Sunday, September 30, 2012

Boo season is here!

We're starting to break out the Halloween decorations and spent most of this evening on the village. I'm a little worried when Sophy can walk and pull on things that the village could be at risk like a Japanese city with a giant lizard approaching. I'm refusing to think about it until next year.

This is just the tip of the iceberg so more pics in the next few days! Note: I left the orb in the left corner just for my brother. Other note: I in no way think this is an orb but he does and if it makes him happy then more power to him.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Have a Little Faith

Uhm, yeah, not so good with this. I'm fantastic at telling others. I even believe it when I tell others but not so much with the internalizing. I worry and worry and worry. I even worry about how much I tend to worry. Neurotic much?

I recently got some great advice. Treat myself as I would parent Sophy. Would I discourage her and constantly question her dreams? Nope. I would not. I also wouldn't let her eat brownies while playing with polymer clay while trying to write a blog post but there's no need to tell her about that.

I signed up for a few classes this fall and one of them is an e-business course specifically for creative businesses taught by Kelly Rae Roberts. It's about so much more than that but I'm tired and avoiding series digressing issues that could result. The skinny here is that I've been resisting catching up on the posts. Resisting doing the working. Willfully ignoring the messages that resonate with me. Fighting, fighting, fighting. It's exhausting and a little crazy making. I'm working so hard at avoiding it all because I don't want to try and fail. I don't want to never try and if I put it off there's always a really good reason to not start but I will. Someday. Well, it's here. Someday. I will do the work, I will try, I will be brave. 

Deep breath. Have faith. It will all work out exactly as it's meant to. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sophy likes her yogurt

She pretty much got a sprayed down immediately following dinner but she is getting the eating thing down!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pretty non-sparkly (mostly) necklace

Remember way back when I use to make art and jewelry? Yeah, I almost forgot about that too. But, I'm dusting off the round nose pliers and ordered my weight in vintage goodies. Only a slight exaggeration, seriously yummy stuff is sitting on my desk right now.

Anyway, this is the first project I made for The Alchemy of Objects class from Deryn Mentock using a focal piece I had bartered with my friend mark this for a bracelet. Also, see how it's all by itself showing it's prettiness? Yep, new found photoshop skills right there. Anyway, this class is awesome and I'm loving it.

Finished piece:

Pretty rhinestone clasp in resin:

Tomorrow I'll share some of my super cool finds from last weekend's bead show and new super secret Etsy vendor.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


I'm never sure if I feel this more Sunday night or Monday morning. Either way, I'm kind of over it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

All Sophy All the Time

In case everyone was running low on the Sophy pics, I'm here to help. I know I'm considered biased, but she's the cutest girl baby ever who is nearly 7 months old and mine.

In her outfit from Grandad. 

Sweet potato popsicle that she's a little unsure about.

Getting ready for a bath.

In her high chair snacking on a pancake with Mommy practicing her Photoshop skills from her class. Fancy!

It's fall and there are lots of Halloween outfits so your longing for Sophy images will soon be totally satiated via every form of intranets known.

You're welcome.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mom's Night Out

Back in my non-resolution post I listed some things to focus on in 2012 and I'm not sure I actually wrote  "not be a hermit" but it was implied. I had recently added the Dallas Mom's Blog to my blog roll for tips on great things to do with the fam here in Big D, and am happy they've added some working moms to their contributors so I'll have some internet solidarity, and was very excited to see the recent post for the Mom's Night Out event. My friend Robin is going with me so I won't have to be totally petrified of meeting strangers. Strangers? Outing in the evening? Holy scaredy cat batman.

But, I'm super excited to have a grown up kind of event with other women who have a similar background with some shared experiences. I'm also psyched to check out drybar. Having regular professional blow outs is on my list of luxuries I would indulge in if money were raining down on us. That and a driver so I could read while running around town. Yeah so, I may have to spend the next couple of weeks dithering about the perfect outfit and toe nail color.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

In case I haven't mentioned it before, I love myself some sci-fi and fantasy as long as it's not all horror and gory filled or just giant bugs and horrible weather disasters. Seriously, when did a tornado or earthquake not caused by aliens or some weird cryptid animal become science fiction? Mystery, angst, romance I'm totally sold. Add in gorgeous locations or fantastic costuming as a bonus and I'll write a blog post highlighting your awesomeness. Mostly I'm outing my love for Urban Fantasy and if you know me, that closet door was mostly wide open which was a walk-in with seating.

Sooo... Syfy, who has finally convinced me the re-branding wasn't totally stupid and I often start to spell all sci-fi that way, has some good programming. But, I am still bitter about the loss of Eureka (insert sniffing here) and the Dresden Files which now that I'm getting started I really, really miss The Chronicle  and am kind of nostalgic for Stargate even if they did beat that horse to death a couple of times. I've got a little Battlestar Galactica angst as well. Also, I have started to get kind of pissed at Syfy for torpedoing a lot of great programming. 

Ok, I'm over it.

The new season of Haven is getting ready to start and I'm crazy happy about it. It's set in Maine, has lots of paranormal goodness with pretty people. What's not to love? They also have a pretty great twitter feed with Dave and Vince but I had to pare down the twitter following and just follow the Herald.

image via Syfy

The latest seaon of Lost Girl has just wrapped up and won't be back until January. I'm pretty sure you can catch up via episodes on Syfy. This one is filmed in Toronto so the scenery is pretty typical urban environment but the sets are pretty good and the costumes are fantastically leather badass with boots to match. There's been some romance angst that can get grating but I'm willing to give it another season before I decide if it's irritating or not.

image via Syfy

The whole family is a fan of Grimm on NBC but they're a pain in the ass to try and swipe a photo so they just get a link.  This one has fairy tale quotes, moody Portland locations, cute main characters and awesome set design/houses. In a quick cross over, if you love the fairy tales and also graphic novels then Fables is the series for you. Greatness.

In case TV isn't your favorite, I've got a few book recommendations that fit my criteria for good fantasy and have had releases this fall. Seanan McGuirre has two series that are huge favorites. The October Daye series and the Incryptid series which feels a little campier to me but that could just be that the lead character moonlighting as a dancer/cocktail waitress. And by dancer I mean ballroom not stripper. I've also started Celia Jerome's Willow Tate books and they are total camp. Not un-enjoyable but I have to be in the mood or I just find them irritating and want to smack everyone. I'm pretty sure that's not what she's going for when reading. 

A few more favorites are Kat Richardson, Ilona Andrews who does a lot of awesome stuff for e-versions and I'm primarily a fan of the gunmetal/Kate Daniels stuff so can't speak to any of her other series, Carrie Vaughn, and Laura Anne Gilman.I could list a ton more but these are the latest I've been reading. 

There's something about the onset of fall and the approach of Halloween that seems to especially embrace the typical spooky/angsty/moodiness of fantasy. For me, that's primarily  urban fantasy and the first Harry Potter with floating pumpkins, which has a lot of great talent embracing the genre right now. I'm striking and soaking it up while the iron is still hot. Sorry for the poorly constructed sentence there but you get the idea.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Whew, it's hoppin'...

here at the House of Huff. I've started my photoshop class on Saturday mornings with my friend Randall plus 2 e-courses (blog badges on the right 'cause I'm too lazy to do the links tonight). It's exciting that it feels like I'm going back to school with everyone but I'm also getting a tiny bit overwhelmed. I felt like I was finally getting back into the blogging habit along with baby and the long list of existing hobbies then "BAM" homework!

I promise to be here more often, I like it and it helps to have a place to share and vent (as needed) so I don't want to lose it. There may be even more random postings than usual but I hope it will smooth out as I get into a routine.

So, I've ordered my supplies for the jewelry class and may have spent Sophy's college fund but did find a new favorite online source. Again, lazy on the linking so I'll post with pics when the goodies arrive.

Now, I'm planning to turn in early since next week will be super busy.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall means change including costumes

I'm thinking of switching up my look a bit. Also, if I were on top of all the blogging I would've taken some pics of the outfits for show and tell. Maybe later this week. Anyway, I'm pretty preppy with some edgy jewelry thrown in. And by edgy I mean Stella and Dot or some homemade pieces with lots of layering. Side note: I dragged the husband into Forever 21 yesterday and found some great stuff for about $7 each vs the $60 plus some of the more upscale brands are looking for but I do love some of the animal designs and Lulu Frost pieces... digressing again.

Sooo, back on the original topic. I ordered this dress since I'm starting to work in a little Boho to the typical preppy ensembles I've usually got going on.

It looks super comfy and it has pockets. I love pockets. If it works out, I have my eye on this little number. Both of these will look awesome with the steampunk style boots from last year which were on a super discount sale and purchased by my fantastically sweet hubby as my "you had to have some seriously tough IVF crap but got pregnant and can't stop throwing up" present along with my new socks. Another sidenote: totally worth it because Sophy is awesome.

Perfect with fall arriving any minute. Seriously, any minute even it it's just me turning down the air conditioning.

Postscript to add no one asked me to pimp any product, I just really like these and wanted to share.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

It's the little things

I love playing with Sophy in her room and tonight Daddy joined us. He's the photographer. :) She was resistant to going to bed, she's usually out between 8-8:30 but not tonight. She was all about playing. We practiced sitting up, she's becoming a champ, and stacking her blocks. There was lots of chatting and near crawling. In a couple of weeks she'll be sitting up on her own and I'm fairly convinced crawling everywhere.

We're also going to move her to her crib for naps - which she usually does at least once a day - and sleeping at night. I talked to her pediatrician about it, he clearly wanted to avoid that bear trap! and I fully confessed I wanted to keep her with us, it wasn't Rolland. He's pretty confident she'll be fine and thinks we'll all sleep better. The doctor was pretty specific that there wasn't any medical or safety risk at this point and it was total parental preference. I know it's better for everyone but I think it might take a couple of more weeks to train me.

Until then, I'm soaking up every minute of her baby days. I love you Sophy Jane and I'm thankful everyday that I get to be your Mommy.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

I Love Myself a Workshop

I love, love, love art retreats and workshops. It's fun to escape and spend lots of time with similar minded ladies like Amy, Molly, Maija, Kecia, Pam, and Julie, who is one of the founders of the Art Nest retreats. Pam, Amy and Kecia teach some fantastic classes that I can not recommend enough. I was lucky to attend and meet those ladies in person and make art all day with them. It was fantastic to see new perspectives and new techniques. I've been able to attend an Art Nest Retreat, Art and Soul in Portland and here in Dallas plus some random day classes here and there. I love the total immersion and find it unbelievably inspiring plus it's a fantastic recharge for the creative soul. But it's another big commitment in a pretty packed schedule.

I have a full time job, a husband and now a super cute new baby. It's rough getting away for a few days, not that my husband isn't supportive because there is no one more supportive than my husband. Seriously, no one. But, I feel bad about leaving him with all the house stuff and the brand new baby. Plus, I don't want to leave the brand new baby! Who's not brand brand new but 6 months is still pretty damn new. Nordstrom's would still take her as a return if one were so inclined. I'm not since she's awesome. If you follow me on twitter or facebook you know this because I'm obnoxious with the baby picture posting. I'm digressing again. Sigh.

Anyway, it's rough to travel and spend the money on the get away with airfare, hotel and food, plus classes, plus supplies, etc. But, there's now this new fancy thing called the intranet. It's nice. I can attend classes from the privacy of my own house and wear footie pajamas. Not that I have them but I could and you wouldn't know because IT'S THE INTRANET. Fancy new fangled technology. Class can be attended post-baby going to bed and husband can run wild with his free time since wife and baby are now occupied and require nothing from him. Anyway, I took a class last year with Stephanie Lee but then I kind of forgot this was an option and now I'm a little obsessed. I've signed up for Flying Lessons with Kelly Rae Roberts who has become a bit of a mentor for me although she doesn't know it. Another great thing about the intranet. Harmless stalking. I just registered for The Alchemy of Objects with Deryn Mentock. It looks awesome and I want to support the use of the word "alchemy". I'm also taking a Photoshop class at a local community college but that's an in person thing so not really part of my rant here but it's still awesome and only 3 hours 1 day a week which is totally do-able.

So now I'm doubly excited about fall since it feels a little like I'm going back to school too. Now I'm in need of a Target run stat. School supplies!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Suzanne made me do it...

So the waxing of the magic that is Williams-Sonoma, and love for kitchen tools in general, continues. My friend Suzanne, who is awesome, and her fiancee Jairy, who is also awesome, are getting married in November so she asked for a few tips for her registry. Because I could go to graduate school to study kitchen gadgetry (which is much better than being a hoarder) I was happy to comply. On a totally unrelated note, does anyone remember Cliff Huxtable (a la Bill Cosby on The Cosby Show) and his love for kitchen gadgets and wasn't allowed to buy anything from Jake? Just me. Alrighty then back to my list.

1.Short Order Griddle - Which you might remember from yesterday. Let's call that one covered.

2. Frying pan - in a larger and smaller size. I have non-stick and regular versions and am quickly thinking everything should be non-stick! These are pretty much mainstays in the kitchen although the griddle could get you through for a while in cause you had to wait from birthday to Christmas then back to another holiday of your choosing.

3. Cookie Sheets - Alton Brown recommends cheap pans from restaurant supply stores and that's a pretty good suggestion. I have some pastel ones I love from last Easter at Target that make me happy because they've held up well and they're pretty. Pretty and utilitarian goes a long way for me. It's kind of how I like to see myself but I feel I could be digressing again.

4. Silpats - they go with the cookie sheets! These feel weird but are fantastic for baking and cooking anything that you would normally use a cooking spray or parchment paper for and frankly, that parchment spray business is a pain in the ass and seems fairly wasteful.

5. Stock Pot - Pick a nice stainless steel one that would hold the amount you normally cook and for boiling pasta water, etc. Just make sure it's not too tall when it's filled on the stove and is easy for you to pick up and carry. Learned this the hard way! Again, the restaurant supply is probably a good idea although I have a nice one and one that came with a dish set we got when we got married 17 years ago. The giant ones that include the pasta strainer (also have) but are too tall for me to easily drain the water and I end up with steam burns or scalded from the water. I promise, I did the research here for you. Get a nice mid-size pot and drain in a colander like your Grandma or Mom. Well, like my Grandma or Mom.

6. Dutch Oven - these things can be crazy expensive but you'll use if for everything since it can be used on top of the stove then popped into the oven for a long time which is great for anything in the winter. It's especially good for braising meat and then throwing in the veggies, herbs and liquid and sticking it all in the oven on low heat for most of the day. Yum.

7. Bakeware - cookie sheets have been covered, but if you want to do some baking I feel like the following are good for most anything you'd want to make. Brownie pan 8x8, cake pan 13x9, round cake pans (at least 2 at 8"), tart pan with removable base (great for quiche as well and would stick with 8" or 9"), loaf pans, at least one bundt pan (especially if you're in the South or Midwest!) and a pie pan (mine are usually glass).

8. Two sets of measuring spoons - or maybe that's just me since I have 3 and regularly have them all dirty. Plus measuring cups for dry and wet ingredients. No, they're not interchangeable so don't even think about it. These have tons of options and I have both pretty versions and utilitarian work horses.

9. Cooling wire racks - really great for cookies. Leave them on the baking sheet with silpats to rest for 5 mins them remove to cooling racks. Greatness and they don't crumble on you like they would if you removed them immediately.

10. Wooden spoons, rubber spatulas, etc are must haves! Leave them stuck out for easy reach by the stove. I have 4 different crocks for mine but I'm kind of crazy and watch way too much Barefoot Contessa.

11. Also highly recommend a mixing bowl set that you'll use over and over. I also have a stainless steel set of 3 with the largest bowl being fantastic for mixing large batches of anything and an antique ironstone that I use for cookies which I mix by hand when I feel all domestic. I also use if for rising bread dough.

12. And the final thing I use all the time is my Kitchen Aid mixer. I have the kind that raises and lowers the bowl vs the neck raising and lowering. For whatever reason I felt like it would last longer and I've had mine for about 15 years so my instincts did not steer me wrong. Pricey but you'll have it forever. Seriously.

I think this focus on the kitchen lately is largely due to Sophy reaching an age where she can now have some solids. She has no interest in food beyond watching us eat and throwing a fit but we continue to try. I'm looking into baby led weaning and will report back.

Also, I really love kitchen gadgets. I am still not schilling for the man and am just a weirdo Williams-Sonoma groupie. Admittedly, I have been known to cheat on them with Sur la Table.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Order Up!

My husband bought this for me last week after I pointed it out to him in the Williams-Sonoma catalog. I explained it could change our lives and that it was exclusive. He was skeptical. But, because he loves me and knows I love a surprise. He purchased said griddle fairly convinced it would never be used.

In fact, it has changed my kitchen life. I love this griddle and will carry it with me in my backpack across the country if the zombie apocalypse does in fact come to fruition. Well, Sophy will carry it since I'll have her and Rolland will have everything else. Also, across the country because I don't want to be hot AND eaten by zombies so I'm taking the fam and heading northeast. I digress. With the new griddle I have made egg mcmuffins (we also bought the nifty egg rings - you should butter those by the way). Quesadillas that were tasty with left over crockpot beer chicken and salsa left over from our stash from the Mexican place in Missouri (yes, I live in Texas. Shut up.),and unbelievably tasty patty melts tonight. Tomorrow, fish tacos!

The griddle made me love the kitchen so much I made fresh strawberry jelly on the fly to prevent our strawberries from going bad. Recipe a la The Barefoot Contessa. Turned out nicely and now I'm debating french toast for Thursday night. Use up leftover fancy bread, use the griddle and the jelly! I may have a little bit of a problem.

Note: I was not in anyway paid or contacted by Williams-Sonoma to wax poetic about their griddle. Which is kind of a damn shame since I definitely need a fancy new knife to cut up stuff for my griddle.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Fall, Fall, Fall

I'm officially calling it fall here in the Lone Star state even if it is still near 100 degrees. I'm steadfastly ignoring the thermometer and starting to plan for cooler temps. Whether they actually arrive is entirely beside the point.

We started today with what I consider to be a fall movie favorite which is You've Got Mail. It does kind of span the seasons but it starts with the famous "bouquets of sharpened pencils" which officially puts it in the fall camp for me. Next up would be the first Harry Potter and Practical Magic but I tend to wait until closer to October and Halloween decorating.

I'm dreaming of the mercury glass pumpkins at Pottery Barn but at $40 a string it's tough. Still on the debating list. They really would look fantastic on the mantle with the silver mercury glass and gold picture frames. Hmmm, maybe if I save my lunch money.

What are you dreaming of for fall?

Saturday, September 01, 2012


I've been going through some of my stuff and doing a serious clean out. The husband has been tasked with converting all of our DVDs into electronic versions so we can cut down on the 3 bookcases full of them. My books are also under serious review. Our house is incredible cluttered with several people referring to it as "Hogwarts like" and this doesn't always feel like good thing no matter how much I love those damn books.

Anyway, some of them are getting 2nd reads and some are becoming candidates for Kindle reading only. I've had one for years and just recently embraced it beyond it's travel purposes. There are some books that are always going to be purchased but I'm starting to see there are a few that are one time reads and not serious bookshelf keepers (I know about the library and love libraries except for my weird OCD about what people. did while reading. Ugh.).

Anyway, I've been re-reading the Berger and Mitry series by David Handler and loving them all over again. Highly recommend you give this mystery series a shot. More of the cozy variety rather than hard boiled detective novels. But fictional setting is daydream worthy and the unlikely couple charming.

Hope everyone is loving this three day weekend!