Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bubbly Birthday

Yesterday I decided (from all the birthdays this year!) that I would really love to photograph children's parties, professionally. I would charge a small fee...Or, if Cub could eat, play, and join in the fun, I'd charge nothing!
Yesterday's party was delightful in every way. Maybe 'cause it was at one of our favorite party venues....Bubbles Playhouse! (Which is like Pee Wee's Playhouse for Kids!!!)
It is mind-boggling and inspiring to observe the amount of energy Miss Bubbles has and how much fun she makes it for the kids.
Unfortunately, I didn't finish that necklace in time. I just wasn't feelin' sewing all those felt beads together! You know how it is. Also, I'm making each child in Cub's class a tissue paper flower for their "Stepping Up" graduation/celebration on June 17. So, I took myself off the hook for the birthday flowers, too!! Lately, I've been too caught up in "therapeutic crochet" to do anything else. Instead, we bought a big Tub O' Crafts and some clay for the birthday girl.

That little "puppet" attached to the card was made by the two of us. Cub wanted the little human shaped popcicle sticks at Michael's the other night and we've been making puppets ever since. Today, we are gluing on clothes made of fabric scraps...For this one,
it had to be Sharpee Couture!
Face painting is one of the BEST things about the Playhouse. In less than 10 minutes my girl turned into a butterfly! ("It's not make-up, Mama! It's me!")
As if pizza and cake are not enough!

Everyone LOVED this cake and thought it was just beautiful...not the typical birthday cake you traditionally see. V's mom was kind enough to share with us where she bought it...Pathmark of all places. I love it!
Just goes to show, you don't have to go to fancy SI Italian bakery for an awesome cake! Ha, ha!!

Some art shots --just because...that is what I do.
I couldn't help it. Look at this color!

As we were walking to our car after the party, I found this wall and it just screamed our names.
I shot about ten photos here.

COLOR, CHILDREN, cotton candy, balloons, paper streamers, cake...What's not to love about
photographing children's parties?
For me, not much.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tending to... own garden.
Next Tuesday will mark one month since what I'm now referring to as "the accident."I don't really know what else to call it and besides, it does seem fitting. For many reasons--stress, exhaustion, feeling physically ill, all-around lousy and disconnected from my body, I decided it was safe for me to take penicillin. The fact that I chose to take this drug, when I am highly allergic to molds and knew I should stay far, far, away from it--proves to me that I was not on the right path.
This single act of carelessness has had a profound impact on my life. Besides being able to eat comfortably from a list of only about 12 items, I've lost close to 10 lbs. and will probably lose more before I figure out some more pieces to this puzzle. Mind you, I am not completely happy about this. I can not think about food the way I used to...which was a lot! Not to sound corny, but food was practically an art form to me; a form of expression, relaxation, and enjoyment. Now it is about nurishment and questions of safety...just eating a little bit of what I know I can to keep my body going. It has been an enormous adjustment. I tell people its like being a stranger in my own body...which is ironic, because maybe that is what I was before this all started.
I now have to pay careful attention to what I eat and how much of it I consume. I have to be conscious of salicylate levels in everything I ingest...and whether or not any of the foods I'm eating cross-pollinate with the pollens in the air. I can no longer tolerate strong odors of any kind. I ONLY drink water. I can not tolerate tea, juice, or coffee! Talk about keeping things simple. "This is bare bones" here! I've had terrible spells of anxiety...and I've been sad, angry, and confused about what is happening with my body.
But now I am starting to see the other side of this...and this is why I've chosen to share my experience here with others. I believe that this was a call from my higher power--a call to pay careful attention to myself and to set me on a specific path- one that will ultimately benefit and bless me in ways that could not have been possible before. I believe it was a wake-up call to get me to focus on what is really important in my life and that list is really short, simple, and sweet.
It's about looking at my own life more closely, and not so much at the lives of others. It's about appreciating my own unique blessings...and there is so much more I'm beginning to figure out. Funny, how that can only happen with me through an EXTREME crisis. I am so fiercely independent and stubborn. My Creator knows what it takes to get me to stop and listen!
Yes, there are a zillion doctor's appointments and testing--but there is an appointment with a naturopathic doctor in the city set for this Thursday!!! (Thank you, sweet SerahRose!). There is a super-dooper shower filter that takes all the yucky stuff out and leaves my hair tangle-free and Cub's skin (almost) eczema-free! There is the "healthy" glow people keep complimenting me on (Huh?)!! This is probably because I've stopped eating whatever I was allergic to, but who knows what that really is at this point! There are air filters (ahhhhh...) and water filters, too. And for the first time ever, I can almost breathe through both of my nostrils. I am focusing more on relaxation, prayer, and spending time with people who make me feel good. I'm working on letting go (such a tough one!) and I'm learning to keep it simple, because that is the way it has to be. I MUST learn to live in the present now...and that has been one of my greatest challenges in recent years.
I am tending to my own garden. And although it's been a struggle--I've had some really tough moments--one day good, one day bad (health wise), I'm learning how to readjust and reevaluate, and (mostly) staying focused on the positive.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Can't Stop Reading...

Wow. It's worth two posts in one day to share this.
Picked it up hardcover at a library sale. I love memoir, especially when it involves rising above a crazy family situation. Cathartic to say the least.
The writer said it best when interviewed, "This is a book about family dynamics."
...And I'm finding it of fascinating.

Can't Stop Making...

They are just sooooo much fun to make. I bought a thin package of "pinks" to wrap the presents for the birthday girl this weekend and ended up making flowers to embellish the wrapping.
Then I made a bunch more just because they make me happy.

I think I'm gettin' pretty good, too? Don't 'cha think?

I am in the process of making a bouquet of these for my dear grandmother, who turns 93 next week. God bless her!
I think I'll make this for the birthday girl this weekend.
I'll include it in the bag along with the psychedelic felt bead necklace.
(Still need to finish it.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Note to Self

Photo originally uploaded by anita sekharan via Kind over Matter

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
-The above version found written on the wall of Mother Theresa's home for children in Calcutta

Monday, May 25, 2009

Another Beauty

We went to see the big ships yesterday with our favorite gal from Manhattan.
It was exciting for me because I was finally able to walk around the Homeport--which was the topic for my Master's thesis paper. Fun and entering a different world;
feeling like a tourist in our own town.
The ships were massive, terrifyingly beautiful creatures sleeping in the harbor.

Afterwards, we had lunch at the wonderful Tuttoriso cafe.
What a cute little place, not to mention the food was delicious and gluten-free!
One of my favorite bands plays there every Saturday for brunch, too.
So, we'll definitely be back. So happy to have a place like this on Staten Island.
It is so needed.

Here is a glimpse of all the scrumptious gluten-free desserts.
Check out that carrot cake on the left with creamy-tofu frosting. Yum.
So sad I can't really eat soy or rice right now.
But someday I hope to enjoy goodies like this again.
Finally, people with dietary limitations can enjoy tasty breads, rolls, cakes, and cookies.
Thank-you, Helen!

We ended up staying for a while enjoying each other's company. I received a beautiful red leather purse, a silk indian scarf, and a book from Julie. How she spoils me.
Cub had a ball playing with all the toys that are there for kids.
Helen, the owner has painted sweet details around the restaurant.

If you're a local--you should definitely check out this little gem.
Off to a birthday party and barbecue today.
Yes, I'll be packing my own lunch. This is my new "normal."
It's okay. I'll still enjoy the day. Hope you will, too.
Also, I'd like to offer a special prayer for the men and women who have died serving our country...and for their families. Blessings to all.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Just returned home from a lovely afternoon with Julie and Cub.
We were off to the beach, but the sky began to darken with the threat of a thunderstorm, so we came home for a bit. Rummaging through the packed away summer clothes for something to wear revealed what is no longer a ridiculous secret...I am the owner of 30 dresses. Eeek! How did that happen? Don't ever let me get away with saying I have nothing to wear.
I have one prize in the collection...A vintage Marc Jacobs full length shift in navy blue silk. Spun by angels, I tell you. My friend Katherine, who used to work in fashion, passed it on to me about ten years ago. I've worn it twice.
Cub: Mama, When I get older can I have THAT dress?
Mama: Sure, Honey...Which one?
Cub: That one, Mama. The one you just put away over there.
I'll give you three guesses which one she was talking about. That girl.
The above image is a sneak peak at what I've been up to as far as crafting the past few nights...Felt beads. I'm making a whole bunch of two specific kinds. Tons of 'em.
One set is going to be a birthday gift for a special girl in Cub's class.
Since she flipped for my Greek mati bracelet, I figured she would appreciate
a handmade psychedelic-style necklace.

Beautiful Day

Another one of our favorite places is the Staten Island Children's Museum.
It has been a big part of our lives since Cub was a baby. We never seem to tire of its bright and lively atmosphere and all the things to do there. Yesterday, we brought four of our friends who had (believe it or not!) never been to the museum before. We had the best time.
It is true, "the more, the merrier!"
I love all of these colors.

Check out this ginormous rubber band ball!

It's so nice having a special place to share with friends.

Today, our dearest friend is visiting! We're going to see the big ships and then go out for lunch. It's Fleet Week here. That means lots of cute sailors walking around Bay Street and Cub wishing everyone,
"Happy Fleet Week!"
Hope you are enjoying the weekend, Everybody!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Do Everything Better

Been meaning to pass this on for some time now. My "BFF" Julie, gave this book to me as a birthday present last year and I just love it. She lived in Japan for three years teaching English to Japanese businessmen. While she was there, she taught herself Japanese, too!
She is an amazing woman, but I digress...
I love hearing all about her life in Japan and have learned a lot about the cute and quirky
aspects of Japanese culture from her.
Urawaza is defined as being a secret trick or an unmapped shortcut.
The book is divided up into seven chapters, covering different areas of the home. There is a section on health and beauty, too. I like it because most of the tips call for a short list of items we all have around the house.
For example, did you know that you can prevent your bathroom mirror from fogging up if you "slice a potato in half and rub the inner surface against the glass?"
Or, that you can use a baby diaper to water your plants while you're away on vacation?
Fascinating stuff. So cute.
Oh, yeah...if you're like me and have shrunk your share of sweaters...
All you have to do is immerse the sweater in water plus hair conditioner solution for half an hour, "...and your sweater will magically expand to its original size!"
Here's wishing everyone a peaceful and relaxing weekend. We have a lot planned. Ships to see and explore, a visit from Julie, thrifting, crafting, and a birthday party on Sunday.
Blessings, Everyone!

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Little Fashionista

Dress - Vintage
Silk Scarf - ETG, Staten Island
Boots - Bronx (brand)
One thing my girl is seriously good at is putting outfits together.If I may brag for just a moment, she has the best eye for clothes. I particularly love this because being fairly into fashion myself,
I know this is not as easy as it looks.
She has a lot of clothes, especially in her dress up trunk. Many of the clothes cross-over
which is particularly cool. Fashion shows are a regular event at our house and
I'm always amazed at what she comes up with. So, I've started taking photos of some
of her creations. Who knows, one day she may be the next Norma Kamali,
Diane Von Furstenberg, or Betsey Johnson.
She makes me laugh, 'cause she really knows how to pose, too.
I promise, I had nothing to do with it.
Here's to fashion through the eyes of my four year old.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Turns out I've experienced what my doctor's call a "cascading allergic effect," meaning I've
become oddly allergic to several foods (like rice)that I ate on a regular basis before the amoxycillin disaster. It's all been very strange; like being placed inside someone else's body.
Because I am so very sensitive to almost everything, I thought it would be a good time to change over all of those products I've been getting away from anyway.
First, I tackled my bath products. The mostly all-natural bath products became even more basic:
Toothpaste- Baking soda, sea salt, glycerine
Shampoo- Dr. Bronner's Unscented, canola/olive oil, dash of malt vinegar (sal-free)
(This also makes a killer shaving cream for legs...soooooo silky!) No need for conditioner, either. Add essential oil for scent. Mine has to be unscented.
Soap- Diluted Dr. Bronner's Unscented Castille Soap
Deoderant- rock crystal
Facial soap/ scrub -Bronners and baking soda
See? No big deal. In fact I love the simplicity of it all. It feels so good to be independent of all the unneccesary chemicals, packaging, and costs. My new routine is chemical and salicylate free, not to mention easy.
Below are all of the ingredients I used to make my very own cleaning products:

I made an all-purpose cleaner, furniture polish, oven-cleaner, glass/window cleaner, and a soft scrub, too! All recipes can be found here if anyone is interested.
The house smelled really fresh after being cleaned on Saturday.
If you try this, I bet you'll never go back to the chemicals!
That's the soft scrub. Doesn't it look good enough to eat?
It's just baking soda, castille soap, and glycerine.
I added some fresh lemon juice, too.
Hope you'll give it a try!

Monday, May 18, 2009

As Only She Can Say...

( Us on May 16, 2009)

I used to keep a little book with everything Cub said that was clever, funny, or something I just wanted to remember. I've since lost two of those books...but I still try to record as many bits as I can. Early in the morning on the day of my birthday (as we were driving towards the grocery store) Cub said this while taking in the world around her from the back seat:

"Mommy, God changes the artwork everyday."
I just love that.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

I like to keep birthdays low-key and simple-spending the day the way I normally would with a little bit of extra sweetness.
That is exactly the type of day I had yesterday.
I was treated to a picnic by Cub's grandparents for coffee and goodies from the farmer's market-
at our favorite place.

Later, we met friends for some fun at a local fair.
We had such a nice time walking around and taking in the sights. These types of fairs are my favorite to photograph...I took many. Cub had a blast playing games (thanks Jenn!!!) and going down the big slide!
In the evening it was back to our place. My brother and his beautiful girlfriend made the two hour trip just to spend my birthday with me. I felt so special just being with such good people yesterday.
What more could I ask for than to feel healthy and loved?
Thank-you sweet friends and family
for all the birthday wishes and love.
I am blessed!

Friday, May 15, 2009

I'm Still Here...

Yes, I'm still here. I've been turning a little more inward lately. Trying to figure out
my health and just settle into a different lifestyle.
Yesterday, I said goodbye to all of my houseplants, including my lovely little windowsill
herb garden. My sweet neighbor adopted the ones Cub had given me as gifts the past few years. The rest are living in front of our house now.
In the meantime, I've managed to do some simple crafting for others-
which definitely offers some healing benefits!
I made this cupcake/jewelry stand for Cub's aunt for her birthday.
I used the ol' glue-a-plate-to-a-candlestick method.
I painted the flowers with enamel paints. After this photo, I added a strand of flowers around the base, too. I love morning glories.
To me, they represent great strength as well as simplicity, in the best of ways.
A great technique for keeping calm and focusing on other things--some more "mindless" craft:
Quickie Quilt Journals from one of my favorite craft blogs.
I love when I get to dip into my big, fat, scrap bag!
I may even sew a blanket stitch around the edges when I'm finished.
Later on, I'm going to treat myself to this dress, as an early birthday present.
I love jersey so much. It's so comfey and drapes nicely.
Yes, tomorrow is the "big day." I have some loose plans, but I'm going to let the day unfold naturally and enjoy all life has to offer.
I'm so grateful for all I've been blessed with!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

( I made this magazine bowl for Cub's Nana. )

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.
She never existed before.
The woman existed, but the mother, never.
A mother is something absolutely new.
- RajneeshRead

Friday, May 8, 2009

Finding the Beauty

What started as a sinus infection turned into an allergic-to-amoxycillin ER nightmare, then into
an allergic-rebound-hypersensitivity hell on earth!
I think anyone who knows me would agree I am
a highly functioning individual and I believe in
living life passionately and to its fullest potential.
Well, this week, I've been physically and emotionally challenged.
I've definitely hit some low points. But
I've also surrendered, "Okay-God, you've got my attention now!"
Yes, I need to pay more attention. I know that now, for sure.
There have been many nights of prayer and meditation.
...Trying to get back to my center.
Trying to re-focus and re-organize through the struggle.
The beauty of life is that there have been some poignantly beautiful
moments through it all...Deep love and support given to me by my young
daughter. Concern and support demonstrated by my family and friends.
And during a rare afternoon, while attempting to divert and distract myself,
I landed in "Sal's Boutique," and scored a couple of things that made me happy.
(Yeah, I know--never to sick to shop, right?)
Yes, there really is such thing as retail therapy!
We desperately needed little dishes. I'd been holding out for
vintage Japanese stoneware, and that's exactly what I got-
for practically a song!
What a pretty spring design, too!

And a brightly colored beauty for yours truly. I get the biggest smile on my face when
I find things like this in that store for $1.00!
Now Cub and I both have vintage Liberty of London shirts.
Can't wait to wear them at the same time.
I had big plans for this weekend. Been doing a lot of hypo-allergenic cooking...Things like chicken soup and lamb stews. All pretty good.
I don't know how I'll feel on Mother's Day.
All I am planning on so far is-
homemade biscuits and tea in the morning.
Sending good wishes to everyone for a lovely weekend.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Hello Friends,
I've been dealing with some difficult health issues for the past few days.
I'm trying to stay calm and positive.
I'm doing a lot of re-evaluating and trying
to focus on staying calm and peaceful.
If I could just ask for some prayers--
some good energy sent my way at this time,
I'd be very grateful.
Thank-you so much.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

First Scrapbook Ever

Yesterday I woke-up with a sore throat. I tried to chalk it up to allergies, but by
the end of the day I felt wiped-out and my throat was on fire. On the way home I made a pit
stop to pick-up fixins for homemade chicken soup.
What made my evening was having two special people to share it with.
My sweet Jenn came over with several bags of goodies in tow.
She is honestly one of the kindest, most generous people I've ever met.
I feel more than blessed to have her in my life.
I thought I wouldn't be able to get into the crafty mood, but all of those yummy supplies, papers, and embellishments were just too good to resist!
I must admit, I am a bit intimidated by scrapbooking. As much as I love to craft anything and everything, this style of crafting has always eluded me. I think I've felt overwhelmed with all of the options for design and all of the supplies and materials that go along with it.
However, I learned that if you narrow down the options--color coordinating papers, can put together a really neat little book.
This one came together intuitively. I didn't plan anything. I just started making pages and then the subject of the book revealed itself through the design.
Without going into detail, my childhood was brief, but feels like only yesterday, too.
I have so many vivid memories and I thought it would be nice to "archive" just a
small piece here. It will be nice to one day share this with my girl, too.
Here are some pages. Some are finished and some are in progress:

I can't wait to write on these pages. They are for my earliest memories of creating and "crafting" as a child. I was very into making things from an early age. I am also going to make a small list
of people who inspired me during these years.

My love of specific toys, not all. How could I leave out my dollhouse and Fisher-Price barn?!!

It made me feel good when Jenn told me she liked my pages, because
she is such a talented crafter/artist,with a special gift for
putting words and images together.
Now, I'm excited about making some more books in different styles.
Next scrapbook is for Cub, definitely.

I am so appreciative to have this space for sharing new things.
Enjoy the weekend, Everyone.