Monday, September 13, 2010


Yes, yes, I'm alive.

I apologize for being such a blog slacker as of late, but I've been busier than I ever thought I would be now that I'm home full time. Things are starting to slow down a bit and I'm hoping to find some sense of a routine now that all of my house projects are almost finished (I never realized how fast little projects add up!). In all honesty, I think I've spent a grand total of five minutes online since leaving the shop. I'm taking a wee little break, but I promise to resume my job of being a bitter old blogger soon. Very soon. I miss you all and have lots to tell you about! Hope you're all well!

Friday, August 27, 2010


"I had never before, nor have I since, been so happy to have no idea what I was doing with my life."

- Molly Wizenberg, A Homemade Life

I really loved this book as a whole, but the above quote grabbed me at first read (so much so that I underlined it and dog-eared the page) and I haven't stopped thinking about it since. Maybe the timing made it special with the closing of the business and my life in full upheaval and all. But whatever the reason, it means a lot to me. I really do love not knowing what's coming next for me. It's liberating, to say the very least.

Anyway, I just wanted to post a little something to let the local folks know what's going on tonight. This will be my very last Troy Night Out and my very last day at the shop. We'll be closed tomorrow while I remove the remainder of my things and turn the keys over to the new owner. So, it's time to clean house. I don't want to take the rest of my merchandise home with me, so we're marking it all down and EVERYTHING MUST GO!

Here's the scoop:

50% off baby apparel (onesies, shorts and bibs only...some hats included)
50% off select winter scarves and hats
50% off most jewelry
50% off all handbags
50% off select plush items and teddy bears

There are a few more deals there too, but my mind is slipping. Stop by and see if you can find a little something for yourself. And hey, Christmas is coming faster than you think. Time to buy gifts!!! Wine, dips and munchies will be served in the gallery.

I hope to see you there! So bittersweet!

P.S. There are two artists represented in the rear gallery TONIGHT ONLY! Their work is fantastic and the prices are superb. Come show them your support!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

yard stuffs

just playin' around out back.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

done, son.

Okay, so now I can talk about what's been going on here these days. I had to hold off until the paperwork was finalized, meetings happened, everyone was on the same page and the logistics were all figured out.

Sooooo, with that said, I'd like to announce here and now that The Paper Sparrow has been sold.

My original plan was to stick it out until my lease expired (March 31st of 2011), sell off the remaining merchandise and fixtures, and just close my doors completely. But then someone saw this post and gave me a call. The timing couldn't have been better, the deal was right on and we both want to see the business go on instead of shutting down. So folks, effective September 1st, the business will be in new hands. My official last day will be Friday, August 27th, which just so happens to be a Troy Night Out, and the following day the shop will be closed while I remove some of my personal belongings, have a little party for those folks who have helped out along the way and say goodbye to the other business owners down here. It's bittersweet, that's for sure, but I'm happy. It's time for me to move on and try something new, but I still plan to support the businesses and restaurants in Troy as often and as much as I possibly can.

So stop by sometime between now and Friday and say hello (or goodbye), and please continue to support this business. The new owner is sweet and has many big plans for the space. The name will change and she's planning a new look for the store. She's keeping many of the same consignors my customers have loved since I opened, but bringing in lots of new ones too. I like to think of it as a breath of fresh air in the space, and that means so much more to me than leaving this place vacant.

I'll miss my customers, my neighbors, and the new friends I've made since opening these doors two and a half years ago. Troy is an amazing place, one that I'd given up on years ago, but it has come a very long way. It's so nice to be a part of such a fantastic community with great people and a friendly, welcoming environment. I hope to always be a part of it.

Thanks to all of you for everything. Oh, and please check in at from time to time because I'll keep it updated with a list of places where you can find the merchandise I make, plus an announcement of the new venture I'm considering jumping into. Stay tuned!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

wishful thinking?

I'm not sure what the conditions are like in your neck of the woods, and perhaps this is just a matter of wishful thinking, but I'm noticing little hints of autumn popping up all over the place.

Leaves are changing (and falling!) here and there, the weather is cooling down and the air has that crisp, clean smell about it, sweaters and jackets are making their appearance in stores (eeeee! velvet blazers!), the moon is starting to get that golden glow, and, most importantly, my toad lilies are starting to bud and bloom!

I find this to be slightly alarming because, let's face it, it's still only August.

Signs of autumn only start to show up here in late September, so something is a bit off, but I'm enjoying it so much!

How will I celebrate this?

* A trip here for sure for lunch and shopping.
* A trip here with The Lo for pumpkins, apples and the like.
* Two words: Garlic. Festival.
* A day spent making a humongous batch of tomato jam (I make something similar but couldn't find the exact recipe recipe coming soon!)
* Wearing these entirely too much, along with something very similar to this and this found at a thrift store for a fraction of the cost.
* Far too many nights taking shots of the moon.
* Long walks. More walks. And more walks just about anywhere.
* More soups and stews than we'll know what to do with. You're crazy not to make that stew, by the way.
* Baking, baking....oh, and baking.

Bring on the tights and pumpkins!!!
I'm more than ready.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I miss Oz

I used to be a huge fan of the show Oz. Ever watch it? Anyway, Dean Winters was my favorite actor on that show, and while I was bit weirded out when I noticed him doing Allstate commercials, this one takes the cake.

"I'm all, OMG!, Becky's not even hot!"

Great stuff.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cinnamon Chicken

I haven't the slightest clue as to why I didn't know about this sooner, but after reading this post I realize that I MUST have this book. I'm adding it to my birthday wish list, along with these. Yeah.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

uh oh...

I'm almost afraid to post this...

I've been dreading this drawing for the past few days. Not because of the roller derby thing. Not because of the margaritas. Shit, even the "Good Girls" tattoo wasn't freaking me out. But the one dare I was really hoping wouldn't pop up...uh...popped up.

So, my darling husband dared me to eat not one, but two Double Downs from KFC, and I'm nauseous just thinking about it. Stay tuned. Photos to come, and hopefully there will be no shots of me spewing chunks. I don't know. Mike has big plans for this one. We'll see.

Thanks for playing!...I think.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

dare me

Do you know what today is???

It's my 3 year blog birthday!!! While I find it hard to believe that I've actually stayed committed to anything for three years, it's true! I've been a diligent blogger and a lax blogger at the same time, but I'm just proud of myself for sticking with this for so long. Posts are hard to come up with sometimes because, well, life can be pretty monotonous, and some days I'm just not feeling clever. So, after thinking long and hard for a way to celebrate this occasion, Mike and I put our heads together and came up with a plan.

Ready for this?

I want you to strap your thinking caps on and come up with a dare for me. This can't be anything illegal, obviously. I don't want to do something that will land my ass in jail. But let's have some fun with this. Send me on a mission, give me something to do. Want me to stand in a public place with a crazy sign? Build a spaceship? Film myself changing a poopy diaper? Be creative and clever. I plan to photo document this and post it here. You have four days to complete this mission. The winner's name will be drawn at random from a hat on Tuesday, August 17th, and I'll get to work on completing the task. Ready? Set? GO!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Who steals a basil plant anyway?

Poor Bianca did such a gorgeous job on her window boxes this year (fresh herbs! what could be better???) and someone keeps stealing her plants.

Who does something like this? Is this a random destructive act or was someone seriously in such desperate need for pesto that they'd resort to stealing?

From the looks of it, someone reached down to the base of the stem and yanked the plant right out of the box.

I'll never understand people.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

why kids can sometimes rock

Me: "Hey, Lo, what's your mermaid's name?"

Lola: "Ummm....Sushi."

Friday, August 6, 2010


Yes, yes, I'm alive. I'm busy, but I'm alive. Lots of HUGE things going down around here lately. Good things, but not things I can talk about quite yet. No, I'm not pregnant. More to come, I promise! Hang in there.

I'd also like to take a moment to wish one of my very favorite people in the world a very happy birthday! Keith, I adore you more than words can say. Have a great birthday, killer!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

36 years young

So Kate had the brilliant idea to throw a Sesame Street themed birthday party (and preferably a "pre-Elmo" Sesame Street party since we're all super nostalgic children of the 70's) for Dave this year. We headed down to Peebles Island for a nice picnic lunch, some volleyball (found out the hard way that my volleyball "skills" have miraculously disappeared since high school) and an overall great time. Happy Birthday, Dave! I know the actual date is a few days away, but it's never too soon.
More photos here.

P.S. Thanks for the get well wishes yesterday. I'm feeling much better today.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I'll be on the couch if you need me.

Food poisoning can blow me...

but at least I have my co-pilot by my side.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I've decided recently that I'd like to learn to speak French.

Growing up I soaked up the Spanish language, mostly because I figured I'd use it more, I liked the teacher more, and my dad is pretty fluent in Portuguese (the two languages are pretty similar) and I figured he could help me through the learning process. I loved the language and enjoyed taking classes, but I've lost most of what I've learned since graduating high school. Rather than freshening up on what I've already learned, I want to dive into something new. I never really cared either way about the French language or French culture, but now I'm suddenly interested. Must be all of those food books I've been reading.

What's the best way to learn? I've heard marvelous things about the Rosetta Stone software, but I don't know if I can commit to sitting at a computer to learn a language. I've thought about taking actual classes, but would rather not do something like that alone (who would I practice with???). Do you have any suggestions? Have you learned a language outside of a classroom? Any pointers for me?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

just a thought.

Thanks for the skirt love yesterday, kids! I successfully wore it the entire day, rolled around with the dog while wearing it, grilled burgers for the boys in it, and walked home from work through very windy conditions, and nary a soul had to witness my naughty bits. Ahem. As much as I complained about how large the skirt is (and how far it wraps around my bod), it certainly makes for a confident strut when my hands are full and the wind is blowing half of my skirt over my head.


I had an interesting conversation with a business owner this morning. She and I discussed the economy and the financial mess this country has gotten itself into, and yet business is still pretty good for the both of us. People are out buying, and while they might be buying less, or being selective about the things they DO spend their money on, they're still spending.

But I've noticed something lately...

and I'm sure someone somewhere can and will come along and whip the numbers out of their ass to prove me wrong....

and maybe this is only happening here in this part of the country, or maybe I'm simply imagining it completely...

but it seems as though folks are starting to think about the kind of impact their money has in this world and may be spending it in places that count...small businesses, farmers' markets, craft fairs. I've had customers come into the shop and explain that they stay away from chain stores and big box stores ever since the economy took a nosedive, because they feel the only way to fix the problems we're dealing with now is to start at the bottom and work with the little people. A "redistribution of wealth", as one customer put it. That makes a lot of sense. The old way wasn't working, so let's go back to where we were when it DID work. I like that.

And like I said, I'm sure I'm wrong and there are numbers floating out there to prove it (I know I can't compete with Walmart's prices), but I like to live for just a while in this fantasy world of mine where people really do care, really do pay attention to where their money goes and the impact it has on all of us. I like to think that the number of people shopping at our local farmers' market has doubled (some even say the number has tripled) because people want to do something good for others, something good with their lives, and maybe even improve their health at the same time. It has to start small, and it has to start somewhere. I read the statistics recently on the drastic increase of people growing their own food, not only to save money but to teach their children and their peers that food doesn't always have to come in a box or a can, no matter how convenient. There's always a choice out there. It's just a matter of looking for it and choosing the right option for you and your family.

I'd like to think that maybe we're collectively starting to move into a whole new way of thinking and living, and I can only hope that we'll be a more responsible people when we get there.

The cynical part of me wants to erase this post completely for sounding like such a dreamer, but I know that as people, we're all capable of real change.

Go here to find out how your money can directly benefit your community instead of disappearing overseas.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

trial run

So, I finally made one complete skirt. I managed to squeeze it out in less than an hour and I'm pretty happy with this version. I went with the dimensions meant for a size medium, but added a bit of length and a few darts in the back to cinch in the waist a bit. I also ditched the idea of using quilt binding to finish the bottom hem and just opted for a basic rolled edge. I love it.

Of course, I'm a paranoid mess today...a normal reaction for me on days when wearing a homemade piece of clothing out in public for the first time. What if the hem gives out? What if the ties come loose and my skirt falls off? What if I just look like an asshole walking around in this thing? Either way, the skirt is comfy and cute. If I can make it through an entire day with little to no problem, I'll be making more tonight. A new collection of skirts for little money? Yes please!

So what do you think? I need to shorten the ties for sure. I didn't realize until looking at the photos. Aside from that, though, any suggestions?

Monday, July 26, 2010

for you cold hearted folks

Loved this movie. Loved it. I'm feeling like poo today and decided to slob around the house and catch up on some movies. I'm thrilled that I decided to go with this one. The perfect romantic movie that wasn't really all that romantic. Just like the tagline says, "This is not a love story. This is a story about love". Very Annie Hall. And hey, Joseph Gordon-Levitt really grew up into a scrumptious little man, didn't he? Yum. Check it:

Saturday, July 24, 2010

have you seen this???

Somehow, "lucky to be alive" doesn't quite cover it, right??? Crazy stuff.

Friday, July 23, 2010

big softy

I have a soft spot for teacher movies and documentaries. You know, Dead Poets Society, Mr. Holland's Opus, Lean on Me, etc. A big part of me wanted to be a teacher from the time I was old enough to even consider such things (Laura Ingalls Wilder had a lot to do with that), until I was a junior in college. I finally switched majors once concerns of not knowing enough about art myself to teach it to other people plagued me on a daily basis. I went through with a very long student teaching process and enjoyed it, but it just didn't feel right and I never went back. I don't consider it to be a regret at all, but sometimes I wonder what life would be like now had I stayed on the same path. Anyway, yeah, teacher movies.

I just spent the last two hours watching this documentary and it was fantastic. If you're interested in this sort of thing, I must say that it was one of the better movies I've seen in a while, and I even shed a few tears at the end. Imagine that.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

on the agenda

Well hey there, folks!

Ever have one of those blog days where you have lots to talk about, but nothing you really can talk about? I'm in the middle one of those days, so if this post seems scattered it's because my brain is working a million different ways all at the same time.

Let's see...what's been going on here? I've tested out the skirt pattern and I love it. I had a slight problem with the sizing, but that's something that's easily fixed. I automatically went with the dimensions to make a size large (the skirt pattern can be made as a small, medium or large) and the large was WAY too large. So I cut it down to a medium and thought I had a winner, but I guess the medium is a bit too big also. So I'm going to attempt a small despite the fact that I can't remember a time when I ever wore a small anything. We shall see. I plan to make some skirts for Randi (who is suffering through the extreme heat and humidity in Florida) but if I wear a small, what the hell will I make for her? The skirt is adorable, though, and I got compliments on the medium, saggy baggy and all. Super cute. The photo above features the fabrics up next in line for skirty goodness. Can you tell I'm going through a gold/brown phase?

My wonderful father turned another year older today. He hates it when people make a big deal out of it, so I figure I'll just hide this mid-post to avoid the lecture later on. But yes, today is the big day, so I now have an excuse to make the "Chocolate Death" cake. This cake is, by far, the most amazing chocolate cake ever to cross your lips, but it's so rich and decadent you just have to have an excuse to make it. This isn't your average bake sale cake, or something you make when you have your girls over for tea and gossip. This is a serious cake. My dad loves it, so I'm making it for him. He deserves such a luxury. Happy Birthday, Pop!

Dug out a small ton of Columbine from my garden. I randomly planted some seeds around the beds a few years back assuming that it's Columbine so therefore I'd automatically love it. Not so. This is that white Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris) that looks more like a weed than anything else and it just takes over everything. So I dug it out, bagged it up and gave it to my mom who wanted it for her back yard. The huge gaps left behind in my front beds just screamed out (in their best Evil Dead voices) "hey crazy, go to Faddegons and buy something new...fill us...fill us!!!", so I went. Folks, I know I've said it before and I'll say it a million times over, I love that place. The selection, the gift shop, the staff, the general vibe of the's all just so fantastic. Got a great deal on some black eyed susans, some tick weed, and some bee balm and it just looks so great. I re-mulched with a nice, chunky pine that looks more like rusty driftwood than anything else, and everything is just so neat and tidy now. Our house looks like someone lives there! Hooray! I have some work to do on the front porch, painting and re-screening and then our house will really look lived in. I can't wait. I love projects.

Oh! How could I forget? I made Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream. How marvelous! I've made lots of homemade ice cream before, and I prefer a cooked base over an instant one by far. I was really shocked at how quickly the custard set up for this recipe. Super thick, very rich, and just the right amount of cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Delicious. If you own an ice cream maker, you must make this. You'll thank me for it. By the way, I use Simply Recipes to find most of my ice cream recipes. Something about the recipes there offer so much more than other recipes I've tested. Lots to choose from!

I think that's about it. Aside from these things I've been stressing a bit, watching too much television, balancing the tv out with lots of reading and crossword puzzles, and making plans. Lots to think about these days.