Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sweet Little Cupcakes

I could eat a half dozen German chocolate cupcakes if I had some really cold milk and somebody to bring them to me and then somebody else to clean up after me.

I could also eat a lot of cheap plain ruffled potato chips, a really rare steak, some meatloaf, a bowl of vegetable soup or some baby carrots and dip. Actually, I already ate the potato chips and I am grossed out. That's why I need a cupcake chaser. That and the fact that I ate potato chips for supper. That's so pathetic.

Last week we made a spring cupcake display at the shop with Andy donning her vintage little apron and the faux cupcakes older daughter Ashley and I made last fall. I cut and glued and painted and ran around in circles until I had made a few simple and quick mixed-media pieces and suddenly we had a tiny bit of spring in our windows.

The shop still doesn't look up to par. We recently sold one of my favorite sculptural pieces -- a pair of free-standing giant wings -- and someone borrowed some of our easels and didn't return them... the gallery looks like a mess and inspiration has been hard to come by because its been so gloomy EVERY SINGLE DAY until the last week or so.

Tomorrow I'll try to remember to take pictures of our new "Wearer of the Crown" display with those pieces and I'll post them. I like them and they look fresh and springy. I want the pink one and because I recently discovered a brand new place in my house where I can hang yet another picture maybe I'll just see about it!

Today, I've spent the whole afternoon printing Hot Snots cards and wondering about a lot of things that kind of make me sad. Sitting and tending a printer gives a person too much time... That's why I decided I need some cupcakes. If I still lived with my mommy I bet she would make me some and she wouldn't even growl about it. At least not after the initial shock of me begging for cupcakes subsided and after she recited her list of all the OTHER things she needed to be doing besides waiting on me.... good grief! just forget it!

Love and kisses and sweet, sweet cupcake dreams to all, d.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Full Out Lucy


Cuddled into covers even on the warmest of days.

Not concerned about anything except maybe a motorcycle flying by on our gravel road.

Soft and furry and smelling like sunshine and greenies and flea shampoo and some questionable things they rubbed themselves on in the grass.

Dogs are available.

They have time enough for everything and they only hurry when its fun.

They sleep full out.

They run full out.

They love full out.

They squabble full out.

They cuddle full out.

They eat full out.

Sweet little Lucy is past eleven now. Same as she ever was except now she needs help onto the couch and down from the car and she wants to be carried on any walk longer than around the house to check on the status of the cats' food. She still likes to wolverine Frankie, her brother. She still likes to hide under the pillow and still doesn't care that you can see all of her except for her face. She still likes a pillow on the floor and a stranger at the door.

Full out Lucy. Full out Lucy.

The Trouble Chair

When my girls were little we had a beautiful old chair with a needlepoint cushion that was their official "Trouble Chair." When you stretched that little toe over the line, you were honored with a stint sitting on that chair.

My younger daughter, Alicia, spent many afternoons and mornings and evenings and nights plopped on the Trouble Chair. She was never a mean kid - to the contrary! She was extremely sweet and funny. However, she never really seemed to catch on to why certain things would not be a good idea. To help her think more clearly, she had to spend some time with her bottom (perhaps stinging and perhaps not, depending on what she did) snuggled onto the Trouble Chair.

A lot of things happened on the Trouble Chair. Alicia carved her name into our piano one day when she sat on the Trouble Chair (and then said her sister had done it... yeah, Ashley carved Alicia's name into the piano... that's diabolical!). She captured and held our old mean cat, Comet, for hours on that chair. Poor Comet felt as much in trouble as Alicia did. Alicia squirmed on that chair. She squalled on that chair. She pouted on that chair. She kicked her feet and wiggled from side to side on that chair. She grew up on that chair.

When she left home, she took the Trouble Chair with her. She had earned it.

Trouble Chairs are for dreaming and planning and feeling persecuted on. Trouble Chairs are for wishing for things to be different and planning for things to be different. You sit there being misunderstood and mistreated and you sit there being loved and adored. You sit there thinking everyone is clueless and you sit there because you are clueless. You sit there wanting time to pass and with time passing more quickly than you know is possible. One day you sit there for the last time and you don't even realize it has happened.

We made a Trouble Chair for the shop and sold it last week. It had a little bird perched on a branch for you to whisper your troubles to (in case you don't have a cat you can coerce). In the little stool we secreted a pair of wings. After all... Trouble Chairs are really meant to allow you to fly on your own.

And then one day you do.

I love you, Alicia. Fly, fly, fly.


Friday, March 12, 2010

"Daling-ching-a-drrring!" Poof!

Completely bamboozling.

Somewhere in this house or in our cars or at the shop is a pink polka-dotty box filled with everything important a person needs to do a project on the fly. The last time I remember seeing it I was toting it back and forth from work to make things like my little shrine (unfinished above). It's a deep mystery.

While looking for it, I found:

Under the bed - a fairy wand that goes "daling-ching-a-drrrring" when you push a button but DOES NOT make your lost box appear! (What it does do, I can only speculate... and I have no memory of WHY it is under the bed. I must say, this is something I'll think about later.)

In my dress closet - the instruments I bought in Africa three and a half years ago... the ones I am going to do something neat with someday when I'm not so tired

In my regular closet - The Christmas videos I'm supposed to be putting onto DVD so everyone can have a copy! Well, maybe NEXT Christmas.

In my coat closet - Alicia's birthday present from her aunt I forgot to give her

In the back of the truck - A bag of clothes destined for the Salvation Army

In the den on the couch - My friend Andy's framed picture that I was going to give him a couple months ago

In the den in my old sewing desk - My WordPerfect update and all the covers I thought were lost

In the bookshelf in the den - A "Hot Snots" bag filled with a project in the works... I can't tell what the project was?!?

In the apartment (where my daughters used to live) - an unmade bed, the heat on from their last visit and a roll of toilet paper we really needed in the house!

In the trunk of the car - Two brand new crafting magazines I've never even looked at!

In my studio - Two chain saws (one mine and one my son-in-laws), a box of moulding cut-offs to be used as kindling in our stove and the unfinished shrine (above)

At the shop - Supplies to make "Hot Snots" bags and a package for a woman at church that I was going to give to her at her birthday last fall

This is getting out of hand. I really need help! This is two lists so far today about what a disaster I am. Tomorrow I'm going to try to write a list about something more positive.... like a list of all the stuff that was in my lost box when I found it!

More Giant Messes

My daughters have been perplexed by my fascination with a show called "Hoarders" and they wish I would quit retelling them about how one lady had two or three dead cats amidst her mess... she had been wondering where those cats went. I, too, have had cats come up missing over the years. It worries me.

I haven't completely become an addicted hoarder (yet). I still love to throw things away (especially dirty dishes that are too hard to wash). But in the basement of The Frame Shop I have a disconcerting number of uncompleted projects that need this or that and I stick them down there waiting for either the energy or motivation to fix or finish them.

Someone wanted to buy this chandelier. It was one I had picked up at a junk-mart, then taken apart to repaint and spruce up. We would sling together different decorations for the seasons and hang it in our window at the shop. I had probably 15 bucks in it and she was willing to pay about a 20-time mark-up. But I think that during one of my decorating frenzies I pulled too hard and some of the wires became loose so it was constantly flipping the breaker. I took it apart - real quick, you know, because I didn't really want to work on it that day - and couldn't see any obvious damage. I couldn't sell it to her when it had a short. I couldn't find the short in two seconds. And so now there it still sits and I hate it-hate it-hate it.

In that same basement, off the top of my head, are also these unfinished projects:

A 4-poster, 2-story dog bed made from an old table waiting for a ruffle...

A Paris-street-scene side table waiting for wood glue...

A 2-piece world-globe lamp set waiting for a price...

A huge candlelit chandelier waiting for a fluffing and new candles...

A traveling suitcase dog bed waiting for a safety latch...

A checkerboard side table waiting for frames that have now been completed and just need to be attached...

An entry way bench waiting for the canvas seating to be applied (canvases are ready!)...

A child's "Mary Had a Little Lamb" chair waiting for... I don't remember what it's waiting for...

A huge sign board waiting for a repaint...

A group of vintage suitcases waiting for an airing and cleaning...

A pile of vintage coke cases waiting to be made into a primitive shelving unit...

About six lamps waiting to be refurbished and rewired...

A beautiful old typewriter waiting to be taken apart so I can have the round keys...

A poodle-themed chandelier waiting to be wired with a plug...

A crystal chandelier featuring vintage artwork waiting to be wired with a plug...

Two or three old 50's swing lamps waiting to be re-purposed...

A "Three Little Bears" tea set waiting to be assembled and packaged in a vintage suitcase...

AND THESE ARE JUST THE THINGS OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD!!! Rattling round in there making me crazy because I can't seem to finish anything. Such a loser!

I'm worried that my younger daughter who is a superb organizer may be coming home in a weekend or two. She cleaned out my ridiculous home office -- painted, organized, probably found a dead cat -- and left me with the paperwork (which she would have done too if she had known what to do with it) to finish. She took pictures of the project because she may someday start an organizing business. Anyway, she's been gone a couple months and although I have worked at putting away papers, I'm still not done! I'm not done! I'm not done! The art work is hung, oh sure! The craft supply shelves have been shuffled and mulled over, oh sure! I made a bulletin board with expensive upholstery fabric and a beautiful four-inch frame which is actually too pretty to hang anything on, oh sure! But put away the paperwork! NEVER! Alicia is going to kill me. She is going to say, "I knew you wouldn't get this done." She is going to think she wasted her time. She is never going to do another project for me!

And yet, somehow, I find I'd rather tackle that 15-dollar chandelier and find its wiring problem than sit in here for three days and find out where all these papers should go. And really, I find I'd rather see if the museum glass looks as good on my 1969 Christmas Santa shadow-box snow scene (with authentic mica snow!) as I think it will... I'm going to work on that today as soon as I finish a jersey and a tassel for a couple of customers. And I gotta hurry up and do deposits and paperwork real fast before I do that.

Two more Excedrin migraine. They don't even help.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fairies and Such

These long gray days are the hardest of the year. Once Christmas is put away, it seems like there is nothing to do but hold your breath and wait until the wind begins to blow up something exciting: maybe some spring thundershowers or some body's brush-burning getting out of hand so you can go help fight a fire with your neighbor. Exciting stuff you do in the spring, you know.

We're doing everything we can to hurry along February. We dressed the shop's windows with spring, including Andy, our doll, who is delighted to be a May Day fairy (above). Last night I slept with the bedroom windows open and listened for frogs (I didn't hear any, plus I nearly froze this morning when it was time to get up. My poor husband traipsed into the living room and slept by the fire in the middle of the night he was so cold!) Tickles, our big fat smokey-gray kitty is shrugging off his fluffy winter coat in big hair balls all over the yard. And sometimes I even imagine I can smell lilacs when I go outside...

But still, it's cold.

And still we are making chili and vegetable soup and roast beef and potatoes and pots of beans for supper because we are so cold all the time. I'm hungry for barbecue hamburgers and hot dogs and an off-brand of really salty crinkled potato chips.

I made a strawberry-banana pie yesterday hoping it would feel like summer. It didn't feel like summer at all. It felt all wrong. It felt sort of lonely somehow. What I should have done was make a pumpkin pie or a peach cobbler or maybe some bread pudding.

And that's how it is this time of year. All lonely. All gray. All cold. All wrong. And at the end of the day a person just feels all used up. There are no frogs to listen to outside your window...

but the coyotes have had babies. They're celebrating and calling to one another in little excited yips. So maybe -- maybe they know something is going to happen?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Aprons and Strawberry-Banana Pie

Aprons, of all things. That's what I've been thinking about lately.

I went a couple days ago and finally chose some fabric to make a ridiculously-ruffled apron. I've been collecting patterns, too, but like always, I tossed aside the patterns and decided I'd just make it up.

I'm not a gifted seamstress. My sister is. She sews everything PERFECTLY. Last week she wore something to a friend's house that she had made in high school and it looked spotlessly professional. My sewing looks pretty cobbled together and like I got sick of the project before it was finished.

Anyway, I'm cobbling together this apron and I want to make about eight ruffles running across it in all different colors. But my thread keeps breaking because it's about 25-plus years old. I said several words in a row, several times, that I shouldn't have. Probably hurt my little wiener dogs' ears.

Then yesterday, I went and bought new red thread. I wanted to sew today but had to work finding pictures for a bank we're working with at the shop and then I have to make a strawberry-banana pie for a meeting tonight.

And, I have to make this pie without my new ruffled apron on.

If I could have worn my apron when I made my pie, I would have felt like Grace Kelley.

Or even someone better.

Like my mom -- the world's ABSOLUTE BEST PIE MAKER!

Instead, I just feel like a jittery, tired, overwhelmed, bumfuzzled housewife who is not nearly desperate enough to even be the slightest bit interesting. Kind of like that old Martha Stewart. Except without the makeup.