Thursday, April 24, 2014

Buzz Buzz Buzz

First, a great thank you to everyone who responded via Facebook and here regarding the previous post.  I love and appreciate all of the feedback! Lili and I had a good talk about what happened (her initiation not mine) and overall, I think it's me who is more upset than her. She seemed to understand why this happens and we talked about all the ways we could handle it next time.  She's a bright girl and one tough cookie!

Okay, moving on. I have been a busy little bee. Buzz buzz.  With the Fairview Gardens craft show coming up on May 8th I am hustling to get work done and build up my inventory.  Of course, that can't be simple enough. I'm in a bit of a manic mode regarding my art work so I have also taken on a new project- trying out some hoop art.  I love the juxtaposition of sweet pretty fabric and witty, sometimes crude, stitchery.  I've also been working on another wholesale order for a local business requesting custom buttons, finalizing my line sheets and catalog for wholesale orders, making new gocco cards, creating some stickers...  wwhhheeew!

Holey Socks Art Stickers

In all of this hubbub I realize that I have been slacking on getting items photographed and listed on Etsy.  I'm making faster than I can function! It's hard to let myself stop and take a breath.  Not to mention juggling all of this with my kids.  

It's helped to switch to inkjet & vectors for the shrink plastic pieces. But it's also helped to be better about insisting in a quiet time after lunch.  The kids have been running and playing so much harder that they have actually been napping most days.  That's up to 2 hrs of uninterrupted time some days! Not to mention far less meltdowns.  My kids are up at 0630 regardless of what time they go to bed.  So some days this makes for some unnecessary drama.

I've definitely been an ass some days and spent more than my fair share on work rather than enjoying my kids. It's so hard, though.  I want to spend time with them- after all I only have FOUR MONTHS LEFT before they are off to kindergarten!  It's going by too fast.  On the other hand, I would like to be able to justify this (income wise) as my full time job.  In order to do that, it takes focus and dedication and of course, TIME.

But we make sure to find time for "dates" so that each of our kids can have a parent to themselves for awhile.  Lili and I recently had a great date to Subway and then about 2 hours of blowing bubbles.  It was a cloudy day, but those are the best for bubbles. The colors they produce are amazing. The photos here are untouched cell phone pics.

Needless to say, The Kite Runner will be the only book I'm finishing for April.  Good thing I built some cushion in at the beginning of the year!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mother Seeking Advice

I had a small list of things I wanted to touch base on next week all lighthearted and fun, but alas, I find myself here before all of you seeking some advice.

The girls started the day jazzed for their first sleep over friend, their cousin Amber.  I don't think I can even count how many times they requested a time check this morning. Finally, she arrived and we set about having a fun-tastic day. Things went swimmingly at first, as they usually do. Eventually the tide turned and it did so in a way that I have been observing more and more over the last few months. I suppose being home now has allowed me the opportunity to be more present.

Amber wanted to play with Addi.  Just Addi.  ....Ouch....

At first my anger flared a little (as I said, I had watched this before) and I did what I thought was best at the time and marched us all back inside.  If we couldn't all play nicely together outside, then maybe it was time for a change of activity.

But is was only moments after moving inside that I had Lili sobbing in my lap again.  I asked her what was wrong, already dreading the answer, and she looked right at me with her puffy red eyes and tear streaked face and said, "I think Amber came here to only play with Addi.  They don't want me to play with them".  Right then, my heart broke in a million little pieces.  I know that feeling and now to top it off I know the pain of being the ineffectual mother- a completely helpless role.  I don't know that there is any feeling worse than being a mother unable to take away the suffering of her child.

I know, I know, it isn't my job to prevent these things from happening.  Happen they will.  But I always thought I'd in one way or another have the power of magic kisses.  To be able to say just the right thing to make things a little better.  But all I had for this stricken, lonely young girl was a mumbled "I'm so sorry" and a hug.  Nothing that made it feel any better.  Nothing that made her feel wanted.  Nothing that made her feel less alone amongst her peers.

And after I managed to comfort her I was left with the fact that this was a situation I clearly didn't know how to handle.  After all, Lili has had this problem for some time now.  We first heard about it at daycare when one of the children refused to play with Lili because she didn't like her dress or her hair wasn't cute enough or she couldn't run fast enough, etc. Eventually we changed daycare and assumed it was behind us.  But at the next daycare home we saw the same dynamic setting up- Addi was in and Lili was out, left to play with the younger kids/babies. This continued dynamic eventually led to us searching out a daycare center where the girls had options upon options of kids to play with and where no one ever had to be left out.  I heard no more about it.

That is until I started staying home and began to observe it when we went to Kindergym or the mall and played with strangers or when we went elsewhere and played with friends.  Always the same; Addi's in and Lili's out.

I've been racking my brain trying to figure out what it is.  Is it personality traits- Addi is very "go with the flow", though Lili never seems to disagree with a friend and never is rude.  Is is just something as simple as their looks- Addi has longer hair and dresses more girly most days.  But then it occured to me that it didn't really matter why.  After all, I'm not even entertaining the idea of changing one thing about Lili.  She is the most affectionate, empathetic, sweet and compassionate young girl.  She is genuinely amazed by life and loves to share her discoveries and is incredibly smart.  No, she is definitely not the issue and changing her is not an alternative. I mean, just look at her...

The issue is how do I help her (and perhaps her sister some day) deal with these feelings of exclusion? They've always had a built in playmate they've never had to share.  How do I teach them the value of alone time? How do I teach them the importance of including others? How do I teach them to pick themselves up and hold their heads high after rejection? Especially when the rejection is repeated?  How do I teach them that self worth is not based on being included in every game? These are the questions I need help with.

I know that I can simply change the activity and find a game or something that everyone can play.  That I can better plan sleepovers in the future, etc.  But it really isn't that simple.  If you've ever been the kid (or even grown up) that has felt excluded, different, less than, well then you know what I mean.  Those things, those feelings are still there even once the activity has been changed and if you're smart like Lili is smart than you know that their hand was forced and your sadness still lingers. 

I spent a couple years in therapy during school to learn to counteract those demons inside my head that told me everyone was laughing at me, that I wasn't good enough or that I was too different.  I don't want that for my daughters.  So how do I prevent it?

So, mothers of multiples, multiples yourself, former fat kids, nerds, dweebs, loners, mothers & fathers of kids who are bullied or former kids that were bullied, hell, maybe even a reformed bully or two please send me some words of wisdom.  I need them today. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014


I totally did it. Yep, look up in your navigator bar. We are officially now. Sorry mom. I know you'll miss the Smudges & Blips, but really they are turning into pretty big kids with holey socks. 

I'm pretty proud that I pulled it off, but I did have quite a bit of help from the information superhighway. Wonder Forest was a great help in changing the domain name.  It's amazing how much help is out there.  And as always, Heather over at Write.Sew.Drink.Repeat was a god-send!  I've been pinning quite a few of the great sites I've used on my Pinterest Board "Sell Yourself".  

Other than all this blog rearranging I've been trying to streamline my jewelry making process. I have my first actual craft show coming up at Fairview Gardens on May 8th.  Just in time for Mother's Day. 

I've been converting my hand drawn designs to vector images in Adobe Illustrator and printing them on inkjet shrink plastic paper.  It's a bit more work originally but definitely cuts down on time in the long run. It's also giving me crisper whites on many of the images.  There is a bit of change to the shrinkage amount and round objects distorting a bit more. 

I spent the evening last night gocco-ing bags with my shop name and hope to create an original card just in time for Mother's Day. My kitchen table was covered. A little ink goes a long way...

Each time I pick it up I remember how much I love that stupid little gizmo. It's too bad that screens and bulbs are getting so expensive! Yikes!  If anyone out there has any gocco supply hookups I would LOVE to hear about them!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Body Art

I can't write about the weather.  I can't look out the window.  I can't think about the fact that my hubby is driving back 60-some miles in this icky snowstorm.  It's supposed to be spring, dammit!

*Deep breath* and *Exhaaaallleee*  

So today I am sharing with you the beginnings of my new tattoo.  I've been wanting to cover up two smallish tattoos on my back, my very first tattoo on my left shoulder and the classic "tramp stamp" that I got on a whim in Boulder, CO with a friend.  I debated for a long time, but like all good things the idea came to me after some waiting. I have made some money from some wholesale promotion buttons I did and decided to treat myself.  My hubby is also doing some trade work as Kelli's stylist (maybe he's not so worthless after all...  J/K baby! Loves!)

I sat down with my friend Kelli at Wingnut Tattoo who had done my last tattoo on my right arm: 

I told her my ideas for what I wanted and as always she drew up something more amazing than I could have even imagined!  It was a 5 hour day just to complete the outline and yes, it hurt like hell!  I tapped out at the end not able to complete the last 20 minutes needed to do the log texture. 

I am a creator (little c) and I am my hands.  I love to garden and know that I will be missing my peonies this spring.  They were my great-grandmothers that have been handed down generation after generation and it does break my heart a little that I had to leave them behind. So, Kelli is letting me take them with me.  I have an affinity for bees- after all without them we would die.  The live seamlessly in a little community each contributing to the greater good.  They, too, are creators in a way. God's little helpers.

I love to read and my all time favorite book is "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood.  I won't tell you the whole story, but part that sticks with me is when Olfred finds the carving "nolite te bastardes carborundorum" in her closet.  It's a school boy version of latin meaning "Don't let the bastards grind you down".  That is the theme of my life.  With all adversities I try to remember "nolite te bastardes carborundorum".  

This is where I found myself once again the last year at my job.  I never wrote much about it at the time, it's just not that terribly professional, but basically the Health Care Home program was heading down paths that were not in the best interest of the patients.  I believe whole heartedly in patient and family centered care.  I felt like I eventually reached a crossroad where I could just show up and do my job and say fuck-it to all the other politics, stop speaking up and  keep my head down and simply do the best that I could by my patients OR I could say "No!" and continue to speak up and advocate. I chose the latter, but sometimes it doesn't matter how good your intentions or the reasons behind them.  The good guy doesn't always win. It sucks, but it's true. So in this case I stepped away. It was a shitty choice (for the patients) but I wouldn't be ground down. I won't sacrifice.  In the end I feel good about it. So I asked Kelli to incorporate it. 

I've also collected over the years an Adinkra symbol "Hye wonnye" that I have on my left inner wrist.  It means "imperishableness of self" or "he who burns be not burned".  I won't be changed. I am who I am and that is wonderful. 

So, I ask for "Nolite...", bees, peonies.  Feminine not girly.  Think vintage botanical prints. And I get this AMAZING tattoo:

It's dirty and red here, being freshly done and all, but I think it's an amazing start!  I'm in the itchy flaky stage of healing now (which sucks!) but can't wait until we can start the color.  That will probably be 2 good all day sittings, but it'll be worth it in the end. 

It's beautiful and mostly now I'm just sad that it's on my back where I can't see it and am not able to really show it off...

And just for fun here is a really great YouTube original song inspired by The Handmaid's Tale and polite the bastardes carborundorum.  

Monday, April 14, 2014


I will be changing the domain name at the end of the week.  Please be aware that in an effort to make this as easy as possible I will be still using Blogger, but will be using my new personal domain name. The new address will be

Theoretically, you will be redirected by Blogger, but just in case...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

March for Babies

We did it! And we couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather! Though there was quite a bit of whining for babies the girls made a come back and finished up strong.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

It's a beautiful day

And I'm relaxing... 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Growing up

From the beginning our little blog has been "Smudges & Blips" as it was a direct result of the two little smudges with blips growing in my belly. Over the years the topics have changed, the background effects have changed, items added here and there, but most importantly I have changed. How could I not with these two little critters angels as part of my life.

One of the things that has changed is the relaunch of Holey Socks Art.  This was something I started many years ago on Etsy.  You may have seen the banner on the side come and go and wonder what it's all about.  Most of you know that in addition to nursing I also attended school at SCSU and received a BFA with an emphasis in painting. Though the medium and the type of work I do has always been in flux, having art as part of my life has always been a constant. And more importantly a constant joy and source of spiritual renewal.

So, in need of a new endeavor several years ago I began Holey Socks as a small Etsy shop selling baby items and cards created with my Gocco press. It was fun and I enjoyed it but never took it too seriously as I never had time to dedicate to it.  Brian came along and life got busy and Holey Socks was put on hold.  Recently I reopened it with some of my art prints, cards, and jewelry.  It's been fun, but this time I think I'm ready to make it more serious.  I think that if I don't give it 110% I will always wonder if I could have done it and have regrets.

I'm continuing on Etsy, but I am also looking to bring some of my items more locally, etc.  Part of this extensive business plan I have laid out is a change in the name of this blog.  DON'T FREAK OUT!!! I don't foresee too much change to context. As a consumer I love to know where my products come from  and what inspires them.  I plan to continue to share my life's journey, my family, my thoughts and more about my art. As I have grown so have my children and they are no longer my smudges with blips but my big kids running, playing and leaving behind giggles and holey socks!

Over the next month you will see changes to the look and layout. DON'T FREAK OUT!!! It's still gonna be the great ol' me that you love (featuring the same cute kids and the occasional picture of Brian).  I always love to hear feedback (good or bad) so feel free to leave comments on the changes you see! 


All the old posts will follow so you will still have access to those, however, you will now find us at

Hang in there with me.  Patience is a virtue young grasshoper!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Resolutions Part 2 or Happy National Poetry Month

Happy National Poetry Month!

Another of my resolutions for 2014 was to read more poetry.  I have been continuing to read poetry here and there, but have been reading just a small portion of authors including Mary Oliver, Rumi, Rainer Maria Rilke, e.e. Cummings, & Elizabeth Bishop (mostly as this is what I have around the house).

In an effort to help me make it through some more authors I will be sharing a poem each day for the month of April over on my Facebook account.  Today's poem was one of my favorites by Mary Oliver entitled North Country which I shared with you before here.  So feel free to check Facebook daily for a new poem.  And feel free to join me in this quest and flood Facebook with poetry!

I have been writing just a tiny bit of my own.  Sadly, mostly in bed as I'm trying to fall asleep where I don't manage to remember it the next day or bother to write it down.  But it is my goal to share a poem of mine with you by the end of the month... So long as I don't chicken out!

Resolutions Update Part 1

In an effort to be more accountable to, well, myself at least I am going to try to remember to touch base on where I am with my New Year Goals (Here) throughout the year.

Before writing this post I thought back to my first goal to read an average of 2 books per month.  I am an avid reader and have been for as long as I can remember so I felt that this would be fairly simple, but I didn't realize how well I was doing until I wrote down this list:

   * Me Before You- by Jojo Moyes
   * And the Mountains Echoed- by Khaled Hosseini (Book Club)
   * Silver Linings Playbook- by Matthew Quick
   * Eleanor & Park- by Rainbow Rowell
   * Great Expectations- by Charles Dickenson (Classic #1 of 3)
   * The Art of Racing in the Rain- by Garth Stein
   * Into the Darkest Corner- Elizabeth Hayes (Book Club)
   * Things We Set on Fire- by Deborah Reed

   * Lost Memory of Skin- by Russell Banks
   * Prince of Tides- by Pat Conroy
I was supposed to read Divergent for book club but skipped it- sshhhh!

  * I'm starting the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and a CS Lewis biography that I'm reading with my hubby.

I've had a bunch of people ask me when I find time to read (and do my art, sewing etc).  I think that's really hard to explain.  Those of you who love to read already know that it's just something you make time for.  You do it whenever there is a free moment.  I don't watch TV, typically, unless it's an evening hanging with my hubby or working on crafts.  I read while I wait anywhere (doctors office, for a friend, etc), I read while my kids swim or clean their room, I read late at night, I read read read.  Once a book pulls me in it envelopes me, engulfs me, and it's what I want to do every minute I have free.  I am much more likely to remember to pack my book in my purse than my cell phone.  You never know where an opportunity to read might strike!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Field Trip

Being home with my kids has been a wonderful blessing.  Winter has been frigid and never ending this year ( I write as it snows outside my window) making staying HOME hard.  Everyone is too cold to go outside but too crazy and cooped up to stay in.  I've been blessed to find a group of mothers that are feeling a bit the same way I am and have been able to join their ranks.  Our kids vary in ages making it hard sometimes, but it's nice to have a sense of camaraderie even if we don't always get the chance to chat much.

Today we were able to go on a tour of our local Coborn's grocery store.  The kids received goody bags, a tour of the coolers, touch a shrimp, get their picture taken and made into a cake to take home, pick out a banana and learn lots of cool things.  It was lots of fun though I think I may have taken more away from it than the kids!

Granted, they were up late last night at Brian's bottling party.  Brian and his partners, Jon & Dan, are grouping together to bring you The 2 Bits Man Beard Grooming Products.  Last night was spent with our families at the "office" finalizing labels, brewing the first batch, and for all the kids and I watching Frozen for the 13th time!  Hit the link above to follow them on Facebook and find out more information regarding product launch, etc.

Otherwise, we have been spending a lot of time crafting together (and even on ourselves).  A benefit of the smaller apartment is that I can be on my sewing machine and have the girls painting at the dining room table and we all can be talking and giggling and interacting.  Brian had bought me some interesting mustache/derby hat burlap fabric.  It has since been turned into a beautiful wrap/cover for my sewing table and all the ugly that hides beneath it with enough left over to create a table runner for the media table.  I don't know if you've ever had the luxury of ironing burlap, but boy did that take me back to the farm- haystacks and mucking stalls.  Loved it!  All you country girls turned city girls here is your chance to take a quick trip back home.  Spray bottle of water + burlap + hot iron = 
Tattoo Markers...

They had gotten in trouble for not listening and began to cry when I insisted in baths as punishment.  I was asked to please photo their faces to show papa their cool tattoos.  Heartbreaking!

Early Stages

I also had the pleasure of working with Naomi from the Loft Salon & Spa to make her some buttons for the recent St Cloud Art Crawl where I was able to sell a few of my own pieces like these:

**And a complete aside- I am listening to Bernard Fanning as I clean today and if you have not yet heard the track Watch Over Me yet, please please please listen to it here! It makes me teary every time and wish I knew how to play the guitar.