Lenny: I will always love you

In 1982, a toy manufacturer called Coleco began to produce Cabbage Patch Kids. Thank you, Coleco. You brought me Lenny, my curly-haired boy doll.
This is the Christmas day that Santa brought me Lenny. Look how stoked I am. After all, Lenny did have a teddy bear embroidered on his overalls.
Here I am shamelessly kickin' it on my grandma's lap with my doll. Lenny even had his own seat in the van for our California road trip. He had as much space as my older siblings in the back.

When I first told her, Mackenzie didn't believe me that I had a doll as a kid. And she laughed hard when I told him I had named him Lenny (which rhymes with my older sister's CPK "Jenny"). I think she had to see these pics to believe how much I loved him. Even boys need a good doll to love. To be honest, I always wanted a "My Buddy," probably because of their awesome jingle.



Hi. I haven't been as good at writing at this blog. I have been writing more at my other blog so if you aren't subscribed to that one, hop on over. I will still probably write on this blog, and Tyler too, but I am focusing more on writing more regularly on the other one. Thanks!



This last week has been filled with great moments. We drove up to Connecticut to see Adrian and Wendy, and their beautiful baby scarlett. We had so much fun spending thanksgiving with them. We went bowling on thanksgiving per sasser tradition, and tyler had tons of fun dancing with scarlett. That girl can move! We love being able to meet up with our friends.

We ended up in Rochester for the Second Storie indie Market which I was in again. That was also awesome. Here is my post about that, and Abby, one of my new friends I met there also posted a great post with her amazing photography.


weekend roadtrip

This weekend we had an impromptu opportunity to take a road trip and see friends had we hadn't seen in a while. Our neighbor and Tyler's favorite sports watching buddy from buffalo Adrian called and said he had two extra tickets to the Michigan game and that gave us a great opportunity to see them, see a fun football game and our long lost besties in Ann Arbor, Cree and Amanda. So we packed up and headed out! We had a great weekend full of beautiful weather, Ann Arbor goodness, and of course great food. Nothing is better than old friends catching up! And finding danish furniture on Craigslist to take home with you.



her favorite place to be.

Last Sunday we went to look at dogs at a couple shelters nearby. We found an older chihuahua and her puppy. I thought I would want the younger dog, but something just drew me to the mom, named coco. After meeting her for 20 minutes, we decided that we wanted her. We have waited all week, and last night we were able to get her. She is an 11 year old long haired chihuahua that could be a mix. She is really mellow. When we got her she wouldn't stop shivering. She has been great, she's already trained, and she just follows us around and doesn't cause trouble. Her fur is super soft, Tyler even loves to pet her. I have wanted to find a dog to rescue for so long, and it all happened really fast, but I am really happy.

We had decided to call her Winnipeg, but when we were walking out with her, Tyler said gingersnap, and for some reason, it just clicked. I think ginger fits for a grandma like her. She's my new daytime companion!



After the earliest snow fall in State College history yesterday started on my walk to work at 11am, it has been snowing ever since. Over 6 inches of wet snow has fallen, and overnight it got really cold and took down some trees. They were falling during the night and this morning we woke up to a crash. Our house is covered by huge trees all around, so it's a minefield!

a magic tree branch suspended by our power lines

shard of deadly tree branch.

Our lovely deck that just got completed!

one in our driveway

yep there's a car under there. Not ours!

the big tree

While we were taking pictures, a huge tree branch fell next door. It's dangerous outside! I thought we were done with crazy snow once we moved from buffalo. Luckily we still have power.


coming back from death.

it's been a while. whoops. I will say it's not my fault, but it is. I have become a victim of the flu season, a battle that started over two weeks ago. It all started with a terrible sore throat, and high fever. I went to the doctor, who swore I had strep, because I had classic strep symptoms and my throat looked terrible. After the swab test that triggered my sensitive gag reflex, it came back negative. Went home with some anti-biotics anyways, and started to get better after a few days. Then I started getting cold symptoms, and was hit with the worst cold I have ever had in my life. I looked and sounded terrible, and people at work were disinfecting all over the place. I tried everything, and I started to feel a little better after a week of misery. Then two days ago I get hit with fatigue, and I get another fever. Back to the doctor, who can't believe that I have still been sick. I was tested for the flu, (which is the worst test ever, q-tips swabbed my brain. twice), but the doctor was concerned and wanted to do a full blood work up. After going to the lab where I knew a needle was in my future, I was visibly terrified. But a couple vials later, I survived and went out to the waiting room with my mask to await my diagosis. I was so tired I laid down on the bench. When they called my name, I got up but had a hard time with the actual walking bit. After swaying around the nurse grabbed me by the shoulders, took me too my doctor, where nervous looks were exchanged. They brought in a machine to measure my vitals, and took my temperature, where I now had a 102 temp. After sitting down, the doctor went over my results. surprise! Negative for flu, negative for mono. But my levels pointed to a viral infection, so I got my tamiflu brought to me because they thought I would faint. I am now on the flu regimine, isolated, and with a nurse contacting me everyday to monitor my health and make sure I don't infect the masses. Oh and I had contact with a pregnant person! I had to fill out a whole form about that. All in all I am still sick, and I have to report to the nurse tomorrow that I have a temperature so I have at least one more day of isolation. I have hardly eaten in two weeks, and Tyler has gotten an intense training on how to live up to my standards of care (toast cut into fourths please).

be careful out there!


We're now living in our second "Happy Valley." Among other things, a striking similarity between Provo and State College is the die-hard football contingent. A major difference is the capacity of the two football stadiums: Lavell Edwards Stadium maxes out at 64,045, while Beaver Stadium can seat up to 107,282 (although 110, 753 is the largest reported attendance). On Friday night, Mackenzie and I were cruising the town (yeah, you know how we roll) and we dropped into Football Eve 2009. Do you remember high school pep rallies? Well, this was an awfully bedazzled pep rally, with probably about 30,000 students and locals who, unlike high school kids, wanted to be there and showed this by wholeheartedly singing and shouting through about 50 band- and cheerleader-guided songs and cheers. The crowd was vast. My favorite cheer was when the crowd repeated "Joe-Pa-Ter-No. Joe-Pa-Ter-No." I mean, where Lavell Edwards is the prophet of BYU football, Joe Paterno is the God of Penn State football. He has his own cheer--just for him. He is beloved. He is honored. Mackenzie and I saw Joe Pa driving across campus last week in a sweet Mercedes SUV and it was a celebrity moment (as far as State College goes). I'm inserting the video of Joe Pa's speech fully understanding that it will never be as good on video as it was in the moment. In fact, the best part about the speech was that between the croud noise, a bad sound system, and Joe Pa's slurred speech and accent, Mackenzie and I could hardly understand him. People here must be apt at interpreting his words because they kept laughing and cheering while Mackenzie and I would turn to each other with confused looks. One part that I could make out and was quite inspired by is around the 3-minute mark in the video. Joe Pa says, while pounding his chest for effect, "And when we say, 'We are Penn State,' by God it's just not a slogan. It's our heart." Admittedly, I was pretty riled up when he said that, and I'm not even fully won over to Penn State yet. Penn State nation was going wild. All in all, it was fun to see Joe Pa and take in the enormity of Beaver Stadium on a night when we didn't even have to pay for it.
As for the picture above, that's me sitting a just a few feet from the TV, nervously watching the BYU-Oklahoma game by myself. I love watching important games alone because, as anyone who's watched BYU games with me knows, I need plenty of room to stretch my wings when good or bad things happen. I have fallen to my knees, writhing in agony and run all the rooms of the house in uninhibited joy.


dresser done!

Tyler has worked so hard to refinish a lot of our furniture. He got done with the dresser this week, and it looks great! It was really dull and scratched up, he sanded down everything and stained it and then finished it with tung oil. It really glows. He did a great job! One more down!




RIP 86' Accord

After the rough ride that has been the Honda since we moved to Buffalo (i.e., we used all of our free AAA tows (4) for 2009 before summer arrived), we have been dreaming of a new car. We decided that once we got settled in State College we would try and find one. Tyler had taken over this job completely. Just like with our furniture hunting in Buffalo, he became obsessed at looking for cars online. Being in a small town, and knowing exactly what we wanted, we had to look far and wide to find a car that fit our needs. No stone in Pennsylvania went unturned (not to mention looking in Idaho and Utah). Tyler stayed up until 3 AM multiple times poring over dealer websites. He found a deal two weeks ago, haggled over the phone, and without even seeing the car, we got all the details (i.e., financing, insurance, registration) together and drove 3 hours to Philly yesterday. It took forever, with cash for clunkers going on, we waited for 6 hours in the dealership, just to sign the paperwork. We finally got our car, said goodbye to the honda, and drove to the nearest chipotle.

We love the car, it is a 2005 forester, it drives like a real car! After driving the honda for several thousands of miles, that really was our only qualification. The honda had some rough days lately, it had a distinctive "purr" to the engine, our car literally felt like it was going to shake the tires off. And the power steering went out a few months ago. Which made 3-point-turns=6-point-turns. But it's been a good car to us, and we will miss it.

The forester has already come in very handy. We went right to ikea that night to pick up some things, and one of those things was an over 6+ foot long countertop that was on sale for super cheap. Then tonight we went for a drive and picked up another 6 foot tall book shelf that was on the street. It's the car of our dreams!


new job!

stuckeman building

Coming here, there wasn't too many job prospects for me. There isn't a large art community, and not a lot of design going on, other than at the university. I found one job online that I qualified for, and that was a job in the architecture and landscape architecture library. I applied and was shocked when I got an interview and then I got the job! Its branch of the library is housed in the building where the architecture department is. It's a new building, that is Penn State's first gold LEED rated building. It's really amazing, and I love the recycled copper on the outside. It seems perfect for me because I really loved working at the BYU library, and this job is only part time. I mostly work nights, which is okay because I really love having my days to do things. And tyler will be able to study while I work. I was really hoping to get a job at the university, and now I have my own ID card and a parking permit.


high school memories.

Today I was running by the high school and I saw a familiar sight. Rows and rows of kids, lined up on a parking lot. It's marching band season! I couldn't help smiling as I watched them. Smiled even more when I heard them playing "Thriller" with half the brass section doing the thriller dance. It brought back a flood of memories.

Those who know me fairly well know I play the flute. I remember in 6th grade after deeming the clarinet was not duet-worthy with my twin's violin talent, starting to learn the flute. I picked it up quite quickly, I had a natural talent partly due to the fact I have freakishly long fingers and could reach all the keys easily. I really loved playing the flute. In junior high, band was still pretty cool to be in, and I was the top dog, the 1st flute. I played all the solos, I was the shiz. Our only marching experience was walking in a long straight line in the holiday parade, which we practiced doing for weeks. Our band uniform for parades was a maroon v-neck cardigan sweater (old man style that is cool now, but it was not cool back then.) that was always huge, with an embroidered logo on the back that we wore with a white turtleneck, white pants and white shoes. Even in back in 1997 that was not cool.

Anyways, playing the flute did bring me great things in life. I met one of my best friends because we had the same flute teacher in 8th grade. Becky, who would say things like beaut-i-mous! and brain fart! while we played in her room dedicated to her obsession to cats.

On to high school. I knew what was coming. Band was not cool in high school. I considered myself lucky because a)my flute could stealthily fit in my back pack b)I played volleyball (very cool) so I didn't have to be in marching band. I still loved playing the flute. I was in a flute choir taught by the flute professor at BSU, and I was in all the honor orchestras, which I loved. I love orchestra. The flutes play an important role. There only needs to be a few to carry over all those violins, and we were special in my mind. In band, it was all marches and brass-heavy stuff. flutes were like the magician's assistant, playing a pretty side role and slight of hand to the trumpets. I also did not escape pep band, which was the worst of all. We had to wear polo shirts and play at basketball and football games. I just wanted to sit with my friends. I would wear a hoodie over my polo, in our not air conditioned gym, and just sweat and sweat rather than let people see that I was the one who played "iron man" during the time out. After my sophomore year, I decided to quit band. I had to give up everything else, but I really didn't mind. Playing constant duets with my virtuoso sis kept up my skills.

I still have a place in my heart for bands. Tyler was a jock in high school and I taught him what a trombone was. In college I realized that playing "iron man" at parties was a big hit.



next in line.

Today Tyler and I woke up discouraged. I have been working on painting our bedroom this week, while Tyler has been refinishing furniture. The painting ending up taking a lot longer than expected, and when I took off the painters tape around the trim it turned into another 2 hour fixing step today. Tyler has worked so hard and ran into a couple roadblocks that were discouraging. We both had outcomes that seemed bleak, and we were depressed. Also we were trying to plan somewhere fun for us to go this weekend, because Tyler's school will start on the 24th and we haven't gotten a true summer vacation this summer. But we realized being responsible adults was more important right now. I dream of taking a cheap weekend cruise to somewhere warm with a beach.

But we got positive (and a hot dog), things turned out better, the bedroom is finally finished, and with advice and a good talking to his mom and family, tyler was re-energized to tackle the furniture. Sometimes we just have those moments! But we have been so blessed in so many ways we realized we didn't need to be pitying ourselves.

While we were saying "why us?" this morning, Tyler casually mentions, "I really think we could refinish this dining table."

I think we do it to ourselves.


Safety goggles

I've spent the last few evenings in the basement working on refinishing projects. To remove the old stain from two of our coffee tables, we've chosen to use KS-3 Stripper so as not to wreck any veneer portions. The first few steps on the KS-3 can tell you to wear chemical-resistant gloves and goggles and to pour the KS-3 into a metal container and shake it well before using. There's also a warning to remove the lid of the container slowly, to allow gases to release. As you can see from the photo, we bought the gloves but I've just worn my glasses to protect my eyes. Earlier, after applying and removing several coats of KS-3, I felt I'd gotten the hang of it. I'd closed the lid on the KS-3 securely, thinking I was done using it for the night. But before I called it a day I decided to use the KS-3 one more time on the underside of one of the tables. The can was on the ground and, with the lid still tightly in place, I bent over and began to shake the contents. I sat the can down to pry it open with a flathead screwdriver. At this point, I was bending over casually, with my face directly above the can. When I pried up the lid, there was a loud "POP!" The lid shot off and the gooey contents erupted out. My glasses were splattered all over with KS-3. I threw them off and ran upstairs to wash the stingy goo off my arms, legs, and face, thinking that somehow I must have been maimed. But due to my trusty Ray-Bans, I can still see. For a second, I thought I was becoming "handy around the house." I guess I'm a fraud. At least I didn't saw off my fingers or anything.


one thing you can always count on...

being able to go to a baseball game.
We went to see the spikes play a minor league team. They aren't that good. If you don't know baseball there are 5 levels of minor leagues. AAA, AA, A, short season, and rookie. We came from a AAA team in buffalo, the spikes are a short season team meaning that they are mostly new drafts from college teams so the season goes from june to September. The boise hawks are also at this level. So the game was pretty boring, both teams were terrible hitters, and finally in the last inning we scored a home run. But we smuggled in some peanuts and the weather was great. We went to five guys before, which was awesome. They have a good hot dog. not at a ted's level, but good. I would suggest mustard and BBQ sauce, you won't be disapointed!

Tyler is planning our next major league trip. Since we are around 4 possibilities, Pittsburgh, Philly, DC, and New York, he will figure out where he can watch his cubbies.

there was a big group of roosters in the street and of course I chased them down. I inherited my mother's love of fat chickens.

We are quickly becoming used to living in a farm town. We get our milk in glass bottles from the dairy down the street, where the cows live and graze on grass and are not injected with growth hormones. We go to the farmers market where the farmers bring their freshly picked produce from that morning, and tyler is enticed by the amish selling their pastries. It was my first up close amish encounter, I have seen mennonites and polygymists, but these guys are the real deal! They all have beards tyler dreams of. We would catch the smells of the next door pigfarm at the baseball game when the wind would shift. It is so peaceful here and so beautiful. I can't wait to see what it is like in the fall.


add a blog

Since I am focusing on my online shop now, I have been starting another blog secretpockethandmade. Up until now it has had similar posts, but I am separating my artist life from my personal life now. This blog will have more stuff to do with us, and the other blog will be my projects and designs and things. I will be updating my shop with lots of things, I am finally a little more settled here to work on it. Thanks!


Fun finds

Here are some more various vintage things we found in buffalo.

These yearbooks from 1948 and 1952 from a college for teachers. I love the covers, and the layouts inside.

I love this buffalo china platter, found at a thrift store.

We found this box of old stamps in a basement, mr Purington's basement.

this old globe still has tibet and ussr on it.