Motherhood and the Mob

Motherhood is a tapestry, finely woven with the threads of manipulation, coercion and brilliant wit.

The similarities between a mother and a mob boss are nearly identical that their definitions could be one in the same.

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There is however, one key difference…Mothers have the ability to turn what they do into a beautiful package. Motherhood truly is an art form in and of its own. A mother must control, dominate and fight a war everyday but must make it look as graceful as a well choreographed ballet, sound as lovely as a brilliantly composed piece of music and look like a painting straight from the Louvre.

One of my favorite painters, Mary Cassatt, has captured the heart of motherhood time and time again with her beautiful artwork. One look at her paintings will instantly make you feel loved, and almost make you feel like you can feel the warm embrace of your own mother and her warm breath on your cheek.

As beautiful as Ms. Cassatt’s paintings are, I know there was most likely an ugly side to each of these as well that wasn’t captured. The moments before the beautiful took shape are not the highlights but they existed and need to be recognized to fully understand the art of motherhood.

Breakfast-in-Bed

Here you see a mother and daughter snuggling in bed. What a sweet cherub with her tousled curls and her mother’s arms wrapped around her so lovingly.  The truth is, when that little girl entered the room and saw her mother with her eyes closed and softly snoring she approached the sleeping woman and started poking her and saying, “Mommy, Mommy, Momma. Time to wake up. (poke, poke, poke) Mommy, Mommy, MOMMY!”

No one saw the mother fight back her irritation lean over and whisper in the girl’s ear, “If you let Mommy sleep for one more hour, I’ll let you have 5 cookies today.”

mary-cassatt-mother-combing-her-childs-hairOh, how beautiful! A mother gingerly combing her little girl’s soft blond hair.

No one saw the tears that erupted minutes before this and how the mother threatened to cut off all of the girl’s hair if she didn’t sit still and let her get the giant snarl out. The mom let out a slight giggle that instantly quieted the child because she wasn’t sure if her mother was just joking around or perhaps just crazy enough to do it.

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And finally the bath portrait. What a tender moment where the mother is gently washing up her young girl.

No one saw when the child threw a raging fit declaring she was never bathing again. The true art of motherhood set in when the mom went on a tirade declaring, “That’s fine if you don’t want to take a bath. See if I care if your feet smell like cheese and the rats come nibble on your toes at night. See if I care if you get so dirty that no one can tell you apart from one of the hogs. You’ll get thrown out to the stye with the rest of the bunch and be served turnip heads and slop. You know that will happen if you don’t come take a bath right now little miss.”

No one saw the child’s eyes grow ten times bigger and then stoically walk to her mother’s lap so she could be washed.

I am a mom. Don Corleone has nothing on me.- Motherhoodisanart

 

 

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Trash to Treasure Halloween Project

Halloween is my very favorite holiday. I love doing projects this time of year and I had an idea the other day for a new one.

It involves using one of my favorite things: old photographs

Whenever I see old photos at estate sales I buy them if they are reasonably priced or free. I feel this strange need to rescue them.

A few years ago I picked up this 11×14 family photograph in a nice frame for $1.50 (yes, one dollar and 50 cents). Isn’t it sad that someone’s hard work of getting three young children dressed properly and looking nice is being sold for $1.50?

old photograph from an estate sale

old photograph from an estate sale

Anyway, it’s been sitting in my basement waiting for me to come up with an idea to use it. During one of my weekly brainstorming sessions while ironing, the perfect solution popped into my head: I needed to use it for a Halloween decoration.

Yesterday, I sat down and set to work painting it for a new Halloween decoration for my living room.

Painted old photograph for Halloween decoration

Painted old photograph for Halloween decoration

This was a really fun and easy project. I feel a teensy bit bad for painting over it but not bad enough that I wouldn’t think about doing it again if I should find another big portrait at an estate sale for $1.50!

For more related Halloween projects and costume ideas I have done in the past you can find them all under the Halloween link under Categories on the right hand side of my blog page!

Have a wonderful Halloween everyone!

Swallowed Up by a Sea of Childhood Treasures

I remember being about 10 years old at my grandma’s house. There was an older lady who lived up the hill from my grandma whom my cousin and I would go visit from time to time. She lived in an old farmhouse all by herself and she was a hoarder. I had only stepped into her house once and at that time you could really only walk a few inches before being roadblocked by a huge stack of newspapers and a tower of milk jugs. Like I said, I was only 10 years old but even I knew this was beyond any mess I had ever seen.

Even though she wasn’t a housekeeper she was a very nice lady and strangely enough on one particular day I was visiting she took me with her to shop for a trailer to put on her land because she could no longer get into her house. Afterwards she took me to the local A&W stand for a hotdog and root beer and it was quite a lovely afternoon.

I often think of that dear old lady as I watch my own house filling up. I don’t save newspapers or milk jugs and you can usually find a path through our house, but the amount of stuff I save for my children is slowly engulfing our house. Someday I fully expect to be swallowed up by a sea of artwork, favorite toys and beloved baby clothes. If we had a big enough property I might actually consider buying a trailer to put in our yard to store it all and really that is just insane.

Instead of parting with all of this childhood nostalgia I just continue to add to it and with that comes more storage containers for it all. Our house is filled with tons of antique trunks and boxes holding all of these treasures and this past weekend I had to make one more:

The trunk I made this weekend for my daughter's treasures

The trunk I made this weekend for my daughter’s treasures

I also made a box for one of my daughter’s friends who is having a birthday this week. I figure we can’t be the only ones who need storage containers:

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A box I made for my daughter’s friend

And as I sat working on that trunk to hold more of my daughter’s treasures I pondered our whole storage problem and how we could have accumulated so much stuff and how many more years I have left in their childhoods to grow their collections. It’s really quite mind-boggling.

Even though I realize this problem; it apparently never truly sinks in because the very next day this is what I had my children do:

My kids painting huge canvases outside

My kids painting huge canvases outside

Someday, I will be that lady taking a visiting child to shop for a trailer with me because I can no longer walk through my own home. Afterwards I will take them for a hot dog and root beer and it will be quite a lovely afternoon.

Bull Head, A Highway in the House and So Much Blue

There’s nothing like a long vacation that puts me in the mood for working my patootie off!

I have been in almost constant motion since we set foot back on our homestead. Today had me in a particularly high speed whirl as I did a complete makeover on our back porch. Can anyone guess how much a complete makeover of a back porch costs? Anyone? Anyone? Well, the answer is a big ol’ nothing! Yes, that’s right, it cost zero dollars to give a fresh look to our forlorn little porch!

Before I do the big reveal I have to show you two other projects.

While we were in New Mexico the past few weeks I attended a few garage sales and a flea market. I know, I’m on vacation and can still not get away from my scavenger hunt addiction.

The first project is actually courtesy of my husband. He had been looking for a bull skull while we were on vacation and many of them were very costly. However we finally found one at a flea market for $20 but someone had painted it and it was extremely ugly in my opinion:

That's one ugly bull head!

That’s one ugly bull head!

I told my husband he should get it though at that price and we could spray paint it. My husband set to work yesterday and here is the finished result:

A new piece of art for our living room!

A new piece of art for our living room!

The next project was one that I did yesterday. I had found an old highway sign at the same flea market. It is New Mexico’s Highway 25 which is one of the major highways in the state. I absolutely love old rustic things so this was right up my alley. It was really dirty though but what can you expect when you only pay $15:

Old highway sign

Old highway sign

I cleaned it up with a soapy water and a toothbrush and then I varnished the whole thing. It now hangs in my kitchen:

 

My new kitchen art

My new kitchen art

Unfortunately I don’t have a before picture of my porch to show you but trust me it was bad! It is actually one of the most used spaces when we have company so it really deserved to be spruced up. As I said before the redo cost nothing except my time and a really sore back right now. I already owned the porch swing, the old table and the old rocking chair. The rest of the furniture was found on the side of the road recently all ready to be brought to the dump. I think I really scored. Plus the paint I used was from our local recycling center that you can get free paint from that people have brought in that can no longer use it. So I spent a good portion of the day painting all of this furniture. Both of my older kids helped out too. My son painted the legs of the table and my daughter painted two wooden stools and a children’s table and chair that we have had for quite some time that I had picked up at the thrift store. Here is how it all turned out:

Iris hard at work painting

Iris hard at work painting

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I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July! We will be celebrating with a cookout with family and relaxing on our back porch!

Melissa

 

 

Hundreds of Tiny Squares

It seems every winter I find myself doing some sort of mind numbing project to take my mind off of being cooped up in the house.

Even when I was a teenager I made my own Monopoly board. My original board broke and instead of buying a new one I just decided to recreate one:

My homemade Monopoly board

My homemade Monopoly board

When my first daughter was little I decided to turn a crawl space in our house into a “Super Secret Hideout.” I brightened up the walls by applying magazine pictures:

Iris & Bency playing in the hideout in 2009

Iris & Bency playing in the hideout in 2009

A close up of the Super Secret Hideout walls

A close up of the Super Secret Hideout walls

Now Cesar plays in the Hideout

Now Cesar plays in the Hideout

Then a few years ago I took puzzle pieces and painted and glued them to an old drawer:

The puzzle box

The puzzle box

There was also the year that I bought a used coffee table at a rummage sale for $1.50 and decided to paint it:

The painted coffee table

The painted coffee table

This coffee table sits in our living room and also serves as a stage for our kids. They stand on here and do their dancing. I’m pretty sure it’s on its  last leg. I’m not going to replace it until they are a bit older and have grown out of dancing on tables (that happens right?) So instead I decided to sit down this past week and do this:

The coffee table redone

The coffee table redone

I glued 1 inch squares cut out of magazines all over the table and then put varnish on top. I did this while watching television and usually surrounded by the kids or being jumped on. My 5 year old Bency kept tearing out pages from magazines that he wanted me to add to the table. One was an advertisement for Breathe Right strips and another one was for kitty litter. I unfortunately had to over rule him on those selections.

Like I said, the table is not going to last much longer but at least it kept me busy this past week while we were all confined inside!

 

Hundreds of tiny squares

Hundreds of tiny squares

 

 

 

Trick or Treat…Smell Our Ghost Feet

Today I thought I would share another Halloween project the kids and I did this past weekend. Since the majority of people thought my last project Spooky Barbie was too creepy, I thought I would share something a little sweeter.

I know this project has to be less creepy because I got the idea from Barney (yes, the big, purple dinosaur). I had no idea Barney was a crafty guy. My kids told me about this and made me watch the show Barney’s Halloween Bash (or something like that) on Netflix so we could recreate it.

I don’t think Barney had a name for this project so I’ll call it…Ghost Feet!

Supplies you’ll need:

Brown Paper Bag cut into large rectangle (or any large paper…not white)
White paint
Black paint
Paintbrush
Wet rag

First, you lay the bag on the floor.
Next, you paint your child’s foot with the white paint and have them step on the paper.
Finally, you paint eyes and mouth on the foot which is now a ghost.

Okay, this SHOULD be a really simple, quick project.

I however, was not thinking ahead! Surprise! After I painted my first child’s foot, she hopped off the brown paper bag like I instructed her to do and got white foot prints all over the wood floor! Doh!!! Hence the wet rag on the supply list!

Make sure you wipe off your child’s foot immediately after you have them stamp their foot on the paper!!!

Also, painting a child’s foot who is very ticklish tends to get lots of paint everywhere too!

I think Barney just had a plate with paint on it for the kids to dip their foot in. Maybe Barney is wiser than me or perhaps I really love doing 5 minute projects and then spending a hour cleaning it all up!

Our project this past weekend!

P.S. Barney didn’t write “Trick or Treat, Smell Our Feet” on his. I’m still not as sweet as Barney!

Spooky Barbie…A Halloween Project

Hands down, Halloween is my favorite holiday. My love for Halloween can be contributed to the fact that it lands in my favorite season, Fall and that my strongest characteristic of being and doing things imperfect fits well with this holiday!

This past weekend my family jump started this festive season with a trip to get pumpkins and with a project I whirled up in my head.

I have dubbed this project: Spooky Barbie

My spooky Barbie

This project wasn’t really a stretch for me because as a child I LOVED giving my dolls haircuts and dyeing their hair with Kool-Aid.

This weekend I took it up one more notch though!

I knew full well that my daughter was not going to lend me any of her Barbies for this project so I stopped at a rummage sale and picked up two Barbies along with a bigger doll for my son.

The dolls from the rummage sale

  • At home I gave the kids acrylic paint and told them to paint the dolls to look…..SPOOKY!!!
  • After the paint dried, we dyed the blond dolls’ hair in purple food coloring.
  • After their hair was dry, I applied hair spray and we teased their hair to make it look…CRAZY!!!
  • Next I fashioned dresses for them using old white burp cloths that I cut into a square, cut a hole in the middle and then I tied this makeshift dress around the middle with a ribbon.
  • The final step was using watercolor paint to paint their dresses.

This was a cheap, simple project and truth be told….I would love this project even if I didn’t have kids!!!

Our spooky dolls!

Sometimes I Look At Her and I Still See a Baby

Painting I did yesterday taken from a photograph of Iris at 6 months

My daughter Iris is 6 months old in this picture. This year she turned 7 years old.

Sometimes I look at her and I still see a baby. She has not changed a bit.

Then I pull out the old photo albums and pictures like this pop out and it takes my breath away. When did my daughter get a jawline? She clearly did not have one at 6 months. When did her nose become long and slender? She had such a small button nose at 6 months. When did she get arms that revealed both her elbow and forearm? She had roly-poly sausages with five fingers sticking out of them at 6 months.

At 7 years old, my daughter is still very innocent. Yet, she knows words to pop songs. She talks on the phone to her best friend and they GIGGLE! I now fully understand the reference when someone says, “she giggled like a little school girl.” She talks about the presidential election. She asks me to do her hair a certain way.

But sometimes I just look at  her and I still see a baby.