Monday, July 28, 2014

Rivertown Revival 2014

We have a truly unique event in Petaluma called Rivertown Revival. This fundraiser for the David Yeardsley River Heritage Center is hard to describe.  To me, it often feels like a turn-of-the-last-century carnival side show mixed up with a classic tent revival.  It is filled with arts, music, oddities, shopping, amazing food, and many many people dressed in costume. You see people dressed as carnies, saloon girls, steampunk explorers, and more.  They even often $5 dollar weddings!  Plus, there are decorated watercraft to look at along the river. This year, one decorated barge on the river held a band. 

I have never missed the event even though it is always one of the hottest days of the year.  When I almost melted a few years back, I gave up wearing my steampunk attire. But I still love to dress up.

I especially love the wonderful decorations they come up with. Last year, they stuck golf clubs in buckets of plaster and strung ribbon between them to form stanchions between the ticket lines.  And look at this wonderful ribbon pole made from a bicycle wheel:

This year, I was determined to get our photos made in the photo booth. Michael Woolsey does an amazing job of capturing people.  I love paging through the photos and marveling at the diversity and beauty of the people who come to the event.   Plus, I get great costume ideas!

I thought about not posting the above photo because it reveals just how heavy I am. Then, I decided that life is too short. I probably won't get too many more photos where my little guy wants to snuggle up with me.  Many people told me he looks like a teenager in this photo:

If you happen to be in Petaluma in July, make sure you don't miss this wonderful and creative event!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Wee Bit Warped: THE ZINE!!!

Remember when I went to ART IS YOU a few years ago and made this and this with Shelly Massey?  Shelly is so marvelously creative.  When I saw her whimsical work, I knew immediately she was a kindred spirit.  Plus, our children are the same age! 

I miss getting to take classes with Shelly at art retreats so I was thrilled when she announced her new venture!

Shelly has already planned out 12 exciting issues full of creative/crafty goodness and I love the themes she chose!  Subscribers get a little 'zine mailed to their homes along with treats in the mail, giveaway opportunities, digital freebies like collage sheets and more! You can buy individual issues for $13.50 but then you miss out on the digital area.  And who wants to miss that fun?!

The subscription is $12 per issue and goes through Paypal. If you order before July 31st, you will get a special edition of one of Shelly's art prints!

I already got my welcome packet!

Exciting! Shelly is so talented and such a sweet, generous person!  I am so happy for her. And I'm excited to be one of her first subscribers.


This is the perfect little gift for yourself or others who love creative inspiration sent to their mailbox every month!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Problem with Quarterly Subscription Service

I have enjoyed my subscription to the Nina Garcia Quarterly box that I immediately signed up for Rachel Yeomans' and Bekka Palmer's boxes when they were announced. When you join Quarterly,  you have the option to do a quarterly subscription when you will be automatically charged when the box ships or you can do a one-time box. I chose subscriptions for all of my boxes.

One of my problems with Quarterly is that you never really know when your box will ship and when you will be subsequently be charged. They are constantly changing shipping dates. For my past two boxes, there will glitches with the payment. Both times there should have been no problem for my payment to be declined but the payment failed. For Nina Garcia, they fixed it within 24 hours.  For my long-awaited Rachel Yeomans' box, I got this message today after repeated attempts to get a response from Quarterly:

"Thanks for contacting us and sorry for the delay in getting back to you! Unfortunately, there was a failure with our inventory system last week that we were not made aware of until too late. As a result, we sold packages that we didn't actually have in inventory and we are unable to send you a Rachel Yeoman box.

I'm so sorry about this! I know it's frustrating and I assure you we are equally frustrated about it. To make it up to you we've placed a $10 credit on your account."

So, even though I was one of the first to subscribe and even though the glitch was their fault and even though I am a subscriber and not a "one time only" box looky-loo, I will be getting this box. After months of talking it up in forums and on Twitter.

To avoid going through this again, I cancelled Bekka Palmer.  A $10 credit does nothing for me at this point.

Quarterly gets some great curators and I love the concept but the payment process and inventory screw-ups and delays are really ruining the service for me.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Nina Garcia Quarterly #ngq03 Unboxed!!! **SPOILERS**

I love getting surprises so I treat myself to a few subscription box services. One of my favorites is Quarterly!

Today, I got the much-anticipated Nina Garcia #ngq03!

One of the things I love about Quarterly are the detailed descriptions that come with the boxes!

(First peek!)
 Then you get the fun of unwrapping each item!!!

The theme of this box was "Brazil!"  It was very heavy on product.  Overall, I think I'll enjoy the items although some were misses for me.

Contents of box:

1. Coupon code for free Symmetry series Brazilian Pop! otterbox case for iPhone 5/5s or Galaxy S5
2. Black baseball cap from Spenglish with "Muito Cool" brazilian flag on front
3. Red flower refreshing hand and face towelette in Italian blood orange (one sample)
4. Pink High-heeled shoe desk ornament from Brazilian shoe designer MELISSA
5. Formula X from Sephora nail color in "Push the Limits"
6. Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Spray Sunscreen in SPF 30
7. Calvin Klein ONE Pure Color Lipstick in "Dollface"
8. NEST Scented Candle in "Sicilian Tangerine"
9. Surya Brasil Sapien Women Shavel Gel
10. JOICO K-Pak Intense Hydrator treatment for hair
11. ORIBE Dry texturtizing spray (2.2 oz)
12. ELLA earbuds
13. Palm Tree print clutch from PRINT ALL OVER ME (canvas)
14. Koku Pouch--bluie canvas with yellow raffia trim and a plexiglass shark (Not my favorite item)

I know others will price out each item and I will be interested to see the overall value of the box.  I'm excited to try everything out!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


I would love to see Deborah Harkness' books turned into a series of movies or a television series. But the casting would have to be JUST RIGHT.

I see just one choice for Diana:

I think Mireille Enos is so wonderful.  Her skill as an actress would keep the character from falling into kitsch territory.

Matthew is a lot harder:

1.  Henry Cavill---Has the look but does he have the gravitas?

2. Richard Armitage--Fan favorite but I'm not convinced.

3. Christian Bale--He can definitely handle the brooding/edgy aspects of the role but is he tall enough?

4.Benedict Cumberbatch!  Intriguing.

Now, what about Gallowglass?  My personal favorite.  He would have to be big but also charming.  Hmm....

Yep. Tom Hopper. I can totally see it!

The last book in the ALL SOULS TRILOGY comes out on July 15.  These books are begging to made into movies or a television series!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Starry Lanterns

I took another class at B Street Mercantile last week. My life has gotten so crazy that the only time I have to be creative is to take a class.  We made lanterns in this class and I am already buzzing with ideas for future ones!

What You Need:

Mason jar with lid
Paint (gold leaf or glass paint or spray paint)
Nail and hammer
Painter's tape

The instructor had already prepared the mason jars for us.  She took off the lid and punched a hole on either side of the lid using a hammer and nail. She then strung wire through the lid rim and screwed it onto the jar.

I decided to use a gold leaf paint on my jar.

I used foam star stickers on my jar. In the future, I would not use foam. Because they are so fat and do not lay flat, it is easy to accidentally get paint under the edges. I wrapped painter's tape around the top of the jar so I could get a nice clean painted edge.

The gold leaf spread on very nicely and didn't require a lot of paint. We used sponge brushes to dab on the paint.  I let the paint dry a little bit and then carefully peeled off the star stickers using an X-acto knife.

The edges of my stars weren't as sharp as I would like. In the future, I will use regular flat stickers.  I already have big ideas for the future. I'd love to do snowflake stickers with silver paint and maybe jack 'o' lantern faces with orange paint for Halloween. I'd love to experiment with spray paint for faster and more even coverage. 

Drop in a tealight, candle, or battery-operated candle and you have an adorable lantern!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Painting Pete the Cat with Kids--A Tutorial

Last Fall, Noodlebug saw me painting and asked if he could paint too. He wanted to use a real canvas. Since you can get a package of canvases at Michael's for fairly cheap with a 40% off coupon, I agreed.

I asked him what he would like to paint and he said he wanted to do a painting of Pete the Cat. Here is his painting of Pete:

People find it hard to believe a 5-yr-old did this painting. But he did! We did it using shapes. Remember that class we took at the Schulz Museum?   That is what gave me the idea.  We broke Pete down into shapes.  Want to make your own?  This is a great adult/child activity to do together.

You will need:

  • canvas (a big one--I think ours was about 16 x 20)
  • acrylic paints  (Blue, Yellow, White, Black, Brown)--These really work best with canvas. We used the cheap kind from Michael's.
  • Good brushes--Don't use the cheap plastic kid kind. Both of you will get frustrated. Let your child use the GOOD brushes.
  • Paint Pallet--You can use a cheap plastic paint pallet from Michael's, a paper plate, or even an egg carton
  • A picture to look at for reference

1. Start with the background.  We chose a nice bright yellow.  It was a great way for him to get used to the paint and the brushes.  Keep some of this paint handy in case you need to overpaint areas for correction.

2. You'll be using a nice bright blue paint for most of Pete. Start with Pete's body. I told Noodlebug that we need to make a long skinny rectangle.  We talked about whether this rectangle should have pointy corners or rounded corners.  Help your child with placement. You can use pencil or marker first but I just let Noodlebug jump right in with paint. You can always add to or cover up as needed.

3. Next, do the head.  Depending on the age of the child, you can refer to the shape in a number of ways. Noodlebug and I talked about how Pete's head is shaped like a football. You can also tell your child to start with a long letter "U" and then an upside down letter "U" top. Or, do a smile first and then a frown on top!

4. Next, paint on the ears!  The ears are just long triangles!

5. We then gave Pete an arm. His arm is just a long skinny rectangle.

6. Pete's hand is a skinny circle. Or an oval if you child knows the term.  You can use the same shape for his feet!

9. Next up is Pete's tail!  I told Noodlebug to make a big letter C!  You child can either do a thick letter C or add another C next to the first one and connect them.

10. We return to the same shape we used for the head to do Pete's eyes using yellow paint.


11. For Pete's pupils, start with white paint. Have your child make a circle shape with the white paint in the middle of the eyes next to the top lid.  Later, you will "dot" in the black pupil.

12. Add in Pete's nose with white paint.  Pete's nose is an upside-down triangle!

13. Finally, have your child draw some straight lines for whiskers.

We added a cup of hot chocolate in Pete's hand to match the picture we were using for reference. You can put anything in his hand!  To make the hot chocolate mug in Noodle's painting, use the letter "C" for the cup handle. The cup itself is a rectangle. Noodle painted a white circle at the top of the mug to make it look more like a mug. He then painted a brown circle inside the mug for the hot chocolate and made his own swirl for steam.

There were times when Noodle got frustrated.  The tail and the whiskers were the hardest part for him. You can see that I over-painted some areas in yellow so he could start over.  Ultimately, he was happy with the result. We aren't going for perfection!  It is more important that the child have fun creating.  Try not to step in and "fix" their work. If they ask for help, then go for it! Otherwise, let them paint their vision.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Request for Pajama Pants

Noodlebug was digging through a drawer the other day and found these pajama pants:

(Feb 2011)
I made these pajama pants when he was 3.5 years old. He insisted on wearing them. Even pulling the hem out, they were definitely capri pants!  But I was impressed that my 6-yr-old could fit into 3.5 year old pants!  I wish I could say that I fit into pants I was wearing three years ago!

He asked me if I would sew him a new pair. I asked him if he would like to go to the fabric store with me and pick out his own fabric. He loved the idea and is very excited about our trip to the fabric store! I am so glad that my big boy is still happy to have his Mommy sew him things.  Looking forward to a trip to Joann's!

Friday, June 6, 2014


Today is my little one's last day of Kindergarten.  It is going to be really hard for me.

First Day of Preschool

First and Last Day of Second Preschool

First Day and Last Day of Kindergarten

From the moment you have a child, people start telling you how fast time goes.  I already knew that.  No matter how tightly you hold on and how much you try and live in the moment, it goes by too quickly.  Instead of seeing childhood as a series of firsts, I often view it as a series of lasts. The last time I breastfed, the last time he read certain baby books, the last time I changed a diaper, the last time he went to his various preschools.  I find myself worrying about some upcoming lasts and wondering when they will occur. The last time he will want me to read to him. The last time he will want to crawl in bed with me. The last time he will want to hold my hand in public. The last time he will crawl into my lap.  The worst part is that you never know when you have experienced those "lasts" until the moment is long gone.

I know that there are a lot of exciting "firsts" coming up.  I try to focus on those. Life is beautiful and want to cherish every moment.  As someone who never thought she would get to be a mom, every day is blessing for me.  Here's hoping I don't cry too much when we leave Kindergarten for the last time.

Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Subscription Box Roundup

Regular readers know that I have been a fan of subscription boxes for awhile. I have tried quite a few with mixed results.


1. Lullubee Craft Kit--

This subscription service offers crafts kits in both a general format and a needle-felting specific format.  I absolutely loved the regular format.  I learned some new techniques and got to try some new tools.  My favorite was the needle-felted gnomes that I did. I only gave it up because of the expense. Lots of fun for $32/month.

2. For the Makers--

Another favorite crafty kit that offers projects inspired by design powerhouses such as Anthropologie.  Includes everything you need for each project.  I made some great jewelry with these kits but found it hard to keep up every month.  There monthly subscriptions are $29/month.  This box was my favorite.


1. Kiwi Crate--

We are long-time subscribers to Kiwi Crate.  It is such a quality subscription.  As a busy mom, I appreciate that it has everything we need for each craft and activity. I stockpiled a few over the last few months so that we could pull them out over the Summer as needed.  You can see my son building a robot from one of the crates here.  We love this service so much that I am an affiliate!  Subscriptions are $19.95 per month plus shipping.

2. Citrus Lane--

We were members of Citrus Lane for a year before my son aged out. This subscription service is perfect for families with kids 0-4.  (The service goes through age 5 but I found that the items included in the 5-yr-old box skewed very young.) They partner with really great companies like Barefoot Books and Green Toys and include some really great quality items. It was like Christmas every month for my son!  See one of our boxes here.  A regular subscription is $29 per month.

3. Appleseed Lane--

As we started to outgrow Citrus Lane, I looked for another box to supplement our Kiwi Crate subscription.  I loved the fact that Appleseed Lane was a similar model but with a focus on sicence and engineering. The box is geared towards ages 4-8. The monthly subscription is $23/month. If you decide to join, please tell them I referred you!  (Amy Malaise)  Noodlebug especially enjoyed a recent box we got that was all about magnets.  It really started to click for him after we went through all the activities.


1. Wantable--

I give this one high marks for customer service!  They are so easy to work with!  I subscribed to the Intimates box although they also currently offer beauty and accessories.  It felt like a nice way to spoil myself and I loved the large range of sizes they offer.  They actually had PLUS SIZES unlike boxes like Stitch Fix. I received lounge pants, panties, socks and other goodies for $36 per month or a one-time purchase for $40.

2. Quarterly

This is a fairly new subscription service and I absolutely love it!  They offer a bunch of different curators and boxes ship out every couple of months rather than on a monthly basis.  I started with the Nina Garcia box.  It is pricey at $100 but you only pay that every three months.  The first box I got was really great! The new one ships out in a few weeks and I will post a review!  I also subscribed to the Bekka Palmer box and the Rachel Yeomans box which should both be shipping out in the next two months. I'll let you know if I like them. Both of those boxes are $50 each.  Some of the items in the boxes cannot be purchased anywhere else.

3.PopSugar Must Have

After reading a bunch of positive reviews, I decided to add PopSugar's Must Have box to my list of subscriptions. I love how PopSugar has a nice blend of products of each box from food to fitness to fashion.  You get an excellent variety of items for $39.95 per month which includes free shipping.  It feels like the perfect way to spoil myself each month!  I stalk message boards for spoilers every month because I can't wait to see what I will get!

I will be posting more box reviews as they come in so keep checking back for more sneak peeks and information on my favorite subscription services!

(P.S. I also used to subscribe to FANCY and do not recommend it. The customer service isn't great and the products are disappointing in terms of value. Also, they included an item with a curse word on it in my box and I was not pleased.)