Friday, August 29, 2008

Follow Me To Sweet Figments

I am a guest writer on the The Tiny Fig's blog, Sweet Figments, this week and next. I hope you will jump on over there to read my entry for this week and check out Sweet Figments and The Tiny Fig's Etsy shop!

I have oh so much to say after a first week back in college after 10 years away! See you there!

Friday, August 22, 2008

My Surreal Weekend Part 2

Well, we got a late start on Friday due to having quite a few errands and things that had to be done in order for us to get on the road. The trip down on Friday, 280 miles, went into the very late night, actually early morning because it was about 1:30am when we finally arrived at my sister's house. We talked for a bit and headed off to bed. My sister and I were both nervous about the next day. My sister's house served as a halfway point for all of us. She lives almost exactly midway between his house and our house. I will be calling him B and his wife K from now on. I want to protect their right to privacy, but I need something to call them. We knew B and K were already in town and staying at a nearby hotel.

The next day we called him and made a plan to meet for lunch and then go back to my sister's house afterward to talk.

It was so strange! I swear my younger sister is a spitting image of him and it was disarming to see her facial expressions on his face! Also, mannerisms were flying around the room at the speed of light. It was bizarre. I don't think I ever realized, not even with my own children, how much gets passed on with DNA until now. With my own children I can tell myself it is all learned behavior, or that most of it is, but that just isn't the whole story. I wish I could paint a better picture of it, or I had a side by side film to show and tell.

We had lunch at a local seafood place and then went to my sister's house and started a talkathon that lasted for about 9 hours. It was like he had decades of stories he had been storing up to tell us and once the gates were open he was off to the races.

Surprisingly enough, to me anyway, I was quite at ease with him and with his wife and didn't really feel ill at ease at all once we got past the first few awkward moments. Also, I have to say thank goodness for my partner because having her there made for familiar surroundings and really helped with my nervousness.

He talked about growing up in the same neighborhood as my mother's family and hanging out at my mother's house all the time because her older brother was one of his best friends. If I left with the right impression, they were all friends since early childhood. They lived very near the beach, like blocks away, and spent a lot of time there playing, hanging out, and being kids.

I heard a lot of their not so good stories too, but don't feel right about sharing those. I will say that I believed him and think he was as honest and upfront. As honest and upfront as any of us can be when trying to tell the stories of our past.

His wife is a year older than me, which gave us all a giggle. They seem to be really close and she really seemed nice. I have no issue one way or the other with people's love relationships. I think it also helps that I am not one to hope a person is this way or that way. I try to base my judgments about people on their apparent character, or lack thereof, and go from there. I really had not preconceived ideas of how I wanted him to be. I did know what I didn't want and what type of person is usually not a good match for me and he seemed to be above all the things I think of as unbecoming in a person. That was a relief.

I know that this visit left me open to more visits. K seemed very keen on visiting us here in TN so they could see the big city of Nashville, lol. She says they would love to plan it for the Spring and fly down and stay longer than 3 days.

We left my sister's house on Sunday, after having brunch with everyone and saying our goodbyes. J, my partner, and I decided to take some back roads and side trips on our way home and went to Gatlinburg for a few hours. We walked around looking at the shops. Ate dinner, wonderful hot dogs of all things! Took some pictures and had a great, relaxing, time together. There is no one on the planet I enjoy spending time with more than J! We got home around 11pm.

I have been sewing almost non-stop since we got home and sewing always makes for good thinking time. lol That is why the seam ripper is my friend sometimes. I get so deep in thought I lose myself and forget what the heck I am doing.

I am pretty resolved to see where this new relationship will go and give it a chance to grow.

I am also resolved to keep my spaces on this planet in my control rather than allowing other people to control my actions and thoughts. This was a resolve that came over me as I was sewing, thinking, and singing loudly to some of my favorite playlists this week

"Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head." ~Ann Landers

Here is a nice family portrait from the trip. Not really, just a neat attraction at a fun house in Gatlinburg. I will try to get the rest of the pictures uploaded to my Flickr one of these days.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


This weekend I will be embarking on one of the most surreal trips of my life. I actually started having the feeling of being in a dream at the beginning of this week, and it persists. I am going to meet my real father for the first time since I was 3 or 4, not sure which since everyone is always so sketchy with the actual details. Some say 3, some say 4. At this point I only mention it to drive home the fact that for at least 32 years I didn't actually even know what he looked like. I had no contact with him whatsoever for at least 32 years. A couple of years ago we started writing each other and emailing, and he did send me some pictures. Seeing those pictures led to another moment of surreality, if that is a word, where I was certain I already knew that is what he would look like, but at the same time I knew there was no way I could know that. I don't have any memories of him at all. The only picture I ever saw, before those he sent me, was a very blurry picture taken at what looked to be Thanksgiving or Christmas when he and my mother looked very young. You know the kind of picture where the whole family stands together and someone, (who is never in any pictures because they are always the picture takers), takes the worst photo ever with heads cut off across the top and people barely in the shots at all. That is it, and I only saw that photo a couple of times before it disappeared, so a hazy pseudo memory is all I ever had until recently.

I haven't actually sorted out all of my feelings about meeting him in person. Maybe that kind of thing is like a closure to a chapter and then a new chapter begins after the meeting. I have liked talking to him, a very recent occurrence, on the telephone. I liked getting the pictures when he sent them, too. I know who my sister looks like. After talking to him and writing, I know where I get my willful tendencies and my very direct manner. I have, as has my younger sister, always been told we have mannerisms that are just like his. Strange that DNA codes us with a certain way of talking, standing, or walking. Has to be DNA as I wasn't with him long enough as a child to have learned any of his behavior.
I was adopted by my mother's second husband when I was 4 and to me he will always be my Daddy. He passed away in 2000 after a prolonged illness, and I am not sure that I would have gone through with this journey if that hadn't been the case. Something about loyalty and feeling a sense of obligation to him would have probably held me back, but I have reconciled those feelings and I think I am ready for the trip. We shall see.

I love surreal artwork and I wanted to show you this great Etsy shop full of full bodied collage pieces. Each of them telling stories in a really surreal and disjointed way. Dreamy and earthbound all at once. For now, Invisible Maps offers art and bookmarks. They are worth checking out and studying. Finding parallel journeys in the art work of the proprietor set my mind to this bit of writing today. This piece , titled "And We Find Our Heroes reprise...past, present, future", speaks to me today, but I will leave it to you to get lost in your own journey at Invisible Maps.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake

My tastes run amok at times. I go from looking at and admiring the macabre to looking for things so cute you could die. Today my focus is on good yummy sweet treats! I had some dental work done this week, but that is alright, I can still hold cake and ice cream in my mouth and let it dissolve. Who needs solid food? To continue on my journey celebrating the odd, weird, unique, and/or interesting offerings found on Etsy, I present you with some things so tantalizing that you want to reach in, grab them, and gobble them up. Cute doesn't hurt either. I know a big dose of cute is right up my alley!

First up is Ella Dean. What a wonderful shop full of "vegan, fun, smoochalicious lip conditioners & rereshing body mists". She took the time to write to me and pointed out that all of her labels are her own original artwork! What a dynamo! Her listings are also so wonderful to read and so complete. Also, her shop offers items at every price point and interest. This is truly an original seller with an original idea.

Check out the Sexy Librarian Gift Set! What a real treat and a wonderful price for such a nice set!

I also enjoy the super sly Natasha, she has balm and isn't afraid to use it!
Next up is an offering so sweet that if you are not salivating after a peek I am doing something so very wrong.

Cute Ability offers "jewelry for the young and young at heart". Her shop is full of all kind of soft fuzzy muted colors, but the little food charms are what make it so wonderful to look at. Baking a cake never looked so yummy. I don't know about you, but when I bake cakes it takes hours and I make a huge mess. This baked cake is dreamy though.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Loopty Loo, Have a Drink on Me

So, for whatever reason; most likely due to a case of premature empty nest syndrome, I have decided that I can run my business successfully, attend MTSU full time, and keep my family and home in good shape.

I need a drink. Well, a drink and a big smack on top of my head.

Should I be worried that every time I actually start contemplating what all of this means I break out in worry lines and cold sweat?

I can do this, I can do this, I know I can do this. Also, for the very first time since I was 18 years old, I am now 38, I am going to selfishly choose what is best for me as long as it seems like everyone on the other end will survive that decision.

For now though, I am going to have a nice big margarita. So, have a drink on me.

While you are at it, check out Boopsidaisy, one of the most deliciously devious shops I have found on Etsy. Covered in candy coated dreams, one becomes immersed in a world of inebriated dolls and wickedly funny product descriptions. Take a look and take a shot. Have fun.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Swim It Forward

On July 25, The Whimsy Trove's shop proprietor started an Etsy forum post encouraging Etsy members to join in on a round of "Swim it Forward". Named so because of an idea started when a fellow member of Etsy, thebirdsandbees, sent in a felted fish to the Etsy headquarters, and started a swimmy revolution. You can read all about the Swimmy here and here, and see its current huge form in the offices of Etsy here. The Whimsy Trove wanted to take the concept one step further, and encouraged Etsy members to jump in and "Swim if Forward" by signing onto the forum post and agreeing to send the next person down a Swimmy. I jumped at the chance and am happily sending my Swimmy to the owner of Dawn's Designs and More. I made my swimmy and sewed him onto a little simple unlined pencil pouch because I wanted to make something that seemed like me, and could be used in some way. I hope they like it! I resized the template slightly and shaped my fishy a little more plump.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Chilled to the Bone

Boutique Obscura specializes in, "combining all manner of mixed-media and contemporary styles, Boutique Obscura caters to certain tastes, utilizing aspects of steampunk, taxidermy, Victorian elegance, retro charm and contemporary cultures... Think of jewelry that your grandma would wear but with a bit of a kick", and the resulting adornments do indeed have "kick".

The beautifully macabre pieces featuring the bones of small animals are a must see. Crafted with an obvious eye for detail and meticulous attention to visual appeal, these pieces are more like wearable collage than the usual bauble. I particularly like the The Dauphine Necklace. Charming, and seeming to come from a different time, the "Dauphine" causes you to do a double take as you realize something very different is going on with this necklace.


Be Warned: Purevile is not for the weak of heart or stomach, but it offers up some of the most unusual pieces of artwork, in the form of jewelry, I have ever seen. The pieces range from simple clean lines to more extravagant and mysterious. All of the items have a story, and the proprietor of the shop is kind enough to share the story with us. Purchasing pieces with history always adds a special touch. Purevile makes use of old ephemera, some merely spooky, and some disturbing to the psyche, as the backdrop to all of the pieces in the shop. Somehow managing a marriage of piece to history. Haunting Revelations is one of the tamer offerings in the shop, but still so eye catching and beautifully...haunting.