Let's say we're all bees. Each and every one of us is buzzing about-
buzz buzz buzz.
The honey that we make is our lives. Experience has taught me two things...


...and LIFE is only as yummy as you make it!

Are YOU a Killer Bee?

bee my guest?

bee my guest?
Howdy Beezers! I'm excited to share something new with you... Over the upcoming months, most of the content you'll be seeing here will be from special guest contibutors! This is sure to add a new texture to this thing we've been weaving over the years. I know that many of my readers (yes, you!) are writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers. PLEASE feel free to contact me if there's something you'd like to contribute! I'd be most honored to pollinate... send me a note: m.mckinley@rocketmail.com

please be seated

August 28, 2009


I've been thinking allot lately about gifts my parents gave me.
Not Tonka trucks, or rock polishing machines, or the record albums I pined for, but pearls.

40 hours work, for 40 hours pay.

2 wrongs NEVER make a right.

If you never lie, you'll never have to remember what you said.

If you really love what you do, and you work hard, you'll be successful.

When in doubt, do nothing.

A skunk smells his own hole first.

Why should they buy the cow if they can get the milk for free?

Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.

Growing up, these are some of the things I remember my parents saying to me. Over, and over, and over. And trust me, that's the short list. Not to mention "Do as I say, not as I do." There were both good for that one. I can very clearly remember my Dad saying that he wished children came with instruction manuals...

As I am not perfect, neither were my parents. Yet the older I grow, the more I realize what a great job they did. Considering many things, not the least of which, there was NO manual. Making sure that their children grew up with strong moral fiber was priority #1, and probably one of the few things they agreed on completely. When I was 15 years old, it was more than likely that I would have rolled my eyes behind their backs at any one of the sayings on that list...

What sorts of things did your parents say? I'll bet if you thought about it for just a hot minute you could come up with a list of your own. I'll also bet money that like most grown folk, the older you get, the truer they ring!

My parents didn't always say the right thing. In fact they occasionally said things I wish I could forget...but as I maneuver through a world that is often difficult to navigate, I am constantly reminded of the "tools" I was given by them. Tools other kids didn't get, but we did because our parents knew they were more important than Tonka trucks, or rock polishing machines, or record albums we pined for. They made us find jobs so we could buy those things for ourselves!

So thanks for the pearls Mom and Dad.
I cherish them, and wear them close to my heart.

Cassandra's NEW Youtube Channel!

Big news readers! Cassandra's video shorts are now on her very own Youtube Channel!
We'll be filming and posting these inspirational gems on both her blog AND her Youtube Channel on a regular basis. I believe an Internet sensation is about to occur...

August 27, 2009


August 26, 2009


I have a theory. if you go to bed each night in a bed that looks like a million bucks, you wake up feeling like a million bucks! No one is more thrilled than Michael McKinley that as a design trend, the revival of Hollywood Regency Style is still raging on, full-tilt-boogie...as evidenced in this months House Beautiful.

These sleeping beauties are a sampling of 15 featured in an online article about upholstered headboards that you can read here:
Prices range from $399.-$5,800. As I often say, you needn't spend allot of money for it to look like you've spent allot of money.

If the glamorous leanings of the Hollywood Regency Style are a little too "Liberace" for your taste, I'll still recommend an upholstered bed of some kind. There's just something about them that says comfort and luxury, no matter the style...

August 24, 2009


If you think looking at yourself in the mirror can be hard, try watching yourself on playback! There's only 2 scheduled days of filming for the electronic press kit left on the calendar [mostly for exterior footage]. Soon Cherrie and I will start sifting through what we've got, and begin the editing process. I've been super impressed with every ones dedication and hard work. However I, the self-proclaimed ring-leader of this whole undertaking, am not at all sure if I "delivered" or not...maybe I shouldn't have been so preoccupied with what we were having for dinner?!

August 13, 2009



"Become the man you want to meet."
I'm no longer sure whether I heard this, or read it somewhere, but it's been clinging to my consciousness like a wet t-shirt. I guess like anything worth pondering, I'm just glad it stuck, and it's reminding me of some places in my life where I might be stuck...

First let me broaden the parameters here, because this is a universal concept for any person who is "singular". While I contend that I'm perfectly good on my own, I'd be perpetrating a great big lie if I told you I'm happier this way. See, I'm a "plural" kind of guy. I'm good in relationships. I enjoy the dynamics of them, and tend to thrive. But if I want to get down and dirty honest with you, with myself right now, I'm not sure I'd date me. I've been looking in the mirror.

No, this isn't about the encroaching crows feet, or my nagging follicular challenges. That's all on the surface, and it goes deeper than that. If the universe is truly reflective[and I believe that it is], and I'm putting out the mandate that I want to meet a man who shares the same ideals as me, then WHY AREN'T I MEETING HIM? Perhaps I haven't been looking at myself truthfully.
Let me give you a couple of examples...

Do I want to meet a man who finds my inner beauty more intoxicating than the circumference of my biceps? Well of course I do. But know this about me. I size-up just about every man I meet based on an attractiveness ratio, objectifying them before I even know them. Hey, I'm just keeping it real. As human beings I think that the primal-ness of physical attraction is not only innate, but necessary. However I have to wonder. If I look at each man I encounter as a potential sexual object FIRST, then how can I ever expect the kind of respect and acceptance for my own appearance and body, that I desire from someone else? Hmmm.

Smart is good, in fact cerebral is sexy as hell. However more than anything I'd like to meet someone who takes care of themselves physically, and spiritually as well. Physically because I want him to be healthy, NOT because I expect him to look like a gym bunny. And yet I haven't been to the gym myself in a year and a half! Spiritually, because the journey of discovery I'm on happens to be one of the most beautiful and exciting things in my life right now. How could I not want to be with someone who understands that journey, and embraces it with me? And yet where have I been looking for this healthy and spiritual man? On a barstool. For the last 20 years. I seriously doubt I'm going to find him there, especially if I'm sitting on one too.

The reflection I've been looking at since I met the phrase "Become the man you want to meet" is still that of a person I happen to like and love. I'm being a little tougher on him lately, but I think ultimately he'll appreciate me more for it. And who knows? Maybe the one I've been looking for is working on himself too, so that we'll both be ready when he meets me. In the meantime, I intend to get know this character in the mirror a little better, and hopefully in the process I'll figure out a little bit more about the both of us. And improve.

August 12, 2009


You never know what you'll find on the beach...

The first thing you notice when you approach Chris Harper's mid-century Miller Beach ranch home is her garden. Not at all tidy, or structured, but rather an organum of lush ferns, tall grasses, and wild flowers left to be wild. Pushing their way up through the mayhem like proud and colorful spires are Chris's latest creations. These "totems" crafted from vintage glass objects and dishes are a delight to the eye, making you want to know more about the woman who lives beyond the garden.... but before you pass through the front door, you see a sign, hand painted on 2 pieces of driftwood that says "Lucky To Live By The Beach". It seems that these days Chris Harper's LIFE is more than ever being reflected in her ART.

Once inside, you're quickly charmed by a home that's "Quintessentially Chris". The quirky-cool decor is peppered with things like 100 year old glass bottles, funky 60's crocheted blankets, painted furniture, and a collection of stones and beach glass that just happened to wash ashore naturally heart-shaped. As a designer I strongly believe that ones home should be a reflection of who they are, their personality...and her home brilliantly states: I AM CHRIS HARPER.

I remember the first time I went out to visit Chris in Miller Beach, just after she'd moved in. We had a a couple glasses of wine, then strolled down the beach in our bare feet with her new puppy Pete in tow, carrying a piece of driftwood clenched between his tiny teeth. She turned to me and said "I love it here, I just love it. So does Pete." 2 years later she's all settled in, and Pete has a little sister named Violet. On this trip we hung out in her studio, and ate hot dogs accompanied by her mother Kitty's delicious kidney bean salad ...

MPM: You're known as "Crafty Chris" in certain circles. Have you always possessed the desire to create?

CH: Yes I've been creating something my entire life, but please let's get it straight...it's Krafty Kris! When I was growing up my Mother was very artistic, and she definitely had her own unique perspective about the way she decorated our home. I was always so proud of our house! I suppose I get the crafty/artistic gene from her.

MPM: You work with so many different forms of media. Does inspiration begin with the object? The material? Or the idea?

CH: Inspiration for me comes in many forms. I can be at the hardware store and get inspiration from a plumbing pipe to create fixturing for a shop, or a pillow design I see may give me an idea for a mixed media piece. The inspiration, well it comes from everything, everywhere. I guess I'm lucky that way!

MPM: I can't help but notice a little symbolism that's reoccurring in your work...

CH: And what would that be? HA! Simplicity, color, nature, happiness. Oh, you mean the hearts and the peace signs...they're sort of my trademarks. Couldn't the world use a little more peace and love? I'm just putting it out there. But there's more than just hearts and peace signs. I'm curious, what symbolism do you see in my work?
MPM: I've long admired your paper collage work, and now I'm all jazzed about your found-object sculptural pieces. What ideas are brewing for the "Next Chris Harper Creations"?

CH: I'm working on a large scale wall piece done in collage, but with textiles instead of paper...it should be pretty cool!

MPM: I know your community is very important to you. Tell me a little bit about living in Miller Beach, Indiana.

CH: Miller Beach is like an artist type colony, in a laid back beach town. Not at all pretentious, just artists co-existing with Gary steel mill workers, crack whores, corporate drop outs and the "modestly wealthy"....we all shop locally, and support the community as much as we can.

MPM: Next time I come out, can I play with you in the studio?

CH: YES, I WOULD LOVE IT! ...you inspire me!

[Gee, thanks Chris...]
To contact Chris Harper, you can email her at: charper53@hotmail.com

August 11, 2009


August 10, 2009


So Jonas had 5 free tickets to State Fair, and he invited The Killer Bees to join him. It had been at least a decade since I'd attended, and I really do love to go see all the beautiful animals. Especially the pigs! Since we've been filming for the electronic press kit, I've been trying to be mindful of what I eat because guess what? The camera REALLY DOES add 10 lbs.! But the temptation to indulge in a Wisconsin State Fair classic, the venerable cream puff, proved too powerful to overcome and I was completely seduced. What I'm trying to say here is that I ate an enormous cream puff for dinner tonight. The rich creamy filling so thick and dense, yet utterly airy and weightless at the same time...

In the middle of this sinful indulgence, my ecstasy was temporarily thwarted by guilt about my zillion-calorie surrender. I didn't bother to open my mouth about it to anyone because really, who wants to hear me whine about needing to loose 10lbs as I stuff my gaping maw with at least a cup of whipped heavy cream, right? But then just as quickly as the guilt had washed over me, I had a moment of clarity. I try to eat in moderation, and have a fairly healthy diet. Other than a slice of birthday cake last week, when have I recently had a proper dessert? I hadn't been to State Fair in a decade. Life is way too short, so shut up and eat the freakin' cream puff already. Geez.

In fact I may just make the "State Fair Cream Puff Supper" an annual event. Nuff said.

August 8, 2009


...they'd say dress me up! Make me pretty! Please don't leave me all white and naked!

If the painful lead image for this article is what immediately comes to mind when you think of wallpaper, you aren't alone. Most of the time when I suggest wallpaper to a client the response I get is a scrunched-up look on the face, followed by a "Really? Wallpaper?"

Designers love to specify wallcoverings, but their clients are often the ones burdened with the task of removing them when it's time to change it out for something new. I understand this though because I've been there too. In the trenches, armed with a steamer, a scraper, chemical strippers, and endless tedious hours spent removing someone else's taste from my walls. But here's the truth; if you properly prep and seal the walls with a quality sizing product [like Zinsser] before you put paper up, it can be VERY easy to remove. Because I know this to be true, I have no fear of wallpaper, and you shouldn't either. But are you a pattern person?

There are people who dismiss the idea of wallcoverings because they're "busy". I would rather say that it's a matter of taste. I happen to think of quality wallcoverings as something that's very glamorous. So if pattern on the walls doesn't appeal to you in say the living room, try something bold and delicious in a powder room. I always say the smaller the room, the bigger the drama! Patterns, motifs, and color trends do change, so you'll naturally want to change them out every so many years, but keep in mind that the classics never go out of style! Think of it this way; you're always changing, constantly evolving, right? If you're home is an extension of YOU, shouldn't it get to try something new on for size every once in awhile?

I LOVE FLAVOR PAPER! Based in Brooklyn, New York these are truly "boutique-y" artisan papers. It's definitely bold, statement-making stuff, and it's super cool. Most designer wallcoverings are on the pricier side, but you have to keep in mind that they're crafted by hand the old fashioned way through a screen blocking process, one color at a time.

Visit http://www.flavorleague.com/

No less bold, but more traditional is the divinity of DESIGNERS GUILD. They take traditional motifs like damasks and English florals and make them fresh by following and anticipating color trends. By the way they also make the most exquisite textiles!

Visit http://www.designersguild.com/

Yes, this man is wearing Wallpaper. But why? He's Bruce Bradbury, founder of Bradbury & Bradbury, a small hand-printing studio in the San Francisco bay area that specializes in reproduction prints of both Victorian and Arts & Crafts Movement wallcoverings. When I was in design school I did a research project/presentation on them, and I'll never forget how kind and helpful they were in providing me with information and materials. By the way, the following images feature composite installations. Each element in these projects has to be trimmed by hand, and then applied individually to achieve these amazing and dramatic installations. Normally I would say that "borders" will not be tolerated under any circumstances, but this company does not make borders, they screen print masterpieces. More recently, they have introduced a wonderful Modernism collection that features patterns from the 50's & 60's

Okay, I saved my favorite type of wallcovering for last, grasscloth. It's so elegant and super chic to me, transcending all genres of design. Whether your style is traditional, modern, or a mix of both, woven wallcoverings add sophistication and warmth to any room. I personally try use it in at least one room on every project, and have used it myself extensively.

Just about every manufacturer of wallcoverings has a grasscloth collection, but THYBONY has one of the biggest selections with many sample books to choose from. Follow the link below, or visit you local wallpaper store and ask for Thybony Grasscloths.

August 5, 2009

August 4, 2009


I'm going to come right out and say it. Milwaukee is fabulous.

If you're one of those people that bemoans the idea that there isn't enough culture here, or there isn't enough to do, then you CLEARLY aren't utilizing your city to the fullest. Pound for pound, Milwaukee is one of the coolest mid-size cities in the country. If you think you need more, then move somewhere bigger. Meanwhile I'll be enjoying "the city of festivals", the pristine lakefront, the beautiful architecture, gorgeous parks, and all the good eats...

As with any urban center, downtown is where most of the action is. The best online resource for maximizing your Milwaukee is MILWAUKEE DOWNTOWN. Click on the link below to visit their website, and I encourage you to sign up for their emailed "HOTLIST", which will keep you abreast of all the festivals, functions, theater, concerts, and cool goings-on. This weekend we have Arab World festival, and next weekend you can check out River Flicks at Pere Marqutte Park and Irish Fest, which is the worlds largest Irish cultural festival.

If you're bored, don't come crying to me!


Buzz Out!

Buzz Out!