Monday, September 1

Steampunk Journal Cover



The Curious Wold of Keegan Isaiah Honor



My fourteen year old requested a steampunk journal with a guy in a gas mask.

So I googled it.  Added some Tattered Angels Spray Mists, and a few metal things made by Tim Holtz. 



He liked it.


Nanny Life - What does it mean to be a nanny?

There is no other relationship like the one between a Nanny and her long term charges.

Nannies are not babysitters, like parents or big sisters. They have the advantage of being companion, teacher and caregiver.

My first Nanny Charges.  They are all gown up now and married. Taken in Palm Springs on vacation 


As a mom with four kids now ages 10, 12, 14, and 16 - and a Nanny with a career going back to 1988 that includes full time, part time, and temporary Nanny positions, I have a unique perspective of the Nanny life.



At least I like to think so.

I really wanted to be like Jane Eyre.  Long puritan dresses, strong convictions, hired by a grandmotherly housekeeper.  I'd work for a brooding, changeable and  rich male and teach his young ward, an adorable child  who is desperate for attention and will mostly do as I ask without back-talking.

I was nineteen when I started my first job.



It could have happened that way.

But it didn't.

I'm not your fairy tale nanny.



In the end I married a second grade teacher who had a smile that reminded me of Elvis that melted my heart enough we ended up with four beautiful kids.

Full Time Live Out Nanny Position.  He has graduated college now. 
I can tell you, there are indeed, some things about being a Nanny that are quite a bit like being a parent.  Nannies change diapers, solve disputes, run the kid-taxi, often plan the entire day of her charges in the same way that Mom's do.  Nannies multi-task, pick up toys, clean up messes and make judgement calls about how much t.v. is too much t.v. - just like Mom's do.

But-

A Nanny has one job, one focus.

A Nanny has one job, one focus.  It's not on the upkeep of the home, it's not on a job outside the home, it's not a relationship with the Dad of the house, it's not anything but the care, education, safety and entertainment of her charges.

Mom's can often get by without planning that last one -  My job as a mom is to teach my kids to be independent adults. Sometimes I plan their entertainment.  But that is not my goal for the day, and as a Mom, never has been.  Have I wanted my kids happy?  Absolutely.  But if I'm not in the mood to entertain them, then, I have the free choice as a Mom to expect that they entertain themselves or at least turn something on that will entertain them.

To me, this is one of the big distinctions between being a Nanny and being a Mom.

My wedding day. 1995
Mom's are not companion's or playmates.  Sometimes yes.  Great Mom's play with their kids, engage them talk to them and laugh with them, but not usually for ten hours a day.

Nannies are companions and playmates. Nannies are the portable entertainment system.  Depending on the home-rules, sometimes we never turn the t.v. or game system on while we are on the job.

We are friends and teachers at the same time.  If you've never been a Nanny, it's hard to describe.  It's such a unique and beautiful relationship.  During my long term jobs,  a trust has always developed, a special connection that is different from the parent bond, but a powerful bond none-the-less.

Twin boys, also all grown up now.

I know my presence has long term effects on the children I work with.  My 10 hour days with them helped develop character traits, temper attitudes, and explore new horizons. I know this because their parents and their grandparents have told me so.

A Nanny brings her unique character and talents into the family and shares herself with the children with love and confidence.  She is as much a professional at the 5 a.m wake up call as she is at dinner time, bed time, and in the middle of the night -

Parents can grumble, make mistakes, ask forgiveness. We all know that real parents are less like June Clever and more like Rosanne (only with more divorce.) Parents have baggage, get emotional, and can be selfish.

Being a Nanny is a JOB.  I get the big bucks to be professional when I am feeling hot, tired, overwhelmed and worn out.

I've made fewer mistakes as a Nanny than I have as a parent.

Not everyone is cut out to be a Nanny.

Every family is different and it would be impossible for one Nanny to fit every family.

To be a Nanny one must do more than just love them.  I've found that most kids are easy to love.

To be a Nanny one must really enjoy children.  A nanny truly enjoys the stages of development in a child's life, she enjoys being with them, holding them, interacting with them, laughing with them and making them laugh.

That is the key for me.  I love making them laugh.  At any age.  Even the pesky, sometimes difficult tweenagers.  It is my goal for the day, in the first hour, to make every kid I'm with - laugh. This is difficult, because I can never remember the punch-lines to stupid jokes, but I have my ways...the smile blooming on their face and ensuing giggle is it's own reward.

Jane Eyre taught French and Mathematics.  I make 'em laugh.

Yes I like making my own kids laugh too...but sometimes I just want them to go to bed and give me a break.
 
Making other kids laugh- that's what I'm paid to do.

And that is what makes being a Nanny different from being a Mom.

What is your perspective?  As a Nanny without kids...how do you think you will feel differently about your own?

And as a parent with kids- what do you expect from your Nanny?

Wednesday, August 27

The Nanny Reads - Sleep Like A Tiger - Book Review.


And so, because I get to be "brutally honest," the bedtime story, "Sleep Like A Tiger," written by Mary Logue is written like hundred other going-to-bed books.

I was not impressed with the writing of "Sleep Like A Tiger." 

But as a book of illustrations ....


Cover Sleep Like A Tiger


These are exactly the kind of curious and unpredictable delights that draw my attention and refuse to let go. 

I'm not sure if children appreciate  them as much as I do because, from my perspective, Pamela Zagarenski's art is a view into the dreams of childhood.  

It's a place where children already live- so it's hard, I imagine, to see the wonder of a place when you live there.  


Sleep Like A Tiger


But as an adult turning each page of the book while a little girl who isn't tired gets ready for bed, (again-I've heard this story before) I discover each illustration is filled with details and marvels that make me want to stay and explore this childhood landscape.  



Pamela Zagarenski, Dapoppins Reviews,


I want to play in the silent night,  make friends with foxes and tigers, and sing lullabies to the moon. 

I want these paintings on my walls, where I can imagine my own stories. 

So while I may not find this going to bed story particularly inspired or somthing child will ask for night after night, I wouldn't mind having this book on my shelf just so I could return again a to the land of childhood dreams. 

Have you ever been drawn to a book because of the illustrations? 

Monday, August 25

Meeting New People- Blog Hop


 APG Jamie from Purple Door Studio's asked me to join this Blog Hop with a Difference.  It's better then a meme and more fun than a chain letter plus, if someone doesn't follow up on the tag, I can pretty much guarantee nothing bad will happen to them.  

I jumped at the chance because APG Jamie is hilarious, creative, and a just pretty awesome.  (Hope that isn't blowing too much smoke but it's all true.  Everyone who is anyone says so, and I've been following along long enough on her antics to know so,)  With her husband, she's been through thick and thin and still manages to laugh and craft.  That's what I call inspiration.  

By ArtistPoetGirl Jamie
She writes quirky, often moving poetry and has worked in a veritable plethora of arting mediums.  

She also makes laugh out loud art videos on various subjects.  I am pretty sure my favorite is this one:





As much as I'd like to spend the rest of this post laughing along with Jamie, I'm suppose to answer some questions and do some "tagging" of folks and keep the "chain" going.  If you've got the time, follow the links backwards and forwards.  There are lots of interesting, talented creative people in the chain and you might find someone new who inspires you, or just makes you giggle.


1 What am I working on?

I have multiple projects going and not enough time to do them in between work days.  I could absolutely spend my days crafting, reading and writing for the next solid month just getting some of the things done on my to-do list.


2 How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I browse a lot of scrapbook, mixed media, and art journal blogs.  My stuff is different.  It looks so different that I still have trouble believing people like it.  When Craft Warehouse gave me a place on their 2014 design team I kept thinking maybe they emailed me by accident.  I was sure they were going to figure out the mistake when I sent the final paper work, but my name is in the Design Team column on their blog.


Psalm 121, LOOK UP, Faith, Dapoppins



3 Why do I write / create / do what I do?


For too long I could only write one type of story.  I was stuck.  I've had a few life changes in the last couple of years that have sort of broken the mold of the old stuff and given me new freedom. By allowing myself  "off the page" projects, instead of sticking with the family scrapbooking, I've been able to tell more "stories."  I always have believed good writing was like "painting with words," so now I'm creating words with my pictures and telling stories in a different way.






Psalm 121, LOOK UP, Faith, Dapoppins



4 How does my writing / creating process work?

Have you ever heard the writing expression, "Pantser vs Planner?"  When I was writing fiction, I would begin by the seat of my pants and then about ten chapters in, organize the story.  I had the characters first, maybe one scene, and no plot.  This is the same for my art.  I have the idea first, a general direction, and no idea how I am going to get there.  My scrapbook/art stash has gotten pretty big so I try to pull things out I might use ahead of time, but half way through there is always that one product I need but can't find.

So those are my answers.  Hope you enjoyed this.  Please check out some of APGJamies videos and do go visit the next two ladies.

 They are very talented fellow designers I met through Party Time Tuesdays.

Jenn Chchran is owner and operator of Party Time Tuesdays as well as Jax Bean Stalks Paperie, she makes some of the most adorable cards I've ever seen.

The multitalented Cindy Porter blogs at Scrappecindy, and does some truly awesome things with texture on her pages.

Head on over there and see what they are up to and keep the Blog "chain" going.  Cause. Well, you just don't want it to end, do you?

Saturday, August 23

Naked Alien Zombie Chicken Invasion! - Creating a story for my tween boy

Dapoppins, scrapbook, scrapbook for boys

I made personal books for all my kids, but not in order of age.  I don't know why but the first book I made was for my second born, and the last book I made was for my first born. 

Of course I have lot's of ideas for more books- stories just waiting to be born.  And I I've been hoarding supplies for years because a large stash to draw from is essential  -tell me I'm not the only one!- making more personalized scrapbooks is one  of those things on my to-do list that I'm hoping to find time for. 

This box, simply covered with a single scrapbook paper sheet, is the special case for the book for my boy.

I will try not to go on about how fast time has gone by, how special this kid is, or how he just turned sixteen years old without my permission. 


Dapoppins, scrapbook, scrapbook for boys


Now if you look closely, you will notice I spelled my first born son's name wrong.  And I just noticed it when I took the book out of the box to take pictures.

Stop laughing.

You know you have done the same thing.

Dapoppins, scrapbook, scrapbook for boys


It's a simple day in the life of my son Jonathan, with a silly twist.

 I filled it with random facts about food -  The boy could travel around the world, see the most amazing wonders, and the first thing he would tell you about was the food he ate.

Dapoppins, scrapbook, scrapbook for boys




Dapoppins, scrapbook, scrapbook for boys



Now being the awesome kid that he is, when Jonathan notices something strange trying to steal his supply his bubble gum, (again a favorite, I think it's his personal mission to try every type of gum on the market)  he grabs his secret special weapon X  - a sticky hand - to defeat the evil invader.


Dapoppins, scrapbook, scrapbook for boys

I made this book a few years ago and I still don't feel confident with the layering techniques that makes photos stand out so well.  However, I don't think my son noticed my lack of fancy tecnique one bit. 

He uses weapon X - the sticky hand to defeat the nefarious, evil, gum chewing, naked alien zombie chicken invader!

Dapoppins, scrapbook, scrapbook for boys



Dapoppins, scrapbook, scrapbook for boys

The book is filled with special effects.  The Alien Zombie Chicken's suit lifts up to reveal his  "chicken suit."


Dapoppins, scrapbook, scrapbook for boys

The chicken target spins (sorta) and you can smack it with the sticky hand.  


Dapoppins, scrapbook, scrapbook for boys




Dapoppins, scrapbook, scrapbook for boys

I loved making this book.  I giggled through most of it. My kids inspire me to do the craziest things.

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to visit Party Time Tuesdays blog to help Challenge & Inspire you to Create. They have challenges every Tuesday you can enter your projects for your chance to win prizes.





Monday, August 18

Snapshots Summer 2014









Thursday, August 14

New Parents, or Not Yet Parents- How Are You Going To Raise Your Children?

Parenting, Discipline, Behavior, Children,
I wrote an article over on hub pages that I would love some feedback on.  These are three tips that I find help with the whole parenting thing, as well as in my nanny career.

Since I was a nanny for ten years before I became a mom, I had lots of time to practice my parenting. Nanny work 10+ hour days, as well as the occasional full time 24 hour stint when the adults travel out of town for two weeks or more, so having a set of core rules through getting through the day is essential.

You can check out the post here.