Monday, November 24, 2008

the creative fire

have any of you figured out how to manage the comings and goings of that thing called inspiration? i haven't. it seems to have its own mind, its own clock, its own agenda. oddly enough sometimes i prefer it that way; i like the surprise of not knowing what will float in and out of my head and or when it will happen.

but when i only have one free hour and nothing comes? grrrrr.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008


thanks to both steve and cindy for their recent tags. i loved cindy's idea of posting pictures of herself as a child, so i went digging through my many boxes of stuff (see post below) for my old photos that i do believe qualify as vintage. (i'm the slightly taller, grouchy looking one.) so, here are my seven (plus) random facts; consider yourself tagged if you care to share :)

1. remember my dear sweet friend who found my daughter's hat in the street last week? well, yesterday she found my younger daughter's coat, also in the street, in nearly the exact same location.

2. i still can't figure out how i passed finance. someone must have helped me.

3. once i couldn't find my car at the minneapolis airport. it was late, i was exhausted, and i was in no mood for searching, so i gave up and took a cab home. my husband gently reminded me that we needed to go back and find my car the next day. it hadn't occurred to me.

4. i'm late for an appointment right now, and have no business writing this post.

5. i've survived every meeting and class since high school by taking notes backwards so no one can see what i'm really writing.

6. one of my best friends chronicles her life through car accidents (yes, she's had that many). my favorite accident was when she backed into one of her high school teachers in a drive-thru.

7. i can't get double dutch bus by frankie smith out of my head.

8. check out stephanie's gorgeous shop update. her work just blows me away.

9. my sister will kill me if she ever sees these pictures. don't tell. not that she would have anything to complain about - she got the cool glasses and that groovy red coat.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

a little village

last night i was going through some boxes of stuff (i have too many boxes of stuff), and i found this painting i did about eight years ago after visiting the charming little village of tiradentes, brazil. if i could make artsyville a real town, i would want it to look like just like tiradentes - a warm, colorful, quirky, nonlinear, haphazard place where it would be a joy to retreat and create.

speaking of joy, i was thrilled to find christy's letterpress joy card in the december/january issue of mary engelbreit's home companion. here it is online, and in the magazine it is on page 30. if you're a letterpress fan, get thee over to the petite press; christy's work is amazing. there is also a great article in this issue about penelope dullaghan, founder of illustration friday.

other news: sold some more prints at the blue plate exhibition and i'm off to deliver them this afternoon. and, now that i have the print thing figured out, i've decided to take artsyville to etsyville. i reserved the name earlier this year just in case i decided to open up a shop, and i'm glad i did. hopefully, artsyville will be up and running by the beginning of december with 5"x7" and 8"x10" doodleprints.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

four worlds bakery

here is the new logo for my brother-in-law's business, four worlds bakery in philadelphia. the original logo i designed last year was more of a drawing than a logo, and i found it super clunky to work with when i started handlettering the menu and signs for his storefront, so i asked him to let me simplify it. he's a good sport, and so he agreed. now, after looking over the menu, i'm hungry. croissants...chocolate babka...yum...

Monday, November 17, 2008

someone is watching you

this is without question my favorite shrub in lawrence.

artsy girl was tickled by all of your birthday wishes, and she was thrilled to get her long-awaited sparkly red dorothy shoes and sweet six-candle birthday shirt from my dear friend alix who designs the grooviest children's clothing. the party went smoothly with maximum fun, minimal mess and no fights. we were well on our way to having the house restored when i realized the two-year-old had disappeared. i found her sitting on the stairs next to the most unbelievable scribblefest. purple crayon, white wall. she even decimated our world map. south america is no longer recognizable (especially patagonia), and french polynesia took a hefty beating as well. the rest of the world was too high for her to reach.

happy monday!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

happy birthday, artsy girl

a very special beautiful artsy little girl is turning six today! we're having a fun-filled day here (and i am scrambling to clean the floor before people arrive; now that i've started looking down again, it's a scary sight...)

happy birthday, artsy girl :)

Friday, November 14, 2008


on some days i handle the nuances of social interactions with ease; on others i show up as an alien on my own planet :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

day of the dropped

while i was getting reacquainted with gravity and its consequences, somehow i overlooked the stock market, which seems even more obsessed than i do with looking down. my favorite item here is the unfortunate cupcake mishap that befell a dear old friend when she forgot to lock a cupcake carrier (one that was designed to prevent cupcake explosions) and they all landed on the garage floor (icing down, of course).

today is a chilly but gorgeous one. i have to leave for kansas city in 20 minutes. guess i should get out of my pajamas and get moving :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

and finally, looking up

i had one doodle left in me today, so i continued looking up and around. some things were good to see, others not so much. lately i've been getting a kick out of fruenswerk's marker drawings, so i dug out my old box of tria/letrasets. i've had these markers for eight years and i was surprised at how few of them had dried up. most of them were in great shape. but i had forgotten how stinky they are. after a glass of wine and smelling these babies for an hour, i started feeling like the little guy trying to pull the guitar off the building.

i just got an e-mail from my friend alix, who found my daughter's hat in a puddle on the street this afternoon. only in this town would i ever have a fighting chance of someone i know recognizing my daughter's hat and giving it back to me. and i know my girl. i've seen her discard her coat and backpack on the sidewalk without a care in the world; the hat was probably bothering her and i'll bet she flung her hat in that puddle on purpose.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

life on safari: looking all around

i couldn't get my two year old to nap in her bed this afternoon, so i put her in the stroller and took her on a chilly safari downtown. she fell asleep about thirty seconds into the walk, so i got the gift of an hour to look up and all around at little things that i normally miss because i'm either looking down or trying to keep my children from running into the street. i also ran into a sweet friend of mine and we just burst out laughing when we saw each other, because this is the third time we've seen each other this week, unexpectedly, in completely different places. i guess we must like the same spots around town, huh? fun little incidents like that always brighten my day.

logo torture

this weekend i've been working on handlettered menus and signs for my brother-in-law's bakery and redesigning the logo. i'm not a very good logo designer because i always want to change it as soon as i've finished.

also amusing myself with a few more rounds of mindless word fun.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

mindless word fun

it's too cold to go outside, so today i'm going on safari in my head. once in a while i like to dig out my magic bag of cut-up words and give my subconscious a creative workout. give it a whirl! see what bizarre things come out of your head. don't think about it too much. it's a great opportunity to let the uncensored part of your brain drive the car.

perhaps tomorrow i'll venture outside and look up.

Friday, November 7, 2008

life on safari: looking down

last month, jennifer new started a discussion group on facebook called 'life on safari', a way to think about everyday experiences through fresh perspectives. her inspiration for this discussion board was dan eldon, a photojournalist killed at the age of 22 while on assignment in somalia in 1993. his life and the journals of his adventures around the world have been documented in several books, including jennifer's dan eldon: the art of life. dan's motto was to live life as if it were a safari, which jennifer describes as "about more than getting from point a to point's about being open to the unexpected. being on safari means living in the moment."

jennifer's first life on safari challenge was to break our regular way of seeing things by looking in a different direction. for me, that would be up - or even at eye level. but before i stuck my head up in the sky to see what was up there, i thought it would be fun to think about why i constantly look down while i walk.

if i'm brave enough to look up, i'll complete this quest in the next post. in the meantime, if any of you are on facebook, please stop by; we'd love to have you go on the next safari with us.

(oh, have you discovered urban sketchers yet? if not, go...)

(daily update: my evening is off to an excellent start with a dose of the onion and a glass of happy shiraz)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

the headlines

as kansas went red last night, you would have never known it had you been in lawrence. immediately after the big announcement our little city exploded into cheers, honks, and songs of joy that lasted well into the wee hours of the morning :)

Monday, November 3, 2008


i had about fiftythousand ideas for vacant, but after weeding out the ones that might have scared you off forevermore, i settled on this notion that nibbles at me now and then. when i take the time to think about why i moved on from a phase in life, i usually find that there was a very good reason for it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


so here are the finished goods! WHOA, that was a lot of work. i now have a serious and deep respect for those in the baking profession. i don't have that kind of stamina, so i won't be adding baker to my collection of miscellaneous job titles, but i do plan to add *food labeler* to the list. THAT was fun!

the label doodle also reminded me that i have a long overdue project for my brother-in-law's bakery. long ago i did the logo for him, and then promised to hand letter the signs and menus, but i haven't yet delivered on that part. he's been as incredibly patient as i've been incredibly lazy about it (and short on ideas, until now).

did all of you remember to move your clocks back where appropriate? oh, i long for the days when that extra hour meant something. my girls were wide awake at the same time they always get up - only today it was one hour earlier.

p.s. hope you all had a great halloween! oh! here's one last look at my demented pumpkin. my sister 'carved' hers this year with mr. potato head pieces - pure genius! can't wait to try that next year, after how this guy turned out: