Making Pretty Pictures

Making (and attempting to sell) wearable art is an incredibly multi-faceted endeavor. From the creative aspects of designing work that meets my vision to the artful execution of that work, to techy stuff like digital photography and building web pages, the skill-set required would seem daunting if I weren’t just smack in the midst of it daily.

Clothing is challenging to shoot and if there’s one thing to share with you, it’s this: Clothing photos are most effective when brought to life. I’m so lucky to have a beautiful muse living under my very roof.

Even in close-up to show detail, clothing is best photographed on a living being. The photo above was repinned quite a bit over on Pinterest.

I tend to prefer jewelry photos on a white seamless (just a large “press sheet” from my graphic design day job taped to the wall and draped down across a small table). Props can be an asset (or a terrible distraction); I choose mine pretty carefully. Just forget trying to photograph jewelry against black unless you have mad skills and a sophisticated set-up.

Vertical images can be a problem on Web sites, but occasionally it’s useful and fun to provide a wider context.

Once you’ve made something gorgeous and have set up a little photo area, remember that lighting really is everything. I shoot mostly in natural light, no flash, and unless I just can’t wait, in the morning when the sun is not shining into the studio and casting harsh, warm shadows. Correction (both lighting and color) is still always necessary in Photoshop. I prefer bright, cool whites and under the best circumstances in my decidedly unprofessional studio, I must color correct to minimize the warm yellow/red tones and I always must brighten and beef up contrast to get closer to the reality of the goods as they will be depicted onscreen. And it’s true what they say, monitors vary. Greatly. Mine is high end and callibrated but I actually have no idea what YOU are seeing.

Here is a very old thrifted hardback of A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. A most beautiful story. When I saw this image in PhotoShop I decided I had to title the earrings Yonderways. Happy accident.

With necklaces and longer earrings, the challenge is to show the entire piece but also to capture some of the amazing work in the details. Nothing wrong with a little bead porn.

Then there’s textiles. Sigh. The Snow Dress is a LARGE object to show in very small Web images, so a range of shots is best, as above detailing the vintage lace and neon ribbon, and below in the glamourous model shot.

Photography is such a delight for me. Despite a lot of time studying the subject in college (pre digital, darkroom work, etc.), I still made/make a LOT of very bad photos in order to get to the better ones. The bottom line is this: I don’t believe you need a high-end camera (I use a relatively cheap, old Canon Powershot), nor is a fancy lighting booth required. You do need Photoshop and some basic skills there, so maybe that’s the stumbling block for so many people. Don’t fear the PhotoShop!

Thanks for reading this, and if you have any photography questions, please feel free to comment; I’ll try my best to help! I’ve thought about teaching a little seminar in my studio… maybe one day. Images by yours truly, model: Molly Bess, everything copyrighted but feel free to Pin!

These Boots

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) here in DC has a wonderful exhibit up called Women Who Rock. Artifacts — including a lot of clothing — from Billie Holiday‘s mink stole to Meg White‘s embellished suit (cover of Icky Thump) are displayed along with posters, videos and a terrific historical timeline for context. Of course my favorite objéct, by a longshot, were Patti Smith‘s boots, pictured above, circa 1974. At this shrine, I considered genuflection. Meanwhile explaining all of this to my 75-yr old mom, who I was so happy to have with me that day.

That was Sunday afternoon. Last night, I had the surreal experience of standing in a dark basement club (U Street Music Hall) with daughter Molly and her stepmom Beth to see her Dad, Glenn’s band, 7 Door Sedan open for none other than the Rezillos! But that’s not all. As we were dressing to go out, daughter Molly came and asked if she could borrow a pair of boots. She chose my Nana pole climbers, pictured above, which have been in my life and on my feet for 30+ years, rocking around the globe from Vancouver to San Francisco, to Europe, NOLA, everywhere. Words can’t describe the feeling I had standing next to my beautiful kid, age 14, wearing MY boots and big black underage X’s on her hands, in that loud banging club.

Suffice to say, there is no lack of boots at our house. Pictured above are the BF’s black suede pointy-toe Chelsea boots, purchased on the King’s Road in London, circa 1990. They’ve rocked a stage or two. And, b/c the BF is certifiably insane, he has had a SECOND brand new pair in the box since 1990 just in case something were to happen to these.

And should YOU, dear reader, require a pair of killer boots to call your own… and should your feet be a demure size 6.5 or so, you are in luck. Visit the Oh Victoria vintage lace-ups over in the new So Charmed clothing section, a great score and made for walking… or dancing and twirling, whatever your pleasure.

PS: The bands totally rocked it. 7 Door Sedan will have video of the show soon, Molly shot 400+ photos with her new Canon T3, and Rezillos were wild and outta control.

PSS: Got a favorite pair of yr own? Send me a pic and I’ll collect/post ’em.

Atelier Charm

Anyone who sews understands the frustrations of having to haul your machine onto the dining room table, make a huge mess, run upstairs to where the ironing board lives, clean everything up for dinner, and begin again. Agonizing, especially during an intense time of creating. Here are photos of my newly created nook. Above, among other things, you can see the little Indian dress which I am in the process of altering to fit… and it’s coming out GREAT!

It’s taken nearly a decade of living in my little house to figure out that I had the space and even the furnishings I needed to work this out in a far more satisfying and workable way. Above you can see that I used free weights against the folding table legs to help fortify it. I’d still like to find a sturdier table at the thrift sometime.

Top floor of the house is basically one master bedroom suite, outside of which is a lovely hallway / anteroom that is actually big enough for a small sewing elf such as me to feel cozy working in. Above you can see my grandfather’s desk, a beautiful old thing I’ve had in my life for over 30 years now. I remember him using it… a small round silver dispenser of stamps and a little dish with a wet sponge for applying the postage. There were always other fascinating things to look at in the desk cubbies.

To the left of this image is the doorway to the bedroom, a very large and quite gorgeous room that was expanded by the previous owner. My dressmaker dummy is in that room and the ironing board sets up easily there.

This is the other end of the hallway, if you spin around you’re at the stairway leading down to the main floor. I dearly love all of my old hat boxes, suitcases and my dolly pram full of vintage hats, which was thrifted for about $10. Major score. All images can be seen at full size over on flickr in the aptly titled set “house.”

The Joy, Curse, and Politics of Curly Hair (A White Girl’s Perspective)

Much has been discussed, filmed and written about black Women’s hair.

From fake (Photoshopped) Internet images of First Lady Michelle Obama wearing hers “natural”…

…to Chris Rock’s documentary, Good Hair, about the subject (including the vast industry surrounding the care of said locks) …

…to the recent hullaballoo about Gabby Douglas–the beautiful, talented, teenaged olympian star who should not, in my opinion, have to suffer such nonsense.

Despite certain fantasies I at times like to entertain, I am not a black woman (or a gay man, but that’s another post for another time), and it seems likely I never will be.

All of that laid out… how ’bout that photo above? Yes, I am my hair and I always have been, like it or not. It’s been my joy and power, my cursed (sometimes won, often lost) lifelong battle. From Shirley Temple in the 50’s to Dippity-Do in the 60’s, to the Afro-Sheen aisle in the 70’s. Me and my hair have been on a long and at times fitful journey together.

Curls go from super tight (sometimes referred to as kinky, but I’m never sure that’s leveraged as the compliment it should be) to looser ringlets (which sounds so darling doesn’t it?). Frizz is a whole other factor (dryness, due to over-washing and harsh treatment), as is density. Curly hair can be thin, but is most often thick if not extremely dense. Mine is pretty tight and very thick. Here’s a fun fact: my hair has to be 4x longer than straight hair to appear the same length. FOUR TIMES! I like to joke that it really doesn’t get long, it gets big.

People do compliment curly hair, but usually in weird ways such as… is your hair natural? I’m so knocked out by this question that I usually retort: Uh, do you really think I would PAY for this?? Really? I then look at them queerly b/c while they may be admiring the curls in that moment, a certain terror often appears in their eyes as they run through what it might actually be like to tangle with such hair on a daily basis. I try to hear the compliment through my long years of hair-loathing.

Oh, and hairstylists–except for the highly trained in all things curl and for you people: R.E.S.P.E.C.T!!!!–quiver in their shoes when I come through the door. Black salons and white salons are verrrry segregated, although I see that changing some. Still, white women with curls need to seek out trained stylists. Naturally curly hair MUST be cut specifically to look its best.

The joy of curly hair is very present when you are a young child. There’s a lot of ooo-ing and ahhh-ing and cheek pinching and fondling of your curls. In my case, in the 50’s, lots of Shirley Temple exclamations… Yes! Shirley Temple Jew! Charles Schulz’s character, Frieda, was an early pro-curl grrrl, but she was probably in first grade when it was still cute to have curls.

In early adolescence all of this cutesy adoration just ground to a screeching and alarming halt. Suddenly, it was incredibly uncool and unattractive to have curls. Peggy Lipton. Twiggy. The Supremes. My public schools had large Jewish and black populations and as the 60’s rolled into the 70’s there were more and more afros and jewfro’s. But weirdly, (at least in my memory) it seems it was more acceptable for boys of both persuasions. There were some black girls sporting fabulous (and huge) naturals; it seems in retrospect that they were considered radical at the very least.

And the Jewish girls? Ummm, no. Not then, and still, not too often now. Today, black women seem to be experiencing (hard won battle) more choice about hair than Jewish women, if you ask me. Most of the Jewish girls you know whose hair seems straight? Wellllll, some, but not many of us really have perfectly straight hair. It is, more likely, chemically relaxed, ironed, SERIOUSLY blow-dryed, and the latest: some Brazilian treatment that costs hundreds of dollars and lasts a few months. No thanks. And all of this because long, straight white hair is still the mark of wealth, power, success, beauty, and desirability in Western culture. It is expensive and endless work to have straight hair when you’re not born with it, and I do not believe we would bother if it didn’t matter so much.

I have tried chemical relaxers (actually “perms”), and even in the 80’s corn rows because Boy George did it and it looked so damn good on him. Ouch, the pain was intense, it lasted only a week (half of which I had a blistering headache), and Boy George was in fact prettier than me. I discovered a great love of hats, especially vintage hats for those bad hair days, which were 9 out of 10. Young white women didn’t wear pink and blue wigs back then and have only recently have been getting weaves (excuse me, I mean, extensions) and those cost the big bucks. I never went in for rasta-twists, but thought about it many times and I think it can look cool on women of all shades. My mother would have plotzed.

Recently Molly and I have been talking about self-esteem and we agree that most people either have none, or maybe have some, but the people who appear to have tons are probably faking, covering up, at least most of the time. This doesn’t comfort us… we of wild hair, or Asian eyes, or short stature, or of mixed-race families. We dream of a day when these qualities ALL will be truly celebrated, or maybe even not matter, but we feel pretty sure that although the world is greatly changing, for us, these things will likely continue to matter, and sometimes a lot. We do feel mighty lucky to live and work and attend school in a community where things are generally far better regarding diversity than many/most places across this great land of freedom. Hooray for Takoma Park!

Recently I am happy to share that things for me and my hair have turned around again. It might be a middle-age acceptance thing, and I am seeing more freaky curl flags flying in fashion and other media. As more and more sisters of all colors embrace their fabulous hair texture, I find myself standing strong in a place of defiant adoration of my own crazy curls. Most days. Oh, and btw, I’ve got NO (absolutely NO) problem with anyone straightening their hair. For me, it’s about choice. Having one and exercising it. Not feeling like you have to straighten for acceptance or to get somewhere, or to succeed. Curly sisters, let’s be tolerant of everyone’s journey.

What’s really interesting is that hair products are following along with this growing desire amongst us to free our curls, and to have them appear healthy and sexy. Black hair, Latino hair, Jewish hair… so many textures, and each deserves its own specific product line for optimal care (not race-based, texture-based). My favorite, hands-down, is DevaCurl, pictured above. It’s a system of products and treatments (and training for stylists who cut curls) that has been life-altering. DevaCurl claims to work on ALL curl, from highly textured to less so. It’s available a little cheaper at Ulta than your salon. My bio-sister — beautifully curly-topped — is a Ouidad devotee, and her hair always looks gorgeous. Of course our purses are gouged for these products… We are not talking Suave here, curlygrrrls. For now, it’s worth it. And here’s my final tip: STOP washing your hair every day. Dampen and condition, but wash it much less. Your hair will be healthier, not dirtier (yeah, another judgement!).

As Sistah Ru Paul always says: If you can’t love yourself, how the HELL you gonna love somebody else?

Do you have a curly hair story to tell? Please share!

Beach Eye Candy

Rehoboth beach was lovely this year. The gray skies kept us from burning our skin, and allowed for loooooong days with feet in the sand and noses in books. These Seussian kites appeared at dusk in the evenings in front of our hotel.

Between us, 7 books were read in 6 days time. Record-breaking and so relaxing. Impressively, Molly made it through Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood in 3 days, and my favorite read was Citrus County by John Brandon, also a crime novel and a very gripping read.

At night the whole town is transformed, the garish lights, the noise of Funland, and the parade of humanity on the boardwalk.

Molly is on this ride, I am not!

We discussed riding this together… until Molly said: Mom, you know it goes backwards.

This made us laugh. A store riffing on the Hot Topic brand, but in such a lame way!

We gambled the nights away, winning tickets and cashing in for a giant stuffed giraffe and many other goodies.

Above, this year’s favorite photo, and one that really sums up the experience for me. Sweet as… well, the sign says it all.

My Domestic Life: 10 fun photos from ’round the house

Bedroom: Thrifted fabrics awaiting (and providing) inspiration.

Foyer between designfarm office and so charmed studio: The Molly Shrine, featuring painting by Carrie Mitchell (center) and self portrait collage with braids by Molly (age 7ish).

Entrance to basement at bottom of stairs: One of several household baseball shrines.

Dining room: Flowers from the BF. Weekly. No, I’m not kidding.

Bathroom upstairs: Favorite bling photo for Jody Pearl’s weekly JaM blog post.

Bathroom upstairs: Favorite bling photo #2 for Jody Pearl’s weekly JaM blog post.

Bathroom upstairs: Favorite bling photo #3 for Jody Pearl’s weekly JaM blog post.

Bathroom upstairs: Yes, it’s the back of the toilet. Yes, that’s a book entitled “Zen Judaism.” Yes, that’s a kleenex box cover handcrafted by Bethy in the shape of a piece of coconut cake.

Bedroom: The cavalry is coming, ie, Jodi’s boots. Details added 4.14: From front to back: Molly’s old riding boots, Fly London, my oldest boots, pole climbers by NaNa… have been all over the world with me, blue vintage riding boots, burgundy vintage riding boots.

Bedroom: The cavalry is coming Part 2, ie, MORE of Jodi’s boots. Details added 4/14: from back to front, thrifted Frye engineers, Fluevogs from SF with coolest blue lining, thrifted Harley harness boots… fit like a DREAM and were nearly new when found, newest boots: Frye tan lace ups.

Home Run Valentines Day

We celebrate the mid-February holiday of romance at our house, despite some jaded opinions that it’s simply an evil conspiracy between the Hallmark and Whitman’s companies. How cute is this little heart-shaped baseball box of chocolates? Well, there were only three candies inside, and the BF was sweet enough to share with Molly and I.

The BF went the traditionalist route with a gorgeous bouquet of pink and white roses that have been slowly opening all week.

Molly, a reluctant celebrator of this holiday, not only picked out the CUTEST Valentine at the store (I was actually lusting for this one when I picked mine out)… but she also wrote very tender and funny notes to both of us inside. Couldn’t get a great photo, but it reads: Mom: Thanks for dealing with all my crap all the time. Even though you drive me insane, I love you. Molly

A keeper forever.

So anyway, for the real history of the holiday, a pagan ordeal which includes a Christian saint, and the alleged sacrifice of a goat AND a dog hit the link. (ewwwww).

What I Wear (and a little about why I might wear it)

Last night, Molly and I had our weekly girl’s night out for dinner at Chipotle, browsing about downtown, hang-time. In the car on the way home I asked her why she thought people buy and wear jewelry. Her answer: Expression.

Now, this is really interesting to me, and granted, she’s my daughter. But I asked her then if she thought there were any other reasons… and so we talked about status (bling) as well as attracting the opposite sex. Ultimately though, we both agreed, expression is king.

Jewelry-making for me has been another medium my art has taken. I’ve explored (and am still exploring) SO many mediums… photography, drawing, fiction-writing, stitchery. Fiction (10 years) and jewelry (another 10) have lasted the longest. I think, at heart I’m a storyteller.

So, what does the jewelry-maker, herself, wear? Above is a recent piece that I’ve never even so much as photographed b/c it went right into my jewelry box. I guess this is my glamuorpuss version of steampunk? It’s so very balanced and symmetrical; a tendency I have to fight to overcome, but which I also think serves me at times.

This is a really early piece, a reworked vintage rhinestone princess necklace. I’ve had many offers to buy this right off my neck, but this is a piece I really wear a lot. It looks so good with dress-up clothes, or just t-shirt/jeans. And it is NOT symmetrical! Yay! I’m not sure what the story is behind either of these pieces, and it doesn’t really matter, in fact I’m happy when it’s a bit obtuse. I just know they mean a lot to me. A version of bling, attraction/repulsion, questions about value and adornment and an I-dare-you-attitude that was not as prevalent then as it may be now. Those would be some of the themes.

I also wear thrifted vintage jewelry. Above are two favorites. The black beads are super heavy glass faceted, I’m guessing mid-20th century Czech. I bought this at the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market from this really oddball, charming old man. I actually think of him when I wear it… he seemed to be borderline insane and/or homeless and/or hoarding. I liked him a lot. The pink piece is also glass (older than the black necklace, maybe Japan), scored at a local thrift and I can’t really figure out the time period. The beadwork is truly unusual and gorgeous. These two necklaces are both choker length, which I love, and they look great layered. Rescuing old stuff has been and continues to be a lifetime mission. And it’s not about the environment to me, it’s about history. Who owned these? Where were they worn? It’s evocative and makes me feel connected to something both unknown and imagined.

I do, on rare occasion, purchase jewelry made by other people. Above and below are two pieces by Louis Waitt. I fell hard in love with both of these. It was as if they were made just for me, for no-one else, and if I didn’t have them I’d die. The ring above is a chunk of broken glass, smithed into a simple exaggerated pronged setting. This is my engagement ring. I am engaged to and betrothed to and in love with Art. Not a guy named Art. A practice of Art. A life of Art. A muse that I follow with the passion most follow a lover. It’s so corny, but this is a universal truth for me.

This piece, also by Waitt, is high-concept. Again, there is no way to say what it definitively means. It doesn’t matter, there is some feeling I get in my heart when I look at and wear this. An exuberant cow, riding along on his rusty three-wheeled cart. The wheels actually turn, so this is also a toy… it’s unbelievably playful, joyful, child-like. This cow is not on anyone’s plate. He’s wild and free and doing a happy dance!

Nature vs. Nurture


A constant conversation in the life of an adoptive mom, Nature vs. Nurture. While my mom is fond of calling my Korean-adoptee daughter, Molly, “Little Jodi” there are definitely ways in which her Nature shows itself to be nothing of sort. Her Nurture? Ahh, that is another matter all together! I am blogging this morning to share the evidence of Molly’s having inherited my love of (and world reknowned skills for) cooking and the resulting Martha-Doesn’t-Live-Here treats.


You thought you were viewing a delicious sugar cookie in the first photo, didn’t you? Well…. you were. Sort of. But if you view the second picture above you will see from the skillfully placed pop-top (for scale) that it is really a GIANT SINGULAR cookie, made from the batter of a recipe for baking 3-4 dozen cookies!


Ahhh, Molly. The thing is… as we were discussing just how we might break up the super-sized hard-as-brick cookie into tiny crumbs in order to feed the poor blizzard-stranded birdies in our yard… we began eating it and lo, it tastes GREAT! Watch your crowns and other expensive dentistry… this is a very (very!), um CRUNCHY cookie… but it is actually quite delicious. Sorry birdies.


To Molly, and her friend Jenny’s credit, the above pictured brownie-cupcake weapons were also created in the same 24 hour snowbound period. These too are rather… um, crunchy. However… 20 seconds in the microwave renders them warm, soft, chocolately, and (surprise!) possessing of a rich “lava” center. Great with coffee the morning after the big snow storm of 2009.

Thanks, my little nurtured girl.

A Good Day Starts with a Good Breakfast

And on Sundays at Chez Darwin, that means homemade crepes! But wait… How did we get to the yummy deliciousness above, a warm paper-thin pancake smothered in blueberry jam… let’s see shall we?

It all started with a Fete de la Crepe in Molly’s 6th grade French class, a l’ecole. Merci beaucoup to Mme Mangiafico for teaching the students something other than conjugating verbs (not that there’s anything wrong with a well-conjugated verb en Francais, mind you).

It also starts with a glorious mess in the kitchen, pictured above.

The petite crepier has become so professional that she can now flip the lovely pancakes… IN THE PAN!

And who knew… the BF is a bit of a crepe-maker himself! He often assists the Master Chef in the kitchen and is also in charge of the espresso… so that we can really feel like we are in gay Paris.

Just so you know, the espresso machine is a holy shrine and occupies way more than its share of space in our tiny creperie. Move it one inch (should you wish to, say use the counter or perhaps plug something in behind it) and and risk the wrath of the BF.

It does make a gorgeous and delicious breakfast beverage.

During the festivities we can count on Bernie, the canine vacuum cleaner, to hover along the floor waiting for errant bits of food to come his way so that he can eat them and have lots of stomach distress later on.

Molly is tres hungry and wishes her mom would quit photographing everything every single second of every single day.

It’s all worth the mess and aggravation when we sit down to eat. Melted chocolate by yours truly, undisputed Queen of the microwave.

Bon apetite!

Stuff I Love that Other People Made

It had to happen. My daughter Molly and her BFF Corrie are now making–AND SELLING–jewelry. And I’m here to tell you, their stuff really rocks. I’m one of their bestest customers, and I am, as you know, a highly discerning jewelry-maven. What’s lovely about their work is that they very smartly operate within their abilities… while pushing themselves a bit to learn techniques, using available materials (much of it from their YMCA Afterschool program) and with their not-quite-grown-up girlish sensibilities… it makes for some very cool stuff. My favorites are a pair of assymmetrical earrings that use GLOW IN THE DARK glass beads, and, pictured above, the shell necklace. Sooooo lovely, so simple. Great concept, great colors, great materials (love the sea-green frayed ribbon). As I told Molls, when I wear it, it reminds me of our wonderful beach holidays. Love ya honey!!

Everyone who knows me knows I’m trying to grow my thick super-duper curly hair to never-before-reached lengths of Renaissance Jewess Goddess nirvana… (Why? I don’t know. B/C it’s a huge-mongous pain in the butt and takes like 4 hours to air dry). So, long story short, I buy a lot of hair crap. Products? Oh, yes indeed. I’ll try anything that comes along, esp. if marketed for curls. Barettes, clips and combs? HECK YEAH! The one above was scored on Etsy and it really is just so clever and adorable, made from the upcycled middle of a 45 rpm Motown record. I love it!! And, look for some new hair baubles coming in January at So Charmed.

And, arent’t these the sweetest things?? Two little handcrafted felt pins, made as a gift to me by Teresa, a dear client in Barcelona. Teresa asked which animals I’d like so I told her about Bernie and Maxi, (the Dachshunds) and Iggy and Angelo (the Tabbies) and voila! These adorable critters traveled ’round the world and came home to me. What a delightful gift. Teresa hopes to get her own shop up and running on the Internet, I’ll let you know as soon as she does.

Remember, buy handmade for the Holidays… there’s so much crafty goodness out there it’s just incredible. Your recipients will love the gifts and you’ll be supporting an entrepreneurial artist.

Does this look like fun to you?

Molly and I spent a week at our beloved Rehoboth Beach Delaware this August, basking in the sun and ocean, eating horrific but delicious junk food and chasing Amish people with our camera (another story for another time)… but the thing we did the most, or at least with the most intensity was… gambling at Funland. For this I am certain that I am destined for the Bad Mom Hall of Fame, but damn it, it was FUN. Why do you think they call it Funland??

Because it looks like a prison camp for (gasp) Bad Mommies, complete with monochromatic concrete slab architecture, a frightening guard tower (clearly manned by an armed guard stationed to kill the Bad Moms), ominous hovering gulls that resemble bats, and possibly the worst use of Helvetica ever imagined?

Nope, none of those things. They call it Funland because you can pump quarters into insanely noisy colorful machines, like the one pictured above, for endless hours and win prizes such as the one pictured below.

Funland is actually really fun. As a grown-up, you think you are going to hate it. Stepping inside this Barracks of Fun, you wish you had doubled up on your anti-anxiety meds. There is so much noise and color and so many kids racing around feverishly out of control that you think you may throw up. Then you put a few quarters into a few slots and watch those tickets come flying out. You start to buy into the promise of hitting a JACKPOT. And in minutes, your entire vacation budget is about to be blown to smithereens.

This was our favorite machine. Within the first 10 minutes of our first night at Funland, I hit that freaking jackpot when the machine had reached 567 points. Tickets spilled out for over 8 minutes while kids gathered round, jaws dropping, eyes glistening with envy. It was somehow both embarrassing, and glorious.

The loot. Molly and I high-fived for about a half-hour. I had a sense that this was how it felt to be lugging around a stuffed animal the size of a human being that you’ve just won for your kid. I never win anything!! It was a blast!

This photo really captures the energy of Funland. Molly does not think that at age Mid-Century I am too old to go on carnival rides so here I am, lurching camera in hand, riding the wacky tea cups and wondering if my dinner (Pizza from Louie’s. Again.) is going to come flying back up and out of my mouth.

At the end of our beach week, we cashed in. Molly had carefully folded our massive quantity of tickets so they could be easily fed into the Ticket Muncher machine, which handles the math, and spits out a reciept for you to take to the prize counter and drive some poor teenager to a life of underage drinking while you agonize for an hour, reversing decisions, asking to see and touch everything, &tc, &tc, &tc.

Kids passing by while we were feeding the machine were incredulous. 2033 tickets =  a LOT of Funland crap merchandise. We cashed in for THREE glitter lamps (kind of like a lava lamp only better), a Funland coffee mug and other tschochkes. We’d spent about $50 during our two visits, and had the time of our lives.

Memo to parents: It’s lots more fun than it looks and your kids will love you more than they ever have for any reason, good or bad. And, set a spending limit before you even head to the beach. Then… let yourself go go go even though you can’t afford to put gas in your car!

Summer in The City

It was 100 degrees in the shade but that didn’t stop me, Molly, Corrie (Molly’s BFFL), David (the BF), and Irene (the BF’s mom) from romping around both the Lower East and West Sides of Manhattan last weekend. Molly and Corrie dressed as twins the entire weekend, making it easy to keep track of them! Like a school field trip. The murals around St. Mark’s Place were so cool…

But the community gardens were mind blowing. As we made our way down 6th Street and Avenue A, we began to notice these little inviting entrances. It took awhile for us to actually understand… we could enter these magical places, some of which were over 30 years old, with ancient weeping willows and decorations made of cans and other debris (above).

We imagined ourselves in a foreign land, forgetting the oppressive heat and the pungent smell of the East Village on a blistering summer day. Mexico?

A peaceful retreat in India?

Even with decaying old buildings peeking through the willows, it wasn’t hard to imagine we were on an adventure in some wild forest.

When we finally managed to tear ourselves away from the gardens and return to the streets, we made our way to a tiny little neighborhood bar, Banjo Jim’s, which has live indie music 7 nights a week and whose unofficial slogan is “there’s a whole lotta love in the room.” There was a whole lotta of love at Banjo JIm’s on Saturday when one of my oldest friends in the universe, musician and surrealist painter, Wayne Kral, co-hosted his weekly open mic event.

We signed David up to play a couple of tunes, and Wayne put Molly and Corrie behind the bar to serve sodas, run the cash register and collect EIGHT BUCKS worth of tips!! When asked their age, they cleverly stated that they were 21. At ages 10 and 11 respectively, this is of course true. When added together. I was proud to see the girls using their math skills during the summer and felt that bartending was a smart career move from Molly’s last job in Homeland Security as a school patrol. The pay was better, anyway.

The BF may have been a tad bored awaiting his turn to play; it was a bit folky for his taste. It was probably Irene’s first time in 83 years hanging out in a bar in the East Village, and she had a terrific time. Really. She did! You could ask her!

Finally it was David’s turn and he tore the place up with an original tune, You’re Breaking Up (The Cellphone Song), and Graham Parker‘s Turn it Into Hate.

Earlier in the day we’d had lunch at Dumpling Man on St. Mark’s, a very sweet place that sells nothing but Asian dumplings (and a small amount of clothing boasting their cute logo) and those little kreplach (as Irene so rightly pointed is just exactly what a dumpling is) were sublime. Like many NYC establishments, the place was the size of a closet. We sat at a bright red bar behind which four Chinese women made the dumplings and chattered on and on. They were very taken with Molly and Corrie, and although we had NO idea what they were saying, we assured everyone that they were most likely remarking on how beautiful and sweet the girls were.

After our East Village Romp we shlepped West to Soho where we dined on amazing pizza slices in an unairconditioned joint that was as hot as the seventh ring of Haides. The pizza was divine, and David was certain that Ben Kingsley was sitting at the next table over.

Dumplings, pizza… by now you would think we’d be succumbing to a major carb overdose, but my little dumpling Molly wasn’t yet finished with Lower Manhattan’s boutique eateries. Bellies full, we slowly hiked over to Little Italy to our favorite rice pudding snackateria… the always FABULOUS Rice to Riches. There we treated ourselves to heaping bowls of the comforting pudding and Irene complimented the staff on the super clean bathrooms.

And then, it was back to New Jersey for a very tired-out crew.

We heart NY.

MyRight2Write @ SOWEBO Arts Fest, Baltimore!

The MyRight2Write Crew will be setting up and selling our beautiful handcrafted altered composition book journals THIS WEEKEND, Sunday May 25th, at the SOWEBO Arts Festival. As you surely know by now, for each journal we sell, a composition book will be donated to Piney Branch Elementary School this fall.

In addition to a huge selection of the wallpapered journals, we’ll be bringing a new batch of our one of a kind recycled Tee + Journal Combos, including a totally adorable must-have pair of pajama bottoms!! Come out and say hello and help us meet our goal of 300 donated composition books by the time school opens in late August.

There will be 20 bands, and loads of art, crafts and food, from 12 – 9 pm.

Directions from the DC Metro Area: Take 95 North to 395. 395 becomes Martin Luther King Blvd. Take MLK to Lombard and turn left. 3 Lights to Arlington, turn right… festival is there: 36 Arlington Ave. Baltimore, MD 21223. If you need more info, email me.

Oh, and what does SOWEBO stand for? South West Baltimore! Yay!!!

Q: Where do you buy these fabulous beads?


A: None of your beeswax.

Ok, sorry… but really! I get asked this question so often it makes me wanna cry. But I think the truth is that noone can imagine the obsessiveness of my collecting, and thus, in asking such a question, the questioner can’t possibly know how ridiculous the query is.

Case in point: Pictured above is a pile ‘o beads I scored last night at Molly’s YMCA Aftercare Crafts Expo and Bake Sale. Yes, folks, there amongst the handsewn foam wallets, the CostCo cookies (SO cleverly marketed in zip lock bags to look homebaked, but I was NOT fooled!), and the genuinely homebaked cupcakes (expertly decorated by my daughter and long gone without so much as a blog photo snapped), were these lovely beaded necklaces. I do feel dreadfully sorry that I’m going to disassemble them to make jewelry. : / Sorry kids. Cost: 6 bucks.

Q: Where do you get all of that funky ironic “art” that decorates the walls of your home?


A: Just kidding.

Generally speaking, no one (except my poor boyfriend) dares to inquire about the weird, tasteless, mostly thriftstore, crap that poses as art in my “eclectic” home. But, in case you are not asking b/c you are embarrassed, but would actually like to know where these coveted items originate, here is an example: Yes, it’s another YMCA Aftercare Crafts Expo and Bake Sale score, a hand magic-markered, velvet flocked (!!) Unicorn. With stars! Glitter! A rainbow! Maybe you don’t love this as much as I do, probably not in fact. Yet later you will  eye it enviously, I know you will! I was so glad no one else’s mom snagged this beauty before I arrived on the scene with my shopping karma in tact. Cost: $1.50. Bet ya I could turn it around for $10 bucks on ETSY. But I’m not gonna, it’s mine mine mine suckers. Seriously, I love this thing.

PS: I love a post that fits ALL my categories!

2008? Bring it on!


If you read this blog, then you know how proud I am of the non-Martha Stewart, totally punk rock crafts that take place at our house from time to time. Pictured above, the latest entry in this sparkling collection of images: Mom & Molly’s fantastical gingerbread house (please note the mini-marshmallow chimney… that was MY idea).

I didn’t want to go the elementary school evening Gingerbread Village event… oh no I didn’t. Look, my day starts at 6:30 a.m., and by 7pm the last place I want to be is in the school cafeteria, sweltering through a hot flash and participating in a vaguely religious–or at the very least goyishe–ritual (I’m sorry. The Bloom household may have had latkes at this time of year. We may have played dreidel. Ok, once or twice or several dozen times we even may have had our stockings stuffed by the fat guy in the red suit. We NEVER, and I mean NEVER had gingerbread houses) that Molly promises is going to be a total blast.

I traded her: Finish your homework AND practice violin AND eat your dinner including vegetables, and we’ll go. Suffice to say, you’ve never seen a 10-year old so… inspired… by homework, violin and vegetables.
So, by 7:30pm–a half hour late–we were on our way down the cold dark hill to the elementary school and I’m feeling sorry about the deal… who cares about homework, violin and vegetables anyway? Inside the warmly lit school, it was, well, warm. Too warm (instant hot flash). And there was madness… total gingerbread house insanity. Kids and parents were crammed tightly at the long tables, scrambling and bickering over the best supplies, slathering great globs of icing over cardboard boxes of every possible size and shape, using more globs of icing to glue on candy, fruit loops, pretzels, and other crap. I was NOT impressed. Not even a little. But we shed our jackets, squeezed ourselves into a table, grabbed a yellow styrafoam tray and started slathering.

It was only moments before my competitive spirit kicked in. Molly and I were going to make the BESTEST damn gingerbread house a couple of secular humanist atheist Jews (poor kid. And yes, she knows what that means) EVER made. So I started chasing down the PTA moms who were handing out the supplies, scoring a much-coveted can of chocolate icing. I will even admit to talking a couple of slightly terrified kids (the look on my face!) out of handfuls of precious GREEN fruit loops with which to complete our landscaping. I became thoroughly ruthless and scruples-free; it was not pretty.
Results pictured above.

And by the way, when the village was assembled up on the cafeteria stage… dozens and dozens of buildings, some of which were extremely… umm… “imaginative,” there was indeed one church complete with steeple, cross, etc.. ok, whatever. I didn’t see anything you’d recognize as a synagogue, let alone a mosque… but there were some very cool factories, devalued townhouse developments, forts with moats and major-league weaponry made out of licorice whips, towering crazy wacky fabulous constructions that could have easily doubled as Whoville. Really, it was one of the most gorgeous messes I’ve ever seen.
Bah humbug. It was loads of fun.

Wishing all of you a seriously Happy Hols, and thanking you for your love, support and friendship in 2007.

2008? BRING IT ON!

Moll’s New Career in HOMELAND SECURITY


Molly is officially a Patrol! Following her Mother’s (and several other family member’s) footsteps in childhood law enforcement, Molly will be watching over the cafeteria to make sure kids behave before school starts.

Back in my day, you know, a hundred thousand years ago, we patrols were outside the school–come sleet, rain, snow or hail, functioning as midget crossing guards in our neon orange belts and carrying long wooden-handled flagpoles to help herd kids safely across the street. We left our elementary school, marching along in tightly formed units (each with a pint-sized Captain, which was a VERY big deal and required promotion through the ranks. YES, of course I made Captain!), dispersing to the all of the street corners within about a mile radius of the building. Because back in those prehistoric times, EVERYONE walked to school! On the very coldest snowiest days (and there were quite a few, this being Columbus, Ohio) we’d get served hot chocolate when we came inside in the morning, and got to class deliciously late. How cool was that? Mighty cool, I tell you, mighty cool.

Congrats to Molly for making the force!

An Award-Winning Summer


I can’t believe school starts next Monday and thus another summer comes to a close. Ours began at the Jersey Shore, continued through splendid weeks at camp (ribbons won, above!) and ended at the Ohio State Fair (see previous post) and Cape Cod visiting family. In one week Molly enters 5th grade and in two weeks I enter my 5th decade. At the risk of sounding cliche, time flies when you’re having fun. And, trust me, I’m having plenty of that!

My little brother, Mike Bloom.

Last Night Iggy Pop Tried to French Kiss Me While Michelangelo Gave Me an Awesome Back-Scratching


Yes, it was quite a night.

Oh, not Iggy the rockstar or Michelangelo the artist… what kind of girl do you think I am? I’m talking about Iggy and Angelo, our two new family additions and the sweetest, most adorable, most funniest kittens on the planet. Pictured above is the entire litter; Iggy is in the middle demonstrating his “all toys are mine” punk rock ethos, and Angelo is on the far right, twice the size of Iggy (and smart, very smart) but a much more pensive laid-back sort of Renaissance cat.

Molly and I adopted these babies last weekend in Adams Morgan at a MetroFerals event we stumbled into on Saturday. There were so many lovely kits that needed good homes, and after pondering it for about 5 minutes that evening over Chinese food, we decided we had to go back the next morning and choose from the “Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe” litter, as they’d been temporarily named. Needless to say, neither of us could sleep that night from the pure excitement of it all.
The scene at the foster house on Sunday was a loving four-ring circus! The litter had been so well-cared for by David and Norm (the Cat Whisperer) and we sat on the floor while the tiny ones dashed around the small bedroom in a gray blur of kitten energy! It was sooooo hard to choose.

At first glance the foursome looked completely identical and we wondered how we could ever tell two of them apart from one another. But Angelo quickly stood out as the grayest of the bunch, really beautiful, with no white or beige markings and the only one with a super stylish black nose and black pads on his paws. He was the biggest and super friendly so Molly picked him first.

Iggy and his two look-alike brothers were another matter. But Ig was the tiniest — the runt of the litter — and I’ve always had a soft spot for runts (Rosebud, RIP, was the runt of her litter too). We loved Iggy’s assymetrical white facial markings, and his too-adorable-for-words pink nose and pads, not to mention his joyful and reckless rock and roll personality. Sadly leaving the others behind, we made our way home with two furry creatures in tow.

I’m happy to report, the kitties are doing splendidly. They are really bonding and are sequestered in my bedroom until they feel a bit more secure. It’s been such fun hanging out with them, although I am getting tired of sharing my bathroom! Litter on the floor in the middle of the night and a perpetually knocked-over water bowl… not such fun. But more than worth it!

Iggy and Angelo have been keeping me awake at night too with the loudest purring I’ve ever heard, in stereo, along with this other simultaneous weird chewing/sucking noise that is also quite crunchy and loud! And it’s true, last night, Iggy really was trying to stick his tiny #4 sandpaper tongue into my mouth (ewwww, I love you but where has that tongue been???) while Angelo gave me a seriously awesome back-scratch with his tiny claws.

Kittens just rock, you know? I will try to get additional pics soon and before they grow up (kittenhood goes by SO fast), but thusfar, it’s all just a blurry mess of kitties in motion!

A Photographic Essay on Jersey Shore Cheese Fries. In Reverse. Or, How to Feed Five Hungry Children a Nutritional (Remember, Potatoes ARE a Vegetable and Are You Questioning My Parenting??) Lunch (Breakfast & Dinner Too!) for Under $5!


7 minutes and 45 seconds into today’s cheese fry experience (yes, this is daily, sometimes twice daily) we have evidence of total decimation. Now let’s back up shall we, and see what happened. Who is responsible? How did they do it?!

For Ethan, it’s all about quantity, dude.


Bess, a bona fide cheese fry connoisseur, takes a serious approach to savoring the cheese. And the fry.

Alex, youngest but possibly boldest cheese fryer of the bunch, mixes a little sand in (see chin for details) for that truly optimal beach cuisine experience.

The olfactory angle must not be ignored, as shown by Molly. Remember, sniff your fries!


Jake, a Jersey Shore cheese fry expert, knows that licking the grease and salt from one’s fingers is mandatory.


With 5 hungry kids on deck (you’d be hungry too if you were digging giant holes in the sand all day), you can’t grab those fries fast enough.


Ahhhh, the goods. A gooey box ‘o fries (the CHEESIEST ), piping hot and fresh from the Snack Shack, Ocean City, NJ. Yum yum!

My Office Door, by Jodi Bloom, Boss Lady


I think you can probably tell a lot about a person by what is taped up on their office door, cubicle, etc. And because I want you to know everything about me, I have lovingly photographed the objects that grace my door… which as my employees will tell you, is open most all of the time.

Above is an early work of art by daughter, Molly. As all moms and dads do, I collect my kid’s artwork. And as a woman with “difficult-I-mean-fabulous” hair, I am drawn to Hair Goddess images. I love this collage… it’s visually gorgeous, the colors are great… I love the brown paper skin against the fluorescents and metallics, and I think this is a smashing hairdo. Does anyone know a good colorist?


But there are also scary things on my door, like this image, courtesy of my dear staff who are always looking out for my interests with regard to finding Mr. Right. The post-it asks: Jodi, wanna go on a date with me? There are check boxes for Yes and No. As you can see, I have not decided and still need a little time to think about it.

I love this portrait of me by Molly. The likeness is uncanny and it lets everyone know that this is the Queen’s office.


designfarm proudly accepts Visa and MasterCard for your shopping convenience.


I saved the best for last. This very scientific document depicts an invention by Molly: The Chicken Powered Skateboard. Is my kid a genius or WHAT??!! BTW, the chicken’s name is Elvis (with a creative spelling) and if you look closely you will see that he sports quite a fabulous pompador hairstyle.

Maybe Elvis Chicken would like to meet Sylvia! (see January.) Maybe Molly is going to be a hairstylist? Maybe Jodi needs some more mature office decor. Nah.

Why They Call Them Hermit Crabs


I am not, in general, a fan of caged pets of any kind… be they rabbits, gerbils, birds or whatever. It never seems right to me, and living with such a situation would keep me awake at night wracked with animal-rights guilt. So why on earth did I ever agree to become the landlord for a sad-sack bunch of crustaceans? Answer below.

Despite my own moral/ethical dilemmas, there are a few things I end up doing just because the look on my kid’s face will wrack me with worse guilt than having caged pets in my home. I suspect this is the reason most caged pets end up living out their sad-sack lives in suburban homes and backyards all across America. Which doesn’t really make it any better does it?

Such was the case last summer at Rehoboth Beach. Dear readers, I’ll spare you the whiny details, the begging, cajoling and PhD-level manipulation that lead to my purchasing not one, but three crustaceans, and not some dinky mini handbag-sized cage, but the full-on super deluxe Hermit Crab Condo, complete with Egyptian pyramid (a wise decision) and various hippie-dippie hand-painted shells the crabs could move into when they felt inspired to do so (hasn’t happened yet), plus peripherals: hella-bright dayglo stones (something tells me that whoever conceived of the idea of Hermit Crabs as pets was, you know, “on something”), 2 jars of specialized food, spray bottle, driftwood and a Hermie Hut which turned out to be a yet another handpainted hippie-affair, a half-coconut shell with door cleverly carved into it.

We have since cleared half this crap out of the Hermit condo because there was no room for them to walk an inch, but that doesn’t matter really. Because all these creatures do is sleep (see title of post). That is, unless you rudely awaken them (they spend 100% of their time hanging out in the freaking pyramid) which you must do daily in order to spray them or they’ll dry out, and that is just too hideous to imagine. After you bother the heck out of them they will “enjoy” a period of wakefulness for about 7-10 seconds before lumbering back into the pyramid for more of what they love best: Hermitting, Hermitage, Hermittance. I hate waking them up. But it’s the only way to make sure they haven’t kicked the bucket.


The death of a hermit crab is something you never want to experience. One of the three we brought home only lasted about 10 days. I hesitate to share this in any great detail. It was gross, slimy, stinky and sad. It depressed me for weeks. It depresses me just thinking about it and will haunt me for the rest of my life. I suppose an argument could be made that there is something dreadfully wrong with me. I’m TOO SENSITIVE to own pets. Even, or especially, crustaceans.

The fact is, they are extremely fascinating critters and despite everything, I sort of love them. They have this one freaky bigass claw in front, the cutest eyeballs, and you can actually have fun watching them haul butt across the floor or carpet. They move surprisingly lightening fast. They are comical and pretty sweet, unless they get become agitated and pinch you. This produces mad pain and will find you racing for the nearest sink to run your hand (or god forbid other body part) under cold water… the only way to make them raise the white flag and let go. After this happened once (early on, before I understood the limit of their desire for acrobatics) Molly decided she’d pretty much had plenty enough of caring for the crustaceans.

They now fall solely under my jurisdiction. They can die in 10 days or live for 20 years. Parents, be warned.

The Naked Brothers Band + Other Hip Stuff for Kids


Last night Molly planned a TV date for us that included viewing The Naked Brothers Band movie on Nickelodeon Teen Teen Nick (says Molly, gosh mom quit embarrassing me) and the consumption of delicious baked apples, made earlier in the day (core apple, stuff with as much butter, brown sugar, cranberries & walnuts as possible and bake at 375 for 1-1.5 hrs depending on how soft you like them), then warmed up in the microwave. YUM. If I’m discovering this movie late, I apologize; I see it was released in 05, and I don’t know how I missed it. INGENIUS, hilarious, sweet and seriously rocking. If you have kids, or ever were a kid, do not miss this flick

I think most kids either want to be in a rock band at some point or at least hang out with kids who want to… and this movie (as well as the series which is coming to Nick soon) treats you to a mockumentary style send-up of those heady days. The film, by Polly Draper, stars her two sons Nat and Alex Wolff, ages 9 and 6 respectively. For my money, Alex, the drummer who wears a do-rag, steals the show. When asked how they boys came up with the band’s name they answer: Well, we liked playing music. And we were naked. And we’re brothers. The humor is sharp and deadpan, and the music is sweetly adorable.

My 1960’s suburban version of this story was hanging out in the garage across the street where some “older boys” practiced in their band, Steel Tangerine. Leader, Brad, was super sexy and we all had crushes on him. The Tangerine played at my bat-mitzvah party (incuding their 20 minute cover of Innagaddadavida Baby), a major throwdown held poolside at the Columbus, Ohio, Howard Johnson’s where the indoor pool was housed under an enoroums clear bubble. I kid you not, I am not making this up. Unfortunately, at that very party, the star of the show (moi) got into some serious trouble, but that’s another story for another time.


Another movie we’ve been into is Dinsey Channels Jump In, which is really just their “urban” (read: the actors are black and the film is shot with grittier [for Disney anyway] grafittied city rather than squeaky clean suburban sets) version of the ubiquitous and mostly intolerable Highschool Musical. Jump In is much better, and chronicles the trials of a rather lame all-girl double-dutch team whose boring routines are saved by Izzy, played by Brooklynite teen Corbin Bleu, who we think is trés awesome (see above) . Grown-ups will reasonably enjoy the movie once all the way through, but during successive viewings (if you have children you know they can watch stuff like hundreds of times until you want to kill yourself) bail out until the last scenes of the big double-dutch competition, which are wild and incredible to watch. Go Corbin! It’s Disney, so it’s not possible to call this film hip, but it has its moments.


Then there’s the über hip Pancake Mountain starring a puppet named Rufus Leaking (above), not a movie, but a local DC-cable TV show that is available on DVD and really worth the bucks. Filmed at cool live music venues around town when bands are here to play shows, PM features dance parties for kids ages 3+, skits, and lots of goofy fun. And the band line-up is most excellent, including Subways, Shonen Knife, and the Go! Team, to name just a few. Molly and I attended the taping of the Go! Team show at the Black Cat, and it was fun. Fortunately, ear plugs were handed out… I’ve NEVER in my life heard music played so ear-bloodyingly LOUD. Please, if you take your kids to rock shows, be a smart mommy and bring ear plugs; it’s actually even more dangerous for their hearing than for yours.

Sweet Charlotte


Before reading this post, please know that Molly, age 8 at the time, took all of these gorgeous farm photos with a disposable camera.

Each Fall, we spend a day visiting with our rescued friends at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary–400 acres of heaven located a stone’s throw from the bustle of city life. We have our faces painted, roam the grounds, eat fabulous vegan food, and have all kinds of opportunities to snuggle up with the hogs, pet the goats and sheep, and (scroll down) hold a chicken… all while tens of thousands of dollars are being raised to support this dear place.


On those warm sunny days, I often think of one of my favorite childhood books, E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, the first work of literature that that I remember touching me deeply with its terrors (Farmer Arable and his errant son Avery dispassionately wielding their axes and shotguns at the baby pig!), joys (much of the rest of the story) and sorrows (death, particularly) regarding love, friendship and the cycle of life.

Reading the book again with Molly, it resonated in newly profound ways… still about love and friendship and life and death, but also politically, as well as a treatise on the sheer power and potential salvation of the written word (um, not to mention advertising, which is essentially my chosen profession).

If you haven’t read this book don’t read this next pp. At the end, White writes of Wilbur the pig’s love for his dear friend Charlotte the spider (who essentially saves his life but does in fact die): “She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.”


Some pig! Terrific! Radiant!

No, I am not trying to work a radiantly pregnant-at-50 look in this photo. For goodness sake people, I’M HOLDING A CHICKEN. Even the boy behind me knows how alarmingly special this is. But, I really do look pregnant, don’t I? Trust me. I’m not. And if you’ve never held a chicken, it’s well worth looking pregnant for, so there.


When I finally stopped obsessing over my new blog it was just before 9pm and I scooped Molly upstairs to my room in an attempt to force her to watch the State of the Union Address with me partially out of some misguided attempt to raise a politically involved or at least aware child, but mainly b/c I wanted her snuggly company as I knew that watching our man in the WH would be oh so much lovelier with her warm adorable self cuddled next to me. She was super pissed off at having her cartoons interupted (btw, the answer is yes, she had done ALL of her homework + practiced violin though not without a HUGE battle prior to gluing her eyeballs to the TV set) so during all the pompy circumstance leading up to W’s entrance she stuck her tiny nose in a giant-sized copy of Little Women, having graduated suddenly from books that have pictures to books that might never end (YEEHA!). When the Man entered the hall, she turned her attention TV-ward and asked: “Are there any democrats there?” To which I answered: “Yes, honey, the democrats won loads of elections and took over the House and Senate so there are lots of them there, why?” and then I waited and watched as a slightly evil little smile danced around her eyes and mouth. You know the kind, right? Where you sense that your own sweet little darling princess is thinking of something akin to… oh, say, a deadly chemistry experiment in the kitchen that could theoretically wipe out life as we know it on planet Earth, or at least in Takoma Park, MD.

Freezeframe. In the 1/2 second I had before she answered my “why?” all sorts of things started playing in my head because I was certain she was going to come across with an answer involving bloody assassination and I started freaking out about what I’d say, and how I’d ethically and morally say it without my own sense of evil glee coming through as I muttered: Molly, that wouldn’t be… uh, nice.

Then she says: “What if someone calls him butthead?”

That’s my girl. 🙂

PS: Molly stayed awake ignoring the President, reading Little Women, whilst I fell asleep. Only to find myself awake at 2 am, all energetic-like, but hey. Now I have something marginally (debatably) useful to do in the middle of the night!

Free Day to Make Stuff

So, you know I have two jobs right? One is my day-job as owner of a small but hugely fabulous design studio called designfarm, the other is my nights&weekends gig as one-woman jewelry subverter, owner of (So Charmed). Oops, make that three jobs. The whole mom thing? Regardless of the number of hours you think you spend on this, it’s FULLTIME. In fact, the mom-gig is pretty much always on overtime, if you ask me.

designfarm is located in a real office building, which, due to the first actual wave of winter-like weather, including snow and freezing temps, experienced a water main break causing a 1.5 day lockout. Evacuation yesterday at 1pm (NO YOU MAY NOT even run upstairs to get your stuff) and continuing through the day today.

Work at designfarm ground mostly to a halt, work here at the So Charmed World HQ (my converted garage studio), kicked into high gear. Radio blasting away and the beads were flying. Here are some fruits du jour… yeah, I’m heavy into the cakes!



I’ve been working on this crazy series called Let Them Eat Cake that put to good use (I think so!) these totally amazing little Asian miniature cakes, both whole and slices. I could make a fourth fulltime job out of just collecting miniature foods, this stuff just really gives me mondo pleasure. Hopefully you can see why. Featured also are tiny little sterling silver guillotine charms… because too much sweetness gives mommy a toothache.


I love this little collection of charms and goodies, the first in a series of these, all of which will likely be one of a kind. My studio is SUCH a mess right now, with all the lovely surfaces covered in supplies and papers and magazines and beads, and CRAP. Yet somehow, out of the crap rises something that (hopefully) gels together.

Molly is learning how to bead so she can help out when the orders for the new work start flying in. Child labor laws be damned, time for this kid to earn her freaking keep. Unfortunately, she has the patience of a gnat and can thus do about 5 beaded charms before becoming bored to tears and running off to some other activity. Snapped these pics just a moment ago, as Molly was backing out of the studio going: “Mom, it’s ok, you just hang out here and blog as much as you want.” Which means that she is upstairs glued to the tv set, brain cells dying by the dozen… bad mommy, gotta run.