Wednesday, May 31, 2006


This morning as I was adding sugar and cream to my coffee, I noticed a sticker on his forehead.

I thought it was a regular banana sticker and I chose to ignore this bit of silliness. I mean, what really do you say to a fully-grown, dressed-for-a-business-day man with a banana sticker on his forehead, smiling like a fool? Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer. I said to him rather crabbily "I see the sticker." To which he replied, with the ever growing grin stretched cheek to freckly cheek "I'm just following directions."

I think I will make a new sticker for tomorrow's banana that says something along the lines of "Wait until she's finished her first cup of coffee" or "Bring her home a nice little surprise just for her" or "Say something so nice that she will have to sit down to take it all in."

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

pssst....pass it on

Look at this wonderful little bundle that I got last week. Sasha saw a picture of my hats sans hat pins and thought it was such a shame to have such pretty hats without something wonderful to stick in them. So, sweet Sasha sent me this package of 3 of the most beautiful pins (that she made!) with a note saying "Practicing random acts of kindness since 1967...pass it on!"

Today, as I drive into the Cottage, I'm going to dream up some wonderful random act of kindness to pass on to another. It's got to be good and something I might not ordinarily do. And I like the idea of doing it by post so that I too can leave a cute little message inviting them to pass it on.

Have the loveliest of days, my friends. And if someone does something nice for you today, don't forget to, as Sasha says, pass it on.

Thank you, Sasha! I love everything about the bundle you sent.

Monday, May 29, 2006


We owe our freedom to the millions of soldiers who defended it, thousands of them giving their lives for it. Thank you to all of those soldiers, from every branch and every war, who fought (and fight) for me so that I can live in this great country free, with liberty, justice, pursuits of happiness, and all of that. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Friday, May 26, 2006

meet little amy

I have a new blog header. Isn't she just about the loveliest little thing? My fabulous friend Mo Jackson surprised me with her. She made it so that I can change her all around like a little Amy paperdoll. I animated her so that her wings flap a little. I wish I could hold her on my finger like a butterfly.

If I had that little version of myself now in my hand, I would tell her so many things. I would tell her to be herself, even though that means being wierd a lot. I would tell her not to listen to mean ol' George Case and all of those other mean boys who liked to daily torment her. I would tell her to keep a diary because I really wish I could read about her now. I would also tell her how lucky she is to have two of the very best friends in Mia Reid and Tonya Wajciechowski.

I have two stories to tell you about this little Amy, of about the age of that picture in the banner. The first one is bittersweet. Although it really hurt me at the time, I do know what a funny story it is. It's okay to laugh just please scroll down so that little Amy doesn't see you. She's very tenderhearted.

I'm from a very, very small town. There were only 49 classmates and almost all of them I knew from kindergarten through graduation. I rode on Bus 8, Second Trip. One day something really terrible happened on Bus 8, Second Trip. It is permanently inked in my mind as perhaps the most humiliating experience of my life. If not that, it was at least the most humiliating of all of my then 8 years.

As I sat quietly in my seat, staring out the window and daydreaming, unbeknownst to me, George Case was filling my curly hair with straw that he was picking from his busted seat. He must have been doing it for the entire trip because he built quite a nest. Once or twice I felt something and turned my head but I was used to spit balls and other meanness and I knew it was best to ignore these things.

And then it started...a little tweat and then another. And then full out laughter. Everyone, every single one on the bus, except me, laughing. My sister even. Et tu Jessica? And when I walked out of the bus and turned back to look, the bus driver too. I ran all the way home, hot tears streaming down my face.

The second story is not sad. My mother used to make all of my clothes. She would find a pattern she really liked and then make a bunch of clothes with different material. In second grade, she had a pattern for reversable quilted vest and pant sets. She also made me a round of wrap-around skirts. My favorite was the same color as my favorite soup, cream of tomato with a little bit of cheese. I loved to wear shorts underneath. As I ran outside for recess, I would strip off the skirt and then tie the wrap-around skirt around my neck to wear it as a cape. Isn't that a great idea?

p.s. I know I said I had something to tell you about (with pictures) but it didn't work out. Sorry to be a tease.

p.p.s. I used Mo Jackson's doo dads to make the dear diary page.

p.p.p.s. If you see George Case, kick him in the shin for me. hard.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

my baby takes the morning train

Yesterday I took a train with my friend Ann to New York City to see Rosanna, my friend from Italy. I'm so glad we didn't go TODAY.

Here is the gift that I made for Rosanna.

And here are all of the gifts she showered me with. It was Christmas. And I was as happy as Christmas, let me tell you.

We walked all day long from Midtown to Greenwich Village. Here is what I bought from the Garment District.

We met so many wonderful people. My favorite new friends are the guys from Lou Lou Button and Michael Shine from Tinsel Trading Company. Hello, guys if you're out there. Holla!

I am so very tired. It was a long, long day. But now I have a lot of catching up to do. I have something good to tell you about tomorrow. With pictures.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

choose happiness

Hello, my sweet friends. I'm sorry about the absence last week. I've been incredibly busy. I absolutely had to get the site updated...Doojies, Little Melfred, and Melissa had all sent me things so long ago and it was just unforgivable for me to sit on them so long. I'm so happy that all of the new things are so well received. Thank you everyone for your purchases. It does my heart good every single time someone chooses something from Inspire Company to add to their lives, or better yet, to give as an expression of love to others.

Last Tuesday, there was no sodie pop review. And I'm afraid there'll be none today. I've run out of interesting drinks available at the sandwich shop. Well I should clarify that there are still some power drinks and yoo-hoo like drinks (including a milky way drink!) that I am afraid of. They never look appealing to me at 9 am. But interesting? Yes, very.

As I was driving in this morning, I was struck by all of the road rage all around me. I drive a little bit like a grandmother, so often I am the target of the road rage. Fists (or worse!) raised to me as they pass, horns ablasting.

I do not understand road rage. I don't know why someone would allow another person, a stranger in another car, to ruin their happiness in that given moment. Sure, I've run across (not literally, I promise) bad drivers. But I try to preserve my happiness by not letting their actions effect my mood. Isn't your happiness too precious to toss it aside when someone changes lanes without a blinker? (I always use a blinker, by the way. Even when I'm turning into my driveway. See what I say? grandmother on board. Wouldn't "Choose Happiness" make good bumper sticker? I'm not the bumper sticker type, personally. I'd rather be on a first-name basis with someone before I let them know my view on gun control or drunk driving or any combination of the two, for instance.

I am going on a great adventure tomorrow. That's all I'll give away today but boy will I have a wonderful lot of goodness to post on Thursday.

Monday, May 22, 2006

i scream, you scream

One lazy weekday afternoon last summer as I was working in my office I heard the deeeeelightful and unmistakable sound of an ice cream truck on our street. I ran to the kitchen to grab my purse and ran out the front door with my shoes half on. Just like a little girl, I stopped at the street, looked both ways, and then waited on the other side for the ice cream truck to turn around at the cul de sac and return to me.

Do you know how wonderful all of those ice creams pictured on the side of his truck looked? I couldn't decide which I wanted so I just picked randomly. It was such a nice treat. I told myself that I would stop work and run out there in the same fashion everytime he came. Unfortunately (or rather fortunately for my waistline) he didn't come back all summer.

You can imagine my happy face when again this year I heard the sirensong of the ice cream truck. Same drill all over, exactly. Me, purse, look both ways, wait patiently. This time, though, it was a weekend and I had an audience, Rich. He couldn't believe how easily I reverted to something like the age of 7 at the sound of that high pitched music.

So this time, I said to Mr. Ice Cream Man "Please come back. Come back to this neighborhood as much as you can."

I think that was a mistake. He's come back. And often. When he comes, I'm not particularly interested in a Chipwich or a red white and blue rocket or a Strawberry Shortcake. For instance, today he came just before dinner. Now really, who can justify being 35 years old and running after an ice cream truck before dinner.

Even when I'm passing on the ice cream, I always run to the window to watch him go by. Today I was so happy to see my little neighbor across the street, Sidou, run to his front door when he heard the music, then run back into the house returning quickly with cash in hand. The ice cream truck almost missed him and I was ready to run out there to flag him down. He ran to the truck, money clutched in his fist, with the biggest "I'm getting Ice Cream before dinner" smile you've ever seen.

I can't tell you how happy it made me to see Sidou and his little sister getting ice cream from the ice cream truck. Happier, indeed, than it made me to have the ice cream myself. This, my friends, is reason number 1002 why I should have a houseful of children. We'd definitely keep that ice cream truck in business.

Friday, May 19, 2006

bizzzee bizzzeee

I just added a whole bunch of wonderful things to the store. I'll be back very soon to tell you more but I wanted to show you some of the great new things...

So click here to go to the store Do you like my new front page? The image changes everytime you visit. How's that for fancy?

Monday, May 15, 2006

monday monday

geezy pete, I'm stuck today.

This is my problem with Mondays, in general. It's supposed to be my busiest day but I tell you, I feel like I have lead in my shoes (or slippers in this morning's case!) I have a whole laundry list of things to do but all I want to do is spend the morning surfing around, sipping coffee, and daydreaming. And it seems to be like this every Monday.

Now, I'm not a list maker. I'm just not. Often when I talk to my friend Debbie, listmaker, and I'm overwhelmed like I feel today she will say to me "Amy, make a list." And it always helps. So here is my list today. I will update it as I go through the day and let's see how much I get done.

-Package up all the orders
-Pay retail sales tax (late!)
-Send Michelle her package and check
-Take photos of all of the new things
-Fix up the store with new sections and add the new things
-Work on logo idea for A.
-Clean up little and big dollhouses
-Work on contribution for Club Little House
-Put together box of things to take to my little room at The Cottage
-Tidy up
-Use foodsaver to marinate, package and then freeze chicken for easy-grill dinners (I'll post about this someday soon!)

There might be more to do so I might add to the list. Maybe this will be a good way to jumpstart my mondays. I'm certain I won't get all of this done today but we'll see how it goes. I'll strike through them as I get them done. And I'll keep going through the week.

My treats for getting a lot done today?
-Asian salad from McD's and a large coke for lunch
-Time out at 2 to watch "Keeping up Appearances"
-a little casual bike ride around the block
-A glass of that nice chardonnay and a little plate of bites when Rich gets home while we grill dinner

Sunday, May 14, 2006

studio A

I'm working on fixing up my new studio space. I filled jars with lots of wonderful little bits and pieces. Now I can just look up and get inspired by them. There are lots of empty jars and even more empty drawers. I can't believe how much space I have in this wonderful old apothecary cabinet.

You can click that image above to get a detailed view.

I relocated my big A and my AMY letters to this room. It didn't seem very fair to have them in the family room without having a big R and RICH letters too. But this room is mine, all mine, and I can mark it with an A.

I made impromptu hat stands from some silvery candlesticks. Isn't it a pretty look?

And that candle is the best smelling ever. I picked it up at a store without checking first for the price. When it rung up at $50 I was too embarrassed to change my mind. Now I'm glad I didn't because it is so wonderful. Perhaps even more wonderful I'll admit because of its luxurious pricetag.

I fashioned a "window treatment" out of wonderful tea towels from Martha's Kmart collection. They might be better suited for the kitchen but they make me happy. I'm all about happy.

I tacked some old rick rack to the back of this area to make an inspiration space. I put some things that I love, love, love all around to make me happy. The teapot becomes a ribbon dispenser (that's a brainstorm I had last year). On the easel I have a positive affirmation card from Louise Hay to keep me on track.

it's all because of her

Everyone falls in love with my mother the first time they meet her. It's her voice. She has the prettiest drawl you'll ever hear. She adds extra syllables and everything comes out like a song. And she says things that I've never heard another person say like "Howeeeeedoin?" and "I swonny" and "I don't give a kitty". She says "Yes Ma'am" to women who are 30 years her junior. And her's the most delightful thing.

I talk to my mother every single day, sometimes many times a day. She keeps a mental list of all the things she has to tell each of her children. Sometimes I hear the same thing twice and Jessica doesn't hear it at all. She tells me all about the cute things that Maggie and Seth say and do. She tells me when people die or get married. She tells me about the church functions that are all lined up and doctor's appointments and shopping trips. But mostly we just talk.

She's still my mother, that's for certain. I get a good dose of advice and chiding and reminders and lessons. But now she's my friend too...the closest friend because she knows me so completely.

I'm everything I am because you loved me.

Happy Mother's Day, Momma. I love you so very much.

Friday, May 12, 2006

sweet birdy

Looky here at this wonderful pin that I snatched up on ebay a couple of weeks ago. Isn't she just about the sweetest thing? I put her on a little pillow just to show you but I like how it looks like the fella is tootin' at her.

doo dad dabbling

In my post a couple of days ago I forgot to mention that I used doo dads from my friend Mo's collections to fancy up the photos. Not familiar with doo dads? Pull up a chair, my friend. I have a story to tell.

There is a whole huge world of scrapbookers out there. You knew that. But there is a subculture (or maybe Ď‹berculture) of these scrapbookers who do all of their work on the computer. They use elements created expressly for this sort of endeavor which my friend Mo Jackson calls "doo dads". These collections are so affordably priced...most under $10. Using a program like Photoshop, you can use these doo dads to make virtual scrapbook pages. No paper cuts. No messy glue. And best of all, you can make changes on a whim. I think you should try it.

My friend Mo Jackson is a very successful digital elements designer. She has a rockstar status among these digital scrapbookers. There should be a tabloid...maybe something called the Digital keep up with all of the goings on in this world. Anyway, my friend the rockstar designer has created her store to be something of an exclusive club. It's so worth it to get in, believe me. But once in, you must participate and be a good member. I am not such a good member but she keeps me around because I'm her friend.

Most digital elements that you buy, including those from my friend Mo, are for personal use only. Sometimes Mo makes exceptions for me and lets me put them here and there on my site as long as I tell everyone that they are hers.

I also wanted to mention that the font I used in the two previous entries is called Cadence and it is from Autumn Leaves. Isn't it loverly?

poker game tonight

Rich is having a poker game here tonight. Our next door neighbor and his chums have had this poker game going for more years than Rich has been alive. He is by far the newest and youngest member. They've never had the game here so this is exciting. You should see the snacks Rich bought last night....popcorn, chips, nuts, and beer! We almost never have beer in the house so it is so funny to open the fridge and see so much beer. I am planning to stay out of sight for the night...maybe working on my new workroom putting supplies in jars and drawers. But I think I will listen in to see if they are telling dirty jokes and swearing and calling each other bad things like maybe "You old bastard". Actually, when I imagine it I'm picturing something like this...

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

tuesday sodie pop review

Boylan Bottleworks Black Cherry

Yummy! This tastes exactly like a tootsie pop in black cherry. It's like drinking candy. The one problem is that perhaps it is too sweet. Didn't think I could ever say such a thing, but here I am saying it.

I'm on the wrong coast...

Oh, how I wish I could go to this:

If you do live on that coast, it would be a sin to miss it. And if you do go, will you report back here on how delightful it all is? Pretty please, with sugar on top?