Downton Abbey and Copious Amounts of Cheese

The season finale of Downton Abbey was last night.  I’m pretty sure that I was motivated more by cheese this season than by the goings on at Downton.  It’s not that it wasn’t great– the costuming, oh the costuming, simply amazing.  Lady Mary, eh, not so much.  Did she really question the morality of Bates’ likely vengeance, after announcing that she’s happy to lie to help some Prince avoid a scandal?  No thank you, ladypants.

Anyway, I’ll still wait with bated breath for next season, but it might secretly be for the cheese.  My darling friend and Downton-watching partner provided a baked brie every single week.  And seriously, we each have two kids to get to bed before airtime, and she never slacked off.  Not once.  I’m telling you, that’s brie dedication. In case you don’t believe me, or if we aren’t Facebook friends and you haven’t been annoyed each week by my Downton Sunday cheese shot, here is proof that I have had no self-control for the last 2 months. 20140224-152613.jpg 20140224-152628.jpg 20140224-152700.jpg 20140224-152720.jpg 20140224-152800.jpg 20140224-153334.jpg 20140224-153313.jpg

Happy Monday, folks.


Celebrating a few Birthdays

Around here, directly after the holiday season, we have birthday season.

L. turned three this past January, and we celebrated his actual birthday with my parents with Carvel ice cream cake, and various other family meals over the course of the weekend.


A month later, P. turned one, and we made sure to let him smash some cake and FaceTime with his Grandparents.


The following week was my Mom’s birthday, so I’m pretty sure L. thinks that we’re going to sing Happy Birthday and eat cake every other day.  I’d agree to it, if my waistline wasn’t already suffering!

We held a joint birthday party for the boys in early February.  It’s continued to be great fun to celebrate one more year of adventures as our little ones grow.  It’s also a great excuse to open up our house to our amazing family and friends to eat, drink, and be merry.


I ordered an invitation design through Yellow Brick Graphics and had them printed locally.  I knew I wanted something very specific, considering it was a joint party, and Mickenzie was able to format one of her designs perfectly for the party.  If I wasn’t working against the clock, I would have just had them print the cards for me, but I needed something fast!  Using DIY printables is not something I shy away from, but if you account for the amount of time cutting, trip to the printers, getting envelopes (I always use Paper Source), etc. it may or may not be time well spent.  Either way, I loved the design she created for our party.


L. thinks balloons are pretty rad, just like any kid, so we made sure to have plenty around the house.



I had all my banners, decorations, props and graphics done by PaperBuilt and printed locally.   They are a great company based out of Baltimore/DC (support local small business, folks!).  They specialize in Printable Paper Parties and Crafts, and are simply fabulous!


I served crab cake balls, fruit, a cheese and cracker spread, hummus and tabbouleh, and small feta and caramelized onion pastries, keeping things pretty light, so everyone would have room for cake.


I made a few cakes this year, since it was a joint party, and I like to bake (only once or twice a year!).



L. played it pretty cool all day, but he’s still talking about his birthday, three weeks later, so I know he had a blast.


I can’t believe P. is a year old already!


I made the same rainbow cake again this year.


The second cake was an orange infused vanilla layer cake with orange whip buttercream frosting.




I threw a few PaperBuilt props around for the kids to play with.  I kept it pretty low key/hands off in terms of “kids activities,” so these little things added to the free play fun.





We sent everyone home with airplane sugar cookies and lollipops (aka sugar overload!), and an apology for such to all the parents involved!  I had little suitcase favor bags for the kids, I just forgot to snap a pic.  Hopefully these wooden airplane kits that we sent home with the kids served as a fun activity to pass the time on a cold day.


Love these two boys to pieces, and can’t believe another year has passed so quickly!


Check out the rest of the party pics on Facebook.


One step at a time

I keep meaning to snap a picture of how the bathroom is coming along.


We’ve got the floor tile in! I think grouting will happen tomorrow- possibly.

It’s been a lot of work to get here. After completely demolishing the room and replumbing the house, J. came back to the bathroom and leveled, straightened and reframed walls, moved light fixtures and switches, framed in the medicine cabinet, configured and installed all the new plumbing (more on our final decision for the shower configuration later!), then he rebuilt the walls with cement backer board and dry wall. After he put a new ceiling up, he leveled and set the new tub, and took care of all the paper tape and mudding that goes with all the drywall areas. He leveled the floor and adhered the cement backer board down to the subfloor, and filled all of the backer board seams with cement.


Long list, eh? I’m probably missing a handful of things, and oh, all the details- so much goes into a project like this. Needless to say, seeing that tile down was very exciting, considering it was looking like this in there just a few short weeks ago!


Cheers to marble!


The days are long

You know how the rest goes…. something like “but the years are short.”  I know, I know.  This mom thing is tough.  We’ve all had colds this week, I’ve got too much to do, and still, we run out of hours.

But the boys are such good little characters.  L. loves his baby bro, and I couldn’t ask for more patience from a three year old.  I take it for granted, that part I’m sure.


I shared these photos on Facebook today.  I’ve been so impatient this week.  And this morning, the quiet play just made me take a step back.  Far too often, I have to remind myself that they are only going to be young for a tiny little while.  And I’ll miss it when it’s over.  I will really miss it.  So I need to stop resenting the dinner, the toys, the general fact that I’m constantly cleaning up something that smells bad, and just take a breath.

Anyway, our living room is where the boys do the majority of their playing, and we store the bulk of their toys in there, so it’s just a mess, and it’s been really getting under my skin.  Like, I don’t think I’m getting enough sleep because everything feels like it’s in disarray, seriously (Taurus, earth sign, order in home, you know the drill).  Obviously, the Playmobil Pirates need to take Thomas the Train to visit the Lego Firestation, so by the end of the day, every single toy is out, and some elaborate train track or lego town has been meticulously constructed. I am mildly a type-a personality, so if I didn’t know any better, I’d have stifled his creativity a long time ago by insisting he only play with one set of toys at a time (Although I think I’m completely reasonable to expect that if he wants to do a puzzle, he needs to put away the 235 race cars that are ALL over this house first!).  He’s getting pretty good at cleaning up after himself, granted, but I still need to figure out how to effectively store all of this stuff so I can enjoy my glass of wine on the couch at the end of the day, without a monster truck jabbing me in the side.



Ok, that’s all for tonight.  I think this means I have a project on the horizon, no?

Have a great weekend, ya’ll.


A quick hello!

Hi there.  Just popping in to wave my hands around and let you know I’m still here.  Kinda.  I’ve been swamped, and I keep getting behind, which I hate hate hate.

I finally got around to developing a much more user friendly and happy space on the web to organize my paintings.  Still same domain, but now a lot nicer looking.  Check it out, I’d love to hear what you think!

In other news, Etch will be launching it’s www soon, too!  We’re in the site testing phase, and it’s very involved, in a good way.  Part of the hustle to get my personal website’s cobwebs dusted was to have things ready when Etch’s dot com goes live.  I’ve spent too much time staring at this computer screen!

I will share the process in more depth later, but for now, it serves as an excuse for my blogity neglect.  That and the fact that my 3 year old (yes, L turned three!!!) wants to go outside and play in the snow 35 times a day.  I know I could come up with many excuses as to why I will not put that glove back on his hand, but I just can’t help it, he love playing outside in the freezing cold snow day fun.

Happy Wednesday.


Did I say Magic?

Who was I kidding?  Sharing in the magic?  I hadn’t realized that this was not really a sharing situation, more like a “float it for the sake of the three year old” situation.  Magic is not easy.

The “holiday” exhaustion started back in October when I made the costumes, painted some decorations for preschool and threw in that extra trip to the grocery store in the name of apple cider.  Then maybe I shoveled a piece of turkey into my mouth somewhere in November, after which I stayed up all night wrapping presents, chewing on carrots “for effect,” and generally covering Santa’s ass big time.  And finally, I woke up to Christmas Day, aka. really bad hair day, with bags under my eyes, and a ton of torn bows and general chaos, with the need for a new toy organizational system.

I have the Costco sized tin of Butter cookies my husband casually brought home “in the spirit of the holiday” to thank for the extra 10 pounds around my waist that is keeping me from being able to fit into the pants I had finally started fitting into.  Yikes!

In all sincerity, it was totally worth it.  Well, maybe not the butter cookies; I don’t really even like butter cookies.  But the rest was pretty cool.  L is one happy kid either way, and we live in total moderation all year long, so it was nice to have a handful of extra special days before we officially rang in 2014!

Cheers, ya’ll.



Like us!

Etch Design Lab has a Facebook page, friends!  We have been working with Aeolidia on our web presence, and they’re doing amazing things for Etch.  To see our new logo, and get updates, like us on Facebook!

I’m a busy, busy bee over here!  We trimmed our tree this week, the Christmas cards are in the mail, I’m volunteering to paint some village scenes for the Multicultural Holiday Program for L’s preschool, and making sure to fit in a few small little creative moments inspired by the season.  I love this very special time of the year, especially now that I have an almost 3 year old to share in the magic!






A mini-makeover, mini-bathroom style.

Hi, ya’ll!

So, if you fear you’ll never see the end to your big-taking-6-months diy bathroom renovation, you can always give the other bathroom a facelift, right?

During one of the steps for J. finishing off the re-plumbing of the house (which went off without a hitch, by the by), he had to take out the toilet in our little powder bathroom.   The clamping tool for PEX fitting was much too large and cumbersome to navigate in the tiny space, and so the toilet had to go to put the new supply line in.  It was probably 12:30 at night (any diy with two kiddos usually means we’re working at completely inconvenient hours!) and once the old toilet was out, on a whim, we decided to take the brand new still in box toilet meant for the new upstairs bathroom and put it in the little powder room.  Something about putting that old yucky toilet back would have felt like a huge womp womp, when the entire house had beautiful new pipes.  I think this was one of our “we need immediate satisfaction,” decisions, with so much dirty work ahead of us (and behind with the new re-plumb).

Anyway, with this new toilet, by Kohler, I couldn’t leave the rest of the room as is.  I painted the walls a neon coral and replaced an old IKEA glass shelf that was falling off the wall with this awesome and budget friendly one by Gatco, and we upgraded from toilet paper on the floor beside the toilet, to this pivoting one by Moen.


Obviously, since we are still recovering from the expense of the hall bath upstairs, we went with super budget friendly accessories, but both the Gatco shelf and the Moen tissue holder feel pretty high quality, and I think they will last.  We want to replace the sink eventually, and now that the Kohler Tresham toilet is in place, I think we will go with the matching pedestal sink.  It was a little too much to spend all at once for now.  But I absolutely love the Tresham line, it’s amazing.

This photo does not depict the color very accurately, but I wanted to give you a peak of that toilet.  I never imagined I’d ever be blogging in the first place, but now I feel like I’ve taken it one step further– this toilet deserves a post of it’s own.  I’ll spare my few readers, but I have to say, it’s fabulous.  It’s gorgeous, and the mechanisms are so smart.  I won’t go into detail, but seriously, if you need a new toilet, this is the one (no affiliate links, and Kohler has no idea who I am, obvi).  Comfort height is a genius invention, too.


Here is a more accurate depiction of the color on the walls.  It’s definitely not for everyone, but I wanted to do something a little overwhelming and less expected, since it’s a small room.  It’s kind of offensive when you first open the door, but it really is a nice treat, considering all of the rest of the colors on the walls of my house are so tame.  That tissue holder is cool too, for what it’s worth, because you just lift the pivoting bar to replace the tissue.  No plastic pressure bars.  And for us, it’s a big upgrade from searching for the toddler-hidden-missing tissue roll every day!


Clearly we need a new rug, too.  Fun stuff for a bathroom.

Happy day, all.


What’s happening in the Studio

I haven’t done a studio post in a long time.

I’m still fighting my post-baby funk, and it kills me to be less prolific that I used to be, but with so many things going on right now, I just have to accept that everything I make isn’t going to come to fruition.

Outside of the larger linen pieces I completed this summer, seen here, I’ve been working on paper on and off for the last few years, throughout both pregnancies, and whenever I don’t have enough time in the studio to focus on my larger linen pieces.  These have kind of been a tangent, started long ago, and worked on over a long duration of time, during small moments here and there.  I’m not married to anything really going on here, but it’s important to keep working, even during these kind of phases.


This painting never felt right, but once I cut some part off that didn’t make sense, it felt complete.  Thank you paper.

Untitled, 9″ x 13/12, 2013


Untitled, 11″ x 14″ 2013



This one below is from back in early 2012, so it’s titled, unlike the more recently finished ones in this post.  It took a long time to get around to photographing, and I kept having issues with hating the purple color.  I was looking at Moroccan tiles and facades at the time, and dripping paint with my go-to favorite color combination, per usual.  I had a studio visit with a favorite grad school professor when I was working on this one, and he told me I needed a better studio.  I think I stopped painting for two months and shoved this thing in a drawer.  Fun stuff.

If It’s All the Same to You, 12 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ 2012


This is another older one I started in early 2012 with gouache, but the decorative frame finished it up a few months ago.  I’ve been “erasing out parts” with paint in my painting process since the summer before my second year of grad school, so just like dripping and pouring, it comes and goes every few years.  Editing and simplifying are so hard for me.  I fight a “more is more is better” mentality every day!

Untitled, 10 1/2″ x 14″ 2013


And here is the latest painting.  I kept thinking I was going somewhere with this one, but it still feels like a dead end.  I don’t want to make another (I tried, boring), but I loved the process involved with pushing the marks around the paper.  Maybe it will come into another painting in another way sometime.  Who knows.

Untitled, 15″ x 19″ 2013.


Ok, that’s all for now.