Why Polka Dots?

I have been thinking about things that make me happy lately. What are those little things that bring a smile to our faces, but we don't really appreciate?

I was out for coffee with my friend Heather last Friday. She wanted to stop in a nearby store before leaving the mall. As we walked through the mall, some brightly colored wrapping paper caught me eye. They had florals, stripes and, yes, polk dot papers in wonderfully cheery colors : mango, magenta, citron, aqua, purple. I just couldn't help but think "aren't those cute"? I especially liked the citron polka dot paper and thought it would brighten the bookshelves in my new craft room. Heather told me that her daughter Molly always says that "polka dots make her happy".

You know, she's right. Think about it, would a polka dot ever make you feel sad, crabby or anxious? No! They are fun and whimsical. I dare you to look at something with polka dots and not feel your inner child smile. So that's the theme of my blog. Everyday I plan to find that little something that makes my inner child say "ooo, look at that!" and brings a smile to my face. I hope you do the same!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Happy Spring......And Polka Dots!

My dear friend Cheryl and her darling daughter Marissa gave me the cutest black and white polka dots napkins to wish me a happy Spring! Just out of the blue, for not specific occasion, just to brighten my day. Of course I LOVE the polka dot napkins, but more importantly the friendship and support my friend Cheryl has given me over the past 14 has meant the world to me and made me very, very happy.

What made you happy today?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Wonder Dog

Cosmo has been such a wonderful addition to our family. He is such a sweet, easy going puppy. His birthday was May 17th. We spoiled him rotten with new squeaky toys (his favorite), a trip to the dog park and bones from the butcher (strangely, he didn't like them....). Cosmo learned how to go up and down steps during birthday week and now enjoys a lot more freedom in the house.

Cosmo even has his own Facebook page!

I love Cosmo. He brings me joy everyday and, needless to say, makes me very happy!

What made you happt today?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Organizing For Idiots

In my quest to get control of the clutter in my house, I got a bunch of books on organizing from the library (which in turn created more clutter - what's the saying one step back and two steps forward?). I was inspired by Complete Idiots Guide to Decluttering (CIGtD) - it was definitely
targeted to the novice declutter-er. Short, sweet and too the point. I picked the bathroom and in 45 minutes I cleared out the medicine cabinet and organized my drawer.

First the medicine cabinet. I had 2 lunch bags full of old meds. The trick was to figure out what to do with them. I thought I was supposed to flush them or throw them away. WRONG! A number of States have drug take back programs. Here is the DEA program info. In Colorado, you can just take them to the pharmacy. In Hennepin County, Minnesota there are medicine collection events throughout the year.

Next I tackled "my drawer" in the bathroom. Yuck! Not only was it filled with stuff, but there were gobs of tooth paste and some other unknown substances (lotion maybe). Regardless, I donned my gloves and dove in. The book has three steps (even I can handle that)
1. Take everything out
2. Sort into groups
3. Dispose/Donate/Keep (I included cleaning out the mystery substances and put in liner in this step)

Voila! clean and organized! The benefits?
1. I LOST WEIGHT! OK, my drawer lost weight, but I feel a weight off my shoulders from decluttering. I tossed about 2/3 of the drawer's contents! Empty containers & products I don't use anymore.
2. I LOOK YOUNGER! I am always looking for lotion and I found 4 bottles of age defying miracle cream that will be put to use immediately!

Funniest thing I found? A human hair mustache!

Tomorrow: The kitchen junk drawer ....
What made you happy today?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Book Wreath

Crafting definitely makes me happy, especially trying new crafts. I found a really pretty wreath made from old books online. Coincidentally it was the Edina Library's semi-annual book sale this weekend. I found a tattered copy of Pride and Prejudice that was begging for a new lease on life. After a quick trip to Joann for some materials, I was on my way!

I LOVE the way it turned out. Here are some pictures of the finished product. I gave it to my friend who loves Jane Austen. She really liked it - that made me happy too. I am thinking of doing a Winnie The Pooh wreath next.

What made you happy today?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lady Snazzyhat

I whipped up a few fascinator hats for my friends and I to wear to Art In Bloom today. Fascinator hats are those cute little hats Kate Middleton wears.

We got so many comments about our hats. People just stopped and stared at us and asked where they could buy one. It was an absolute hoot. Too bad I didn't jump on this opportunity and make up a bunch to sell in the gift shop. I would have made a fortune!

My favorite comment of the day was from two couples touring the show. The ladies were walking in front and commented on how cute our hats were. The men followed behind and were heard saying "They better not go out during duck season". Ha!

My jaunty cap is made out of nylon window screening fabric! I think it turned out pretty cute for a 30 minute/$5 project. Note the judicious use of polka dots in the design. I'll post a how to shortly. Now I need to figure out what to do with the rest of the roll of window screening. Hmmmmm........

What made you happy today?

P.S. I am changing my name to Lady Snazzyhat for the rest of the weekend.

This is one of my favorite pieces at Art In Bloom. It was AMAZING! Definitely go see the show if you can. We toured China, Egypt, Africa and Plains. Really interesting interpretations of the art.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Art In Bloom

Visiting museums makes me happy.....especially when it is cold, rainy and very dreary........again. Luckily the Minneapolis Museum of Art will chase those blues away at Art In Bloom this Thursday - Sunday. Traditionally the 1st week in May, they decided to move it up a week this year. Maybe the powers that be knew we were in for a chilly April and wanted to give us a break.

The theme this year is oh so appropriate: Sensing Spring. No joke, I think Art In Bloom is just about the closest will get to Spring in April this year.

If you miss Art In Bloom, there is also a wonderful Titian exhibit that runs through May 1st. I recommend taking the tour (free with admission to the exhibit).

What made you happy today?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Wouldn't you know that Lady O (as in Oprah) is into happiness? Check "Your Happiness Plan" on Oprah.com. There are a bunch of articles. I particularly like Happiness Is Contagious.

What made you happy today?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Send 13 Ounces of Happy Mail!

In my ongoing hunt for all things happy, I came across this clever website chock full of cute ideas called GiversLog. Happy Mail can be any object that you can put a message or trinkets in and send through the US Mail..... Easter Eggs, plastic bottles, Frisbees....... Wouldn't it be fun to send happy mail as a thank you note? get well card? party invitation? Christmas card? Mother's Day card? I think it would be as much fun to send as it would be to receive. Plus, you know your mail carrier will get a kick out of it! Details on how to send are on the blog.

If you come up with any fun ideas, please add them to the comments.

What made you happy today?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Maintenance 101

Will and I took a free bike maintenance class at Hoigaards in Saint Louis Park this week. Our instructor Dan did a great job teaching us how to lube the chain, adjust the cables and change the tires. But, the most worthwhile part of the clinic was spending one-on-one time with Will. Think of it as a little relationship maintenance without the distractions of homework, tv and the ever-dreaded video games. One and one half hours of pure bliss in my book.

We put our new found skills to test the day after the clinic and had a greasy mess of a fun time. One bike done.....three to go!

Hoigaards offers lots of clinics and special events like the Edina Bike Rodeo on April 30th , the Bud Break at the Arboretum on May 1st. to benefit the Arboretum and Padding Minnihaha Creek with Hoigaards Outdoor Women on Mother's Day May 15th. Check out their website for details.

What made you happy today?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fridays With Friends

OK, it is a very dreary, cold, damp April Friday. Luckily it is my weekly coffee outing with friends. Today we went to the newly remodeled Turtle Bread Company in Linden Hills. Love, love, love the new interior, especially the pear, black and white color scheme. Of course I just happened to be wearing the same colors, so maybe that influenced me. Needless to say I felt right at home :-)

Kathryn tried the pancakes and they were pretty darn amazing. They were the size of dessert plates (2 to an order) and were super fluffy. Most importantly, they were quite tasty ...... scrumptious, yummy, delish!!!

OK, I think we really liked them! Should have taken some pics.... next time (and I am sure there will be a next time)

On the way to our cars, we spied a new shop (at least to us) called the Linden Tree Shop. Talk about adorable! This little pocket shop is located on 44th & Beard right across from Turtle Bread Company. The shop is filled with specialty fabrics, hand-crafted clothing, and unique gifts, all created by local artists using traditionally feminine art forms.......and it is a veritable polka dot heaven!!!! Polka dot fabric, polka dot aprons, polka dot chandelier lamp covers. I am in love.

What made you happy today???

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pancakes at Pop's

I was sorting through pictures and came across this gem. It is one of the best pictures I've ever taken.

Will and I visited my Dad in Colorado in February. We were treated to pancakes and bacon everyday for breakfast. Being a master short-order breakfast cook, we were also offered eggs to order, coffee cake and coffee, but the pancakes were our favorites.

Can you say SPOILED?????

Dad is famous for his breakfasts. When we were kids, we went skiing every weekend. Dad would whip up pancakes, eggs and bacon every morning for a crowd of people. All of this was produced out of a small, but efficient , kitchen at our condo. When I say crowd, I mean crowd. There were usually six O'Dea's, two dogs and various friends and neighbors packed into a Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser station wagon every weekend. Such great memories.

What made you happy today?

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I can't think of a better way to spend a dreary, chilly April day that to wander through the American Craft Council Show in Saint Paul. I even found a fellow floor cloth artist, Fran Rubinstein, who makes absolutely gorgeous floor cloths. I also loved the Flinn Designs relief sculpture paintings. She sells her mixed media paintings to help her rescue dogs. Love both artists use of color.

Seeing all that creativity and talent in one place not only inspires me, but makes me happy as well. Need to go home and do something creative!!!!

What inspired you to be happy today ?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Cutest Little Shop!

I stumbles across the cutest little gift shop in Saint Paul called Artful Belongings. It is tiny, tiny tiny, maybe 400 square feet, but it is filled with charming hand-made gifts. I found it on Google when I was looking for a Jan Carlson Leaf Mobile .

The shop is just east of Lexington and Grand ( 42 Oxford St S, Saint Paul, MN 55105, 651.225.1422) I felt like I was going into one of those mini shops that are scattered throughout the galleries of Paris. I could only spend a few minutes in the shop, but I already have it on my list to return to when I can linger and enjoy all the beautiful gifts they have.

What made you happy today?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bridge The Divide

Bill's computer finally gave up the ghost and we have to invest in a new one. Problem is that we already have 1 old computer collecting dust in the basement. Now we'll have two (plus assorted cables, manuals etc..... They are taking up room we DON'T have!

Enter FREE GEEK Minneapolis. Another great find on Google from my search of "how to recycle old computers". This is a really cool organization. Started in Portland Oregon, Free Geek's mission is two fold; help close the digital divide by providing computers to low income families AND reduce the amount of electronic waste going into landfills. Can't argue with that! Basically they collect old computers, refurbish them and install open source software. They sell the computers for $40 - $80. Any computers that can't be refurbished get broken down into their component parts and recycle them.

I plan to volunteer once a month. They are open on Saturdays 12 - 5. They need old computers, printers, scanners and volunteers. They will train you and you will get a chance to give back to the community and help make the world a little greener.

Free Geek operates in Portland, OR, Minneapolis, MN , Columbus OH, Chicago, IL, They are popping up everywhere. Google your town and see if they are operating.

P.S. kids can volunteer too....get them off the game console and put them to work!

What made you happy today?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Being A Tourist In Your Hometown

A year ago this week, I took my youngest son Will on a trip to France. Will has been going to a french immersion elementary school since he was in kindergarten. The trip was a celebration of that accomplishment.

Well, I can't afford to go to France again this year, but I CAN rekindle the France experience by pretending to be a tourist in my hometown. So, I went with my friends to a new french bistro in southwest Minneapolis called Patisserie 46. Just like a tourist we had to find it on a map, get lost a few times on the way and figure out where to park (Minneapolis has lots of rules about parking - not all of which are posted).

What a delightful find! The atmosphere reminded me of all the little Patisseries we discovered all over Paris. Very cozy with local art on the wall. The clientele included groups of women, grandparents out with their grandchildren, and people working on lap tops or reading books. The breads and pastry displays were absolutely beautiful and they even had those cute little sherbet-colored french macaroons that are so yummy.

Best of all I got to spend a couple of hours with friends talking about everything from our kids, to upcoming travel to funny family stories.

What made you happy today?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lost Treasures

I am working on organizing my craft room and came across a box of my son Will's art projects. This was Will's first art project in Kindergarten, a picture of his school bus. I have it prominently displayed on my desk.

What made you happy today?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Almost Spring

Wow, after 84"+ of snow, the spring bulbs I planted last fall just poked through the mulch! I can't tell you how happy I was to see those little green sprouts.

Updates as the season progresses.

What made you happy today?