Friday, August 31, 2007

big news from the cottage...

Have you heard? My friends at the cottage are opening up their very own online store tomorrow!. They have a little website fairy who's been working very hard to get it all ready. There's still a bit to do but they are hopeful that tomorrow at around noon, they'll open their virtual doors.

All the pictures above are previews of some of the fabulous products they have selected just for you. And check out these beautiful charms...

Tomorrow, chickadees! Be there or be square.

Watch this page! like an eagle. Or, duh, like a hawk! I thought that sounded funny. Or maybe, MAYBE, you should watch it like a magpie...on the lookout for shiny new things!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

they call me yuck mouth

I just spent a gruelling hour at the dentist. I let 2 years pass without a visit. Plus I really hate to floss. That's a formula for not only yuck mouth but a really painful experience in the chair.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

fall legs

I'm thinking today of tights and how soon it will be time for them.

I wish they made these in my size.

And I love this idea. They're like leg warmers but for the arms. How cute.

And I saw these shoes and this sweater and just had to show you. The shoes are from Target (cheap, cheap, cheap) and the sweater from Anthropologie (not cheap).

The tights at the top are from Free People and Anthropologie. The little girl ones are from Hanna Andersson, of course. So are the arm warmers.

Monday, August 27, 2007


I just got the father is coming home from the hospital today. I think he's still weak but he's recovered from his illness remarkably well.

And just in brother and his family are moving in with my parents this weekend. They'll stay there while their house is being built.

Seth's first day of kindergarten is coming soon....maybe even next week? It's fun to think of him living with my parents during this important time, catching the bus the same place we caught the bus when we were young.

Thank you again for all your prayers and thoughtful words for my father. I'm so glad he's better. What a relief.

Today, I'm going to try to tackle the workroom that I started to do last week.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

really wonderful new things...

I am so very pleased to present these wonderful new things at the shop...

Our sweet friend Charlotte Lyons has been busy making fabulous little critters...mice in teacups! They are just the cutest little mice you've ever seen, some with twinkling rhinestone noses, others with pearly noses, all made from recycled homefelted sweaters, and all crafted with lots of love.

To meet all of these and others, click here.

Another set of wonderful things I want to share with you are charm necklaces created especially for Inspire Co. by our friend Mary Holcomb. I'm so amazed at the artful arrangement of charms that Mary placed on these pearl chain necklaces.

To order these and see a couple of other new things, Click here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

trying to get back...

Trying to get back in the swing of things but I'm feeling so very tired. And so distracted.

I spent two nights at the hospital, sleeping only for minutes at a time. And then tending to my father during the day. Now I'm as tired as ever. I'm a bit worried about my mother too...she's not getting much rest and she'll need to take care of my father when he comes home. This is so stressful for everyone.

I'm thankful that my sister and brother and their families live closer to my parents and can help support them. My other sister and I live further away and it can be so frustrating to want to do more but to be too far away to do very much. It helps to know that they are there to give comfort and love and support.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

good news!

Well, I have some great news. Papa Bear is feeling much better! It was pretty scary at times but day by day he's been getting better. This morning he was back to himself, telling funny stories, and giving the nurses grief.
This morning he told me about the time he was in the hospital years ago in the same room with a man who'd made it his business to collect leftovers from other patient's trays. He'd go around after each meal and pick up all the food he wanted from the trays waiting to be picked up outside the rooms throughout the whole hospital. He had a basin under his bed that he'd filled with ice to keep the perishables cool. He lined the window sills with all the other goodies. One time when my father went to the bathroom, the crazy man switched my father's milk with one of the ones under his bed. My father took a sip and it seemed a little warm and tasted a little funky. His neighbor piped up and said that since Daddy was drinking his right away he'd switched it with an older one. And another time one of my father's friends came for a visit and brought him a nice bowl of fresh fruit. My father left the room and when he came back the crazy man had eaten it all.
Some of Daddy's famous hospital stories are pretty colorful...and lots have gory and disgusting details. Most can't be repeated here. But really, they aren't nearly as funny when I tell them as they are when he tells you about them. Especially when he starts laughing so hard he can hardly finish telling you. Oh, those are the stories I love the best.
I'm so very happy that he's back to his dear self. I know that the day will come someday and I'll try to prepare for it. But for now, oh my dear God, I thank you for your grace.
And to you, my very sweet friends, my whole family thanks you so much for your well wishes and prayers! What a great bunch of friends you are. My niece told me once that she'd pray for something for me and then she said "and Amy, it'll happen because God listens to my prayers."

Monday, August 20, 2007

my father

I'm heading southward today to be with my father. He's in the hospital after being very ill for 2 weeks.
Will you say a prayer for him to be back on his feet soon?

tcob marathon, cont.

This was a very nice weekend. I made the nicest Sunday supper last night...a chicken roasted with lemons and shallots with the best ever pan gravy, the fluffiest mashed potatoes with just the right amount of farm fresh butter, a fresh salad of ripest tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil, drizzled with vinegar and olive oil. I love Sundays when there's a supper being fixed, filling the house with delicious anticipation.
Between supper preparations, I joined Rich who was reading all day. It was just the kind of easy going day that I love. Oh, and the weather was perfect, even a little chilly at times.
Last night a loud storm came through, dropping hard rain at times. The power went out for about an hour and I was sure the basement would flood without the sump pump's help. I couldn't find the flashlight (which is usually on the floor by Rich's side of the bed but which wasn't replaced after the camping trip) so I just waited for the power to come back on. Once it did, I checked out the basement. Happily it was dry as a bone.

Today I'm continuing my marathon of taking care of business kinds of things. The office is still sparkling clean and I'm very happy with it.
Now I will tackle the studio. It is a complete mess. Stuff is everywhere and not in the least way organized. I'd like to get rid of the big hunkin' chair that's in the middle and replace it with a workbench that's now in the basement. The chair just gets piled up with stuff and I never use it to actually sit. I do most of my work standing up so a workbench will be just the ticket. And I can keep the work surface cleared and ready for creating. That's my hope anyway.
First things first...I need to sort and clean and shelf and clean and clean and clean. And, next week...the basement!

Friday, August 17, 2007


Aren't these just about the prettiest lollipops you've ever seen? They are made the good old fashioned way, hand-pulled just like they did it in the 1800s.

In flavors like cotton candy, bubblegum and pink lemonade, how can you resist? How?

They just arrived and I was so excited as I opened the box that you'd think I was already riding a sugar high. Just looking at them makes you buzz with happiness. Click here to order a whole bunch.
More candy pins just arrived from our favorite Italian jewelry maker, Greta Silva. She's regularly featured in Elle, Vogue, and European fashion magazines and has quite an international following. Click here to order one for yourself.
Lots of other new things, including a fresh lot of adding machine numbers. I also have some adding machine number gears. Oh, and look for the cigarette trading cards from the 20s. Fun fun! Click here to see all that's new.

more of the office

I've spent the morning just sitting in my newly cleaned and organized office, mostly just catching up. I'm really enjoying it.

The pouf balls, for those who asked, are from Martha's line at Michael's. They are the same kind of big flowers that we all made in the third grade from tissue paper...but these are extra special because 1. the colors are so yummy 2. the tissue is scalloped and pinked making them petal perfect!

Here's the office with the doors shut...I took the sheer curtains that I'd had on the french doors off. I like the way the room glows through the doors.
I hung this fun wire hot balloon that my friend Linda gave me over the desk. We hung this cabinet last night. I don't know yet what I'll do with that towel bar. I don't use this room for wrapping or's strictly paperwork and computer stuff. Any ideas?
This picture is a little dark but I wanted to show you the "lamp" I'd made. The birds are from Ikea...dirt cheap (maybe $14). My friend Irene gave me the bridge lamp base for another project (that it didn't end up working for). I combined the two for a fun floor lamp. I think I'll add dangles with the reminds me of a glowing version of Alicia's bird cagelets. Remember those?

Speaking of Alicia, I'm beside myself with sadness for her and Andy. Her sweet pup Audrey suddenly passed this week. It's just too sad for words. She's on my mind today.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

the office

Okay, I'm still working on my office. I am terrible at organization and I'm always trying to find the next best solution for me. I don't think it exists but that doesn't keep me from trying.

The office is a small room. Rich's brother once asked if we'd converted a closet. And he wasn't joking. We used to have two desks, a computer on each. One for Rich and one for me. Rich's desk was always, you guessed it, immaculate. Mine was always considerably less so. But since it's where I worked every day, I had systems of mess and I generally knew where to find most things.

Then my computer, and its beautiful gigantic monitor, broke. By then we had the laptop and we decided that we could make do with just one desktop computer. And just one desktop.

My messy desk and Rich's squeaky clean desk united.

I mainly used the laptop for most things and worked wherever I wanted, usually in the family room. I only ventured in the office to print invoices, shipping labels, stuff my inbox, and avoid updating my books. That doesn't mean that I didn't leave messes in my wake though. Quite the contrary.

Before I show you my progress, I may have just a little 'splaining to do.

The orange walls? I don't have an answer. Except to say that they make me want to have a creamsicle every single day.

The pictures on the wall are very random and I'm going to rearrange them and take some down. I have an idea of something fun to do.

The blank wall space above the printer is reserved for a cabinet that Rich is going to hang tonight.

The pouf balls are hanging from the ceiling, along with an assortment of fairies and Christmas balls and charms, using fishline. I couldn't take a good picture of it to show you but maybe you can see a bit of it in the second picture. It's where my desk used to be and all of that looked like ideas popping out of my head. Since I couldn't get away with that kind of thing over a desk shared with Rich (his ideas are not pink and poufy) I left them there. I think they look nice over the reading chair (just relocated from the family room!)

Ready to see what it's looking like?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

pooped (unillustrated)

Today I worked on my books a little bit and then I decided I couldn't do another thing until I cleaned the office. Enough is enough. So I took everything out of the office and into the front hall, cleaned, windexed and vacuumed. And then, with random stacks and boxes of things still populating the front hall, I pooped out.

Tomorrow I'll tackle those stacks. I'll file and toss and box up for donations and banish things to a dark corner of the basement.

I think I told you once before that my hometown is a papermill town. And as I was coming up, the mill still blew a whistle to mark the beginning of the workday, lunch break and the end of the day. And we could hear this whistle at home. "Get out of bed...didn't you hear the whistle? It's after 7!" or "There's the's lunchtime" or "Hurry and get in the car! The whistle blew and we have to go pick up Daddy!"

Today, I swear just before I pooped out, I heard that old friend blow her sound. "Hooooooooo....."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

swept under the rug

If they were to sort the whole of us into groups of those who deal with it and those who avoid it (whomever they are and whatever it is) I would be with the bunch who avoid it.

Here are some real life examples:

Sometimes when I sweep, I make a pile and I leave it there under the broom, which is leaned against the wall. I'm expecting the broom fairies to take care of the rest. They've yet to come.

I am fond of storing my files in lots of folders directly on my desktop. Once every so often I will "clean" the desktop by making a folder called "clean" or some crazy derivative like "cleanup" or "cleancleanclean" or "desktop cleanup" and I will dump all of those files into it. As a result I have an elaborate web of these such folders, dating back years and years. I think my computer is so full of files right now that it is going to bust wide open and files are going to fly everywhere.

My books go undone for months at a time, marked by a lumbering pile of unopened envelopes towering in my in-box.

And I'll stop right there to avoid risking losing you all in a wave of disgust. Besides, I think confessions are best 3 or fewer at a time.

I have a list of things that I've let go too long and its accumlative effect is to make me feel quite unbalanced. Weeks go by, each starting with me saying "yes, this is the week I'll..." and fill in some monumental task that I really need a team of extreme people to come in and do for me.

Alas, it's just me. And too many weeks have started with the goal of doing this or doing that only to find me in the same place, buried even deeper, the next week.

You know what they are fond of saying these days about big girl panties and all that goes with them. In the weeks to come, I'm commiting myself to a lot of tcob kinds of things.

I can't say how this commitment will play out in my blog. I can guess that there will be days when I'll ramble on forever about something or nothing, just to avoid the monster of a task planned for that day. And I'm sure there will be other days when I'll emerge wartorn from some room that has become a depository for forgotten things, perhaps with a photo of said things to share. Still there will be other days when I will be cross-eyed and bloodshot from a marathon of number mumbling, cross referencing from paper to quickbooks, a finger to hold my place.

Today's monumental task...tackling my freakin' books. (I will supplement this task with a sweet tea from McD's and will punctuate each reconciliation with a chocolate treat)

First, I wanted to show you these sweet houses that I just finished...

These are on their way to a special customer but I'm feeling inspired to make more like them. Maybe when I need to refuel after shoveling through the masses of things I've swept under the rug, I'll have some to share with you.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Isn't it funny how a little thought can gain momentum in your head and soon become a full on memory?

Yesterday I saw an abandoned shopping cart on the side of the road. First I thought about how I'd heard about some stores in the metro area having trouble with people taking their carts out of the parking lots. So much so that they had to install them with an alarm which would go off when the carts were taken outside the perimeters.

And then I thought about how expensive shopping carts are and wondered if it were general knowledge how expensive the carts are if people would still leave them, abandoned, on the side of the road.

Then it came, the memory.

{Cue dreamy music and wavy vision}

Johnny Davis was bad. Very bad. For one thing, he smoked cigarettes in the second grade. His hair was greasy and slicked back. He wore stained t-shirts and dirty jeans. Every other word was a bad one, even when he talked to teachers. He was in a fight every single day, doling out nosebleeds and bruises. He laughed a sneaky little laugh, like a villain on a cartoon. He was bad. Very bad.

In the Summer of 1981, Johnny Davis got a new hobby. In addition to picking on girls with big frizzy hair, he started taking shopping carts from Safeway. One by one, he'd take a cart, push it down the alley by the Yarrington's house and, with one great shove, deliver it into the creek.

My brother and I often fished near the site of the great shopping cart pile. We first discovered a problem when our hooks got snagged and broke, always in the same place. And then one day we caught him red handed. Bad, bad Johnny Davis. Badest man in the whole damn town.

We hid in the bushes and waited for him to come again. What was he doing? Why was he dumping the carts in the creek like that?

After a while of doing this every day, many times aday, the proof began to emerge from the water. The tip of the shopping cart iceberg.

Johnny Davis was eventually caught and sent straight to jail. Well, maybe not jail but he was sent away. And everyone talked about how expensive those carts were. More than anything though, we were all puzzled by the senselessness of it. Why is someone driven to do something like shove shopping carts into a creek, over and over, all summer long?

Was it fun? It didn't seem like fun. It seemed like work.

The craziest part of this whole story is that Johnny Davis is now one of my brother's friends. I actually talked to him not long ago at a party but all I could really manage to do was shake my head and remind him of how bad he was.

He's so normal now...and even nice, if you can believe that. How can you go from being that bad, criminally bad, to being a nice, normal person? I suppose lots of people do it.

It would be interesting to do a follow up with all of those bullies of my childhood. Is George Case a nice, normal person now? Does he have children whom he reprimands for doing things like building nests in a little girl's hair on the school bus? Or is it a houseful of hellions, cursing and spitting and daring?

My money's on the latter. I think Johnny Davis is an exception.

Speaking of who's nice and who isn't...guess who Daisy thinks is pretty nice. Me. Awww shucks. Thanks for nominating me for the nice matters award.

p.s. My mother asked me not to use Johnny's real name. He's married now to the granddaughter of one of her churchlady friends and she thinks it's terrible that I'm "digging up all of this old dirt" about someone who's trying to lead a respectable life. I'm still using George Case's real name because old wounds heal slowly and I'm still not over that nest he built in my hair on the bus 8 second trip.

why we got a new tv

Last night, after dinner, Rich used the little apricots to illustrate the offensive line and help me brush up on my general football knowledge.

Oh yeah. It's almost here. Football Season.

And just like a miracle it's happened again. The fresh-faced optimism of a true blooded Redskins fan. For sure this is the year, he says.

What's the name of the "hut hut" guy?

And what do you call the little guy who goes "dooodle doodle doodle" from the back to the front, like he was late for the game?

And which of these guys will run to catch the ball and which of them stay to beat up the other team?

this, please...

I'm dizzy with inspiration. And I'm ready to throw everything out and start anew. This is what I want. A celebration of color and life!

(All of these photos are from Tricia Guild's Design Guild. Go there, be inspired.)