Saturday, April 30, 2016


It seems that a great lot of what I have written here is about being behind, not on course or just generally in The Vortex of Crazy.

No one that has known me for any length of time would be surprised by that.

There's always something epic going on with me. I'm not actually fond of that fact. I've often been known to say, "My kingdom for a little mediocrity."

Another one of my favorite witty diatribes is reserved for when some tid-bit of my off kilter epicness slips out into conversation, all matter of fact like, with someone uninitiated with the insanity of the plot devices deployed in my actual real life. They invariably raise an eyebrow or are generally gobsmacked by my epic misfortune and conversation comes to a screeching halt while they try to reconcile my ability to remain upright in the face of *pick one there are many.*

It's generally then that I deploy a nice little speech that I have honed to reassure people with humor that I am aware but I'm okay. It goes something like this, "Truth is stranger than fiction and my life is as if a LifeTime TV Movie of the Week had a torrid love affair with a Pat Conroy novel. Then the love child of that union ran off with an unpublished Faulkner work. It's okay, but really you can not make this stuff up. You just learn to laugh at it."

In early January of this year that little speech was overheard and while I don't remember the exact response from the person who walked into it being was along the lines of "Whoa, that's rough and yeah that about sums it up."

You see, the person who walked into me...once again...diffusing with humor one of my incredibly bad situations was the paramedic who had just finished up tending to my husband and making sure he wasn't suffering from smoke inhalation. The sun still hadn't come up, our house was still on fire and my entire family was taking up space at my neighbor's house and I was laughing because "Of course this happened...why didn't I see this coming."

In the aftermath I wrote a piece for our local news blog. It can be found here.

It's been a few months now. It's been all manner of weird, hard and stressful. It's also been a new start.

As much as it stinks worse than a rotting skunk to lose the vast majority of your worldly possessions, have your life turned upside down and navigate troop movements of a large family with none of the creature comforts one is use to...there is also something liberating in getting to redefine your life from scratch.

So, I'm blogging again. I'm blogging because I should have been making time for this all along. I'm blogging because the changes that came blew away all the chaff that piled up around me preventing me from getting to it. I'm blogging again because I have something to talk about that isn't just me once again not getting stuff done.

I'm blogging because once again tragedy struck and ended one way of life and brought about another.

While we rebuild our beautiful historic home (talk about epic projects) we decided to make lemon ice box pie out of a sack full of lemons.

We bought a building in our lovely Historic Down Town district. It will serve as head quarters for the family and our new family business. A business that until now consisted of me vainly trying to make a go of it out of a dedicated patch of our home.

With just a bit of remodeling we'll live upstairs while we rebuild a house and build up Southern Carnival as a real and true bricks and mortar business on the ground floor.

We've got grand plans. I hope you'll stick around to watch them come to fruition.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Now Just What Was I Thinking???

Your intentions are good. You believe you are doing the right thing. You tell yourself it is about providing your children with enrichment, with experience. You tell yourself it is to broaden their horizons.

So you sign the ones who are interested up for a play. Then the one who likes music gets piano lessons. The ones who like to sing want voice lessons. The one who leans toward mayhem gets pee wee football to channel the destruction so your furniture is protected. The girly diva gets baton.

The next thing you know the school is sending home Fall Festival flyers and everyone wants elaborate homemade Halloween costumes. Oh and by the way there is also a pressing need for items for the school bake sale.

And you think "Yeah, I got this, piece of cake!"

Add just a dash of "The Vortex of Crazy" for some spice and "piece of cake" it is not. (For the uninitiated, The Vortex of Crazy is an interdimensional space that surrounds me at all times that causes otherwise normal people and circumstances to explode spectacularly in insanity. It is best described as Murphy's Law having a love child with The Twilight Zone, but stranger and often with more dire consequences.)

You thought you had it all together. You thought you could keep all the plates spinning while also keeping all the balls in the air. And then you look up and you have 37 unfinished projects, a mountain of laundry to fold and to add insult to injury you can't even find a dirty coffee mug to wash and you find yourself drinking your luke warm caffeinated life's blood from an old jelly jar.

Nothing YOU wanted to accomplish has been done. Upon close inspection it becomes apparent that several things YOU needed to get done fell straight through the cracks with all your wants.

And your eyes wander to your family and there seems to be a faint shimmer to the air...and then you really see them...there they are reclining on over stuffed silk pillows while gnawing on legs of mutton and being entertained by dancing girls and jesters....they're laughing, and tossing bones on the floor...and motioning to you to hurry up and clean up the unsightly mess they are creating because it is harshing their bliss and something really should be done about that.

You may or may not develop an unattractive nervous facial twitch. You may or may not start Googling how to run away and join the circus(Which, by the way, is not what it used to be...they want your SSN and treat it like a real job these days.)or even what it takes to become a citizen of another country. (It's really hard to get into English speaking countries, but Ireland will extend citizenship to anyone who can prove one of their great grandparents was a native of the Emerald Isle. Damn my Colonial roots.)

Or you might just go on total strike and lock yourself in the bed room for a few days demanding that someone else worry about meals and laundry and make them regulate their own intake of oxygen for their very own selves while you catch up on things that you wanted and needed to do that have sat in various states of unfinished when others froliced and cavorted while they sucked the very marrow from your bones for funsies!!!!

Not to be dramatic or anything.

And at the end of your time of solace, you just might be caught up on enough that you can actually see your work space and it's no longer a holding zone for all the things that got put on the back burner. Just in time too.....Christmas is coming.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Pathological DIY

My dear husband likes to say that people don't mellow with age, as the old adage says. He believes that humans tend to do quite the opposite as the years go by. The idea being that we don't loosen who we are as we go along, but that we become a concentrated version of ourselves until such a time as we begin to fizzle out of this mortal coil.

His theory suggests that a grumpy person becomes a full on curmudgeon, the jovial wit becomes the life of the party and if it holds's looking like by the time I hit senior citizen status I'm going to find a way to summon matter from the void, because I'm addicted to making ALL THE THINGS. And sooner or later I'll hit a point where the only things I haven't made with my own two hands will be on the subatomic level.

This is my cross, this is my's a disease really.

For years and years I have managed to keep an entire genre of the handmade world off my "to do" list. Anyone familiar with my work and personality knows that my style is that of a raccoon. If it shines or sparkles, I love it. But for all my love of flash and bling the one area of creating I purposefully kept off limits was jewelry making.

The reason is, even though I'm addicted to making ALL THE THINGS, I'm also an unabashed jewelry snob. No disrespect intended to those who wear or create costume, glass, textile or any other type of jewelry that doesn't include gemstones and certain metals. I simply don't wear it. Rhinestones, sequins and glass beads are wonderful and I adore them, but I don't hang them from my ears or wear them around my neck. Those places are reserved for pearls, garnets, rubies and generally any natural element (sorry wood, you don't make the cut) that can be polished or faceted and the list of metals that I wear is extremely short.

Since I don't make things that I don't or wouldn't use myself and the heavy investment it would require in equipment and materials to smelt up some gold and cast a setting is not remotely a small thing, I have studiously avoided jewelry making because I know how expensive my tastes run. Champagne taste on a beer budget, you see.

Well, I have finally found a way around that, and I am loving it.

I have discovered a way to make metal meet gemstones with my own two hands without having to sell a kidney or a first born child and without using pre-made components. (Although I might still entertain taking offers on the first born child.) I have discovered and begun dabbling in wire wrapping. My first attempt is this necklace using a technique called Egyptian coil: Photobucket

That first experiment is composed entirely of copper wire found at the hardware store as is this necklace that came into being shortly after I finished the first: Photobucket

It didn't take long for the power of the internet to lead me to some sparklies and fancy copper wire in gauges and shapes that would make an electrician laugh and this set was born: Photobucket

Then I came to an impasse when I realized I had not ordered wire in a small enough gauge to fit the entire lot of gemstone beads that I had in my possession. Another order of copper wire was made (along with a splurge on a small amount of silver wire) and now that it has arrived, I'm chomping at the bit to finish the pieces I started and snatch from the ether the ones rolling around in my head.

As soon as I feel proficient enough I am considering offering a few copper pieces for sale. Once I feel like I'm good engough, I'll get over my slight case of nerves and begin working with the silver (the cost of precious metals is a tad daunting) and eventually I'll work my way to gold filled and I shudder to think about the cost of solid gold wire right now...but something tells me I won't rest until I get there.

Who knows, by the time I get to where I would feel proficient enough to dabble in the solid gold, I'll have gotten this alchemy thing down and I'll just make my own.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cheep, Cheep

Several months back my teenager asked if she could borrow my pin cushion because she was going to attempt to make something with needle and thread. This being a rare occurrence I quickly agreed.

Now, the pin cushion in question was hand made for me by a dear friend about 15 years ago. It is a wee little basket that she wove just for me and stuffed with lambs wool and I have used it with joy ever since.

Enter the family dog...a being that is only allowed to continue living in my house because my youngest son is completely and totally in love with her. Ask anyone who knows me my feelings on this pint sized four legged pest and they will be quick to tell you there is no love lost on Marie the dog.

She is forbidden in my spaces...but sneaks in just the same often enough to irritate me. She's well past puppy stage but seems to delight in chewing anything in her path and many things that should be well out of reach of her stubby little legs.

Put a borrowed pin cushion on the floor of a teenager's room for just a split second and Marie was there to snatch it up and run under the bed with it. The teenager brought the mangled cushion to me, full of sorrow and disbelief that the dog had so quickly pounced. She had rescued it before it was completely destroyed, however, it was damaged enough that it will need repair before it sees any further use.

I tucked it away for that future date that I can locate a basket weaver to do the repairs, as sadly my friend who made it passed away several years ago.

I have need of a pin cushion often enough that being with out one is a problem. My frugal nature combined with my shameless supply horde made the idea of buying a plain Jane tomato from the store out of the question. Not to mention I'd been using a hand made one for over a decade and I certainly wasn't going to buy a factory made one now.

At first I thought I would just all quick like stitch up a stream lined functional one. But then I decided to treat myself and scoured the internet for patterns. And the little bird spoke to me.

And then I decided to add just a touch of sparkly pretties...but I have no edit button. And then what was to be some "light bead work" got a tad more elaborate. And then the front end of the bird was heavy enough to throw the little avian off balance and it needed a counter weight on the tail. And then I loved it so much I had to make I said, I have no edit button and I also fail at keeping things simple.

And low, the flock was born.

It's hard to say if I have a particular favorite, but I do believe that I am most proud of the peacock. It took the most time as the bead work is the most elaborate.


The little brown bird, one of the earlier and simpler ones is still pretty fun.


And it's the swirls that get me on the cream and gold.


Two of these pretties can be found for sale in my Etsy shop, the other fine feathered ladies have already found homes. And of course there are more in the works. (Yes, yes, I know male birds are the colorful's just they tell me they are girls.)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Ubiquitous Post About Not Posting

It should be clear that the amount of time this blog has sat neglected that I don't often get around to doing any thing with this micro-speck of the internet.

Just like all wanna be bloggers I plead "life gets in the way."

That being said, there is more to the story...

When I began this blog and my on-line presence, I had a clear vision and a clear plan. I needed this to be a certain thing, with a certain feel and a certain purpose.

What happened?


My compass got thumped like a board game spinner. Thankfully, the compass is now beginning to settle in and True North is now a whole lot more certain.

Which is why I can come off the slightly formal and decidedly impersonal tone that has been the scant few entries of this blog.

The direction I'm heading, while still very swank and full of sparkle doesn't necessarily need to be so stuffy.

In my head, a decidedly strange place to be, the former direction I was pushing into played on the formal part of the carnival I so love. And love it I do. But it lacked the voice of my favorite part...the humor and wit.

Now don't get me wrong, I can be formal. I love formal. Manners and tradition and all. I know which fork to use and how to hold my pinky when I drink tea. But snarky, biting wit comes more naturally and I have a feeling that I'm going to be able to blog more if I don't have to worry so much about fancy.

Let's see if I'm right.

Friday, June 17, 2011


She’s a saucy little tease! The mischievous little Pierrette just adores all the attention of being the center of a love triangle between the sad and sweet little Pierrot and that dashing bad boy acrobat Harlequin.


Fickle little thing, why should she choose when she can have them both!

The Pierrette Marotte depicts the classic Commedia dell'Arte character sporting the signature colors of Pierrot and the distinctive diamond pattern of the ribald Harlequin.

Pierrette is a one of a kind direct sculpt marotte made from papier-mâché. She stands 16inches high. Her jester’s cap is 11 inches wide and her base is 5 ½ inches in diameter. Pierrette was constructed by layering paper strips over a paper armature and a wooden dowel. All of her raised detail, including her facial features where sculpted using paper pulp.

Her ruff is made from wired ribbon and her streaming ribbons are adorned with jingle bells, she likes to make a lot of noise.

As with all of our Papier-mâché pieces the Pierrette Marrote is a solid, sturdy well sealed piece. As long as it is not abused it should last for generations to come.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Calla Crown Mask

Calla Crown Mask

Fit for the queen of the forest, the Calla Crown mask is perfect for your inner Titania.

The Calla Crown mask is a one of a kind paper mache venetian style mask adorned with five hand formed paper mache calla lilies. Two leaves twine above the blossoms, giving the mask 4 inches of height from the tip of the nose to the top of the leaf. The side leaves give the mask an 8 inch span.

The callas are covered in fine white glitter and edged in fine gold glitter. The foliage is fine green glitter in the front and fine brown glitter in the reverse side.

The mask is backed in cream colored felt, for comfort in wear, and has ivory ribbons to tie it on.

As with all of our papier-mâché pieces the Calla Crown Mask is a solid, sturdy and well sealed piece. As long as it is not abused, it should last for generations to come.