Not my circus…

Words are a gift. There is beauty in turns of phrase, in the construction of sentences, in the rise and fall of pitch and the specificity of tone. Words can build up or tear down. They are layered with meaning, weighted with subtext. They can be playful in puns, irony, and double entendre, or forceful with interjections and imperative phrases. I love them.

I trade in words. As a blogger, teacher, beauty consultant, words are the tools of my profession(s). Choosing the right words can be the difference between a student with tears of frustration and the sparkle of achievement. In my blogs, it is the crafting of prose that catches and keeps the attention of my readers. My words are for other people and I am ever so aware of their potential to be encouraging or damaging.

So I hide. In order to preserve the well-being of others, I hide my true feelings, my true pain. I fear the impact that my hurt could have on others and I allow myself to be crushed under the weight of that responsibility.

But it isn’t my responsibility. It isn’t my job to take care of everyone except me. With the help of Moriah over at Untidy Grace, I now have a constant admonishment right on my wall. It’s my job to live honestly, which means I have to stop being afraid that the revelation of my true self will result in judgement or rejection.


Moriah’s beautiful prints are available either on black or white cardstock with contrasting ink and measure 12″x 12″. Because they ship rolled, you may need to turn the piece over and weigh it down with a book for a day before displaying. Each piece is hand-lettered and customized with the quote or verse of your choosing. They can be framed, but are just as lovely as a stand alone piece. I used poster tack to hang mine, and the black contrasts beautifully against my yellow walls.

I was so excited with my print came in the mail that I immediately sent Moriah a Facebook message letting her know how beautiful it was. Apparently, she loved it too and almost kept it for herself!

You can find Untidy Grace on Etsy to order your print, a steal at $10, and check out Moriah’s blog!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received a free print in exchange for my review of Untidy Grace. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way. See the Legal page for more information.


Monday Musings: of cleaning products, a rug in a bag, and a great lady…

It’s Tuesday, but that isn’t alliterative with “musings” so I’m just going to pretend. Mmkay, pumpkins?

1) When I get stressed out, I clean things. Seriously, the morning after my dad died, I cleaned my entire kitchen and bathroom. I couldn’t control what was happening in my life, but I could absolutely control how clean my house was when “the people” started showing up.

One of the things I hate about cleaning is the headache I get from cleaning product fumes. I can’t help feeling like I’m inhaling cancer or something when I start to scrub. Then I discovered Honest Cleaning Products. Free from toxic chemicals and harsh scents, the line includes not only cleaning products, but items for home and baby, as well. I started out with the glass cleaner and the bathroom cleaner which is appropriate for most hard surfaces. Don’t let the pleasant tea tree oil scent fool you, this stuff works. I was blown away by the incredible cleaning power. I even tackled a deep cleaning of my dreaded shower/tub and it was unbelievable.

2) So my mom bought a rug for our dining room. If you’ve never seen my dining room, it has a kind Williamsburg Blue and white thing going on with accents of yellow and pale green. Very nice.

Anyway, this rug was on sale and it was pretty and it came in what the manufacturer called “gold” but was more like yellow.  When it arrived, it was decidedly not yellow. It was, in fact, orange.  I mean, orange.  At first we thought it was a case of color misrepresentation on the internet, but upon further inspection, the tag on the rug identified the color, not as gold, but as pumpkin.


Here’s a question: how many women does it take to shove a rolled up area rug back into its packaging?  Answer: two, but they’ll certainly dissolve in to giggles more than once before it’s over.

With a good bit of heaving and shoving and general foolishness, we got the 80 lb rug back into the plastic bag/tube in which it was delivered and the very sweet UPS guy came today to pick it up.  I kind of want to give him a hug, knowing that he delivered it the first time, only to pick it up, and bring back the appropriately hued piece.

View More: Besides being election day (did you vote?!) today also marks the birthday of one of the most amazing and most important women in my life, my Mama Pat.  My paternal grandmother, it is from her that I get my writing talent, my French pronunciation, and my penchant for Britcoms. She is every bit the kind of lady I’ve always hoped to become; enduringly kind, unequivocally hospitable, and a haven for grandchildren, both real and by association.

Happy Monday(ish)!

Monday Musings – of haircuts, duvets, and glass hearts…

Here’s what has me going this week.

1) I’m getting my hair cut next week.  Not cut off, just shaped.  I’ve been thinking about it since I gotLong Hair Collage my last haircut and was thoroughly displeased.  Honestly, I have the worst luck with stylists.  I usually like them for a while, but then something happens and they give me a mullet and now I can’t speak to them anymore.  No good.

Now to choose a style.  I trust the stylist I’m going to to give me a beautiful cut, but I’d like to at least have an idea of what I want before I plop down in her chair and say, “Make me pretty.”  Winter is coming and the temptation to sport a thick fringe in the colder months is almost overpowering.  I’ve never regretted having bangs, but I also know that growing them out is a hassle.  Ugh.  First world problems.

Photo credits:
Lucy Hale | Sassy Bangs | Red Hair, Don’t Care | Car Selfie

emmie-ruta-duvet-cover-and-pillowcases__0287079_PE308888_S42) Duvets are pretty much the greatest thing to ever happen in the world of bed linens.  I realize that this is a fairly small world, but whatever.  The beauty of a duvet cover is that, for a fraction of the cost of buying a new bedspread, you can completely change the look of a room.  Sweet.  I’ve been rocking out a chocolate brown cover all summer, but I feel like a need something fresh for fall.  I want to keep the same palette going, so I’m looking at this number from IKEA. It’s fairly neutral, but a couple of accent pillows and I think we’re really on to something here.

3) I’ve been thinking about the human heart.  Not the physical 4-chamber contraption just to the left in my chest, but the metaphorical, emotional heart, the one that gets bruised and broken and finds love and feels joy and happiness.  I used to think that hearts were fragile; beautiful glass structures that had to be handled with care lest they shatter at the slightest bump.  I don’t know about all hearts, but I’m fairly sure mine is made of leather, or pool noodles, or something.  I’ve been heartbroken, I’ve been hurt, I’ve felt pain so visceral I thought it would undo me.  Each and every time, though, the words of Robert Frost came back to me.

It goes on

Maybe not so fragile after all…

Happy Monday!

Chevrons are like stripes — with attitude!

Tell me what is better than finding something for a dollar.

I know, I know, finding it for free would be better, but give me a break, okay?

Inspired by my new re-dedication to my blog and my need to come up with new, amazing projects and things, I spent some time with Emily this weekend.  She wanted to make a zip-top bag quilt for displaying student work in her classroom and called on me to offer technical assistance and, as it turned out, mad math skills.  The result was an afternoon of hi-jinks and fun.  This project is pretty simple, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it easy.  Also, this is definitely one of those things that is easier with two people.

All you need is duct tape, packing tape, and gallon-sized zip-top bags. I actually recommend using an off brand (we used ones from Target) to avoid the white writing traditionally found on the more mainstream brands.  The tape we found was ADORABLE chevron duct tape from the dollar section at Target.  It came in 10 ft rolls and we ended up using about 60 feet.

*Incidentally, they also had a cute damask print tape that I may or may not have purchased 9 rolls of (because that’s all they had!)  just in case I ever decided that I needed it for anything.  Maybe)*

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Which brings me to a really important point.  DO THE MATH.  No joke, we had to make a mid-afternoon Target run and pray that there would still be tape left because someone (*cough* Emily) didn’t do the math to figure out how much tape we’d need.  We wanted to make a 5 bag x 5 bag grid.  If you assume that each bag is about 1 square foot then you’d need 6, 5′ strips for the verticals and the same for the horizontals (one strip between each row of bags (4) and one for each of the outside edges (2 more)) So that’s 60 feet total.  Still with me?  It’s easiest to draw it out.

Once enough materials were procured, we started with the top edge.  Lay out a strip of tape about 5′ long, sticky side up,  and starting about 2″ in from one end, lay the bags down from the top, overlapping them about halfway up the tape.  Make sure to keep the tape taught and the bags straight.  We left about and eighth to a quarter of an inch between bags.

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Lay a second strip of tape down and secure the bottoms of the bags in the same fashion, overlapping the edge about half way across the tape.  Then add another row of bags.  Continue this until you’ve reached the desired length.  The tape on the in-between rows is pretty well covered, but to deal with the extra stickiness of the top and bottom rows, line those rows with packing tape.  Yes, go right over the openings of the bags on the top row.  When all is said and done, you can slice those open with ease.

Once all the rows have been assembled, lay the quilt face up (sticky side down) and tape the cross rows.   Again, taught-ness is key here!

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Finish off the sides with packing tape on the backs and voila!

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So Cute!!!!!  It sounds fairly complicated, but I swear, once you try it, you’ll see that it really isn’t challenging!

Happy Monday!!!

Better a silly girl with a flower than a silly boy with a horse and a stick…

Pop Quiz!  Can you name the film from which comes the line that makes up today’s title?

Don’t look at me, I’m not telling!

I’m taking a break today from regaling you with my dinner victories to talk about a little craft project.  This project stemmed from an abundance of thin cardboard I happened to have on hand after a particularly large order of caps came through my shop, but any thin cardboard will work for this.   You’ll also need paint, a canvas or board, and hot glue.  Optional: wooden hearts or some other small shapes.

I cut my cardboard pieces into two different sized petal shapes and painted them all turquoise before curling them with my fingers and hot gluing them together in the shape of a flower.  I made two flowers and nested them together, securing with hot glue.  Then I added the wooden hearts, painted yellow to the center to finish it off.

I mounted the flower on the canvas, but it turned out to be much smaller than I had envisioned, and there was SOOOOOO much which space that I added a couple of stripes of paint to one edge.  The result, a simple yet lovely going away present for Emily as she headed back to school.

Pretty, no?  I still have a ton of these cardboard pieces left, so I might try some other things.  IMPORTANT NOTE!!!!  Never use your good craft or fabric scissors to cut cardboard.  The fibers will dull your scissors really fast and that’s never good.  I have a dedicated cardboard/chipboard/random paper scissors that are old and beat up.

Hope you’re having a lovely Wednesday!

PS.  If anyone is wondering what happened to the last two weeks of Emily’s column, I swear we’re working on it.  The last two installments of [Re]Working it will be up soon!!!!

I need two eyes, and two ears…and no mouths!

So last week was kind of a  nightmare  challenge.  It was Vacation Bible School week, and as the Director of Pre School, I had more than a couple of things to do.  But now it’s over and I can share all the merriment with you. Our theme was SonRise National Park, so we tried to bring the great outdoors in.  This would also be an awesome idea for a National Park – themed child’s birthday.

The most difficult and time-consuming part was the decorations.  I had two classrooms to decorate, so I made one of them into a forest and the other into the lodge, or ranger station, or what-have-you.

The challenge is that these are actual classrooms, used by the church and school, so they have things like desks and computers in them.  I really wanted to avoid a scenario where my kids destroyed everything in their path, so I pushed everything into a corner and covered it with artificial trees, borrowed from friends and neighbors.  A tent, some wooden benches and a few stuffed animals and my forest was complete.  You’ll also see paper animals.  These couldn’t be easier.  Just print or copy a coloring book page or internet find onto a transparency sheet, and project it onto brown butcher paper and trace with a Sharpie.  Then stipple over it with brown paint and voila – bear!  This is one of the oldest teacher tricks in the book, but still useful and relevant.

For my second classroom, I decided to make it the lodge, but honestly, I didn’t have to do much.  The classroom was already decorated like a log cabin left over from the school year. Score!  If you want to create your own though, check out the “fireplace”.  It’s just a bookcase, shelves removed, covered on the inside with bulletin board paper with a fake fire in it.  Add a rocking chair and this was a great place to  have story time.  A quilt on the wall added warmth and brought the illusion to life.

My classrooms were at the beginning of a pretty long hallway, and for safety, we didn’t want the kids to go running down the hall.  So we installed a decorated sheet across the opening to keep the kids corralled.  This also meant that we could use the space behind the curtain for storage without worrying about safety.  My amazing friend Kim painted the curtain and it came out AWESOME!

We had kids from 3-12 years old so there were decorations all over the building.  The older kids met in the sanctuary for a group session at the beginning and end of each night, and were divided into their crews.

In the end, it was an amazing-long-stressful-exhilarating-terrifying-fun-whirlwind of a week and I’m glad it’s over, and planning for next year.  Our theme is going to be Wild West!!!!!

Happy Tuesday!

You Make Me Feel Like Spring Has Sprung!

I shouldn’t be allowed to go to craft stores on my own.

Something about rows and rows of ribbon and paint and scrapbooking supplies leaves me itchy to do something creative.  I was forced to go to A.C. Moore this morning (for work — don’t judge me!) and in addition to a few black tee shirts for a client, I also came away with a BRILLIANT idea for redecorating my mantel.

Okay…I didn’t actually “invent” this idea, but I did it, so there.

I LOOOOOVE Art, but am often HORRIFIED by the cost of pre-made art.  I’m not talking Degas here, just the stuff you find at the back of a craft store by the frames.  It’s outrageously expensive, and not that hard to do on your own.  So that’s what I did.  For $20 I made two 11×14″ canvas pieces, but I had to buy the paint and the brush.  If you have extra acrylic paint from another project and a stencil brush, you could get away with this project for around 10 bucks.  Pretty sweet.  Let’s begin, shall we?

*Note* I’m trying desperately to figure out this whole “adding pictures” thing, so it might be a little rough this time.  Sorry


Here’s What You’ll Need:


2 Canvases (I used 11″x14″ but any size will do)
Acrylic Paint (I used a Medium Grey and a Golden Yellow)
Stencil Brush
Paper Plates/Paper Towels

Here’s What You Do:

Choose a color to start.  I started with the Grey.   Tape the stencil to one canvas. Pour a puddle of paint onto the paper plate, dip the brush in and then dab the excess off on the paper towel.  Working carefully, but quickly (acrylic paint dries really fast) dab the brush on the stencil.  Make sure you dab off the excess, otherwise the paint will seep under the edge of the stencil.  You can also fix this by spraying a re-positionable adhesive on the back of the stencil before attaching it to the canvas.


Here’s the work in progress.

When the stencil is completely filled in, simply remove it.  There’s no need to wait for it to dry because chances are, it already has.  And Voila!


Now re-position the stencil and put down another layer.  You can use as many colors as you want and even use different stencils.  Here’s how mine came out:


I hope this inspires you to try your hand at artwork before paying huge bucks for it.  Let me know how it goes!