Thursday, April 16, 2009

Science Fair Project

Before this week, I had no idea how much work the Science Fair was for the mama in the house.
Fairy Princess came up with her own, very grade appropriate theme, Melting Summer Treats, and I was only a lowly assistant during the experiment (I set the timer over and over and over again). She also came up with her own look for the tri-fold standy up thing all of the work gets attached to.
I did however, have to type the entire thing out, because there is really a lot of writing that goes along with a science project, and it made for a very frustrated kindergartner. She dictated and I typed. There should be no question as to who did the work. I'm very proud and out of ink.

BTW - if you want a summer treat that lasts and lasts, go for the Popsicle.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Great Artists

Tomorrow night is the Davey Elementary Art and Science Expo. I have been spending all of my spare time at the school preparing and displaying art. So far, my favorite works are the 4th grade weaving pieces.
So many of these kids are natural artists - great with color, form and imagination. They will be proud to see their art hanging.
Don't you remember your first showing? How about your first blue ribbon?

This has to be the most fun I've had in ages!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Kitchen Window

I love my kitchen window, when there isn't snow to look out at.
At least I still have my spring flowers to keep my heart warm.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Time Keeps On Slipping

I know blogging every 2 weeks is no way to keep readers interested. It certainly no way to guide readers to my etsy shop or even to my ebay listings.

So I'm back to the same whine about time.

What has to give? I would love to give up doing laundry, dishes, making the beds. Not having to clean the dog poo in the yard would be a thrill, but it would be seriously thrilling for the mail carrier trying to dodge the mines in my yard. On top of my mama-wife-household life, I added a Hemoc Center advisory committee and the chair-mama for the Davey Elementary Art Expo. Which really means hours of displaying amazing art and trying to get someone to judge it.

I have also started a new line of jewelry to add to my shop and an additional blog for my photography.

I'm back to the question. What do I have to give up to be more streamlined. Apparently, the answer is sleep.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig

We had a blast in Buffalo; I always enjoy going home.

Great friends, some of the best food in the country and the constant voices of the gulls. What isn't to love? Those people that make fun of Buffalo, have never been there. Okay, I'll give you the weather jokes, but at least they don't have hurricanes and tornado's.

I had been craving a real fish fry for weeks and I wasn't disappointed in the little place mom ordered from... I only wish I knew the name of the joint, but it's some little bar in Kaiser Town. If you know Buffalo, you already know where she got it from, I'm sure. Everyone gets their Lent fish fry form this little place. Even wasps like us.

My kids and I had a day with an old friend. We had 15 years, 2 husbands, 4 kids, too many pets and what seemed to be a lifetime in no time to catch up on. That was the ultimate in fun and we plan od doing the same here in Kent soon. Yay!

I have the pleasure of making my mom a watch. She and Dad have their 50th class reunion coming up and she wants something pretty to match her dress. Which is a size M, I might add. Go Mom, she looks H-O-T for a Granny. What is the bonus of making my mom a watch? Bead shopping, of course! I bought myself a few trinkets to add to the collection and a few charms to add to my "mama bracelet" as well. I love buying in a shop where I can feel the beads and I don't have a shop near me anymore. the drawback to buying in a shop is that I overspend; maybe it's for the best that I don't have a shop close by. But don't you love the pearls? And the dyed quartz was too pretty to pass up.

For all of the fun we had and Husband did get rest he hasn't had since the kids and I have been back. I am so glad to be home!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Shuffle Off to Buffalo

The curse on Mr. continues (more about that at a later time). He is slated to work 8pm-5:30am for the next 2-3 weeks. He will be pulling down a ceiling, cataloguing it and then putting it back up in a new spot - 20 feet from its original spot. I keep telling him not to complain, he has a job. He will be going to bed after his normal 4:30 wake time.

What does this have to do with Buffalo? This is the week of Fairy Princess' spring break. That means I am required to keep a 6 year old and 2 year old and 2 spoiled dogs quiet while Daddy sleeps. A task that will cause tears and scolding, for being normal kids. I don't think so...

Granny and Poppy, here we come! 5 days of daily help, maybe a meal made by someone other than myself. A good fish fry perhaps? And an ocean deep claw foot tub to play mermaid in.

Yep. Buffalo, here we come!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A New Week, A New Attitude

I was just a wee whiney last night.

Well, that's all done now and the new week has really started. The linens are in the wash, Fairy Princess is back in school and the dreaded pink eye seems to have missed me and the kids.

I have a very clean house since I obsesed last week. Hey, that leave me time to finish a few items and get them listed! And I tell ya, I feel a sale coming my way!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What a stinking Week It Was

I need a little whine time here. Pass this over if you like.

Fairy Princess had the flu and missed school all week long. She cried every time I called her off, she loves school. Finally, I printed up Kindergarten papers off the web for her to work on. She's now past the number they were working on in class.

Then The Husband catches the flu. He gets to spend the entire day in bed. I swear he got sick on purpose... Even though he had a fever of 102 degrees, I'm still envious of his time in bed.

Little Man keeps crying for his Sissy and Daddy. Mommy is no longer any fun and no paint, play dough or circus tricks could change his mind.

Finally, Fairy Princess is much better. Well enough for her 1st slumber party at at friends house. Six 6 year olds... The mommy must be medicated. All of the girls had a great time and I only had 1 kid at home waking up at night. WooHoo me, the weekend is getting brighter.

I bathed in bleach all week, and washed all soft and hard surfaces my kid and husband touched. All should be well

Husband has a secondary infection (sinus infection) and PINK EYE! I bathe the house in bleach again, Lysol everything and purchase a case of Purel.

I think I have pink eye, still can't take a nap even if I did have a 102 degree fever because tomorrow is Monday.Husband works all week. Not that I'm complaining about work, I just want a @#$% nap.

On top of it all. Two, count them, TWO sales were canceled by the people who made purchases! Dirty Bastards.

Sunday night is almost done. I know, Sunday is the first day of the week, but I'm calling Monday the first day this week... It can only get better from here. Right?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Favorite Things

This drawer is one of my favorite places in my house. And I have 3 more beautiful drawers like it.
Some of these linens are family pieces made by Dulcie, Dearie and Grandma Percy. Some are just fabulous finds.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Playing for Keeps

What could be more fun than playing in the mud?

Playing in paste!

This is my first attempt at paper mache since grade school.
What a blast I had! I think she is a first in a series, because I kept having the greatest ideas pop into my head as I was forming her and painting her.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Art Heals

2.5 years ago, Ian was diagnosed with a rare form of the bleeding disorder, Von Willebrand Disease. We spent hours upon hours sitting and waiting in Hemoc Unit at Children's Hospital. Waiting for Factor, blood to cease flowing from my babies body, waiting, worrying, being very afraid. All while loving and protecting my broken baby and teaching my preschooler not to be afraid and that life is wonderful. I was an angry woman, every trip to that place was like a death march on my soul.
Anger, fear and parenting do not go well together, so I really needed to get myself together.
I did this with my camera and with fabric, floss and beads.
I needed a portable project to keep in our "hospital bag". A small Glad container with lovely floss, fabric and beads fit in perfectly and a small embroidery hoop takes almost no space. I started my black on black project pretty early on. I'm still not finished, and my not be for a while. I do have bitter sweet thoughts woven into this project. Fear, exhaustion, pride, all sewn into one little black squirrel. It may be a while before I complete him, but I pull him out now and then and add a few stitches. It was good to have my hands occupied and something entirely different to think about.
It was my camera that really started the healing. Being behind a camera is like an outer body experience. You can hide right out in the open and see the would around you in a new light. I started photographing everything from hospital days to shopping at my local co-op.
Thankfully, these days are much easier and Ian's own Factor has bumped up a bit, so there are far fewer hospital days. We all breath much easier here and life is as normal as any other household with kids and too many pets. I still carry my camera everywhere I go.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fabulous Finds Friday

Don't you just love a great estate sale? How about your favorite thrift shop? Mine really gave me something special this week....

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sneak Peek

Here is a sneak peek at some up-coming listings!
Don't you just love fresh laundry?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Like Mother Like Daughter

Some things just make me smile...

And my kindergartner trying so hard to learn embroidery makes me smile big!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Busy Day

It's been a busy day in the Ratliff household.
Gymnastics followed by Stownut Donut for a mid morning snack, to the bank for cash and back to Stownut donut to pay for said snack. Oops.
Once Fairy Princess hopped onto the school bus, Little Man and I got busy. I tidied toys and he brought them all back out again, we had hot cocoa and I took photos in between diaper changes and Thomas the Train track drama.
Here is a sample of what I did today...

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Egg Money

I was driving down Main Street last Thursday afternoon. Completely annoyed with the dump truck driver in the truck in front of me. The guy needed to make up his mind; either blow through the yellow lights or stop at a reasonable distance. These quick stops are spewing stone all over the place and replacing a windshield just isn't in the budget right now. Instead of letting my head throb form traffic, I decided to take a right on Quaint Ave. I won't get to my destination (Target) any sooner, but I'll be less annoyed and I love looking at the houses. The houses are of the same era and style as my own little house. But inside; well, inside, I know they have shining hardwood, built-in cabinetry and back staircases. This neighborhood is my little dream just three blocks away from my own street.
Usually, my heart gives a little leap when I see the Tangerine Dream. A huge, orange house with an overgrown flower garden and beautifully crafted scroll work. Thursday, all I felt was sadness. And then anger.
Ahhh. I've felt this before. It's loss.Why Thursday? A sunny day, kids in their car seats, we're running errands, eating a Frosty and I have The Cure playing just loud enough so I can sing and dance like the 80's loving fool I am? Hmm. This is a feeling that usually hits me a few days after a clinic visit, and comes as no surprise.Oh. Dream neighborhood. Bills to pay. Truck to fix. Blood to fix. My plans will never come to be. The built-ins, the back staircase, the 3rd floor attic space that would be a studio-playroom, the wavy brick road. These things will never happen. I am mourning the loss of the future I had made up in my imagination.
I never had the address I lost on Thursday, so why was it so upsetting? I worry about the future all of the time. Constantly. The unsettled feeling that something is forgotten, something needs to be done, something foreboding is about to happen is always hangs over me. An odd feeling for this happy girl, but it's there and I dare not speak of it to anyone. I am a happy girl, I get things done with a smile. I am the care taker of the world. I hold these worries and losses tight to me so others don't have to.
What do I have to worry about? I worry that medical bills will cause us to lose everything we have. I worry that we will be living with my parents, without health insurance, or cute shoes. I worry about how Little Man will pay for his medical bills in the distant future, health insurance, a home, car and family. I worry.My husband has a good job, he works amazingly hard. However, I can't afford to go to work. We cannot afford child care. Plus, who could I trust to take care of Little Man and who would be willing to take that task? Someone recently told me to think outside the box.
Hmmm. With two little ones at home I could take "900" calls, breath heavy and sigh lightly. But I would get the giggles, I know I would. Anyway, dirty talk to me is all about floors and laundry; not quite the turn on I imagine most 900 callers are looking for. I could go the way of generations of women before me and sell eggs. But I don't have any chickens. I do, however have eggs that are ripe for the picking and no where near expiration. Thanks to government and insurance companies, they cost quite a lot for me to keep under control, so if I got rid of these precious eggs I could lessen a monthly bill and make someone else happy. This just may be a winning idea.

Change is Good

New Name, updated look. I'm happy with the new blog, let's hope I keep up with it.

Friday, February 27, 2009

In the blink of an eye

Ian woke this morning with a small eye hemorrhage. It's nothing dangerous or serious, he can't even feel the spot. It is however, a little disturbing to see that red spot in his eye. Yet again I am reminded that our day can change at the blink of a pretty brown eye and my daydreams may be just that.
And then I thought of the Aesop's Fable, A girl and her bucket.

A young girl was going to market with a bucket of milk on her head.
"With the gold that I get from the sale of this milk, I'll buy a red hen," she said. "The hen will lay eggs, they'll hatch and then I'll have many chicks to raise. I'll feed them well and when they're grown, they will each lay eggs. and those eggs will hatch and I will have more hens, who'll lay more eggs that will hatch into chicks...
Before long I'll be rich and I'll wear fine clothes with emeralds and rubies from my collar to my toes. and one day perhaps I shall visit the Queen. I shall bring her rare gifts from China. I'll enter the court with my arms full of treasure. Bowing low I shall say, "FOR YOUR MAJESTY'S PLEASURE!"
And she bowed low...
With that sweep of her arm, she knocked off the bucket and spilled her fantasy load.
"Oh dear," she cried, "my dreams are splattered in puddles of milk on the road...."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Meet Dulcie

I come from a long line of lace makers, poets, painters. Women that found beauty in the most difficult and unusual of circumstances. But there is one woman that took me by the hand and led me to a path of imagination and creativity in a way that no other could possibly do.

I would like to introduce my grandmother, Dulcie to you. She was the brilliantly talented woman I have named my shop, Dulcie's Daughters, after. She was a poet, painter and master gardener ; she was a true Renaissance Woman in every way. Her sense of adventure led her to go against tradition and earn her medical degree in a University where only 3 women were enrolled. Her talent earned her publication and acclaim; her grace earned her friendships throughout the world. And through my sister and me, she insured that the creativity flowing though our bodies was never lost to us.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Featured On Day One and I Am So Greatful

I was so excited last night when I finally finished my first Etsy listings, and then I woke up to this... !

I know photography isn't the easiest sell, but I do hope this is a sign of things to come. Yay me!

Friday, February 20, 2009


That's all I've got to say

Take Care Mama!

Taking care of a family is tiring. Every parent knows this. Taking care of a family when one or more of you has a chronic illness is exhausting. Only some of us know what this is like."Hospital weeks" feel like a death march on body and soul. I hope there are only a very small handful of you who, like me, knows what this is like.
It's been nearly two and a half years since Little Man had his first Bleed. It's been nearly a two and a half years of worry, fear and the loss of dreams. I'm a mama, we tend to lose our self with the passing of the placenta. Mama's are the whole of someone else's needs and we tend to forget or is that ignore own own needs often. Add a baby with medical needs and you are, at times, lost. We've all forgotten to brush our teeth until 11:00am, we don't shower for 3 days at a time and breakfast often consists of finishing up the cold oatmeal the toddler left behind in his bowl. Mmmm, breakfast of champions.
After Little Man had that first bleed, we spent months on end going to and from the hospital on a very regular basis. One afternoon Sue stopped by. I answered the door a lumpy, smelly, cold oatmeal eating mess. Sue is one of my best friends and she did what any true friend would. She sat me down and gave me a lecture. No, make that the best advise anyone ever had ever given me...

Take care Mama! It went something like this...

"What the hell? You look like Amy Winehouse on a bad day and you smell like swiss cheese." Can't you just feel the love? "Do you think you're doing anyone any good with this self deprivation? Well you're not. Go take a shower and for God's sake, brush your teeth before they start dropping out of your head." I just stared at her. So she said, "I've got the kids handled. Go!" She may or may not have muttered something about my being a dumb-ass, and my trepidation was a personal slight on her parenting and nursing skills.
I worried all the way up the stairs. And then I started the shower water...The hot streaming water and the soap washed away the filth made up of anxieties. I then put on a new layer, of fresh clothes that smelt of Tide and not of despair.
When I finally made my way downstairs, I did not find Little Man in the puddle of blood my imagination had me mopping clean. Instead, I found my sweet boy playing with my friends keys . All the while, Fairy Princess glued hearts and glitter onto a paper hat. It was a blissful sight to behold.
After a cup of tea and more "advise" from a mama in the know (years before she thought she might lose one of her own little Monkey Men to illness). Maybe it was the high from the deodorant fumes or the giddiness from the apple blossom scented shampoo, but I vowed take better care of myself. In all honestly, there are days that I don't get to shower until bedtime and I did eat Girl Scout cookies for breakfast, just this morning. But I do shower and I leave the last of the cold oatmeal alone. I am still sleep deprived and overly caffeinated, but the stench of the past is long gone.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It's Been A Long and Productive Winter

So why don't I have any photos to show what I've done?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Taking the Drama Out of Breakfast

Apparently, our children think we've been feeding them poison for breakfast. Their once favorite oatmeal now brings tears and refusals to eat. What brought this on? A visit to Great-Grandma's house.Great-Grandma does not cook. Not unless it comes out of a package. Like a box of waffles. To my children, these freeze dried treats are pretty tasty once slathered in peanut butter and doused with fake maple syrup. I'm a bit of a food snob, I'll admit it freely, and I'm frugal. I refuse to pay for over priced, bland tasting freezer food. Since my children very quickly took a liking to it, I decided to abide them by making our own freezer waffles and taking the drama out of breakfast. Oh yum, if you don't have a waffle maker, I recommend going to Target and spending $9.99 on a toastmaster waffle maker.

Go ahead, I'll wait...

...This was the best batter I've made yet. I copied the recipe from some magazine eons ago, so I can't give proper credit due, I'm guessing it was from Taste of Home? The batter was very airy and the waffles are fluffy and light. And I'll admit to cheating and using Jiffy baking mix like the recipe called for however, if your a purest, go ahead and mix your own dry ingredients, but follow the next steps... You won't regret it...

Fluffy Light Waffles
2 Cups dry mix
2 eggs
1/2 Cup oil
1 Cup club soda.
Mix together and cook.
This recipe makes 10 waffles in my maker.I made 4 batches and popped them into the freezer.If my kids have a fit at breakfast tomorrow, you may find them for sale in my Etsy shop... They are home made, after all.

Friday, January 23, 2009


The bitter cold has let go and the kids are behaving like their little monkey selves again. This gives me the chance to sit for a few minutes at a time and get some work done. I've been working on a few smalls this week...
Here is a sample...

This is, Storms Clear the Air

This is, Hollyhocks

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Little Man Update

Well, well, well. It seems that his Von Willebrand #'s are up these days. His hand is doing so well, with no after-bleeds even though he keeps landing on that hand while wrestling.
I guess I can let out that breath I've been holding in.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Is This The Way to Start a New Year?

Bad news - Good news. Is this a sign of how the year is going to be?

Little Man and Daddy'O spent the day in ER. Fairy Princess was behaving like a princess of another kind and tried to shut her little brother out of her bedroom. Unfortunately, his little hand was in the crack of her door, the hinge side at that, and she tried to get the door to latch before she realized his hand was being crushed. Ahh, sibling love.
After screams, tears and ice. The swelling and bruising was quite bad, so to the hospital. Oh joy.

Here's the good news.
The internal bleeding stopped without Factor and his hand isn't broken. Thank goodness for those flexible little bones. After a couple of doses of Tylenol, you would never know Little Man had been hurt. Except that he keeps going over to his sister and telling her that she gave him a boo-boo. Which makes her cry and me sort of laugh. I am a mean mama after all.

I have been waiting for something to happen for months, and now that it has it's okay. We survived. And that's more good news...