Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Boy!

Look at how cute my little reader is! His Grandpa Fred had a great love of books. He read in bed every evening and finished 1-2 books a week(mostly novels and biographies). I would say he was the reason my sister and I love books to this day.
So I guess this isn't shocking(but darn cute!)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

More Progress on My Annuals

Alien looking Calendula seeds

Calendula "Pink Surprise" when in bloom

Black-eyed Susan Vine "Spanish Eyes"

Sweet Peas "Prince Edward of York"

Managed to start all of these seeds yesterday
(Well, the sweet peas a little earlier. Actually, a couple days after the 'Frolic' variety)
I was slightly taken aback when I opened the package of Calendula seeds!Isn't it odd how ugly the seeds can look for such a cute flower? They and the 'Spanish Eyes' are going in my front containers and baskets. In between chores, I'm trying to start more seeds.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I Have Seedlings!!

My little overachiever's have sprouted. Only 6 of the 18 seedling pots are showing sprouts but I'm excited to see them come to life! The baby food tubs are working very well and I've doubled them up on the sprouted seeds since I needed to remove their lids and it will be harder to make sure the moisture is adequate. I put just enough water to reach the bottom of the seedling pot that way the soil can soak up what it needs. The photo below is what they will look like when they start to bloom. They are 'Frolic' Sweet Peas from the Select Seeds catalog. Now I need to figure out where I'm going to plant them! [well, I do have some idea but I have to over-analyze my options, I'm a Virgo, that's what I do.:o)]

So Fickle

I'm playing with my seeds again today. I'm itching to garden. I received some free Mignonette 'Machet' seeds with my order from Select Seeds(a great place to buy antique flower seeds by the way). My problem is the flowers aren't that pretty to look at. They are suppose to smell heavenly. Now while I'm not generally a person who judges books by their cover, I do like 'pretty' things in my garden(especially since I have such limited space). I think the problem I'm having is they remind me of weeds that make me sneeze! Oh well, I'm going to go plant them today regardless, who knows, I may be pleasantly surprised when I see them in my garden!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Life Returns

bleeding hearts

black barlow columbine

female cardinal



mini daffodils

Labrador violets



While my little one slept, I took photos of the garden coming back to life!
(and a cardinal that came to visit)
I'm so excited!!

Green Idea - Seedling Pots

I originally was going to make all of my seedling pots from newspapers. I kept procrastinating and then lo and behold I came up with this idea to re-purpose my multitudes of plastic baby food containers. Making them takes minimal effort (two good size drainage holes in the bottom that are big enough to soak up water) and I will be able to reuse them year after year. The best part of all, the lids make them little self-contained greenhouses.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I joined Facebook a few weeks ago in hopes to promote my etsy shop and instead I've found a bunch of people from my past that I'm actually quite happy to be reacquainted with!

When I left high school, I left pretty much everything behind. I had a couple friends that I maintained relationships with but for the most part I cut ties with that chapter of my life. Sometimes when looking back at your life you realize that you threw the baby out with the bath water. There were a lot of events that happened, that at that young age, I didn't fully understand how to process or heal. Some didn't need either but back then, I basically avoided looking at any of it. If I experienced pain, I avoided rereading the chapter.

It was a defense mechanism that I continued through most of my twenties. In my thirties, I finally found a way to look at all of these events and heal them as they happened. I learned not to associate people with the feelings that were generated by their actions or to connect the feelings to them because of their association to me at that time.

I still am a bit elusive in my relationships with people because I truly am a free spirit, but unless you've directly wronged me or repeatedly treated me in a way that is inappropriate, I am always your friend. I guess in a way it was time for me to reflect on the events that happened at that time and to heal any wounds that may still need to be healed.

There is still a chapter of my life that seems to remain untouched and unresolved: my art school days. I don't know if I will get the chance to revisit them or not. I think these were my most profound and most painful. I maintained relationships with no one from that period even though some of the people I met penetrated my soul and have stayed with me all these years. It was the first place I ever felt at home and the first place that inspired me everyday. Personally, I was a trainwreck, but who isn't at 19 or 20? I chalk up the loss of the potential lifelong friends I could have had from this period as the price I paid to protect my fragile ego of that time. It doesn't make me long any less for those relationships but it does put it in perspective. That ego wasn't worth the cost of those friendships but unfortunately hindsight is 20/20.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Funny!

I Feel Better...Sort Of!

I didn't get everything finished this weekend but I made headway so I feel pretty good about what I was able to accomplish.

The down side was I ended up getting 3 teeth pulled instead of just one (impacted wisdom teeth..okay so I put it off for 20+ years, I guess it was time!!) I had a very good oral surgeon (Dr. G) who told me they needed to come out.... now!(I like decisive people!) I was nervous but luckily didn't have time to think much about what was going to happen. Good news is I had very little swelling, no bruising and honestly, for all the work I had done, I'm not really that sore! I'm talking a little funny but I guess some people may think that's normal.

Taxes are done also and from direct experience, it was nothing like having teeth pulled(LOL).

Recycles are gone and some seeds are started. This and spring cleaning are going to take me a little while but they are both underway and I feel good about the pace I'm working at so I won't complain or let myself feel down about not finishing. It was only the first weekend of spring!

So now I can go back to posting. I hope to work on my storybook project and will post what I have when I have something to show.

Friday, March 20, 2009

So Much to do, So Little Time

This may be the last post from me until after a very busy weekend.

This is my to do list for this weekend:

*Spring Clean the Main Floor
[clean clutter, purge toys, scrub floors, hang all winter coats in closet (not dining room chairs, irritating!!!) put away winter boots and toys, clean little finger prints off of all smooth surfaces/glass, clean the stove (it's getting on my nerves, have to take off all the knobs and scrub behind them!) and the refrigerator(the science projects must go!), finish lining cabinets, etc., etc.]

*Start Seeds
[I have a number of annual flowers and vegetables that I have to start ASAP or I won't have flowers or food come summer!]

*Dental Appointment

*Get Taxes Done
[used to be the one who did taxes on Feb 1 now that I have a small business I get overwhelmed and don't get them done until the end of March, early April!]

*Organize Recyclables and Cart Them to the Drop-Off Center
[such a pain but I can't throw them in the trash, it's amazing how much of our refuse is recyclable!]

Most of this is just time consuming and with a little one, it's even more so. Unfortunately, when I Spring Clean, I become relentless. [DH may be sorry if he didn't put up his trade magazines when I asked...;o)]

Have an AWESOME Weekend!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Motivations Behind Cool Creations Study Results

[I participated in this study a few months ago. I completely forgot about it until I received the results yesterday! Here is an abbreviated version of the results that I received and my personal insight.]

Thank you for participating in my research on the Motivations behind Cool Creations. I am still preparing the findings, but the preliminary evidence provides some unique and important results for the study of motivation in general and for the study of creating unique products in particular.

The Five Factor Model of Personality

The dominant paradigm or most agreed upon way for measuring personality is the Five Factor Model. Although, as with any scientific tradition, there are still debates and opportunities to refine this paradigm, thousands of studies on hundreds of thousands of participants have led to a general consensus that the Five Factor Model provides a simple, yet compelling way to describe
personalities. I have supplied the Wikipedia definition of each of the five factors below (the definitions are so widely held and agreed upon that the open-nature of Wikipedia seemed to be an appropriate source – plus it’s less technical than most research definitions!).

Your Personality and Research Findings
The table below shows you your personality scores. Each of the Five Factors was measured using ten questions. The overall score represents the average of your responses to these questions[mine are shown in blue]. The graph also shows you the average of all the participants in this study. There were 187 people that completed the study. 98% of the participants were female. The average age was 37 and 63% of the participants had a college degree. [these are shown in purple]I have also included personality factor averages from a separate, independent study of over 2,000 college students (just to provide another point of comparison).[shown in white]There is no “right or wrong” in this data. In other words, you don’t necessarily want to be higher than the average or lower than the average. The point is self discovery, to learn more about your natural tendencies and thereby emphasize your strengths or find ways to mitigate weaknesses. Comparison only helps as it allows you to better identify these strengths and weaknesses.

To provide some direction in thinking about how these factors might help you understand yourself more, let me briefly review some research findings that I think would be interesting for individuals participating in Etsy – the first looks at personality and entrepreneurship and the second looks at personality and artists.

Personality and Entrepreneurship
A recent study by Zhao and Seibert (2006) compared the findings of 23 studies (over 3,000 people) that looked at entrepreneurs and personality. They found that entrepreneurs (when compared to managers inside typical organizations) were more conscientious and more open to new experiences but they were less neurotic and agreeable. In other words, entrepreneurs tend to be “wired” in a way that allows them to be more driven to succeed and more creative than others. But in the process, entrepreneurs also tend to pay a bit less attention to detail and to other’s feelings. So, you might ask yourself:

• Do these findings fit the scores I received?Pretty much, but I am somewhat puzzled by the high extroversion result. I do like other people's company but I'm very selective of the people I socialize with and have always considered myself rather shy.
Do they match the comparison between me and the college students?I've always struggled with the structure and politics of American universities (I feel they stifle creativity and personal expression in lieu of conformity but that's my opinion and a big reason why I never completed my degree) so it doesn't shock me that I am out of skew with that of the average college student.:o)[and in light of this insight it makes me question the result of being highly agreeable]
• Does this description of an entrepreneur resonate with me?Yup
• In which of these entrepreneurial skills did I score highest?Openness Do I adequately
accentuate this potential strength?Absolutely
• In which of these entrepreneurial skills did I score lowest? I think the bigger problem is I scored high in agreeableness. Perhaps I need to be conscious of not putting others needs ahead of my own to achieve the success I desire.
Do I adequately mitigate this potential weakness? I don't believe I do, I'm truly a nice person and I think part of that is agreeableness. I'll have to figure out a way to work this into my business to my benefit not

Personality and Artists
Work by Feist (1998) analyzed the findings of 39 studies (over 4,000 people). Each of these studies compared artists with non-artists. Feist found that artists were higher on openness to experience but lower on conscientiousness. So, like entrepreneurs, artists were more creative than non-artists, but unlike entrepreneurs, artists tend to be lower on attention to detail. Or, Feist’s words: “[artists] were less cautious, conscientious, controlled, orderly, and reliable; they
were more aesthetic, creative, curious, imaginative, open to experience, sensitive, and original; and finally they were less conventional, rigid, and socialized” (1998:298).
So, you might ask yourself:

• Does this description of an artist resonate with me?Absolutely, although I'm shocked that they wouldn't be concerned with detail in their art.
• How does this description fit with my personality scores?Makes perfect since openness was my highest score and it seems to relate directly to my creative nature.
• What can I do to enhance strengths that might result from having an artistic personality?
• What can I do to mitigate weaknesses that might result from having an artistic personality?
I don't have any answers to the last two questions, I have an artistic personality for better or worse, haven't been able to change it for 40 years and honestly don't want to! I will take it for better or worse!:o)

Defining each Factor (from
Openness is a general appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, imagination, curiosity, and variety of experience. The trait distinguishes imaginative people from down-to-earth, conventional people. People who are open to experience are intellectually curious, appreciative of art, and sensitive to beauty. They tend to be, compared to closed people, more creative and more aware of their feelings. They are more likely to hold unconventional beliefs.

People with low scores on openness tend to have more conventional, traditional interests. They prefer the plain, straightforward, and obvious over the complex, ambiguous, and subtle. They may regard the arts and sciences with suspicion, regarding these endeavors as abstruse or of no practical use. Closed people prefer familiarity over novelty. They are conservative and resistant to change.

Neuroticism is the tendency to experience negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, or depression. It is sometimes called emotional instability. Those who score high in neuroticism are emotionally reactive and vulnerable to stress. They are more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening, and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult. Their negative emotional reactions tend to persist for unusually long periods of time, which means they are often in a bad mood. These problems in emotional regulation can diminish a neurotic's ability to think clearly, make decisions, and cope effectively with stress.

At the other end of the scale, individuals who score low in neuroticism are less easily upset and are less emotionally reactive. They tend to be calm, emotionally stable, and free from persistent negative feelings. Freedom from negative feelings does not mean that low scorers experience a lot of positive feelings. Frequency of positive emotions is a component of the Extraversion domain.

Extraversion, also called "extroversion," is characterized by positive emotions, surgency, and the tendency to seek out stimulation and the company of others.The trait is marked by pronounced engagement with the external world. Extraverts enjoy being with people, and are often perceived as full of energy. They tend to be enthusiastic, action-oriented individuals who are likely to say "Yes!" or "Let's go!" to opportunities for excitement. In groups they like to talk,
assert themselves, and draw attention to themselves.

Introverts lack the exuberance, energy, and activity levels of extraverts. They tend to be quiet, low-key, deliberate, and less involved in the social world. Their lack of social involvement should not be interpreted as shyness or depression. Introverts simply need less stimulation than extraverts and more time alone.

Conscientiousness is a tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement. The trait shows a preference for planned rather than spontaneous behavior. It influences the way in which we control, regulate, and direct our impulses. Conscientiousness includes the factor known as Need for Achievement (NAch).
The benefits of high conscientiousness are obvious. Conscientious individuals avoid trouble and achieve high levels of success through purposeful planning and persistence. They are also positively regarded by others as intelligent and reliable. On the negative side, they can be compulsive perfectionists and workaholics.

Agreeableness is a tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others. The trait reflects individual differences in concern for social harmony. Agreeable individuals value getting along with others. They are generally considerate, friendly, generous, helpful, and willing to compromise their interests with others. Agreeable people also have an optimistic view of human nature. They believe people are basically honest, decent, and trustworthy.

Disagreeable individuals place self-interest above getting along with others. They are generally unconcerned with others’ well-being, and are less likely to extend themselves for other people. Sometimes their skepticism about others’ motives causes them to be suspicious, unfriendly, and uncooperative.

Other projects by Spencer you may be interested in participating:

Blogging about curiosity – a community art project

I am creating a virtual “curio cabinet” – a collection of images, stories, and collages that describe moments of curiosity or that inspire curiosity. Each week I receive artistic descriptions and depictions of curiosity and I post them to inspire others. To participate simply email me an example of curiosity or a curio at:

You can read the blog here:

Spouse study

History is filled with examples of artists and their spouses or partners. In some cases, one is an artist and the other serves as a support: Helen managed the affairs of Dr. Suess, Lee Krasner faithfully promoted the work of her husband Jackson Pollock. In other cases, both are artists such as Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Members of Etsy are interested in these dynamics (type "spouse" in the forums and you'll see a number of threads). This study will explore how relationships between spouses/partners or close friends impacts creation and creativity. To sign up, simply cut and paste the link below into your browser. The study will begin Fall 2009.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lemon Pound Cake Recipe

I saw this recipe this morning when I was catching up on one of my email in-boxes. It is from a newsletter I subscribe to, Obviously I haven't made this yet but I will! I love Lemon Pound Cake! My biggest concern is the bundt pan. Everything I bake in one seems to get an overly dark crust. But I'll try anyway:o) Bet this would be good with fresh raspberries, too!

Lemon Pound Cake

It’s easy to whip up this sweet, moist pound cake that’s perfect for every occasion.

Servings: 8 to 10
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes

3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
¾ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
Zest and juice of one large lemon, divided

Tip: Lemon zest adds brightness to the flavor of baked goods. When removing it from the fruit, try using a microplane grater, available at your local grocery store. The microplane only lifts the bright yellow zest, and not the white pith beneath, which can infuse your batter with a dull, bitter taste.

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 12” cake or bunt pan, then lightly coat with flour, tapping out excess.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, then set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar, beating with an electric mixer at medium speed for one minute, or until light and creamy. Add eggs one at a time to the mixture, beating well after each addition.
  4. Gradually add in portions of the dry mixture and buttermilk until the batter is well mixed. Stir in vanilla extract, almond extract, finely chopped lemon zest and 3 tablespoons lemon juice; mix just until combined.
  5. Spread the batter evenly into your prepared cake pan and bake 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake’s center comes out clean.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan. Brush the warm cake liberally with Lemon Syrup (see instructions below).
  7. Once coated, let cool completely on a wire rack. Drizzle your cake with Lemon Glaze, then serve with Sweetened Whipped Cream (see instructions below).

Lemon Syrup and Glaze

An undeniably moist cake batter isn’t quite enough. Add even more juicy flavor with a simple lemon syrup and thick, slow-pouring lemon-sugar glaze.

½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
Juice and peel of one large lemon (plus reserved juice and zest from cake batter)
1 cup powdered sugar

  1. To create your Lemon Syrup, combine sugar, water, lemon juice and peel in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard lemon peel.
  3. When your syrup is ready, place the cake and cooling rack on a rimmed baking sheet to simplify cleanup. With a large culinary brush, generously coat your warm cake with the syrup, letting it drip over the sides of the cake. Set aside 3 tablespoons syrup to prepare the Lemon Glaze.
  4. To make your glaze, combine 1 cup powdered sugar and remaining lemon syrup in a medium-size bowl, then drizzle it over the cooled cake.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Does Anyone Need Quantities of Clean, Empty Baby Food Jars?

I have medium (4oz) and large (6oz) baby food jars. I use them for bug collecting jars, finger paints and spice jars but have an over abundance of them. They would be great for kid's crafts, snow globes and probably many other things. I just spray paint the lids and use them in my pantry and studio for small things. Before I take them to the recycling drop off place(since I'm skeptical that they really do recycle the things dropped there!) I would like to offer them up here. I'll ship as many as you need with their lids for just the cost of shipping. Just leave me a comment with your email and I'll get back to you.:o)

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Yeah! Today is the Holden Arboretum's 30th Annual Member's Pancake Breakfast!!! We are scheduled to go and assuming that my husband doesn't make us late(it's 8:43 am and since he said he was getting up at 7 am today, you can see how prompt we are:o) Anyway, I'm SO excited, I don't have to swear in my kitchen to enjoy a pancake breakfast(When I make pancakes, I have to burn or otherwise ruin half the batter before I can actually get the temperature on my pan right) Hopefully, I will feel well enough to go for a short hike after stuffing my face. I'll post pictures if I get any good ones! :o)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

WOW! I learned something new today!

I learned how to use my webcam! Not the highest quality photos but at least I can take pics of me and my boy. This is me(with my new glasses) and my little love bug(eating my hair)!

The Results are In!

The top three children's stories in the poll are:

1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
2. Hansel and Gretel
3. Charlotte's Web

Now the challenging part, trying to design my entry! I'll try to post final sketches and maybe even vote on those if I can't decide!:o)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Please Vote!

I have a poll running today on the right sidebar. It is which childhood story you prefer. I am trying to decide on one for a challenge I want to participate in but I'm having a hard time picking just one!
SO! Please, give me your 2 cents. [How often do you really hear that? :o)]

Monday, March 9, 2009

Manic Monday

I spent the day day at the dentist, well not the whole day but it always feels like it's the whole day. I had an epiphany though as I tried to pick out an outfit that I wouldn't be likely to associate with a bad dental experience. ( I know sounds a little wacky but bear with me.)

When I was little, about five, I went to the dentist, not sure it was the first time but it was probably the first time the dentist filled a cavity. After 35 years my recollection is a little off, but I do remember being scared and I do remember him slapping my cheek to 'calm' me down and I do remember biting his finger the moment he put his finger back in my little mouth. Since then, I'm assuming, I haven't been too keen on going to the dentist. It's not that I don't value my dental health or that I can't see the importance of good dental care. It's that I still have a scared little girl that resides in me that is petrified of being hurt and unable to stop that which is scaring me.

So my epiphany? I think it's about time I find a therapist to talk to about some of the scary things that happened to me at a young age(unfortunately more than just the dentist!) that I haven't been able to heal from. I have found ways to cope and to work around some of these things but I need to heal them so that I can be fully who I am meant to be and show my son how it can be done. It's amazing how a little one can open your eyes to aspects of yourself that need to be healed. And it's amazing how you find the courage to confront these monsters of your youth. It was a very moving day for me emotionally that I wanted to share. I will hopefully be able to share a success story down this little road I'm traveling. :o)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rainy Day!

I'm glad we were able to get outside yesterday because it has been raining ALL day. There was something pretty about the rain droplets on the apple tree though!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Cleaning up the Flower Bed

Well, we were able to get out in the garden this afternoon. Cleaned up all the old leaves and fallen apples. You can now see the flower bed but it obviously needs work(and warm, sunny weather!) We are putting in edging this year, it should help some. I must say, I am a lucky girl, just look at my little helper!