Thanks for all the questions. What fun. It was like that new game show, except they weren't horrible questions and I didn't win any money. Here are my answers:
mlafayette asked me where I thought she could find a nice piggy bank for her baby:
Excellent question. All shopping questions are excellent. If you are going to visit Calgary then you should check out a store called Honey B's in the Kensington area. If you want to break the bank, there is a Tiffany & Co. counter at Holt Renfrew downtown. But on a more practical note, don't you just want to go to the Credit Union and open him a Fat Cat account? Seriously, that's what I would do. Interest is so much cooler than clutter.
Angela asked how everyone in the family got their nicknames:
Well, Buddy has been everyone's little buddy since the day he was born. His Great-Granny and Aunty called him "the Wee Buddy" and it sort of stuck. It really stuck when his sister was little and that was what she called him.
Loopy's name came about pretty recently, without giving away too much, we got her an emergency cell phone and she realized that the last digits spelled out "Loop". She's funny like that with her Aspergers... she's always looking for patterns in numbers.
Veto wasn't Veto until we started building our first house together. He pretty much gave me free reign of all design decisions (and rightfully so) but every once and a while, he'd "veto" a suggestion... I think on principle. We never argue about renos. But occasionally, he "vetos" and I take heed.
The Fan, a.k.a. my mother, was pretty much the only one reading this blog when I started it and she was the single commenter also, thus turning her into "The Fan" as in, Lone Fan.
My father is "The Secret Weapon" and seriously, that sums him right up. He can do anything. A world-renown artist, he designs jewelry (has won design awards from DeBeers), develops new printmaking techniques, paints, draws, has mastered chemistry, electronics, world history, politics, welding, woodworking, metalsmithing, photography, I could go on and on. No matter what silly project I've ever come up with, he's figured out a way to make it work. As a matter of fact, sometimes I casually toss out "I don't really think it can be done at all" and before you know it, the dollhouse has a moving ceiling fan. That's right.
My brother is "Uncle Bug" and it pretty much came from Loopy. He's been a few things over the years but that one stuck. When he was little, he referred to himself as "Robbie-Baby-Big-Boy" and I've never let him live it down. Sometimes I get him paged in public places as that, just to keep his genius self humble.
My sister-in-law is called "Darling" by the kids. They used to say to each other when Buddy was just a little squirt... "how are you, daaaahling?" and it was too cute. So instead of Aunty, she's Darling.
Natalie asked about my dream job... what was the best job I ever had and what was the worst:
I think I have a few dream jobs... stylist for a home decorating magazine, buyer for Nordstroms, catalogue stylist for Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware. The best job I ever had was teaching high school art to some very motivated art students in a great facility, with some amazing coworkers. Worst job? Hmmmm.... I worked at a wedding planning place back in the early 90's and had to mediate lots of mother/daughter/decorating arguments. Really, there have been too many bad jobs to mention.
Also, when I was young and single and Martha Stewart was an up-and-coming nobody, I thought about sending a job application to her. To this day, I wish I had.
She also asked me if I am religious, and if I could go back and change one mistake... would I?
Well Natalie, I consider myself to be culturally Jewish and am taking steps to become an active member of our synagogue. Religious? Not really, but I do try my best to live up to the ten commandments and all that... I think that all religions are a good starting point to live your best life, and that if there is a God, she just wants me to be a good person and do my best. She doesn't really care where I go on Saturdays.
Mistakes, I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention. I did what I had to do, and saw it through without exemption. I did it my way. But I should have sent that resume to Martha.
Uncle Bug asked - Friendly Giant or Jolly Green Giant?
duh! Jolly Green... and the Little Green Sprout! American readers probably won't know who Friendly is. He was c-r-e-e-p-y anyway.
Renee's three wishes question answers:
Renee, you tricky gal! That is seriously a good question. I honestly don't know. I'm going to think on it and post it with my fives.
And she also asked me what cookbooks or craft books I would recommend:
I just love "Where Women Create", "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain", and I have made every cake in the "Kraft Philadelphia Cheesecake" cookbook.
Jessi asked how long I've been scrapbooking and how long we've been working on the dollhouse.
Jessi, I've been scrapping forever... I've got albums going back to high school that I plan on lugging to the reunion next year. It wasn't scrapping like I do now, but I kept everything. I have theme books for each cheerleading team I was on or coached, for jobs I had, for trips. I saved bits of wrapping paper, gift cards and tags, magazine clippings, you name it. I made the leap into "archival" scrapping around 98/99.
The dollhouse became a family project when I was expecting Loopy... thirteen years ago now. The Fan and I found it partially-assembled as a demo at a lumber yard and brought it home for a song. The Secret Weapon groaned because whoever put it together hadn't done a very good job. It needed lots of repair to even begin the decorating of it. But, I've been collecting the miniatures in it since I was in sixth grade!
Melissa asked how long it took to set up the craft room:
Not very, really. I had it in my head all during the renovations and when we moved I repatriated the storage units from my former walk-in closet. It sort of came together after that, putting in all of my good junque saved over the years. It's a work in progress.
And she also asked if I do anything else besides scrapbooking and the dollhouse.
Yes, I puddle around with lots of things. I've taken a few clients for interior decorating, hoping to use my education for good rather than evil. I am an avid baker... I can make wedding cakes and fancy pastry. I like to think of myself as a jack-of-all-crafts, master-of-none. If I see it, chances are, I will try it.
Junie Moon asked for the story of how Veto proposed:
It was on the bank of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec City. We went there for a convention he was attending a couple of days early. There is a famous, elegant hotel there. After brunch the first day we were there, we were watching the boats from one of the balconies. He just said, "marry me, okay?" and that was it. I was pretty stunned. We'd talked about it but I wasn't expecting it on that trip at all. At the moment I said yes, a marching band walked by playing "The Bear Went Over The Mountain"... and then Veto said he'd better sit down, he thought he was going to be sick. Isn't it funny how men can get all wound up about asking a question to which the answer will almost surely be yes? We walked around holding hands and giddy all day. I managed to phone The Fan and whisper "the eagle has landed" into the phone before I hung up. I thought I would burst.
We decided not to tell anyone until we told the kids. It was torture. When we got home, we went for ice cream and told them. Buddy smiled a wide smile and said "how cool" and Loopy... she was hysterical. I mean, really - what one might describe as clinically hysterical, she was laughing and crying at the same time and looking from one to the other of us... and she asked if it was a joke and we said "of course not" and she was so thrilled. And then Veto gave her a little gold and pink stone ring that we'd shopped for on our trip. He wanted to get a ring for her right away for when he asked the kids! I didn't get my ring until later. She wore the engagement ring for us.
We also decided not to live together until after the wedding. The kids and I lived with my parents and when Veto went out of town on business, the kids and I stayed over at his bachelor pad to "dog sit" and "watch the house" for him. That way, they got used to being there on their own terms and had lots of time to get used to the idea. We purposely set the wedding date a whole year later to give the kids time to adjust to the new arrangement.
Pretty in Pink asked for some top fives (as in books, movies and whatnot):
How about I do a top five list later this week? I've got a few fives.
Ladybloggerbug wanted to know more about the little bear family that inhabits the dollhouse. Why bears?
Since I was a little thing, I've collected teddy bears. Here's how it went: my dad hunted them, I tamed them. Or that's the story we told. He brought bears back from his teaching adventures all over the world, and a few of them were miniature artist bears. When we started working on the dollhouse, it just seemed natural that they would live there, not dolls.
Lisa asked who inspires me to be creative... and how do I get creative things done:
Firstly, my family is a great source of creativity. We are always into something together, it wasn't like growing up in a normal house. My father has a huge studio/workshop in the house, and we were always encouraged to come and help with things... or if we wanted something done, we had to sit with him or help him out. He made us amazing puppets and marionettes, crazy toys (a climb-in helicopter in the backyard) and his imagination is limitless. I couldn't begin to list all of the things we've done in that studio. I'll tell you some stories sometime.
Plus, I have a healthy case of OCD and that really helps to bite off more than you can chew and then stress yourself about finishing it.
Oooooh, this could be dangerous. The Fan asked how I earned my first year tuition for university.
Well, Mommie Dearest... the truth hurts. You can't handle the truth. I worked all summer at the grocery store and delivering papers, and even on weekends I cleared tables at the pizza place. But flying lessons cost mucho denero. And flight instructors are cute. I logged lots of hours toodling over the city in a Cessna 152.
At the end of August, some of the boys I flew with... you remember Bob and Todd... the boys I visited in California while they were getting their rotary-wing licences? Well, they wanted to go to the race track. I'd never been and thought, what the heck! I only had a few dollars of my summer savings left - almost every penny went to ground school that year... but I managed to put my last few bucks on three horses to finish in 1-2-3 order. And they did. I didn't even really get it, the guys were going crazy and we went down to cash in my ticket and I had over a thousand dollars. Enough money for my classes, books and drinks that night (back in the day when a thousand dollars was a thousand dollars)... and when you came into my room the next day to give me your famous what-for about dallying about all my earnings, I threw down that thousand bucks like I'd saved it or something, even though it reeked like horse and gin, and I rolled over and thought "heh, I sure pulled one over on her", but I guess not, since you're asking now.
That's about it... I've come clean. Any more questions? If you think you can tell the truth, let us ask you some questions!