Category Archives: art screw-ups

Things You Can’t Sell on Etsy

Today’s lesson: you do not have to join, read, or “pin” Pinterest to fail at it. I can create my own Pinterest fails WITHOUT ANY ASSISTANCE FROM PINTEREST.

Saturday Night Art Project: Homemade Barrettes


  • Felt
  • Ribbon
  • Single prong alligator clips
  • Crocheted headbands bought from actual crafty people on Etsy
  • Hot glue

It was my first time using the hot glue gun on a project since our popsicle picture frame mishap. Am I the only one who cannot control the thin trail of hot gun glue in spiderweb patterns that links all of the projects together?

Dumples dons a chicken-diaper barrette (Chicken says it’s not a chicken-diaper but a robin orange-breast) and Chickie sports a lamp barrette. For reasons I cannot explain here in order to maintain our internet anonymity, this is her seven-year-old idea of the ultimate meta.

Now I’m not a really big gun advocate. I don’t keep squirt guns in my house, for instance. But the glue gun seems to really make things stick together, and I have a feeling these barrettes are going to be passed down to my children’s children’s children. So from now on, when our pediatrician asks me if we keep guns in the house, I will proudly inform her that yes, we do, and we use it all the time for our best Pinterest fails ever.



Happy Fools Day from Dumples

Chickie wrote a (non-fiction) story called “My Tooth.” We transferred it to Shutterfly and yesterday we received our book in the mail.

Chicken and Dumples had a glorious time pawing through it, and then making up new stories within the theme of gory tooth loss.

Dumples’ storylines target the “gross-out” factor. The louder she could make her seven-year-old big sister scream, “EW,” the bigger the triumph of storytelling.

“And the tooth came out and there was BLOOD everywhere,” I heard Dumples proclaim while I flipped the pages of a magazine from the sofa.

“EW!” Chicken replied, egging her on.

“And the BLOOD was so much that it was covering her and she was all RED with BLOOD.”

“EWWW! That’s gross!”

Sensing her sister’s genuine disgust, Dumples changed her plot line. “But it wasn’t really blood.” In an ominous, hushed tone, she said: “It was actually red marker. And…it wasn’t washable.”

The horrors! The horrors…

It Was Colonel Mustard in the Ballroom with the Candlestick

What a wonderful feeling of accomplishment to put the final touches on a project. Everything has gone pretty much right up until the final point. And then, WHAM, spatulacakes.

The grout is the same color as the cat, the spatula melts into the pancakes. Or the tiniest nesting doll’s face is smudged with paint pen.

I’m pretty sure the difference between an artist and me is that final step. The flub that cannot be unflubbed. The eleventh hour blunder. That thin red line that separates something that could have been a source of pride from something that is a source of embarrassment. But is at least worthy of this blog.

Nevermind. Here is the unveiling of my latest mistake.

Miss Peacock bangs herself with the lead pipe and weeps, “Why did she give me so much mascara? She knows I’m going to blubber and smudge.”

Lumpy Cat

This is my first try at creating a mosaic. Unlike other artists, I received all of my training in mosaic making from youtube, except for the book Flathead got me from the library when he could see I was seriously going to do this thing.

The thing is done. It’s a black cat in front of a moon. The cat is lumpy because I used black grout to finish it off, and also because the consistency of the grout was off, and also because I meant it that way. I totally meant it that way.

And his name will be Lumpy Cat.

* I am totally going to link my ebay seller the-crystal-rose to this post so she can know that the tiles she carefully cut for me have gone to good use.

The House That Sillyliss Built

Wayyyy back when I was a kid, Legos were the toy of choice. (Until that fateful Chanukah when we got our Nintendo. Oh man, that was a good Chanukah.)

My brother and I could quietly play Legos for hours. With those little, colorful bricks, I would build a house. Every. Single. Time.

Fast forward two or three decades, and our family has finally graduated from Duplo to Real Legos. (Or as Sigourney calls them, “the wittle, tiny wegos.”)

I am a kid again. I only HAD kids so I could ride carousels, have tea parties, and play with Legos.

Erma creates all kinds of Lego masterpieces. A school. A trampoline. A playground.

“It’s a race track!”

“It’s a space station and an astronaut landed on it, came through the door, and was home.”

“It’s a pen and paper and the blue line is what I’m writing.”

“Mom,” Erma asks, leaning toward me. “What are you building?”

“A house,” I reply.

Some things never change. Erma told me that my house was beautiful, as she put the finishing touches on her space station. I hope she never changes, either.


I was recently featured in comic form by Mom x 4! What an honor! Check out the cartoon she based off my idea.

Grand Opening of the Red River Valley’s Newest and Most Casual Fine Dining Hotspot

There are a number of fine dining options in Fargo-Moorhead. That number is seven, and they are as follows:

  1. HoDo Restaurant (not to be confused with Ho Ho’s, which are also good)
  2. Sarello’s The Lost Italian
  3. The cleverly hidden Mezzaluna
  4. Toscana – the only place in Fargo or Moorhead where you can order up some legs-o-frog
  5. Monte’s Downtown – the only place in Fargo or Moorhead where you can drink your parsnips
  6. Maxwells – the only place in Fargo or Moorhead you can get Amish chicken
  7. John Alexander’s Restaurant and Martini Bar – website coming soon

But if you are looking for a place to take a VIP visitor, none* of these places are open on a Sunday evening.

That is why I would always pick the even more cleverly hidden fine dining establishment that serves up the freshest faux food experience (WHY green pineapple WHY?).

Best Makers. They make the best. makers.


After reviewing the menu, I ordered a smattering of savory samples, including but not limited to: chicken soup, a carton of eggs, Swiss cheese, a whole chicken, and “hot coffee” (you know it’s hot when you can see the steam coming right off the menu).


My server had to do some digging to find some of the ingredients. That pesky green pineapple had rolled under the sink/stove. But it wiped off right clean!

The next time you are visiting Fargo-Moorhead, possibly in search of the perfect job, marathon, or street fair, skip the rest and come to the best: BEST MAKERS (a registered subsidiary of Daddy’s Famous Bread, Inc.)

* Three, if you count Sickies Garage

That Angsty Toddler Music Scene

The kids these days really don’t know anything about good music. This morning, I listened to some of the worst melody/lyric composition I have ever heard in my whole life. It went a little something like this:

I want my daddy!
I don’t want you!
I want my daddy!
I want out da car!
I want daddy take me to school!
I don’t like you!
I want my daddy!


And it was long. Like Metallica long. Like Pink Floyd long. Like Meatloaf long. Looong.

I named the song “Pitchfork to My Soul.”

I’m going to listen to it again on the way home.

The Frozen Chosen Purim Party

The girls and I went to a Purim Carnival today.

The last time I attended a Purim Carnival was as a child. My memory is of people throwing sponges at my uncle’s face. My memory may have made this up. I’m awaiting verification. (UPDATE: VERIFIED!)

Needless to say, this was Erma and Sigourney’s first encounter with the Jewish festival holiday. Their favorite things about the Purim Party:

  • Playing games
  • Eating yummy food with friends
  • Shaking the groggers (noisemakers)
  • Throwing darts at balloons
  • Getting dressed up in costumes
  • Seeing other kids dressed up
  • Winning prizes
  • Dancing (Sigourney)
  • Running around (Sigourney)

Somebody let a four-year-old with questionable aim throw darts at balloons.

Sigourney tries the hamentashen — a triangular cookie with a filling. This one was a jelly filling. It was delicious. Sigourney “no liked it,” but I sure did.

Erma guessed closest to the real answer of how many Tootsie Rolls were in the Tootsie Roll bank — and she won them! Also, her Waldo glasses have been slightly altered by a reckless little toddler. Maybe that’s why everything has a warning on it that it’s only intended for ages 3 and up.

We came home and I tried to find our groggers. These are noisemakers, and when you turn the crank, they make lots of noise. When you hear the name of the awful man Haman, you shake them like crazy. Yelling out some loud BOOs is also encouraged.

I couldn’t find our groggers. Erma was sad. She said, “Aw, I wish I could MAKE my own groggers.”

So we did.

To make our own groggers, we filled some empty containers (a vitamin bottle and a sour cream tub) with macaroni and wagon wheels and then painted them.

Erma asks me if it’s okay to fingerpaint her grogger…after she fingerpainted her grogger. I told her no, it’s not okay. What’s she going to do about it?

The finished groggers. Shake shake shake!

A Message from My Public Relations Consultant

A few of my coworkers recently had mentioned to me that they had seen my blog. Seems pretty weird, right? How would they know about it? It’s not like I broadcast it on the all-staff listserv.

Or do I?

My Publicist

This is Sonya. She is my Secret Publicist. Some things about Sonya. She is more fashionable than pictured. She has fingers on the ends of her hands, not lumps.  She has a neck, but I cannot draw necks. She is an award-winning chef, in addition to her day job (she has her own cake ball maker!). And she is so beautiful, seriously.

Do you all have Secret Publicists for your blogs? If you do, you probably wouldn’t know about it.

I know about mine. And I love her. ♥sonya

Cake Crusader

Erma looooooves art, so when a coworker mentioned a monthly activity at the Plains Art Museum, I signed us up. This month, following the opening of an Andy Warhol exhibit on Myths, the Kid Quest was to design superhero capes.

“Do you want to make a cape?” I asked her the day before the event.


Just making sure.

Then she asked me every five minutes when we were going to go. When when when when? I looooove four-year-old levels of excitement.

“You sure are excited about the capes!” I noted.

“YEAHHHHH,” she agreed.

On a snowy, frigid Saturday afternoon, there was only one spot left on the museum’s street. The parking lot was full. Once we blew in the front doors, we saw lots and lots and lots of people were inside, warming up, looking at pieces of blue paper, and chattering about the quest.

Oh, the quest. Yes, this was not any kind of usual kid activity, such as yoga at the library. (So. Typical.) No, this was a three-parter.

First, we had to follow a set of directions (and many, many, many stairs — I almost died — got to the top and the elevator door I hadn’t seen opened right next to us) to the Warhol exhibit. We looked at screenprints of Superman, Howdy Doody, the Wicked Witch of the West, Dracula. Then we sat down to read the next part.

What would your superhero name be? What would your super powers be? How would you help people?

We answered the questions, then followed some circles to a checkpoint. Once Erma’s passport was stamped in, we attended a live screenprint demonstration before entering a studio.

Erma picked a blue felt ribbon and received her cape. We sat down at a table packed with markers, scissors, vinyl stickers, and kids.


Erma wasted no time bringing her superhero to life. She colored. She cut. She stuck. She decorated. It was like all the ideas must have been at the forefront of her brain the moment she picked her superhero name.

“Okay, I’m done,” she said. “Can you put it on me?”

I tied the cape around Erma’s neck, and she was no longer Erma. She was RAINBOW GIRL, grower of flowers and fixer of houses!


capeflowers capehammer

We said hello to some friends we met along the way, got her passport stamped on the final exit, and I told her we were ready to go home.

“Awww,” she said, her mouth clenching into a pout.

“What is wrong?” I asked her. “Didn’t you have fun doing art?” I could feel myself becoming exasperated, with that four-year-old way of hers in which I feel like I turned the world into an amazing place and she has somehow still been disappointed.


“Erma! I don’t understand why you are getting so sad and upset.”

“How come we have to go home?” she asked, and she started to cry.

“Because we finished the quest. So now we go home.”

“I don’t want to go home.”

I started to feel this eureka moment. She LOOOOOVED the art museum. “But we finished the quest. Do you understand that?”

“Yeah,” she said. “But when are we going to make the cakes?”


A slight communication, justified disappointment. If I thought I was getting cake and it never appeared, I would be pretty sad, too.

Too bad she didn’t know a cake superhero.