Saturday, January 31, 2009

A perfect excuse for more tattoos

This has been bouncing around the internet for a few days now, but it's too funny not to share. And with the CPSIA nonsense behind us (for a little while anyway), I'm in a damn good mood!

Stimulus Payment Information

This year, taxpayers will receive an Economic Stimulus Payment. This is a very exciting new program that I will explain using the Q and A format:

Q. What is an Economic Stimulus Payment?
A. It is money that the federal government will send to taxpayers.

Q. Where will the government get this money?
A. From taxpayers.

Q. So the government is giving me back my own money?
A. Only a smidgen.

Q. What is the purpose of this payment?
A. The plan is that you will use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.

Q. But isn't that stimulating the economy of China ?
A. Shut up.

Below is some helpful advice on how to best help the US economy by spending your stimulus check wisely:

If you spend that money at WalMart, all the money will go to China.

If you spend it on gasoline it will go to the Arabs.
If you purchase a computer it will go to India.
If you purchase fruit and vegetables it will go to Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala (unless you buy organic).
If you buy a car it will go to Japan.
If you purchase useless crap it will go to Taiwan or China.

And none of it will help the American economy.

We need to keep that money here in America.

You can keep the money in America by spending it at yard sales, going to a football or baseball game, spending it on prostitutes, beer and wine (domestic ONLY), or tattoos, since those are the only true U. S. businesses remaining.


Well, for now anyway. Still, I'll gladly take it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


So, here's the Metroland article I mentioned yesterday. Great stuff! I'm so glad someone around here is finally talking about this whole mess. Thanks, Kate!!! Our local news did a small bit on the CPSIA, too. Could this be a light at the end of the tunnel? Word's gettin' out, yo!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I am totally guilty...

...of this.

Oh, and P.S. I'm totally guilty of overusing/misusing the word "totally", too. I'm sure you've noticed. Heh.

If you're in this area and you care about the impact the CPSIA will have on local businesses, grab yourself a copy of the old Metroland tomorrow. It's the cover story this week and the article was written by the incredibly awesome Kate. I'm dying to see how she pulled it all together. As of yesterday afternoon she still hadn't gotten any solid information from the lawmakers or powers that be. Talk about getting the runaround. Stay tuned. I'll post the article here.
Hope the weather is decent where you are. We weren't slammed nearly as hard as the weatherfolk said we'd be, but it still sucks. All I keep hearing about are the millions of people without power and I truly feel for them. After going all those days without heat or electricity in the dead of winter, I'm grateful for it when we have it. Wherever you are, please be safe!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

busy bee

Stayin' busy these days, kids. I'm working my butt off trying to get ready for Troy Night Out this Friday. My mom and grandmother are the featured artists this month in the rear gallery. They'll both be showing off their paintings, although they also dabble in other art forms, too! The entire calendar is booked for 2009 in the gallery. We have a wonderful group of artists this time around and I'm so excited for you to see their work!

"Nest" by MaryEllen Robinson (my mom)

"Bluebird Family" by Helen Stopera (my grandmother)

I'm still working on the menu for Friday night, although I should say right here and now that there will no longer be dip available for sale. Honestly, it scares the shit out of me despite the fact that my insurance company has given me the thumbs up to sell it. I know that the food I sell is clean, made with fresh ingredients, and stored at the proper temperature, but I worry that someone will get sick from something else they've eaten and blame the illness on my dip (and potentially sue me). Either that, or they'll leave the shop with the dip, walk around for a few hours or leave it in the car, and eat it after it has spoiled. It would be impossible to prove whose fault it was, so I'm just cutting it off right here and now. I feel awful because I loved selling it and people certainly love eating and buying it, but everyone will have to just be happy with snacking on it once a month for TNO. I'm preparing my speech now because I know I'm going to have to tell that same sad story about 123,465,432,065,746,320,999 times on Friday night when people ask me why they can't buy it. Bummer.

I've also been working hard on some jewelry. I've made 36 pairs of earrings, three bracelets, and I'm working on necklaces as we speak. Talk about hooked! Unfortunately, I went from bringing my camera with me everywhere I go (as I've done for several years now) to forgetting it just about every day, so I have no pictures thus far. I will, though. This is exactly why an Etsy shop would never work for me. I never take pictures of my work. Anyway, I've got eleven handbags on the bench in various stages of completion, and I plan to crank a few more out before Friday. The coffee sleeves are almost done after finally getting enough snaps in my furry little hands to finish them. AND, the mini clutches, headbands, and snap pouches are all done, too! Whew! I'm pooped!

If you're planning to visit this Friday, I've marked all of the adult t-shirts down, and you can take an additional 40% off the ticketed price. Certain select soaps are on sale at 50% off. The last remaining Christmas ornaments are 15% off. And about half of the children's items will be 40% off, thanks to the CPSIA.
Speaking of the CPSIA, I've been thinking about what kinds of new things to bring in to take up the space of the missing kids stuff after the 10th. I found a marvelous Etsy shop where one can buy bird houses, bat houses, bee houses and butterfly houses out of reclaimed wood, and painted in the sweetest candy colors or left raw and beautiful. I've ordered some of those just in time for Spring. But aside from that, what would you like to see at The Paper Sparrow? If you've shopped here, have you noticed something missing? I'm open to any suggestions you might have.

Hope to see you Friday!

Monday, January 26, 2009

a brief outing with my best girl

I cut this off too early and I'm bummed because she went on a tirade about fish and cats and it was the best part of our little animal talk. Maybe next time.

Oh and please disregard my annoying voice.

Friday, January 23, 2009

for Keith

Just don't cry, okay?


I almost cried when I read this.

I know a lot of you may not agree with it, and that's totally your right. I completely understand. But this means so much to me and my family and it's something I feel very passionately about. To see my father walk again is something I've only dreamt about, but it's gone from dream to reality and maybe even possibility. We may never see it in his lifetime, but to think of all of the people who will benefit from it in the warms my icy cold heart.

This is something good. I might just like this Obama guy after all.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

keep yourself warm

I've been humming this song all day. Funny how songs float in and out of your life the way they do. This one is a favorite.

There's a rumor floating around that these crazy kids might be playing the Scottish Games this year, and for those of you who have been reading this old blog for a while now, you know that the Games are a priority to certain members of this family. Keep your fingers crossed. Frightened Rabbit, caber toss and kilts aplenty...I think I'd wet myself.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

the totally nonsensical, completely random post...

...because I have a ton of stuff bouncing around in my brain.

1) The next round of knitting classes starts up tomorrow night and this time we've added a Saturday beginner's course and a Stitch and Bitch. If you're interested in the class tomorrow evening, please get in touch with me as soon as you possibly can. We're close to reaching full capacity but we can probably squeeze in one or two more if needed. The Saturday class (12p-1:30p) is wide open and the Stitch and Bitch is open to the public from 2-3:30 and completely free. Linda, our knitting instructor will be on hand to answer questions or to solve your deepest, darkest knitting problems. Heh.

2) After giving it some thought, I've come to a decision about this whole CPSIA thing. I'm cutting the kids stuff. I hate to do it and it really rather upsets me but I don't know what else to do. Of course if people start paying the fees to have their product tested, I won't hesitate to bring it back, but I don't fault anyone for throwing in the towel. I took a look at the general costs of testing and it's absolutely absurd. The fines I'd face if I ever got caught selling things that were not approved would not only put me out of business, but I'd lose my house, too, and that's just not something I'm willing to chance. I'm in the process of contacting my consignment people and giving them the choice to either pull their things out in early February, or leave them and liquidate the merchandise. For those of you in this area, I'll have all of the things I bought on wholesale on clearance this coming Troy Night Out. I need to get it out. Ugh, it hurts me to even type that.

3) To make up for the lack of sales from our nasty economic slump and for the impending lack of sales from the removal of baby and children's items in the shop, I've decided to try something new. I took a bit of a shopping jaunt to Michael's tonight with my mom and we discussed jewelry making. She told me she'd teach me what she knows and I'm eager to learn. Making jewelry isn't something I've ever really been interested in, but I'm willing to give it a shot. I'm about to lose about 50% of my sales when the kid's stuff goes bye-bye, and my second biggest seller is jewelry, so why not? Sewing and fiber arts are still my passion, but I worry that I'm about thisclose to burning out on that. So, tomorrow I learn how to make earrings and then, well, we'll see where this new hobby takes me.

4) My dearest Alex got new glasses. Every man on the face of the planet should own these. 'Nuff said.

5) I still can't believe it, and I don't think it has truly hit me yet, but I cancelled my Sirius subscription. That means no more Howard Stern. No, I'm not smoking crack. No, I haven't totally lost my mind. I've been a loyal Stern fan for fifteen years and haven't missed a beat in that time. But since old Howard became a walking cliche by marrying a supermodel and scored a measly $500,000,000 contract, the show just isn't what it should be, and certainly not what it ever was before. It's one thing to slack off when you're dealing with a free, terrestrial radio scenario. But asking your listeners to shell out some serious cash just to listen to you whine about not wanting to be at work, and how working around your sixteen weeks of vacation a year and your four day work week is just too much for you (at 53 years of age) to handle, well, nevermind. I'm out. Howard officially became everything he hated about people.

6) Food Network magazine rocks my socks off. If you watch the channel at all, or just plain give a damn about cooking in general, do yourself a favor and shell out the $15 for a subscription. You'll thank yourself for it, I promise.

What's new with you crazy kids?


I wanted to take this opportunity to show off a new, amazing Etsy shop. I came across this shop just this morning and I've been thinking about the seller's things ever since. From sweet little bird vases to massive platters and bowls with little cockroaches scattered about, to pretty ladybug cake stands, this shop is a new favorite of mine. And I know what you're thinking...platters and bowls with cockroaches?!?!? They're cute, trust me.

Check out Catherine Reece's shop here.

And for those of you with an extra $45 kicking around...if you're wondering what to do with it, I'll take this, please:
And hey, it's on sale!!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

mulled over

Our friends went back to Florida today and I must admit, I'm a little bummed. We had so much fun with them in town and it feels like something is missing around my little house tonight. Actually, I'm a little shocked that I finally made it to the end of this super hectic stretch of time that started around the early December period. First came the Victorian Stroll which involved a ton of preparation and really kicked off the holiday insanity at the shop. Things were crazy and busy from that point on until Christmas when we were consumed with worry over my grandfather's surgery, recovery and general health condition. Then came New Years, which, as usual, was pretty uneventful for me, but we busied ourselves with preparation for the visit of my aunt (also from Florida) and then finally my two old friends. Now that the holidays are over and our friends have gone home, I feel like I'm wasting time by sitting still. I've been running around for so long and stressing over what comes next, and now that there's really nothing exciting on the horizon, I feel a bit...lost, I guess. It's hard to explain. I'm a bit confused myself.

Anyway, I plan to take these next few days and just relax. I've been enjoying the silence today and reflecting on the things going on in my life. People are coming and going. Opportunities are popping up. Ideas are knocking around in my brain. I want to take this opportunity of a brand new year in a country with a brand new president, surrounded by people so full of new hope and I want to run with it. I just hope the novelty doesn't wear off too soon. I have lots to accomplish.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A no good very sad day

"I do an awful lot of thinking and dreaming about things in the past and the future — the timelessness of the rocks and the hills — all the people who have existed there," he once said. "I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape — the loneliness of it — the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn't show. I think anything like that — which is contemplative, silent, shows a person alone — people always feel is sad. Is it because we've lost the art of being alone?" -Andrew Wyeth

My heart aches a little. Go here for the obit.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The lady Lee

So, I was out shopping with my family last weekend and I came across a framed print that I absolutely fell in love with. The print was damaged and a bit out of my price range anyway, so I didn't buy it. Of course, I'm kicking myself for not buying it now. I took down the artist's name and looked it up when I got home. Kids, I'm in love.

Do you know of Doris Lee? She's an American folk painter and printmaker who just totally rocked my world. I didn't see it coming. She lived in Woodstock for a good chunk of her life and now I'm dying to get there (can you say road trip???) to see if I can find some of her work available for public viewing.

This is the painting I fell in love with last weekend:

And here are a few other examples I found online:
I may have to go back for that print after all.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Kim put together an amazing post the other day and I've been thinking about it a lot recently. I think I might accept the challenge and make a list of my own. So here goes:

5 Things
Simple pleasures, favorite things

1. Good friends. Having our old friends here for the past few days, and for the next few as well, has made me realize how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life. Amazing.

2. That perfect shade of green. I actually contemplated painting my entire house this color for a while, but realized I'd tire of it quickly and changed my mind. It's staying in the front room of the house, and is currently the only room that hasn't been repainted since moving in.

3. The most divine smell ever. I never thought I could find the perfect scent in Bath and Body Works of all places, but I did somehow and now I'm tied to them forever. Or until they discontinue it. I stock up regularly (50% off on the website right now!!!). I hate those little plastic dingleberries that hang off of every bottle, though. What's up with that?

4. My babies. I have a weird thing for succulents and most of my prickly little friends live in my kitchen. We have a wonderful give and take relationship. I water them on the first of each and every month and they give me beautiful flowers and healthy growth. They're starting to take over, though, and I'm running out of room. Anyone in this area want a starfish plant (Stapelia gigantea)? I'm going to have some babies soon and I can't keep them all.

5. This little peanut...who can never sit still for more than five seconds, making it nearly impossible to take a decent photo.

What are your 5 things?

I've come undone...


Got the new VivaTerra catalog yesterday and I think I may have drooled on the cover a little.
I secretly wish to be rich just so my house can be completely done over by the folks who work for this company. Hey, one can dream, right? The fact that this stuff is earth-friendly is really cool. The recycled materials (like railroad tie shelving and stools made from retired wood flooring) are a true bonus. But the colors, the concepts, the just plain rocks. I love how the products change a little with the seasons. The winter months bring heavier, darker materials, and items perfect for snuggling up in (like that amazing bed below). Warmer months bring lighter, airier products that just seem so feminine and natural. I love it all.
Check it:

And last but not least, a little something for moi:

Monday, January 12, 2009


Make these bad boys:

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup unsalted butter, (2 sticks), softened
2 large eggs
Sanding sugar, for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl; set aside.

Put sugars and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed 30 seconds. Add butter; mix until pale and fluffy, about 1 minute. Mix in eggs, 1 at a time, and then the lemon juice. Reduce speed; gradually add flour mixture, and mix until just combined.

Scoop dough using a 2-inch ice cream scoop; space cookies 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Flatten cookies slightly with a spatula. Sprinkle tops with sanding sugar, then lightly brush with a wet pastry brush; sprinkle with more sanding sugar.

Bake cookies until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes.

Transfer cookies to racks using a spatula; let cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

Martha Stewart is a saint. The cookie on this plate lasted about two seconds. Mike ate the rest.