The Palm Springs Edition

(The Riveria Hotel and Spa -- Gorgeous!)

Can you believe I was gone AGAIN this weekend? Spoiled, I know. I took Scott to Palm Springs for his birthday and some much needed couple time. And yes, I was just there a few weeks back but that was with my partner in crime, Oonagh.

Palm Springs is so fun for me because it's the mecca of mid-century, modern design. I always come back inspired after seeing all the great furniture and decor.

Oh, and I also came back clean. FIVE showers in two days. When I'm not covered in sawdust and have time to lounge, I'm just like everyone else. (OK, I really just showered a lot because the our high end design shower was da BOMB!!)

(go ahead and click on this foot picture...ya know you want to see if I have all my glue-on toenails. I think I started losing them one by one that day. 5 showers will do that. :)

(me, showered, looking sideways with a fancy waiter behind me. not sure why i always seem to be looking sideways in my pictures.)


Garage Rules

1. Don't use the tablesaw when you're tired.
2. Don't cut yourself with the biscuit joiner...again.
3. Be respectful of the miter saw.

These are rules I live by daily. Can you believe with all the potential hazards in my garage the scariest one in a long time is a BLACK WIDOW?!? I reached over a storage box last night to grab a sanding block and THANK GOD saw something hanging above it (right where I was about to grab.) Then I saw that red spot on the underside and froze. I was THIS CLOSE to grabbing a black widow.

Today, I'm armed with RAID and my bad-ass attitude. I've got Raid in one pocket of my tool belt (right next to the hammer.) Those bitches aren't gonna know what hit them. That is, until I see one, freak out, and run screaming from the garage. Ya, I'm just that hard core.


Land of Nod Update

So here's the skinny on the Land of Nod (a division of Crate and Barrel) negotiations. They're done! And they're dead. :(

While Land of Nod really liked the designs I submitted (and one in particular that they chose for me to make a prototype), it ultimately came down to pricing. Ya know how most furniture is made in China or Taiwan or basically, somewhere other than the US? There's a good reason for that. It's really expensive to mass manufacture furniture here in the states and make a profit. But, you probably already knew that.

In working through the possibilities, it donned on me that if I had to handle the order load that Land of Nod would likely bring in, I'd collapse into a big heap of mush on the garage floor. There's no way I alone could handle that kind of volume. I researched having the design made in a wood shop in Kentucky so they would still be handmade by craftsmen (as opposed to manufactured overseas)and Land of Nod was excited knowing that the volume wouldn't be an issue. Turns out, they can only pay "X" amount wholesale per box and the very reasonable production/material costs alone (not to mention all the testing fees) surpassed "X" by quite a lot. I offered to sell the design to one of their other furniture manufacturers with whom they contract, but those manufacturers are based overseas so they turned me down because they ultimately want to jump on the eco-friendly, made-in-the-USA bandwagon. And I think they're smart in doing so. Land of Nod wants eco-friendly, USA-made furniture but also has to keep the retail price within a range that is attractive to its customers. The toy box would've been the highest-priced toy box in their catalog but it wouldn't have been priced as high as what my current lines retails for on the designer furniture sites.

As disappointed as I was when it all collapsed, I was honestly a bit relieved, too. It's something I'm sure every small business struggles with from time to time. You want to grow the business but growing the business means killing yourself...or it's so damn complicated you just throw your hands up and head for the gin and tonic.

I won't be throwing my hands up (cuz that would spill my gin and tonic), but I will be thinking of other ways to maybe someday get a little more out of my company than I put in. Last night, I was polyurethaning (and crying) at midnight while watching a Tivo'd Hallmark special about a woman who saved thousands of Jewish children during WWII. Maybe, if I play my cards right, next time I'll just be sitting there crying while watching a Hallmark special WITHOUT a paint brush in my hands. See? That's the kind of progress I'm talking about. Baby steps, I guess. :)


Breakfast with Clean, Made-Up Moms

Today was Breakfast with Moms at our elementary school. Unlike most of my mornings where I literally roll out of bed and throw on the same saw-dust covered jeans I wore yesterday, I really tried today! The hair was done, make-up on, and I even had on a dress for pete sake. (NOTE: Only one toenail had one of my Lee Press-on Toenails so the rest looked like crap but no one looks down there really, right?).

I had one of those ah-ha moments Oprah talks about as I'm lined up with about a thousand other moms and kids waiting for the mini-muffin and one of the other moms very nicely said,"I didn't even recognize you." And there it was. I wouldn't have really thought much about it except that the day before, a dad I know said basically the same thing. SHEESH, people, really? Do I REALLY look that different without my hair done and make-up on? I always thought that by wearing my sunglasses, it masked the fact that I had no make-up on, was wearing clothes stained with wood stain, and my hair was in a pony tail. Who knew I could be so wrong?!?

I think I've got two choices here. I can really take it all to heart and get more dressed up during the day or I can just go on doing what I always do. The more I think about it, the more I think that looking like a construction worker while picking up my kids at school is the way to go. Then, when I do dress up and no one recognizes me, I'll just act like I'm someone else...who can't believe moms have the nerve to come pick up their kids looking like construction workers...or with foils in their hair.

This is gonna be SOOOO FUN!


In One Ear and...Stuck

(Yesterday at 2:30pm)

Grace: "Mom, I stuck something in my ear today."

Me: "You're not supposed to stick things in your ears, silly."

(Hours pass....9:00pm at night while cuddling on the couch with G)

Grace: "Mom, my ear still hurts from that thing being in it."

Me: "What? Did you really put something in your ear....really?"

Grace: "Well, I had this sticker that was balled up that was stuck to the end of my finger and then I put my finger in my ear cuz it was itching and the sticker just fell in."

Me: "Seriously?....ok, we have to look. It's really in there, isn't it? Holy cow, there's a balled up sticker in your ear."

11:45pm, Scott and Grace return from the ER/Urgent Care at Providence Hospital while I spent the evening nervously eating an entire box of saltines and texting Scott every two minutes to find out if she was ok. (Which apparently she was cuz Scott said she was dancing and singing as if her life depended on it in the waiting room. The extraction took all of 2 seconds and $100 co-pay.)

I'm praying she gets through today without another sticker just falling into her ear.


Lumberjocks ROCK!

About a year ago, I joined a website called Lumberjocks. It's basically a social networking site for woodworkers. You can post your projects, receive feedback, ask questions, etc. I'm the first to admit I was a bit intimidated to join. I'm also the first to admit the kind of furniture I build doesn't require mad woodworking skills like those who make traditional or victorian style work. Since day one, I've felt nothing but support from the Lumberjocks, which as you can see from the photo (can you find me?), is mostly comprised of men (but the number of women on the site is increasing) from all over the world. Over 9,000 members now!

Two of my favorite Lumberjocks have recently started online stores on Etsy and I'm THRILLED to promote their sites on my blog. They are extremely talented woodworkers and really good people.

First, there's Darry Masterson, a father/woodworker from rural New Hampshire. He started woodworking in 2004 when he built a simple shelf for his daughter. Then in 2005, projects included two Adirondack chairs that were donated to an auction to raise money for the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. Check out his amazing work on http://www.darrylmasterson.com and his new online store http://www.darrylmasterson.etsy.com. I'm in awe of his Wine Bottle Stopper for sale on his Etsy store. I'm very proud of his work and even more proud to call him a friend.

(Darryl Masterson's Wood Bottle Stopper)

Next, Terel Letcher is a father/woodworker from Iowa who handcrafts beautiful eco-friendly works of art. His company is named after his daugther, Charlie Lynn, who was born with a massive heart complication and Terel says, "in the process of learning how to be a father and care giver I realized that she deserves to have something done in her honor as she has already taught me so much about not giving up." Please check out his gorgeous furniture at www.charlywoods.com and www.charlywoods.etsy.com.

(One legged entry table by CharlyWoods)


Foiled AGAIN!

Ok, so this isn't related to woodworking...but it kinda is, since I ditched work to do it. A couple of weeks ago I finally made an appointment on a Friday to get my hair professionally colored, something I'd given up over the past year in an effort to save money. Basically, I was starting to look like a freak with dark roots and white blond/yellow hair so I bit the bullet and set the appointment with a salon down the street allowing plenty of time between dropping off the kids at school and picking them up.

Or so I thought....

My colorist was running late so that meant our session ran late. I had faith we'd get my hair done by the time I was supposed to be picking up the kids from school at 2:30pm because I told her upfront, "I need to pick up my kids at 2:30pm." Here's where it gets good. Fast forward to 2:00 and I'm still sitting in the chair with my head in foils, hair sticking out everywhere, and a dark color on the part that isn't colored (like the picture above only on CRACK.) We finally came to the realization that I wasn't going to be done in time to pick up my kids. I called around to other moms at my school praying I'd get ahold of them but ultimately, no luck. I had no choice. I had to GO TO MY KIDS' SCHOOL WITH MY SALON APRON ON AND A MASSIVE FOILED HEAD WITH HAIR STICKING OUT EVERWHERE. And wait outside for Little G to come out at 2:30pm. Then wait again for Noah to come out at 3:00pm.

I ran out of the salon (because I was running late now) down one whole city block and around the corner to get my car. I drive like mad to the school and then just sit in the front seat thinking there is no way this is really happening. Roughly 50 or so parents wait out front to pick up their kids. I took a deep breath...and another deep breath, and got out of the car. I walked up to my friend (another mom) and she nearly had a heart attack. Grace looked at me and said, "WHAT THE?" And then started laughing. My friend Emma, for whom I'm eternally grateful, very quickly offered to take Grace with her and even wait the extra 30 minutes for Noah to come out and take them home with her. (THANK YOU EMMA!)

It's one of those moments I'll never forget. I could feel the heat of the stares on me but was too afraid to look anyone other than Emma in the eyes. There was an audible gasp from the crowd, even. Thank goodness my son didn't have to witness my beautification. He would have been mortified in front of his 4th grade friends.

I now feel I'm one step closer to really knowing what that dream feels like where you're walking through your high school naked and everyone is pointing at you. Next week, I'll probably tuck my skirt into my underwear and march into the front office, just for fun. I'm fearless now!!

P.S. My hair looks AWESOME! I'm willing to visit the school, the grocery, and Scott's office with a head full of foils to get this color again!! :)

(Photo courtesy of www.beautifulhairstyles.com)


The Truth About Motherhood

Anyone see Oprah yesterday? The show's topic was about motherhood and what we really go through -- the joy, the isolation, the guilt, the exhaustion. And how for the most part, we don't support each other as much as we should.

Obviously, I could relate but more than that, it made me really think about my mom friendships and how lucky I feel to have found women who aren't afraid to say they really DON'T want to play Barbies with their kid, would sometimes rather just lie in bed watching the Real Housewives of New York , and feel there is nothing wrong with wanting wine (or three) at the end of the day. And for being vocal and open about it. Thank you to my mom friends for being so honest. Without you, I'd have to pretend I LIKE to play Barbies and I wouldn't have anyone to drink those good Bloody Mary's with at that place down at the Grove.

You all mean so much to me! Now, get off the f#@king internet and go be a Mom, you lazy be-yatches! :)


(photo courtesy of www.oprah.com)


I've got some news....

Pregnancy and Newborn magazine was sitting on my coffee table last night to which a good friend said, "you have something to tell me?" OH HELL NO! No little kiddies on the way but I have to say, after looking at the magazine, they make having babies and breastfeeding and all that jazz look fun! There are so many new contraptions on the market.....like the Owyn Toy Box!

Which brings me to why I had the magazine in the first place. The Owyn Toy Box was featured on page 90 of the April issue. YEAH!


Dress Code

Today, I showered. :) I had to run a few errands before work so I threw on my "I'm trying a little bit more than I did yesterday" outfit. Most people who know what I do assume I don the overalls and work apron. But the truth is, I pretty much work in whatever I have on that day. Today, I'm in a skirt. No heels, though!