Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Nathan Fillion Saves Date Night

So, last night was our first official "date night." I suggested making an official weekly night for us as part of my overall cleaning schedule/plan for household harmony. We ordered Chinese food, but E ended up getting to bed later than planned, so we ate dinner with her. By the time we got her to bed, it was almost 9:30. Boy, was I sleepy. Not only that, the elastic in my underwear was starting to give.

When I had my hospital visit 2 weekends ago, Mark had packed a bag of all my favorite clothes (including undergarments) to bring to me. He packed about 6 pairs of underwear. Then he accidentally left them in his sister's car, and we didn't get them until this past weekend. So, I've been wearing my maternity underwear, and they sag now that I'm not... pregnant.

But, besides that... I had to ask him, "Why on God's green Earth did you pack me 6 pairs of underwear?"
He put his hand to his brow and shook his head in defeat, "Gretchin. I told you. I didn't know what had happened. You were sick. I didn't know how long you would be in the hospital. I didn't know if you had pooped your pants."
"Well, I didn't. Let's get that clear. And if I had, I don't think it would have taken 6 pairs of underwear to recover."
"Fine. Listen, I panicked," he said, annoyed.

So, fast forward to after dinner. I'm in the kitchen up to my elbows in my pants, back arched, butt sticking out, trying to pull my maternity underwear up from my knees to where they're supposed to belong. Mark comes around the corner.

"Ummm... What's going on?"
"I'm having a... problem. You weren't supposed to see this. I shouldn't have to explain myself."
"Well, I think you need to."
"My underwear need to be adjusted."
"That much?"

As soon as I fixed myself, I tried to change the subject, "How are you feeling? You were just in the bathroom long enough to watch the complete Lord of the Rings trilogy."
"I'm okay. Still sick, though."
He then provided more details than necessary... while I checked Facebook and updated the blog.

"Mark, can I tell you something?" I asked.
"This is the worst date I've ever been on. Seriously, what happened to us? Maybe we should play Parcheesi or something. Twister? I don't know... I'm so tired."

I curled up on the couch. Before E was born, we used to love the show Castle. We're big Nathan Fillion fans, and we watched the show religiously. After E, we missed the beginning of Season 5. It was an eventful season, too, with Castle and Beckett finally getting together. I researched the episode history and found out where we left off, and we found out that Hulu had the complete season up to the current episode! So, we cuddled on the couch and watched it together, just like old times (except for a few baby interruptions).

It was sweet, simple. It was us.

Then it was us falling asleep... at 10:30. Ugh. But, I'm optimistic that we'll get better at this "spending time together" thing. We need it!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Date Night!

Tonight is all about US! It's officially date night, which means I shouldn't be blogging... We ordered Chinese food and got E to bed early! Party time! AKA making Mark rub my back until I fall asleep.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Rockabye Mama

Tonight after trying for 2 hours to get E down, I asked for Mark's help. She seems to know he means business and goes to sleep for him within 20 minutes.

When he came in, I decided to stay and see if a joint effort would reduce the time it took her to fall asleep.

I cuddled up next to E and started to talk to her in a soothing voice, "There we go, sweetheart. You're all cozy and ready for bed. And look! You have Mama *and* Dada here to put you to bed tonight. Aren't you lucky? Sweet baby..." As I coddled her and cooed, I started to hear this low sound coming from the other side of the bed -- like a chanting, "Ohhhhmmm haaaayyyyy..... Ahhhhh...." It sounded like a didgeridoo.

I whispered in the dark, "Mark, is that you??"
"What are you doing??"
"This is what I do."
"What do you mean?"
"This is what I do to get her to sleep."
"And it works??"
"Yeah," nonchalantly.

"Okay...(???) Well I usually sing next..." I started singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat. Then I suggested that we try to sing a round, so he sang it with me. We were quite proud of ourselves!

I asked him, "Do you think you could do a round with Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star?"
"You know I can," he replied arrogantly.
I giggled, "Okay," and started singing.

First he came in late.
"You know you have to start right after I sing 'Twinkle, twinkle little star...'"
"No, it's after ' I wonder what you are.'"
"That doesn't make sense. Think about Row, Row, Row Your Boat."
"I am. I don't think you remember it correctly."
"I think you're all talk, and you can't really do it."
"Gretchin. I got it. Wait, let me sing it once by myself."
"Okay. Ready?"

Finally, we did it! A lovely round of Twinkle Twinkle! Then we looked over at E. She had gotten Mark's cell phone, was lying on her back, holding it up and typing away on it! She sent me this text message: "W: qesqnpl".

Loosely translated, I think it reads: "The student has become the teacher." In other words, my 1-year-old put us to bed tonight... then probably checked her email, Facebook, and checked in on FourSquare at "Ma Crib."

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dollhouse Coffee Table

I love this dollhouse coffee table! It's by mom and designer Amy Whitworth. Her site is quite cute, too: What a cool mom!

It has a pricetag of $630, and if I had a little extra money lying around, I'd seriously consider buying it! Maybe someday, if Mark and I get our cute, little modern house in VT, I'll have to start decorating with this piece!

Back Scratch Fever!

I've always been a huuuge fan of back scratches. Not back massages, though I wouldn't turn one down... I just love having my back scratched. It's especially soothing when I'm not feeling well.

Ever since E was born, there's been a shortage of them in our house. During my pregnancy, I was almost always guaranteed an early-to-bed night, watching all the Forensic Files I wanted, eating cookies in bed, while E kicked happily in my belly, and Mark scratched my back until I fell sleep.

Now I'm lucky if I get a "good job" pat on the shoulder sometime between dinner dishes and bath time. Occasionally I get to hit the recliner for a few stolen moments of me-time after E falls asleep and crash soon after. That's the most pampering I get.

As with most things in my life that are lacking, I eventually get to the point where I decide to take matters into my own hands and solve the problem myself.

At 3am this morning, between bathroom visits (almost over this stomach flu!), I googled: automatic back scratchers. I figured that in this age of great technology some genius (with an itch she couldn't scratch) would have devised something.

Here is what I found (right)... The first option is probably the most realistic, though I'm convinced it's secretly a Transformer that will extend its robotic legs and crawl into my brain. I don't trust it. And I just don't feel like the others qualify as "automatic." I have considered suspending a device from the ceiling, though... so I think the cow is on to something!

To add insult to injury, the cat photo came with the caption: "The alternative for lonesome people!" Thanks for the reminder.

There was one other option I found. I'm not sure why, but it didn't include a picture. It's a hand-written description of how the final prototype should be constructed:

Flame from lamp (A) catches on curtain (B) and fire department sends stream of water (C) through window. Dwarf (D) thinks it is raining and reaches for umbrella (E), pulling string (F) and lifting end of platform (G). Iron ball (H) falls and pulls string (I), causing hammer (J) to hit plate of glass (K). Crash of glass wakes up pup (L) and mother dog (M) rocks him to sleep in cradle (N), causing attached wooden hand (O) to move up and down along your back. --Rube Goldberg TM & © of Rube Goldberg.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ain't No Escapin' the Norovirus Blues

Well, my stomach done exploded
I got no reason to live
All day and night I sit and wait
I got nothin' more to give

To the grand commode
I've been payin' ma dues
There just ain't no escapin'
The norovirus blues

Just a little somethin' I threw together... Haha!

Turns out that we all have been exposed to the norovirus. Luckily, E seemed to have a baby version. She recovered in 24 hours. Then it hit Mark in the wee hours of Monday morning. I thought I had been through the worst of it during my ER visit, but it was just the beginning -- 2 days of hanging out in the bathroom for me too.

I also finally christened the non-skid puke bowl, which I'm quite proud of. This is my in-law's tradition. They own a collection of plastic mixing bowls with handy handles and some with rubber, non-skid bottoms. They use them for the ease of barfing anywhere, and I didn't truly appreciate them until last night. (They got us one years ago for a wedding present.) I've always had vomiting anxiety, so to be able to sit in the comfort of my recliner while getting violently ill was such a luxury. I texted my mother- and sister-in-law to thank them. I felt like an official member of the family...

This morning, we're all feeling a little better though still fighting for the bathroom. E got into her birthday bag and donned a pair of leopard-print pants as a cape. She's wearing them everywhere and saying "pitty."

"Yes, you're very pretty," we tell her. Beautiful, even. She's my little bundle of cheer getting me through this!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Moral is That Ambulance Rides Are Fun!

Since having E and while experiencing all her firsts, I've experienced a few of my own, too, including but not limited to... the first time wetting my pants as an adult, my first time being barfed on, my first time standing in line at the supermarket holding a massive bunch of balloons with an awkward, sad clown look on my face.

Today's first was the most fun, though! It was E's first birthday party, postponed from last weekend, because she had the flu. We had a healthy week, so I spent all Friday night baking with friends -- 6 straight hours!

We woke up Saturday morning in good spirits, even though E started throwing up every half hour a few hours before the party. I thought the first 2 episodes were kind of normal. In all other ways, she was fine -- playing, dancing, singing... then puking. By the time I realized it was something more serious, the guests were on their way. I scheduled a doctor's appointment for her and thought they would tell me she was just getting rid of some phlegm and would be fine to at least make a quick appearance at the party.

My friend, Krista, was here from New York, so she drove us. I planned to catch puke in the back seat with E on the way to the doctor, while Mark stayed home and greeted party guests.

Halfway to the appointment I started to feel funny. I told Krista that I'd have to stop to use a bathroom somewhere. We pulled into our favorite diner (where everybody knows our name -- or at least they do now), and I ran inside. I motioned to the waitress seating people that I just needed to use the restroom. She gave me the "go ahead" wave, and I ran for the (thankfully) vacant ladies' room.

Once inside, it was what you'd expect. I won't go into details. I'll just say that there really isn't any good reason to paint a scenic Vermont mural on all four walls of a bathroom. No one wants to get violently ill in a plowed field 1 mile from a hand-painted farmhouse, with a hot-air balloon directly overhead. I felt watched.

Then the stomach cramps got worse. The pain got so bad that I had to sit on the floor. Then it increased to the point that I couldn't breathe, and I blacked out. When I came to, all I saw was a painted cow staring me in the face. I was in a field, but the grass and clouds weren't moving in the wind. There was an AC unit built into the sky. "What kind of strange heaven is this?" I realized I was still in the bathroom and in more pain. If I could just stand enough to get out, to the car, to the doctor's office.

Instead, I crawled and half-clawed my way out of the restaurant, using booths and counters for support, hoping no one would notice. I got to the car and told Krista, "Please drive. Fast." She got me to the doctor quickly, and I ran inside. I proceeded to lay on the waiting room couch, screaming in agony. Krista came in with E, and I remember trying not to scream, because I didn't want to scare her. Then I blacked out again and came to in a wheelchair. They got me to lay down in a room and I stayed there for a long time, in and out, while they asked me questions like: "Do you know where your baby is??" This question came up repeatedly, and it was always the one I forced myself to answer as detailed and as quickly as possible. In one breath (this chatter got skills): My friend has her, in the waiting room I rode in the back seat I got sick on the way She's here from New York for my daughter's first birthday.

I can only guess that they thought I was delirious. They asked me the same question about 10 times and always got the same, wordy, breathless response. I knew where my kid was. Then they kept asking me what my name was. I remember answering but have no recollection of what I said. I can only hope that I said: John Philip Sousa, Mary Todd Lincoln, or Ringo Starr.

They tried to start an IV with no luck. They called Mark and an ambulance. I just begged them to make the pain stop. After about 20 minutes, it let up a little, and I was able to sit up. Then I just cried. Like a baby until the ambulance came. EMTs are the best. They strapped me in, loaded me up, and off we went, lights and sirens blaring. Good Lord.

When we were almost to the hospital, the pain let up a little more. I leaned over to the EMT woman at my side and said, "What if the only reason I'm riding in the ambulance is because I had severe diarrhea?"

And do you know what that angel said? She said that no matter what it was, the pain was severe enough that it warranted this -- that I had been through labor and gallstones, and that I knew what real pain was. God love her. She had been volunteering as an EMT for 17 years. That's 17 years of that kind of care and patience and words of comfort!

It was also kind of fun, as the pain continued to dissipate. I used to love playing ambulance with my Puzzle Town bears -- opening the back door, throwing Handicapped Bear in, and whirring around Puzzle Town making loud siren noises.

It was just like that. I finally arrived at the hospital and got to a phone. I found out that Mark had been called to get Krista and E at the doctor's office then come get me. I later found out that Krista had done E's entire doctor appointment (seriously, how did I get so lucky to have the friends I do?). E was just fighting a stomach bug and needed antibiotics to clear up an ear infection.

Then I waited.

Bored. With no iPhone. Everything stopped. The beeps and bustles of the hospital went on around me. The pain slowly came to a stop, and I waited.

In the next bed, I heard this conversation:
Man: Everything's going to be okay.
Woman: No it's not. You don't know that!
M: Yes, I do. It's just a CAT scan.
W: I'm not laying in that room -- the room where, next door, my sister DIED.

Me: Oh God. I'm in an episode of The Young and the Restless. Well, not quite...

Man: Calm down. The doctor's coming.
Doc to Woman: Well, we're going to check you for ovarian cysts. It's possible that one ruptured.
Man: Yeah, I've had ovarian cysts. In fact, I've had all kinds of problems with my ovaries.

At this point, I was wide eyed and trying not to laugh -- a man with ovaries? It can't be!

Then that "man" got up and walked by my bed. It was actually a very tall, husky-voiced woman in a reindeer-adorned sweater. She had a Richard Simmons perm and matching mustache.

Me: Oh. Hi.

My nurse came in and told me to get undressed, but to leave my underwear on. I had left the house in such a hurry I hadn't put underwear on. I told her that these dress pants, that I had pulled out of the bottom of the laundry pile, were my underwear. She said it was fine to go naked. It wasn't. I was sharing a room. With Richard Simmon's mom.

I kept my pants on. The doctor came in and said, "Well, you're good to go!"

What!? I just gave birth... to something. Something's wrong. He said there was nothing to test me for, no symptoms beyond the cramps that pointed to any one thing. He also said that a lot of people are coming in with severe cramps with a virus. He said to go home, see if it happens again with different symptoms, and follow up with my regular doctor. Fine. But this felt like a near-death experience. It didn't matter.

So, home we all went. The party went on without us, and our family came over after to open presents. E stopped throwing up. I feel better but still not right so am hoping to have more answers next week!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Birthday Belle

Tomorrow is E's first birthday party! Her last one was postponed... Tonight, 3 of my amazing friends helped me make treats for her party! Cake pops, white chocolate dipped pretzels, and cake, of course! Then the candy! I went a little overboard.

The difference with this overboard moment, though, was that I asked for help. Sure, I could have stayed up until 2am making everything I wanted to make. I would have gotten tired, clumsy, and ruined something -- cried myself to sleep, then dealt with it in the morning.

Instead, I have the birthday treat table of my dreams... with no tears, no stress, just lots of laughs, fun baby time, and a boatload of sugar. Let's party!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Don't Work. Be Hated.

I had to share another typography project from Betype tonight. I was kind of unsure about this one... I find it annoying, profound, and funny all at the same time. Therefore, I love it. Haha!

Don’t Work. Be Hated. Love Someone.

“The most important is this: do not work. 
Work is anything that you are compelled to do. By its very nature, it is undesirable.

Don’t expect anything. Erase all life expectancies. Just live. Your life is over as of today. At this point in time, you have grown as tall as you will ever be, you are physically the fittest you will ever be in your entire life and you are probably looking the best that you will ever look. This is as good as it gets. It is all downhill from here. Or up. No one knows.”

- Adrian Tan

Uh Mazing.

I just love this site...! It makes me want to create some more detailed prints!

Betype Archives

The New Site is Here And I Think It's Alright

Yeah, I set up the new site... ... but I already have an idea to make it more horizontal and therefore have less scrolling! But that's for another night.

Here is the basic idea, the shell of it, half filled, I guess!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Braver, Stronger, Smarter!

It's so weird being back at work after being out all last week as we fought this flu/virus! Though I could do without the (literally) hundreds of emails waiting for me, I did miss my friends! It was so nice to reconnect in person and feel like an adult again.

My friend, M, came over for dinner, and we chatted about life, love, and a number of other ridiculous things. I laughed until my sides hurt -- always a good thing!

Then it was back to baby land -- gladly, though! I spent the rest of the evening putting the finishing touches on this fun print for the nursery of our friends' little boy, Michael.

Today was a good day!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Clean It Up!

Just wondering if I could go with an off-white background... Can't decide.

It feels a little cleaner, but I also think it loses its edge a bit. The good thing about it is that it would be less graphics-heavy...

This is all the time I have for tonight, though... on to Tuesday!

The Genie Bra Wasn't Invented By a Genie

I know, I'm disappointed too. The woman on the package looks perky and cute.

Besides that, I fell for the oldest marketing trick in the book, what I call the "dark magic factor" -- when a company uses words like "voo doo," "magic," and "genie" to (at least subconsciously) trigger your brain to believe something out-of-this world is going to happen when you use their product.

I mean, I guess, in this case, it kind of did... if you consider that my boobs sagged like they were under the gravitational force from some other planet.

Everything else about the genie bra held true -- nice fabric, holds its shape, looks more like a tank top than a bra under clothing, which I like.

I can wear it over another bra for added support, and it does work well!

Allow me to just make one minor adjustment to the ad image... (as I use my teeth to pull the cap off of my virtual marker):

There we go...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

One More Idea...

One more mock-up, then I think I'm just about OK with this... It might not be perfect, but it feels close to capturing everything I need it to emotionally.

I'm also switching my YMIS banner back to match... I smell a commitment!

In the mean time, I realized that I can't really call myself a "print shop" if I'm not going to print anything... ... Makes sense, right? I mean, I do hope to eventually offer prints of my digital printables but not yet, and I don't want to box myself into print right now.

What I'm really saying is that this is a "studio," a work space, a workshop. So, that's what I'm going with for now... I also added a little sign (too much?) for the exterior. I like this, because it gives it a little dimension, and it has purpose on the "interior" pages, where I would need more vertical space and therefore lose the sign over the shop.

So, here's where it stands... my *only* issue at this point is that I feel like it's a little too busy, heavy. It feels like the environment is given a little too much, instead of hinting at it more elegantly. I'm missing some airy white space, some breathing room. It still feels sort of like a restaurant, not necessarily a design shop (the chalkboard background isn't helping).

Still, I think I've taken it to one extreme, so now I can edit, edit, edit!

The Print Shop... Er... Pub.

Thanks to the people of the internets -- specifically Bob Lussier of Lussier Photo, who kindly gave me permission to use his beautiful photo of the M. Ryan Bar in Ireland and change it into a whimsical version of my hip, dream design/print shop -- I made this little site sample.

I like it. Ok, I pretty much love it. Apologies to Mickey Ryan who probably never imagined that his bar would undergo a (virtual) renovation in which the trim went from a nice, deep teal, to um... purple.

But, I think it complements my more-whimsical design. I still have a few concerns about the use of this imagery, which I'll list below, but this is much closer to the idea in my head (some middle ground inbetween traditional, classical, and gritty whimsy). Gritty whimsy. I like that.

Ok, pros and cons... Cons first:
It still kind of looks like a pub. That's just what it is!

It incorporates a lot of colors (with my added purple).
I can't seem to escape the texture of the chalkboard. I keep falling back on it.
It's a little more rough-side-of-town, a little less home-town-grocery.

It looks like a pub!
It feels somewhat dirty/gritty -- it's edgy.
It has a European feel to it.
It can change. It can always change!
P.S. I wrote a lot today -- don't miss my last 2 posts, particularly Miss Belle's Impromptu Balloon Party!

You Are Here. Design.

Is there any generic "place" that has not been claimed by design??

I decided that I would do a design "thrift shop" to showcase my vintage prints. I think it'll be under the umbrella of my main design site, so within GG design, I can really have anything...

It's my own copyrighted "village," I think. So, I can have a section called the thrift shop, etc. And I love this, because if I get sick of prints and decide I want to start making... um, bandanas, I can! Fruit cakes? Put a "For Sale" sign on them! Kaching! Whatever it is, just put it in the thrift shop! Who knows what you'll find in there! Haha!

Still, I'm annoyed to find out that every place of design has been taken...

There is a Design Thrift Shop, a plain old Design Shop (of course), Design Boutique (not surprised), Design Studio (obviously), Design Attic (which I would have liked), Design Nook, Design Barn (sweet and VT-friendly), Design Shack (where design serial killers hang out?), Design Basement (weird), Design Everywhere!!

In order to have my own, it'd probably have to be the Design Storm Cellar, the Design Bomb Shelter, the Design Trailer, or the Design Homeless Shelter. There's no where else to design.

Sidenote: What's up with all the weird design sites named after numbers? 76Design, Design10. The only one I like is Door Sixteen. That is cute, quaint, homey, and classy. I get it. The others seem to be faking some sort of hip reference to their studio number. Barf.

I want to design in a happy, little, old farmhouse, with a makeshift studio where I can watch E run around outside with a few dogs. I want to fill it with all my little weird, half-finished projects, and maybe sell the finished ones. And I only want to design for clients I enjoy working with, and I don't even care if I make any money.

Maybe I should design a site like that, that feels like home!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Balloons for Birthday Belle

My poor baby Belle has been fighting this awful flu or virus for the entire week. This morning was the first morning she woke up without a fever over 102. When I heard her wake up, I opened the door to her room and was also greeted with her first wake-up smile of the week!

I gave her a big hug and said, "Happy Birthday!!" We postponed her party until next weekend, and I decided to not make a big deal out of the day -- to save my excitement for next weekend.

I put on Blue's Clues for her and picked the birthday episode. "That's appropriate," I thought. Steve's and Blue's virtual house was decorated with big, blue balloons. I told E that it was Blue's birthday, and that today was her birthday too. She thought about this carefully then said, "Balloon!?" Yep, lots of blue balloons!

Then she burst into tears! She kept sobbing the word "balloon." I hugged her and brought her some balls from her play room. It didn't work. She started tugging at my shirt, crocodile tears running down her face. "Balloon, Mama!" This went on for 20 minutes. I'd never seen her so desperately asking for something.

I honestly think she knew that it was her birthday, or that, for whatever reason, she should have a party like Blue today, balloons included.

I know that I shouldn't teach her that you can get everything you see on TV, but it is her birthday (whether she realizes it or not), party postponed, and cake baking cancelled. It's so sad.

And I promised myself before she was born that I wouldn't spoil her, that I wouldn't give her everything she ever cried for, but I know there's a balance too. She's one year old today, and she has an entire life ahead of her filled with trials and heartaches to test her faith, test her will, to teach her life lessons and patience.

Today, all she wanted was a balloon.

Happy Birthday, my sweet baby Belle!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Robot Love

I've wanted to make this print for a long time! You can purchase the printable version in my Etsy shop!

Books App

Wow! They've come a long way with the Books app! I downloaded it onto Mark's iPad this morning, since I can't sleep. I wonder if it's available for my Kindle! The only annoying thing is that I spent money on lots of these classics that are now free... Ah well.

In other news, it's surprisingly easy to type normally on the iPad in landscape mode! This may be my new favorite way to blog on the go!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Site Designs I Love!

Here are some sites I love... they're more detailed than what I want to do, but the feel is right.

I particularly love the bottom one since it incorporates the bold black. Also, the background image is the one on my business cards, strangely!

I also came up with a new idea for my previous site mock-up with the wallpaper... maybe I would make an outdoor element with a thrift-shop-like sign. I tend to gravitate to the sites that feel like a little environment that you can step into.

At the same time, I love simple, minimalistic designs.

All I want to do is create something *now* that is "good enough." That's always my tendency, but E continues to make me Wait. There's just not enough time to tackle this big project right now, and I'm trying to be okay with that, to enjoy the process. The journey versus the destination, and all that jazz...

And I have to admit, I'm liking spending time just figuring out what I like. It's quality me-time, and it's fun. I even sketched this week. I never sketch!


I just had to reinstall my blogger app... E deleted it. Think she's trying to tell me something?

Ah well, I'm currently blogging over a piece of maple cheesecake. I took a mini mommy vacation and stopped at the local cafe after mailing E's birthday invites. Life is pretty good.

One of the new words E picked up this week was "pretty." She must have some idea about what it means, because she uses it in the right context. Though I love how she says certain words, for example, "toys" (with a glimmer of excitement in her eye), "pretty" gives me a glimpse into her soul, who she is, what she likes.

The first thing she put into the "pretty" category was a bubble. We went to the party store on Saturday, and I found some bubbles -- the good, old-fashioned kind you blow with a bubble wand. Since E is obsessed with balls, I thought she may take an interest in bubbles too.

We got home, and I forgot about them until the first night she was battling the flu. We were cuddled in the chair at 2am, and she was so sad. I was exhausted, so I took out the bubbles in hopes of keeping myself awake and distracting her. I started blowing waves of them across the living room. They caught the light from the TV, glowed bright, and burst in the air.

E squeaked out a "ball!" and a "pwitty..." And it was! So pretty! I got lost in the moment too. Every time I stopped to take a breath and dip the wand in the bubble solution, she would cry or plead, "Mama... Bubbows?" For 2 hours, I filled the living room with bubbles, until she fell asleep. I wonder if she'll remember... that I was not only the mom who would blow bubbles for her from 2-4am, but the mom who thought they were pretty too -- who could get lost in the mind of a 1-year-old and just fall in love with the simple joy of watching bubbles.

Other things that have made the "pwitty" list:
running water in the bathtub
a silver ball on Sesame Street
a sparkly box of Colgate toothpaste
my hair

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Design Inspiration

I always do this... but, it's a process... right? I go and find all these sample designs for my project inspiration and make a nice, little folder for them. Sometimes I even group them into a collage...

And that's fine and dandy and fun... but it never fails that I then design something way too safe that doesn't fully incorporate the edgier feel I get from these designs. Their use of bold colors, contrasting blacks and whites are beautiful!

Ah well, it's a start -- a good place to make notes, a good safe space. It's a diving platform, if you will... And, the next step is the part I've always struggled with -- taking the plunge!

My issue with this site design is that I don't necessarily want to showcase my prints up front, and I feel this is an okay design for doing just that. It's not the best way to showcase my regular design portfolio. That's where I think a simpler design like Anna Dorfman's site is key.

My sister-in-law's site showcases her blog up front, which I love and think is smart. When you arrive, you feel welcomed by her, like it's current and the place to be (it is!), though I think my blog would need to be more design-focused to do that. And, I'm not completely against that idea, but I'm afraid I may feel boxed into the design aspect if I do that. Still, not the end of the world...

As I write this, Mark is whistling at me... which I think is code for, "Get your butt out here and help with this sick baby..." We're taking shifts to stay up with her throughout the night -- temperature taking and fever reducers every 2 hours until tomorrow. If her fever hasn't gone down, antibiotics!

Off to rock a (hopefully soon-to-be) sleeping baby and think more about creative stuff!

Me. Yes, It's All About Me!

I'm taking a me moment while Ellie naps. She's recovering from an awful bout of the flu.

I'm using my quiet time to think about my redesign. I'm still hanging onto this productive wave of motivation and don't want to waste it!

I feel like I always come to the same conclusion about what I'm drawn to, what I love -- that there are so many things I love, so many styles, that I don't know where to start.

Where would you find a retro radio, a mannequin head, a Beatles poster, antique books, a leg lamp?

Then it came to me... a thrift shop! My life is one big thrift shop! I'm a hoarder of cheap accessories, scuffed boots, and "80s Mix" cassette tapes.

What does it all mean?? I have no idea. I just feel like I found a category (or non-category) in which to store my "strange."

And there's something comforting about that. So, maybe my site/life style will feel a little more antique-y, but a little less polished, and a lot more loved.

I loved this feeling and idea so much that I almost rushed right into the name "Thrift Shop Studios!" Whoa, there! But the name was already taken. Gosh darn you, creative people of the internets!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Holy Productivity!

I've been feeling super productive lately! Even with a 24-hour bug, I managed to clean my kitchen this weekend, clean E's play area, take the Christmas tree down, and complete 2 design projects!

Usually this is when I crash, fall into a depression, and let all that hard work go to waste. So far, that hasn't happened this week! Even more surprising, I want to do more!

I want to redesign my blog and main website. Again. Re-re-re-design! Haha!

It's just that... I'm starting to feel like I know who I am and who I want to be... And I want my site to reflect that.

E and I have been watching Blue's Clues, and there was a great episode about changing things that don't work or that you're not satisfied with. "Just change it," Steve said!

And I thought, "Maybe I've been spending too much time talking to a one-year-old." Then I thought, "Impossible. All good things come from having her in my life, particularly her love, ambition, happy-go-lucky attitude, and baby giggles."

And I just love change. I thrive on it! Change inspires me to want to make things better, prettier, to grow and improve! So, I think I'll just go with it!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Yeah, I'm Still Here...

Today was... weird. I got hit upside the head with these random flu symptoms -- yes, flu, not baby... promise. Then, I fell asleep for 3 hours, woke up, cleaned the house, and fought E for 3 hours to go to bed.

Boy, did she pushed me to my limit tonight. Mark was finally able to get her down about 10 minutes ago, and I'm desperate to get some me-time in, so I'm going to curl up in bed with a good episode of Forensic Files... and... um...

It's official, I need to start keeping wine in the house. What else goes with Forensic Files?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

I Made a Cleaning Game (Because of My Sad Life)

No, I'm just being a drama queen. The only sad thing about my life is that I need to create some element of fun to motivate myself to clean my apartment. I've been doing this general plan since we came home from my parents' house on Wednesday, and it's actually working... so far. So, I thought I would make it into a game... A sad game I play all by myself. Haha!

This is the sample. If you'd like the blank template to play along, shoot me an email at:!

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Ghostbusters Digital Printable

Try one for free!

I created a new digital printable tonight! I've been exploring the spiritual realm over at my dream diary blog. It's really given me a new outlook on life, the paranormal, and my faith! I'm not quite as afraid of it as I used to be... So, my motto for the week has been the old Ghostbusters' classic: I ain't afraid of no ghost. I decided to make a printable!

ALSO -- would anyone like to try out one of my digital printables and report back about how they work? I'd love the feedback, as I've only tried them on my printer.

If so, please comment below or email me at I'll email you a FREE printable file in PDF format from my shop. (Please note that the frame and background aren't included.)

Check them out here and let me know which one you choose in your comment or email.

I'll choose the first 3 comments/emails.


That's Not Leopard Print, It's a Squash Stain

There's a new girl at work who wears the cutest clothes. Her fashion sense is effortless yet put-together, retro but new, charming and bold.

I, on the other hand, feel awkward with my frizzy hair, glasses, unintentional mom jeans, pink blouse with a squash smudge, and light blue cardigan with toast crumbs stuck to the sleeve.

Today was the first day I actually appreciated my "unique" style. Instead of seeing it as an awkward fashion statement, I recognized it as more of a fashion sacrifice.

In every aspect of my life that I feel I'm lacking, it's due to creating a positive for E.

My hair is frizzy, because I'd rather play with her than spend time in front of the blow dryer.

I skipped buying contacts this year to have more money for her.

When my jeans started to stretch and sag, I skipped clothes shopping to go to the toy store.

My clothes are stained and "crumby" from her using my shirt as a napkin/hankie/security blanket.

Suddenly I feel like a mommy supermodel!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

E Talks in Her Sleep

So adorable to hear my 11 month old talk in her sleep... It's the most precious thing I've ever heard. She rolls over, takes a deep breath, then mumbles. So far I've heard:

-ball (of course, her main obsession)
-dog (self explanatory, second obsession)
-ba-ba (bottle)

I love how beautifully simple her wants and needs are. She spent the entire weekend at my parents' house chasing balls, watching the neighbor's dog out the window, and finding the comfort of home in mine and Mark's arms, curled up and cozy with a warm bottle.

Our adult needs are a little more complicated, like the need for validation:
Me: What's the name of the neighbor's dog?
My mom: Custard.
My dad: It's Rusty.
Mom: No, I'm sure it's Custard.
Dad: Are you sure it's not Rusty?
Mom: It's Custard!

1 Whole Year!

I can't believe that 1 year ago, I was writing this about the arrival of my sweet, little E! Here we go!

Love my sweet girl!