About Me

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I am a mom of 2 very energetic but amazing kids, and a crafter after they are off to bed. That's my work over on the left, linked from my Etsy shop.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Princessophobia- is there a word for that?

So it looks like I wil average one post per month- better so far than any of the journals I tried to keep as a kid. But the Christmas season has passed, the tree is gone (but not quite the needles- I keep finding those in strange places), the ornaments are mostly back in their box for another year, and life is very slowly returning to normalish. So maybe I will find myself here a little more frequently. And maybe I haven't had sufficient coffee yet to really see the ridiculousness in that thought.

My son is back in school after the holiday break, and it is filled with all sorts of new toys and gadgets and things. When I think back to my childhood- so very long ago it seems, this morning- I know we had some weird things. Like Hugo, Man of 1000 Faces- this freaky plastic bust that came with different styles of hair (what kids doesn't want a closet of synthetic toupees for their dolls?), make-up, moles, and I don't know what all. I was so excited to receive this one year- and when I think of it now, it just creeps me out.
And do you know what scares me the most these days?

Disney princesses.
Simpering, demure, passive and oh so pretty, these lovely girls are everything that makes me cringe as a mom of a wee girl.
I was talking about the representation of women this past week- specifically about Titian's icon of feminine virtue, the Venus of Urbino, from 1538. This is Venus:

This painting is thought to commemorate a wedding in the della Rovere family. It is not a portrait of the bride- that would just be scandalous!- but it does give an allegory of love in marriage. There, in the background, her attendants scuffle about in the cassone; the little lap dog rests peacefully at her feet, and she holds a bundle of roses and myrtle. All symbols of love, fidelity, and the promise of a blissfull future.
And of course there is the promise of a little somethinsomethin going on with Venus here.

What strikes me most is her face. Historians will talk about the construction of gender roles in this work- that this representation sets the expectation for the behavior of women in 16th century Italy. They are passive, demure, beautiful. They are available to the male viewer's gaze, and present their bodies as objects of desire. They accept this role gracefully, as it is the proper role of women.

Now take a look again at those princesses. I am not posting a photo here (don't need the grief from Disney), but any image search will bring back hundreds of images of these lovely role models. They may have a little more clothing than sister Venus, but they have that face. That tilt of the head- down and turned so slightly to the side- that says "I am pretty- let me flutter my eyelashes at you."

These images of Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella may have been first fashioned in the 50's, when the idea of women in trousers and working outside of the home were out of the norm. But shouldn't we be past that now? Haven't we arrived at a place where women can be doctors and politicians and scientists and homemakers if they choose to?

The value of our simpering little princesses is in their long lashes, tiny waists and perky features. Their salvation comes through their beauty and feminine allure- because what Prince would want to rescue a book worm? Why should he rescue her from a dismal fate if she is only going to run off and get a career? Really, now- who will see to his creature comforts? Who will gratify his ego? It is her responsibility to see to her rescuer and be just as cute and lovely as she can be. Besides, science is hard. Fashion is fun!

I would rather my daughter model herself after the Paper Bag Princess. Now there is a Princess! Dirty and dishevelled, she outwits a dragon, and rescues her Prince. And in the end, she realizes that she is more than a beautiful dress or a gentle smile. She leaves the bum of a prince behind, and saunters off into the sunset still dressed in her paper bag.

My kind of princess.

Friday, December 10, 2010

How did - I - become.... vintage???

Etsy holly day blog hoppers- one post down and you will find the cranberry goodness you have come for, as well as the link to Cinnamon Spice's blog.

I was browsing through some Etsy shops the other day, looking at all of the fascinating, interesting, and some just plain strange things that are out on the market today. It is such a curiosity to see what kinds of things people in the past have collected and created. Kinda weird, once again, but curious.

It dawned on me, while wading through the memories for sale, that some of mine might be in there too. In the vintage section, I mean. I am dating myself here- but to qualify as vintage it must be 20 years old or more. Gads. This means that my youth- everything from my Duran Duran tapes to the Francois et Marithé Girbaud jeans I loved so much- all qualilfy for the vintage section.

I regretted tossing those jeans (tossed not that long ago- I was holding on for sentimental reasons, reminders that I was actually once that tiny chicky). They were awful- well, first rate back in their day, with the high waist and such. I guess I should have kept them- maybe I could have sold them for a few bucks and afforded a holiday flavored latte (how did coffee get to be 5 bucks a cup???)

So, here I am, in the vintage section. VINTAGE. ack.
I need a glass of wine- which in my youth I would NOT have appreciated with the fine sense that I have now.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Holly day Etsymoms Blog Hop- Cranberry pudding with delicious butter sauce

Check out all of the fabulous holiday-themed projects, gift ideas, and more from our wonderful EtsyMom Blog Hop Contributors from around the world!!

Here's how it works:
1. Hop through each of the blogs listed above to get fabulous holiday inspiration and leave a comment. If you are starting at a blog in the middle of the Hop, start back at the EtsyMom Blog.
2. Leave a comment on this post between now and December 11, 2010.
3. Enter to win our giveaway by doing any of the following. For each thing you do, you will be entered into the drawing one more time:
~Leave a comment on this post between now and December 11, 2010.
~Leave a comment on the Holly Day Blog Hop posts for any of the blogs listed above between Dec 5 and Dec 11, 2010.
~Join our email list (fill out the form in the right hand column).
~Become a follower of this blog! Just click the "Follow" button in the lower right column.
~"Like" the EtsyMom Facebook Page.
Share about this Blog Hop on your own blog, posting a link to this page.
Share about this Blog Hop on Facebook, posting a link to this page.
Share about this Blog Hop on a message board or forum, posting a link to this page.
To let us know you've done these things, please come back to this blog post and leave a comment for each thing you did, i.e. one comment for posting on your blog, another comment for posting on facebook, and another comment for joining our email newsletter. If you post it all in one comment, it will count as one entry.On December 11, 2010 we'll choose a winner using the Random Integer Generator from random.org. The winner will receive this super sweet gift basket full of handmade holiday goodies, including
a pair of Turquoise Earrings from http://www.stoneymistdesign.etsy.com/
a lampwork bead bracelet by http://handmadewhimzy.etsy.com/
sterling silver and Swarovski pearl/crystal holiday earrings by
a cream colored cotton scarf given by http://www.zoegirldesigns.etsy.com/
a raincloud ornament from http://www.etsy.com/shop/babyjives
a matching splat mat and baby bib from http://www.babysindulgence.etsy.com/
a gift pack of over 30 pages of vintage paper ephemera by http://www.etsy.com/shop/countrychiccottage
a lovely sustainable stocking from http://www.rikrak.etsy.com/
a set of holly jolly gift tags from http://cinnamonspice.etsy.com/
a set of toddler pajamas in a style of the winner's choice from http://heatheregley.etsy.com/
a $15 gift certificate from http://camelotstreasures.etsy.com/

Today we're sharing a recipe for steamed cranberry pudding with warm butter sauce, brought to you by quirefly.etsy.com

Greetings, and Happy Holly Day. Welcome to this stop on the Etsymom blog hop- I hope that you have had many good tips, recipes, and suggestions for a fabulous, festive season! Our Etsymoms are pretty creative ladies and have some excellent advice for amusing your children and dazzling the relatives. Who needs Ms Martha S. (you know who I mean... ) when you have Etsymoms?

My addition- steamed cranberry pudding with warm butter sauce. I think it may be more aptly named warm butter sauce with a hint of cranberry pudding- the sauce is just sooo yummy. This is similar to a pudding that you may be familiar with from the big holiday craft shows- but it is simple enough to make. Enjoy!

You will need:

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup hot water

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup molasses

2 cups fresh cranberries (dried just doesn't do the same in my opinion)

1  1/2 cups flour

  • Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water; add sugar and molasses, mixing well. Blend in cranberries and flour.
  • Grease a loaf pan (a coffee tin can also be used, but make sure you have enough room at the top for the cake to rise). Pour in the batter, and seal tightly with tin foil.
  • Place the pan in a large stock pot or roaster with 4 or so inches of water in the bottom. Cover the pot and seal again with tin foil.
  • Cook over medium heat for approximately 1 1/2 hours. Cooking time really depends on the heat of your burners and the moisture level. I like to check the pudding after about an hour (the toothpick test) and check for water to make sure the pot hasn't boiled dry- no amount of yummy butter sauce will save that burnt pudding!
The sauce:

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Over low heat, combine the butter and sugars until the butter is just melted and the sugars nicely blended in. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Let the sauce boil for a minute, remove from heat and add the vanilla. You may need to test the sauce repeatedly before served, just to make sure it has blended properly ; )
Serve the pudding warm with butter sauce- I also like to add a touch of vanilla ice cream to balance the flavors.

Thanks for stopping by- I would love to hear your comments on the recipe, reviews of the holiday season, suggestions for what to do with my bored children over the holidays.....
And off you go to the next Holly day blog stop- Cinnamon Spice Crafts
Happy holly days!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Poor Mommy- she just can't win.

The thermometer outside reads somewhere around -16. We have plenty of snow- something of a shock this week, as only Monday it was 10 degrees and not a snowflake in sight.

So, here we are, plunged into winter in a matter of a few days. I am feeling Christmasy now- I am starting to feel a strong need to have my shopping done, my Christmas lights up, and 3-dozen different kinds of cookies ready in the freezer for last-minute Christmas thank-yous. Because this is insane and impossible for me to accomplish today, I compromise by trning on a little Twisted Christmas. Yes- Twisted Sister's rocking good album of carols. We purchased it because my Mother-in-law loves Christmas music and has such a variety, we thought this would be a fun (and humorous) addition. Not sure how fond she is of it, but my son likes it very much> So much, that we were still listening to it at Easter last year.

So, on go the twisted rockin' out carols, and as we listen I remember a thought I had last year about an old standard- I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. This song, of the very many christmas songs out there, really irks me. Even more than the 80's classic, Do they know it's Christmas, which you hear everytime you are near a radio or a shopping mall (I do still love Duran Duran and Paul Young though...).

This song is supposed to be cute, I suppose- a little one, so excited about Christmas that they just can't wait for morning, sneaks downstairs to take a peek at the presents under the tree. And what to his wondering eyes should appear- Mommy snoggin Santa.

Now, for those of us in the know, we are aware that the sugar in the red suit is really Daddy, playing the part because he is a good dad and wants his kids to have that warn fuzzy feeling that comes with Saint Nik. But Mom? We know she is just giving a little sugar because- well, we can leave it at that. But from the viewpoint of the little darling peeking in from the staircase, Mom has just been revealed as a big tart. Really- what nice girl would kiss a strange man who slides down the chimney? Doesn't matter that he has a big bag of presents. Mommy is tarting it up with some guy that is not Daddy.

So- we have a dilemma. Do we preserve the magic and excitement of Christmas? Or do we salvage Mommy's good name in the eyes of her hurt and confused children?  Mommy loses either way. She is either the destroyer of Christmas dreams, or a ho ho ho. Because she is a good mom, she will probably preserve the magic of Christmas because she wants her children to have all of that joy.

She may just need to add money for therapy in her kids' stockings.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I believe women have the right to choose..... but I am not a feminist...

This statement drives me absolutely batty. really. How can you believe that women have the right to choose for themselves, that women have the right to an education (beyond the mastery of the perfect muffin), the right to a career and the right to own property, and not be a feminist? How???

I teach first year college students, and some of what I talk about does get into the feminist arena. For example, the portrayal of the wandering womb and uterine furies in the 17th century (fabulous subject!). Automatically, my students assume that I am a big man-hater and that I am out to get all of the male students in my class, simply because they have a penis. Personally, I could not care one bit less about what they are toting around. What I care about is that they are listening to me babble on, and that they can repeat something relatively close to what I gave them on the exams.

However, here we are, in a day and age where we have achieved some of those very fundamental rights, and our young women are afraid to admit that they are feminists because, well, boys won't like them if they are feminists.

This makes me so very sad. The fact that we are still so concerned about what boys think- and that we will alter who we are to such a degree that we have to play cute but dumb just to keep the attention of a boy, well that tells me that we really have not come that far. Well, at least we can say that now we have the choice to play cute but dumb.
Huzza for that! I can CHOOSE to pretend I am stupid. A great day for women's liberation!

You know, I blame Cosmo. I do. It claims to be a magazine for the modern woman, the woman who has claimed her sexuality and is not afraid to be bold and assertive. However, I also find that so much of it is about keeping wrinkles at bay, and how to dress like a sexy little vamp at work so that you can attract the boys but not the ire of the ladies in the workplace. It is all about how we look, how to attract a man, and how to fool him into staying with us (which boils down to sex tips in every issue). Because really, girls- what could we possibly have to offer that would be worth anything aside from what can be wrapped up in black satin and lace?

The young women that come into my classroom- they are confident and self-assured in their 20ish knowledge and experience, and they know they want an education and a career, and all the opportunities that our modern age can offer. But do not make the mistake of thinking that they are feminists. oh no- our mothers and grandmothers fought that war for us, so that we can enjoy equality without the burden of being feminists. Just look at barbie, for proof. She is not only a pretty little thing in the latest fashions, but she is a professional too. She can be anything she wants (providing it involves shopping, fashion, or fuzzy fur-babies with big eyes).

Hooray for the modern world!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

a truth about motherhood??

I have 2 kids. My oldest just started school, and the younger just turned 18 months. They keep me very busy, and I do love being a mom- although I am not prehaps as aware of that at 2am when they are not sleeping well, or when they start screaming grow-up words in the grocery store, or when they start calling out loudly and incessantly for a cookie when we are within 5km of the grocery store. However, they remind me how much I love being a mom when, for example, my son starts dancing in Michael's craft store at the front entrance so that he can watch himself dance on the tv monitor (this earned him the adoration of many in the store, and a tstuffed bear for most awesome craft store dancer). Or when my daughter starts reciting the names of her most favorite characters from In the Night Garden in her most charming, and loudest voice.

After she was born, I decided that I would not return to my job. I had been full time before my first child, and went part-time after my maternity leave with him. And after my daughter, I left it entirely. I wanted to stay home and raise my kids- something that, a few years ago, I had not seriously considered. I worked hard in school, got a BA and 2 master's degrees, and I had a career path in mind. Certainly I wanted what was best for my kids, but did that mean I had to let go of the education that I had spent years working for- and paying for? No. Thousands of women out there balance work and home just fine, and their kids turn out just fine, thank you.

I still believe that, and by no means is this a rant about why women should stay at home. I am a feminist (which is not a 4-letter word, by the way), and I believe that women have earned the right to make those choices. I made the choice to stay at home because it was right for me, and right for my family.

So what if I decided to return to work once my daughter is in school? That would be 5 years out of the work force... and apparently, as a result, I could expect to receive a whopping 15% less in salary than I had before children. !!! 15% !!!

I heard on the radio yesterday about a recent study that shows women lose around 3 or 3.5% for each year they are out of the work force while at home with kids. Like all of the skills I worked so hard for depreciate like an old car as soon as I am off the lot. Depressing.

I am not entirely surprised, really- depending on what field you are in, a lot can change in one year. And, I agree with some of the comments I have read that a person shouldn't expect a raise during a year of absence- that just makes sense. But I can't see how a year off with kids would make me rusty in a job for which I had trained long and hard. For example- if I were a teacher of Renaissance literature, and specialize in Shakespeare. How am I worth 3% less for taking one year off? Does the research about Shakespeare change THAT much that I am unable to do my job as well as someone else that has not taken a year? Or if I were an accountant and had been working for a company for a few years before taking time off to raise a child. Certainly, if I were out of it for a while I would need to take some time to gain my bearings- just as anyone who enters a new job. But it does not mean that all of my experience in that field has been snatched away, revoked like a delinquent driver's licence, and my abilities reduced to counting to 5 on my toes, to the tune of Old Macdonald's Farm.

What this really comes down to, in my opinion, is the lack of respect our society has for child rearing, on the one hand, and the excuse for cutting back a few bucks, on the other. Here we think we have come such a long way- women go to school and get an education. We run companies and countries and households, we litigate and we calculate and we build. Our world has opened up to us in so many ways, and we celebrate how marvellous it is- yet we are still reduced to these mindless ninnies capable of nothing more than a peanut butter sandwhich as soon as we give birth. Our mental capacities shrink to the level of Elmo, like a disease from which we can never recover.

I joke often that I have few brains left because 45% went to my son and another 45% to my daughter. The 10% left me is what gives me the ability to make a mean PB&J sandwhich, pick up the lego scattered about my house, and sing alphabet songs all day long. Beyond that? Nada.
I am kidding though. If the powers that be were listening and thought I was serious, and thought that motherhood makes you stupid- I WAS KIDDING!!!

I can still count to at least 10, and most of the time I don't even use all of my fingers. or my toes.

So. Anyone else wish to rant to the gods of modernity about the hypocricy towards at-home parents? Perhaps if we all chant loudly enough they will hear.
Or they might just get better earplugs.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

So, this is thanksgiving weekend for us up here in Canada. Is it as hectic for you as it is in my house? I love spending time with the family- the kids get to jump on their relatives instead of me, and what's not to love about that?

Seems like you spend the entire day preparing a meal that is consumed in roughly 8 1/2 minutes though. Honestly- as much as I love turkey, and the sweet potatoes with caramel sauce and pecans...... Oh yes- as much as I love them, I do wonder about the sanity of it all. Maybe we should look at pizza next year.

However, we do what we do because we love our families (most of the time) and we like to spend the time together, and because it isn't often that you go through this kind of chaos for a meal (at least not in my house). And there are some things that I do just love on thanksgiving.... like the sweet potatoes. I am not big on the potatoes with the marshmallows in them. Nope, mine are mashed with butter, cream and paprika, covered in pecans, and smothered in a caramel sauce made with nothing but butter and brown sugar. Then they are baked at 350 just until the topping starts to bubble. Mmmm.... just like candy.

 Holidays are also a time that I like to experiment on family with new recipes- like a brownie pie made the other day (not so great. I like my brownies better). So, if you have a favorite recipe, do share!