New venue

{Bloom desk clock at Art Garage Sale.}

I set up a new shop here the other day and will be adding more things in the next few days. There are some great artists on there, including Jess Gonacha, who just happened to be across the aisle from me at Printsource NY back in January. She creates a variety of items, like prints, coasters, paintings and zines. Her work is wonderful!

In other news, Malayna survived her first day at lunch bunch yesterday. Lunch bunch is an extra 3 hours at school - the kids get to eat together and play. She said she enjoyed herself, but isn't giving up much more information than that. I, on the other hand, took advantage of those extra hours! Some patterns were started, bills paid, emails sent. Most importantly, I was able to try out this DVD: 30 Day Shred. Holy moly. That workout kicked my butt! I'm sore today, and it's not like I don't work out - Jimmy and I exercise together four mornings a week. I've been hearing about this workout on lots of blogs that I read, and everyone seems to love it (and the results it brings). It's only 20 minutes long, so it's easy to fit it in your schedule. Just be prepared to sweat!

Today Malayna and I are off to storytime at the bookstore. We went last week, and she was the life of the party. It's always surprising to me when she initiates conversations with people she doesn't know; I remember the days when she would growl at people if they would look at her! I'll take the friendly, outgoing Malayna over the other one any day.


Crafty girl

{Jack and his little sister Annie. Jack is waving
and Annie is doing a happy dance.
Love those glasses on Jack!}

Malayna has inherited my (and Jimmy's) crafty genes. She is constantly drawing, coloring, or working on some "project." We recently bought a small buffet from the thrift shop to hold all of her crafty supplies. She can easily access it, which means she's more likely to grab a box of crayons and some paper and draw her little heart out. She's just started adding hands, fingers and feet to the figures she draws. They are characters from her imagination, and she usually names them James, Leo, Jack or Annie. She loves to draw glasses, and one of my favorite parts of her doodles are the ear pieces of the glasses - big loops hovering near the figure's head.

{Malayna's interpretation of the hailstorm we had yesterday.
Our red door is to the left, and the yellow on the right is lightning.}

{This is what she calls an "abstract."}

{This drawing has been sitting on the coffee table for about a week.
She keeps re-working it and drawing on it more.}

Lots of "Leo" drawings:

Yesterday we worked on a project Malayna found in a book a friend gave her. We made a little chick out of styrofoam balls, pipe cleaners, clay and googly eyes. It included one of Malayna's favorite things - messy paint. She loves to put paint on a palette (a thrifted plate), use each of the colors, then mix them all together - usually with her hands. The goopier the better for her!

{Project-in-progress. She was saying,
"boop, boop, boop" while using the q-tip to paint.}

{Sunday afternoon project - blue chick.}


I think of art supplies like crayons, paper, paint and even coloring books as necessities - which means that Malayna gets constant replenishment of those things! She really can't have enough. It's such a pleasure to watch her work and to see her creations.


Silkscreening workshop

Here are some photos from the silkscreening workshop Jan and I took on Saturday. So much fun!

{Hmmm. What to do?}

{The screen ready for printing! I drew the flower
on contact paper, then stuck it to the screen.}

{Printing on fabric.}

{T-shirt for Malayna in her favorite color.}

{Experiments on a fabric scrap.}


Happy Monday!

Hello all! I'm home today with a feverish child. I had lots of things planned to do today since Malayna was supposed to be in school, but it looks like I won't get my kid-free two hours today. Hopefully I'll get at least a few things done since I think she'll be watching lots of videos today.

On Saturday I went to the Fabric Workshop and Museum with Jan and her sister. We had a tour of the facility and a short silkscreening workshop. I played around with a flower shape I created - printed on some fabric and a t-shirt for Malayna. I had such a good time that when I got home I searched for a silkscreening class in this area. I feel the itch to take a class again - before Malayna was born I took lots of classes like mosaics, wheel-throwing and hand-building clay, bookbinding and papermaking. I miss being around creative people!

Yesterday was a beautiful day, with lots of sunshine and the temperature around 65. We still have some repair work to do since the tree fell last year, so I took advantage of the nice weather and did some house painting. We have a piece of wood under the gutter on the porch that needed to be painted, and every time I drive up to the house I would notice it and think, "I have to get that painted!" It required a balancing act on the ladder, but it's now finished. One small thing to cross off the list!

Have a happy Monday!


Fabulous fabric

My friend Jan {with whom I shared a booth and room at the Printsource show back in January} has created some fabulous new fabric. Check it out! Be sure to sign up for her mailing list so you'll know when this newest batch goes on sale.


Photo Friday

{Malayna and Luco in the snow, way back on March 2nd.}

{Luco wanted to come in from the snow before Malayna did.
He and I stayed warm inside while Malayna and Jimmy played in the snow.}

{Cute new glasses. They're not prescription - she just likes wearing glasses!}

{Malayna, cousin Jack and Aidan at Briar Bush Nature Center.}


Thinking about Artie

Today is Artie's 19th birthday. I cannot believe he is 19 - it truly seems like yesterday that he was a little 5-year-old with the world open to him. I honestly thought Jimmy and I would have made a difference in his life, and if someone would've told me 14 years ago that he would grow up to become an addict I would not have believed them. Actually, people did say that - just not in so many words. I'm sad that more people didn't believe in him. I'm angry that he had to go through life with a mother like his, that society threw him away, that the school system didn't help him more, that his family treated us as the enemy, that all the love we gave him didn't save him. I'm sad and angry that his story really isn't all that unusual.

I'm reposting this in case anyone is new to the blog, or doesn't remember Artie's story.

This post is from September 27, 2007

My friend Kate and I saw Lucinda Williams at the Keswick Theater last night. She was great, and the Keswick is one of the best places to see a concert. It's a small, intimate theater - we were sitting in the 3rd row from the stage.

If you don't know Lucinda, you must listen to some of her songs. She's an incredible song writer. One of her new songs, "Are You Alright", is one of my favorites - it reminds me of a little boy who holds a special place in my heart.

To make a {very, very} long story short, his mother was a childhood friend of mine. She was a drug addict and had three children that she wasn't taking care of. I would take care of her middle child, Artie {starting at 4 months old}, at first to give her a break, but then eventually it turned into her expecting me to watch him every weekend. And I did - she wasn't taking care of him and by that time I felt like I couldn't just walk away. Not only would he stay with me on weekends, but I also volunteered at his schools {he had many - they moved around a lot} and sent him to camp a few summers.

{Artie and Malayna, 2004}

In 2000, his mother fell further into her addiction and Jimmy and I got custody of all three of her children {they were 9, 10 and 12 years old}. Two of them lived with us for 2 1/2 years and Artie stayed for five years, until 2005. Those five years were absolutely chaotic, but we really felt like we were doing the "right thing". There was a lot of rebellion from the kids - some of it normal teenage stuff, but most of it a result of the situation we were all in.

In 2005, our relationship with Artie was suffering. He had been getting into trouble in school and with the police. His family was conveniently absent for much of those five years, except to tell him that Jimmy and I weren't his family and that he should be with them. I still don't understand their reasoning. They didn't step up when the kids needed them, yet they didn't hesitate to put us down and poison our relationship with all three kids.

There were threats from his family about taking us to court for custody of Artie if we didn't let him go live with them. Since Artie wanted to go and we honestly felt like we didn't have a leg to stand on in court against his relatives, he went to live with an aunt. We lost touch for a while, which was sad since I had been in his life since he was a baby. {By the way, he didn't even stay with the aunt for a whole year before she kicked him out.}

I only talk to him once in a while, and I suspect he only calls when things are good for him. He's had a hard life already, including at least one stay in a rehab. He now lives with his grandparents, and when I leave a message for him I wonder if he gets it.

I can only hope that the love we showed him all those years means something.

Are You Alright

Are you alright?
All the sudden you went away.
Are you alright?
I hope you come back around someday.
Are you alright?
I haven't seen you in a real long time.
Are you alright?
Could you give me some kind of sign.
Are you alright?
I looked around me and you were gone.
Are you alright?
I feel like there must be something wrong.
Are you alright?
'Cause it seems like you disappeared.
Are you alright?
'Cause I been feeling a little scared.
Are you alright?

Are you sleeping through the night?
Do you have someone to hold you tight?
Do you have someone to hang out with?
Do you have someone to hug and kiss you,
Hug and kiss you,
Hug and kiss you?
Are you alright?

Are you alright?
Is there something been bothering you?
Are you alright?
I wish you'd give me a little clue.
Are you alright?
Is there something you wanna say?
Are you alright?
Just tell me that you're okay.
Are you alright?
'Cause you took off without a word.
Are you alright?
You flew away like a little bird.
Are you alright?
Is there anything I can do?
Are you alright?
'Cause I need to hear from you.
Are you alright?


Are you alright?
Are you alright?


Monday's to-do list

Happy Monday! The weather was awesome this weekend - temperatures close to 70 degrees. I went out Saturday night with friends from grade school, some of whom I haven't seen in 25 years. We've all reconnected on Facebook, and even have a reunion planned for June, but we couldn't wait that long to see each other. It was so much fun!

I've got a long list of things to accomplish this week:

1. Find out how to keep the birds from making nests in my eaves. We have a small hole where they can get into the space between the roof and the ceiling on the third floor. Yuck. Since our house is three stories high and we don't have a ladder that tall, we'll probably have to hire someone to do the work.

2. Work on a freelance design job that I'm really excited about!

3. Start planning the redesign of my garden.

4. Purge, purge, purge.

5. Organize, organize, organize.

6. Make new curtains. I bought curtains from Ikea, but since they're a solid color that is pretty close to my wall color, I bought some cool fabric to add to them. Time to dust off the sewing machine!

By the way, if you're in the Philadelphia area, my trunk show at Artista will continue through March.


Photo Friday and other stuff

For those of you in the Philadelphia area, I will be featured in a trunk show at Artista Gallery in Mount Airy this weekend. The show starts tonight with their First Friday festivities, but I will only be there on Saturday, from 12-4. Come by if you're in the area! {Click on the link above to get the address and phone number.}

Tonight Jimmy and I are going to see Lucinda Williams perform at the Keswick Theater. The Keswick is a small theater - one of those places where it doesn't matter where your seats are, because they're ALL good. She's one of my favorite performers and I can't wait to see her! The video below is of Malayna and her friend Lily rockin' out. They heard the Lucinda song I was listening to this morning and were inspired.


Snow, snow, snow

It's snowing again here in Southeast Pennsylvania. Our area got about 5 inches overnight and the snow is still coming down. The prediction is for about 8-12 inches! Malayna is home, school is closed for the day, and her friend (and our neighbor) Lily is coming over to play. Hopefully by the time Jimmy gets home from work the snow will have stopped and the two of them can go outside to play.

Meanwhile, I'm working on some new stuff! It's going to be more environmentally-friendly and a tad bit different, style-wise, than the work I've done previously. I'm hoping to work on some of it today, so I'll be sure to post some photos when I'm finished!

Until then, enjoy this video I found recently: