Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Silly Dress and Links

When I got excited about finding this dress at the Salvation Army, Emma thought I was insane. But I think I have good, refined, sensible, reasonable –if somewhat eccentric– taste. Sure it's dated, but in the best way.

Things to check out:

Back to the dress, I think I'll wear it before I stick it in my etsy store. After all, I have a pair of cowboy boots and I'm kinda going through a country thing.

Portraits By Beatrice

Do you get all awkward when people take pictures of you? I do! And it's really silly because I feel totally comfortable in front of a camera when nobody else is around. All the pictures of me you ever see on here are self-portraits.

Until now.

Beatrice decided she wanted to take pictures of her own mama. I think she's a natural. She made me feel totally at ease and we just had fun! For a 4 year old, she's pretty good. I wasn't even nervous about her handling my camera...

Monday, July 29, 2013

This Week :: a link and list post 1

1. Hudson came to town. We all gathered at Irene and ate good food (onion stuffed roasted chicken that Hudson earned for a day's work on a farm, beets, french bread, gazpacho and some cherry tomatoes from our garden). Then, standing around on the huge front porch talking and laughing I thought there were surely enough couples for a dance. We danced this one until my shoes fell apart. Literally. And it was nice to catch up with Hudson. He gave me a really good idea for the upcoming school year.

2. James and I got sucked into Firefly. We did a week-long marathon, watching an episode or two (or three!) a night. Shiny! But it's a gorram shame it got cancelled. Shiong mao niao! (It's not as bad as it could be though, thanks to this.)

3. Summer Project Update: I made three awesome book covers. Th'ain't completely finished, but they are pretty much there. Just some tweaks and off to print!

4. I bought a bikini. It looks like an American flag, it's from Wal-Mart. This is the kind I am used to wearing. Got tired of weird tan lines.

5. Have you looked at my tumblr page lately? I changed it. If you click on a picture, you might see more than is on the main page. Enjoy.

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Week

Although I had only planned on taking that one day off, I ended up being sick all week. Gosh, I've just been totally out of it!

But I kept up with my project for the week and should be able to print out the three book covers I'm working on by this weekend. I'll also be printing the cd cover at that time. Don't worry, I'll show you how they turn out.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Taking A Day Off

It's really hard to stop and not do anything for awhile. The kids are napping and I have a head cold. I spent the first hour of their naps (the part when they aren't asleep and they keep making too much noise and asking for stuff) pacing and wanting to work on this or that but feeling winded at just the thought. Sheesh, even typing that run-on sentence wore me out!

Ok, that does it. I'm going to sit on the couch with Rocket and watch a movie.


It's been raining too much for us to have the best crop this year. But still, some good cherry tomatoes have grown in our little backyard garden. Bea is so into this. She harvested some this morning and already ate her favorite one! Here she is bright and early.

There was a fat little bunny in the garden this morning. I saw him when I was fixing the coffee and hollered out the window. He ran off, but came back a few minutes later. Guess we'll have to put up a scarecrow. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Drawing Lines

I love the first track of James' upcoming album. Draw a Line in the Sand (and watch us wipe it away).

This week, my project has been designing a look for this album that works as an unconventionally packaged CD, translates to standard vinyl size and also could be rearranged as a show poster. I am really inspired by vintage books covers and "vintage inspired" contemporary typefaces. (I found some here!)

The album is an exciting collection of raucous, spirited, sing-along/shout-along protest songs.

Here is the in-progress cover:

The design wraps around so that there are two flaps making up the back cover wherein the disc itself shall rest.

I am kind of excited about these fonts. They are newly designed from the co-op linked above, available for a name your price deal. 

Ok, well, I'll be the first to admit that I have a long way to go. Of course, I am aware that trying to complete a project a week is ambitious. But I'm still on it!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Amby's Work

My son is so particular about his toys tools. He collects parts and puts them together. A lot of times, he can't get them to go just right and he asks me to "fix it." I have no idea what he wants. This takes up a lot of our time.

This is what he does all day, every day.

Blocks, letter magnets, drumsticks, kazoos, palette knives, kitchen spoons, straws, pipe cleaners. Anything and everything!

He usually carries around a few tools at all times. (If you look closely at the pictures from our recent trip to Paris Mnt., you will see 2 kazoos in his hands!) He even sleeps with them. He has put them together to be longer than he is tall, though mostly they are just the right size to be used as swords.

He came crying because his things wouldn't fit together, 
This is how it looked.
From what he described, this is how I thought he wanted it.
But really the kazoo needed to be wedged in here.
Like this.
Now he's ok with it.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


That's what my etsy shop has been lately. I haven't been adding that much to it, just saving it all up. I have so many treasures. Eccentric, wonderful treasures. But they will be up soon. Oh, so soon. Here is a black and white preview of some of the pieces I'll be adding.

And I haven't decided yet if I'll let the following one go. So many times, I sold and regretted. I hate regrets. (examples 1 & 2)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer Drink :: Gentle Lemon Saketini

Even though it hasn't been much of a summer –mostly just cool rain– there's still a strong pull in me to drown in sake. Ice cold sake. One year, it was moscato , another gin and tonic. This year, sake! 

To make this drink:

1. fill your glass with ice
2. use that smaller glass to measure 1 glassful each of tonic water and lemonade to pour over ice
3. fill the rest of your glass with sake
4. use a butter knife to stir

There's a poem I found in Lapham's Quarterly all about sake, but I can't find that magazine right now. When I do, I'll share it with you. For now, I recommend you try this simple drink. The lemonade and tonic water make the sake so smooth. Not too tart, not too sweet. Just gentle.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Little House, Little Girl, Little Dress

One day last week, I got a wild hair and went up in the attic. I got down all my fabric scraps and found that they entertained the kids for HOURS. While they were thus occupied, did I catch up on chores? Did I do something pressing and necessary? Nope.

I made Bea a dress and pinafore.

Kids need play clothes afterall and she's pretty much outgrown last year's shorts, omg they're tiny! I prefer to avoid normal kids clothes as they are covered with characters and logos. Ugh. So I can go to Buy Buy Baby where they sell adorable gender neutral clothes (see Bea model them here, here and here) for really not that much dollars. But still a lot compared to yard sale prices which are pretty much my speed.

Or, or. Or I can make them Fraulein Maria style from old drapes and bedsheets and requisitioned garments. As I do occasionally for myownself.

So I made the pattern for the bodice out of muslin and fitted it to her with room to grow. A dress and pinafore are perfect for a little kid like Bea. She can play hard and not worry about messing anything up because the pinafore protects the dress and said pinafore is of a patterned fabric. Try getting a stain to show up on it! It's a lot cuter than standard kids' clothes and relates to the book characters she's grown up with from those of Beatrix Potter to Laura Ingalls Wilder to more recently George MacDonald.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Back In The Game

Until now my summer has been about being a mom, getting my house in order, growing food, vacation bible school, preschool, etc. All great things and important and worthwhile. But I had no time –or was giving no time– to my own creative pursuits.

Until now.

I made a map of the rest of my summer and it includes four (4) projects. They are all art/design related and will all go toward my senior seminar portfolio. They all address various gaps therein as well as things I've just wanted to tackle. When I'm done, I will have no products or market-related items in my portfolio. (*goal*)

Drawing, designing, printing, painting, vectoring, photographing. Four projects. Four weeks.

I'm so freaking excited!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

True Confessions

1. I don't sort the laundry. 

I don't have time, for one thing. And also, we don't have whites to keep white or brights to keep bright or reds that haven't had a million opportunities to bleed. Our clothes are old. Maybe the previous owners sorted them, but by now they are well broken in. I have to keep laundry as simple as possible... or I simply won't do it.

2. While we are on the laundry thing, I don't fold all the clothes. 

If something of mine is in danger of getting wrinkled, I'll usually just hang it up. Bea's clothes don't get folded because she removes them from her drawers to spread around the room anyway, so that would be a waste of my time. James has his own way of folding and organizing his things so I dont' fold them.  Amby's the only one when gets his clothes folded just because they are so little and cute and they stay in neat stacks in his chest of drawers.

3. I throw away my kids' stuff.

Like, constantly. If you ask me one too many times to fix something? It's disappearing. If I step on it and hurt my foot? Gone. If it makes any kind of annoying sound whatsoever? Well, you get the idea.

4. I delete phone messages without listening to them. 

Most of the time, I avoid the phone. Ignoring calls, opting to facebook people instead of call them. We have a really basic phone without caller ID, so if someone calls and leaves a message, I go into voice mail just long enough to hear what number called. Then I delete it. If I know the number, I might call back. Like if it was James or Mama. That's about it. And here is why: I have small children. It's like some kind of switch that gets flipped in them whenever I am on the phone. They have to interrupt, pull each others' hair, fall from high places, break things. The household dissolves into a pit of tormented screams every time I am on the phone, without fail. It is both infuriating and embarrassing.

Ok, I think I'll stop while I'm ahead. But this was fun, I should do it again sometime. But now it's your turn. :)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Something is Not Right

When the chair of the Art Department and all the Graphic Design professors (3) resign within a couple months of each other, you know something ain't right.


At this point, none of us knows what is going on and we have to just hope that by the time we get back to school in a few weeks, there will still be a graphic design program. I am set to graduate in Spring and I only have three classes in my field left to take.

It looks like I will spend my Senior year under the tutelage of complete strangers rather than the professors who guided me and know my style and how I work. It's kinda scary.

What Is Going On?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


I love telling Beatrice dreadful stories at bedtime about young girls in harrowing situations who save themselves by being "quiet as a mouse and still as stone." She is always the girl and she always falls asleep in no time.

One is about Goldilocks and the Three Bears at Night. The bears are still hungry that night after Goldilocks meddled with their porridge. Goldilocks is in bed (with her door shut and locked, her closet light off because she refused to hush!) when she hears a low, angry growl (1) under the bed, (2) in the closet and (3) outside her window. Soon her room is swarming with hangry bears and the only way she might go undetected is to play dead, er, pretend to be asleep. This story has worked for nights and nights on end. I leave her looking asleep and within a few minutes she really is!

Now we have a July in Berea edition. (Or do people all over the place continue shooting fireworks all month.) This story is called The Firecracker Witch. It is about a witch who cannot stand bright children and seeks to destroy them. She invents a kind of firecracker that is so loud the children jump out of bed screaming. The magic part is that the firework can find the children, smashing right through their windows and into their beds, exploding into a nightmare of fire and lava that consumes them. But only if they are moving and/or making noise.

I fill these stories with a lot of detail and suspense, enjoying the way her eyes grow wide along the way, our faces close. She is so earnest and innocent. But she is smart, too. She knows they are stories, not real. But it's a fun game to close the day and Beatrice likes to suspend disbelief as much as her mama does.

All these images are illustrations by Jessie Willcox Smith.

Monday, July 8, 2013


this is rad
I started reading Prelude to Foundation by Isaac Asshole Asimov and found it to be totally unbelievable. (Supposedly genius characters putting complete trust in total strangers.) I read the first 50 pages and put it down. I'm used to sci-fi being both gripping from the start and believable given the constraints of the (D)universe.

Instead, I am reading Foundation by the same. (It is the one that was written first in the series, although Prelude is the first chronologically.) This one makes a lot more sense to start with as it does a fairly good job of setting up the universe. (It's kinda like reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe first rather than The Magician's Nephew even though the events in the latter happened first. It seems rarer to have this problem so much these days as series are planned at conception, like Harry Potter as well as that unfortunate series.)

I'm already pretty into it. And really, with the weather so gray and dreadful (as it's been and threatens always to be), what could be better than a good sci-fi story?

Note: I considered titling this post An Exercise in the Overuse of the Parentheses. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Paris Mountain

It's been raining every day and rarely climbing above 83 degrees. Mostly we get storms in the afternoons, huge dark clouds rolling in over the backyard. There's a sudden drop in temperature and the rain pelts down, killing our garden.

I love the excitement of a good summer storm. But every day??

So yesterday, we decided to go out anyway. Yeah, the sky was dark, but the forecast assured us we had until 5pm eastern time to seek shelter in an interior room.

We went to Paris Mountain State Park and walked around Lake Placid. It was great to get out. We took off our shoes and hiked. The kids were troopers; We didn't have to carry them at all! And it was nice out the whole time.

Hiking with kids means examining every little thing. 
Bea had to stop and let her dress dry out a little.
Ambrose is still getting used to diaper free living. He needed to rinse off...
Such a pretty trail.
Dead snake. Yeah, a second later Bea picked it up.
Hiking in style.
Everyone who passed us seemed disturbed by our lack of shoes. It was ok though. We didn't see any needles.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Nothing but BS

Baking Soda, that is. Bear with me.

So my sister Emma stopped using shampoo. She's doing the "No-Poo" method. I think that sounds like something gross. It's just baking soda for washing and vinegar for conditioning. Her hair looks amazing.

Now I've joined in. I read up on it. All about how the first few weeks are going to be hell, (so make sure you don't have any big events planned). I haven't noticed any difference except that my natural curl is more pronounced, a welcome change.

But it's weird in the shower. You have the baking soda in a container, right, I use a measuring cup. You get a little in your palm and add water, mixing it up until it gets... slimy. Then you wash, just the scalp. It's just to get the build up of oil away. I'm not sure what you do if you use a lot of product in your hair. I don't. I only wash when my hair gets flat on top from being oily after a few days. It's been a lot less oily since I stopped using shampoo. Anyway, you kinda just scrub and try to get that strong desire for lather to leave you alone.

Then you rinse out the BS and condition with vinegar. I started out using apple cider vinegar. You know that sour smell of laundry that didn't get put in the dryer soon enough? That's the smell that followed me around after the first wash. I'd read that there'd be no vinegar smell. But come on, common sense, folks. If you put vinegar in your hair and let it sit there while you wash? The smell is going to linger.

Now I use regular vinegar with a few drops of eucalyptus oil. It's a lot better.

If you want to try this method, do it! I'm really happy with my clean, fresh, healthy hair. No harsh chemicals (edit: Fewer harsh chemicals in the long run) and no pricey products. :)