Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Maggie's monsters

When Maggie and I craft together this is what she makes.  These are her Halloween monsters.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Vacation - possibly next spring

At this point in my life I have lived in the US a little over half my life and longer than the country I was born and raised (Macedonia).  Every year for the past 17 years I've made some un-official plan to go back 'home' and see the place where I grew up, see the peope I grew up with.  And every year I find myself re-shifting priorities so that my trip gets on the bottom of my list. 
I hope this time is different, so I signed up for a whole month off next March/April.  It wasn't the ideal time I wanted off, but it was the only time I could get 4 consecutive weeks off.   My husband can't go, it will be just me and the kids.
My mom already tried to change my mind: 'it's going to be cold during that time.  Why don't you go in the summer?'
My uncle Pavel (who originally planned to go with me if I went in July/August): 'why don't we go to Hawaii or Mexico together.  You'd spend much less money than going back home.'

I value and respect their suggestions, but this is not about them.  I don't not want to find myself one day thinking: 'I should have, could have, would have if I wasn't listening to ______'.
17 years is a long time, it's more than half my life.  I am going 'home'.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


I was getting ready to send some Halloween mail out and wasn't sure what kind of envelopes to use.  Most of the time I use the yellow cushy ones, especially when I am sending something too big for a regular envelope.  But they seemed boring and I decided to try to make my own using brown packaging paper, stamps, bubble wrap and my sewing machine.

Everything was going well until I added the contents to be mailed inside my hand-made mailer and then decided to also use my sewing machine to close it shut.  It was too bulky and I had to keep on trying to move the envelope along.   This is when my finger (the middle finger of all things) on my left hand came too close to the rapidly moving needle, and the needle went down through my skin and came out of the other side of my finger.   Ouch!! 
I moved away only to find out that the needle broke and it was now stuck, a mere millimetar to the side of my nail from the top of my finger, coming out through the bottom of my finger.
I guess I won't be sewing-shut the envelopes.  Some clear tape works much better.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

A surprise for me

When I came home from work the kids greeted me with their cheery voices: mama, mama we have a surprise for you.
What could it be? I wondered.  After all they were away for almost a week driving across the country from Omaha back home to Phoenix with their dad.  Maybe they picked up a lonely rock from a rest stop somewhere in the middle of the country and they now want to give it to me as a surprise.  Maybe it's a piece of candy they thought to save and share it with me. 
I ran upstairs where the surprise was supposed to be and they leaded me into my bedroom.
My jaw dropped, in awe, or shock or.....I am not sure, but I had no clue how to react and was speechless.
The surprise:
The two walls on each side of my bed covered in drawing some with washable, some with permanent markers.  A mural 7 feet wide and as tall as their hands could reach. Drawings of us: Maggie, Patrick, David, me, our house, angry birds......
My cell phone camera is unable to capture it in one image, and these pictures can't really show how big these drawings are. 

1. Our house.  To give you an idea the house in this image is about 2 feet tall.

2. David and Patrick.  The big figure is David, the small one is Patrick. 

3. Maggie's drawing of herself and me holding hands.  And then there is a tiney-tiny figure on the other side of me that she called my baby.  Hmmm, no I am not pregnant, although I occasionally secretly wish I have another baby.

4. This is the best I could do to capture it all in one photo from the side to help you imagine how big this is.  7ft my friends, 7 feet......

So I sat on my bed marveling it all, trying to figure out how to respond.  At first I wanted to think: 'my walls, oh my walls they need to be repainted'.  Should I be angry?  But I wasn't angry at all.  I couldn't help but think how excited they were that they wanted to surprise me with their handy work.
So when Patrick said to me: 'what ya thinking mom?' I said: I LOVE IT.
And they both went on explaining what everything is in their artwork.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Craft Rave in my own city

It's official! I will participate in Phoenix Craft Rave on Nov. 17, 2pm till 12 midnight.
What's Craft Rave you ask? Well I've never been to one even as an attendee, much less as a crafter teaching a craft. The idea is that you teach a quick craft for people to make and take home. I met one of the organizers some weeks ago, a lovely and talented artist Cyndi Coon. She and our local famous crafter CraftyChica are behind the event. Cyndi talked me into participating, or rather she encouraged me. Now that it's official, I am feeling nervous. I am not sure what it is. I probably just need to get some sleep and I will get over it. It's gonna be all right, and more important it's gonna be fun to be amongst 'my own kind'.

So I will be teaching two crafts, both how to make rings using different techniques:
1. Fabric Rings - making rings out of fabric. You get to decorate your own fabric using stamps.

2. Shrinky Dink Rings - use shrink plastic to make rings. You also use stamps for this technique to decorate your plastic, then bake it to shrink.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Quick trip to LA

A 3 day weekend and home alone (no kids and husband) wasn't a dream.  It actually did happen.  I was afraid I wouldn't know what to do with myself.   Not being needed, not being interrupted.....should I:
a. Have a crafting marathon by myself.
b. Clean my house.
c. Catch up on some sleep.
d. Go on a road trip.
I went on a road trip.  
It's been a long time since I've spent quality time with my uncle Pavel in Palm Springs, and I haven't seen my old college friend Isabel in over 10 years.  She lives in LA.
I was a little bit worried about my ride to California.  I couldn't take my car, it's not reliable.  And the locks on my husband's car don't work right.  If you lock the car, the lock is broken and you won't be able to unlock it from the outside.  I had to be extra careful where I leave the car, since it would have to stay unlocked.  I also had to be very careful to not accidentally lock the car, because then I would have to crawl through the trunk.  It turned out all right, no one stole my car, and I only locked myself out once at a rest stop and crawled through the trunk.  I think the person parked next to me gave me a strange look, but I must have not been suspicious enough since no cops chased me afterwards.
I spent Friday night at my uncle's house, and drove to LA early Saturday morning to meet Isabel for breakfast at Urth's Cafe downtown LA.  It was a smooth ride until I came close to my destination and hit traffic.  How do people live and commute for work in LA?  I'd go insane.

Isabel and I had  a great time catching up.
Spending time with my uncle was equally good.  His stories told in half English-half Macedonian and a heavy accent in both always make me laugh.  Before I was married I used to visit him all the time and we'd go on trips together.   We can talk forever and tell stories, or be just as comfortable to sit in silence and not say a word to eachother.
We spent Saturday night downtown Palm Springs, eating frozen yogurt, sitting by a pedestrian crosswalk, talking and watching people walk by.  Some walked by several times:
  • couples holding hands
  • families with kids
  • people in wheelchairs
  • bicycles
  • people smoking and the smoke choking me
  • cross-dressers looking so well made up you wouldn't know they were a guy in a dress if they didn't feel compelled to return my 'hello' and their deep voice giving away their identity.  
It was nice to feel completely relaxed, to notice time passing by very slowly, to have nothing to do or no place to be. 

Before it got dark I took this picture of uncle Pavel by the new Merilyn Monroe statue they have in town.

I drove back this morning (Sunday).  Got up early and was on the road by 7am.  I wanted to get home early to squeeze in half a day of crafting.  My room is now covered in fabric, string, papers, glue, stamps and even shrinky dinks.  And tomorrow I am back to work.