting about in the woods with the short folks, but I decided to be brave and Just Go. So off we went!
BB might have picked up a bit on my anxiety, because she was very nervous about the Mountain Lion sign. Many questions about What Would Happen If We Saw A Mountain Lion?

Tia M, characteristically, told BB, "Don't worry. The Mountain Lions aren't at home today. They all went to the mall to buy new hats." (I believe it was hats. Though my memory is imperfect. Perhaps the cats were shopping for a different accessory.)

In truth, the worst thing we encountered was Poison Oak, and we managed to avoid that for the most part. BJ brushed against a bit of it, but thanks to Tecnu and a good rinsing, he seems totally fine today. We had a very nice hike, the kids were excellent about staying with us and staying on the path. BB got a little tired towards the end, not surprisingly, but otherwise they had a fantastic time!

We saw lots of wildflowers, including Blue Eyed Grass and California Buttercup. (Alas, my handheld macro shots didn't really come out!)

(And as I mentioned, lots and lots of Poison Oak, which the kids were soon calling P.O. after M's example.)

We saw a few western fence lizards, a red tailed hawk, a hummingbird, and many dusky footed woodrat homes. Once we knew what to look for (thanks to M's help) the stick domes were easy to identify. This one in the crook of a tree was very interesting (tho a bit hard to see in the pic).

Now the kids are asking when they can go hiking with Tia M again! Hopefully it will be soon. Thanks for the great outing, my friend!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Weekend Goodness

Nothing like a date night to help make sure the weekend is a good one! On Saturday night, S and I had a kid-free evening -- enjoyed a delicious dinner at a new (to us) Greek/Turkish restaurant and went to see the new Jane Eyre movie. A strong adaptation , all told (interesting to witness how many in the audience had not read the book, as evidenced by the communal gasp of surprise in the scene revealing the burned out shell of Thornfield Hall) and interesting to see now since I've been reading The Thirteenth Tale for book group. (A book in which Jane Eyre references abound.) Today, while S did our taxes, I took the kids to a new (to us) park, which was a big hit. Dragons and unicorns to climb on, fields of wee daisies and oxalis, and a dinosaur skeleton to dig up? What's not to like?!? BJ's spring break is this week, so it will be interesting to see how well that goes. Tomorrow we hope to go hiking with our Favorite Tia, and though I'm a little daunted by taking both the kids off into the woods, I have high hopes that the exercise and adventure will help the day be a good one. Don't want to have to plan outings for every day of the week, but it might come to that!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Feature -- Archana's Art & Stationery Shop

This week's featured SF Etsy member is Archana's Art & Stationery Shop. I adore handmade cards and stationery, so I loved perusing her shop. I especially liked this Mehndi Henna Pattern card set -- so striking and colorful Enjoy the interview!

1. Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?

I make cards, custom invitations and wall art. Most of it starts off as a painting or drawing which I enhance in Photoshop and modify the layout to fit cards for different occasions. I'm flexible with colors, fonts, layouts, etc. and can customize almost every item. I especially enjoy working with watercolors, but have recently found myself trying new digital art tools which provide endless possibilities.

2. To which Etsy Teams do you belong? SF Etsy, Team Awesome, Treasury Love, Etsy Blog Team

3. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you.

While I'm not drawing, I work full time and am raising an energetic toddler with my husband. I love reality TV and dramas on the CW.

4. What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously sold)? Why is it your favorite? I really like this save the date card because the painting came to me in a dream. I woke up one morning and still had it in my mind and recreated it in watercolor that night. While the design is simple, the watercolor paper gives it texture, and the paints add dimension that digital media can't replicate.

5. If you had a gift certificate to Etsy for any one item you wanted, what would you buy?

This steampunk necklace. I love the steampunk items from this seller.

6. Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations? Blog Facebook page

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


S and I have been super busy lately, so today we made a lunch date to walk around campus and head to our favorite Thai restaurant. The wisteria is at its peak, heavy with blossoms, and it was lovely to enjoy the heady scent and gorgeous blooms.

The little courtyard by our apartment is also quite beautiful at the moment. All the trees are flowering -- BB thinks its a little magical place and loves to go sit in the benches under the trees.

I wish I could say that we are all blooming as well, but truth is that S and I are both more than a bit stressed, not getting enough sleep, not finding enough time to relax. BB has become extremely anxious about preschool and is having a lot of issues with separation anxiety generally. Frankly, BJ and the cat are about the only two members of the household who are doing really well -- Butchie continues to be delighted with the fact that her face is no longer in extreme pain, and BJ is still riding the post-birthday high. (BJ would likely comment at this point that in fact we have new members of the family who are also doing well: the Sea Monkeys he got for his birthday are flourishing. Not that he'll call them Sea Monkeys. For him, of course, they are brine shrimp. Because it's more scientific! And the fact of their presence is more evidence that BJ is doing Just Fine and Even Better.)

Now if we could just get the rest of us to a better place.... life just ain't a barrel full of monkeys at the moment. (Not even a barrel full of Sea Monkeys.) I know much of what I need to do is slow down, take time, do things like go for long walks . Mostly, just Not Worry So Damn Much . It was really good to get out in the sunshine today and stroll around, holding hands with my sweetie and noticing the riot of spring. Steps in the right direction, at any rate.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Money Princess

Lately, one of BB's favorite things to do is to find coins that have been dropped. We'll go to the grocery store, walk by the pizza parlor, or even just head out for a stroll, and she'll announce that she's looking for "coins and pennies" (because apparently there's a distinction in her mind). She's pretty good at finding them, too. (Reminds me of my grandpa, who had an uncanny knack for "finding" money that someone else had lost.)

Almost every time S or I leave the house without taking her along, she'll ask, "If you find any coins or pennies, can you give them to me?" And so we do. She's amassing her stash in her piggy bank and in the locking safe that her Grandpa D made for her, delighted with her treasure.

The other day, in the midst of a Serious Dress Up Session, BB came out and announced, "Look, Mom! I'm the Money Princess!" Wondering what that looks like? I took a pic, of course:
Note the ruby slippers coordinating with the red cape that Giki made. Of course The Money Princess can afford to be stylish!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lonely Bugs

Today while we were waiting for BJ to be done with his science class, BB and I took a long walk. It was really nice to enjoy the spring weather, and very relaxing to just wander along the sidewalk, in no sort of rush and without a destination. I used to do that sort of thing with BJ all the time in our old neighborhood. I should do it with BB more often.

Something about the weather or the location or the time of year was bringing out the roly poly bugs all over the place. After we'd noted a few, and then a few more, BB decided that it was her job to play Matchmaker to the Armadillidiidae -- every time she saw a pill bug by itself, she'd pick it up and carry it until she found another one. Turns out, once you start paying attention, roly polies are often solitary. And when she found another one by itself, she'd put the first one down next to it.

Sometimes it took only a few steps to find the next bug. A few times we had to walk nearly half a block, during which she'd occasionally drop the poor creature a few times (she let them crawl on her hands, those few who didn't just ball up in automatic defense posture). "Ohhh no!" she'd say. "Don't worry little lonely bug. I'll find you a friend!" And she'd scoop the wee thing back up, intent on finding its companion.