Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Taking a break

Thanks for stopping by and checking out our blog!
Deborah and Emily are taking a lil' break... moving, kids, schools, health, and jobs are front and center right now.
We hope you'll take a minute to browse around, say hello, and stop back again soon.
Take care of you and keep unfurling your life!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Positively Inspiring!

     ~By Emily Cline

Recently, NPR shared a story about a middle school principal in Far Rockaway Queens that is making a difference. He came there as principal there last year when the school had an "F" rating, as in it was failing. Badly. No one wanted to go to school: 50- 60 students were absent every day, 22 teachers had quit, the entire front office left, and hundreds of children had been suspended. Hundreds.
MS 53 Principal Shawn Rux
Photo by David Kestenbaum/NPR
The Principal, Mr. Shawn Rux, started an incentive system. Come to school and you get tickets. The tickets add up to win prizes.  He started a currency system called "Rux Bux" with which students could win things like school supplies, special lunches, an XBox, even a personal shopping spree with Mr. Rux.

It's working: attendance is up -- over 90% -- and the school has climbed from an "F" to a "C" already -- even though they were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy: some of the children's homes were destroyed. Mr. Rux was personally effected -- his car was ruined, the first floor of his home flooded.

Doodlebugheart wanted to help, so we decided to send a little care package: last week we sent 10 Basic 'Bug Craft Boxes.  We are inspired by Mr. Rux and the positive, constructive effect he is having on those children's lives, on the entire community -- especially in this time when lockdowns, firearms, and violence are so tragically prevalent in our schools. We're wondering what we can do as a community. If more of us could send encouragement and support to Mr. Rux, the staff, and students, what would it look like? What would you send?

MS 53
c/o Principal Shawn Rux
1045 Nameoke Street
Far Rockaway, NY  11691

(By the way, you can hear David Kestenbaum's full story by going to and click on "Listen to the Story".)

***What's next?***

Join us in Larchmont ~ Saturday, March 2, from 2:30-4:30 p.m. for ourmonthly crafting date.We can make & fill travel journals, experiment with a Gelli plate, and as always, if you have your own craft, bring it. 

Suggested contribution of $10 at the door for supplies, though if it's your first time, please be our guest!
To RSVP and get more information, email:

Thursday, February 7, 2013


by Deborah

It does not smell like flowers.
My puppy is now 8 months old and we absolutely adore her.  She couldn't be sweeter, just an affectionate, charismatic bundle of energetic puppy.  I have a bed for her in my office and she loves it when I get on the computer and she can curl up beside me, snug in her plush brown bed.  It is just as picturesque as one could ask: me hard at work, tapping away the keyboard; my faithful companion lying contentedly at my feet.
A nearly silent little poof of air escapes from her vicinity and within seconds my office is filled with an invisible but potentially lethal noxious gas.  My eyes water, I gasp for air, I wave my hand frantically in front of my face to dispel the odor.
She farts.
A lot.
It is the quiet, toxic type that just ekes out, no loud raucous warnings to accompany it.  Just a little puff of air and then it's like being in a chemical warfare zone.  The smell is offensive enough, but her innocent attitude is even more grating, the slightly offended look of "What?!?" she gives me after each little sneak attack.
So now we have a War of the "Pfffts".  I sit armed with my super-sized can of heavy-duty Glade air-freshener at the ready, she lays beside me armed with her bazooka of a butt.  She "Pfffts" and I grab my can and "Pfffffffft" right back, trying to meet her noxious cloud with my own "odor-fighter technology."
She "Pffffts" and I "Pffft".  And again...and again...and again.
The result?  It smells like a slightly sour, rotting Clear Spring in my office.  But it's tolerable.  I will not be gassed out of my own domain.  I will win this War of the "Pfffts"!  (Shouted triumphantly, with can of airfresher raised, on my rearing warhorse.) But I am pretty sure I will have post-traumatic smell syndrome after all this, so if I suddenly spray you in the face with air freshener every time you utter the letter "F", please understand.  I don't mean to.  It's the curse of being a veteran of the Fart (PFFFFT!) Wars.
The cloud in my office looks nothing like this. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Reboot, please...

by Tracey Clem

 Today is one of those days when I very desperately need to go back to bed and start the day over. I usually feel like that when my Boys and I have had a particularly contentious morning. But today it is all me. Like if I can't get this day on track I might hurt myself. Not "hurt myself" like cause myself some kind of intentional bodily harm. More "hurt myself" like falling down the stairs. Or getting my arm caught in the washing machine. Or inadvertently chopping a finger off with a butter knife while making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Just like my brain is completely out to lunch and disconnected from my body. Chances are that is not going to end well.

I was supposed to write this article over the weekend, which sadly didn't get know how life can get out of hand sometimes. No problem...the boys are in school this morning for a whopping 2.5 hours - I can crank it out while they're gone. So I sit down at my desk this morning to work on some art to include in the riveting article I was going to write about my new (*awesome*) Gelli plate.

But absolutely nothing worked.

The paint would dry on the plate before I could get paper down. The prints would come up all splotchy. The colors I mixed would be muddy. Not "good-grungy-muddy-with-hints-of-brilliant" muddy. More "I-dropped-this-paper-in-the-mud-then-used-it-to-wipe-my-shoes-on" muddy. Just ugly. Sometimes I would get paint on the plate and then put paper on it without having done anything to the paint - which means nothing happens. I could have just painted on the paper and saved a step. Once I printed a layer on a piece of paper, and then when I went to put the next layer on it, I printed it on the wrong side of the paper. So I stood up from my desk and decided a change of perspective would help. I gave myself a good mental shake, squeezed paint on the Gelli plate, started spreading it around...and promptly whisked the entire paint covered plate off of my desk and onto the floor and my favorite jeans.


So I just stopped. I cleaned up the mess, put the (*cursed*) Gelli plate away, threw my jeans in the wash, and sat down to write before I "hurt myself".

Most of the time, crafting, gluing, painting, playing is my happy place. The time where I breathe, pray, play and get my day settled and on track. And then every once in awhile it veers completely off-track and I need to just stop - and for the sake of personal safety and my favorite jeans - pour myself another cup of coffee, and go read a magazine or something.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Chalk Paint? "Like"!

     ~Emily Cline
Creatively inspired, tutu-strutting friend Carrie Clayton Campbell, has a shop in northern California called Hip Chick Designs. We communicate a lot on Facebook, so I see all her postings about shopping trips she takes for her adorable store, photographs from workshops she holds there, and class announcements. Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint is all over the place.

So I googled it, did some research, and started falling into serious "like". I had to experience it for myself. I have a desk I bought on Craig'sList that needed some help -- perfect!
So I searched for retailers (random) and found one in nearby Greenwich, Connecticut at Gifted Hands, an artists cooperative. I'd read that a small test jar (about $15) is enough to cover one piece of furniture -- it was.
There are a couple of really great things about Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint:
     *It's powdery and dry with a matte finish
     *You can water it down -- I did as I painted, spraying water onto my brush!
     *No need to sand or prime beforehand.
     *It adheres right to any surface: floors, wood, metal, anything.
     *It dries really fast.
     *It's not toxic so you can paint in your home without worrying about fumes.
     *Once the paint is dry, rub clear wax on it. As you rub, some of the paint rubs off, so you end up with a beautiful antique look. You control it: rub a little, rub a lot, or be super gentle and just keep the paint on.
     *Her colors are gorgeous! (My desk is in Old Ochre. I'm thinking my dresser in Arles and our antique red-and-black streaked secretary in Paris Grey.)

Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint? Serious "like"!

(*One note: Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint is not the chalkboard paint that turns surfaces into a chalk board. That's different can of fun.)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Still Haven't Found My Camera

by Deborah

Overlapping the time Emily was off making art and beautiful memories in London, I got to go to Puerto Rico with my husband for a very quick trip.  He was there at a medical conference, and I tagged along for a few days.

It was awesome.

We got in after midnight Friday, and I left early Monday morning, but that left a glorious Saturday and Sunday to enjoy the exotic isle, mostly on my own since he was in seminars all day.

So I slept.  I slept late in the morning, had some lunch, took a nap, had dinner with my husband, and went to bed early.

I slept late the next morning, got a facial, had some lunch, hung out by the pool (and napped), then rested in the hotel room (and napped), went out to dinner, and then went to bed early.

Man, I was tired.  Sleep is a beautiful thing.  Even more beautiful than Puerto Rico, which is oh so lovely.

Despite the Herculean efforts required for me to go away (childcare and laundry and packing lunches and emergency numbers and pre-paid stuff and groceries and boarding the dog......), despite how tiring and annoying travel is these days, it was completely and totally worth it.  Mostly because I am a much much much nicer person when I am not tired.  Just ask my kids.

Best vacation ever.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Our Journey is not Complete

     ~by Emily Cline
The message our Commander in Chief brings today is close to my heart. In support of him, as he is sworn in today, I'm sharing an excerpt. (You can read the full speech here.)

"It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm. " - Barack Obama during 2013 Inaugural address

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Word for the Year

by Deborah

Choosing my word
Last year, I chose a word that I hoped would act as a guide for my thoughts and actions for the year.  I chose the word receive.  It's a good word.  For me, it is a reminder to encourage openness.  To let things in, to feel, and appreciate, and allow. 

And I have received much over the last 12 months.  I received love, a new home, healthy children, a loving husband, new friends, new adventures.  The only problem is that I realized that I wasn't all that specific about what I wanted to receive.  So, although I received an abundance of good things, I also received a healthy dose of hard things.  Sometimes the hard thing and the good thing were the same thing.  And you can't really prevent some hard things coming into your life, and it's better to receive them from a place of openness than to be clenched and closed.  So I would say it was a good word.

But I realized that what was lacking for me was focus.  I didn't zero in on what I wanted and work toward that.  While it is beneficial to be open to all the general things life brings, it is so important to have clarity on what you want and to laser toward that, to invite that specificity into your life.

So that is my word for this year.  Focus.

That other word is FOCH.  Not....well, it's FOCH, ok?
Geez, seriously, focus, people.

I want to focus.  Which means listening to myself, figuring out what I want, and then having focus.  Which means discipline.  I hope I can bring some discipline, order, focus, clarity to my life this year.  Those aren't always characteristics we associate with the desire to live a creative life, but they are actually essential.  I can be as messy within my creative space as I wish, as disorganized and crazy as I can possibly be, but that should be contained within a structure of discipline.  I should write a short amount every day, or craft every Thursday, or go to dance class once a month, or whatever I feel like really matters, but there has to be consistency and discipline for the benefit to accumulate.

So, for example, I used to always start my posts with a picture of the blocks Emily gave me.  I loved doing that.  Haven't done that for a long time because of the move.  I would like to start doing that again.  Only hold up?  Can't find my camera.

So that's the first thing I'm going to focus on.  Where the heck is my camera?

Nope, that's not my camera.
And maybe organize a few other things while I'm at it.  (Craft room, I'm looking at you.)


What do you want to focus on this year?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dreams Do Come True

     ~By Emily Cline

Hello, Doodlebughearts!
I'm writing from London, on my full last day, just before I head out to explore Covent Garden. I have limited internet connection and no photo connectors. So I'm simply saying this:
Dreams do come true.
What do you dream?

***What's next?***

Join us Sunday, January 27, from 2:00-4:30 p.m. for ourmonthly crafting date.We can make & fill travel journals, create Valentine's Day holiday cards, and as always, if you have your own craft, bring it. 

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

Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy with Pants

by Deborah

One of the endless duties of parenthood is laundry.  I was working my way through yet another giant load of (granted, totally precious) size 4/5 toddler clothing, and my Youngest was helping.  By helping, I mean handing me pieces of clean clothing from the laundry basket waaaaaay faster than I could actually fold each of them, so that I ended up folding clothes with a huge growing pile of clothing on my lap.  The Oldest, who was playing nearby, suddenly took a tumble, and started crying.  My husband picked her up to console her, cuddling her on his lap, but she had gotten a pretty good little bruise on her knee, and kept crying. 
Youngest has always had a tender, sympathetic heart.  She tends to cry if others are crying, and is always very concerned and consoling.  So she was very distraught by her adored older sister's tears.  She kept repeating, "You ok? You ok?" and I could see she was near tears herself.
Suddenly, she ran over to my husband and threw the laundry she had in her hand at them.  The leggings landed on my husband's head, and both my husband and the Oldest were momentarily taken aback, and then Oldest burst into laughter. 
"What are you doing?"  My husband asked Youngest with a mixture of amusement and exasperation as he pulled the leggings off his head.
"I'm trying to make her happy...with pants."  Youngest explained.
There are so many things I love about that.
I love that she cared so much about her sister's distress and wanted to do anything she could to make her feel better.
I love that she followed her impulse, and took action instead of waiting for someone else to fix it, and that she just used what she had on hand in that moment to try to make things better.
I love that it worked.  Oldest forgot her tears, and we were all laughing. 
She is three years old, and I hope she spends the rest of her life making people happy with pants.  I hope we all do.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

All Aboard for London!

     by Emily Cline
I get to go to London in two days.
I get to study with Erin Faith Allen again. She is ahhhh-mazing. She does work like this.
I get to do her incredible workshop: Soul Portrait Workshop.
I get to walk around Portobello Road.
I'm not sure how I'll ever get to sleep again.

***What's next?***

Join us Sunday, January 27, from 2:00-4:30 p.m. for ourmonthly crafting date.We can make & fill travel journals, create Valentine's Day holiday cards, and as always, if you have your own craft, bring it. 

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

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Present for 2013

I am digging myself out of the 2012 I-Completely-Overdid-It zone. If there was a job, committee, event, task, show -- anything that could be done, I did it. In a totally frantic, needy, often ungrounded kinda way. I know part of my frenzy is to make up my guilt for not having a full-time office job; the other part is to make up my feeling stuck as a primary parent and housekeeper. Regardless.
It's time to get myself more organized, less frantic. I go to my fail-safe, Lisa Sonora Beam's Creative Entrepreneur workshop principles:
(1) name my life's primary focuses
(2) break them down individually: What it means to me, Hopes and Desires, Frustrations, Successes, Objectives, Measures, Strategies and Tactics
I cleared my Bulletin Board of Creative Happiness area. This is where I'll post my pages (below) once they're filled out.
I divvied up my life into 6 categories (because it's that easy to divvy up your life).
And went back to my Creative Entrepreneur cheat sheet.
I threw in a little feng shui bagua help from Andea Rich just so everything's in the right place.
Now it's time to turn off the computer, listen to myself, and get present. That's my word for the year: PRESENT. It's a gift; it has a lot to do with slowing down, not being frantic, and loving what I'm doing. I'll hang the sheets on the wall where my Bulletin Board of Creative Happiness was, giving myself clarity and focus in the new year.

*If you want a little help getting started, I'll give you you a peek what my categories were for 2010 and an example of how I started breaking one category down. For further, much better explanations and rockin' tutorials, contact Lisa Sonora.

For 2010:
1. Work (Lifeline) - Doodlebugheart, modeling, Buffalo Soldier (a book by Chris Bojalian I was producing into film), helping at Happy
2. Family - husband, son, parents, siblings & families, girlfriends
3. Spirit - church, quiet time, art time, play, travel
4. Health - hormones, therapy
5. Wealth - money in

1. Work
   -What it means to me: "Something for me" -- SERVICE, my contribution to society as a useful, worthwhile participant.
   -Hopes & Desires: Getting Doodlebugheart started! website, logo, advertising, marketing, pan and hold first workshop. Start modeling again -- or possibly doing commercial work after moving back to NY. Continue Buffalo Soldier. Help Heather start classes at Happy.
   -Frustrations:  Waiting until Deb and I are in close proximity, mothering obligations. Not having my own cash. Not really wanting to act in Buffalo Soldier any more, or put more money/energy into acting business and husband won't let go. Leaving LA in May.
   -Successes: A whole year at Art Center with a 4.0! Great creative connections, list of contacts and support (Lisa Sonora, art teachers, Heather Arndt, etc.) Released my commercial and legit acting agency. Signed with modeling agency. Working at Happy as a class coordinator and demonstrator. Doodlebugheart's conception! Showed art at Happy! Sold my first piece at Happy! Started a blog/site. Got a kick-ass script written for Buffalo Soldier.

A little side note to the above: my categories have changed for 2013 as has my focus:
1. Self/ health -- exercise, therapy, food, spirit, travel, sleep, journaling
2. Ruby Shea -- my art, my teaching, Etsy, shows, workshops, Pinterest + Instagram
3. Home -- husband, son, home, support people, PTA
4. (secondary) Family -- parents, in-laws, siblings
5. Work -- modeling, commericials, Doodlebugheart, What Did You Make Today?
6. My Tribes -- my girlfriends here and far