This morning after Abbott went down for his morning nap I did what I do every morning and sat at our kitchen table with coffee, bouncing through other peoples' collections of Internet stuff. It's my favorite way to ignore the laundry downstairs or the living room I could be rearranging for the twentieth time.

One of the reasons I do this is for the kick in the pants I'm always talking about. I'm looking for things that will inspire me into action. It works, actually, most of the time. I make small notes in the margins of whatever and vow to take one certain projects at a later date. I'll get there, eventually, but for now I'm living vicariously through other artists who have the time to work with their hands on a daily basis.

Like Fanny Bostrum, New York artist whose blog I've spent the morning with. She brought me to the lovely work below (and above), and the places and people from which they came.

...Like this nice little series from The Makers that reminds me: I keep thinking about a career switch into floral arranging. It pops into my head and then pops back out when I realize I have no experience whatsoever. Still, it's been added to the list.

We'll talk about The List some other time.

...stills from the "outsider art" masterpiece Salvation Mountain...yikes...

...paintings by Chuck Webster...

...these last two were done by Fanny herself, the portrait leading me to her jewelry line and the painting to her work in 2008 here, on her site...

...and some rings by Karl Fritsch



...The West Wing in Season 4! I know I'm about nine years too late, but are you kidding me?!

For those of you who don't know, Andrew turned me on to the show about a month ago. For a year he'd mentioned that it was wonderful, that he'd seen the series twice before, that it was brilliant. Other friends of mine had done the same over the years, and for some reason I could never be bothered to watch it. What the hell was wrong with me? Anyway, the show has turned me into a twelve-year-old. Sometimes I get so giddy when I hear the theme song that I scream into my pillow. I haven't done this stuff since I was a teenager chain-smoking through Pacey and Joey's first kiss. Oh yes. I went there.

Also if you're like me and getting into this show late: I'm sorry to have ruined the depressing surprise you have awaiting you in season four. I don't care what Rob Lowe is like in real life, Sam was my favorite. He gives me the giggles.


I was just talking with a friend of mine about procrastinating as new mothers and how you can really beat yourself up for it. You know, like how much time we actually spend online, reading or wasting time on Facebook, versus getting everything done that we want to.

She mentioned that sometimes, to help break the cycle, she makes To-Do lists and adds things she's already done, just to put a little spring in her step. Man, I do the same thing. All the time! What a neat trick. Thanks, Diana! I'm not alone in this.


When I was in 6th grade a girl in my class died. And she was adorably sweet. Very quiet, but funny. This is a card I'd found in the suitcase from the Philly basement. She'd given me on my birthday, a little less than a year before she died. How nice to find!


Thanks to this really sweet little feature on the fantastic design blog Carolina Eclectic, I was turned onto pepito mi corazon, a french blog with incredible photos of this beautiful family (above.) An eye treat for mamas like me.

Thanks so much, Carolina Eclectic. We seem to share a lot of the same feelings and aesthetics, so I know I'll be back again and again. Guys, go check out both of these blogs when you get a chance.


Fully aware of the delicate nature of getting personal on the internet. Have started telling myself to cut it out, so we'll see how that goes. Meantime, things carrying on, most domestic and normal, some out of the crazy. Let's see. Both cats have been let out, though I couldn't exactly let Lou free without a collar of some kind. Ornery or not, he has nice fur and someone will take him, I know it. I've met some mothers, finally, at my first ever book-club meeting where there was a lot more wine drinking than book-talking, let me tell you. That was refreshing. The weather has been beautiful most of the time, hitting 80s and 70s (through dropping yesterday, so whatever) - we've been on the porch a lot. Abbott plays in his playpen out there, talks to old popcorn boxes and his play kitchen. Andrew's been building a coffee table from some salvaged wood taken from the piles that used to be the Section 8 housing across the street from the baseball stadium. I hung two hammocks in the backyard with neighbors. We watch The West Wing every night before bed, sometimes in the weekend afternoons when the baby sleeps. Lately in dreams Sam Seaborn is my best friend and we're sort of fighting crime - that's not a joke. My Etsy shop closed for good, which was sad at first but now sort of liberating. There have been some wonderful things to enjoy in these past weeks, and some sad things to ponder on.


A good friend of mine told me of a horrible experience she once had with a misrepresentation in a magazine article interview, which she granted to a person she trusted after being told the article wouldn't have a negative spin on it. The interview was basically about her life, where she was, what she'd done, what she had or hadn't accomplished by that time. When the article ran --in a very high-profile magazine, by the way-- it was written not by the person she spoke with, but by whomever the notes had been passed to, and her life story became spun into something most people would be ashamed of. Her quotes were taken out of context and so were details regarding her state of mind, her moving and traveling habits and reason, and how many years it took her to finish college. Basically it made her out to be a loser when she wasn't.

She told me about it the other day in her kitchen, when I'd come over to vent that I'd had a hurtful encounter with some really bitter and "anonymous" people on an internet site devoted to taking down Etsy sellers they believe to be impostors. We talked about human nature and what it is about some of us that makes us so vindictive and hurtful, or self-righteous.

The magazine's web publication ran this article that was written about her --with her full legal name-- and when it did the comments that followed completely tore her apart. They ripped into her without a thought. The anonymity that surrounds the internet comment box is an invisible cloak. People say what they want and don't care to spell-check or use correct grammer, they just hate on whoever it is they're hating on. So much so, that these comments about my friend had less and less to do with the actual content in the article, and more and more to do with whatever personal wars these people were hoping to fight and win. Wars about people who are directionless and godless, who aren't saved by Jesus Christ, who waste the taxpayers' money, who have "Peter Pan Syndrome" and refuse to grow up, who live off their parents, always sleep in and always, always rent.

I have no idea how long it took her to shake this off, or if it's even happened. The virtual hate mail hurt her. We talked about teenage kids and how fragile their psyche is, how it's no wonder they consider and commit suicide in a world where so many people don't care about people, only about how they can most effectively and anonymously (read: safely for themselves) hurt them.

Anyway, happy thoughts to you.


One of my favorite shops this year is Besty, so I've asked the artist behind the shop to give us a little write up. Her stuff is what I'd plaster all over my son's walls, crib and and body if I could. I cherish her work and explanation as to why it is she uses animals as her subject matter -- refreshing, considering how trendy the animal kingdom has become! I love and believe how honestly she comes by it. I'm so thrilled to have her here!

My name is Betsy Dorman and I opened Besty in September 2010.
I've always loved photography and different manifestations of the portrait through history. While I did get my degree in photo, I have always been drawn to drawing and making things with my hands (it was always a nasty joke at art school that the photo kids were photo kids because they couldn't draw!) So the animal silhouettes seem to be a great unifier of so many interests I have. I loved reading about the nature and habits of the individual animals and trying to integrate those characteristics into their physical portraits. I think that is my favorite thing about making art... that I always have a fantastic excuse and lens through which to explore and dive into any world that interests me. I am also an art educator and working with students has helped me rekindle my appreciation of the basic elements of art. I've always loved artwork that toes the line between representational and abstract, and silhouettes are essentially just that - a complex, abstract shape that is somehow instantly recognizable. But when you break it down, it's just a shape that derives from an outer line that dips, curves and juts out in exactly the right places. While you may not want to look at a portrait of a stranger, there is something universal about animals. Kids, grownups, city slickers, country folk ... animals just have a certain appeal that is relatable. Maybe it is the endless opportunity for personification. Maybe it is the vast variation in the basic facial elements that we see across species. I don't know. I just love them.
I always have. Making these things brings me such joy and I only hope they do the same for the people who buy them and make them a part of their lives. I've been very lucky since my shop opened up. I have found Etsy to be such a wonderful, creative environment of both artists and buyers. I am so grateful for people like Molly who support and encourage my work through blog features like this!
In addition to the silhouettes, I also feature drawings, cards, linoprints, baby onesies, custom designs, handmade upcycled wool/linen stuffed animals & the spoils of any successful crafty adventures I happen to embark on.

All words written not in italics were written and submitted by Betsy Dorman; all photographs taken from her shop, featuring her awesome work for sale. Please visit her shop and leave comments here for Betsy


I've discovered the shop being closed might have lots to do with a very hurtful feature in a very hurtful blog. I'd forgotten the promise I made to myself when I opened the shop and began this blog to steel myself against angry irrational comments and respond only to constructive criticism. I wrote a response to these people in my defense, and I'm sure will ignite some sort of activity against me. I forgot the world of hurtful people is like a cascade that will only lend way to avalanche.


Sometimes when things like that happen I like to indulge in people like Maggie from Folkloric. He blog's visuals into her daily life (above) remind me that there are people in the world I feel like I could have a conversation with that wouldn't fill me with a feeling of hopelessness.

Other blogs that do this are An Apple A Day and Piccoli Piselli. Thank you for being such positive people in my day-to-day.


I found these and other things in a suitcase I had stashed in basement of the house in Philly.
I'll be sharing this stuff over the course of the next several days. Bet you can't wait for that.


I took the Megabus from Philly to New York during our visit last month. I moved away five years ago and every time I come in by way of driving through New Jersey I get shivers. Sure, it's part anticipation to be back in wonderful New York, but it's also in part to the awesome entrance the New Jersey flats and yards make. Such magnificent colors and visuals welcome you if you're coming in on a clear day - even more so if you're coming in at sunset.


I went up there to see a play featuring a very good friend, production managed by another really great friend, written and directed by a talented playwright. If you're in New York I strongly urge you to see The Hallway Trilogy at the Rattlestick Theater in the village. The trilogy is made up of three plays written by playwright Adam Rapp. Since I was only in for the night, I was only able to catch one of them, titled Rose, but it was wonderful. Go check it out - I believe they have another week and a half of their extended run.