Thursday, November 29, 2012

Productive Procrastination

by Deborah

Time looks drunk.
When Emily and I started this company, we divided up the responsibilities rather naturally, without a great deal of discussion.  She did this, I did that.  One of the tasks I took on was filing our quarterly taxes.  Not something I relished, but a necessary business chore, and even if I found the tax labyrinth somewhat confusing at times, it overall was not all that terribly difficult if I could just sit down for an hour and focus.

Well, then I moved.  And the tax deadline came and went.  And it never once crossed my mind.  Not even a little bit.  Turns out, the tax people tend to not find that very endearing, so they sent a little reminder to Emily.  Which she then sent to me.


I slapped myself in the forehead a few times and promised her I would get it done on Thursday, before we would be hit with any penalties.

Today is Thursday.  Here are some things I have done today:
  • taken the dog to the dog park
  • taken the dog to the vet
  • called to try to change my address with an organization
  • written a thank you note
  • cut apart wallet sized pictures of my kids' school photos
  • written a note to my oldest daughter's preschool teacher from last year
  • talked to my mom
  • shopped for and bought 7 Christmas presents
  • went to a consultation about laser hair removal
  • checked the mail
  • filed all my receipts
  • called to make a doctor's appointment
  • cleaned out my address book
  • washed, dried, folded one load of my laundry
  • washed, dried, folded one load of the kids' laundry
  • went out to lunch
  • wrapped 3 Christmas presents
  • written this blog post

Things I have not done today:
  • taxes

I have at last discovered the key to my own productivity:  taxes.  More specifically, procrasinating on my taxes.  Some of those things above have been on my to-do list for months.  So, apparently the best motivation for tackling an ornery to-do list is have an even more ornery task that I want to avoid.

Not to worry, I will still get those taxes done -- although it will have to be after the girls are in bed tonight.  But I will get them done.  Just as soon as I make dinner and wash the dishes and.........


Monday, November 26, 2012

Do you know her? Heather Arndt is Happy!

     ~By Emily Cline
I have a friend named Heather Arndt. Do you know her? She lives in Los Angeles; used to manage and own this modern, eco-friendly, adorable home/gift/jewelry store called Happy in Los Feliz. Heather is a painter, crafter, ceramicist, yogi, wife, mom, and all-around-the-world *great* friend. She's always creating: right now she's starting What Did You Make Today? on Facebook. She's invited me to play too, and has deputized me to do the same for you. Join What Did You Make Today? and share what you make today and every day!

And while you're getting ready to share your makings, let me introduce you to Heather, by taking a little tour of the visual goodness around her Los Feliz home...
Everything Heather -- and her daughter does -- is creative!
Odds and ends, objects d'art, vintage brass.
Spirituality plays with whimsy.
Then we enter her studio...
Somehow, she creates order in her chaotic creative brain.
Plus a station for her 6 y.o. daughter, who also loves visual journaling.
Several inspiration boards-- this one clean and simple -- like her ceramics.
Shelves and shelves of goodies to drool over!
Odds and ends, arms and branches.
A testing station.
A few pieces stashed out of harm's way.
The World's Cutest Squirrel demands attention.
As you leave, you see ponies in the bathroom window...
...and a brass unicorn stands guard.
You can nab some of her goodies on Etsy:
Or meet her yourself at Renegade San Fransisco:
And in Los Angeles:

Tell her I sent you!

***What's next?***

Join us Tuesday, December 11, from 7:00-10:00 p.m. for our monthly crafting date.We'll make holiday cards, explore visual journaling, and as always, if you have your own craft or hobby, bring it! There will be festive refreshments, too!

Suggested donation of $10 at the door, though if it's your first time, please be our guest!
Email for details: or at

Thursday, November 22, 2012


by Deborah

Nothing to say except thanks.
Thank you.

Monday, November 19, 2012

oh, Renegade, I love you.

     ~Emily Cline
Renegade Brooklyn Holiday Craft Fair 2012 ROCKED!

Passing through the gates by the Brooklyn waterfront last Saturday, I came upon massive graffiti chalk boards. This one stood with the NYC skyline in the background -- that's the Chrysler Building's tower poking up on the left!
Guestbook chalk boards provided by
Eager shoppers and interested crafters crowding the chilly isles.
My first stop was the Renegade Crew's welcome table, where I quickly snatched up stamps to make holiday cards. 
Then I went straight to the Yellow Owl Workshop table to try my hand at making my own wrapping paper. 
Ahem. Somebody was hogging all the stamp pads.
On down the isles full of jewelry, knitting, tee-shirts, art pieces, leather goods, pillows, clocks -- you name it -- all handmade or vintage.

Loved the look of this display -- easy, pretty, and vintage!
See more at:
At the end of the first long white tent were two tables hosting a free DIY for paint that works on glass, fabric, and porcelain.
Art for all ages!
The paints come in pens or bottles.
The mood at the Pebeo paint (available at Blicks) tables was exactly like our Gather and Giggle events: free play! I decided right then that I will not only be showing my art at the next Renegade Fair, I will also put up tables for Renegaders to experiment with our toys!

At the end of a long day, my feet hurt and my hands were cold. But I scored! My holiday shopping is half-way done! (*Spoiler alert -- there are some gifts nestled in the coming photos!)
Super cute bling bracelet from Lily Dawson Designs!
I swooned for this edgy jewelry from Mikinora -- hint, hint honey!
The black heart chalkboard tee from can be written on and erased as many times as you want!  It comes with chalk in a matchbox, which can be stored in the little label on the front. 
Loved the little baggies printed by Pamela Barsky and Awesome sticker!
Scrabble board letters made big for coasters? Yes, please!
They also make interesting prints and paper goods:
Shhh: this vintage heart necklace and monogrammed signet ring are gifts from D'Ament Jewelry.
My son received a similar print from his Grandpa last year. So we'll give this one to his girlfriend this year!
By Leroy's Place, New York, NY; or on his Etsy site.
My stash!
What holiday shopping is complete with out goodies for yourself? I mentioned the tent was cold: I bought the alpaca warmers on the left so I could feel my fingers again; from Knitting Peace. Sonia Gallardo's designs are made by incarcerated women in Boliva who are trying to provide for their children. The red with white chevron scarf is from Little Minnow Designs, a Texas designer I've followed on Etsy for a few years now. Sooo soft!

I have only mentioned a few of the amazing crafters I met in my day at Renegade. Everyone I met has that Do-Your-Thing-No-Matter-How-Silly-Weird-or-Little-It-May-Seem inspiring way about themselves. They shine a light in my life.
The votive I painted at Renegade Craft Fair, Brooklyn 2012.
***What's next?***

Join us Tuesday, December 11, from 7:00-10:00 p.m. for our monthly crafting date. We'll make holiday cards, explore visual journaling, and as always, if you have your own craft or hobby, bring it! There will be festive refreshments, too!

Suggested donation of $10 at the door, though if it's your first time, please be our guest!
Email for details: or at 

Thursday, November 15, 2012


by Deborah

We have ideas of the ways things are going to be.

We think we are going to look like this.....

and the reality is this.....

We think our kids will be like this....

and the reality is this.....

We think our homes will look like this.....
and the reality is this....

We think our careers will look like this......
and the reality is this......

Life, at least my life, doesn't look like those Pottery Barn catalogues that show up in the mail.  Though it also isn't quite as awful as the news and magazines and self-help books make it sound.  The truth is somewhere in between.  It's a lot of work and a lot of mistakes and a lot of irritations and a lot of responsibilities.  And dotted in between the drudge and repetition are these sublime little moments that are even shinier and more perfect than the way we thought things were going to be.  The trick is to hang on to those little moments, to fondle them carefully in your thoughts like a comforting stone, while you soldier on through the work of living.
For me the sublime moments are my oldest daughter's face lighting up with happiness when she sees me as she files into the room for the Thanksgiving assembly.  It's the quiet cuddle from my youngest at the end of the night, one arm thrown around my neck as she whispers good night.  It's holding hands with my husband as we watch a movie together once the kids are in bed.  It's a gorgeous pink-streaked sunrise that makes it impossible to be quite as grumpy about being awake so early.  It's the tears in my stoic husband's eyes at his grandmother's funeral.  It's crafting something for no reason and being surprised and pleased with how it turned out.  It's my dog leaning her head against my hand when I reach down to her.
They are little moments.  The best moments are fleeting, ethereal.  Perhaps they are more valuable for their rarity.  But they are blessings, and I may not be able to hold them tightly in my hand, but I can choose to focus on them instead of the more common and mundane occurrences.  This takes discipline, for me.  It is easier to focus on all that is irritating and all that I have to do and I can cycle into a mindset of deprivation.  So, today, in preparation for Thanksgiving, I am trying to focus more on the little sublime moments and less on my drudgery.

The way I think things are going to be and the reality are vastly different, usually.  The reality is usually worse than the sanitized image I have in my head.  But the truth is that the reality is also infinitely better in tiny little sparkling moments.  The trick is to be paying attention and to let them in, to grab them and nestle them in the pocket of your heart.
What are some of your realities, and what are some of your sublimities?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Rules of HeArt

     ~Emily Cline
Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules:
RULE 1  Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while.
RULE 2  General duties of a student: pull everything out of your teacher. Pull everything out of your fellow students.
RULE 3  General duties of a teacher: pull everything out of your students.
RULE 4  Consider everything an experiment.
RULE 5  Be self disciplined. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow a good way. To be self disciplined is to follow in a better way.
RULE 6  Nothing is a mistake. There's no win and no fail. There's only make.
RULE 7  The Only Rule is Work. If you work it will lead to something. It's the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch onto things.
RULE 8  Don't try to create and analyze at the same time. They're different processes.
RULE 9  Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It's lighter than you think.
RULE 10  We're breaking all of the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities. - John Cage

Do you know these? I didn't, but I love them. Just happened on them from a Kelly Kilmer blog reference to Sister Corita Kent and John Cage (hear some of his music here).
Clippings, memories, moments from a recent trip that'll go into my Travel Journal.
I'm a newbie to their world, but I find they lived and breathed creativity. Corita urged here students to "keep record of everything that sparked their interest -- words, poems, quotations, lyrics, signs, slogans, music, composers, films, books, images drawn or collected from magazines, photographs, descriptions of things or experiences, tastes and smells, encyclopedia entries, and newspaper headlines" in a special notebook they made called a "Sense Diary".
I've been doing that in my {self}made Travel Journals. They're full of notes, marks, photos, odds and ends that mark the journey of my life; constantly evolving.
***We The People!***
Congrats to all of you who voted and made your voice heard!
***What's next?***

Join us in December for our monthly Gather & Giggle. We'll explore visual journaling (as always), and make holiday gift cards and tags. If you'd rather bring you own craft, feel free. Date announced soon.

Suggested donation of $10, though if it's your first time, please be our guest! RSVP, space is limited and filling up. Email for details and registration:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Giving Back

by Deborah

Give a little
I haven't had the best day here.  I'm getting over an illness, received some bad news today, and got a speeding ticket.  I am feeling pretty sorry for myself.

Instead of wallowing, I am trying to focus outward, to remember all those who need more than I do, and to remind myself how blessed I am.  Here are a few of the charities I am supporting right now.  I want to share the links, and if you are looking for a way to give back as the holiday season rolls around, these are organizations doing good things, at local and national levels.

Women for Women International

Since its creation, Women for Women International has given hope to more than 351,000 women survivors of war and conflict. We have helped them move toward economic self-sufficiency with our year-long program of direct aid, rights education, job skills training, and small business development. We have distributed $108 million in direct aid, microcredit loans, and other program services. Since 1993, Women for Women International has mobilized more than 300,000 women and men in 185 countries worldwide to reach out and support women survivors of war – one woman at a time

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross exists to provide compassionate care to those in need. Our network of generous donors, volunteers and employees share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world, through five key service areas:  disaster relief, supporting America's military families, lifesaving blood, health and safety services, and international services.

Momastery:  Holiday Hands

Because what we’re really doing here is alleviating the poverty of loneliness and disconnection by learning how to give and receive gracefully. We’re responding to God’s invitation… to join the beautiful cycle of loving and being loved. It’s not about the gift. It’s about what the gift represents. It’s about Love.

Hands open, to give and receive

I hope that you get a little lift in your spirit by giving a little time, blood, or money, to someone else.  I hope that if you have a need, it is provided to you quickly and abundantly.  I hope that we can be there for each other, take care of each other, and love each other.  And I hope I don't get any more speeding tickets.