i'm in for round three!

Well it's true - and I was so excited, I almost pee'd my pants!*

And when I explained it to the whole family at supper, they were excited for me and we all discussed what my contribution would be. Of course we all teased The Secret Weapon, about what my contribution might be, because he is always roped into helping and making and creating for my little house. We tease him all the time about what he can and cannot possibly do, and then somehow he figures out how to possibly do it - like the time he made a tiny ceiling fan light (not from a kit) that actually turns when you flick the switch.

Once, he spent days creating the fireplace and mantle for the little living room because we didn't like any of the many fireplaces that we saw at the doll show. He decided the flames didn't look "realistic" enough with their lights blinking in a non-random fashion and in only one yellowish colour - so he used LED lights - and wrote a tiny electronic program - and made a random flickering fire that is red near the bottom and yellowish near the top and very randomy and flickery just like a real fireplace. Then, he installed a doorbell that rings. He likes to get a little carried away sometimes. These days, I tease him that I still don't have running water in that little house and the mini bears who live there sure do get sticky and messy eating all that cake and probably need a good hot bath.

That brings me to the subject of men and real estate. My father loves to putter and fix the little house just like a regular house. He landscaped the front lawn with the right scale of flocking, if you can imagine, which nearly drove my mother (the Fan) insane because he doesn't really help her with much of the landscaping in their big house! He merrily hung up little garden hoses and put up a dog run (and even carved a dog and flocked it, but that is a whole other story). But my husband, well he is too funny when it comes to that little dollhouse of mine. Let me tell you a funny story.

When we first got together, he (being a cigar-smoking, golfing, business-dealing, baseball-playing kinda man's man) actually thought the little house was pretty sweet and was quite fascinated with it. He even agreed to come with me to my favorite miniature store when we were in Toronto to meet his family. Well! His eyes nearly popped when we set into that store the first time, it was so amazing to him. And then he laid eyes upon a house, about the size of mine, all finished and furnished almost like mine. Just like any man eyeing real estate, he announced in a very loud voice, "that house is just like yours but you have an extra bedroom upstairs and even though you need to do some work on the walls and repaint the exterior, yours is maybe nicer because of all the work you and your Dad have put into it!" I started laughing because he sounded like an episode of "Sell This House" and then - he spied the price tag of that store model and beads of sweat broke out on his forehead.

Now. This floor model was gorgeous. Amazing. Obviously a thing of true miniature beauty that had been constructed by the store owner for display only. And it was probably never expected that someone would walk in and pay the price on the tag for the house, the stand, and its contents, but maybe that could happen in Toronto so I suppose the store owner had to be prepared. At any rate, we'd never considered its worth over the years, and as my Dad and I played (ahem, worked) on my house, we just kept adding to it and it was a real hobby for such a long time we never even thought about its value. It gave us so much pleasure to do something together and add to it that we never considered it.

To continue: my then-fiance decided that we needed an insurance policy on the little house. Honestly. And we've never moved it from my mother's house to our home because he is convinced we need to hire a professional moving crew and maybe we shouldn't even move it at all! The thought of that horrifies me. But he also thinks that we should leave it where Daddy is for now, so we can make the necessary upgrades. My husband truly said to me about a year ago that I should consider "upgrading" the upstairs carpeting before I finish the walls. Not a word of a lie. He said it with a straight face.

And here is the funniest part: every time he talks about it, he talks about the "estimated value" of the little house - just like in real estate terms. And every time it comes up in conversation, he announces that it is worth blah blah, and it is always more than the last time he assessed the property value! I am not telling this story to brag about how much my dollhouse is worth, not at all. My mother and I have spent hours laughing about "men and real estate" and how my sweet giant husband with his gigantic hands and fingers that were too big to find a wedding ring for contemplates about the little house and its contents regularly. And worries about "the investment." And fusses about it's "curb appeal" (again, a whole other long story).

To summarize, there is just something funny about men and "real estate." Needless to say, Club Little House has this entire family in a tizzy for the moment and another pow-wow is planned this weekend to discuss and strategize...

* When I say I almost pee'd my pants, I meant it both literally and figuratively. My brother Rob (also known as Uncle Bug) gets me to laughing very hard sometimes (most of the time) and by the time I have tears squirting out of my eyes and I am holding my sides I let out a little shriek "I think I pee'd my pants!" and that of course gets him to laughing and saying how wierd I am and then we really get going about whatever. That's all I mean. There was really no pee. Well, maybe a little tiny bit.

oh teeny tiny lucky day!

I can hardly bear to pass this around, but I'd be so greedy if I didn't share this bit of information - sweet Amy at Inspire Company is hosting one of her wonderful Club Little House swaps, and sign up is tomorrow!

Club Little House always fills up fast, I've missed every one - and I am having a miniature anxiety attack about getting in! My little dollhouse has been sadly neglected lately and I need an excuse to get busy and make twelve tiny treats to swap if I get in this oh-so-exclusive club for miniature enthusiasts.

The problem is, tomorrow is my last teaching day at the University and I have my plans all made for the art students to sit outside and draw the above scene. What is a gal to do??? I really need a clever excuse to go inside and find a computer lab at noon EST.... oh I hope it rains tomorrow! Otherwise, I will just have to settle on a future go-round of Amy's Club Little House and take part in her current swap for now - and doesn't that just sound like the goodliest of all goodies?

aloha vintage

Today Clara is modeling the vintage blouse my Aunty brought home from Hawaii in the 70's. I just came across it again and have spruced it up to wear in this hot summer weather. I think the shell necklace also came from Granny and Aunty's Hawaiian adventures. They went to Maui several times when I was just a girl and always brought back the most fantastic things.

Once they brought home the best gift for me - a bicycle for my Barbie doll! It was yellow (back in the 70's, Mattell made Barbie accessories in yellow, not pepto pink) and I was thrilled to have it. I spent hours playing with it and trying to bend poor Barbie's legs so she could ride more comfortably. But with her high arch and straight knees, she just sat on the seat with her oh-so-perfect posture and her delicate hands squeezed into the handle brakes, staring at the ground. I still have that retro plastique bicycle but I rarely play with it...

I think I will press my white jeans and wear this funky little top somewhere this week. Sorry, Clara!

late night (and I mean really late) crop

The Loopster and I attended our first "late night crop" session at our scrapbooking club. I have been a member at this particular establishment since 1999 and Sidney got her first membership a year ago and has been dying to attend a "crop party."

For the non-scrapbookers out there, do you know what a "crop party" is? Well it sounds pretty good, but in actuality it means the store stays open all night long and crazy scrapbookers like us go there after supper and stay as long as we can. I had suspected as much. It was much more crowded in the workroom than on our usual Sunday afternoon crop-by-ourselves session.

But Loopy wanted to go and try it for a very long time, and whatever Loopy wants, Loopy gets when it comes to creating, dabbling, or making art in general. We went for a nice girl's dinner beforehand and came to an exciting conclusion: we are going to try our hand at making scrapbooking papers and goodies!

I mean, who better than us to try that? Grandpa is a famous printmaker with a printing press in his studio. I have taught printmaking to elementary and high school students when I was an art teacher. Sidney has been printing off lithography plates with Grandpa since she was teeny-tiny and they printed her Pokemon drawings as "limited editons" together! We have printed wedding invitiations, art posters, fine art and greeting cards on that press together - so why not nifty scrapbooking paper! The niftiest paper this side of Nantucket because it will be hand-pulled and trimmed by us.

You see, at the age of 11, little Loopy has been using PhotoShop for years. She designs her own backgrounds for her digital scrapbooking (and I nipped into them when I designed my blog banner). And so we don't plan to venture into the digital scrapbooking world anytime, it will be a fun summer project to plan our 12X12 papers and enter into some major production. I hope Grandpa doesn't mind us in his studio!

we are at it again

Loopy Sid and I have spent the last two, gorgeous summer days indoors. We got busy making note cards out of old greeting cards. Here are the first twenty.

I don't know how many more we will make, I can hardly bear to cut up greeting cards that have been given to any of us. I have hatboxes filled with them as I am part pack-rat, all sentimental. These are mostly made from thank you cards, and I still managed to cut off the written messages and put them back into the hatboxes, memories intact.

In the meantime, Sid and I have a nice little craft to work on over the summer that requires little to no investment. We raided our scrap paper, button and fastener jars, and got the sewing machine humming to use up the last remnants of threads from long finished sewing projects.

If we produce enough of them, we may snag a table at one of the fall craft shows and Sid can be an entrepreneur. She is saving for an iPod... I wonder how many notecards that is worth?

chicago photos

Here we go with a few of the photos from our trip to Chicago last week! I'm posting all of them on Flickr too.

Dad had a late night meeting, so we went to Ghiradelli for a little chocolate fix!

Navy Pier was a hit! Sidney tried so many new things... she went on the ferris wheel, the wave swinger ride, the 3-D Adventure ride, made a new bear at Build-a-Bear Workshop, ate Dippin' Dots ice cream...

We had an amazing night at the ballpark. We saw the Chi Sox play the Bo Sox at US Cellular Field. It was a clear, warm evening and the park was full.

Finally! Opening the door to American Girl Place! Yippee!

It was a thrill to take Sid to American Girl Place... she was a real trooper - we got to Chicago on Thursday and we didn't get to AGP 'til Sunday and she didn't whine one bit!

Just like Aunt Kelly, Sid loves going up the escalator into the Water Tower Plaza. The fountains were beautiful and inside, she went to Department 56, Sephora and Sharper Image. She really found her shopping feet in Chicago.

Sidney loved the Wrigley Building (after all, her dog is named Wrigley...) and we had a lovely view of it through our hotel window.

We took a river cruise on "Chicago's Little Lady" to have an educational look at the architecture.

On our last evening, we took a leisurely stroll through Millenium Park and examined "the Bean"

Dad suprised Loopy with a limo to take us back to O'Hare airport. She was very impressed.

We had an amazing week. Sidney Jean was a good traveler and we saw almost everything we set out to see! As always, it is good to be home and now it is time to scrapbook the entire event and enjoy the rest of the summer.

busy busy busy

Well, well, well, I have to apologize to the blogosphere. I have been negligent in my blogging duties of late. But really, I have a myriad of excuses: one, I was pretty unwell on the weekend and didn't even make it near the computer, and two: we've been getting ready for our trip to Chicago - we leave tomorrow!

All of that, and, I need to reload my beloved iPod Nano. My iTunes library got wiped out recently, and when I updated I lost most of my music (700 songs put on since Christmas) - and I have been trying to get it loaded back up with all of my travelling favorites. Not an easy job.

In the meantime, we had a nice long weekend around here, saw the new X-Men movie, and The Devil Wears Prada, I got my hair cut super, super short (nice for summer travel but I am still a wee bit sad about not having my long blonde hair) and now the packing, oh the packing!

We may attempt to blog a very little bit from our holiday, I think I'm all set up for it, depending on how things go. If not, I surely will post some interesting photos on our return. We will be seeing Wicked the Musical, the Sox game on Friday night, Sidney will be taking a class at American Girl Place, seeing the American Girl Review, eating at the American Girl Cafe, and shopping here. A little tourist-ey, but what the heck? See you when we get back (maybe sooner)!