Hey, look, I know things are a mess. I took a hiatus from blogging and decided to switch up my design before returning. Please be patient, because if you can wait out the mess it means REGULAR POSTING WILL RETURN SOON! :D


Thursday, June 23

Hard Choices

Domestic Dork has been my virtual baby for several years. So, what I’m about to say isn’t said easily, or with pleasure.

I’m logging off.

I’ve spent the last week (plus a few days) battling an ear infection in my left ear, and now, one in my right ear. ManDork and I are both overwhelmed with the stress of moving (and we are incredibly behind on packing). Admittedly, as much as I’ve been whining about living in dinky, little Medicine Hat for the last three years, I’m frightened by the thought of moving to a big city and starting over trying to make friends. I’ve been consistently unable to keep up with my, admittedly self-imposed, crafting, blogging, and Hollyday Studios obligations while simultaneously managing a home and being a good parent.

I’m tired.

Writing has been a pleasure of mine for years, and writing for an audience, no matter how meager, has been exhilarating. As an often isolated young mother, thousands of miles from my own mother and family, and with few friends, my blog (and the related social network accounts) have formed an important community of sorts. But my writing has frown stunted, not only by the knowledge that I have readers to impress (and a reputation, or perhaps personal vanity, to protect), but also by a growing sense of obligation. Fewer and fewer posts have been a product of inspiration demanding to be captured in the written word, and instead have been a chore, a to-do list item to check, a duty. More and more I’ve found myself writing apologies for not having posted regularly enough. More and more I have vomited words onto the screen to satiate the compulsion to get at least something new online. After all, a blogger must publish or perish.

But the passion is gone.

Despite having been so anxious, upon resigning my job at Madchen Studios, to rediedicate myself to Domestic Dork, and even using some of the last of my studio employee credit to have photography done specifically to use in a new design for Domestic Dork, I am unable to convince myself that this is the right thing for me to do.

The idea of giving it all up is certainly not a new one. My inner luddite has often whispered suggestions to me to sign off, permanently, and embrace the “real” world. The drive always died under the sense that I had friends online, obligations, and the fear that I would soon regret it when I realized I wanted to return to my online pride and joy, DomesticDork.com, but my audience was gone. I have ignored the urge to commit web suicide time and time again, brushing it off as a silly whim.

Then, just a few days ago, my paternal grandmother contacted me. You might remember when I came upon my biological father’s Facebook page. The shock was emotionally enormous. I cried a great deal. I had chosen then, not to contact him. It was, I am certain, the right decision.

So I was, to put it lightly, aggravated by the selfishness of a woman who, after a quarter of a century of neglect, sough me out to satisfy her own curiosity, and perhaps a sense of guilt (though maybe that’s giving her too much credit). She was clearly less than honest in her letter. I’m perturbed that I have now been forced to have contact from the genetic family with which I want nothing to do. To my further annoyance, she didn’t even spell my full name correctly. Ultimately, I decided she deserved no response from me, for many reasons.

But it just made me tired, rather, even more tired than I already was. The truth is, I’m a bit of a misanthrope at times. There are very few people I like. I despise personal drama (I had my fill years and years ago, no thanks to my paternal family). I have found myself worn thin by the frustrating interactions I observe online. I am physically drained by these damn ear infections. I am weart of having a to-do list that never approaches completion because my internet “obligations” pile up faster than I can handle. And I am sick-to-death of failing to keep promises to my real family, small as those promises may be, because I am so wrapped up in my online life. The old women’s letter was the proverbial straw.

I’m tired. And I can’t do it anymore. I told Adam as much. Despite being in the top three of the first round of So You Think You’re Crafty, despite having countless ideas for free printables for you all, despire having a brand new blog design in the works, despite having a number of books I planned to review, despite all that…I’m done.

I’m done because I’m too tired to persist. And I dread the idea of my paternal family finding me again via my online presence. I’m done trying to follow everyone’s blogs and Twitter accounts and maintain my own. I had a great deal of reasons not to quit, reasons that had been keeping me trapped for nearly a year now.

Really, those reasons mean nothing when I consider the one big reason I should quit.

My online life is negatively affecting my real one.

Blogging is doing nothing for my parenting skills. I have a bright and lovely and curious daughter. I am missing out on her childhood because I’m so “busy” maintaining online connection and projects. Here I am, a young mother with a gifted child, likely the only child I will ever have, and I’m letting my short time with her slip through my fingers. I’m missing opportunity after opportunity not only to teach her, and provide enriching learning experiences, but opportunities to simply play together. While I don’t believe a mother is obligated to cease all pre-child interests and have no life of her own, I’m not comfortable pursuing such seemingly fruitles activities at the expense of my relationship with my little girl; not only for her sake, but for my own as well.

Would writing a blog post that receives fifty-some comments congratulating me on my wit really be any more fulfilling than spending an afternoon baking orange-craisin bread with my daughter? Would possibly winning a crafting contest really be more exciting that the look of excitement on Lucy’s face when presented with a craft made just for her? Is there really anything distant, digital friends can offer me that my own family cannot?

I’m starting to seriously doubt it.

And so I’m bowing out. For a year, two, five, forever? I don’t know. All I know is that I cannot do it all. I cannot have it all. And I’m not willing to sacrifice my happiness to maintain something that used to make me happy. I have a little girl starting home-school preschool next month. I have a new house to make a home. I have books to read, and projects to make (because I want to to, not because I need to post a tutorial online). I have fun and laughter and love waiting for me…


So thank you. Thank you to all my readers, to everyone who has ever re-tweeted, sponsored, re-blogged, or shared in Domestic Dork. It’s been quite a ride, but it’s time for me to get off.



Monday, June 20

It's Crafty-Goodness!

GO VOTE! Fly my pretties! Fly!

{I can't tell you which entry is mine. That's OK! Just vote for your favorite!}

Entry criteria includes craftsmanship and originality!
Saturday, June 18

Worst Week of 2011? Possibly.

Guys, I have been totally out of commission this week. I woke up sometime in the night Monday night/early Tuesday morning with terrible ear pain. Then Tuesday morning I did the dumbest thing possible (in ignorance), I took a bath. Which probably contributed to the the terrible ear infection I was diagnosed with Tuesday night at a walk-in clinic. The doctor actually seemed impressed at how bad my infection was. And, side note, her name was Alison Cameron (you know, like the character on House?). But I digress. She prescribed me oral and ear drop antibiotics, recommended a heat pack for pain, and sent me on my way.

But things were not getting better. If anything, they were getting worse. So I went to a different walk-in (as the first wasn't open at the time and I was in too much agony to wait). This doctor was also impressed by the severity of my infection (not an inner ear infection, but swimmer's ear, which is an infection of the ear canal). He changed my oral antibiotics and prescribed me Percocet for the pain. He seemed surprised the first doctor hadn't given me any pain meds, but I'll cut her some slack as I wasn't in so much pain that I was bawling in her office like I was at the second doctor's clinic.

The Percocet was awesome...until the nausea kicked in. The only thing worse than being in terrible pain? Being in terrible pain and throwing up repeatedly.

Soooooo...back to the doctor I went.

I'm now on five different meds: oral antibiotics, acidophilus to restore the good bacteria to my gut that the antibiotics kill, ear drop antibiotics, Percocet for pain, and Metoclopramide for the nausea caused by the Percocet.

The good news is that they appear to be working. So, you know, that's good.

The bad news is that the infection is clearing up verry, verry slowly. Two of the five medications cause drowsiness as a side effect. As a result I'm missing the only bachelorette party to which I've ever been invited. I've also missed out on a week's worth of packing and preparing for...

That's right! I'm competing in the new season, to debut next week. Once voting opens I will let you know so you can vote for your favorite project. But I won't be revealing which project is mine. That's cheating! Just vote for your favorite!

If you're in a voting mood, I will reveal to you which photo of mine is a finalist in a Mommy Necklaces FB contest. You'll have to "like" Mommy Necklaces to vote (but really, why wouldn't you? They often do giveaways for their FB fans plus they sometimes sell exclusive designs only available on FB)! Then navigate to the Ambience voting album. You can vote for a maximum of FIVE photos. I'd love to have your vote (the top five winners get a necklace from the Ambience collection). My entry looks like this:

I worked really hard editing this image to showcase the beautiful, ambient, sunny glow that was out that day. Then about 24 hours later I got this awful infection. Ugh. So, I'm playing the sympathy card. Please vote for me and make next week better than the last has been. :)

YOU can also win by commenting on each photo with what you feel the ambient mood of that picture is. One random photo will be selected at the end of voting (Monday evening). Then one random commenter from that photo will be selected to win a necklace!

And now I'm off...to take more meds. Hopefully I'll be back to normal soon.
Tuesday, May 31

Failed It or “Nailed” It?

If you follow me on Facebook, you saw a new feature I’ll be doing (most likely on Facebook exclusively) called “Failed it, or “Nailed” It?”

When I give myself a manicure I’ll upload an Instragram picture to share. And you can share your feedback. If interested, I can detail how I did it and what polish brands and colours I used.

My latest one is perfect for picnic season. :)

In other news…we signed a rental agreement and mailed our deposit for a duplex that is a 20 minute walk from the University of Calgary. It’s large enough that we’re sharing with Uncle Spencer…yay for live-in babysitters, right? We haven’t met our neighbours yet, but our landlord tells us they have a two-year-old and a four-year-old. They also have a trampoline in their backyard. I’m sure Lucy will want to make friends right away.

I’m excited to move, thrilled even (yay Ikea! yay zoo! yay children’s museum! yay “real” city!). But I’m also a lot sadder than I expected to be. Lucy has lived more than half her life in this apartment. It is the only home she’s ever known. It will be hard to leave. And, despite having gone so long in Medicine Hat without what we would consider real friends, in the past year we’ve actually made quite a few. We will not only have to start all over in Calgary, but darn it, we’re going to miss these folks!

We’re moving at the end of the month. So, if you’re interested in guest posting during that time, drop me a line with a post proposal.


Wednesday, May 25

The Orchid That Would Not Die


This baby has been oft neglected but somehow, my black thumb has failed to kill her off. This is probably the third time she has bloomed. I keep thinking “Well, that’s done it. This is it. I’ve finally killed it.” But no, suddenly there are ten+ buds and they start blooming like crazy.

I have a zombie orchid.

Plants vs. Zombies? Nope. Plants ARE zombies.



Tuesday, May 24

Summer Printable

Memorial Day weekend is coming up, as is the month of June. And you know what that means…


We just had our May long weekend for Victoria Day. Unfortunately, it was rainy, so no picnics for us. Here’s hoping that wherever you are, the weather treats you well.

And here’s a little 5x7 picnic printable for you. Print it, stick it in a frame, and enjoy it! There are three different versions (including one with slightly less saturated colors). Click on whichever suits your fancy to get the full size version (version two, in the middle, is my personal favorite). Then right click and save.

 picnic-1 picnic-2 picnic-3

If you like this free printable, please consider making a donation to the victims of the Slave Lake fires, or the people of Joplin. The Red Cross is our family’s go-to organization for disaster relief. They are trustworthy, and they know what they’re doing and do it well:

And don’t forget to sign up for the Hollyday Studios newsletter to get access to exclusive freebies, special deals, and first access to announcements!


Monday, May 23

Free Printable!

Have you missed me?

I’ve missed you.

For the time being (and for as long as we can manage it) I’m officially a stay-at-home mom again. I’ve missed my little girl (who has disobeyed my order to stop growing up so quickly). And I’ve missed being able to devote more time and energy to Domestic Dork.

But I’ve come home, literally.

We’re moving in a little over a month, so if anyone is interested in guest blogging towards the end of June, please e-mail me.

Below is a little something I whipped up for the munchkin…

free printable lacing cards

Lacing cards!

You can print your own too! Just click on the images below to get the full size file, then right click and save.


You may have noticed the Hollyday Studios logo on the printables. I will be releasing my new price list this week to everyone signed up for the newsletter (and there will be a little discount code to thanks everyone who signs up).

And you will definitely want to keep an eye here on Domestic Dork, and the Hollyday Studios Facebook fan page as all freebies will be posted on one, or both, of those sites. But you can find all my old freebies here.

A lot of you started following Domestic Dork long after I had temporarily closed shop on my digital illustration work. You can browse my portfolio on Hollyday Studios or on Facebook. Here’s a little look at one of the new items I offer:

Mama Scrapbook

How fun would this be in a 12x12 scrapbook or in a shadowbox?

Totally cute, no?

And that’s all for now, as I have a two-year-old requesting my presence in her blanket cave.


Sunday, May 22

Homemade Soda – By Andrew Schloss

The good folks at Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy of this lovely book (per my request) to review. So far, so good!

Last night we had friends over for a round of The Game of Things. I’ve mentioned it before. Have you bought it yet? No? Go get it! But, getting back to the book, I decided that would be a good time to try out one of the recipes. There are 200 hundred recipes from which to choose, so it was a little overwhelming, until I saw that there is a whole chapter devoted to “shrubs” and similar drinks.

What is a shrub? According to Mr. Schloss shrubs are “soft drinks spiked with vinegar. They were developed as temperance beverages in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with vinegar taking the place of alcohol…”

I had my first (and until last night, only) taste of a shrub at a Colonial period-themed restaurant near Boston about six or seven years ago. I quite enjoyed it back then, and I was very excited to taste something similar. So we made the “Sangria Shrub” recipe. The feedback was mostly positive. I found the recipe called for just a tad too much vinegar, as did Uncle Dork. But my new friend K seemed to enjoy hers. She said it tasted like Sweet Tarts.

Ultimately, it was good enough that I have faith enough in the book to try more recipes. The recipe was easy to make (though some of the recipes in the book require pre-making a syrup, which will be a little more work). There are some really unique combinations (orange honey ginger ale, coffee chocolate stout, cantaloupe clementine soda, peach habanero tongue twister, etc.). And the book is peppered with interesting tidbits on the history and culture of soda, as well as the occassional “mixology” section for mixing adult drinks with the recipes. The book ends with a section of food recipes (everything from main dishes like sweet heat mahogany chicken wings to desserts like brown sugar pecan cake with root beer frosting). And everything is presented in a pretty design (though the title font on the recipes can be difficult to read at times).

My favorite part of the book so far is the wondrous and glorious secret revealed within regarding Cherry Coke. But first, some background…

We can’t buy Cherry Coke in Canada. They used to sell it years and years and yeeeaaars ago, well before I lived here. Having grown up in the states I had developed a love for this particular nectar of the gods. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make trips over the border to bring back a fridge worth (though I was able to share in someone else’s cross-border loot once or twice). Occasionally I would add some maraschino cherry juice to a glass of cola, but it was never quite the same.

This book has changed everything.

Behold, the secret to making Cherry Coke at home:

“Although we may associate cherry flavor with cherries, it is mostly because the foods it flavors are commonly dyed red. It looks like a cherry, but it tastes like…almond extract. That’s right. The flavor of all cherry-flavored concoctions is almond. The aromatic in almond extract is benzaldehyde, a toxic substance derived from bitter almonds and detoxified of cyanide for consumption. Benzaldehyde is also found in the pits of most drupe fruits, like apricots, prunes, and most notably, cherries.”

Almond extract?

Almond extract!

And, guess what, it works! Now, this may not be exciting to all you lucky people who’ve had steady access to the glory that is Cherry Coke. But for us forsaken residents of the Great White North, this is better than any rapture.

It also says to me that the author, Andrew Schloss, knows what the heck he’s talking about! So if you’re interested in making sodas at home (whether it be because you’re a foodie looking for some more unique flavours, or you’re concerned about the types of sweeteners being used in commercially available sodas), I highly recommend Homemade Soda: 200 Recipes for Making and Using: fruit sodas and fizzy juice; sparkling waters; root beers and cola brews; herbal and healing waters; sparkling teas and coffees; shrubs and switchels; cream sodas and floats; and other carbonated concoctions.

Now excuse me…but there’s a bottle of cola and a bottle of almond extract calling my name…

…What? I can have cherry cola with breakfast, right?


Friday, May 13

Mommy Necklaces Winner

Well…it was a good day for somebody (even if it sucked for us).

How do I know? Well, because I drew a winner for the Mommy Necklaces giveaway!

Number 96 was Erin, who liked my FB page (thanks Erin)! She’s been e-mailed already. My sympathies to everyone who didn’t win. I wish I could give all of you free necklaces!

Have a great weekend everybody!



ManDork was rejected, out right, no waiting list even. We were able to see his scores, so we know what he needs to work on next cycle. But we're emotionally exhausted, and very sad today. I'll pick a winner for the MN giveaway later.
Wednesday, May 11

Med School Mama: Panic


I use a lot of hyperbole on this blog. But believe me, I am not exaggerating when I tell you I am >this< close to having a panic attack.

At time of writing, we have approximately one day and twenty-one hours until THE e-mail arrives. The closer it gets the higher my blood pressure rises.

And honestly…

I have NO idea what is going to happen.

The voices in my head keep arguing:

“Adam totally kicked ass on the MCAT, his letters of recommendation were phenomenal, his extra-curriculars are impressive, and UofC is less picky about GPA* than some of those other schools. Plus he felt good about his interviews.”

“Yeah, but LOADS of people don’t get in their first try, even super qualified people! And the UofA didn’t think the extra-curricular activities were all that impressive (by the way, screw you UofA…what, 8,000+ hours of volunteering on top of musical hobbies, film making, and everything else is nothing to you?). You shouldn’t get your hopes up!”

Repeat ad infinitum.

I am losing my grip on reality.

Yesterday I bet Adam two bucks that he’d have an offer by next Friday (the waitlist moves pretty fast, so basically I was betting that he’d at least be towards the top of the waitlist).  Yesterday I was confident he’d owe me two bucks.

Today the only thing about which I feel confident is that if I can’t calm my nerves I’m going to go into shock.

For some people a rejection letter sucks, but ultimately just means “try again next year!” while they finish their undergrad.

Yeah, well…ManDork already finished undergrad. He’d really not like to rack up more student loans finishing a second undergrad while applying year after year. When you’re in your late twenties and have family responsibilities the pressure is greater.

Besides, that man has worked his ass off for this. He’s spent the last two years invested in this and it all comes down to one day, Friday.

And here’s the thing…I think the admin people at University of Calgary would be fools to turn Adam away. Sure, I’m biased, but I also know Adam better than anybody.

He is smart. He is passionate. He knows, first hand, how important it is for doctors to NOT BE ASSHOLES. He loves science. He learns quickly and easily. He can work with multiple personality types. He works hard. And he’s so humble that he cannot even see how true these statements really are and how awesome he really is.

I am lucky to be married to him, and UofC would be lucky to have him.


*Adam has what most normal people would consider a good GPA, but when the competition has 3.89, 3.92, etc. things get tough.

Sunday, May 8

Mommy Necklaces: Giveaway!!!


I am obsessed.
ManDork thinks I’m crazy.
Maybe he’s right…
But what can I say? I LOVE Mommy Necklaces.
Because I wear almost nothing else, when it comes to jewelry (I’m not walking around naked except for a necklace people), I have quite a bit of a collection. And I was sent this one to add to the collection for the purposes of this post:
Totally drool-worthy colours, no? The bad news is that this particular necklace is OOP (out of production).* The good news is that you can get OOP necklaces by placing custom orders. And the OTHER good news is that tomorrow Wednesday is the expected release date of all the new styles and updated collections! There have been amazing previews on the Facebook page. And, like all the fans, I’m am chomping at the bit to snag some (especially some of the new “Chic Strands”)! The ladies at MN have been crazy busy, so it could be a bit delayed. But if not tomorrow, definitely next week!
But enough about me and my necklaces, here’s why YOU should love them:
Top ten reasons to love Mommy Necklaces?
10. AMERICAN. Made in the USA with USA produced components. Would I prefer to buy Canadian? Sure, I guess…(though not enough to buy a knock-off, BOO)! When I can’t buy Canadian, Made in the USA is my next choice. I like knowing my necklaces aren’t being made by eight year olds working 12 hours days. And, knowing most of you live in the States, I’ll bet you’ll be pleased to know Mommy Necklaces are totally American.
9. SMALL. Made by moms like me! It’s nice to support the little guys, ya know?
8. VARIETY! These necklaces come in a lot of different styles such as: dangling donuts, tear drops, locked donuts, and so on. Check the site (hopefully) tomorrow Wednesday to see the entire selection.
7. COLOR. I promise, whatever outfit you want to match, you will almost certainly find a necklace to coordinate. And if not? Well…
6. CUSTOM. You can order custom necklaces for a small fee in addition to the normal price. I have some pretty exciting plans to order customs for some of my favorite holidays. If ManDork gets into UofC this cycle I’m totally getting one in the school colours to celebrate (and then insisting Adam take me to football games because I miss me some football)! Plus I’ve seen some pretty neat custom designs other ladies have ordered to match dresses for weddings and other special events.
6. SAFE. Mommy Necklaces tests their components. You don’t want to be wearing toxic levels of lead and cadmium…especially if your little one might be playing with your jewelry.
5. DURABLE. These things are TOUGH. Don’t believe it? Well, Mommy Necklaces offers a 0-3 guarantee! If your necklace breaks during normal use within three years of purchase you can send it back to have fixed. I’d like to see a warranty like that on my electronics!
4. CLEVER: designed to be “abused.” These necklaces are made to withstand motherhood. Who wants their necklace to snap when tugged on by little hands, only to have little beads roll everywhere? Not that my kid would ever do that…noooooooooooo….never…of course not. <---Total lie. Well, Mommy Necklaces plans ahead for tugging, snagging, and so on. They make their necklaces with breakaway clasps. Check it out (sorry for the up the nose angle):

Another clever design idea? Matching bracelets that can be used to extend the shorter styles.
3. LOVE. The Mommy Necklaces ladies really care about us, their customers. They interact daily with us on the Facebook group. And I can say, from personal experience, that when it comes to customer service, they go above and beyond!
2. BEAUTY and STYLE. Come on, admit it, they’re just super cute and pretty!
1. A nursing mom’s BEST FRIEND. Ah yes, the original reason for Mommy Necklaces…if you’ve ever nursed a distracted baby or a babe who insists on scratching, twiddling, or pinching, you NEED a Mommy Necklace. This is jewelry with a purpose!
I love my collection so much that I asked ManDork to get me a necklace holder, just for my Mommy Necklaces, as my Mother’s Day present this year.** It’s nice to finally have a place they belong, especially a place so lovely.
But now I’d like to present a Mother’s*** Day present to one of YOU, from the oh-so-wonderful ladies at Mommy Necklaces and myself:
$20.00 of the gift certificate has been sponsored by Mommy Necklaces. The other $10.00 is from yours truly (after all…I did just receive that blogging grant, how could I not spread the joy?). That gives the winner enough to buy even one of the longer style necklaces. Happy Mother’s Day! :)
Anyone can enter this one, regardless of where you live. Here’s how:
  1. Leave a comment with your e-mail address telling me what necklace you would get or what you’re doing/did for Mother’s Day (either for yourself, or your mother). 1 entry
  2. Join the Mommy Necklaces Facebook page (and leave an additional comment here on this post telling me you did). 1 entry
  3. Join the Domestic Dork Facebook page (and leave an additional comment here on this post telling me you did). 1 entry
  4. Tweet this giveaway up to 2x a day (and leave a comment with a link to each tweet, NOT your twitter profile – if you do it wrong I’m not fixing it for you). 1 entry p/eligible tweet
  5. Follow this blog via Google Friend Connect (and leave a comment telling me you did/already do ). 1 entry
  6. Blog this giveaway on your own blog (and leave a comment with a link to the post, NOT just your blog landing page– if you do it wrong I’m not fixing it for you). 1 entry
Giveaway closes Friday the 13th (at an undetermined time)…because I’ll need something awesome and happy to distract me from the nervousness I’ll be feeling that day. Winner will be drawn via Random.org.
Good luck everybody! Happy Mother’s Day!

ETA: If you've previously won a Mommy Necklaces sponsored blog giveaway, you are ineligible to win this one. MN likes to give as many people as possible a chance to win. I'm sure you understand. :)
*OOP necklaces may or may not someday come back depending on style trends and demand.
**The holder was custom made by Dashing Woods on Etsy. Fantastic product and fantastic customer service (just like Mommy Necklaces)! The frame is reclaimed barn wood.
***You need not be a Mother to enter, because while, yes, these are fantastic jewelry for moms, they look lovely on anyone. And they’re equally practical for those who are teachers, day care providers, or who work with special needs children.
Wednesday, May 4

Med School Mama: Nervous Breakdown


The nightmares have begun.

At time of writing we have 8 days, 18 hours, 27 minutes and 30…29…28..etc. seconds until the dreaded/hoped for e-mail. But who’s counting?

Um, me. I’m counting.

I’m also >this< close to completely losing my $#*!. Of course, the worst thing isn’t even the nightmares, it’s the good dream I had, the dream where ManDork got in and we were utterly jubilant…

…and then I woke up.

The rumour mill tells us that about a third of the people who interviewed at University of Calgary will get a seat. But the rumour mill also says that (when you take into account people who are offered a seat but chose a different school) that in the end, 45% of interviewees will be offered a slot. But some of those people will be waitlisted…right up until the day before classes begin (true story).

If I thought it would ensure ManDork being in that 45% I would spend 45% of my time hopping on one foot while singing “Friday” and eating hot sauce. But it won’t. As it is, I spend >45% of my time worrying about Friday the 13th (yes, notification is on Friday the 13th, but no, we’re not superstitious).

This is the reality of trying to get into a Canadian med school: they weed out the weak by giving them heart attacks before they even have an offer to be admitted.


Monday, May 2

Time Outs…That Aren’t Punishments

Recipient Button_Spr#7F957A It’s hard, when you’re a busy mom, to deal with unexpected meltdowns from one’s offspring. When you’re rushing to get things done, the last thing you want to do is take time to deal with a total conniption fit. Your kid is upset. You are upset.
It sucks.
Enter “the Love Chair.”
No matter what, a screaming toddler or preschooler is going to slow you down. But you can lessen the impact, soothe everyone’s feelings, speed up the calming down process, and reaffirm your love for your child by christening and using a “love chair” (or whatever you want to call it).
Our love chair is a pretty pathetic looking, blue mess of an arm chair which we only have in our family room because my brother-in-law (who lives in the apartment next to ours) couldn’t fit it in his tiny studio. But I love it anyway, because of what it means to my daughter and myself.
One day, when tempers were running hot and I was >this< close to losing it, something just clicked in my mind. Instead of raising my voice in answer to the kidlet’s angry complaints I asked, “Lucy, do you need to sit in the Love Chair? Let’s have some snuggles in the Love Chair.”
And we did.
And it worked.
She got the reconnection she so desperately needed. I got a moment of peace, and some sweet snuggles which reminded me how precious my little girl is. And we both got over whatever dispute or problem was plaguing us (as is often the case, in hindsight, it was completely forgettable and ultimately unimportant).
If you need a special parenting tool for your “tool box” of techniques to deal with the maddening tantrums of early childhood, why not designate a Love Chair, or couch, or pile of pillows or whatever works best for you?
Then, in those moments when you and your child are both out of patience and out of your minds, stop. Sit. Snuggle. Even if the problem doesn’t go away, you’ll both be better equipped to solve it once you’re calm and reconnected.
Children need to be reminded that, even when mum or dad are angry, they are still loved. And parents need to be reminded that, even when kids are stubborn and rude and infuriating that we still love them. That’s what makes the Love Chair so important in our house.
Time outs can be a positive experience. They don’t have to be a punishment. They can be a time for strengthening connection and bringing peace to your heart.
Besides…someday your kid will be 14 and will prefer storming off to her room while yelling “I HATE YOU” to snuggling, so you might as well get as many snuggles as you can now.
This post brought to you by Mom Central Canada. Thank you so much for supporting bloggers via your blogger grant program, and thanks especially for choosing me to be a recipient!
Tuesday, April 26

Vlog 4.26.11

Friday, April 22

3 Years of Domestic Dork (a lifetime of dorkiness)


Holy crap!

I’ve been blogging for three years! This humble blog of mine started off as Shumate Shenanigans, an online journal to keep far away family updated on our lives. It has become so much more (. I love this blog. And I love all of you for reading it, and making it that much more fun to write.

These last eight months or so have been, honestly, disappointing to me as far as blogging goes. While I adore working for my boss at Madchen Studios, and I am so grateful for the opportunities and skills I’ve gained from my part-time job, I’ve missed having the time and energy I once had to devote to Domestic Dork.

This year will be huge for me and mine. Friday, May 13th we find out whether ManDork is going to medical school next year…or whether we have to anxiously wait and work to get through another application cycle. This summer, either way, we’ll be moving to Calgary. There’s just so much in store for us.

One change, coming in about a month, is my resignation from Madchen Studios (since, as I mentioned, we’re leaving town). I have many mixed feelings about my departure, but in regards to blogging, I’m excited, super excited. I can’t tell you all how much I’ve missed posting regularly, and posting fun tutorials, humorous anecdotes, and general bloggy goodness for your enjoyment (and mine). I felt it was only fitting, on my three-year blogiversary to announce that not only will I soon be returning to my former blogging habits, but I am going to once more make myself available for hire as a freelance digital illustrator.

Some of you may remember, Coffee Designs, my first foray into providing paid services to other bloggers. This summer I will officially open Hollyday Studios to provide similar services (as well as printable items, including freebies)!


My interests are many, but ultimately, my passion is creative creation. Writing, and visual arts have been my loves for over a decade. I want to thank you all so much for the part you’ve played in making Domestic Dork what is is today. It has come so far since 2008. I hope you’ll be with me in the years to come. Domestic Dork is going to be bigger, better, and more beautiful (hint: redesign coming soon) in 2011.

Thank you.


PS: The picture above is one of many from my recent session with Rachel, who is now an accredited photographer for children and infant and maternity photography with the Professional Photographers of Canada. Thanks and congrats to Rachel!

Tuesday, April 5

Being Original


I love Mommy Necklaces. Some might say I have a problem. But whatever…they’re cute, durable, colorful, and Lucy can play with them all she wants. So yay! And when you can get them 50% on Baby Half Off or Mamabargains, double yay!
So when I heard word on Facebook that someone had stolen the designs and was selling them as their own I had to check it out. The company in question will remain nameless (I’m not about to provide free traffic to their Facebook group…their website is currently down for maintenance, so they say). But even their business name was a rip-off of Mommy Necklaces. You can’t just change one word around and expect the public to believe it was completely original…at least, not when there are so many other things you’ve appeared to copy.
It seems obvious to me that they were able to source beads and breakaway clasps from the exact same supplier Mommy Necklaces use so that they could copy, more or less, the color schemes and designs of MN. They then undercut MN prices. It’s the usual modus operandi of knock-off producers. In this case they even used some of the same, exact product names (and many product names that varied by a single word). Heck, even their product photography (see screen cap below) seemed to be cribbing MN  photo style.
Then their Facebook Wall was flooded by angry MN fans, some of which got far too heated in my opinion. And the founder, owner, and designer for MN posted her thoughts on the whole thing. And I was touched by this woman’s passion for what she does. {Seriously, read her note and tell me you don’t have respect for a lady that works that hard.}
Today I was curious to see if the knock-off company had slunk off quietly (as I’ve seen such people do before). Their website is down for the moment. But their Facebook group is still active. Every single negative wall post has been deleted (even the ones that were respectful). And the following was posted:
{click to view larger}
Hmmm…I’ve got some problems with this (aside from the fact that I just don’t buy it because their products are so clearly similar).
1. Their supposed “inspiration pictures?” Yeah…all I had to do was google the product name (such as “meadow) and they almost all came up on the first page of results (see below). In the case of "mountain" the image was the very first result. The two images I didn’t see on the first page results of a Google image search I ran through TinEye (a photographic plagiarism checker) and got hits indicating these images have been kicking around on the internet for some time now. {click to view larger}
sunset meadow mist mountain tundra vineyard
2. Inspired by Canadian geographic regions? Lady…there are no tropical oceans in Canada. Just sayin’.
3. This whole “Mommy Necklaces aren’t original” line is disingenuous. Yes, there are many other people selling nursing necklaces. I checked them out myself, before I got my first Mommy Necklace. But the designs don’t look anything like Mommy Necklaces. The purpose may be the same, but the style is not. And it is that unique style that led me to go with MN, and nobody else. In my opinion, MN style is the best. I’ll be wearing my Mommy Necklaces long after the need for a nursing necklace has passed.
4. As for wanting to provide a better option for Canadian moms...well, guess what, I live in Canada. And while there are many products I’ve had to pay exorbitant shipping/duty/etc. fees to acquire, Mommy Necklaces are not one of them. The only time I paid beaucoup bucks for shipping a Mommy Necklace was when I got it rushed. Today I did a dummy check-out on the MN website and, yup, still cheap shipping, even to Canada. It’s $4.00, whether I’m buying one necklace, three necklaces, or ten necklaces! Of course, this individual does claim she’s unfamiliar with MN, so maybe that’s why she’s totally unfamiliar with their shipping prices? I might buy that…if I, for a single minute, believed she was unfamiliar with MN and just happened to create nearly-identical necklaces by coincidence.

It's clear to me this is not a case of coincidence. And it seems to me that it would be far better to quietly bow out rather than utilize further dishonesty to combat the well-earned criticism. Can I prove she didn't come up with the same styles and ideas in a vacuum? No, of course not. But the onus is on her to prove otherwise as that scenario would be so very extraordinary. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" as Carl Sagan said. Slapping some random pictures off the 'net onto your page and calling them your inspiration hardly lends any legitimacy to one's claims. Frankly, I'm a little insulted that someone thinks I'm gullible enough to believe it.

So what’s my point? My point is that I think what this lady has done sucks and please do not buy knock-off Mommy Necklaces. When you buy a knock-off Mommy Necklace you’re allowing someone to rip-off a hard-working mom, just like you. You’re saying, with your money, that it’s OK to copy other people (a lesson we’d never teach our children). This isn’t some massive company using practically slave labor in another country to produce their goods. This isn’t some huge business that doesn’t have a very sincere love for their products and their clients. The Mommy Necklace ladies are very involved in their fan community. Their customer service is UNBELIEVABLY GOOD, and I say this from experience. This isn’t even a matter of a crafter making themselves a knock-off simply because they can’t afford the real thing, or want more control over the design (though, just FYI, MN does beautiful custom orders). This is someone making knock-offs intending to make a profit from someone else’s hard work.
And that is not, as the Mommy Necklaces tagline states, “jewelry, justified.”

According to Mommy Necklaces, the IP address of the person from the Knock-off-which-must-not-be-named is an IP address they have logged in their site stats for quite some time now. In other words...this woman has been caught in her lie re: not being familiar with Mommy Necklaces.

PS: This post is in no way sponsored, approved, or encouraged by Mommy Necklaces. I wrote it of my own volition because I just needed to get the rant out of my system (and I think my husband was tired of hearing me bitch about it).
Wednesday, March 30

Where Feminism Failed

{Preface: I’m proud to call myself a feminist. If you’re looking for a rant about the evils of feminism you will not find it here. I may criticize what I feel are the shortcomings of the movement, but I will never criticize the ideal of women’s liberation and women’s equality.}

I was reading a book. It was called Staying Home Instead: How to Balance Your Family Life (and Your Checkbook). It was written by a women named Christine Davidson. It wasn’t that great. It wasn’t at all what I hoped it would be. But there was an idea in it that has haunted me since I read it {and here comes a big, long excerpt from the book}:

Suzanne Gordon, author of Prisoners of Men’s Dreams: Striking Out for a New Feminine Future, writes of some sources of the problem in the caring professions:

“When women moved into the marketplace,…we hoped to teach men to value caring, to share in women’s caring work in the home and workplace, and to support truly care-centered programs in the political arena…But, in our society, the very project of human caring has been compromised.

…[M]ore and more American women have been encouraged to embrace the very marketplace values that have always denigrated care. New female images of success, like their masculine counterparts, preclude work in the caring professions…

Some American feminists have also failed to emphasize the value of caring work in their theories and public discussions because they, understandably, fear that any widespread attempt to revalue women’s caring work will be manipulated by conservative forces…No wonder then, that many women who were proud to be in “women’s work” felt that mainstream feminism was—and sometimes still is—hostile to their interests…

[W]omen’s caregiving work has become a negative standard against which we measure our progress. Our progress…is [now] charted in the distance women have traveled away from caregiving work, and toward traditional male activities and preoccupations.”

As columnist Ellen Goodman has pointed out, what we need to do is raise the status and pay for caregivers instead of encouraging them out of these occupations. As it is, “the rise in status for women is associate, for better of for worse, with entry into the male world…We have…done a better job at letting some women into ‘men’s’ jobs than at raising the status of ‘women’s’ jobs.”

…While the working woman is unrealistically glamorized and the single mother (or father) ignored, the married mother at home is too often depicted as a drudge; what’s more…her choice is both catastophized and patronized.

Still with me?


To summarize, I think Christine’s point is that the women’s liberation movement focused so much on access to what were thought of as “men’s jobs” for those women who wanted it, that they unintentionally added to the denigration of traditionally female roles. Having seen fellow feminists look down their noses at stay-at-home mothers, “Mommybloggers,” and hell, even women who choose to reproduce at all, I believe it.

So often, it seems, that being “just” a parent is seen as somehow lazy, somehow less than a “real” job. After all, “working moms are full-time moms too” goes the argument. Of course they are! You don’t cease to be a parent from 9-5 every day, whether you’re a mother or a father. And while there needs to be some real discussion about and recognition of the fact that working moms still take care of the majority of household responsibilities, and how completely and totally unfair that is, that knee-jerk response really has nothing to do with the issue at hand. And here’s why; this isn’t about you. And by “you,” I mean “working moms.” We all know things still suck for you. The workplace still isn’t as equal as some people like to pretend it is. You are doing more than your fair share at home. And life is hard, really hard.

But again, this isn’t about you.

This is about the women who are using their liberation to choose to stay at home…and about the lack of respect they’re getting. I work because, for the time being, I have to. Given the choice, I’d be at home. I see plenty of women in my social circle who seem to get a lot of fulfillment from their work. I’m not one of them. I have a great employer, and a great job, but it doesn’t fulfill me the way being at home does. And that should be OK. I do not feel threatened by the women achieving the traditional idea of success. More power to you, ladies! You’re doing good in the world and for as long as it brings you joy keep doing it!

But why is it that so many working women, parents and non-parents alike, seem so threatened by me?

Is it fear that my choice will fail to forward the feminist movement and create a more fair workplace environment? Would they have me sacrifice that hard-won freedom to choose to ensure their freedom goes unhindered?

Is it simply that so many young women have bought into the meme that stay at home moms define their identity by their role as a caregiver? I don’t know, perhaps we do, at least to the same extent that a lawyer or a doctor identifies by her career. And that’s the thing, isn’t it? To say “I’m a professor,” or “I’m in advertising,” or even “I own a daycare” is seen as respectable…but to say “I’m a mother” is not. Why is that?

Why is it that caring for someone else’s children is seen as more legit than caring for one’s own? Is it simply a matter of pay check? “You spend all day caring for children, eh? Oh, but you’re getting paid money? Well, that’s all right then.” The work is very similar. To deny that women at home don’t have challenging jobs is, as best as I can tell, an opinion that can only be formed from ignorance. Women at home are janitors, taxi drivers, cooks, teachers, referees, and any number of things. It’s hard work. And while we recognize that women working 9-5 have it hard too, let’s not pretend staying at home is easy. The challenges are different. But one is not more than or less than the other.

So stop laughing at us. Stop acting as if we’ve betrayed the feminist movement by choosing a life path that, were we men, you’d say “good for you!” {I’m amazed by the number of women I see on certain feminist sites who seem to think stay at home dads are the cat’s meow but stay at home moms are nothing more than a stereotype or joke.}

And, as for those of us who chose to write what we know via “new media” (aka blogs), stop lumping us together under the patronizing “mommy blogger” title. Just because you can’t relate to what we have to say, because you’re not a mother yourself or whatever reason, does not mean what we have to say is worthless. A certain feminist site I frequent seems inundated with young feminists who seem to think that, because what mothers have to say on their blogs doesn’t interest them, it is of no value. They make snide remarks about “mommies who talk about getting stains out of little Timmy’s shirt” and complain that we should just have a glass of wine as opposed to whining about our kids online…which begs the question, what mommy blogs have you been reading?

The blogs I read are written by women with valuable things to say, whether those things be critical analysis of parenting theories, detailed tutorials on creative projects, or really funny essays on life and parenting.Yet, these young women feel perfectly comfortable dismissing “mommy bloggers” as silly nobodies, rather than embracing them as sisters with thoughts and feelings. Somehow they’ve failed to recognize the hypocrisy of denigrating blogs which sometimes publish what must seem to them very mundane tidbits about the daily realities of parenthood while at the same time frequenting a blog that sometimes publishes what seems to many people frivolous celebrity and fashion news. And while I’m sure these women would be quick to put in his place any man who had the poor sense to write off the entire site as useless nonsense and its audience as silly women, I watch helplessly as they do the same to other women. Yet, amongst the Hollywood gossip and cute puppy pictures, there is content with significant depth. Anyone who failed to see its value would be doing a great injustice to its writers and audience. Just as anyone who fails to see the value of the so-called mommyblogs is doing a great injustice to women who chose to self publish online. Sure, there’s plenty of crap out there. But it takes very little effort to dig past it to the real gems of the mommy blogging world.

What I would say to these women is this:

Just because a woman is doing unpaid work does not mean it is meaningless, insignificant, or undeserving of respect. Just because a woman is at home does not mean she’s there because her husband expects it, or because she can’t cut it in a “real” job. Just because a woman is shaped and changed by her role as a parent does not mean she has no personality or identity besides “Mommy.” Just because a woman chooses to stay home even though, in modern times, other options are available to her, does not mean she is a conservative, right-wing religious fanatic hell bent on crusading for all moms to stay home. Just because a woman chooses to stay home, does not mean she thinks another woman’s choice not to stay home is invalid. Just because a woman insists that her work at home is challenging, and that it requires a lot of mental and physical effort to successfully parent all day, does not mean she thinks working moms are bad moms. Just because a woman, who is a mother, blogs, it does not mean her blog is merely about her children and her role as a mom, and even when it is, it does not mean her writing is without value.



Monday, March 28


Sometime this year (June, I think?), we are moving to Calgary. I’ve been keeping an eye on the types of rentals we can find in our price range. While browsing the ads I found the perfect set up for all of us (ideally we’re hoping to rent a suitable house with Uncle Spencer). It had FIVE bedrooms, two kitchens, two bathrooms, two family rooms, a shared storage space, a small fenced yard, and a park right outside the back gate. We felt it might be worth paying double rent for a little while to secure it, so we set up an appointment to see it, loaded everybody into our little car (two-year-old included) and drove three hours to Calgary.

And got stood up.

For real.

We tried calling the property management company but, being a Saturday, no one answered. So we called their “if this cannot wait until Monday line” and got a messenger service. We left a message.

And never heard back.

For real.

We wasted $40 gas, six hours in the car, and a perfectly good Saturday to get stood up by a property management company who didn’t even have the decency to return our message.

The kicker?

The neighbor whose phone we borrowed to call said property management company said the same thing happened the weekend before.

Well, I guess we wouldn’t want to rent from you after all.



Thursday, March 24

Little Lucy Love

I love my little girl. She is my proverbial sunshine. She is sweet, and smart, and oh-so-funny.
And she loves us too, so so sooo much. She can’t get enough of us, and, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be getting enough of us. Adam has been extra busy this semester with some big projects (for class and for the science and engineering student group on campus), and, of course, with applying for med school (will May 13th ever get here?).* So, sadly, Daddy isn’t home as much as he wants to be. Neither am I, what with having a out-of-home job.
All this separation is taking a toll on our little miss.
As wonderful as her day home provider is, and as much as Lucy likes to talk about her friends at the day home, she misses us. Frankly, I miss her too. The problem is that Lucy seems to be more sensitive to separation than most kids, and more sensitive than she once was. Maybe it’s a stage, or maybe the last seven months have finally gotten to be too much for her. Either way, she’s been struggling.
Lucy has been spending a troubling amount of her time at the day home lying on the couch doing nothing. She hasn’t been eating enough (even according to toddler standards). She’s been spending 75% of her mornings crying, and not the I’m-a-toddler-who-gets-pissed-and-cries-at-the-drop-of-a-hat kind of crying, but the I-am-so-very-sad-and-tears-are-running-down-my-face-even-while-I-follow-directions-and-otherwise-behave-myself kind of crying. She clings to me as though I were life itself when dropped off at the day home. It’s been completely heartbreaking to watch my usually happy and energetic ray of sunshine become so distressed and depressed.
So, we’re switching things up. I’m going to give up a weekend day and add a bit of time to my shifts here and there so that I only have to take Lucy to the day home every other weekday, instead of everyday. And she’ll play with Daddy on my weekend work day. It’s not ideal (ideally I’d stay home again with her every day, which is my dream), but I think it will help ease her hurt, and my own.
What we will do when we move this summer, I’m not sure. But I do know, that for this child, and this mother, being at home is what we like best.
And what post about Lucy would be complete without a picture? This was taken this morning by Rachel at Madchen Studios. The mini Easter session was amaaaaazing. There were so many great shots it almost killed me to select just some of them. This was Rachel’s favorite.
Easter photo photography toddler child children
As always, beautiful work by Madchen Studios.
*May 13th is the day applicants are notified of acceptance/rejection.
Sunday, March 20

Extended Giveaway Deadline

OK, I know lots of you are in the US, but really, only two people have entered the Dog In Boots giveaway? I’m going to extend the deadline until Friday to give more Canadians a chance to enter/spread the word.
It’s been a long weekend. So that’s all I’m really going to say in this post…except that I am now qualified to give you CPR should you ever cease to breathe in my presence.
Friday, March 18

Checking In

I wanted to interrupt the “raining books” to bring you up to speed on my life right now. I only have a moment to write this post because I need to get everything ready for tomorrow morning when I go to CPR class at eight am. Ugh. {And I get to do it again on Sunday morning…two days of eight hour class.}

Our car died.

There was drama.

We replaced it {will write more later, I hope}.

I scored some awesome deals on Kijiji (kind of like Craig’s List) which will lead to some interesting posts in the future.

I have a big announcement coming up {and no, it does NOT involve a fetus}.

We wasted 6 hours in the car and $40-some in gas to get stood up by a Calgarian property management company {again, will need it’s own post}.

We are desperately trying to maintain sanity while waiting until May 13th {when we find out if Adam was accepted/rejected this cycle}.

Lucy is having some problems.

But she is also making some pretty neat developmental strides {like learning to use the potty in about three days time}!

My friend had a baby {soooooo cute}.

Basically, life goes on.

Also…we’re continuing to get snow which makes me want to stab somebody.

Anywho, that’s what’s up here. More details later.

And more book reviews!


Tuesday, March 15

Dog In Boots – Giveaway!

{image from Amazon }
Author: Greg Gormley
Illustrator: Roberta Angaramo
This cute puppy just read “Puss in Boots” and fancies his own pair of boots…but finding the right pair turns out to be more trouble than he expected.
Writing: This story is a bit repetitive, but tolerable even for this ADD mama. And the repetition is fantastic for kids. There’s only detail towards the end of the book that seems to come from nowhere, but otherwise I have no beefs with the writing. And I LOVE the instances of word play and sound words thrown in here and there. The sounds words are written exactly how they should be said, so there’s no confusion as to how to say them. And, being a lover of words, I am thrilled that this book doesn’t shy away from words to which children may not have yet been exposed. 5 STARS
Content: This story is totally cute, and teaches a great lesson without being at all preachy. Parent who want to discourage consumerism will like the very subtle lesson. All parents will enjoy the very fun and funny story.. 5 STARS
Style: The illustrations are AWESOME. Adam and I both really love the painterly images. The illustrations are cute, rather than realistic which makes them perfect for young audiences. But they’re still artistic enough that parents will really love looking at them too. 5 STARS
Skill: If ever there were an illustrator skilled at expressive and adorable images of dogs, this is it. There are certain pages and pictures that never fail to make me smile, even after having seen them over and over and over again. 5 STARS
Mom’s Opinion: This one is probably my favorite of all the books I’ll review this month. Adam really likes it too.
Toddler’s Opinion: Lucy really loves this one. She’s all about puppies so that definitely appeals to her. We’ve had to talk her out of reading this one on occasion just so we can have a chance to read the other stories being reviewed.
Get this one. Get two copies (one to keep and one to give). Heck, get three copies and donate one to your library. This one is too cute to miss. The story is sweet: the illustrations even sweeter (almost too sweet to stand)! Personally, I’m looking forward to reading this one to any grandkids I may someday have.
So, are you totally excited about reading this one?
Well, guess what.
One of you is getting a free copy!
This giveaway is for CANADIAN RESIDENTS only. Sorry US friends, but that’s the way it is this time. Hey, we get left out of US giveaways all the time. So we feel your pain.
You know the drill:
1. Leave a comment below with your e-mail. 1 entry
2. Blog about the contest with a link back to this post. 1 entry
Winner will be drawn via random.org next week on the spring equinox (March 20th).
thomasallen   siggy
Stay tuned for more book reviews this week, and throughout the month of March!
*All books for the “It’s Raining Books” month of reviews were provided by Allen Thomas & Son. I received no additional compensation for providing my honest opinion. All links to the books are affiliate links, meaning if you choose to purchase a copy you will be supporting Domestic Dork. However, I will not encourage you to spend your hard-earned money on a book unless I honestly think it’s worth it. I value you, my readers, too much to take advantage of you that way.
Blog content (including digital illustrations, photos, and writing) may not be used without the permission of the blog author.

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