Inside 264

Well, actually, it's inside 10907 {my parents' house}. Some of these are from my birthday dinner on Sunday, and some are from Malayna's day with mom-mom and pop-pop.

{reading about sharks with daddy}

{yummy birthday cake}

{serious girl}

{doing homework with cousin Sean}


Remembering my mom-mom

{On the boardwalk, year unknown}

My grandparents lived on the same block as me in Kensington. I grew up with my mom-mom just steps away, and took advantage of this fact often. There were many, many sleep-overs, days spent making cookies, craft days, and just hanging out with my favorite person days.

Kay Kelley was everything a mom-mom should be: kind, creative, soft and cuddly, always ready for a cuddle. I could do nothing wrong in her eyes {isn't that what grandparents are for?}. I remember getting big boxes of art supplies from her for Christmas and birthdays. In my mind, she is the reason I pursued art as a career.

Mom-mom passed away 24 years ago today. I was 14 years old. She had leukemia for years, and was even in remission for a while. I still can't believe she's been gone longer than I knew her. She had a huge impact on my life, and I can't help but think of her when I see little girls and their grandmoms. Malayna is lucky that she has a mom-mom like I had.

I wrote this poem about her in a creative writing class I took in college.


The photograph is from the Christmas
before she got sick.
She looks so happy, so healthy.
I am beside her, her first grandchild,
hugging her hips,
a small brown-haired girl of about seven.
Her tanned freckled arms
is around my small shoulders,
pulling me close to her.

She would dance
around the room
holding me in her arms.
We would sing together,
not caring who heard,
loving each other's company.

We would go shopping together
to the junk store
to buy styrofoam balls
and glitter and sequins.
To Woolworth's
for hot dogs with ketchup
and chocolate cokes.
We would color in books
full of princesses and fantasy lands.

I can still feel the warmth
of her arms around me,
rocking me to sleep
my head resting on her breast.
She would sing softly,
"hold me, hold me
never let me go
because I love you, love you."

I would draw her pictures,
of rainbows and sunshine
and she would hang them
in her kitchen
to brighten her long, sick days.

For fourteen years
she was my best friend, my life.
I still think of her everyday,
and sometimes I even talk to her
knowing, somehow that she can hear me.


Weekend recap

{drawing by Malayna}

I had a very good birthday weekend. On Saturday morning I was served breakfast in bed by Malayna and Jimmy - yummy pancakes {that they made together} with some OJ and coffee. Malayna was anxious for me to finish so I could come downstairs and open my gifts. A few of the things I received were KD Lang's new CD and a bag of mini York Peppermint Patties.

I was even able to work in my studio while Jimmy and Malayna cleaned the bathroom together. Malayna was in the bathtub with a sponge and a bucket full of soapy water while Jimmy cleaned the rest of the room. It gave me over an hour to actually get work done! On Saturday night we went out to dinner with Wendy, Daniel and Aidan. Luckily the table was covered with paper and the kids were able to draw while we waited. They gave me a bag of gifts, one of which I drooled over when we got home Saturday night.

{drool-worthy cookbook}

Malayna has been showing a preference for her daddy lately. In fact, at the restaurant Saturday night she told me, "I'm not going to listen to you. I'm only going to listen to daddy." She then crossed her arms over her chest, huffed and turned her back to me. I'm not sure what to do about this new development. This is the face I often get:

{Malayna and Aidan at the restaurant}

Yesterday she said to me, "This house is boring without daddy." Um, okay. She goes to the front window every day around 4:30 and waits for Jimmy to come home. She'll say, "I miss my daddy" while making the saddest face she can muster. I imagine she's right on time, development-wise. However, I'm still the preferred parent when she gets hurt, is sick, or needs to be cuddled. For those of you with four-year-old girls: Does your daughter prefer her daddy?

{She still has some cuddles left for mommy.
Especially when ice cream is involved.}

{PS: Any Nazareth alums reading this? Our 20-year reunion is coming up on June 6 and I need your email addresses! Kim, are you out there? Email me at milkshakecrafts @ comcast.net. By the way, we're old. When did that happen?!}


Inside 264 {short version}

It's snowing here today! We already have about 3 inches at 8:30 am and there's more to come. Later we're supposed to get freezing rain and a "wintry mix". Blah! Have I mentioned how much I love summer?! But Luco loves the snow.

{Is this my good side?}

{Making chocolate chip cookies yesterday.
Tasting the batter is the BEST part!}

{Tomorrow is my birthday, so my mom brought my present over today.
I got a gift certificate for Viv Pickle and a Bamboo tablet! Yay!}

By the way, I did get up to the studio yesterday. Malayna came up, too, and I actually got some work done while she played in her playroom. Now with the Bamboo tablet, I really feel my creativity coming back!

Have a good weekend!

{PS: I just got a call from my boss telling me I don't need to come in today. Yay!}


In need of inspiration

Oops! I didn't mean to take a blogging break. I guess there's not much going on over here. I'm still trying to find a balance between working part-time, being a mom, creating milkshake crafts products and doing freelance graphic design. I have a show coming up on March 15, so I need to get my butt in gear.

The other day I went up to my studio while Malayna was resting with the intention of working on something. Guess what I did? Sat there staring at my desk. I did nothing. I'm hoping to get up there again today, so maybe I should come up with a plan beforehand. I'm at the point again where I have so many ideas that I don't know which to work on first. I need a little push to get started.

If I'm feeling uninspired, some of the things that get my creativity flowing are: looking through magazines, browsing the internet, visiting a thrift shop, going to a craft show or gallery.

What do you do when you need inspiration? Help!


I've been tagged

I've been tagged by Jan of Daisy Janie to post seven things about myself. Here goes!

1. My husband {Jimmy} and I have known each other for almost 20 years. We met in 1988 - senior year of high school. We went to the prom together, dated through college and were married seven years after we met.

2. I have one younger brother {David} and an aunt {Michele} who is 5 years older than me. Michele lived with us from the time she was 13, and she and I shared a very tiny bedroom. I wasn't very nice to Michele in my teen years, and even though I've apologized to her for that, I still feel guilty. {Sorry, Michele! Don't worry, though, I think karma is working in the form of my daughter.}

3. I spent 8 years of my life in same-sex schools. My high school {Nazareth Academy} is all female, as well as my college - Moore College of Art and Design. I'm grateful for both experiences - I was able to concentrate on learning instead of worrying about boys. My college, especially, was extremely supportive and such a different experience from my private, Catholic high school. {I will not send my daughter to a Catholic school.}

4. Jimmy and I spent 5 years raising someone else's children.

5. I was born and raised in a row home in Kensington. It has a bad reputation, but I had such a sheltered upbringing that it didn't really matter to me. When I was growing up, Kensington was one of those neighborhoods where everyone knew everyone else's business. You couldn't do anything wrong because of of the neighbors would tell your parents. I've got lots of interesting stories about growing up in Kensington.

6. I like bad TV. Shows like Intervention, Cops and Celebrity Rehab are some of my favorites. I think it has to do with being raised in Kensington.

7. My parents have known each other since they were 16 and 18 {right, mom?}. I used to make fun of them for marrying someone they had known since high school. Oops. They were married a few months after my dad returned from Vietnam, and I was born about 10 months later. I was a happy only child until David came along three years later {hee hee!}.

I tag Paula, Linda and KB. Anyone else want to play along?


Love your body

From the National Organization for Women's website:

Happy Valentine's Day! Today is marketed as a day for flowers and candy for those in love. But, whether you are in a relationship or single, everyday is a day that you can love yourself!

See how much you know about how advertising and media affect your perception of body image and self love. Celebrate your body and join the fight against the negative media image! Take our Valentine's Body Image quiz and spread the love by forwarding it on to other women for Valentine's day, and always - love your body!

I was shocked by some of the answers - especially numbers 4 and 8. Fourth-graders are only 10 years old! What are we teaching our girls?!

Click on the image below to take the quiz. I only scored a 60. Come back and tell me what you scored!

Take the Body Image Quiz



{ta-da! See how many non-Valentine stickers I can fit on one page?}

Malayna and I spent some time yesterday making Valentines. Well, that's how it started - eventually it turned into seeing how many stickers she could fit on one piece of paper. Letter stickers, St. Patrick's Day stickers, food stickers, and even some Valentine's Day stickers thrown in.

It's probably best not to have a plan when you're crafting with kids, huh? Last year we melted some crayon shavings between two wax paper hearts, and we might do that again tomorrow. Any suggestions for other Valentine's Day crafts?


Soul reading

I had a different {and kind of strange} experience on Saturday. A friend of mine took me to an open house at a holistic chiropractor/wellness center. The place is beautiful and I could see myself going there for some relaxing treatments. My friend goes there often for goddess workshops - something I've never done, but I would be open to trying one.

My friend signed me up for something called a "Soul Symbol Reading". I didn't know she did this, and probably would've said "no thanks" if she would've told me beforehand. Since I was already signed up, I decided to open my mind and go into it with no preconceptions. It was different, weird and a little "woo-woo", but interesting and thought-provoking.

I sat down with the woman who was going to do my soul reading, and she explained a little about what the session entails. We then held hands and closed our eyes while she said a little "prayer" about our session. She asked me if there was an area of my life that I wanted to focus on, and I told her a little about milkshake. I said that I recently took a part-time job and that I'm worried about fitting in my creative time, along with being a mother and wife.

She basically told me that I need to "stop being small" with my art. Ouch. She said I MUST find time to be creative because it's my "being". I need to get rid of my fear and stop stalling and restore my faith in myself. She said, "Follow your bliss (art) and the money will follow."

A lot of what she said really resonated with me. I am being "small" with my art, even though I think often about what I can do to put my work out there more. She talked about being me being afraid of putting my work out there and getting bigger - if I let everyone see my art I'm really letting them see me. And apparently I'm afraid of that.

While I was in the session, I kept my mind open and really thought about what she was saying. But after I got home and had time to think about it, I wondered if she said those kinds of things to other artists. Aren't most artists afraid to put themselves out there? Don't we all kind of hold back a little for fear of being rejected?

Are you a creative person? Are you being small with your art? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!


Inside 264

It's Friday {yay!}, so that means it's time for a peek inside my house. Today's photos are all in the kitchen. Have a great weekend, and "see" you on Monday!

{loading the crockpot for tonight's dinner - recipe below}

{old scale and poster in a corner of the kitchen}

{small collection from the summer}


Crockpot Creamy Chicken and Veggies Recipe {low fat!}
  • 4 lb. chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • 2 lbs. small red potatoes, cut in half
  • 16 oz. pkg. baby carrots
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 oz. can low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves

In 3-4 quart slow cooker, place potatoes, carrots and onion. Top with chicken. Pour chicken broth over all. Cover crockpot and cook on low for 8-9 hours until chicken is thoroughly cooked and vegetables are tender.

In small bowl, stir together light sour cream, flour, pepper, and thyme until well blended. Stir into mixture in crockpot and turn heat to high. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. 6 servings

NOTE: This recipe originally cooked for 10-12 hours on low. However, with the newer crockpots which cook hotter, you should start checking the chicken and vegetables for doneness at the 8 hour point.



A good first day

Yesterday was a good first day at my new job. I didn't get nervous until I got to the shop, and then I thought, "what am I doing?! I haven't worked anywhere besides my home in four years!"

But when I got inside and met everyone I felt better. There were two other people working there plus me, and it was so great to talk to someone other than a four-year-old! Granted, I did talk about Malayna a bit, but she wasn't there beside me, attached to my leg and interrupting my conversation.

I saw so many beautiful things - stationery, little notebooks, invitations... It inspired me and made me want to come home and sketch some new designs. I didn't, though - by the time I got home it was dinnertime {pizza} and Malayna was excited to see me. She had a great time at mom-mom's house {of course!}, and didn't even seem to notice that I wasn't there when she got home. I think Luco was wondering where I was all day, though. He was even more excited than Malayna was when I got home. He stuck his nose in my bag as if to say, "where have you been? Did you see any other dogs?!"

I'm looking forward to going back tomorrow!


First day

Today is my first day of work at my new part-time job. {It feels really strange to write that.} I am stopping at the Woodmere Art Museum after work to drop off some of my new work for their shop. I wrote myself a note on the blackboard in my kitchen that says, "Woodmere after work on Wednesday." Work?! It still looks weird every time I see it.

I also realized something: I have an awful lot of jeans and not a whole lot of work pants. Time to go shopping?


Happy birthday, dad!

{mom, Malayna, Sean, dad, Jack - who doesn't look very happy!}

Today is my dad's 60th birthday. We helped him celebrate on Saturday with breakfast, cupcakes and a delicious birthday cake. I made him a book titled "The Big 60" with messages from lots of friends and family inside. My mom emailed everyone asking them to tell us why they love my dad. Thanks to everyone who responded - the book turned out great and my dad really appreciated it.

Happy birthday, dad!



I'm looking forward to a big transition this week. Starting on Wednesday I'm going to be working part-time at a stationery store. I've been itching for a change lately - wanting to get out of the house, but still wanting spend time with Malayna and also have time to work on milkshake.

This will be the first time I'll be working somewhere other than home since Malayna's been here.

I'm excited, scared and nervous, with a bit of worry mixed in. Many late nights are probably in my future - considering that these two days were previously spent working on milkshake stuff, like creating, running errands, updating the website. When will I get these things done now? I'm sure I'll be able to fit it all in, but at what expense? I'm hoping that this will force me to be more organized. Since I'll have limited time to actually create products, I'm working on making the process more streamlined.

Not a lot will change for Malayna. She'll still be spending two days with mom-mom and pop-pop, but when she comes home in the evening I won't be here (as I have in the past). I don't think I'll tell her right away that I have a job, since her concept of working includes daddy being gone all day. I'll tell her I have some meetings - which I've told her before and she's been okay with. Eventually, when she's used to coming home to me not being here, I'll let her know that it's because I'm working. Honestly, I would prefer that she knows about my job ahead of time, but she's not the kind of kid who would take it well. Who knows - maybe that will change as she gets older.

Any tips on how to balance everything?


Inside 264

Each Friday I'm going to post photos of random things in my house. {Once the weather gets warmer I'll add outside photos. Come on, spring!}

{paper scraps in the studio}

{paintings by Artie at age 8}

{plants in the kitchen window -
it's dark and rainy today!}

{"boxes" made in college ceramics class}

Have a great weekend!