Fellow Abington artist

My friend {and fellow Abington township resident} Linda of Little Flower Designs has just redesigned her website and introduced a new dinnerware line and illustrated birds collection. My parents commissioned Linda to make a custom cookie pot for me for Christmas - with mine and Malayna's favorite bird {a cardinal} on it, so I know that her work is even more beautiful in person!

Go check out her website!


Inside 264 {and contest winners!}

Thank you to everyone who entered the Pay it Forward giveaway this week! Jan of Daisy Janie inspired me to give each of the five entrants a wall square. Winners: just send me your address {milkshakecrafts at comcast dot net} and which square you'd prefer and I'll get them out to you. {I have two of the "grow" square.} Of course, first-come first-serve, so email me soon!

Since we rearranged our living room and bought a new sectional {which we love, by the way}, there was a large empty wall to the right of the couch - just waiting for me to fill it! I had some 12" square pieces of wood that I decided to make into giant wall squares. I used one of my new patterns - which goes perfectly with the colors in the room. I love the way they look.

We're going to a wedding on Saturday, so mom-mom is putting Malayna to bed that night. She hasn't done this since Malayna was a baby, so wish her luck!

Have a great weekend!


"This is nature."

We have a wonderful nature center nearby called Briar Bush. It is situated on 12 acres of woodland with nature trails and a pond, a small museum and bird observatory. But the best part is that it's free! Inside the museum are live turtles, frogs, fish, birds, snakes, a ferret, a chinchilla and various other small animals. There is a "touching table" with pinecones, snakeskin and animal bones. Malayna loves to go there, and even named two of the turtles {Michael and Josh}. We spent the morning there yesterday with Aidan and Wendy.

The weather was nice enough for us to be outside and walk the trails. It's such a different experience to be there when the trees have no leaves. We noticed lots of leaf buds on small bushes, leaf piles, and huge broken trees. At one point Aidan picked up a pine cone and a branch, presented it to us and said, "This is nature."


Pay it forward

{Win one of these squares!}

There is a little contest going around the blogging world called "pay it forward." I entered on Scoutie Girl, and in return promised to hold a giveaway here. You can leave a comment here, with the stipulation that you pay it forward on your own blog and hold your own giveaway. If you don't have a blog, leave a note with your comment about how you plan to pay it forward.

I'll take comments here until Wednesday, after which I'll randomly choose two winners. If you're one of the lucky ones, you can choose one of the wall squares above.

Good luck!

{Edited to add: Each square measures about 4" and is 3/4" thick. They are made with paper, hand-drawn words, fiber and beads on a wood base. There is a hanger on the back.}


Inside 264

Thanks for all the comments and emails you sent about this post. It's frustrating, but I have other things to think about, like this. Yes, it's still there - tomorrow will be two weeks! Needless to say, we're tired of having a house that looks trashy. The tree guy is taking forever to answer my phone calls, the insurance company keeps changing the amount of money they're going to give us, and I'm still getting roof replacement prices. We also had a painter and mason come by and take a look at the damage. I cannot wait for this to be over. Or at the very least, I want it to get started!

Aidan came over yesterday and he and Malayna dyed Easter eggs. Never mind that Aidan is Jewish. They had fun anyway!

{Pssst! Check back on Monday - I'll be having a contest and you could win a wall square!}


Thinking about inspiration

I found a website recently that has clocks made with paper and wood. Now, I'm aware that I didn't invent the idea of clocks made with paper, but I do know that this person has been on my site and that she only recently started making these clocks. Maybe she was inspired by my work and decided to start making her own. Maybe she already HAD the idea and I have nothing to do with it.

Her clocks are made with patterned papers, and some even feature words, but I'm not sure if the patterns are her own designs or something she purchased. The patterns she uses look nothing like mine, but it just left me with a bad feeling.

There's really nothing I can do about it except to continue to come up with new ideas and stay one step ahead. I just needed to vent, and to ask what you would do if you found something like this?


Inside 264

In the midst of this mess, we had a new sofa delivered. Malayna and I went to Ikea on Thursday of last week and ordered it. Because it is much bigger than our last one, the living room had to be rearranged. That meant getting the bookcases out of the living room and putting most of the books in the dining room. We have built-in shelves in there, and before this I had my mom-mom's china displayed on the shelves. It was kind of a pain, though, because they'd get dusty and I wouldn't realize it {or care!} until it was time to use them. We only use that china for special occasions - like Easter dinner, Thanksgiving dinner, etc.

When the tree fell {are you sick of hearing about it yet?}, we had books piled everywhere, our old couch squeezed into the dining room, and dust and dog hair everywhere. I still need to move some things around in the living room, but for the most part I love the way it looks now. The new sofa is soooo much comfier than the last one and the three of us can fit on it without being on top of each other. And the best part? The entire sofa is covered with washable slipcovers. Because that little girl is messy.

{See the color coordination on the upper shelves?
Can you say, "anal?"}

{Pretty new sectional with a pretty little girl sitting on it!
Oh - new orange curtains, too.}

{Gorgeous fabric designed by Daisy Janie.
Won't these make pretty new pillows?}


I need a week without a phone

You know what? If I never talk on the phone again I think I'll be okay. The last few days have been spent making unbelievable amounts of phone calls and meeting with tree and roof people. Surprisingly, none of those meetings were with my insurance agent! That's right - she hasn't been here yet. It's been 4 days since the storm damage and I finally spoke to our contact person this morning. Turns out the insurance company declared the storm a catastrophe, so a catastrophe team had to be called in from the South. We will finally have a meeting with our agent tomorrow morning at 8 am. Yay! That means we'll be able to get these trees out of here so I can sleep at night again. We're hoping our insurance will pay to take down the side tree, since only half of it is still standing.

{I will miss this tree!}

Yesterday was spent in the house {going crazy with boredom}, waiting for appointments to show up. One roofing company never showed - guess who I won't be using? The insurance company sent two guys to put a tarp on the roof {four days after the fact}. When they finished, they told me that there were several spots where the tree penetrated the roof. Yikes! We had no idea. What saved us was the fact that the previous owners put a shingle roof on top of a slate roof. So their half-assedness saved my studio.

Some good did come from that boredom, however. I got to work on some new clock, pin and card ideas. Here are some previews {obviously milkshake crafts won't be on the finished product!} . What do you think?

{Both designs will be available as 8" clocks and desk clocks.}


Storm damage

I feel very lucky. A thunderstorm came through here Saturday night and caused loads of damage. Early in afternoon our backyard flooded and our basement had a few puddles here and there. We thought that was all we had to worry about until the winds picked up.

We have two very old, very large maple trees on our property. They are each just a few feet away from our house - one on the side and one in the front. Every time we have a storm {or just high winds} I worry about those trees. A few large branches have fallen from them in the past, but luckily no major damage has occurred. These trees shade our house and backyard in the summer. I'm sure our air-conditioning bills would be much higher if it weren't for the shade their canopies provide.

We were all in the living room on Saturday evening when we heard a horrible noise. The wind had picked up considerably - later, after watching the news, we would learn that the gusts were almost 70 miles per hour.

{view from the living room window}

I just happened to be looking toward the window in the living room when the wind ripped a limb from the tree on the side of the house. The noise was unbelievable. The limb slid down the side of the house, shaking it and knocking things off the walls inside. It ripped part of the roof off - just inches from taking out my whole studio. It shook the house so much that there were even paint chips on the couch from the living room window.

I scooped Malayna up and held her. I felt so completely helpless. Jimmy and I just looked at each other, not knowing how much damage had occurred, or even if we had a roof left. We couldn't get out our front door because the limb had fallen in front of the porch steps. I didn't really WANT to go outside anyway, but I also didn't want to stay inside, either.

Minutes later our neighbor called to tell us that the limb had taken out part of our roof on the third floor. I don't really remember what happened next - I was scared and shaking and still trying to assure Malayna that everything was okay {even though I wasn't sure it was!}.

{The same window from the outside.}

After Jimmy was able to go outside and see the damage, we decided that we would stay here and not go to my parents' house for the night. The winds were still pretty strong, but we wanted to keep things as normal as possible for Malayna. She went to bed around her usual time and seemed to go to sleep with no problem.

Unfortunately, I'm a light sleeper, so every time the wind blew I woke up. My stomach was in knots all night and my heart felt as if it would pound out of my chest with each wind gust. The worst part of all of it was the powerlessness I felt. What could I do if another limb fell on the house? Or what if an entire tree came down? One of the trees is right in front of our bedroom. What if it fell during the night? I wouldn't be able to protect Malayna. It was a horrible feeling.

{My studio is right next to the top window under the pitched roof.}

Jimmy and our neighbors, Gordon and Rachel, spent the entire next day cleaning up. First, of course, we took over 100 photos of the damage. Malayna and I played inside and talked about the night before. She told me she was scared and I told her that I was, too. She asked if Jimmy was scared and I told her that he probably was. She replied, "No he's not. He's our protector."

We're still waiting for the insurance agent to come out - seems as if they may declare the storm a catastrophe. Which means, of course, that the agents, the tree services and the roofers are all very busy right now.

Even though there is major damage to our home, I feel very lucky that it's still standing. None of us were hurt, and for that I'm feeling grateful. It's just a house, and it can be repaired.

{So close…}

{I think we'll need a new recycling bin.}

{A mess in the front, too.}

{After the cleanup.}


Inside 264

{stairway: banner that spells "fly" in sign language
from Flederhaus}

{studio: new magnet ideas}

{studio: a view of the mess}

{above the mailing/cutting table: wall hangings}

{in the bathroom: silkscreened panel from Mexico -
used as a window covering}


20 years

{Senior prom, 1988.
We were stylin', weren't we?}

20 years ago yesterday Jimmy and I met at a birthday party for a mutual friend. I went with a bunch of girlfriends, some of us hoping to meet someone to take to our upcoming prom. After a while I realized that a friend of mine from grade school was there, too. He and I met in kindergarten and had many playdates together until he moved away in sixth grade. He introduced me to his group of friends, one of whom was Jimmy. Seven years later that friend was the best man in our wedding.

We went to my senior prom together two months after the party, spent a lot of the summer together in Wildwood, NJ {there's music on that site}, and visited each other in college for the next four years. Three years after graduating from college we got married.

Happy anniversary, Jimmy!


Girl stuff

{Malayna, the twins and mom-mom}

This past Saturday, me, my mom and Malayna went to "Doll's Day Out" at the Mercer Museum in Doylestown. As you probably know, my girl loves her baby dolls. She's a tad bit obsessed. So when I heard about this event, which included a tea party and doll fashion show {yes, you read that correctly}, I thought Malayna would love it. And she did, for the most part. When I signed up, however, I conveniently didn't think about the fact that I would have to go, too. Blech.

We sat at a big table with two other moms and their daughters, and were served cookies, little cupcakes and tea, lemonade and water. It was cute. But then the "fashion show" started. Little girls from the audience paraded around with dolls from the Museum's collection. That was also cute. There was a woman at the front of the room with a microphone, talking about each doll as it was brought around. She told a little of the history of each doll, but mostly talked about what it was wearing and how it looked. {I guess I should've expected that, since it was called a fashion show.}

When the show was over, we went downstairs - where there were vendors selling all kinds of doll clothing. It just felt wrong and not what I want to teach my daughter - to be concerned with how she looks {fashion show} and then go shopping. I know, I know - I'm the one who signed up for the event, but I stupidly thought it wouldn't be so bad. But I knew that she would enjoy it. The good part about it was that all the vendors' goods were handmade.

Where do you draw the line? You know, that line between what you personally can't stand and what you know your child will love? It's a little more than that, though. Based on my previous posts, you probably know that I don't want her to limited by society's version of what a girl should be. I want her to be more than a little fashion plate and consumer.

There was one booth there that had matching dresses for girls and their dolls. {Yuck. I honestly cringe just thinking about it.} Malayna saw the booth and made a beeline for it. She quickly picked out a blue dress for herself and then a matching blue dress for her doll. Then she realized that she had to go potty. So she took the dresses over to the woman running the booth, handed them to her, and said, "Can you hold on to these for me? I have to go potty." The woman said yes and Malayna responded with, "Don't put them back. Hold on to them because I want to buy them when I'm finished going potty." Hmm. My little shrinking violet.

Of course she wanted to wear her dress as soon as mom-mom bought it. She then asked me to put it on her doll. But not her girl doll. Her boy doll! She and her doll Sean have matching dresses. I don't mind the matching dresses so much now.

{Malayna and Sean in matching dresses}