28 September 2012

my sunshine


i don't know about you, but there are some mundane chores that make me happy; sorting pens is one of that ilk. come to think on it, sorting of any sort (see what i did there?) brings me joy. i have no idea why this is, but i am quite sure it is not proof that i am odd as a certain husband has often suggested.

when the bizzie was up & running i was using my permanent markers daily. because of this, they were regularly checked for dead pens, & put away in an orderly fashion after each drawing session. since closing (sob!) i have used the markers, but have just shoved them back, willy-nilly, in their containers. i know - horror of horrors! worse yet? i would mix different pens merely to get things put away quickly. gasp!

the other day i was in need of a few permanent markers, & found that half i pulled out were dead. this prompted a house-wide marker check. the dead ones were given a proper burial-at-garbage bin, & the survivors sorted properly.

thehobbit did not appear to be as thrilled that his pens too were now checked & properly sorted, but i think this was an attempt to keep tears of joy at bay. probably.

for those wondering: the container in which i house my permanent markers is a metal utensil caddy.  i have found that the caddy is the best for storing pens that get a lot of use. this works for many taller art supplies: pencils, paint brushes, scissors, & so on.

the little sunshine quote was my own addition. i liberated it from an eco gnome. as i walked away with my little quote, i could have sworn i heard him say please don't take my sunshine away. i thought to myself, clever naked eco gnome, & proceeded to glue it to my caddy.

shortly after this photo was taken, the left over pens were returned to their proper bins. i remember using all of those calligraphy markers, but when ever did i find a need for six different highlighters? 

manlyman was home by this time, so i proudly showed him the results of my labor. i showed him the permanent markers all happy in their utensil caddy, the calligraphy markers in the calligraphy pen & ink bin, & the highlighters put back into their labeled ziplock baggie. whilst we were in the bin of be-ziplocked pens, i showed him the regular pen ziplock baggie, the mechanical pencil ziplock baggie, the dry-erase pen ziplock baggie (why don't we own a dry-erase board?), the regular pencil ziplock baggie, & the moving box labelling pen ziplock baggie.

like his son, manlyman did not seem thrilled by my sorting. he also declined all offers to hold the individual ziplock baggies. most likely this was an attempt to keep his tears of gratitude & awe at bay. probably.

note of note ::
spell-check needs to get off my back.

26 September 2012

of planes & things


on saturday we met friends at the museum of flying for their annual open house. i try not to attend free functions, as (well you know) crowds & i do not do well together. it was impossible to resist the lure of vintage planes, however.

there were many gorgeous ones on display, both indoors & out.

it was not either family's first trip to the museum, but it was elfling's.

he has always loved airplanes, so i was excited for him. i wondered which would be his favorite of the day. at each plane i thought will this be the one?

in the end it was not a plane that made his wee heart go pitter-pat.

le sigh.


24 September 2012

county fair


last week we woke early, dug the giant stroller out of the yes, still unfinished studio, packed our basket, & headed out for our annual trip the l.a. county fair! we missed last year, so thehobbit was exceptionally excited at being there. not so much the dinkiest belfry: 

there are three things guaranteed to put elfling in a bad mood: crowds, noise, hot weather. me too, for that matter. crowds + noise + hot weather? just be happy you were not there to witness the sum of that bit of addition. the first few hours were brutal, but in the end elfling did manage to come out of things, & enjoy himself.

a sampling of my day (sans tantrums though i did photograph one. for posterity, of course.):



21 September 2012

creepy is the new cute


one & only reader, i would like you to meet ariel. she is a squinkie. what? you have no idea what a squinkie is? no worries, until last week, i too was blissfully unaware.

elfing loves them (a flotsam/jetsam squinkie came with ariel). i do not. well, i do think they are adorable, in a creepy sort of way. what i do not enjoy is the constant frantic searching that we have to do each time they are misplaced. i can hear you now a toddler misplacing an object the size of a dime? preposterous. indeed.

their purchase was a whim. we were at a toy store over the weekend, merely to enjoy the air conditioning. i saw the squinkies display, & thought why not spend two dollars to add something tiny to his play-box (more on that another day). i could not decide which mini set to purchase, & was about to give up when i noticed they were having a 2-for-1 sale. so i just grabbed a random mini set, & bought two of the larger sets to put away for the holidays.

something tells me i shall rue the decisions i made that day.

cute & a bit creepy, yes?


19 September 2012

cozy fire, or fire cozy?

elfling is mad for fireman sam. on the way to washington this summer, manlyman stumbled upon an episode on netflix, & within days we had one smitten toddler. it has been a few months now, & his interest has not waned one bit. elfling eats, breathes, sleeps fireman sam.

he proclaimed that his wooden people were: sam, penny, elvis, & the rest of the crew, & regularly can be found helping them put out fires on pontypandy mountain.

today he decided that they needed a real fire to put out, & so i made one! i quickly cut two pieces of wool felt into a pitiful fire shape, & haphazardly stitched them together with floss. initially i was going to stuff it, & sew on a bottom, but i remembered we had a cute wooden tree, so left the bottom open. a fire cozy!

look! a forest fire!

thanks, fireman sam, you saved us all.


17 September 2012

bits & bobs, fancyficated

bags hanging on my closet's door

with his photo-blog well under way, thehobbit spends a fair amount of time playing with photos. he was just having too much fun, so i decided to play too. having no tardis to feature, & a toddler uninterested in being photographed, i just popped around thebelfry snapping bits & bobs.

lavender in a milk-glass vase

mini-adam accosting the eiffel tower


a cartoon painted by thehobbit yesterday. whatever could it be...

finally getting illustrations in elfling's playnook. nothing says 'toddler' like ale!

currently on display on our museum wall. the dapper man on the left is my gr-grandfather.

me, with unwashed hair in a ponytail, & no makeup. sorry people, i'm taken.

if you want to fancyficate (real word) your photos too, download picasa. it's does not have a lot of options, but definitely enough for the average jane & her teenage joe. i cannot recall what was done to each, but i'll do my best: 
1 - soft focus
2 - cinemascope
3 - beats me
4 - have not a clue
5 - comic book
6 - 1960s
7 - saturation
8 - black & white / polaroid

hey! i remembered more than i thought i would. the photo of lavender is my favorite of the above. i love how it looks like a still from an old movie, & how the milk-glass vase nearly disappears against the white wall.

your turn to go off an play - enjoy!

14 September 2012

the big & little of it


just the other day i was whining wondering aloud, why are popsicle molds so large? how is it that they do not sell molds better suited to the needs of wee toddlers?

it isn't that i am concerned that elfling is getting too much sugar; i make my pops from coconut milk & fruit only. it is just that he does not often finish one, & refuses to eat left over pops. pre-eaten popsicles? are you mad, woman? forget that he did the pre-eating...

it would seem that daiso is not only dangerous, it is also my very own be-lamped genie.

my new molds are still hideous to look upon (does everything made for children have to be in bright colors?), but they are the most perfectly toddlerish (real word) size.

they are nearly half as big! witness the pre-eaten pop, sitting sadly in the larger mold.

no, i was not photo-happy this morn. i could not get a good shot of the molds, so decided to just upload all of the bad ones instead. i am sure there is logic there somewhere.


13 September 2012



this is the actual label on manlyman's new shorts! just had to share this bit of fabulosity (real word).

12 September 2012

dangerously daiso


each week i am forced to spend two hours at a bowling alley, so thehobbit can participate in a homeschool bowling league, or, as i call it evil league of evil. no, there is nothing wrong with bowling, nor with bowlers, for that matter. i just do not like bowling. at all. not even a smidge.

happily, there is a daiso within walking distance of the alley, & that i do like. i try not to go often, but today i had a reason - i needed padded mailing envelopes. a perfectly valid reason, wouldn't you say?

well, they had none this time, but! i managed to find a giant bag's worth few things. like the lego-shaped earphone cable holder thingamabobs for my lego fiend. i have no idea what one does with such thingamabobs, but thehobbit was thrilled to now have a pair of his very own.

elfling chose this adorable notebook to go in his bowling bag. i keep bags for various occasions, filled with toys & activities not to be touched during other times. this boy is not easily entertained, so novelty is helpful. (wonkly translations in german this time!)

a new session of evil league of evil calls for a new notebook & pens. sort of like the beginning of a new school year. or something.

he did not need new pens, but a new pencil box seemed reasonable enough. is this not the most adorable pencil box ever?! there were four from which to choose, & as he was looking them over i kept thinking theorangeone theorangeone theorangeone. hoorah!

this needs no explanation. 

oh daiso, you wonderful japanese $1.50 store, you are one dangerous place to visit.


10 September 2012

of teens & magical cameras


thehobbit has been hard at work on his photo-blog over the past ten days, & i must say that i am quite proud of him. for the most part, it has been a positive experience working together. that said ...

this is the first time in eleven years of homeschooling him that he has struggled with remembering the difference between doing what mama says & listening to what your teacher is telling you. i am not surprised at the struggle, just that it took so long in coming. 

still, in the end he does listen, & finds that he is pleased with the results. i, being the most amazing mama-teacher that ever there was, have refrained from saying i told you so. mostly.

the above image was a collaborative effort. he took the photograph, & i played with it in an online editing program. isn't it fabulous?! i am going to tell people that he took it during the summer break, at hogwarts ;)

that is all, just felt like gushing over my hobbity teen & his magical camera.

07 September 2012



my friends & i have been using pinterest to share things that we think one another will like. knowing my love of letters & numbers, my dear paper sent me this crafting pin.

using an oven, & sharpie pens (i do not yet know if other brands of permanent marker work), one can customize their dishes. fabulous, is it not? well, there is a big trend in pinterest fails right now, so there were many pins showing that this craft did not work as promised.

having many permanent markers, & a mug that i had planned on decorating with ceramic paint, i thought i would do a quick test on the bottom. a pinter-test!

into a 350 (f) degree oven, for 30 minutes, turn off the oven, & let the object cool within. once cooled, i scrubbed it with water, dish soap, & an abrasive sponge. i mean scrubbed - as if i had been trying to remove the pen marks.

as you can see, there was some fading, with the red coming off the most. still, i would not call this a pinterest fail in the least. who scrubs that hard on their dishes? i'll not ditch my original plan for my mugs, but only because i already own the ceramic pens. most definitely thehobbit will want to give the sharpie version a try; a tardis, or something sherlockian.

what about you? what would you draw or write?

05 September 2012

a cubby, poorly photographed


do you recall the giant cubby unit from a few years ago? it did its job well over the past two years, keeping the fabric for my bizzie tidy & accessible. i never did get around to painting it, but i have long since mostly stopped seeing the stains & ugly paint.

the last of the fabric was packed away this weekend past, & yesterday i began filling the cubbies with homeschool books & supplies. this does not take the place of the large bookcase of books that is back there (did i chat with you about that yet? brain in full swiss cheese mode), rather it holds the large books, notebooks, & so on.

there are 12 cubbies in this unit; more than enough to allow elfling to have two for his own use. the bottom of his two cubbies holds his scissor kit, & his sorting basket.

please pretend that these photos are not so poorly lit. it is a gorgeously overcast day - wonderful for being kat, not so wonderful for taking photos. i have no excuse for the fuzzy focus. oops.

my files outgrew this planter, so now it holds teensy notebooks, moleskines, etc. this works out much better than my old system of stacking them, & seeing how long until they topple.

because this unit is so large & sturdy, i am able to set heavy items atop it. out of the shot is thehobbit's old borrowers' house. a few of the rooms still hold the furnishings, but the largest space now houses my hogwarts homeschool notebooks. i have been slowly gathering hh papers from around thebelfry, but that is a chat for another day.

what is in the shot is an ugly little bookcase that used to be in the garage. it holds the office supply bins, some craft bins, vacuum bags & extra brushes, a large basket of twine & string, & the like.

for those who worry :: the cubby is truly a behemoth. it is deeper than the bookcase & borrowers' house, & insanely sturdy. once they were placed atop it, i repeatedly slammed into the cubby, & the items did not quiver one bit. & this was when the cubby held only fabric, not heavy books. elfling is not in danger of being crushed by falling shelves. also, this is not a toddler-proofed room, so he is not back there alone. 

four cubbies that were too shy to be photographed: manlyman's pga folders, garden shoes & boots, home office binders, & crappity crap that needs to find a home elsewhere. i did not lie when i said this was a behemoth!

that is all for today. as i continue ripping the studio apart (yes, i know it seems as if i have been doing this project forever & a day. be quiet.), i'll take photos to share. you know you are just dying to see how i manage to squeeze a studio, a home office, & a homeschool library into one tiny room.

if you have a favorite organization tip, please share!
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