Category Archives: Artsy-Tartsy

America, The Roadtrip: Marfa, TX


You guys, Marfa is really hard to explain.   But if you really want to understand this love child of Brooklyn and Minneapolis, planted 30-ish miles away from the Mexico border, I would say that this Wikipedia page is your best bet.  And if you don’t read it, just know that I want you to imagine the hippest place you have ever been and then imagine a place that is a hundred times more hip.  This is Marfa.

We drove straight to Marfa from Carlsbad and it was quite the sunset haul through the Guadalupe mountain range and the West Texas sunset.

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As we drove into Marfa, we listed to Marfa Public Radio as they talked about Guantanamo, and did the evening’s Astrology forecast.  For those who were wondering, the Eye of Taurus was especially present and rising directly beneath the moon.

Yes, seriously.

The big sight to see in the area is actually Prada Marfa.  We caught it once at night and then drove back the next morning to see it by daylight.

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We stayed at the same hotel that Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean stayed at during the filming of Giant.  I think had we been in Marfa for more than 12 hours, this would have been more interesting, but we simply didn’t have the time to think about it.  What we did have the time to do was go out for dinner at Cochineal.

It was a pretty phenomenal meal.

First course: House Baked Bread With Marfa Yeasts


Second course: Black Caesar Salad


It was Billy’s first grilled caesar salad and we were both extremely glad that we ordered our own instead of trying to share.

Main course: Ribeye (for him) and White Bean Soup and Three Cheese and Bread Souffle (for her)



The souffle was eat ’til it hurts incredible.

After dinner we set out to check out the night scene around town.  Wearing our flannels and surrounded by hipsters wearing mom jeans and using coin purses to carry money, we really felt like we were in our element.

But the icing on the cake was the Museum of Electronic Wonders.  We found them on Yelp because of their late night grilled cheese kitchen (seriously, the place is open 7-8 hours per week).

Billy and I walked in astonished to find two of the employees/residents trying to troubleshoot a malfunctioning eight track player that would only play The Rolling Stones.  One girl’s solution was to bring her own eight track player in since it played everything.



In case you are wondering where all of the remaining eight track players are, they are in Marfa.

As fascinating as that discussion was to witness, we did actually intend to order food AKA grilled cheeses while were there.  I’m still not entirely sure if the act of ordering and receiving them was performance art or if the place had any sort of certified kitchen, but we were really there for the experience more than anything else.  After receiving change for our order in dollar coins, which was simultaneously shocking and not shocking at all, we took our sandwiches and were on our way.




Becoming a Color-er

I have become a color-er.

No, seriously.

In November, Jillian invited a group of girls out for dinner and then for an evening at one of those painting studios where they sell wine and you all paint the same picture as an instructor walks you through the steps.  It took about two hours and oh my god it was just 11/10.  The instructor drew two lines, we drew two lines.  The instructor walked around the room critiquing, we dabbled away.  Our color scheme was “cool,”  I grabbed a few neons just to add a little pop!

It was the best time.  I walked out of the studio with one terrible interpretation of the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis and a pep in my step.  But, for $35 a pop, it’s not exactly something I can afford to do on a regular basis.

The next day, as I thought about the experience (and tried to hide my painting from Marcus by leaving it in the trunk of my car), I realized that what I loved about our night out painting is that it was so relaxing.  That’s something I ended up focusing on a lot in the month of December – finding new ways to relieve stress.  I know I do a lot of things each day and in the course of a week that would qualify in most circles as “relaxing.”  Reading, running, blogging, cooking, praying, yoga, spending time with friends.  But on one level or another, all of them have a specific purpose and intention to them.  I needed to add something that I could do with complete abandon, no real gain, and total disregard for the end result.  Something that I could do and let go of.

As December marched on, Mom and I went to hear the Hallelujah Chorus at the arboretum.  Before the show, we were browsing the gift shop.  I walked through the coloring book section and I was captivated.  Here was a way I could create without creating.  A way that I could do without worrying.  I didn’t buy a coloring book that day or even that week, but you had better believe the next time I walked into Target, the first thing I did was beeline to the coloring book section.  My next stop was for the crayons.

48 crayons and a My Little Pony coloring book later, this.

Coloring 1 Coloring 2

I’m not going to start an artistic movement.  Nor am I going to pin my handiwork on our refrigerator.  But truly, how relaxing this is.

A DIY Hat for the Derby

So we all know that my first attempt at sourcing a hat for the Kentucky Derby was dispiriting at best.

Blessedly, last week, Jen was kind enough to reach out to me by e-mail with Louisville running trail suggestions and Most Importantly a Key Hat Tutorial ( you have to scroll down the page to locate the videos).

I can’t say that I have ever watched any craft tutorial ever.  So it only made sense for me to crack open a can of Coppola champagne on Friday night, hit the play button and proceed to be mesmerized for the next 20 minutes.  I cannot say that I have ever seen anything on this order in my life. As I watched this woman methodically attack a plain white hat with flowers and ribbons and netting and feathers, the idea of making my own hat seemed far less insane than I had originally thought.

Which is a real Godsend because I had already visited JoAnn Fabrics with mother earlier in the day.  Apparently we had managed to select all of the right things.


Excluding feathers, because the feather selection was essentially peacock and pheasant only.

Mom: When is the last time you came here (JoAnn’s)?

Me: Before Pamplona so we could buy sash material. You know, before I do something really expensive, I try to save money.   Even though we spent all of the money on Earth on Derby and Oaks tickets, I refuse to pay $200 for a hat.

But I mean really, can we talk about (crosses self) JoAnn’s for a second?  Because I swear to God that every time I darken that doorstep, time stops.  If I ever see anyone in that store (employee or customer) move with any sense of urgency, I will probably die of shock where I am standing.

We escaped with plunder in tow, I deposited it all at The House On The Hill and I informed Mom that our work would commence after we were done with egg coloring.  She had not watched either of the tutorials so I think that she was somewhat taken aback by my sudden zest for craft.  Me too.

Materials 2

Though I didn’t keep a real eye on the clock while I was busy hot gluing away, I want to say that the entire crafting process took approximately one hour from start to finish.  Had I incorporated More Flowers or Feathers or Color, I’m sure that there would have been more decisions to make.

The total haul (hat+ribbon/net) ended up being approximately $30.  I only used one spool of wired ribbon and even though we got a yard of black tulle, I probably only used a quarter yard.

Because I know y’all need to know, the finished product.


Next stop: Etsy shop. 😉

Derby Hats

Our tickets are being shipped, we leave for Kentucky in two weeks, my black dress has returned from the tailor.

Last weekend the hats arrived.  That gold hat was ordered from Nordstrom’s, the white hat my mother found in England for a garden wedding that she and Dad attended last summer.  The black woven straw hat was ordered from

The makings of a new hobby?  Possibly.


Well, the gold hat was beautiful, but entirely disappointing.  I loved the ribbons, but the brim seemed…short?  If that is a thing that can be possible.  Looking at the hat on my head and comparing it to the photo of the hat on the model, I feel like a victim of egregious photoshopping.

The white hat had such a lovely wide brim and the net was sort of exciting but it did not work at all with my dress.  This probably should not have been shocking because my dress is black, but I thought maybe the color blocking thing could work for me.  Except when it failed.

Trials, I know.

You know that thing where you have a picture in your head of how something is supposed to look and nothing in real life actually translates?  This is that.  I don’t want to say that the concept I’m working off of is highly specific, but I certainly haven’t seen it in the pages and pages of hats I’ve pored through so far.

So one of my projects this weekend will be a trek to the craft store so that I can source ribbons and action the final version using that $15 black hat from Target as a base.  Because we all know how successful my life as a crafter is.

If there was ever a time to light a candle kittens, this is it.


DIY Toss Arm Warmers

On race day, I usually end up wearing a potpourri of layers to the start line, that end up getting discarded somewhere between the corral and the 5k.

A personal favorite of mine are the home-baked arm warmers that I action.

So, in the spirit of crafts that really aren’t crafts, a tutorial that I’m hoping at the very least will give you a little laugh.

We begin.

Dig through your husband’s drawers until you find the nicest pair of tube socks that he owns.  Yes, you’re going to throw these away, but it just doesn’t feel right to use socks with say, holes.


Bust out your kitchen shears (or any other scary scissors you own) and make a cut from the toe of the sock to the end of the toe seam.


And once you’ve successfully completed that act once, action it again.

Et voila.


DIY toss arm warmers.  From me, to you.

On Mousing OR That One Time Where I Crafted.

A few months ago, Jeanne posted a tutorial on how to craft felt mice.  Read the post and read the story, because her original motivation for mouse-making is truly hysterical.  Not to mention the fact that she does a much better job of sharing it than I ever could.

Well.  Miss Jeanne turned 50 about a month ago.  And as the big day approached, Kirsten rallied the troops so that we could throw her a virtual surprise party.

At first it was all very straightforward: We were going to action a variety of eats and drinks and hit the tribute blogging hardcore.

And then it was suggested that in addition to potluck-ing, maybe we could do a craft tribute as well?  Because if you know nothing else about Jeanne, you should know that she’s just phenomenally gifted at all manner of craft.  So that would be fitting, right?

So fitting.

To focus ourselves we decided it could be thoughtful to craft one mouse each using her tutorial.  And then one felt mouse turned into OMG LET’S MAKE 50 OF THEM.


Which is only hysterical and wonderfully tender because 90% of us have never touched a needle before for anything other than hemming.

With a strong acceptance of the fact that we would be stabbing ourselves with needles and swearing for the entirety of the project, we began.  And to keep track of one another, we started tweeting under the hashtags #TMPWatch2013 and #TMPWatch.

Game on.

So I printed off my Michael’s coupons, bought a pillow-sized bag of filler for mouse-stuffing (party-people, let me know if you need to action a throw pillow because I can hook you up) and began my journey into craft.

Which also involved inadvertently giving myself a hot pink weave as I separated embroidery floss strands.

Look.  Weave.


I’m sure it doesn’t take much to believe me when I say that I never thought I would find myself separating embroidery floss into individual threads.  I’m sure it doesn’t surprise you that when I did, it ended up in my hair.

Undeterred, I soldiered on.

When I was in oh, about eighth grade, I read the age-appropriate Sweet Potato Queens Book Of Love.  It’s a wonderful story, and y’all should really take the time to crack it open when you get the chance.

As I stitched together the hot pink and pink leopard print mouse pieces, I just knew that each of the mice, just like the Sweet Potato Queens would be named Tammy.

Mouse 4

I’m sure that you agree.

Obviously, these ladies would never roll anywhere without a drink at the ready, so I tossed in a few miniature bottles of booze, to make sure that Jeanne would be able to hold her own with this group.

And with that all sorted, I shipped them off on their permanent spring break to The Lone Star State!

To see the other 43 mice (one gave its life to Beka’s cat in the ultimate sacrifice), please, Please, PLEASE CLICK HERE.  I pinky promise swear you will not be disappointed.

Recent History

Tonight I sorted through the entire collection of my K-12 creative works. I then proceeded to live-Tweet and Instagram them (you can find me on Instagram at kljwm!).

This came after Billy unearthed his 5th grade DARE handbook and read it aloud to me on the phone.

I have been in tears all night.

Some gems…