My So Charmed Life

Nature vs. Nurture



A constant conversation in the life of an adoptive mom, Nature vs. Nurture. While my mom is fond of calling my Korean-adoptee daughter, Molly, “Little Jodi” there are definitely ways in which her Nature shows itself to be nothing of sort. Her Nurture? Ahh, that is another matter all together! I am blogging this morning to share the evidence of Molly’s having inherited my love of (and world reknowned skills for) cooking and the resulting Martha-Doesn’t-Live-Here treats.


You thought you were viewing a delicious sugar cookie in the first photo, didn’t you? Well…. you were. Sort of. But if you view the second picture above you will see from the skillfully placed pop-top (for scale) that it is really a GIANT SINGULAR cookie, made from the batter of a recipe for baking 3-4 dozen cookies!


Ahhh, Molly. The thing is… as we were discussing just how we might break up the super-sized hard-as-brick cookie into tiny crumbs in order to feed the poor blizzard-stranded birdies in our yard… we began eating it and lo, it tastes GREAT! Watch your crowns and other expensive dentistry… this is a very (very!), um CRUNCHY cookie… but it is actually quite delicious. Sorry birdies.


To Molly, and her friend Jenny’s credit, the above pictured brownie-cupcake weapons were also created in the same 24 hour snowbound period. These too are rather… um, crunchy. However… 20 seconds in the microwave renders them warm, soft, chocolately, and (surprise!) possessing of a rich “lava” center. Great with coffee the morning after the big snow storm of 2009.

Thanks, my little nurtured girl.

earrings earrings earrings + shoes



I’m just crazy for earrings these days. I love making ’em. I love wearing ’em. And I even love photographing ’em. The pair pictured above feature handblown Venetian glass hollow beads with circus stripes and glittering copper aventurine. Copper findings make these really special.


Another favorite recent pair, in a very limited edition due to the availability of supplies. Cloudy blue faceted semi-precious beads with extremely rare dusty pink enameled floral findings. Glass pearls and brass leverbacks. These are truly gorgeous.


And my little French alter ego, Madame Eclore, has also been cooking up tiny earbob desserts. Made with hand lamp-worked wedding cake beads from China, India and Venice, these are just delicious and very fun to wear. Check the site again soon as Mme. E. has acquired some very rare vintage wedding cake beads to be included in upcoming work. They are just sweeter than sweet.


You are not tiring of my endless pictures of my shoes are you? I didn’t THINK so! Above, my new absolutely killer acquisition, a genuine pair of Doc Marten’s brothel creepers, circa 1980’s and Made in England, yo! They rock so hard I’m not sure I’m cool enough to wear them. But I’ll try to live up to the task. Scored on Etsy, where else?

A Series of Short Posts on Random Topics


shortposts6 (more…)

Podcast Heavn’: EMERGENCY PANTS, or Top 5 Reasons I Love Bridget & Shane


So with the gift of this amazing iTouch for Chanukah last year, I’ve finally come around to the world of Podcasts. Until last week, my favorite was The Moth, brilliant live storytelling that has made me both laugh and cry (mostly laugh), and is a must-listen. Recent Moth faves: Michaela Murphy on her family’s obsession with spying on the Kennedys, and Jerry Stahl on heroin vs. crack. Free on iTunes and not for kids.

I still love The Moth, but am now podstalking a crazy couple of midwestern kids–Bridget and Shane–from Omaha, Nebraska, the young geniuses behind Emergency Pants (also not for kids). How I connected with this far-more-obscure content was through the snarky embroidering community on Flickr. I’ve been posting some of my weird projects (above) and Bridget also posts her cool stuff there (below).

Anyway, what IS Emergency Pants? Two friends. Talking. Laughing. Gossiping. In-jokes and out-jokes. The kind of podcast that generally makes me bored, impatient and annoyed. Not this one. Here are the top 5 reasons (out of too many to list) that I love these guys and you might too:

1. THE FRIENDSHIP: If I’ve got this right, Shane & Bridget have known each other for.ev.ah. Like 15-17 years or so. Their enduring/endearing friendship provides this sweet and easy communication that flows like a giggly river. Maybe you had a friendship like this many moons ago. Maybe not. If you did, you probably don’t anymore because you grew up and got serious, moved away, joined a corporate cult, or just somehow stopped finding life funny. Here’s your chance to plug in again.

2. THE CONTENT: Like Seinfeld for the next gen, this is a show about nothing. Nothing, as is observed by two very funny people, whose often dark and/or ironic/and or self-deprecating/and or juvenile/and or sweet sense of humor is just my cuppa tea. Sometimes potty humor (the pooplosion, illustrated above), often hilarious workplace stories (including, somehow, horse semen), a meatloaf cookoff. You will laugh in spite of your jaded self, and if you don’t, well, you are a hopeless human being. And, of course, it’s not really about nothing, but you knew that, didn’t you, smarty (emergency) pants?

3. BRIDGET’S LAUGH: Some people have the MOST horrendous hyena laughs, other guffaws are regular and mundane. Bridget has an unrestrained musical giggle, a laugh that could be bottled and sold for its healing properties, but that she so generously chooses to give away, people, free of charge, each weekly episode. Ten seconds in or less, and there’s the laugh, genuine, warm, and more infectious (and fun) than swine flu.

4. SHANE (+ THE ACCENTS): Shane is a funny funny dude. Geeky, smart and the boyish yang to Bridget’s girly yin. Like a really cool IT guy that you’d actually want to be friends with. (Wait, he IS an IT guy!) And, did I mention Omaha? Well, with my admittedly idiotic sense of geography I actually had to google a map of the US to see exactly where Nebraska is situated in this great land of ours. Because if it’s west of Illinois, other than California, it’s something of a blur to me (sorry! really, I’m sorry!). Both hosts have those flat, broad sort of midwestern voices with just a twinge of Fargo… like the comfort food of regional accents.

5. THE MUSIC: Three words: Men without Pants. Yes… WITHOUT pants and featuring Russell Simins and Dan the Automator. Why Russell and Dan don’t have emergency pants is not for me to say. But anyway, a snippet of their rockin’ tune, When the Girls Go, opens and closes the show. Searing, trashy, silly and ass-kicking.

6. THE COMMUNITY (sorry, can’t keep it to 5): When you become a fan/stalker of the show, you will find other like-minded silly souls. One of them, Jamie (ie, Mr. Xstitch), a manbroiderer from the UK, runs a blog that showcases the best and the brightest alterna-stitchers the world over. (Above image from Jamie’s flickr photostream, courtesy of Stitch Out Loud). There’s also partner-in-crime and oft-guest, Tony (if that’s his real name) who drags the kids a wee bit further into the gutter with his hyperactive, campy, and biting humor. Finally, the E-Pants blog will provide you with links to additional content that the kids know you need, threatening to basically hijack your life (as it obviously has mine).

So yeah, check it! And remember: When life gives you lemons, you put on your Emergency Pants.

Tutu Factory


At our house, the crafts are always flowing, and one of our favorite materials is TULLE. We just can’t get enough of the stuff… it’s so darn girly and fussy and fun.

With help from some of her super creative friends, Molly has been making the most beautiful tutus! Some of them are traditional princess-style, some (above) have a more goth appeal!

And, these tutus are for sale! You and all of your loved ones can twirl around like princesses, popstars, fairies, and Cyndi Lauper. Available in an array of fantastic color combinations and made to order!

All tutus are made of strips of tulle painstakingly cut and hand-tied onto a fabric ribbon, so the size is entirely adjustable, and they are very poofy and dramatic!

We are ONLY selling locally right now. To order, please get in touch with me, Molly’s Mom, by email or phone. We can talk about available colors and timeframe. NOTE: If you are under 18 you MUST have a parent get in touch as there is no kid-to-kid selling allowed without parent’s permission.

Pricing as follows, pick-up available in the evenings or weekends by appointment:

Toddler: $15

Kid/Teen: $20

Adult: $25

Wasabi !


Not only do I sell my jewelry on Etsy these days, I’m also a rabid Etsy buyer… from independent fashion (dresses! corsetry!), to vintage collectibles, to handcrafted dolls… too much of my hard-earned pay (of which lately there is simply too little for this sort of nonsense) goes toward my obsession with other artist’s obsessions. Call me a patron ok? It sounds better than shopaholic.

When I came across WasabiEstudio, chock full of zombies and a sprinkling of mad fun pop culture icons like Mr. T and Amy Winehouse, I became instantly smitten. Imagining the owners to be two Japanese kids living in California (it said Valencia, ok? Isn’t there a Valencia, CA? Nevermind), I started writing and gushing and trying to decide just what to order. With no money to spend, the problem was not whether to buy, but who (or is that whom?). There were at least 6 dolls that I needed.

Initially I was going to just purchase Amy and Sid Vicious, both pictured in their shop… and soooo brilliantly, hilariously done. But then I got to thinking. And obsessing. And further obsessing. Finally, when my tax refund check arrived, it was time, and I asked the Wasabi Kids to make Sid, Kurt Cobain and Russell Brand… the heck with Amy, it’s all boys, all the time. Wasabi dubbed them my party boys and promised they’d be home soon to play. 🙂

Imagine my surprise when a lovely box arrived from SPAIN (!) and inside were all of my special party boys, but also Amy, as a gift for me!! How incredibly sweet! As I marveled over the crazy/perfect details of each doll (tattoos, jewelry, amazingly realistic hairstyles, and most especially Sid’s x-rated famous cowboy t-shirt)… I realized I was truly in the presence of genius.

Yet somehow, it gets even better. After the dolls arrived I wrote to thank the Wasabi Kids (even after a round of emails back and forth I didn’t know their names)… and Neus sent me the photo pictured above of she and her husband Manuel. Could they be any more beautiful? What an amazing photo. I love these people!

So, it is with gratitude and warmth that I share my new friends and their amazing handcrafted dolls with you… please support independent artists and get over to WasabiEstudio NOW to see what they’ve got going on, or to request your favorite pop culture icon. Heck, they’ll even do a doll of YOU!!! xoxoxoxo

A Good Day Starts with a Good Breakfast


And on Sundays at Chez Darwin, that means homemade crepes! But wait… How did we get to the yummy deliciousness above, a warm paper-thin pancake smothered in blueberry jam… let’s see shall we?

It all started with a Fete de la Crepe in Molly’s 6th grade French class, a l’ecole. Merci beaucoup to Mme Mangiafico for teaching the students something other than conjugating verbs (not that there’s anything wrong with a well-conjugated verb en Francais, mind you).

It also starts with a glorious mess in the kitchen, pictured above.

The petite crepier has become so professional that she can now flip the lovely pancakes… IN THE PAN!

And who knew… the BF is a bit of a crepe-maker himself! He often assists the Master Chef in the kitchen and is also in charge of the espresso… so that we can really feel like we are in gay Paris.

Just so you know, the espresso machine is a holy shrine and occupies way more than its share of space in our tiny creperie. Move it one inch (should you wish to, say use the counter or perhaps plug something in behind it) and and risk the wrath of the BF.

It does make a gorgeous and delicious breakfast beverage.

During the festivities we can count on Bernie, the canine vacuum cleaner, to hover along the floor waiting for errant bits of food to come his way so that he can eat them and have lots of stomach distress later on.

Molly is tres hungry and wishes her mom would quit photographing everything every single second of every single day.

It’s all worth the mess and aggravation when we sit down to eat. Melted chocolate by yours truly, undisputed Queen of the microwave.

Bon apetite!

Please Won’t You…


This is the second time that cool chick Sahar Vahidi, ed-in-chief of the above-named magazine, has contacted me for jewelry to include in one of her fabulous fashion shoots. And of course, what could I say but Shut Up! Yes!

Jewelry can turn itty bitty in a magazine spread so I’m including the piece pictured for you to have a better look. Lovely badge above available at So Charmed in the CircusDolls collection.

From the Rockstars collection, one of my Telecaster pins. Yes, Courtney Love owns a few of these! No, they don’t go up to eleven.

Aren’t the models pretty?! This one-of-a-kind altered vintage pin is still available in the Pirates collection; get it while you can.

You can purchase the magazine at Books-a-Million, or at ShutUp!‘s site. Enjoy!



Some of you may already know that Courtney Love Cobain has been shopping at So Charmed lately… shopping quite a bit in fact. You’ve asked just what she’s purchased and I don’t think she’ll mind me sharing some of that with you. Pictured above is my answer to the punk princess’ obsession with Marie Antoinette, a yummy rosary style necklace complete with vanilla birthday cake and of course, a Hole lyric.

The very first of these super special Robert Johnson (Me & the Devil Blues) pins was given to a good friend of mine as a gift. Courtney snapped one up shortly after I posted it. She later bought another in the series, Billie Holiday (Good Morning Heartache) pictured below. These are made with the most gorgeous patina’d frames you’ve ever seen. I love the colors and the little rusted safety pins.

Also from the Rockstars collection (natch!), yet another tragic figure immortalized. The Johnny Thunders pin, below, is a tiny dictaphone tape covered in layers and layers of the glammiest purple glitter, the tape yanked out to spill in tendrils down the front of your dress or jacket. Gold chains and a lightening bolt keep the campiness coming on for.ev.ah.

Probably the most subversive of her purchases, the Redaction Series: Top Secret necklace features an actual redacted government document sealed forever under glassy resin. Scary.

There were too many other purchases (including TWO of the pairs of cuffs pictured in the post prior to this one) to list them all here… and suffice to say, I was completely blown away by the support of one of my truest fashion icons. I sent her a few little gifts, including some of the MyRight2Write notebooks for her and Frances to scribble in. Frances is 16 now. Can you believe that?? I’m looking forward to the (allegedly soon) release of Courtney’s new record, and based on the songs I’ve heard on her myspace page, you should be too.

Mad Plaid Cuffies


You fashion grls out there know: Cuffs are the new black. Or whatever. But the truth is, this is a great, flexible format within which to create. I did some fun knitted ones awhile back and here is a new batch. These are being offered as assymetrical one-of-a-kind pairs. FUN!

This pair features a lovely rhinestone button/badge and sweet creamy lace.

I named this oxford pair the Wall Street Cuffs. They have amazing Venitian lace attached and pretty chains.

This is how they look on; the lace drapes so nicely over your hand. Molly’s chipped black nails were a perfect complement to the punkified look.

Love the tartan flannel and pleated gothy black lace! Maybe this is my favorite pair…

Really adorable sterling silver rhinestoned bejeweled Union Jack charm on this one. These are very fun to wear, cozy, sexy and as they say “on trend.” ICK!

Cuffs are now on my Etsy site and will soon be uploaded to So Charmed proper; these will be found in the Punks collection.

And as I’ve been reminding everyone lately: PLEASE practice CRAFTS INTEGRITY. Don’t copy the work of others. Take influence perhaps, but make it your own. Copying isn’t nice, invokes bad karma, and may mean you’ll get a punch in the nose as well as awful curses rained down upon you. I’m NOT kidding!!!