Friday, July 29, 2011

Back With a Vengeance

Oh. I forgot to tell you that I was going on vacation.
Yeah. Got back yesterday evening.
Had fun.
Glad to be sleeping in my own bed and showering in
my own bathroom.
I'll be back around shortly.
Just stick with me for a bit.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Filling Requests (if you love me, you will read this)

Annalise made a request.
She asked "If I knew I could not fail, what would I do?" She also added that money is a non-issue, here. We are going to pretend that the money for any endeavor would magically appear. I have seen this question before; on inspiration boards, on blogs, used as a motivational catapult. And, like most people, I have thought "Ha. What wouldn't I do?" and then went on about my business. I never really considered what my real answer would be until Annalise asked me. Now, I could have just went with an easy answer, like "I would be a dancer and be in a dance movie!". But I really don't think that is what she was looking for.

This has been a difficult question for me to answer. Maybe because I am not a very motivated person. Maybe because there are too many things that I would like to do. Maybe because I don't actually see any of them happening. Maybe because it's too easy to become complacent about your own situation in life. Maybe because I have quit trying, already.

I make things. That is what I do. That is what I have always done. I make art. I make clothes. I make bags and jewelry. I make whatever it is that my over-active brain spits out at me. But, as you all have probably already figured out, I don't have a life or death desire to do these things. I don't wake up in the morning feeling like if I don't create something my head will surely explode. On the contrary, it takes a whole lot of effort and ass kicking for me to follow through with my ideas. This is the very reason that I do not do custom orders or list items in my shop that are made to order. I am very quick about filling and shipping orders, but if it is not already made and ready to go, it is not going to happen. Therefore, I have piles of unfinished projects waiting around with good intentions of finishing them all up and moving forward, yet I continue to stand still.

I am envious of artists and designers who have such passion and drive. I wish that I was born with that same determination. But I wasn't. Interestingly enough, I was born with an equally artistic and mechanically inclined mind. This is why working on cars has always been fun to me. Just as much fun as finger painting. So one half of my brain desires to make something beautiful that speaks to the soul, and the other half desires a problem to have to figure out. Thus pattern-making was a natural fit. Designing is a perfect marriage of the two. Yet, it still doesn't excite me.

Bored yet? I'm trying to make this all come full circle. Stick with me.

So, the big question is "what does excite me?" Get your minds out of the gutters. We're not taking that road. Well........ finishing a project excites me. Not the process, but the end result. Singing excites me. But that's a whole other story. Putting something onto paper or canvas that was once only visible in my head excites me. That includes both painting and writing. The thought of encouraging young girls to appreciate themselves excites me. Our society just keeps pushing kids in all sorts of wrong directions.

So what is a girl like me to do? What would I do if I knew I could not fail? Knowing who I am and that my motivational level is not going to miraculously quadruple over night. Knowing that I have the talent, but not the drive. Knowing that making it in the art world involves selling yourself (seriously, guys. not like that.).

If I knew I could not fail, I would start painting again. Painting the things that I like to paint. Not worrying about whether I have a recognizable style. Not worrying about whether they could categorize my work. Not worrying about what anyone else wanted to see me paint, but only about what I wanted to see me paint. I would believe in myself and my skill. I would present my work to galleries and it would sell. And, somehow, somewhere in that mix, I would find a way to encourage people. To tell them "Hey. If I can manage to get up and push myself through each day and believe in myself, then you can too."

If I knew I could not fail, I would be the person that I know I was born to be.

Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? But it isn't. Here is the really sad part. Regardless of what I hope will happen, I am probably not going to wake up every morning wanting to paint. I very rarely actually want to paint. And you know what happens when you force yourself to paint? Shit. Shit happens. Nothing goes right. It doesn't flow. Same thing with writing. And designing. When the Divine Inspiration is not knocking at your door, all your effort turns to shit.

But you wanna know something crazy? I think I'll give it a try anyway. Hell. What do I have to lose? (this is where I pretend that canvas and paint doesn't cost a fortune.) Nothing to lose. Everything to gain. May as well follow my own advice and at least try to kick some ass at life.

Thanks, Annalise. :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Pool Party

Oh, this? Just a regular ol' N.Y.C. rooftop. With a killer lap pool, beautiful decking and a nice little privacy hedge. You know. Same ol', same ol'. I mean, come on. Who doesn't have a view like this from their pool?

* from fresh home.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday Already

Thank you, Jessica Simpson, for blessing us with fabulous shoes. It just doesn't get much better than this color combination.

On another note...... I owe Annalise a requested post. Thing is, she asked me a really hard question and I have yet to really come up with a solid answer. I'm still working on that. I have new bags to list, too, people. It's just that other things have been more important lately.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Filling Requests

One of my very favorite blogs of all time is Lila's blog; A Simplesmente Lila Braga. It is a constant source of beautiful images combined with thought provoking words and quotes. Sort of a blogging meditation. So it came as no surprise to me that Lila gave me a simple suggestion for blogging instead of a request. Simply blog about what you think is beautiful.
I know it was a more general piece of advice, but it got me to thinking. What is it that I long to say? What is it that I find so painfully gorgeous that I can't help but want to share?

I know the answer to this question.

What I find more beautiful than any tangible thing is the longings of the human heart. The things that we all feel deep inside of us, but cannot seem to convey. There are no words that can properly describe them. No way to fully emphasize their meaning. And, to be quite honest, I'm sure that we don't fully understand them ourselves. But they are alive inside of us.

They are wrapped up in feelings and emotions and deep seeded hopes and fears. They are the wishes that we have without even knowing what we are wishing for. And they can be brought to the surface of our hearts on so many different wings. The light filtering through trees. The scent of something long forgotten. The touch of someones hand. The sound of ocean waves.

The longings of the human heart. I have no way to pour them out to you. But I am sure that you know what they feel like. You have them, too. They are haunting and beautiful and magical and illusive. And even with all the words in the human language, they cannot be written down.

To me, there is something painfully beautiful about that.

*images here, here, here.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Pool Party

To say that I am a little jealous would be a massive understatement.
From here.

*I'm loving this request thing. Keep em coming. I've got one for Lila and Annalise coming up.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Filling Requests

If you missed my last post (or are just ignoring it), I opened up the request lines for what you want to see on my blog. Not that I'm changing things around here. I just thought it would be fun to answer some questions or cover some new topics. So.............request line is still open.

Dawn wanted to know how me and the Mr. met. So here goes.

As I have mentioned before, my husband is a good bit younger than me. I sort of robbed the cradle when I got him. But, honestly, I didn't mean to. I actually fought it pretty hard. I, as most of you know, worked in a body shop for nine years. Yes, a collision repair facility. I met my husband when he did an internship at the shop his senior year of high school. He was a young, cocky little punk. But adorable. However, I never considered him to be in my age bracket so I never considered a relationship with him. Ohhhhh, but he did. And he tried to get me to go out with him for the longest time. He would ask. I would laugh at him and say no. He would ask again. I would tell him he was too young. He would ask again. I would roll my eyes.

This went on for two years. No. Really. It did. He kept at it for two years. I kept turning him down for two years. But we became pretty good friends in that two years. In the meantime, he joined the Army National Guard and went to basic training and then to specialized training to be an Army mechanic. That knocked a good bit of his cockiness out. He came back acting much more mature and level headed. But still too young for me.

After hurricane Katrina, he got sent to Louisiana to help out. He called me while he was down there. First time he had ever called me. He said that he had gotten orders to deploy to Iraq and that he wanted us to hang out when he got home. I agreed, for some reason. Our first non-date was on Thanksgiving weekend. I only remember this because it's the first indoor motocross race of the season every year and that's where we went. I call it a non-date because I was still swearing that we were just friends and that he was much too young for me. And then we got married on May the 3rd.

I know. What the hell, right? I was still fighting it in December and then married him in May. The real kicker of this story? He left two days after we got married. Set foot in Iraq four days later and was gone for over a year. And five years later....... here we are.

Also, Dawn. I have lived here, in the mountains of North Carolina, all of my life. Never moved from the tiny town that I was born and raised in. Probably won't.

the end.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Request Line

Hello, beautiful people.
I'm sitting here at my computer, trying to think of something that I want to blog about. But nothing is sparking my interest. I could tell you about all the mundane stuff that is going on around here. About cleaning out my Nanny's house, mowing the yard, trying to sew and then getting so frustrated that I have to walk away, writing random things in my notebook, watching the two kittens that are now living under my shed playing in the grass. Blah. Blah. Blah.

So...... I've decided that I am going to ask you what you want to hear about. Seriously. I know. I'm a little crazy. And if I even get a request at all, I will consider myself lucky. I just thought I would try it out and see how it went. So, darlings. I'm taking requests.
Tell me what you want me to blog about. Anything. Really. Go for it.

Request line is open.

*photo from

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Shoe Lust

Just so you know, I am posting this for the sole (haha. sole. get it?) purpose of not seeing that wedding post every time I open my blog. I am tired of it.

So. Let's talk about these shoes. And the fact that I have no idea who made them or where to get them. I nabbed the pic on Pinterest and there was no origin to be found. I think it's pretty safe to say that they are the most awesome thing since slap bracelets. And I would totally rock these beasts like mad if I had them. But, alas, they probably cost a fortune. So let's not dwell on that. Let us, instead, dwell on how cool it would look to walk down the street leaving a streak of neon in your wake.

Yes. Totally rad. Totally.

*by the way.... if you are on Pinterest and I need to be following you, because you are super awesome (of course), let me know. I've already ran across a few of you there. Let's make it a party!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

About a Wedding

I promised you a wedding story. And you are going to get one. But first, I want to thank all of you for the compliments on everything in the last few posts. I know I say it a lot, but you guys are the greatest. A few specific replies, though.......... Amber- there will be 10 of the hand dyed bags in all with one more Luna. Jen- You are such a doll. And that tattoo covers half my back. You're only seeing a glimpse. ;) and Matt- plenty more happened. Trust me.

Now that I've said all that..... let's start with the arts and crafts!

First piece of evidence: You know those photo frames that they get everyone to sign in on? That's what this is. They wanted it embellished instead of just plain ol' white. So I embellished it with pink flowers. Excited yet?

Then there were hand lettered cards to go on all the goodies. Sparklers, seed packets, flip-flops, and so on and so forth. I decided to use song lyrics that would go with each.
It is quite annoying when people look at these and say "Oh, you have such pretty handwriting." This is not handwriting, darlings. This involved mapping out letter sizes and spacing, hand drawing in pencil and then going over them in ink and giving them all their pretty curves. Very labor intensive stuff. There was also a wooden sign, but you don't get to see it. (The couple may not want their names advertised. Just saying.)

Also hand lettered some signs for the front rows. These were done with paint, though. Not ink.

And then there was cake. Let me just go ahead and tell you........ this cake was a nightmare. To begin with, each tier is made of two layers. The bottom (and largest) tier had a sliding problem. The cake just broke apart and slid like the banks of a river. This happens in cake making. But considering that mom added all this stuff to the cake to make it firmer, this should not have happened. Oh, but it did. And we had to scrape the whole top layer of the bottom tier off and bake a new one. That equals two cake mixes. Just like this.......

Yes. Wasted cake and icing. Mom was sick about it. I actually have a picture of her flipping the cake off, but I'm keeping that one for myself, too. Now you can see that it was confetti cake. The bride wanted confetti cake. And a ribbon. We are not very fond of ribbons on cakes, but when that is what the bride wants, that is what the bride gets. On with the story....

The grooms cake turned out great (thank the dear Lord). I made this baby myself. Mom baked the pound cake. I carved it and did all the fancy fondant work. It was a big hit. People actually didn't believe that it was a cake. I just about had a heart attack when I witnessed a woman try to pick it up by the bill.

Baseball cap on a slice of wood. The groom is a football fan and a logger. There you go.

Okay. Now let's finish this story about the wedding cake. We fixed the bottom layer. Mom put the base icing on all three layers. And then I came in and added the detailing. Little vines and leaves and flowers and such. The pics aren't that clear, but the cake was iced off white with super white detailing. And it looked great when we loaded it in the car Friday evening. Each layer was secured in it's own box to be assembled on site. And then the long, slow 40 minute drive.
Everything went great, despite the heat and humidity, until we reached the venue. When you pay a small fortune for a place to have your wedding, one would just expect that they would have a decent road into the joint. But, hell no! They have a long gravel driveway. And not just any gravel, but that large gravel that is sort of like driving over small boulders. Cakes with real icing (not fondant) really hate to be jiggled. Especially for a good three quarters of a mile.

When we reached the top.......... the whole side of the top layer had jiggled right off. Heat, humidity, bad roads. Bad combination. But we handled the situation. Mom smoothed the icing back onto the sides, but half of the design was lost. And there was no fixing that.

So, as you can see, the vines and leaves and such on top just sort of disappear. But at least it had icing on it! May I please re-emphasize the fact that we are not big fans of ribbons on cakes. But the bride wanted the bow to match the one on her dress.
Mom swears that this is her last wedding cake. I don't blame her one bit. For any of you wondering why so many bakers use fondant religiously these days, it is because fondant can hide a multitude of sins. It tastes terrible and has to be peeled off, but it can cover all the bulges and sags and sweating that comes with the territory. Sort of like putting a girdle on your cake.

At the end of the day, the happy couple didn't even seem to notice that part of their cake was missing. But me and mom did, and it will forever irk the crap out of me that there were no designs on half of the top layer. But, oh well. It's just a cake. Life goes on.

And there you go, my dears. The story of the wedding cake.
I'm sure you are so excited that you can't stand it. Now, if you will excuse me, I must go find something for lunch.

Hugs and Sunshine to you all. Happy weekend!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Pool Party

I need a second to catch my breath.
A Friday Pool post sounded like a good way to do that.

*from Pinterest.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The New Shiz

Just dropping in to let you know that I will be listing new items in my Etsy store for the rest of the week. If you are interested, I am offering a coupon code to my blog readers for 15% off of your Miz.November order. This is the only place and the only time that I will announce this code.
When checking out, just enter FINALLY15 in the coupon code box and automatically get 15% off of your order. This offer will last until July 23.

Hugs and Sunshine


I promised you guys that I would get caught up on all of June's happenings once the smoke cleared, and I am here to do just that. Starting with my Nanny Ruby's birthday. (nanny=grandmother, by the way)
This is the cake I made for her birthday party. I was hoping to do something feminine in soft colors, but mom picked out the party colors. This was my first foray into using gum paste, so I kept it simple, making a little blue bird and some flowers and hearts. I really should have gotten a better picture of the bird.

I just had to try my hand at the heart cakes that you keep seeing pop up all over the internet lately. I have to say, I was worried that it wasn't going to work out. I know it's a messy picture, but I was just insanely excited that you could actually see a heart inside when it was cut! I also have to say that it was a big pain in the ass and worth every second of it. Partly because three days later, my brother had to inquire about how it was done. He had racked his brain trying to figure it out. You know it's pretty cool when your big brother can't quit wondering about it.

On this same day, my aunt brought me two dresses that she had found while cleaning out my Nanny's attic. They are dresses that my mom made and wore before she was married. My mom is quite the seamstress. There is honestly no telling how many things she has sewn in her time. I love being able to keep a few of them for myself. Especially this one. I fell in love with this one.

Quite a bit shorter than anything I'm used to, but so freaking cute! Look at those sleeves!

This dress is made out of dotted swiss, which is a printed cotton with tiny dots all over it. It also happens to be quite sheer. I could never wear this out in public without a slip. Problem is, I don't have a slip this short! Guess I'll have to find one.

So, there you have it. Nanny's birthday and mom's old clothes.
I will be back with pics from the wedding and a cake catastrophe. Also, I am very slowly but surely getting the new bags listed on Etsy. It may be tonight before the first ones are up, but I'm getting there. Finally.