is hidden away in a memory's bouquet

originally posted last year on BOXING DAY! Enjoy!

Thank you cards are terribly important to me.

I am behind on my own birthday thank you notes now and it makes me feel prickly, but with the kiddos I like to get right on it while the memory is still fresh. My parents made me sit down at the wood table and take pencil in hand at a very young age and express gratitude. I can remember that it was a bit taxing as a child and somewhat annoying as adolescent, but I think it has made me a better person.

I think it taught me two things:

Yr time is love- a phone call is quicker- but yr time and effort show love & the handwritten word is sacred.

So- I make my kids think about taking time away from play and the drama of the day to say thanks and I also plan on keeping a small writing center this year for Finn to explore the lost art of letter writing.

(INSERT MAJOR DREAMER HEAD HERE)Someday I want to hold a letter writing workshop and travel the country in a silver Airstream and show people how delicious is is to write love letters again.

I love texts and little words floating in and out of computers, but the sound of pen to paper makes me most delirious.

The way letters bend and sparkle across a page cannot be rivaled by even the greatest font foundry. The way "I love you" looks in bold black sharpie or the backwards wonky letters of a preschooler can buckle my knees and break my heart...

Write letters.

Love Letters.

***Here is a simple and fun way to make thank you notes for those little ones who cannot yet write a proper thank you.

1. Take a photo of child with gift.

2. Ask the child how the gift makes them feel.

3. Write that sentiment on the blackboard along with thank you.

4. Print photo and include with simple handwritten child signature or scribble scrabble.

How sweet of a thank you is this?

And for those truly against having to send thank you notes or super eco friendly - you can email it although I think you know what I think- mail it mail it!!

Happy Boxing Day!

This is my husbands favorite day.

It is the day of true sloth like behavior for this family.

(Leftover food and drink and feet up-like all day)

^^^^^^^^^^Some other cool chalkboard links:

Here and Here and Here


Get me delivered to yr email xo

"Money itself isn't lost or made, it's simply transferred from one perception to another."

Once a long time ago before Finn and Blaise were ever sparks in a hidden wish- Joe and I both looked exceptionally smashing one early afternoon in May. Joe had on black Theory trousers with a knit sweater and black leather jacket. I wore all black that day with my new black trench coat and we shined and I am certain that we even smelled so much better back then.

Anyhoo. We stopped at a local bank to deposit some money that we were going to use to make a large purchase together. We were laughing, the kind of laugh that forces yr head back hard and with youthful grace. I may have used my foot to push open the door of the bank and it may have swung in far and quickly and we may have looked like Bonny and Clyde for a moment bc an old lady gasped and everyone stood at attention for a moment and the security guard stood straight up and we just laughed. We still talk about it now. The way the we unnerved a whole bank full of folks that day. It was one of the top bad ass moments of my life ever.

I also recall walking out of a bank after selling my first house and there was music in my head and a skip in my step as I had made money for the first time in my life outside of 9-5. It was like the world stood still and funky soul music came out of my hips when I opened the door to the bank and walked outside and the sun sparkled the pavement, the grey concrete glistened.

Today I walked out of the bank over on Fishinger Road and it was not so much like that. I closed on a house today that had turned from a great idea to a giant pain in my ass for a long time. Who knew the market would turn and beat us relentlessly over and over with sticks? Who knew life would not always be so fair and sun shiny and full of good music? Who knew it would take a lot of resolve to get by for a bit?
Who cares though really. It is only money.
When I walked out of the bank today it was raining.
It was raining so hard that I was wet in one second.
Drenched and tired of caring about things like money that you can't really hold.
That you can't really count. On.

I walked right over to my truck and opened it to the warm scent of wet and dirty little boys and Joe's face became the sun and I shined again and the music on the radio was just fine for today. Everything is fine if you just let it. Be


title post- Wall Street 1987

The Yearly Click

To mark each birthday I take a photo of the boys with a prop.
I call it the yearly click.
Finnian's prop is an old shirt of Joe's. It is making for a great growth series I think as I fast forward in my head and imagine him standing in some backyard all lovely and tall and distracted and really wanting to be done with the picture.
He will be 18 and the portraits will be finished and he will run off and not look back.
But some day when he finds his nostalgia, when he wakes up and his invincible skin has rubbed all off and he is broody for the irrecoverable past. Someday when all he wants in the world is to reach backwards to prove it was once really quite so simple and perfect- well then he will have these to remind him of his mama and all the love and hope she had for his future.
And he will smile and show them to his lover and they will hang them in their house and
he will tilt his head and wonder was he ever really that small.
Yes you were.
Happy Fifth Birthday Finnian.
3rd year bday shot by the fabulous Tenille King

One more thing!

I am going offline Thursday.
Yahoo a day without work!

Anyhoo...I wanted to leave you with a really cool and important charity event that I hope you will participate in- My buddies Aimee & Amy are hosting the 2nd annual Kid Art Auction for Earth Day! It is wicked cool and benefits The Nature Conservancy. It is their mission to "preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive." All donations are tax deductible.

It is so easy to help out and have fun with yr wee one!

Visit the Kid Art Auction For Earth Day 2009 Pool and check out the art! You can bid on the treasures or add a photo of your child's artwork to the Kid Art Auction For Earth Day 2009 Pool for others to bid on! It is for a really good cause and you can make a lovely Earth Day lesson out of the experience.

All of the details are HERE!
*** I will give a rocking felt bird to a lucky person! Just leave me a comment and tell me that yr playing and I will choose someone on Earth day!!! Please play!
I will see ya Friday with something cool.



We sat with a reporter the other night and talked about our business and I realized as I sat there and talked about Little Alouette that I love this little cottage industry so much. I love Little Alouette like my family because it is our family. And yes, I cry a lot lately bc I may not have a business in a couple weeks.
The business that was created to make safe toys is going to be put out of business due to this poorly written law.

"Old Spice. Phil says it's a timeless classic."

Blaise will be two in a few days and I went and took his yearly click today.
The same date as last year. (how sweet is he?)

I am taking a photograph each birthday with a prop so I will be able to watch them grow and to give them some cool photos in their adult life.
Finnian wears his dad's shirt in his yearly click and Blaise wears an amber necklace.
I wrote about birthday traditions and ideas last year here.
I did not make this idea up as I recall reading about a woman who dressed her baby girl in a vintage Pucci shift and took photos. She hung them on the staircase. It was gorgeous seeing her grow into the dress.
So you should do it too!
And don't fret if yr kid is a bit older and yr just starting.
Just think of collections.
Many of one thing is always cool.
No matter how many.

The Yearly Click:

1. Choose a prop that the child can grow into or outgrow for drama.
(like a dress or a shirt of an adult in child's life or a piece of jewelry or something fun like a clown nose even!)

2. Commit to keeping the prop in a safe place and taking a yearly shot on the child's birthday or birthday time frame.

3. Write the age and date on back of print! yes PRINT it out! My mother and grandmother told me to write the dates on everything and I laughed! Now I am screwed with several photos and it has only been 4.5 years with Finn! Seriously we do not remember all that we think we always will.
6 months old and 8 months old look the fricking same to me now!

4. Display them! (staircase/wall/nursery)

5. Have fun and guess what? Yr creating amazing memories for the future! Yr an archiver of lovely.

title post- My Girl 1991

We went to our local MLK Jr. program today and it was very inspiring. The boys loved it and we were able to gather with community neighbors, friends, and elders for a luncheon. I felt a swell in that church. I felt a movement of powerful hope.
How can you serve today? What dialogue will you have with yr family?
How can the spirit of the day continue all year long?
Happy Birthday Dr. King. Thank you.

photo via

"Jimmy, what color are my eyes? "

I love Schmutzie. She is doing this cool series called Grace in Small Things here.
I wanted to join her but I feel so stretched and busy that I did not want to commit to something that I would perhaps not be able to fulfill. But I keep going back to her sweet premise. (She says- "I will post a list of five things that have graced my life, either on that day or at any time in my life. ")
I love this.
So on Sundays and probably not a ton of them- but on certain Sundays while the family naps I may share some Grace in Small Things here. I find music to be quite inspiring to me and I need inspiration daily. I love it when certain lyrics snarl me in and capture me. Like these ones. Like these ones.

title post- Thelma and Louise 1991
Matt Bauer singing - swoon

"What we have here is a dreamer. Someone completely out of touch with reality. "

I try and keep this space more about me lately and not so much my business, but dude!
We are in Daily Candy today!


I am so happy yet at the same time in a bittersweet mood as you all must have heard by now of the SAVE HANDMADE nightmare going around the country.
My gorgeous teethers and toys may soon be ILLEGAL.
Read this and catch up.
I urge you to go tell Obama that the CPSIA is not the change want!!!!
Vote today to Save Small Business from the CPSIA HERE:
We need your vote by January 15th (no later than 5pm EST)! NOW NOW NOW.
I promise to stumble yr words, drink with you at Blogher, tell you stories that make you pee yrself, vote for any assortment of contests, and even buy Girl Scout cookies- just help me!
Help the small guy. That's me.
Help yrself. That's you.
You love more than Mattel.
You love thrifting.
It could really all end.

title quote- The Virgin Suicides 1999

Get me delivered to yr email xo

Put on the day/And we'll talk in present tenses

I think this world is about to experience a renaissance of lovely. Of human touches. Of kindness. I believe it, and I believe it is being sparked by you and people like you.

I have had the fortune of having a lot of good feedback and comments this year, but the above one gave me goosebumps and made my lip quiver a bit because this is all I want.
A renaissance of lovely

Won't you join the movement?
Won't you go tell Rowena that you believe? I thank her so much for that comment- one that was such a lovely gift to me.

I also want to believe that we are headed for great change as we blaze right into 2009. I feel a vision quest forming for our country. I don't think it is always fair to think others will change things for us though. I have a ton of faith in Obama and the new administration, but I also think there is a lot that we need to shoulder ourselves- there is a lot of parenting and neighboring and loving and changing to do in each small life. There is a key that needs to be turned and we all need to hear the click before things are gonna really change. Small ripples and don't you ever forget that

The Mississippi's mighty,
but it starts in Minnesota
At a place that you could
walk across with five steps down
Are you ready?

A renaissance of lovely...wouldn't you like yr legacy to be that? Perfect.

Get me delivered to yr email xo

With a voice as big as the the sea

I need to not be so busy bc my gal wants me to talk more about Christmas.

I am more in the mood after Finnian's Christmas program this morning.
It's like Christmas music continues to makes me cry. WTF?
Of course the children may have intensified it but the last few years I am even like in a mall and some slow holiday tune will play and I will feel it coming on.
I will be a wreck by the time I am an old woman.

I just buried my head in Blaise's neck and let my tears drip down his fat back and he giggled and giggled and the whole church smelled like childhood and pine cones and I just had to eat at Bob Evans I was so overcome.
I know what will make me freaking happy though is watching A Christmas Story this weekend and eating these. How bout you?

photo via

She can take the dark out of the nighttime/And paint the daytime black

Get thee to a screening of this amazing documentary!

I had the pleasure of attending a a screening for this documentary last night and I left the building feeling as if I could speak louder and I could breath deeper. I felt a part of my artist self climb out of my body and join the other women on the screen and in the room to dance and be joyful in the fact that motherhood and the artist life can coexist.

I let go of what others expect of me for a bit longer than usual last evening and felt a powerful connection to other women/mother/artists who really do get the short end of the stick. Why can't art in general be more sacred and why can't mothers be more than mothers? Why can't it be validated that I want a room of my own and two or three hours a day to be in that space? Why?

All I know is director Pamela T. Bolls has got a gem on her hands, she has got a documentary that speaks to women and all artists and art lovers. She has to get this out there for more folks to see. Go to the website and find a screening or act locally!
Wexner are you listening?

Drexel are you listening?
I will help you organize it with my big mouth!

*** I also has the pleasure of meeting Janis Mars Wunderlich!

She is a fabulous LOCAL artist in the film.
I loved her. Her art is amazing and she has FIVE children. I think she has figured out a lot of the right ways to live the artist life. She choose the right supportive partner, has a strong faith in something, and makes art a daily part of her life! She was so inspiring! Check her out!

Get me delivered to yr email xo