Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I'm feeling very merry this year.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The Daddy Diaper Bag is SO cute - every new Daddy must have one!!!
The Ballet/Soccer bag is for a little girl down the street and I searched the world over looking for the perfect fabric. I didn't want Teddy Bears in tutu's, she's too old for that. And the pink soccer fabric - PERFECT!! The flowers on the front of the ballet side were really fun to make, once I found the instructions on how to do them.
And the red and black bag is another rendition of a set of prints that continues to be my favorite. I think I've officially made every bag in my line with this fabric. I just can't get enough of it!
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Today is my baby's birthday. I don't think it's possible for me to be the mother of a THIRTEEN year-old, but I am. Yes, thanks for noticing, I was a child bride, and even younger when I gave birth to him.
To celebrate the big event we spent our weekend in the land of fudge and waterparks, the Wisconsin Dells. For anyone not familiar with "the Dells", it's exactly like Estes Park, CO and Myrtle Beach, SC, except without the mountains and the ocean. In the summer it's beyond unbearable, with crowds of barely dressed people of every size (ok, by that I mean lots of fat cheese-eating wisconsinites) and wall-to-wall minivans in the streets, everyone clamoring for a ticket to the water ski show or the bungee plunge. However, at this time of the year the Dells magically becomes much more tolerable, one only needs the street smarts to handle the obnoxious flat-landers (people from Chicago) and their badly mannered children to survive, and so it is this time of the year we make our annual trek.
We splashed and sprayed and flew down tubes and tunnels, all in the name of good clean fun, with the exception of the dreaded swine flu virus that was threatening to latch on to us at every turn. Seriously, could there be a better place to live if you were a virus looking for a home? I guess we'll know in a few days if our incessant use of the Purel dispensers did us any good.
Now we're home, dry and darn exhausted. An afternoon spent raking more and more leaves - we'd be up to 81 bags if someone hadn't come in the cover of darkness last night to steal all of the bags in our cul-de-sac. Who does that? I'm happy to give them to you...I mean, the city would have picked them up for free tomorrow, so it's no big deal, except that you could have offered to help us rake!!
The steaks are on , the ice cream cake is chillin' and it's time for me to go sing a little Happy Birthday to my boy...
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Steve decided that my old, kinda clunky laptop wasn't in good enough condition to support my new business and my creative needs and energies, so he went to the Apple store yesterday and came home with my new MacBook! It's beautiful and shiny and has that new car smell and I am very, very happy. I have never worked on a mac before so this is new territory for me, but I'm learning slowly and so far I'm loving it.
Sunshine Handbags world is great, although if you take a look at my Etsy shop, you might wonder if I'm going out of business. In fact, just the opposite seems to be happening...I'm finally really, really busy! I've had a bunch of custom bag orders in the last few weeks, and I've been working day and night to stock up the Artsy Fartsy shop in town. My etsy shop looks so bare and neglected but I'm almost to the point where I can start adding new bags and wallets there, too. I have loads of wonderful fabrics to work with including a very cute trio of Pink Ribbon fabrics for Breast Cancer Awareness wallets, so keep checking my shop for new additions.
Photos will follow soon. I've got to dust off the camera and try to remember how to use it. I find taking good photos in the fall/winter light very challenging, but I'm going to try and not get too easily discouraged this season. Maybe it's time for a quick photo class at my local camera shop.
Oh, one last thought...I just reconnected with a mom whose son went to preschool with Evan. They've moved into our elementary school district and I'm happy to see her at scout meetings so we can talk. I was so excited to learn that she is an avid writer and is the About.com skin care specialist. Go visit Jen here and learn all about how to keep that young glow we're all so desperately searching for.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Sunshine Handbags is taking off like crazy. It has taken almost exactly a year, which is typical for most home-based businesses. My shop on Etsy still pokes along, but my direct sales to friends and family keeps growing very steadily. I officially have "groupies" with Jan (aka "Nona") leading the pack. She makes regular visits to my shop (formally my dining room) and is always bringing a new friend with her. Yesterday three lovely ladies ordered five bags among them! Yippeee!!
And if my machine wasn't already smokin', it will be very soon as I anxiously await the re-opening of a local artists gift shop where my bags will be sold. Dina (new friend) and Teresa (long-time friend) have asked me to provide at least a dozen bags and wallets for their store opening which will happen by the first of October. The shop is in what used to be Prairie Flowers and Gifts, and the Gifts part of the shop is being re-vamped into a haven for local artists to sell their creations. I can't wait! I'll post pictures as soon as we're in.
On a more personal note, I am still coming down from my whirlwind trip to Denver for my oldest little sis' surprise 40th birthday party. What a blast. She could not have been more surprised. In her words, she felt exactly like the big black ladies on Extreme Home Makeover when they "move that bus" and they see their new home for the first time. You know, the falling on the pavement, eyes pouring tears, screaming and speechless at the same time...it was kinda like that. My dad and I made the trip out there and we all had a fantastic time. I got to see my mom and her beautiful new house, got to spend time with baby Thomas while he spent time trying to avoid me and/or hit me with his golf club. And I got to know Grandma Alice, my brother-in-law's grandma who is truly a gem. I know why my sister has such a special place in her heart for Grandma Alice, and now I do, too.
And one more thing...my son Aaron, who will be THIRTEEN (ugh!) in November, is a really good poet. He loves to write poetry, especially Haiku, which I think must be unusual for a pre-teen boy. But he is good. Really, really good. The following is a poem he wrote for English Class last week, his inspiration being a library book about WWII:
Remembering the Storm by Aaron Dodson
I sit here after dusk,
The sky as black as onyx.
Back facing the sheer cliffs,
I watch the dark waves rolling in
Grey stallions charging into the rocks.
I feel those barnacle covered stones.
They're rough, weathered by the events that have happened here
Where they lie marks the clash
Of good and evil, and where
Lead met flesh, and blood met sand.
A storm is brewing
As I leave, I dwell on the storm
That took so many lives long ago.
Remains of barriers stand idly
Like rusty crucifixes
For the forgotten souls
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
We did all the typical tourist-y things, but this was the kids' first visit so we HAD to. The weather was gorgeous, although I am not a big fan of the dramatic temp change in the early evenings - I couldn't get the hang of the layering necessary to survive outside all day. The kids were great walkers, hardly any complaints and when they did complain, I had to admit my feet were tired too, so who could blame them? In the tradition of scouts, here's a list of my "Roses and Thorns" for the trip:
The garden tour of Alcatraz, We got to go into roped off areas where other visitors weren't allowed - very interesting history of the landscaping and the prisoners who tended the gardens
Evan's fascination with the lazy sea lions on Pier 39. I think we went back three times so he could visit them.
Muir Woods was Awesome! We all loved it, had a fantastic time learning about the redwoods. Steve's "junior ranger" badge should be in the mail soon. I just wish I could bring the smells from there home with me. Nothing in Wisconsin smells like that. My favorite memory here will be the Haiku Aaron wrote as part of the requirements for the Junior Ranger Badge. Aaron has always been good at writing poetry and was happy to take on the task. He sat down on a stump and wrote this in about 10 minutes...
Tall ancient creatures
Witnesses to birth and death
Kings of the forest
Lunch at Pier 23 where a waitress asked me if I was a writer. Apparently some customers there thought I was somebody famous (what?) I told her she could lie and tell them I was! (What I should have said was, "no, but I am a famous handbag designer" Why can't I be clever at the right moments?)
Parrot Perch - the parrots were cool but not as cool as the homes in the area. The most gorgeous views and unbelievable gardens/landscaping. It took my breath away. That is where I would live. Absolutely worth the climb.
The shark hat the boys won on the Embarcadero. It went with us almost everywhere.
Pat's Cafe - breakfast here, definitely. Off the wharf by a few blocks so it's not crazy-crowded and the food is superb. I thoroughly enjoyed the California Omelet. YUM!
Spending time with Steve, although most of the time we were too busy keeping track of the kids to enjoy each other's company...I vote for the next trip to be "Adults Only".
Um, definitely the trip home. The part where our plane had to make an emergency landing because there had possibly been a fire in the cargo hold, which was possibly put out by the extinguishing canister that is conveniently located in that area. The one that had exploded and set off warning lights in the cockpit. That was definitely NOT the highlight of my trip, especially considering that I have a pretty big (irrational, I know) fear of flying. I somehow managed to appear "kinda calm" to my kids but the 10 minutes it took us to get on the ground...I'm just saying I could have used a fresh pair of panties, if ya know what I mean. So, after another 2 hour wait and a new, unbroken plane, we were off again, and I'm not even kidding you - the cocktails were on the pilot!! Hooray!
I didn't take the fancy camera with us, too much trouble, but the little one didn't do a terrible job - see for yourself. Maybe you will be inspired to visit...
Saturday, July 25, 2009
I'm determined to get back in the saddle, as they say, thanks to a very loyal customer who keeps recruiting Sunshine Handbag Groupies (Thanks, Jan!), a few recent inquiries in my Etsy shop (at a time when I haven't been doing a bit of PR, so I have no idea how they found me in the melee of handbags on Etsy) and a very nice Etsy shop owner, KoolJewelry, who selected me to be featured in her weekly Etsy Blog (read all about it at www.kooljewelry.blogspot.com). All of this is very exciting to me and has been exactly the kick in the pants I needed to get me back in front of the machine.
I have a few "summer" bags to get finished before the weather turns but I'm really looking forward to making some bags for the new season because I just got my hands on some of the most beautiful fabrics - I can't wait to see them as finished bags and wallets! Keep checking my shop for the new arrivals! In the meantime, here are a few sneak previews of what I'll be working on...
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Aaron has been away all week at scout camp and Evan has been very lonely and out of sorts without his big brother. I've been filling up his days with fun events like mini golf and trips to the pool to keep him happy. Today we decided to take a trip to the botanical gardens to see the butterfly exhibit. We had tons of fun, saw many beautiful plants and butterflies and contrary to the sign posted outside, we did not get attacked by birds this time. Evan was a bit disappointed.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Today I got busy celebrating the last full week of school. I'm trying to pack in all those things I said I'd do without having kids in tow. It was a gorgeous day here, sunny and almost 70, so I decided to take off to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens. I love this place. It's best to go alone, really. Or maybe with a quiet friend who also loves gardens. Today it was just me. And the birds.
I should have interpreted the sign to mean so much more than I did. The hand-lettered sign politely told wandering guests that "it's nesting season for our bird friends and some get a bit nervous when we get too close to their babies. They might swoop around your head to scare you away, so don't be alarmed".
Okay, what the sign should have said was, "run back to your car and grab your hardhat if you've got one 'cause the birds are nuts and they're going to try and rip your scalp off".
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Sara is uncommonly generous and will always be the friend everyone feels lucky to have. Her neighbors can always count on her to deliver homemade cinnamon rolls and yummy breakfast burritos on New Years morning. And she doesn't think twice about dragging three kids to Target to pick up the magical floor lamp at Target that her favorite sister was coveting but unable to find (when are you shipping that to me, by the way?)
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Well, I've been pretty proud of myself up to this point. I've been swimming a few times a week, about a half mile in the lap pool each time. Sometimes Aaron comes with me, sometimes I'm by myself. I was going often enough that I decided I needed a new suit. The one I've been wearing was losing it's oomph and was no longer giving me support in the areas that were desperately in need of it, if ya know what I mean. Also, guessing by the look on Steve's face the last time I got out of the pool, I think it's getting a bit see through in places!
Let me tell you, finding a suit that is "suitable" to SWIM in, not just for lounging by the side of the pool in, is not easy. I do not have the figure of a 17 year old lifeguard or Dara Torres and cannot be seen in public in the type of suit they wear. I don't want a tankini or anything with a little skirty thing, that just is not practical for swimming laps. After days of searching and endless trips to the return counters (Steve cannot understand why I insist on trying suit on in the privacy of my bedroom vs. the store dressing room. I mean, c'mon! The fluorescent lights in there are pure torture to 44 year old skin! Especially when said skin hasn't seen the sun in 9 months!) I found a suit that is not perfect but is perfectly acceptable. I don't think it was made with lap swimming in mind but it covers what I need covered and is skirt-less, so I think I'm good to go.
I also have another fitness adventure of sorts to support my new years resolution. I never thought I'd have a chance to say this publicly, but I have started running. I have never understood running. My husband runs, and really enjoys it. Lots of people run and most of them look like they enjoy it, but not me. I've tried several times in my life to run but I never took to it, mostly because I couldn't make it to the end of the driveway without losing my breath and getting shin splints. This time, I'm not sure what came over me. I was taking Sully for a long walk on a gorgeous, slightly chilly morning, when halfway through our walk I said, "Sully, what do you think about us trying to run a bit?" Considering that running away is his hobby, he was all for it and off we went. The weird part is, I not only made it to the next stop sign, but I actually made it all the way home without stopping. I was stunned. Then I started wondering how far that must have been, so I got in the car and clocked it...it was exactly 1.5 miles on the nose!
Well, I was super proud of myself so I started going to the club to run on the track a few times a week while Steve was running on the treadmill (which I won't even attempt - too scary) and within a week I was running 2 miles without much hacking and wheezing at all. I really was SO surprised at how easy it was this time. I actually loved running. I started to think about entering into some short runs this summer and Steve was very supportive and excited for me. It was great fun, and then one day I went out for a run with the dog and something was hurting. Badly. And now I haven't been out for over a week. There is something wrong with my knee and when I'm not icing it and taking handfuls of ibuprofen I can barely make it to the other side of the room. I'm so depressed. I don't know what I did to it, I don't remember hurting it, it just suddenly was there. My doctor friend thinks it might be something with my patellar tendon. That sounds bad, doesn't it? UGH.
So, I guess I'm even more glad I found that suit because I guess I'm back to the pool until this thing heals or I decide I'm just not cut out to be a runner. Which would be a bummer because I just bought new shoes and some cute new running clothes...
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Another spring ritual around here, cutting down dead trees, took place in my backyard this week. We had to say goodbye to one of our old oaks, although he was already on life support when we moved in and I mostly just mowed around him and grumbled about it. Now he's gone and we have more room for the patio Steve has been threatening to build. It was pretty cool to watch the lumberjacks (and one lumberjill) take it down. Somehow they managed to squeeze a bucket truck into our backyard and then it was a symphony of chain saws as piece after piece, limb after limb tumbled to the ground. Those guys worked their butts off, and in about 2 hours the tree is gone. Amazing!
I'm working like crazy to get some things ready for my etsy shop. The wallets are turning out really cute. I can't wait for you to see them. I'm also getting ready for an exciting little "show" I'll be doing with a few other local etsy sellers in late April. I'll post more about the event when I get the postcards. It will be so much fun! I am really looking forward to meeting other etsy artists in person.
Friday, March 6, 2009
1. it's going to be sunny and mid 50's here today. Goodbye snow piles!
2. I'm going to take my silly dog for a very long walk in the sun.
3. I will finally be taking the christmas lights off the house today. I suppose the wreath can come down too! And the light-up deer in the yard...
4. the new TARGET store opens on Sunday!!! This is a super big deal to me. I'm considering sleeping in the parking lot in my minivan so I can be the first customer in the door! (okay, maybe I'm not THAT excited) I would vow to never step foot in our Walmart again, if only Target carried thread and zippers.
5. I'm going to bake a delicious apple pie for Steve today. He'll be so happy!
6. there was no yelling in my house this morning...the kids were so great getting ready for school, it brings a tear to my eye!
7. I'm making the cutest-ever bag for my stepmother. I can't wait to get it done.
8. I just got some new fabric from a lovely etsy supplier and I am so in love with it I might actually make a bag for myself this time!
I know every item on my list is admittedly fairly shallow, but it's working for me right now. Which gets me to thinking...
We all can find reasons to be stressed, depressed and "drag your ass tired", perhaps now more than ever before. And I'm not suggesting that we all need to jump on the page-a-day syrupy hallmark sentiment bandwagon for inspiration to get us through this mess. I hate that stuff. But maybe if we stop trying to "dig deep" to find our joy, just for now, we can kind of skim off the top and make it through this without inflicting serious damage on ourselves and others. Like everything else, it's a temporary solution, but I'm going to give it a try.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I think I'd better get my act together and find a new doctor and talk to her about the new meds available. Most of the time I can deal with the headache part, it's the temporary blindness that comes first that is such a nuisance, especially when it rears it's ugly head just as I am supposed to get in the car and drive my boys to school. I wonder if the new meds are for the blindess part or only the headache part? When I think about it out loud, I guess it doesn't make sense that it would eliminate the blindness part because you don't know you need to take migraine medicine until you go blind in the first place...I guess I'll stick to my routine of two excedrine migraine, a super strong cup of coffee and a bag of frozen peas on the back of my neck.
I guess the upside to all of this is that I've found time to be here writing. Truthfully, I could eek out time almost every day to be here but often I just don't have anything that worthy to talk about. I'm envious of people who not only find time to blog every day but also have something of substance to write about. Let's face it, there are PLENTY of people out there who blog every day and talk about things like how their dog peed on the carpet again today or how they can no longer find their favorite brand of something at the grocery. Possibly of interest to some people who know them personally, but not so much interesting to me. I've been spending a lot of time lately searching for blogs to follow, people who's writing or art or lives I find fascinating, and I've had to wade through a lot of meatloaf recipes and pictures of babies and dogs to find merely a handful that appeal to me.
I also love to see all the different ways people choose to design their blog page. I've been changing mine like crazy lately, mostly because I'm just learning about all the things you can add and use to fancy it up. I wish I knew how to design something really great. Some blogs have so much going on all over that I find it distracting, especially when they flash at me. I'm always afraid if I look at it too long it will somehow trigger another migraine! And I can't read any blog that has a black background because my laptop is kinda broken and has all these annoying liney things all over the screen when it's black. We've tried to fix it but can't.
So, I have to apologize for having a "blog of no substance at all" today, but I was feeling so guilty about not posting since Feb 11, I had to write something! I promise my next blog will have you riveted to your chair and leave you captivated by my witty narrative. Ok, maybe that's a bit too much to promise, but I promise to not write about dog pee or meatloaf!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
We are exactly 1 hour into another "snow day" although to call it a snow day is not accurate at all. Yes, we have snow on the ground, some 40 inches I think, but it's not the impressive snow depth that has cancelled pretty much every school in the state...it's the frigid cold. It's so cold that, well I can't think of a metaphor that even comes close to describing what it feels like. I'm afraid to let my dog outside for fear his thin little ears or his poorly insulated weenie will freeze off before he can get his business done and scramble back inside.
I've already made the official Snow Day Breakfast of waffles and bacon (very yummy and oh so warm) and am doing my best to avoid the cleanup because it's too cold to stand in front of the sink for that long. Now I have to figure out what to do with the monsters for the next 6 hours. UGH. I really needed to immerse myself in the KT bag today. I finished the prototype (well, the second generation prototype) yesterday and it's good, but it is nagging at me for some minor changes and I SO BADLY want to do that.
Right now it seems like both boys are content to be lounging in PJs and unbrushed teeth, staring into various monitors/tv screens with expressions close to those seen on a good ol' fashioned zombie movie. Now the big moral question of the day...do I quietly just let that continue until one of them starts to grow mold, or do I corral them into some sort of Snow Day Extravaganza of Fun and Merriment that doesn't involve venturing out into the frozen tundra? Or maybe, in their minds, playing games on the internet & xbox all day qualifies as the perfect snow day activity, especially when still in your PJs with unbrushed teeth. That's probably close to what I would have done when I was their age.
So, I've found the perfect win/win situation. They can be zombies and I can be the crazy handbag lady all day long! I am going to come up with a marketable KT handbag today if it kills me. I'll even take a picture for you when it's done!!!!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Today I finished a bag for a very special friend - shhhhhhhh - I can't say anything more about it right now. She might be listening. And I took my kids to the pool this evening and Aaron & I each swam TWENTY FIVE lengths of the pool! Hooray for us! While Aaron & I were doing our best MP impersonations, Evan played and went up and down the slide so many times that he probably burned more calories than I did in my 25 laps, but who's counting. It felt good, darn good. Aaron was happy, had very pink cheeks and an expression that only comes with the feeling of accomplishment. It was a pretty great day. Made all the better because I was able to resist the remnants of the Whiteys butterfinger malt that is left in the freezer (thanks, Merd). I am STRONG!!!
I was going to make the trip to my new favorite fabric store (in the only Waunakee in the world) tomorrow but we're supposed to be getting a butt-load of snow. Hmmmm. Perhaps I'll just get what I need from etsy and make the drive on another day.
Now I'm off to bed but I'm starting a new library book tonight so I might be up Late. I hope it's a good one. I love my library, almost as much as I'm going to love the new Target.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Even Cruise-less, I'm happy to have started something. Part II of my fitness resolution will be to get my kids involved. I have activity and pool schedules in hand and will work some sort of routine out by the weeks end. Promise.
Now I just need to find a way to make fitness and sewing play nice together and not steal time from each other. Today they didn't even make it to the same play date. Maybe tomorrow. I have four orders to fill. Somehow I will figure this out.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Many of the worries I have are not going to be resolved in the coming 365 days, I know that. But the idea of a clean slate, fictional as it is, gives me such a sense of relief and hope. I'm also feeling especially optimistic this year as we say B'bye to W and welcome a new President who will rescue us from 8 years of complete embarassment and tragic disappointment.
In keeping with this fresh good spirit, for the very first time ever I'm going to make an actual LIST of New Year's Resolutions. I've never been bold enough to put these aspirations to paper because that might mean someone would hold me to them! Or I'd have to admit complete defeat by March 20th. I'll be honest, both are very likely to occur with my official list in hand, but I'm going to give it my best effort. One day at a time...here we go
1. Devote as much time as mentally and physically possible, without jeopardizing my relationship with family members, to my handbag business.
2. Yell less. (this one's for my kids)
3. Smile more. (this one's for Steve)
4. Eat and cook more healthfully. (this is for ALL of us)
5. Love the age I am. And everything that comes (and goes) with it.
6. Live my life, not someone else's idea of a life.
It's possible that my resolutions seem simple and too "SAHM-ish" to some. My list should not be read as a document of complacency but something more close to a petition for an emotionally healthy life. Personally, I can't believe that a good life has anything to do with things like obsessing over our bmi, how many degrees we have hanging on our walls or how many stamps we have in our passport. It's great to have ambitions, just don't let your ambitions ruin your life and the lives of those around you.
Piece of cake, right? Maybe I'll add more resolutions as they come to me. In the meantime,
Happy New Year!!!!