Yesterday the kids had off for MLK day. Two of their friends came over and we sat together and made these dioramas. We have a retail store, a giant, flying cockroach farm and an art studio. I was showing them how to construct the base that helps the girl on the cockroach farm stand up, and it became an entire lecture on the importance of of being a girl who “stands up.” – we stand up for what’s right, we stand up for people who can’t stand up for themselves, and we always stand up for our sisters when other people are mean to them. #howispentmymonday

A few days ago I went to a vision board making party with some inspiring friends. One of the women was talking about a friend who’d passed and how this had prompted her to sit with her partner digging deep and really answering this question. I couldn’t get it off my mind. It’s a simple clichèd question we toss around but don’t remember to guide our day to day lives by the answers. So I printed it up, tossed it into a $1 frame and put it in a prominent spot in my home. Thinking I’ll make it into a glitter art piece. But in the meantime, it’s seriously keeping my focused on how I’m spending my time on this earth. This does, of course, mean I’ll be doing even less dishes and laundry. Lolol. Anyway, what’s one thing you might one day wish you would’ve spent more time doing? Or less time?

from Instagram: http://ift.tt/2jtyABt

My form of rebellion 

When I was in high school a lot of my friends pierced their belly buttons as a form of rebellion. Even as a teenager, I thought that was dumb- to mutilate my own body as a way to rebel against somebody else. Dumb. 

When I was 22, working full-time, with my own income, living in my own apartment I decided I wanted to pierce my bellybutton – for me- and so I did.

I went with some friends to a piercing and tattoo parlor in the East Village of Manhattan on a late Saturday night and had my bellybutton pierced. I may have been slightly tipsy, yet I remember it well. 

I clearly remember that on my keychain I had a little vial of glitter which, after piercing my bellybutton, I sprinkled in my hand and blew onto the piercers face. Of course. Some things never change. That was a memorable night. 

Initially the ring that I purchased had a cute little gemstone hanging off of it but as soon as it healed enough to change I replaced the gemstone with a Jewish star. That was my form of “rebellion”. Declaring my Jewish love and pride through a medium that I’d been raised to believe was bad and rebellious. In my mind, the juxtaposition of these two ideas complimented each other as a beautiful truth, and I like to think I’ve continued to live my life with that kind of open-minded mindset. 

I pulled out the belly ring when I was just about to turn 30. I was engaged and went for an MRI and they told me I couldn’t wear any metal. Afterwards I just didn’t put it back in. I guess I felt like I was growing older and that it was “inappropriate”. 

(Good God how I hate that word- The worst decisions I’ve made in my life have happened when I’ve forgotten how much I hate that word.) 

As I see 40 coming around the bend in just three months I’ve been working on making changes in my life, sort of my 40-year-old bucket list. I’ve started doing art for arts sake, (can’t wait to share what I’m creating!) I’m working out, eating better and I just had the brilliant idea to possibly re-pierced my bellybutton for my 40th birthday. When I had it done the first time I remember people saying to me “oh that’s gonna look horrible after you had babies” but now I’ve had babies and guess what? Still cute. In fact, any extra skin wrinkles in that area will just be camouflaged by some lovely razzle dazzle! (I mean, what doesn’t benefit from a lil razzle dazzle, right?) 

So this is just me putting that idea out into the universe for anyone to see. (except Elie who doesn’t read my blog.) Time to start thinking about what I might put there this time around! 

Yay sparkle shopping! 

Gilded trinket tray

I’ve been doing a lot of crafty stuff lately. 

On my long to do list is sharing them with you because frankly, they’re cool and original and they make me happy to make so they’ll increase my happy to share. So here’s one:

A few posts back I mentioned how I was painting on my front lawn and one of my oldest friends in the world whom I’d lost touch with randomly walked by. 

She invited me to her daughters upcoming bat mitzvah. When we met her daughter was wearing a t-shirt that said “sparkle is my favorite color”, so ya know, my people. 

I thought about what’s a good thing to give a 12 year old girl that she’ll really appreciate (besides cash) and decided that something sophisticated and unique and personalized would be what I’d want and since I basically have the same tastes as a 12 year old, I got to work. 

Since I don’t know her kid at all, I based my idea on the small bit of knowledge I did know about her, and that came from the design of the invitation:   

Shockingly enough, I already owned washi tape in similar colors and with a similar pattern to match her invitation. 

I also happened to have a lovely yet simple white ceramic candle/trinket tray, still wrapped from a gift I’d rec’d but didn’t really have a great spot for. 

Excellent. Let’s get started. 

First, I laid the wide washi tape around the four sides.  After that I laid the skinny washi tape about 1/4 in from the first washi tape. Sorta a layered look. 

 
Some technical notes: 

I made sure to leave a reasonable sized border of plate on the outside edge of the wide tape. This helped the the tape conform to the curves of the plate without having to work too hard. 

I created those mitred corners really easily. I laid the tape edge to edge in each direction and then just sliced through both layers from corner to corner. 

Here’s a pic of me doing it w the skinny tape:  

   

What was unexpectedly cool was how much the tape looked like it was part of the ceramic, especially the tape with the white background. 

Ok. After getting my washi frame in place I got to work on the name. 

At first I’d wanted to use Swarovski crystals to write it but I also knew I wanted to seal the whole thing for durability and sealer on top of swarovskis is a disaster. 

I was going through my “muchification drawer” (a real thing) looking for gold glitter paper. I was gonna print her name backwards, glue it to the back of the paper and then carefully exacto out the name and glue it in place. But, as luck would have it, while rifling through the muchification drawer I came upon the perfect solution: itty bitty little gold sequins with subtle pink accents.  

Because seriously, who doesn’t have that just hanging out at the bottom of a drawer somewhere, right?  

So, I got to work. 

I used a white pickup pencil because I had it within arms reach and i could rub it off. I free-handed her name in the same style font as it’s written on the invitation.  

 
Then I used jewelry epoxy to carefully glue the sequins in place.  

 
That thing was sparkleriffic, let me tell you! 

After the sequin glue dried I pulled out the elmers glue and a foam brush to reinforce and seal the washi tape to the plate.  

 Truthfully, I probably shoulda done that step before the sequins but I was impatient to start the sparkle. I just made sure not to get the glue on the sequins so it didn’t dull their shine. The glue goes on white but it dries clear. I also used a tweezer to pull up the edges of tape to glue underneath as the corners had started to pull away from the ceramic around the curves. You can sorta see it near the mitred corner in this pic:

  
When that was all good and dry I was ready for the last step- the most exciting step besides the glitterfication. The pour-on epoxy sealer! 

  
This stuff is the best thing ever- it makes everything it touches look like glass. It’s just brilliant and you can use it a bazzilion creative ways. 

Basically, it’s two liquid parts. You combine equal amounts of each and mix it up really well and then pour it on stuff and it’s like sealed under “glass” forever.  

 
  I used a sponge on the tape areas, I didn’t need or want it super thick there, just enough to seal it in place. This also let me control its placement along the perimeter of the plate without it dripping off in the wrong direction. I started w the perimeter so the epoxy would fall into the cavity of the plate. You can see it there in the top corner of the picture dripping onto the cavity. 

I was a bit nervous to use it because when it’s poured over crystals the crystals just lose ALL their muchness, so I thought the sequins might too. But they didn’t. So then I just poured the rest over the sequins.  

 
I spread and flattened it with the sponge. It was totally level and smooth, no sequins were protruding above the epoxy and the washi tape looks absolutely etched on there. 

As the epoxy dried it did roll down the edges into the plate but enough stayed put to act as a sealer and protector. The sequins look embedded in there. It’s really quite gorgeous, if I do say so myself. 

Here’s some more pics because they’re free. 

   
    
Reflecting the sunlight on the sequins and glass-coated finish. 

   The tape as etching up close. 

  

What I’ll tell my children about Orlando

This morning I dropped my kids off at school for the first time since this weekends terrifying massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. As I was dealing with some mom stuff at the front desk, the fourth grade teacher came in and started asking how on earth she’s supposed to discuss this with her class. What the hell is she supposed to say to our kids about the fact that they live in a country that refuses to protect them? A country that has such broken gun policies that the day after San Bernadino our leaders voted not to restrict gun sales to suspected terrorists who are already on our no-fly list. As a nation, how can we be so resolute, so motivated by money, so straggled by the financial influence of the NRA on our government, that despite horror after horror, in elementary schools and office buildings, movie theatres and college campuses, nothing has changed? How do we explain that to our children? 

I stood with my jaw open, unsure what to say. Because it’s horrible. It’s inexcusable. It’s mind-blowing and emotionally numbing and it’s scary. Scary as hell. And there simply is no acceptable explanation.  

I walked back to my car feeling like I’d had the wind knocked out of me. 

As I drove home, an answer started to form inside me. 

I’ve seen a lot of posts about believing in the power of love. Truthfully, they usually sound like pathetically feel-good platitudes that minimize the realities of this broken and terrifyingly complex situation. Touting “Love and prayers” are lovely but they’re not solutions. 

But when I think of what I would tell a room of fourth graders looking to understand this non-understandable act, my mind does go to love. 

Because while the lack of common sense gun laws are certainly a tremendous part of the problem, it was HATE that pulled the trigger. 

  
As I pulled into my driveway I opened my phone and started typing a letter to that teacher. 

I’d like to share with you what I wrote, should it help you find meaning in this senseless act of hatred, or help you help your children find the light to create a brighter tomorrow. 

As I drove home the truth is I do have some idea what I would tell my kids if I was a teacher, and what I’ll likely tell my own kids, in an age-appropriate way this evening after they’ve heard about this event at school. 

For her biography book report, my 2nd grader chose to read a book about Malala, the teenage Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban a few years ago for speaking up about girls’ right to go to school and receive an education. She loved the book and we were both changed in many ways by the message and story. There is a way to talk about this with kids. There are important lessons to walk away with. 

Because the truth is, this isn’t about guns, this is about hate. 

Hate caused this- yes- guns are a huge part of the issue but hate pulled the trigger. And as clichéd as it is, the answer is Love. In my kids old school last year they talked a lot about the beautiful Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam– Repairing the World. There will always be hate in the world but it is our job- as moral people, human beings-  to balance the hate- to create the love that holds the world together. Every single person has the power to spread love. To demonstrate understanding, to look outside themselves and offer beauty and hope, kindness and understanding. 
It starts at home- in your family, your classmates, your community. Appreciating people for their uniqueness and beauty even if it’s different than yours. 

It starts by knowing that every voice has power. Every individual – even a child- has the capacity to make change and spread light throughout their world, on a micro scale and the waves travel and grow. Our actions matter. The way we treat people matters. 

Teach our children that their voice, their words, their behaviors have power and consequence well beyond their understanding, so they should use their words wisely. Teach them to use their voice, their actions, to stand up for those who have no voice. Defend those who can’t defend themselves. To lift up those who are down. Each of us must do our part to combat the hatred that creates events like this. People like this, who have so much hate in their heart they can no longer see any light- People are not born that way, darkness makes them into that kind of monster. 

We need to be the light. 

– So, that’s my two cents. I’m glad I was there at that moment to hear that question asked, so it would spark me into thinking of a response. I hope each of you find the right words, for yourself, your children.  I don’t envy teachers that responsibility yesterday, today, – hopefully not also in the many tomorrows to come. But I do believe we can impact our children in a way that will leave an everlasting positive impression in the wake of such horror. ❤️

Meaningful wall art project

This past February was the 25th anniversary of the FIT Toy Design BFA program of which I am an alumni. The two years I spent in that program were easily two of the most profound years of my life with regards to self-discovery and learning to understand and apply my creativity. I was sad I couldn’t go to the reunion, now that I live across the country, but, those are the trade offs. 

Anyhow, the invitation, in typical Toy Design fashion, was fun and creative. It was a box of cards with inspiring quotes on the back about play and the magic of childhood. The back of the cards contained a “puzzle” that assembled into the actual invitation: 

   
 
Brilliant, right? 

You know I have a thing for inspiring quotes and so I decided they needed to be hung on the wall. 

  
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t in love with the card color choices, and wasn’t really sure how to find inspiration to fall in love with them so I sorta just taped them up there and framed them with some washi style tape. 

But they were hidden in the back of the house, by the laundry room… Waiting for inspiration to find me. 

  
And then it did. 

I started with a $20 IKEA frame and some very old tissue paper I found at the bottom of my craft closet. 

  
And so it began…

 

…and continued…  
…and continued…    
…and continued… 

 

…and continued… 
  
…until finally…

 

BOOM!!  
  

BAM! 

(It’s opposite a glass door, the glare is harsh in the pic but more natural in person.)

 
MUCHNESS! 

  
And it’s got a place of prominence in my kitchen above my art cart:

  
…as it should. 

[Muchness Makeover!] Safety first!!

Molly’s refused to ride her bike forever because she is embarrassed by her “babyish” Pinkalicious helmet. 

I have refused to buy her a new helmet because it’s a practically new helmet and… spray paint. 

Now that I’ve forgotten/procrastinated doing this for months and months, Molly finally lost hope in it happening all together. Which means the time had come to finally do it. 

Because I’ll be damned if she hasn’t  waited so long for something that she doesn’t really learn to appreciate it. (Did that sentence structure make sense? I can’t tell, but you get my point.) 

Behold, the offending, embarrassing, babyish before: 

   
There were little rhinestones glued in swirls on the sides. I forgot to photograph it before popping them off. 

Prepped and ready:

 
Covering up the offending pinkaliciousness:

   
Riding round town with all the confidence in the world! 

 
I was thinking of glueing more rhinestones, maybe turquoise colored, onto the swirls, but she doesn’t seem to care and if I offered to do than she’d hold me to it, and then it wouldn’t get done till her 14th birthday. 

Ya know, so she really appreciates it. 😒