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Little Mama Tattoo! July 27, 2008

I so hella heart my new tattoo.


(Image flipped due to being taken on the MacBook -- this is my right arm.)

On a suggestion from RedSilvia (who is ultra-hip and cool and to be trusted in matters like these), I booked an appointment with Tanja Nixx, the owner of the famous Lyle Tuttle Tattooing in North Beach, San Francisco. I'd found a couple of hearts online that I liked, and I told Lala I wanted forget-me-nots (my favorite flower and one of my mother's favorites, too) and a kiwi bird, so she played around with images and photoshopped something that I liked enough to present to Tanja. And then Tanja made magic with it. She gave me the EXACT tattoo that I wanted. I'd been worried that when I got it done, it wouldn't be right (a valid and normal worry, probably). I worried that it would be too small, or crooked, or just Not What I Wanted, even though I couldn't quite articulate what it was that I did want.

But Tanja. She got it right, man. So right.





Isn't it phenomenal? It's perfect. I love it. I also love Tanja -- she is good people. She also has a cozy tattoo shop, something I didn't know existed. I was relaxed. And it really didn't hurt, that was the crazy part. At its worst, it felt like when you're scratching a mosquito bite -- hurts so good. Really. I didn't believe it when people said that tattoos don't hurt. And I think that a tattoo elsewhere might hurt a GREAT deal. But let's face it, this part of my arm is not anywhere close to a bone, and while a couple of places stung for a second, mostly it was just fun. And the endorphins! Those are great! I've felt that high only a couple of times before while running, and it's totally worth it.

Oh, closer? Okay. This is hours afterward, obviously fresh but still looking good:


Here I am a little bit red and feeling really tired from the day, but LOVING it:


Yep. The funny part is that this is so much for ME. Mom would have found it kind of silly, I think, if not outright ridiculous. So it's funny to memorialize her this way. But she would have liked it because I liked it. Hooray!


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So that totally rocks. The color looks great, the lines look great, and your arm looks not at all irritated or angry. Good job all around. And the kiwi bird? Cutest thing ever :) Mama loves it, because it's you loving her in your own way =)

Beautiful piece of artwork.

I LOVE it! Beautiful.

I love it - welcome to the tattooed club :)

Secretly, your Little Mama loves it, I can just feel that.

Wow - looks fantastic! And really, I think it's a lovely tribute. If it's meaning and you love it, then she'd love it too.

Wow - looks fantastic! And really, I think it's a lovely tribute. If it's meaning and you love it, then she'd love it too.

LOVELY - such a big juicy heart - traditional and radical.

Your Little Mama knows and is probably giggling -

That's a fantastic tattoo! The ink high is amazing--I'm ready for my next one!!

Love. It. It's wonderful!

Oh, now I'm a really jonesing for another tattoo of my own.

Lovely ink!

Wow! You don't do anything half-*ssed, do you?


I totally get the endorphin thing, and I'm glad to hear it from someone else. I LOVED getting my tattoo - it was such a high. I'm surprised I haven't done more.


I love it!

It's perfect! And you're the only one in the world with just that one, which is so cool. I felt the way you did when I got mine - I needed help putting my ideas together, I was worried it wouldn't end up 'right' (though I didn't know what 'right' was), and in the end my artist did it perfectly. The good ones really are artists!

Oh my god, its gorgeous. The kiwi bird is the best, and the whole thing is so sweet. good for you for getting it done, and done right.

I LOVE it!!! What a perfect memorial piece for little mama. :)

Lovely work! And there is suc a satisfaction in memorializing a lost loved one with a bit of beautiful artwork in your flesh forever. Mine's on my ankle. 10 years last month.

My mami? Yeah, she loves things if I love them, period. I am so close to bursting into tears. You are beautiful. I love the tribute. You rock.

I love it! And you're so right--moms love things that make us happy. I've thought about a tattoo before, but I'd want it close to a bone, so the pain has been a big turn off.

(Oh, and there's a setting that will automatically flip those pictures taken on MacBooks so they look like reality instead of a mirror.)

I love the tattoo!!

it's fantastic! I love that you went all out, and I love the flowers, they are perfection! great work.

very cute! I can see how happy you are in the pics. Thanks for sharing!

Looks great! Love the colors and the shading, and the bird is really great!

That is adorable. Love the design, too--props to Lala and Tanja for making it work.

great tat and great way to memorialize your little mama ;0 hearts and hugs to you...
oh, by the way...forget-me-nots are the Alaska state flower!

Awwww. The little mama tat is perfect for you.

I *love* it! I really enjoy when people share the stories of why they got the tattoos they did, and how personal they usually are. *happysigh* What a great memorial. :)

Having full sleeves myself, I have to say that your new ink is phenomenal! Congratulations! And to go to such a fantastic parlor - excellent choice! I have a big one on my ass from Henry Goldfield, also in North Beach. I think he's retired or partially retired now, but his shop is still open. I understand his artists are out of this world, too.

Make sure to keep it moist. New tats hate drying out, and you'll hate it, too. I always washed mine twice a day for about three days, then once a day, and put a very light coat of Neosporin on them. Worked like a charm. I don't know what your artist told you to do, but follow her instructions.

You also picked a perfect place for a tat. Upper arms are the easiest IMHO. I've got them everywhere, and I think my calf hurt the worst - even more so than the one on my lower back (which is quite large).

It's so cute, and that kiwi is the inspired touch.

Oh yay! It's so. awesome. It looks beautiful on your arm, and dude, you look beautiful in these pics. what a fabulous tribute to your little mama!

I love it, and love that you did this, but I have to say ... that I think the Little Mama tattoo is actually bigger than the Little Mama!


Super beautiful! Yay for finding the right artist to create the perfect piece. =)

LOVE IT. Congrats. It's a really beautiful tattoo :)

It looks so good!!!

Thanks for the info on the tatoo place too!

your tat is totally awesome - what a fabulous way to honor you mom - I've wanted to do the same exact thing for years to remember my mom too - and with a bird too (go figure)!! but I'm such a wuuuusssss - however, I think you just inspried me! LOVE LOVE LOVE YOURS!!

Oh I LOVE it! Have you ever seen the ones Carole and I got for our mamas?



So sweet! And yes, the kiwi just makes it perfect. What we find perfect for new tats is the Everything Balm from Goodies Unlimited - really keeps things supple and well protected. I got my first tat on my right upper arm too - and from one of Lyle Tuttle's crew way back when Lyle himself was still around. They all do great work.

What a lovely tribute. Why do I think that I can hear your little Mama laughing softly?

How wonderful for you to recognize and cherish your mom for all eternity. So sorry to hear of her passing and hope you are ok.. Lean on your family and friends my dear, they will never regret being there for you. So hard to take, I know..

Be good to yourself and remember to listen to your mother. She may be departed but never gone....

that is simply gorgeous! I love all the elements you/she incorporated into the final design! And I love that little kiwi!!

It's BEAUTIFUL! What a lovely tribute to your little Momma! You had to have a birdie in there for Tanja - have you ever seen so many pretty birds?

I'll buy you a drink to celebrate the new tat when next we meet. Gorgeous!

It's fantastic; the kiwi bird is inspired and gorgeous. Also, you are such a badass. And also, you're totally glowing in these pics.

nice!!!! xoxo

OMG. The little kiwi is perfect!

Fabulous Rachael!

Great ink! The colors are gorgeous.

I have tats on both my upper arms and I agree -- didn't hurt much -- so I was a little complacent for my back -- parts of which REALLY hurt.

Bitchin' Tatt! And it will always look groovy with summery dresses and tank tops. I love a great big honking tattoo on a girl's arm I do.

So FAB. I would be doin' the happy dance 4 eternity if either of my daughters memorialize me in that way!

It looks great!
Forget-me-nots are my mom's fave, too.
I took your lead and am staying in bed today after a long crazy month of work, not work and worry. It feels great. Also swatching the Feb Lady Sweater...what a perfect day!

That is badass!! I totally love it. ARrgGHHH!!! Now I want to go get another one. But I can't afford it yet. Poop. Ah well, I can get my vicarious tat high thru you!!

Very nice indeed!
My kids did tats for their dad each on their 18th birthday! They are my favorites of all of their tats.

Wow. Beautiful!

Love it! I love when artists can capture exactly what you are imagining. Awesome!

what a lovely way to immortalize your mom.


And I'm so jealous of your tattoo artist/place. I'm in L.A., and it's just so intimidating & hipster. I want a new tattoo and I called one place and they made me feel so stupid I gave up. Sigh.

I skimmed through the pictures before I read the post and I was thinking "GOOD GOD THAT MUST HAVE HURT!" before I read the text.

But that's where the worst of my fibro pain is so I guess on normal people it's just fine. :)

The shading in that thing is epic! I'll look towards Tanja if I ever decide to go through with my fancypance sleeve idea.

That is GORGEOUS!! I love love love it.

Yay - nice tat! I love the Kiwi. That is a wonderful way to remember your Little Mama and I am SURE she is appreciating it.

I adore it.

I have three. The one on my arm? Didn't hurt at all.

The one on my hip? Hurt in spots (which is why the dragon's toe is crooked, oops).

The one on my back, near my shoulder blade? Holy god. I looked at my friend and said "Talk." She said "About what?" I said "Just talk."

Still no clue what she talked about.

It looks amazing! What a great way to pay tribute to your little mama.

That is a great tattoo and a great way to memorialize your mom. I remember meeting her at your wedding and she was pretty damn cool. TMK

I love it! Did you know I had a tatt from Tanja too? Yep - La was there for part of it. Wonder if she remembers?

Love the kiwi bird!

I myself am working on a full sleeve and for my fortieth I am giving myself a back piece.

I also like the pain! (except certain areas that are quite excruciating like the inside crook of the elbow and the inside of the arm).

Mazel Tov on your first tatt! Did you know they are addictive? I predict more. . .


Very nice!

I've been doodling my potential tattoo for a few months now, but can't quite get it right.

Yours suits you perfectly. Nice tribute to your Mom.

Such a beautiful tribute to your beloved Little Mama. So sorry to hear of her passing. Peace and strength be with you. I am so sorry.

That is nine kinds of awesome - she would be so proud.

I LOVE it.

At first I thought "It's BIG" (eep), but by the last photo I was getting a little misty and loving it.

Oh, it's gorgeous! Congrats!

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