Saturday, February 28, 2009

recovery mode

I'm starting to get back on track a bit today after a week of mild illness but intense complaining (sorry, family!). My medical team (WebMD and I) diagnosed me with some tonsillitis followed but just some vague 'ookiness' that seemed to just linger for a few days. I think it was my body taking revenge on me for months of bad sleeping and eating habits with little to no exercise to boot. So, I need to take better care of myself I suppose. The day I accidentally took tylenol PM instead of regular tylenol was particularly unproductive.

I managed to get one little thing done this week. We have a birthday party for a dear two-year old to attend this afternoon and I made a little monogrammed play-doh pouch for him. Inside it has some store bought tools, a table mat, and a recipe for homemade play-doh included (the one from "What to Expect the Toddler Years" - it really is the best recipe). I hope he likes it. The table mat didn't turn out quite as cute as I hoped. I used iron-on vinyl to make it and I am still trying to get the hang of that stuff. I did recently read in "Sew Darn Cute" that you should use a walking foot when sewing with iron-on vinyl. That makes a lot of sense. Now, if only I had a walking foot. I did use some basting spray to hold my layers together and that helped a lot.
But anyway, I had fun making this gift regardless of my vinyl troubles.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

check this out people

You should know this about me: I love children's book illustration. I mean I love it. I used to check out kid's books from the library as an adult before I had kids just to oogle at the art. I kind of worship certain illustrators rock-star style. So I am going to share my latest love: Karen Barbour.

I think I actually gasped a little when I first saw this book. The pictures inside nearly brought tears to my eyes. I know I sound so dramatic about it but it's true! I love the details and the sweetness and the patterns. I think she's fantastic.

Who are your favorite illustrators?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

finally finishing some things

I am feeling so good about finally finishing up a project or two. I have gotten into the bad habit of having a dozen or so things in the works at once and never completing any of them. So I put a couple of things in my shop and finished this embroidered piece. Those aren't really traditional baby colors but I love them anyway.

Front:
Back:

I would love to put this in the shop but I am waiting to see if I can get permission. As I was stitching it it suddenly occurred to me that I might not be able to just use someone's quote to sell my product. Copyright law is just one of those things that, as an artist, I should really really know more about but have not yet taken the time and effort to really get a grip on it. I do always strive to do the right thing, however, so I have requested permission and am waiting to hear back. If I never get the go-ahead then I will most likely pass it on to someone with a little one on the way and that's fine too.

All that being said, as much as I love quotations and type I might just shy away from using them anymore. It's getting to be too complicated. Or maybe I'm just lazy. Let's go with 'complicated'.

My goal today: to bring the house status back up to "teetering on chaos" from it's current state: spiraling way out of control.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It's a shame

I found out not long ago after reading Two Straight Lines blog that WONDERTIME magazine is shutting down. What a shame. Wondertime was a fantastic magazine. Not only was it beautiful to look at but the writers somehow always managed to shed unique light on parenting subjects that have been around as long as parents have (in addition to introducing brand new ones). I'm sure with all the other parenting magazines out there that was not easy to do.

I could always count on great craft ideas from Wondertime as well (thanks Two Straight Lines!). Here is one I made awhile back. These are just fabric covered flat beads that have been coated with multiple layers of mod podge. As was suggested in the magazine, I used fabrics that had sentimental meaning to me. Because of that I treasure these simple pieces so much. My older son, Peter, loves it when I wear the light blue one - he knows I am thinking about him when I do - I love that!

And lastly, another really special feature that Wondertime had was their instant journal pages. They generously made them available on their website - go check them out!

Oh, and my local NPR station just nixed The Parents Journal! People must think I can do this mothering thing all on my own - boy are they wrong!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Illustration Friday - TIME


raise your hand if...

...you scoffed at Home Economics class in high school but now it seems like just about the coolest class you could have taken.

Monday, February 9, 2009

weekend wrap-up

We had a busy but very nice weekend here. My in-laws were in town on a promotional tour of sorts so we were able to spend some quality time with them. We headed to the Joslyn Art Museum on Sunday afternoon and somehow managed to see some art in spite of Adam's (16 mo. old) efforts to stop us. We had him all strapped up in the stroller of course - I mean there's just no way we could unleash him in such a place. He discovered pretty early on that there was significant echo potential there and proceeded to show off his great big voice nearly the entire time. awesome.
I wasn't sure what to do. I didn't want to disturb all the childless folks (meaning everyone but us) but at the same time what am I supposed to do, pay my admission then hide in the bathroom with my baby? We decided to tough it out and did not make eye contact with any of the other visitors which was really hard for me - I'm big on politeness.
Anyway, we saw a great exhibition of woodcuts - I love woodcuts. There was even one by one of my very favorite artists K├Ąthe Schmidt Kollwitz. I would love to post some pictures from the website but that probably just wouldn't be right. Lots of gorgeous illustration there too. fantastic!

Friday, February 6, 2009

In the works this week

While I have not been making cute little kid sized letter carrier bags I have been plodding along on a couple of other things.

finished up some embroidery for another quote block for the shop. I really liked that blue stitch. When I pointed it out to Vince (husband) and said 'isn't that stitch so sweet?' he just looked at me and replied, "I don't get it". There's just something about embroidery stitches that makes my heart flutter, am I the only one?

The other item on my agenda this week has been a ...get this... Christmas present for my parents. Yes that's right, on Christmas morning I wrapped up what was essentially an I.O.U. and gave it to them. I hated to do that but I just knew I couldn't get this done in time. Anyway, they just moved to a new house and are preparing to leave the house in which they raised their four daughters behind. Not an easy task for anyone. So, I am working on a house 'portrait' for them to hang in their new house. It's in colored pencil - a medium I love. My pencils have been packed away for awhile though and it has felt really good to get them out again. Working on this has made me really look closely at the house where I grew up as well. I never realized how beautiful it was I guess.

So that has been my week. Nothing finished of course but I am making (slow) progress. Sometimes I think I should have named my Etsy shop 'turtlecraft' or 'snailworks'.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

So many crafts, so little time

What kind of craft loser blogs about what she isn't making? Well, me.
I had to just say no to two fun craft opportunities recently and while I am proud of myself for recognizing my time limitations I'm also really bummed.
Opportunity 1: A friend invited me to join her monthly handmade card swap. It would have meant making 8 - 10 cards each month and a get-together to exchange them. Doesn't that sound like fun?
Opportunity 2: A note comes home in Peter's (my five yr. old) backpack that says they are switching one learning center from a play house to a play post office and any donations for it would be welcome. How much fun would it be to sew up a little mail carrier bag? Picture it - kid sized, denim, corduroy, canvas? a little freezer paper stencil of the USPS logo?? I had to be honest with myself though and realize that their little post office would be just fine without my handmade letter carrier bag and that I should really focus on some of my many other works in progress. But come on, wouldn't it be so cute? oh well
Okay, in my next post I promise to write about something I AM doing.