Girl's Night Out!

In other news, my "girls in the 'hood" had a neighborhood get-together for a night out to see Sex and the City last week and I summarize my thoughts as follows:

?How did they all get so old?

?How did they all get so fat? Seriously, if I was paid what they were, I'd get my ass to the gym!

?How did Steve seem cute when he was confessing he slept with someone else? Wait, was that just me?

?How did I miss the split second of "dick slip" in the shower scene? I heard about it at drinks afterward and was shocked at my inattentiveness!

?How did Samantha's boobs get so big? The last time we saw her she had these cute perky things that made me proud of never getting enhanced!

?What was the point of the grotesque full frontal nude sex scene with Miranda, the ugliest cast member???

?Who thought of Charlotte pooping her pants? They deserve an Oscar!

?Who picked out the outfits? I know they've won awards for costume design, but I wouldn't be caught dead in any of their outfits, except maybe, Charlotte.

?Why does Carrie wear pearls to bed??? I can't be the only one who noticed that. Also, she layers constantly. Even her pj's!

?Why can't they take off their patent leather high heels when they are sitting in a lounge chair sunning and reading a magazine? Do you know how swollen and sweaty your feet would be?

?Why would Carrie wear a bird on her head on her wedding day?

That's all for now, oh yeah, if you haven't seen the movie yet - don't read this.

Can't Bear to Cut Your Favorite Photo>

I guess you're not alone. I've had a run on my 20x16 in Heartsongs Memory Frames with Custom Quotes for the past few days.

I came up with this one for a bride a few months ago who couldn't bear to cut her precious (and expensive) professional photo for her frame. The shape is rectangular to mimic the shape of the photo and maintain the aesthetic of the frame. I think it's a nice alternative.

As usual, my customers come to me with the best quotes, and I think I'm going to recreate "Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly" for my own home. I'm sure my husband would agree when he remembers back to the many times he's tried to be "passionate" and I'd break into a fit of giggles!

If you have a special photo or a gift giving occasion coming up, you can order your own custom frame by emailing me at jsneill@zoominternet.net


This is a big day!

As I began my little business, I always had in the back of my mind that once I earned to a certain level I would reward myself with a piece of art from my favorite artist, Antoine de Villiers, from Potchefstroom, South Africa. She paints the most fantastic nudes and I've been obsessed with owning one to hang over my bed (the "theme" of my mater bedroom and bath is nudes).

To see more of this amazing artist take a look at her website at AntoineArt

I've ordered my own enhanced glicee print on canvas, I can't afford an original yet, it's entitled "Love Formation" and it will be so beautiful over my bed. I may never leave my room!


Vacation Recap, Cook Forest Pa.

Here is our cute, little cabin on day one. It was a beautiful day and we sat in the sun, the kids played in the river, and we made a campfire...the cabin did seem smaller once we unloaded the cars...shrug...

Day two, beautiful day again so we decide to go for a canoe ride. Hell, it's a great day - let's really go for it and take the 10 mile ride! You all know what happened next... about 2 miles down the river I'm looking around at the lovely forest on either side of me. Mmmmm, a nice breeze...so beautiful! Um, it's getting a bit windy and the light seems yellow...ooh, was that thunder??? Yeah, you know the rest.

Day three, four and five, rain and 60 degrees. Screw it, we'll just hike! It really was an enchanted forest. We chose a different trail each day and saw forest that looked like a movie set it was so beautiful! The ferns and the moss covered every surface and seemed to drip down over the edge of a babbling brook and kiss the water.

We hiked through dark, mysterious pine forests with a canopy so thick nothing could grow under it, only to stumble upon a fallen tree that opened up a space for light and a moss meadow would appear from no where! The huge boulders were shaped like little hobbit houses and all the trees were carved with lovers' initials from as far back as 1936 (it was "Dot and Dexter" who carved that one.)

Day 6 was a glorious day with sunshine and warmth and we spent the entire day outside fishing, hiking, canoeing, playing in the river...loving the day. So, with this as our last memory we have to say we had a great camping trip and will return next year to Cook Forest and our little cocoon away from the real world.


"This is Ridiculous!"

"All this crap is never going to fit!", "Seriously, what is all this stuff?", "You're going to have to take some things out!", "Is this really roughing it??"

All quotes intellectual property of my husband as we packed the car(s) the first morning of our camping trip.

My response (each time) "It takes a lot of stuff to feed, clothe, and entertain a family of 5 for a whole WEEK!" Come on girls, back me on this!


I'm home!!!

I don't have time to load photos today because I'm so tied up with frame work...however, I'd like to share some insights that come from camping for a week with 3 boys and my husband.

1. As much as I love him, I hate sleeping on a double bed with my big guy. That much closeness would drive me to two twin beds like Lucy and Ricky!

2. When the guy who drops you off for a 10 mile canoe trip looks over his shoulder and says "You saw the weather forecast for today, right?" that is not a good sign.

3. Enduring a thunderstorm straight from hell while standing on the side of a river with said canoe docked beside you will cure your children of their fear of regular thunderstorms when heard from your own house when you get home.

4. My sons watch too much Discovery channel. While we were in the rain and hail storm Munchkin #1 starts screaming, "We're going to be on the next episode of I Shouldn't Be Alive!"

5. I can actually will my kids not to catch fish when their dad isn't there so I don't have to gut a trout :)

6. My boys are small but mighty. They hiked about 5 miles uphill everyday to see some of the most beautiful forest I've ever been in.

7. You hair will smell like a campfire for approx. 3 days after you return despite how many times you wash it.

8. Driftwood salvaged from a river and dried carefully next to a campfire (to be used for some future project) smells ungodly in the car on the way home. It's on the side of route 80 if anyone needs it.

9. It's possible to eat s'mores AND homemade ice cream everyday for a week.

10. There's no place like home...


Off to the Wilderness

I'm heading off to the great unknown to live off the land for the next 6 days...um...in a two room cabin complete with a kitchen, in a populated park with a playground, with 6 Rubbermaid totes full of supplies, a portable DVD player, cell phone, and a box fan. WHAT?! It's camping!

See ya when I get back...


Father's Day Frames

I just completed a Father's Day order that warms my heart. I love the secret language of family. Those little words you make up to speak to each other that no one else would understand, there is often a story behind each phrase that only you know. You are linked by this mysterious speak in a special way.

I got an order for just such a frame last week. She sent me the quotes and asked for my impressions regarding font. I knew exactly how I thought it should look. I wanted the lettering to support the feeling of the words and when I described what I was thinking she agreed.

I think these are beautiful reminders of this family's secret language that will be cherished long after these little children are grown and speaking these words to their own kids.

Happy Father's Day a bit early!
Contact me at jsneill@zoominternet.net to place a special order of your own.

'Tis the Season...

Vacation season has rolled around my neighborhood and that means it's time for pranks. You never know what you'll come home to around here.

I pulled out some old staples from my prank stockpile, fake flowers from the dollar store. I think the prank thing started with these flowers. Here's the story:

When I moved in here, 4 years ago, my new neighbors were also getting established and seemed to have a Frontgate box on their porch every other day. Frontgate is expensive! We got to know them and noticed nearly every outdoor thing was from that store...even their marshmallow sticks!!! Well, that is ridiculous we thought. We must call this to their attention. Stop the madness!

So, I purchased lots of corny lawn ornaments and "silk" flowers from the dollar store and used a Sharpie to write "Frontgate" on everything (so they would be worthy), and filled their whole yard. They got home and we all got a chuckle, but then I went on vacation and they filled my front yard with a clothesline of big underpants! Brilliant! I have to become friends with these people!

Since then, we've branched out to all the neighbors (like it or not) and have decorated something here and there over the years; Pez dispenser Christmas trees, yard sale underpants, but I still think one of the best was the BIG bra I found one day that had cups that could fit over my husband's whole head. We hung it between the pillars on my neighbor's front porch. Ahhh...good times...

The flowers have made another appearance beautifying the neighborhood while our friends sunned and funned on vaca.

Now, I know this looks tame, but that is the beauty of this prank. I tried to arrange the flowers tastefully so that passersby might think someone intentionally "planted" them, like the old lady down the street we all make fun of. It's embarrassing on so many levels as you drive up and wonder how many people saw this and think you are a lazy/tacky gardener. MMMMWWWWAAAAAHHHH, AAAHHH, AAAHHH!!!


This Ain't Your Gramma's Sewing Bee!

What do you get when you mix 5 friends, 4 (working) sewing machines, 8 kids, one dog, a dead bird carcass, a chance of thunderstorms, and some Miller Chill? Well, a modern day Sewing Bee, that's what!

We shoo'd the kids out to the slip-n-slide and cut our patterns

Broke for a delicious lunch of salads

Ate the cutest carrot cake I've ever seen

Set up our machines on the patio with an extension cord and a power strip

And showed off the fruits of our labor!


Dear Next Door Neighbor

Dear Strange Neighbor Next Door,

Thank you for finally taking down the decorated faux Christmas trees that have been on your front porch since November. Though I admired your gumption to get those decorations out early this year, I never meant that to mean I wanted them out ALL THE TIME.

I realize you thought that because you dragged them behind the brick pillars on your porch that they were hidden and you didn't need to rush...trust me, you did. Usually, when the next major holiday rolls around (did you see the Easter Egg hunt over here?!), and you hang your lovely faux stone molded flowers on that same porch, it's time to pack it up for the next year.

Though it wasn't as disturbing, the pile of grapevine deer left in a lonely pile in the flower bed wasn't my favorite either. Again, just because they were behind some bushes, they are still visible by anyone over 3 feet tall.

While we're at it, let's talk about the cardboard box on the same front porch. I know that you think because the porch has a roof, that you're screened from everyone...well, you're not. I, too, let my kids make a fort out of a cardboard box BUT IT'S IN THE BASEMENT!! Yes, your 3 year old is cute and dear, but he hardly ever plays in it and it's an eyesore covered in marker and half collapsed there next to your front door.

Hey, I have an idea, why don't you stick all that stuff in your 4 CAR GARAGE that sits half empty over there?!?

Finally, I want to suggest you dispose of the 4 foot tall birdcage that sits on your side porch. YOU DON'T HAVE A BIRD!!!




It is 1000 degrees around here

Yes, I was complaining a few short weeks ago about the cold weather and the rain but this is crazy! I've had to break my "only one shower per day" rule a few times already.

I don't know if that is a Jen thing or a girl thing, but I hate "getting ready" more often than I have to. Maybe it's because blow drying and make up application is involved. My husband seems to have a schedule of fitting as many showers in per day as possible. I guess if I just had to towel and run I'd do it too, but my hair and skin can't take all that cleanliness.

I have a friend who shares my one shower rule and if we've planned to go out that night we both walk around with ball caps all day saying..."I'm saving my shower for later when we go out." by way of explanation to every random person who doesn't care.

So, up with stink! You go girl!


Get Set For a Sewing Bee!

I'm so excited for next week!!! My girlfriends and I have planned a "Sewing Bee" :) to all learn how to make this great bag my friend just made! We are all loading up the kids and setting up our sewing machines on my back patio hooked up to a power strip so we can watch kids and sew all afternoon. Hey, I need to suck up the estrogen where I can get it. You don't know what it's like living here in this sea of testosterone!

I'm excited about it, but each time I bring it up my husband blurts out some comment..."How old are you guys, anyway?" "Sounds like torture to me!" "I won't be there." Yes, it's an old lady thing, but it's not like we're making a quilt! This bag is fun and funky and I think we can bring the sewing bee concept into this century. Oh, and this cuts down on the number of times he has to bitch about me buying a new bag...win win!

This is my group of girls who meet for coffee once a month, each of us always brings whatever it is we're working on at the moment and everyone else ooohs, and ahhhs, and asks questions...it's so fun! The last time we got together everyone brought their laptops and we all taught each other the details of blogging the others didn't know. Between the 4 of us we figured out how to add music, a live link, a blog list...it was so informative. Did I mention I was stuffing my face with lemon pound cake the whole time? Yeah, learning and food - count me in.

I'll take some pictures and let you know how it went. If you need me I'll be at Joann's Fabric picking out my fabric.


My Life With Boys

I guess this blog has become part-time journal, part-time injury log. Hey, that's just life with boys. We photograph the injuries for some sick reason so we can look back and laugh (?) someday. Our family album is a twisted ode to bruises, stitches, scrapes, lost teeth, and broken bones. Mother of the year over here!

I was driving to school today and it occurred to me that we have even begun to measure time via injuries: "Hey, honey, when was the last time we changed the oil in the car?" "Well, Ben's cast was just put on so about a month ago." or "I can't remember the last time we went (where ever)" "Remember? It was the week we took Sam to the ER for hives!" "Hey, did we go to the beach the first time Ben knocked out his teeth or the second?" Ahhh, good times...

Well, this is the latest. Want the story? Sam sleepwalks, and sleep talks, and has night terrors (yeah, I know, you're jealous) so when he woke up at 4 am screaming about the lizards attacking him "Oh, mama, it hurts so bad! The lizards are biting me!" It never occurred to me to turn on the light and check him out. I just settled him down and went back to bed. He wandered back out a few minutes later and told his dad about the big log that hurt him and, again, we laid him back down. Finally, he came in a third time and I figured I'd have to turn on the light to end this dream (yes, he was still asleep and dreaming during all this) so I brought him into the bathroom and turned on the light and was stunned!!!

My husband came around the corner to this scene: Sam on the counter crying and covered with blood, me standing there covered with blood and passing out on the floor at the same time. I'm not even squeamish but I was so shocked I just went down! My husband just looked at us and said, "Oh baby! What happened??? (pause) What's the matter with YOU?" (that guy didn't even help me up!)

Turns out he was sleep walking and smashed his face on the corner of the dresser and it went all the way through his lip! EWWWWW!!!

A day in the life with three boys, stay tuned you "girl mom's" I can tell you stories that you'd never believe!



I had a big boutique order for 25 small frames I've been working on for the past week and I'm soooooo glad to be finished! Those little buggers are tedious!

I can't believe I haven't written about the Penguins in the Stanley Cup yet! It has been such an exciting Cup to watch with the overtimes and injuries, the pace is unbelievable! Wish us luck tonight because we want our Pens back home for the next game! Click here: Go Pens!!!!!


The Tradition Lives On

I woke up this morning and kissed my husband and ran into my son's closet to pull out "the dress" for the annual anniversary tradition that began 11 years ago!

I must have known I was destined for boys because it never even occurred to me to preserve my dress for the future. I couldn't bear only viewing it through a little plastic window. I want to feel it and smell it and wear it around a bit once a year (or more). I still keep it in the hanging bag it came in where it's easily accessible and ready for me whenever.

Each year on my anniversary I pull it out and try it on at some point in the day. One year I ran over to my neighbor's house to watch some beauty pageant with it on. We sat on the couch drinking wine, her in her jammies and me in my dress and watched Miss America or something. Her husband was puzzled, but kept it to himself.

This year, I ran around the backyard, went down to get the newspaper at the end of the driveway, and ate Cheerios in it. We watched our video and cried and then I danced to the reception songs. Two of my boys kept asking me when I was going to take it off and the other one kept hugging me. I told my oldest I was wearing it to his football game today and he looked at me with fear in his eyes then ran to his dad to tell on me!

Before I took it off I took my annual photo and sent it to all my friend's cell phones then I finally put it away for another year. Happy Anniversary to us! :)

Your Skin Fix, December Edition