Wednesday, February 29, 2012

you want to see scary?

otherwise known as your wish is my command.

yesterday, jennifer made the following comment regarding my post the other day about the awesome photoshop class i'm taking:
 so, during the girls' rest time yesterday, in response to jennifer's #1 thought, i spent about half an hour turning this photo:
into this ugliness (or fabulousness, depending on how you look at it):
yes, it is ridiculous, but maybe that makes it more awesome.
obviously i have lots of practice to do, 
but just look at the potential!

dear jennifer coffee slinger,
you can read my reply to your comment on yesterday's post.

(ps. if you want to check out the photoshop class i took, or the other ones available, go here)

Monday, February 27, 2012

getting schooled

do you remember how i had oh so many goals last year for gaining some new skills?
i think i could take about twenty different classes right now, except for the fact that i am barely making it as it is with these two bundles of delight in my life. 
("it" being quality marriage time, relationships, work, school, keeping the house cleanish, playdates, and so on... i think we've covered this topic many, many times around here!)
if you can show me someone who really truly juggles everything with grace and effortlessness, 
that's the class i should be taking: modern mommying 101! 

you probably know that i do a ton of illustration for papyrus. i've been designing cards for them for 8 years now. but i do it all old-school! i handpaint everything, and then send them original artwork. they tell me it is one reason my cards stand out, since they look handmade. 

but the downside is that i never learned programs that i could use to simplify my process. i studied fine art in undergrad and grad school, and not design work. i sort of fell into the freelance, and now i love that it provides me with flexibility, steady income, and the ability to watch mindless tv while i work. (i'm kidding about that part- kind of)
so i've been trying to learn some new skills that i can apply to my freelance work.

last year i took a class in illustrator (you can see some of my homework here) from nicole's classes
and i loved it!
the class was all online, i could put in as much or as little time as i wanted, i could chat with the instructor if i had questions, and i learned the basics of illustrator!
(both months i took these classes were INSANE busy for me, 
so the fact that i could do it means anyone could. 

this month i've been taking another class in from nicole's classes in photoshop elements, which is a more user friendly version of photoshop (and the one that i already own and don't have to shell the big bucks out for).

i am learning a ton!
now i just need to figure out how to use these tools with my freelance work!

this week i learned how to swap heads in a photo
(i need to spend some more time on the final product, 
so be gentle as you look at the almost final product!)
the two photos before:

and after!
(i need to work on that hat up against my chin so ruby doesn't look like a floating head.
to my credit i was actually holding sweet ruby-all squirming, wriggling, bundle of energy 20-odd pounds of her-in my lap while i edited this picture)

for fun, and to practice some techniques, i took a quick self portrait
(the after is on the left and the before is on the right)

i've always hated my crooked teeth, 
so to hone my skills i gave myself some free orthodonic work and fixed my teeth, plus fiddled around with some wrinkles, flyaway hair and my eye color.
(don't worry, 
i love myself just as i am,
but it was fun to temporarily have the teeth i'd prefer)

i also learned how to make a styleboard!
so fun, right?
i know these are basic tools, but so glad i am learning them. 
it also reminds me that i love learning,
and whets my appetite to learn more!
(hmm...sewing, silkscreen refresher, more illustrator, cooking...)
what new skill would you learn or class would you take if you could?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

happy saturday!

(rolling around in the backyard)
we are enjoying an early spring? pretend spring? non existant winter?
whatever it is, i love it.
(yes, we need rain. i know. but i love this balmy weather and sunshine!)

hope you are having a wonderful weekend, 
with a spot of sunshine all your own!

(by the way, don't be mislead; 
this is a perfectly beautiful day, but even lovely days bring roller coaster emotions.
i swear i have been a bucket of random emotions this week! 
can i get an amen that parenting is HARD? and emotionally draining? 
cause it is doing a number on me this week.
anyone else with me?)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

love letters

(love for you)
dear sleep,
thanks to work deadlines, a teething toddler who prefers to snuggle with a parental human rather than her crib mattress, my inability to crawl into bed when i should, and a three year old who wakes up in the freaking FIVES (yes, my friends, as in the 5 AM range), i can never get enough of you. is a week of a full night of sleep too much to ask? apparently.
sleepless in oakland

dear blog,
i think i should rename you: the story of my well intentioned life, because well, my intentions and reality are always about 10 miles apart from each other. (do you need evidence aside from my slow down in posting a photo a day? please check out: my children's messy room, the pile of junk on top of my dresser, the folded clothes i have yet to put away, the website i have been meaning to do for at least 4 years, and my perpetually disastrous car interior...happy to provide more examples if you need them)
the more things change, the more they stay the same

dear studio,
you are so pretty. now i just need to figure out when i am going to find the extra hours in the day to actually use you.

dearest daughter #1,
three and a half (or more accurately three quarters) years old is killing me. can't.handle.the.roller.coaster: one minute insane meltdown, the next adorable snuggly sweetness.
your mother who loves you no matter what mood you are in, but for the love...a mellow day or two wouldn't hurt

dearest daughter #2,
sweet girl, don't worry, i get it: you are strong willed, feisty, and independent. no need to prove it every single day. also, see my sleep letter; someday you will long to sleep in - it would be just fine with me if you experimented with sleeping a teensy bit longer now and then. or every day.
tired mama

dear bay area drivers,
you drive me crazy.
especially on 880.
someday i will not talk out loud to other drivers as i drive

dear tv executives,
new girl- hilarious. at first, not so much. now, yes.
parenthood- makes me cry every week & is such a beautiful little show (please don't get cancelled)
modern family- yup, still funny.
did i mention how amazing parenthood is? really a gem.
once upon a time-sort of ridiculous, but i love it.
way too many freelance deadlines=a lot of late night tv viewing

dear taxes,
i know, i know, i need to get my crap together. i just really really hate doing our taxes. (and by "doing" i mean collating all of our records for someone else to do the actual taxes.) money, schmoney.
let's just barter and trade glitter and unicorns

dear house,
where do i start? i'm sorry i neglect you dishes, laundry, and basically all surfaces. oh closets, i'm really sorry- you really take the hit the most. (although let me tell you that since my younger days my closets have improved by about 678 billion %)
someday my home will look like it came off of a pinterest organization inspiration board or out of real simple, but i'll be 89

dear readers,
i'm so tired tonight - maybe you can tell since this post ended up not being that funny. oh well.
happy mid-week!

(ps any letters you need to write? feel free to up the comedy level of this post in the comments section)

Monday, February 20, 2012

what comes around goes around

my mom spent a lot of energy
my first eighteen years of life
telling me to stop writing or drawing on surfaces other than paper,
drawing with dry erase marker on the tile counters,
 or doodling on my own skin.
and now,
my own children
are giving it back to me.
all little m wants to do is draw inside of her books,
or on any scrap of paper,
or all over her body.

last week i left ruby alone for about 30 seconds and she had found a sharpie
and given herself a couple of tattoos.
how did i not learn to lock up my sharpies after that?

because a couple of days later,
matt's parents were here for a few days,
m drew with sharpie all over her own hands during her rest time, 
(since her mean mommy won't paint her fingernails, my daughter resorts to her own means)
and then when she got up she drew tattoos all over their hands.
if you want a free abstract and mostly temporary tattoo?
come on over to our house.
i have two very small tattoo artists.
just don't come during naptime.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

snip snip

ruby finally got her first haircut!


(my little cutie pie)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

sweet + easy= perfect

hope you had a sweet valentine's day!

i spotted this cute and easy tutorial on designmom for valentine's day.
since m has two schools to bring valentines to, plus extra non-school friends, we had a total of 70 valentines! yup. i started with 60 & it wasn't enough so i had to order more. 70!?! so, we skipped the 100% handmade versions that we've made the last two years, and rocked this version.

we started with a photo shoot with a lot of photo flops 
(i have about 100 versions of this pose, most of which did not work)
exhibit a:
finally i ended up with this loveliness:i took the picture into photoshop elements and tweaked it a bit & added some text & uploaded it to a one hour photo place.
then got out the exacto...
some dum dums...
and put a slit on the top and bottom of m's fist,
then slid the lollipop in & taped it in the back:
70 easy, cute & sweet valentines!
(m was very obsessed with these)
for her teachers and therapists we slid pencils in instead of treats:
not to be left out, ruby got her own valentine to give out.
(we attempted the same pose, but let's just say that valiant effort failed miserably)
xoxo from us to you!

Monday, February 13, 2012

catching up, babycakes

otherwise known as, a week in the life.
february 5-12

(sunday, team girl playing in the bird bath after gathering for a sunday worship service. 
um, super hygenic i'm sure)
(monday, hanging with some friends & discussing our hopes for the year)
(tuesday, while mommy's away for 2 seconds? ruby will play. and destroy a room)
(wednesday, i snuck a photo of these two snugglers while i was reading a bedtime story to them)
(thursday, enjoying popcorn at a playdate after school with m's friend sam)
(thursday, husband wins awesome award for getting a broken chandelier rewired &
hung after we've had for ages)
(friday morning, i stole away to peets to work on a photoshop class)
(friday, sweet i love you sign from little m as we drove to see great grandma (97!) in santa cruz
(friday, ruby gives in to sleep while driving)
(friday, a little caffeine &gloriousness to sustain me on our drive home from santa cruz)
(saturday, the fam- plus our friend peter- rocked a backyard workday & i made myself a succulent garden in a watering trough. more photos to follow, since i have a crush on the final product)
(sunday, who needs the space of a minivan when you can smash small children into a carolla like sardines? headed off to where we started at the beginning of the week)

sometimes there are no words

the mom that i wrote about on friday, 
whose two kids go to m's preschool co-op in oakland, 
passed away early saturday morning.

this afternoon m has had a lot of questions about sickness, bodies, dying and doctors.
she doesn't understand, 
so she keeps asking the same questions over & over again.
i hardly have words,
so all i can think of are these two small children, who have lost their mom,
and how very inadequate any answers must be for them. 

i happened to read this article today, about life's frailty.
it's worth a read.

Friday, February 10, 2012

turn off your computer & hug the people you love

my heart is so heavy this morning
i can't get this out of my mind.

there is a mom at m's preschool co-op
who has two little kids, beautiful children, 
just like me.

i hardly know her;
but she is friends with a couple of friends of mine
i've had a few connections with her over the last couple of years.

she has been fighting cancer, hard, 
and it came back 
is taking over her body.
she is very, very, very sick.

she is a mom, just like me.
and she won't get to see her kids next birthdays.
her husband won't get to snuggle with her at night.
i don't even have words.

sometimes the world is very broken.

(so let's be grateful for today, whatever it holds & 
soak up the goodness of having people we love and who love us.)

Thursday, February 9, 2012


my sweet daughter hung out with her friend justice this weekend. 
they had SO much fun adventuring all day and she was so tired that she fell asleep.
in a convertible.
with a hot dog in her hand.

i'm not as cute as she is when she's sleeping or i'd take one right this second of how i am awake, 
but sleeping. or at least it feels like that.

guess what's awesome?
guess what i don't get enough of?

signing off,
exhibit a, 

ps am i the only one who is incredibly impressed that my daughter is holding a ketchup slathered food product in a windy car and her sweatshirt has nary a stain in sight?

(february 4, 2012)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


some afternoons are just like this around here:
(february 8)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

30 + 1

(friday, february 3)

guess who's coming to dinner?
yesterday was my brother aaron's 31st birthday.
his fun wife sarah came up with game for his birthday gift.
friday, saturday and sunday night she invited surprise guests for dinner!

our family was friday's guest slot!
we enjoyed some really good indian food at aaron & sarah's
along with my sister rebecca, her husband mark, their daughter sadie, my mom & my little family.

good food + family + girl cousin craziness (as in ruby, m and sadie) + brownie sundaes + silly games = super fun birthday celebration of my brother aaron

we've got spirit, yes we do!

pictures of the day
february 2

spirit day at m's school
and then the moms and younger siblings went for their own kind of spirit day
coffee & chit chat
i love my friends.
they make driving an hour to school worth it.
(especially days like this when we actually meet up and hang out 
instead of running our errands all morning)

Monday, February 6, 2012

almost famous

well, not really,
but since i posted about papyrus work this weekend,
i figured i'd stay on the subject!
this is one of my mother's day cards this year (minus that little "next" in the top right corner- i just took this screenshot since i don't have any samples of the final thing yet.)
this week i'm working on some mother's day concepts, 
both for your own mom and for a mom in general.
any kind of card you wish was out there that falls into those categories?
thoughts? inspiration? awesomeness to throw my way?

Saturday, February 4, 2012


this older card of mine is on sale right now, 
right here on the papyrus website if you need to stock up on long distance birthday cards!
get 'em while they're still around!
you can buy my cards wherever papyrus cards are sold or at independent retailers nationwide.

(here's a few others that are on the website right now)