Snapped while watching Andy play with the Mind Brains this past weekend...
The time has come to emerge from my cave and say hello! The sun is shining, the flowers are shaking the dust out of their prettiest dresses, and the crickets are rehearsing their sweetest lullabies...
I have been busy with my own springtime preparations, and the shop is full of new goodies!
Tiny bunnies and snails... and pouches galore!
I have also been dreaming up some exciting new things... like these cell phone cozies!
These were designed specially for the iPhone (per the request of a couple very sweet customers), but they can be customized to fit other devices as well. I've listed these on a custom/made-to-order basis.
This cozy is meant to be used in conjunction with a slim hard case and is open at the top. I think I will eventually offer some other animals/designs.
And here is a custom Macbook sleeve I made...
It was hard (and frustrating) work, but I'm so pleased with the results... especially the fancy gusseted pockets (my first ever)! Perfect for storing your mouse and power adapter. :)
I lined it with two layers of fleece padding for extra protection. I'm considering offering this on a made-to-order basis as well, though I'm a little hesitant to enter the rabbit-hole of different computer sizes. If you're interested, just send me a little email or Etsy convo, and I'll see what I can do!
In other news, I'm excited to share that I started taking trapeze classes in January!!! I am incredibly lucky to live in a town with its own trapeze studio. I have been secretly dying to try a class since the studio opened 8 or 9 years ago, but I was always terrified. I can't possibly do trapeze, right? But it turns out I can! Thanks to the prompting of a couple of lady friends, I finally found the necessary courage. And now I'm addicted! I am finding trapeze to be simultaneously humbling and exhilarating. I leave class each week covered in bruises but with a new sense of strength. Trapeze is brutal but so much fun!
I apologize for the terrible photos... I will try to post some better ones soon. These were taken pretty early on, and I am happy to say I have made great improvements. Such as remembering to point my toes. Ahem.
One final tidbit, I promise... My hubby roped me into helping him make a video for a new Marshmallow Coast song a few months ago, and I promised I would share it. There are no words to describe just how much this embarrasses me... but here goes. I hope you enjoy it!
Back soon with some new softies!!!
Hello! Yes, I'm still here! Where does the time go? Somewhere there are a bunch of rogue hours hanging out with an enormous pitcher of 'ritas... And laughing at my expense!
These are busy, busy times for me, and there seems to be no relief in sight. I am, therefore, trying to hone my skills in efficient blogging, which means I have to wait until I manage to steal a tiny morsel of time and then cram several posts into one! It also means that I will have to take a rather Darwinian approach when prioritizing the details of my life... Only the strongest will live on in the blogosphere! Already I have squandered today's free moments, so I will just share a bit of Progress with you... That's right, I said Progress!!!
Amorous Jelly Pillow, 17" x 9". I am deeply, deeply in love with this pillow, and I haven't decided if I can part with it yet. It may make an appearance in my shop soon...
But it would look so nice on last week's special secret delivery from CB2... We finally decided on a simple, functional, chocolate-brown couch! Yeah, we settled a bit, but I think our love will only deepen in time...
I spent most of Sunday assembling this for my studio, still a work-in-progress. Sigh... Someday I will get my act together!
Thanks to a few deliciously stormy days, my little garden is surviving (despite my best efforts to neglect and destroy it)!
This summer is going to be full of happenings, including a top-secret trip to New York and a visit from Andy's (amazing) parents. Our families have never met, though we have been married for three years... I am incredibly excited and anxious! M Coast will be embarking on a tiny-tour in Fabulous Florida with Casper & the Cookies at the end of May... After a brief lull, there are suddenly a whole slew of gigs on the horizon, as well as a new album to record. I tend to forget that I am, indeed, in a rock 'n roll band... and then the anxiety kicks in. Unfortunately, I will be totally nutty for the next few months, until I can return to blissful denial again!
Goodness, I have so many things to share, but they will just have to wait until another day. Thank you, lovely bloggees, for hanging in there with me! It means an awful lot! It may take a while, but I will be back!
On the way out of a Chinese restaurant, Emily & I saw the most amazing thing in a gum-ball machine... It was a sticker that read, "I LOVE BLOGGING!" I was simply floored and immediately began digging in my purse for quarters. Sadly, neither one of us had the 50 cents that stood between us and ultimate happiness. Sigh... Who know blogging was such a part of youth culture? Does this mean that I am hip?
And now, as promised...
Emily & I really outdid ourselves with Andy's special secret birthday cupcakes... They were a big hit, but there were a few left over for breakfast! What is it about cupcakes that can instantly transform even the most stressful of days? What mystical power do they hold? Are cupcakes the answer? I think they may very well be...
My crazy Friday was, in the end, just a day (though the chaos continued on). I spent a very challenging weekend (patiently) dealing with autism, working out the details of an additional job (more later), cleaning and purging both house and car, and preparing for a trip to Nashville to play another rock 'n roll show. M Coast had planned to be in Austin for SXSW this week, but things did not work out the way we expected. OK, I'll go ahead and say that we were rejected. It was very disappointing at first, but now it has turned out to be a bit of a blessing. We had to cancel several shows that were booked in conjunction, but we decided to go ahead and make the 6-hour drive to Nashville. It was nice to get out of town for a couple of days, and our show was a lot of fun. (Incidentally, we played with another band deemed unworthy by SXSW... And we all rocked!)
I don't want to jinx myself, but I think everything is in order on the house front! We are waiting for the results of the appraisal, which should arrive later today. And we're scheduled to close on the 21st! Of March! Which means we could move in by the end of the month!!! Any fear or doubt have been replaced by pure giddiness... I'm on a quest for paint and a great sofa to replace our not-so-great love-seat that barely fits two people. If only I had three-thousand clams to spend on a sofa, I would buy this one from Anthropologie:
Instead, Andy & I are planning a trip to IKEA and various other stores in Hotlanta very soon. We're also considering this much-more affordable sofa from Urban Outfitters, though I'm a little concerned about the lack of arms:
On purging and growing...
As I mentioned before, I've been doing a lot of purging in preparation for the big move... I am a recovering pack-rat, and this is always an overwhelming task for me. I just went through what I hope is the last box of my childhood. My dad recently emptied out a storage space and unearthed a box from circa 1984-85, when I was in the second and third grades. I've actually had this box sitting around for months, but I was unable to deal with it until now. Andy stood on one side of the box with a giant trash bag, and I very lovingly removed each crumpled item, read/ explained it thoroughly, and promptly discarded it. And felt OK about it. When I finally reached the very bottom of the box, I discovered my complete set of Smurfs colorforms, including a tiny vinyl Handy Smurf (at least I think it was Handy...)! Just seeing this again was priceless... I think I am now at peace with the fact that I will be thirty years old in May... Now I just have to tackle the most daunting of all purging projects: art&craft-land!
Well, this turned out to be a much longer post than I had intended. Thank you for all the thoughtful comments!!! They have been so helpful! I will leave you with pics of the cute fabric Emily gave me as an early birthday present... Have a lovely weekend!
This is Butterscotch. I think she's a little sassy, what with her polka-dotted undies and such! I should be gathering pay-stubs and urine samples (kidding) for the mortgage company, but I've taken a quick moment to list her in the shop and share her with you! (That's how special you are...)
Today is a bit of a beast... We have to solidify the final details of the contract on our house, pray the mortgage company will give us an ungodly amount of money, squeeze in a last-minute practice during which we're supposed to learn three new songs, play a rock 'n roll show in our unprepared state, AND celebrate Andy's 31st birthday!!! Oh, and I have to spend some time with my autistic friend somewhere in there and inevitably break his heart because he wants to see a movie tonight. Sigh...
I have failed miserably in the birthday department, but I did make some lovely cupcakes with Emily last night. Shhhh... it's a secret. Once Emily posts about them, I will promptly steal her picture and post right here! Now I just have to do some serious strategizing about the cupcakes' place in this crazy day.
I have to run now, but I would like to say a quick thank you to all of the comments!!! One day I will get my act together and write you back. Have a lovely weekend!
Quickly, before something else goes wrong.... Meet Wally and Horace, my new loves!
They're a little bit... spaztic, I suppose, but I'm quite smitten. (I've had a devil of a time getting them scanned and adjusted, thanks to my fancy new flat-screen monitor. Shouldn't these things already be calibrated when you pull them out of the box?) These little guys are now here, waiting for that special someone... Is it you?
Last night's show went very well, as far as I can tell. Camera Obscura did, indeed, draw a HUGE crowd, and they put on a very mellow, nice set. My bandmates and I had hoped we'd all become instant BFFs and be invited to tour in Scotland, but sadly we only managed to exchange some very awkward small talk. Sigh...
One of these days I will catch up on all of my blogging, but I fear today is not the day. I'm going to enjoy some fresh-baked (cinnamon) brownies and watch Andy play video games. And not even complain once, that's how tired I am!
Here's wishing everyone a lovely weekend!
Sigh... I'm really slacking in the blog department these days! I'm going to blame it on my continuing struggles with Technology... I'm not sure what I did to earn such bad computer karma, but I'm desperately seeking forgiveness! (Really, computer... I love you! And you too, Photoshop! Internet? You're my best friend!) On a positive note, however, I was able to retrieve all of my files from the computer who shall not be named. And I only had to spend $120. I'm really convinced that I have special magnets in my head that cause all electronic equipment to self-destruct. Am I alone in this?
So yeah, if not for my techy problems, I would be sharing TWO NEW PAINTINGS with you!!! I haven't painted in a very long while, and I'm so excited! I hope to be able to post them in the next couple of days. (I hope, I hope, I hope...). They're vaguely Valentine-themed and may also appear on some special Valentine cards.
I'm also struggling with some butterflies in my stomach... Tonight we are playing a show with Camera Obscura, a band from Scotland who is sure to draw a huge audience. I have never seen them live before, but I really dig their Phil Spector-ish production. You should check them out, if you aren't already familiar with them. For some reason, playing in my own town makes me completely neurotic, much more so than playing for strangers. I'm sure it will all be fine, especially after a drink or two! A brief Music Progress Note: We're in the very beginning stages of putting together a new album! I think it's going to be really great. And we are planning a trip to South by Southwest in Austin in March. I'll keep you posted!
Well, I have to run now. I promise pictures soon, soon, soon!
p.s. I just have to send out some xoxoxs for Emily, who is a constant source of inspiration and awe!!!
I have been busy, busy, busy making lots of these... printing, cutting, glittering, tying, designing, packaging, agonizing. I have inhaled so much glitter that I surely have the glitter lung. (Can you die from having sparkly insides?) I'm also working toward carpal-tunnel syndrome and blindness... All in the name of cute gift tags which, by the way, are now available in my shop!
I've had to spend more time than I would like working on music-related projects recently. We've been learning three new songs for our show Saturday night, and we're gearing up for SXSW in the spring. Somehow I was charged with putting together our application and press-kit materials, a task I just wasn't equipped for. After the trauma of unearthing a very obscure and scathing review of our ill-fated Brooklyn show, I had a bit of a meltdown and vowed never to play music again. But despite my severely wounded ego, the show must go on ...
Due to a slight hint of exhaustion, I'm forcing myself to take a break for the rest of the night. I would love nothing more than to liberate Andy from his overnight hospital prison, but I guess I'll have to make due with Junebug and Cleo from 5 to 7 (again)... Tomorrow I'm going to start on some special Christmas Stockings. If they turn out anything like the image in my head, they will be pretty special... So stay tuned!
And now back to Rock-n-Roll...
Some Tour Statistics:
139 = Estimated number of chocolate chip cookies consumed (mostly by me)
50 = Total hours spent riding in the car
14 = Times The Finger was given in traffic (mostly by Emily G.)
10 = The number of people in the audience at our Greensboro, NC show
8 = Cities in which we encountered former Athenians
4 = Shooting stars beheld while relaxing in the hot tub
2 = Times we missed our exit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike
2 = Nights spent in a hotel with free cable
1 = Times Andy & I actually had to sleep on the floor (It really pays to be a couple!)
First Stop: Bedford, Pennsylvania...
The first twelve hours of our tour were spent driving to Emily G.'s family farmhouse in Bedford Pennsylvania. We were treated with homemade potato soup, fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies, and the hot tub. Not to mention warm beds-a-plenty, gorgeous scenery, and blueberry pancakes for breakfast... It was very tempting to skip out on the whole tour-thing and just stay at the farmhouse!
Emily's mom sent us off with a giant tub of cookies and some organic, home-grown apples. Mmmmm...
(Incidentally, we're planning to return to the farmhouse to record the next album... Did I forget to mention the recording studio housed in the old kitchen?)
Next Stop: Brooklyn, New York...
What should have been a relatively short drive to Brooklyn turned out to be a harrowing ordeal... To amuse ourselves on an endless stretch of Pennsylvania Turnpike, we concocted a game much like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon-- you know, the one where you have to link actors and films within six steps. Actually, it was just like this game, only with the added twist of having to replace one word of the film's title with the word anus. As in "My Big Fat Greek Anus." Juvenile, yes, but it kept us so enthralled that we missed our exit off the turnpike TWICE and added an extra hour-and-a-half to our trip. (Really, you should give this game a try...)
We thought our troubles were over until we faced the most heinous of all traffic obstacles: The Holland Tunnel. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why MapQuest would route poor, unsuspecting innocents such as ourselves through the Holland Tunnel. Is that the only way to get from Jersey to Manhattan? Surely not! Why so much trouble for one little tunnel? I cannot even speak of the horror... I've chosen to block out the memory. All I can say is this: DON'T EVER TAKE THE HOLLAND TUNNEL ON A SATURDAY NIGHT! After 45 minutes of waiting to simply enter the tunnel, we learned that we were due on stage in Brooklyn way ahead of schedule (as in NOW!). And it just got worse... Derek's lap-top, which we rely on for backing tracks on a few songs, had broken that very day and couldn't be fixed. Needless to say, the show was an all-out disaster. Really, it was. We all agreed that it felt better to admit it! But at least we were finally reunited with Derek and the rest of Elf Power!
I was so relieved when that show was over! Especially because Andy, Carlton & I had the pleasure of staying the night with our beloved Emily M! She spoiled us with gourmet grilled-cheese sandwiches and forced me to take one of her hedgehog totes. I had the honor of seeing her lovely dolls in person and sheepishly learned that her work area is even smaller than mine... We were able to spend a few hours with her the next day having brunch and wandering around Williamsburg.
That Emily sure is a snappy dresser...
I found the cutest graffiti ever right around the corner from Emily's apartment...
No need for tearful goodbyes, as Emily is moving back to Athens next month! Hooray!
Next Stop: Philadelphia & Baltimore:
I think I liked Philadelphia better than any of the other cities we visited, though I can't really say why. Our show in Philly more than made up for the Brooklyn mishap. We were fortunate enough to borrow Elf Power's laptop for the rest of the tour. During our set I happened to look out into the audience and saw Tony & Kimberly, old friends from Athens. What a nice surprise! We (all ten of us from both bands) stayed in an amazing loft space, where Andy and I were forced to take the lone air mattress. We slept like babies! Those who had visited Baltimore before agreed that we should stay in Philly as long as possible before our next gig. With hours to kill, we all trouped to the local cinema and watched "Hollywoodland." I can't say whether I liked it or hated it... I was too distracted by Ben Affleck's prosthetic nose-tip to care one way or the other.
I think we spent a total of six hours in Baltimore. That being said, Baltimore was memorable only for two reasons: 1-The best sound guy we had all tour, who just happened to be a sound girl... She really knew her stuff! (Imagine that!) 2-Teddy bear man... an enthusiastic, highly inebriated (most likely schizophrenic) fan who enjoyed the show from the street outside the club with his dear friend Teddy bear. Teddy man wore only the finest top-coat with tails and tattered blue jeans, and teddy bear wore shades. As he rolled and danced in the street, I worried that things would become indecent or that he would be run over by a car. At one point during our set, I noticed Teddy bear sitting on the edge of the stage gazing at me with those over-sized glasses, and I lost all control of my limbs. Just for a moment. By the end of the night, Teddy man and bear had drifted off to blissful sleep behind a dumpster. It was oddly touching...
Next Stop: Somewhere in the Middle?
In all honesty, the whole middle of the tour is a bit of a blur for me. Not because I am a drunkard or anything like that, but because being in a new place every single day is rather exhausting. All day in the car, all night in yet another club. I will try to remember the highlights (or in many cases, the not-so-highlights...)
The next couple of shows were in Richmond, VA and Greensboro, NC. I really didn't experience much beyond the clubs, both of which were unusually large. In Richmond, a drunken middle-aged man made a point of telling Emily & me that our music was the worst he had ever heard. (It didn't matter that a dozen others said the show was great... ) I distinctly remember having a terrible time with the audience of ten in Greensboro. That was by far the worst night for me... It was definitely the point in the tour when I would have given my very soul to be at home with my sweet Junebug!
It was a huge relief to head to Asheville, which is a very charming little city despite terrible traffic. The unbearable heat we had been experiencing finally broke, and the endless toll roads were miles behind us! We played our best show yet at a small space called Wedge Gallery. Unfortunately, the sound system was terrible, so our efforts went rather unnoticed. (That is just the sad truth of touring... No matter how hard you try, you're always at someone else's mercy. Which why I have decided we must clone Derek, our bassist, sometimes-vocalist, fix-it-man, sound-guy -extraordinaire!)
Next Stop: Charleston & Columbia, SC:
Andy, Carlton, Emily & I arrived in Charleston with time to spare, so we spent the afternoon at Folly Beach. I hadn't seen the ocean in several years, and it was so relaxing! It made up for the fact that our Charleston gig ended up being at a sports bar filled with, well, just the sorts you would imagine at a sports bar...
Yeah, that's me with the 40 oz. can of green tea...
We spent a few hours in historic district of Charleston, the part where the buildings are all ancient and tiny... I had the odd sensation of being in a theme park and was startled to realize that people actually live there!
Our final show was in Columbia, SC, at a really snazzy place called Art Bar. There were two stages, and we chose the one with the robots and wall of TVs...
Here we are... Music is serious, serious business! (Andy just couldn't help himself in the presence of all those TVs...)
By this point, I really didn't care how the show went (though I'm told it was OK). I just wanted to get back on the road. And we did, immediately after our set and a few quick goodbyes. That three-hour drive back to Athens felt like the longest of all...
Final Stop: Athens, GA:
Whew.... We made it! After resting up a bit, we rounded out the tour with a final final show at Caledonia Lounge, and it was the best we've ever played. Overall, I think the tour was a success. No, we didn't make a lot of money, and we didn't always have a huge crowd. But we had a great time and reached at least a few people! At almost every show I encountered some wistful gal who played flute once upon a time and never thought it was possible to rock... until now! Maybe I've started a rock-flute revolution! At the very least, I survived my very first rock-n-roll tour, which is saying a lot.
Now it's back to the daily grind, which will hopefully be a little less mundane after such a great adventure! Thanks for reading my ridiculously long post and stay tuned for Progress...
Warning: This will be a long, wordy post with few pictures...
Whew! I survived the first mini leg of our rock-n-roll tour with Elf Power!!! It has now been over 48 hours since I was last crammed in a car with several other people eating gourmet gas-station cuisine, and I think I'm going into some kind of withdrawal...
I'm still recovering from all those late nights. Here, Junebug shares sympathy pains (trust me, I look worse than she does...):
I am amazed that I was actually able to go through with the whole thing... Let me tell you, I was a nervous wreck during the several days leading up to our departure! (Temporary hormone-induced obesity didn't much help my plight.) I spent long hours picking fights with my bandmates in my head and fantasizing about storming out of a club and taking a taxi back to the safety of my bed, where I would eat lots of chocolate and cry. I had several back-up plans, as well: flat tires, sudden illness, stolen instruments...
But somehow, as soon as we set off on the long journey, my queasiness was replaced by a giddy excitement that only slightly faded when we arrived at the club. Our first show was in Macon, a place I hope I never have cause to visit again. I'd heard rumors that Macon was "a town of tweakers," and I will be the first to verify that as absolute truth. I relay cannot describe the vibe there... I don't see much point in writing an endless negative rant about the town and its people, but I will say this: Just don't go there if you can help it. The first show did not go as well as we would have liked, and the audience was difficult. Still, we got through it and even made a little extra cash. The club owner was amazingly generous and had booked two hotel rooms for us (there were ten people between the two bands). Though I did not sleep a wink that night, I was immensely relieved not to be on some guy's dirty floor. And we were all guaranteed showers! Such luxury!
Our next show was in Orlando, another place that just rubbed me the wrong way. In all fairness, I only saw a small part of the city, where 9 out of 10 women just happened to be dressed like prostitutes, but still. I guess I need to keep in mind that many beloved boy-bands would probably not exist if not for Orlando (not to mention America's sweetheart, Britney Spears)... Once inside the club, it was a whole different world. Intelligent, decently dressed youngsters who were very respectful and appreciative. Show #2 went very well, considering the emotional trauma of seeing all that tiny black spandex out on the streets. At the end of the night, a few of us branched off to find a hotel room and just narrowly escaped the wretched city. (Note: If you ever go to Orlando, make sure to bring tons of change for the toll road, and whatever you do, don't run out of gas...)
After sleeping like babies in our comfortable hotel beds, we just happened to turn on the TV in time to watch the Space Shuttle Atlantis launching. We were not too far from Cocoa Beach, so we could actually see the shuttle from the hotel balcony! It was tiny as it broke through the clouds, but still amazing. Afterward, I chided myself for not grabbing the camera. In fact, the camera never left my bag... This is someone else's photo, just for emphasis:
Our third and final (and most successful) show was in Gainesville, which I was relieved to find quite charming. It was incredibly pedestrian-friendly, as all college towns should be. Everyone was on bike or foot. I wandered into a fabulous little boutique called F.I.A., where I found the cutest t-shirts with kitschy smiling ice-cream cones and milk-cows. I couldn't afford much, but I did buy this lovely skirt:
After a great show, we all journeyed to the home of Don & Sara, cousins to one of the guys in Elf Power. I dipped my feet in their pool under a nearly-full moon while some of my braver comrades actually went for a swim. I desperately wanted to grab my camera and photograph all those luminous, ghostly bodies, but I did not. (Sigh...) That night (or I should say, morning), Andy and I managed to sleep in the one spare bedroom, by default, as everyone else had already claimed a spot on the floor. I felt more like a princess than a musician... When we awoke, we were treated to home-made blueberry pancakes and coffee. What a dangerous precedent to set! How can I be anything other than an impossible diva on the next tour?
Despite the not-so-great locales and the inevitable exhaustion of being on the road, I'm proud to say that I really enjoyed myself. The long, scenic rides in the car, the bonding with bandmates, the stimulating conversation and, oh, the laughs... I'm still afraid of gas-station bathrooms, but I have become quite comfortable talking about merch tables and gig-butt and saying things like, "I'm gonna cut that bitch..." With each performance, the anxiety dissolves away a little bit more. Touring is truly a growing experience, and I absolutely cannot wait for the next leg of our adventure!
At the end of the month, we will drive up to Brooklyn and then continue back down the coast for eight or nine more shows. I have a feeling the latter leg of the tour will be a bit more like I had previously envisioned--dirty floors and gig-butt and crankiness all around. Next time, I will be sure to take some pictures. Stay tuned for all the sordid details!
In the mean time, it's back to work on this little guy, who has been in-progress for far too long:
Hope your Wednesday is as deliciously chilly and gloomy as mine is!!