5 Great Mother’s Day t-shirts for your crafty Mom

Does your mom go by the old adage that “she who dies with the most fabric wins”? ARe you likely to find piles of fabric in a vast rainbow of colors in her closets and sewing room? Are you looking for a unique gift to give your mom on this Mother’s Day? Then check out these top 5 t-shirt designs for your crafty maternal units!

1. It’s not a hobby. It’s a post-apocalyptic life skill.

CRAFT It's not a hobby



2. Know your cuts of lamb

CRAFT Know your cuts of lamb


3. Yarned and Dangerous

Crafts Yarned and dangerous



4. I am not easily distracted. Oh, look! Yarn!

Craft Distracted by yarn


5. I sew, therefore, I rip!

Craft I sew therefore I rip


My daughter is starting at Oregon State University in the fall. And gee, wouldn’t you know, I still have student loans of my own to pay off from graduate school. Let’s hear it for multi-generational student debt. I am selling this t-shirts and gifts to pay off my students which you can read about in other blog posts. (here and here). So, help a girl out and get an awesome t-shirt for your Mom at the same time. Or coffee mug. or messenger bag. or tote bag!

Which part of the American dream won’t I have?

I have student loan debt which means that I will probably never own my own home. I will not be able to help my kids with their college expenses. I won’t be able to save for retirement. I will not be able to travel to the European museums like I want to do.


This is what I signed on to when I decided to pursue my doctoral degree. I knew it was expensive and I knew that it would alter my personal and professional landscape for the rest of my life. And I knew that it would be (mostly) worth it. The job track I currently am on fills my heart and soul with meaning and purpose. The doctoral degree made this possible. I love my job, and the people I work with, and the people I serve.


I just wish my country valued education like it should. If Congress upholds it’s side of the bargain, after working in state government for 10 years, the balance of my federal loans will be written off. This is thanks to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. (http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service)

Learn more about how I am selling t-shirts and coffee mugs to pay off my student loans faster. You can find geeky snarky t-shirts at my Cafepress shop, Malarkey Pie.

5 Great Pi Day T-Shirts and Gifts!

Get your Pi here!

Get your Pi here!


I’ve been busy designing new t-shirts for the upcoming International Pi Day on March 14. I hope you like them!

This first one is for all you raiding pirate lovers!

1. Pi Day is for Pi-rates!




2. Who doesn’t love a Pi Rat?


so cuddly!

so cuddly!

3. Sweet Cherry Pie




4. And along comes Cow Pi!



5. And we can’t get enough of sweet cherry pi!

Retro woodcut illustraiton

Retro woodcut illustration

Pi Day is coming! Pi Day is coming!


Come to the dork side, we have pie

Who doesn’t love pie? Seriously. Who? I will tell ya who…. geeks, nerds, scientists and mathematicians of all stripes. Ok, well, just about everybody loves pie.

I’m not here today to talk about PIE, but about PI. The mathematical constant that relates a circle’s circumference to it’s diameter and is often shortened to 3.14159, or even 3.14. Actually the number is infinite. It goes on and on and on and on and on and … It is an irrational number, meaning it can’t be defined using common fractions. So it’s a bit of a conundrum as you can never really find the square of a circle using a compass and a straight edge.

It has also spawned an International Pi Day, observed on March 14 (Get it? 3/14?) that started, of course, in San Francisco as all good counter culture movements have in the past 5/10ths of a century. A fine gent by the name of Larry Shaw started the first Pie Day at the Exploratorium in San Francisco by eating pie on March 14, 1988. Since then it has become a beloved, yet little-known holiday … except to the geeks who observe it.

Larry Shaw, the founder of Pi Day, at the Exploratorium in San Francisco (Ronhip (Ron Hipschman), uploaded to the Commons by Furfur on 22-Jul-08)

Since I love geeks, but think they really shouldn’t be running about naked (think of the children! And the cold cold winter!), I have a bunch of t-shirts and hoodies over at Cafepress perfect for wearing on Pi Day. And since my student loans won’t pay themselves off, the proceeds will help me end my debt slavery. So be a darling and get a t-shirt or two. I will be adding new posts and t-shirt designs here regularly throughout the month leading up to Pi Day. There might also be recipes for pie. I also welcome suggestions for new concepts, and new pie recipes.

So help a fellow geek out and fly your Pi High …..

How have you celebrated Pi Day in the past? What are your amazing plans for this year?

Confessions of a student loan statistic

Student is debt slavery

Crush student debt before it crushes us!


I admit it, I am a statistic. A student-debt-up-to-my-eyeballs-in-debt statistic. In 2010, I completed my seven year journey to obtain a doctoral degree and since I was a single mom and not really rolling in the dough, I acquired what is euphemistically called “student debt.” I don’t regret getting the degree as it has opened whole worlds to me, but it would have been dandy if it didn’t leave me a financial cripple for the rest of my days.

My monthly student debt bill is $1095, which amounts to $13,140 per year. Add in a car payment (my trusty Blueberry died after 13 years of excellent service), insurance, and a small bit of credit card debt left over from my grad school days, and … yeah. Not much left over to help with the kid’s college savings or to save for a rainy day or to buy house or to contribute to retirement fund. My total debt after paying for three years, and paying off several smaller loans, is still over $140,000. How does that even happen? Obviously, my degree is not in finance. I work in state government, so if Congress holds up its end of the bargain, then about half of that (the federal loan half) will be expunged after 2019.

What would be helpful is if I could deduct the entire amount I pay, not just the interest up to $2,500 from my income when paying taxes. I know that my name is not Exxon Mobil or Goldman Sachs, but
surely we little people deserve that much.

People like me work hard at jobs we love. I really really love my job which I would not have if I didn’t have my degree.

Of course, if anyone has a spare $140,000 laying around, I wouldn’t be too proud to have some sugar daddy pay it off.

Oh, the weather outside is frightful …

…but the scones are so delightful!

So Oregon has been in the grip of a rare winter storm that has brought many many inches of snow to town. Now, most of you folks back east may scoff, but when your town only has two snowplows, it can be an issue to deal with. We took advantage of the Snow Day to bake some lemon scones…

Lemon scones

Lemon scones … with honey and butter

Later, it kept snowing so what do all good Scadians do when that happens? That’s right, kids, we get into garb and take pictures! So Luc (who was having NONE of that silly getting into garb and going into the snow action), Meghan and I trudged into the back yard, just as the light was starting to fail.

Oh the weather outside is frightful!

Oh the weather outside is frightful!

Handsome husband is handsome

Handsome husband is handsome


Snowy Persian!

Snowy Persian!


Mama likes the snow!

Mama likes the snow!


Could this be a snow ninja?

Could this be a snow ninja?


Much fun was had by all!

Much fun was had by all!


After taking the pictures, we came in to a warm house and a pot roast that has been cooking all day.





Snow Day!!!!

Today is a snow day! I have my coffee and there will be scones later. Oh yes, there WILL BE SCONES! And maybe a pot roast if I feel like braving the walk down to the market to pick up a cut of beef. I have some carrots and onions that are on their last legs and need to be cooked to yumminess soon.

The goal for today will be to get the taxes in order. This year is probably the last year it will be fairly simple. Next year I will have business expenses to fold in to the fun and games with the IRS. Which reminds me, the library book on home business tax deduction that I checked out is due soon. I need to finish it this weekend to help me to get my book keeping house in order. Maybe I’ll post something about some of the best tips that I find.

Speaking of planning ahead…. A future post will be a soul-baring outline of my student loan debt. Get ready for some scary stuff! I have been a bit of a coward and not really faced exactly how much student debt I really have. But I will start a series of posts here with quarterly check-ins to see how much (or how little … EEK!) debt I have managed to pay off. Check back often! I should try to find one of them thermometer thingys to make it very visual. Or do an infographic, since that seems to be all the rage these days.

So, I’m off to get a start on the day….

Change it’s a-coming!

So, I’ve been chipping away at my student debt. The sales from my two PODs, Cafepress and Zazzle, helped a bit. Of course, I will likely end up paying additional taxes on the wee bit of income, but such is life.

This blog is going to change over the course of the next few month. I am starting on a new adventure with trying to add income to my wallet to help pay down my student debt faster. I’ve been reading up on running small businesses, tax regulations for small business, and all kinds of fascinating and enlightening things on running blog for fun AND profit.

From what I’ve seen online there are several tracks, the first is some pretty blatant THIS BLOG IS ABOUT MAKING MONEY BY BLOGGING blogs out there. More power to them, so say I. Not really my cup of tea. There are also the Mommy blogs that simply scream OMG I LOVE MY KIDS AND CLEANING HOUSE SO HARD but I fear that is also not for me. (You’d agree too, if you’d seen the state of un-cleanliness in my current abode) But I am learning a lot from reading their awesome and informative posts.

One of the things I have up my sleeve is a new blog for re-enactors and living historians called All the Times Past. To do this, I will need to move web hosting servers as the place I am currently using is just a tad too expensive now that I am moving from hobby for-fun to a small business model. This makes me sad, because I love my host as they are so responsive with supporting my frequent issues and questions.

The next few months will bring a new hosting service, a fun-filled blog design and testing, and pulling a whole bunch of content together. I figure to have it up and running by July. Yay! Something new and exciting and challenging, and I am sure…. rewarding.

This idea was sparked when my Dear Husband casually remarked that it would be awesome if we could get paid to visit other re-enactor groups in Europe. MMMmmm. What a clever clever man! So while I am sure there will be other benefits from running a blog for re-enactors and living historians, meeting new people around the world is one of my center-of-the-matter goals.

Save the endangered tree Octopus….

One of the rarest creatures to haunt the Pacific Northwest, the elusive tree octopus shines in the pantheon of fantastical animals. Rarely seen, the shy tree octopus loops itself around the branches of trees to lay in wait for it’s next meal. Currently, one of the most endangered of the arboreal arthropods, the tree octopus needs your help if it is to survive.

Save the endangered tree octopus!

Save the endangered tree octopus!

This retro design in the colors reminiscent of the tree octopus will remind people of the care we need to take with our tree-dwelling eight legged friends.


Save the tree octopus t-shirt

Save the tree octopus t-shirt


Check out these designs at Malarkey Pie!



EVENT: Hood & Portland To Coast – Providence Cancer Center

EVENT DATE: AUG 22, 2014





In August 2014 this team of 12 crazy, amazing, strong, dedicated, determined, did-I-mention-crazy friends is walking from Portland to – you guessed it – the coast (which is where the beaches are).

Did you catch that? We’re walking to THE COAST. The. Coast. That’s *approximately* one million miles from Portland. Approximately. This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s still huge. And crazy. And hard. But we’re doing it because cancer sucks. A lot. And having cancer, knowing someone who has cancer, or even just knowing that *anyone *anywhere* has cancer is a lot harder than walking.

Every step we’ll take will be particularly meaningful. Every step will be a punch in the nose to cancer because every dollar you donate here will go to Providence Cancer Center. Every dollar.

Let’s put this all in perspective… As we open up this donation page in early October, the event is about 300 days away…  About 40 weeks…  About 10 months…

If you skipped one latte every week between now and the event, there’s $160. BAM! Punch in the nose.

If you just got a cup of drip instead of that latte every day between now and then, there’s $600. BAM! Sock in the eye.

If you put $1 in a shoebox every day between now and then, there’s $300. BAM! Kick in the knee.

If you set $10 aside every week between now and then, there’s $400. BAM! Smack in the face.

Chances are your company has a donation matching program, which would double your contribution. BAM! BAM!

If you took the change in that jar on your dresser (doesn’t everyone have one?) to the coin machine at the grocery store, I’ll bet it would be a donation amount you’d feel good about, and you’d probably find that button you thought you lost. BONUS!

None of these small sacrifices would be painful. In fact, helping is the opposite of painful! It feels GOOD. True story. You know you want to punch cancer in the nose. Hard. Because cancer sucks. So do it.

You donate – right here.

We’ll walk – to the coast.

And we’ll both feel reallly good about it.

We raise a glass to you! THANK YOU!