Tuesday, December 12, 2017

for whom the snowman bell tolls

You know when you are busy - head down, shoulder to the wheel, getting it done, etc - and you suddenly look around realizing that you have somehow ended up someplace ridiculous?
I am sure it happens to most people, but i think it might happen a bit more often here in the Nikiverse because of the nature of my job.
Okay, and mayhaps because of the nature of me.
A jewelry station of sorts has been fashioned on the breakfast bar of the house i am currently watching so that i can get finished several commissions that are due this week. It is not ideal, but a girl's got to do whatever to get things done.
This morning it occurred to me that i have one more festival this weekend (Saturday at Margaret Brent MS for those of you in Southern MD) and am almost sold out of Christmas and winter Quirkees: YIKES!
A quick trip home to the studio to grab some appropriate charms, beads and bells later, a hodge-podge of merriment has been added to the already questionable work space.
    It is a splayed mess, people.
Anyhoo, i am intensely focused figuring out how many Quirkees i can add to this week's schedule and where to lay them out in this chaos when i hear myself say, Come on Nik, you don't have time to make everything. Santa penguin, Santa cardinal or Santa bluebird? Penguin, cardinal, bluebird, penguin, cardinal, bluebird - they are all birds and all Santas, just pick one.
That is the moment when i had to pause, to reflect on the serious tone of such a ridiculous question.
My life is currently all about choosing an anthropomorphic holiday bird to make into earrings.
Wow. This is not a place i could have imagined for myself.
It isn't a bad place, mind you.
Just a weird one, worthy of a haiku moment.

Bells. Birds. Birds, bells, birds.
Reindeer, snowflake, Santa hat.
Oh my strange, strange life.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Thursday, November 9, 2017

November is made for fire

My love of dancing flames is no secret, as is my love for hot dogs and marshmallows.
Put them together with friends, a chill in the air and whittling sticks and you make Niki joy.

First, however, you do need to get a fire going:
Some sort of starter... kindling...aim-n-flame...

Come on people - FIRE!

How many people does it take to light a fire?

Ahhhhhhhh... here we go.

Add some chunks of wood.
          Careful; leave room for oxygen flow.

That's better.

Thanks to Lynn and Shawn for having Betsy, Ron and me over for a campfire.
Considering how much camping Lynn and I did together as children it felt nostalgic to talk and laugh and catch up with friends that have drifted apart while sharpening sticks, grilling doe-dogs and making s'mores.
I love, love the crackling of the wood and the smell of the smoke (when it isn't attacking my eyes, that is - less of a fan then). And i love them even more when surrounded by fun people.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Helllllloooooo October!

It is well documented that October is my favorite month of the year.
The humidity finally breaks.
There is a chill in the air.
Jeans and light sweaters emerge from storage.
Punkins appear by the side of the road.
 Apple cider abounds.
Trees put on their autumnal finery.
Pumpkin spice everything!
Yes, there is much to celebrate in October.
Here in the Nikiverse, October is all about doing craft festivals, gearing up for the holiday season and making, making, making, making beautiful and silly things.

However, there are uncomfortable changes as well.
My beloved pink camera has been retired.
Here is the post with the very first picture i ever took with it, in May 2008.  sniff, sniff, sniffle...
After a conservative guess of 14,000 pictures taken, she finally gave up the ghost two weeks ago and refused to turn on, even with much pleading, begging and cajoling.
    It was time to let her rest on a pedestal in the studio, in all of her pink glory.
Luckily, there is a backup camera that Jason and Kate gave me when they upgraded a few years ago.
Now just to find it...
Camera located!  It is a newer version of the pink camera so i already have batteries and memory cards and cases so now we just have to turn it on...
Panic briefly flared in my tummy at the thought that i might be without a camera.  Yes, i realize that in this day and age with cameras on phones and tablets it is certainly possible to take a picture without a camera, but it isn't the same people.
Okay, take a deep breath; maybe the battery needs to be charged. After all, i haven't used the pink camera in weeks. Okay, now just to charge the battery...
Where is the charger?!?
My apartment has been in a sad, sorry state of construction and disarray for a year. Nothing is where it is supposed to be - GAH!
After a few days of searching, the charger was located, the battery was charged and last night - TADA! - the backup camera is working and has graduated from its backup status.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

It is National Poetry day!

...and yes, Rea, haikus do count.  💖

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Thursday, June 1, 2017

achievment unlocked - rose petal puller

I love new experiences and learning new things.
As such, i have accumulated an odd skill set.
Need a wedding dress properly corseted? I can do that.
Need to keep a nail from falling off after smashing your finger? I can do that.
Need to cook food for 150? I can do that.
Need to properly set a balloon drop? I can do that.
Need to mix glitter to exactly match your wall paint? I can do that.
Need to explain why the sky is blue with ordinary household objects? I can do that.
Need to navigate by the stars? I can do that.
Need to cook cauliflower so that it is delicious? I can not do that. Really, can anyone?

Recently i learned how to pull rose petals from the stem without damaging them.
Yes, there is a specific technique for that.
It involves holding the flower and stem in opposite hands with your fingers curled around the base of the bud just past the first few petal layers and then there is a pushing, pulling, pushing, rocking, pushing, slight twist and pull.

You are holding all of the rose's petals without the rest of the flower; now you just have to gently unroll the petals from each other.

Need petals to throw.
Denude the roses gently.
Ow! That's prickly!
PSA: As you finish 20, 30, 40, 50  roses, it is easy to become distracted.
Stay vigilant or you might forget that there are still thorns.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

putting the me in memes

My current status as visualized through Pinterest:

Thursday, May 11, 2017

What i really want for my birthday.

I am 46 years old today.
That's 46 trips all the way around the sun.
Today i am starting my 47th.
To mark the occasion i have prepared a haiku about the things that matter to me, the things that i truly and deeply want for my birthday.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

May is my second favorite month

Beautiful flowers.
                                              Mother's Day.
                 A multitude of birthdays, including mine.  🎈
                                                                      ➤Mild temperatures.
Yes, May is a great month indeed.

What keeps it from being my favorite?

The scourge of yellow dust everywhere and the reality that right now i am out of Benadryl, Benadryl Sinus, Tylenol Sinus, Claritin and Ny-Quil.
It is such a price to pay for all of the beauty, i'm just saying.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

medium level annoyed or mildly angry

My favorite curse word is piddlypot.
I don't know why it is, i don't remember where it came from, but if i am upset enough to call out an expletive it is 8 times out of 10 piddlypot (the other 2 might be too filthy to type here). In fact, i never realized that it was my signature curse until Dash started talking and i confided in JP and Kate that i was worried he would pick up bad language habits from me (i was thinking of that other 20%) and Kate replied, We'll know he is listening closely to you the first time he says piddlypot.
I am also fond of the word crap, normally in conjunction with something else, i.e. crap on a stick, crap on a cracker, crapcakes with a side of tartar sauce.
But i need a curse or expletive that lies somewhere between crap (not good) and piddlypot (really, really not good).  There are two good words that i will say to myself that fit the bill - baldershaft and bagondasheesh - but they come from private jokes and it doesn't feel right using them in public because then i'd have explain all of the backstory and who has time for that when you are already upset about something?
That is where Thesaraus Thursday will come to my rescue!
As i continued to read about words that have fallen out of common use, i came across zooterkins.
Yes, it sounds like the name of a fire Pokemon, but in fact zooterkins is a 17th century expletive akin to consarn it, but less 1849 prospector-y. It even feels like a word that would live in the Nikiverse.
Let's try to bring zooterkins back, people. It is a kinder, gentler way to let everyone around you know that something or someone has just stromped on your next to next to (would that be your third to) last nerve and attention needs to be paid to keep the situation from boiling up to piddlypot.
Or that other 20%.

Friday, April 21, 2017

so fun to say

Say it out loud people, shuttlecock.
That is a super fun word to say.

And why do i have badminton on the brain?

And not just any badminton birdie, my friends.
This beauty at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MI is 18 ft tall and FANTASTIC.

Installed in the mid-90's by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, it is one of three shuttlecocks strewn about the grounds making it look like giants were playing a game of badminton with the museum as the net.
BF Suzanne and I visited KC last November and this was the Number One thing on my to-do list.
It did not disappoint. 
You can totally go stand inside of it for pictures.
though you might not want to put your foot up on the priceless art, as a nice security guard reminded me 
Giant shuttlecock.
Like a set piece from my dreams.
Thanks, Kansas City!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Not just peanuts

Our new quote comes from George Washington Carver. Though known for inventing 300 uses for the peanut - including peanut butter, which he actually did not invent - Carver's most lasting contribution to America was probably the research and implementation of crop rotation in the South.
  As a professor at Tuskegee University, he encouraged his students (all male at the time) to strive towards gaining eight cardinal virtues:

  • Be clean both inside and out
  • Look neither up to the rich or down on the poor
  • Lose, if needs be, without squealing
  • Win without bragging
  • Always be considerate of women, children and older people
  • Be too brave to lie
  • Be too generous to cheat
  • Take your share of the world and let others take theirs

Though certainly fine life goals, the list is a bit unwieldy as a quote. Luckily, he nicely summarized that basic philosophy thusly:
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.  

Friday, April 7, 2017

former Friday Adventures with Lydia

Happy Birthday to Lydia!
Though she has moved away to have Friday Adventures with her family in Georgia, i still smile when i recall all the crazy food we ate and the odd places we ended up exploring. {is that street closed? wait, is that street missing?}
Here are a few snippets from the immense blog backlog (to be completely caught up by September 2022):
Black Kettle Dining, located on Frederick Rd in Catonsville, is a lovely bistro specializing in soups and small plates developed around "the color wheel of nutrition."
Lydia and I both ordered the lunch soup, salad, sandwich combo, which came with a "booster shot" of nutrition, AKA, a shot glass of frothy green stuff that promised to be really good for us.
Bottoms up!

Not surprisingly, the soups were excellent. 
We both also enjoyed our salads and Lydia's chicken and avacado sammie looked quite good.  
And then there were the desserts. Oh, the desserts. So good. The lemony thing in the middle was fantastic. I seem to recall it was lemon ice swirled with lemon curd: cold and delicious.

McFadden Art Glass hosts an event called Date Night on Fridays (obviously you don't have to BE on a date to go) where you can watch glassblowing and make your own glass piece. It is free to watch and you can pick a piece to make in your price range.

Lydia had done a larger piece before and chose to make a fantastic pendant.

This was my first time and i was in a tizzy about what to try. 
One one hand, taking a class at Wheaton Village was on the 101 and that class was making a paperweight.
But at McFadden you can actually do pieces that are blown - you really get to do actually glassblowing.
And there was a great starfish and i am a sucker for a great starfish, which ended up being the winner.

Not only is there a studio, the is also an on-site gallery and store.
I love, love, love colored glass and had a wonderful time.
Plus, now i own a glass starfish that i can say i made myself.
And i am counting it for the 101!
that's the bathroom sink. i NEED it in my house.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

because day after tomorrow is just too many syllables

Poplollies and Bellibones is a fun book by Susan Kelz Sperling about words that have fallen out of use in modern English. I found a copy for a dime a few years ago at a book sale and have been enjoying finding and trying out new (old) words.
I am on a quest to bring overmorrow back to common usage.
It indicates the day after tomorrow and has a commonly used equivalent in German, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Afrikaans and French.
Come on people, join me in promoting overmorrow in sentences such as, "Overmorrow is Saturday; let's go dancing" and, "There is no possible way i can have 70 original greeting cards created by overmorrow! Have you gone insane?"

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


With a new beginning comes a new quote from the commonplace book, this time from Charlotte Bronte. It pretty well captures the attitude that i am trying to nurture within:
Cheerfulness, it would appear, is a matter which depends fully as much on the state of things within, as on the state of things without and around us.
Amen to that sister, amen.

Friday, March 31, 2017


Good corn.

Big corn.

I mean, BIG corn.

Inedible corn.

Concrete corn.

Ohio was the major producer of corn in the US for many years, which calls for a giant, concrete corn planted in a field in Dublin, OH.
And not just one giant ear of concrete corn - there are 109 of them.
It isn't in some far, out-of-the-way field; this awesome art installation is right next to an office park.
You are just driving through Dublin and there it is in all of its corny glory;
 Rea took me here for my birthday a couple of years ago knowing that i love both corn and giant objects.
Two for one joy! 
Plus another 101 item.

You can read her account of the adventure at the Cackleberry Hollow blog here

In case you don't forsee a trip to central Ohio in your future, enjoy some video of that gorgeous May day (2015) surrounded by an overwhelming amount of concrete corn.
You're welcome.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017