Wednesday, December 31, 2008


oh, what a year it has been! one year ago starting a blog was the last thing from my mind. at the time i was going through an intense creative burst after a long spell away from my art. after a few months of of insomnia and manic art-ing, i finally started the blog to contain and organize the chaos. something snapped into place after that. the structure of a blog was just the discipline i needed. it has brought art back to my life on a daily basis, something i dreamed about but hadn't been able to do in a meaningful way until now. i'm not sure it would have happened without the blog and the inspiration i've found in the worlds of other creatives online. i'm very grateful for the support and encouragement i've received from all of you.

i'll sign off for the year with a marvelous piece of news: i found out last week that artsyville will be featured in the summer 2009 issue of Artful Blogging! i am beyond thrilled about this and will share updates/info about it as the magazine gets closer to the publication date. and now, i'm taking the girls to IHOP for a big stack of chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream. time to close out 2008 and dream about what will be coming our way and yours for 2009. things are peeking around the corner for everyone and i'm curious to find out what they are. happy new year :)

Monday, December 29, 2008


my stolen hours aren't spent doing things that most would consider to be spicy or headline-grabbing, but they're important to me all the same. when i get a gift of time that i didn't expect, i like to doodle, read or just disappear into my head for a while. the best stolen hours are guilt-free surprises, like when someone cancels an appointment or a meeting i didn't want to go to in the first place, or when my husband takes our girls out for an hour or two.

i've also taken the moral low ground and swiped those hours myself when necessary. when i was office-chained to seventy hour workweeks, in moments of desperation i would slink up to the roof of my building and gape at the sky, since i was too mind-numbed to do anything else. or in the days when i was catching 6 am flights every monday, i admit that once in a tiny while i had an extra cup of coffee at the airport, writing or dreaming or doodling, and chalked up my delay to issues with baggage claim or car rental. just enough to get my head back on track, focused, and repaired. you know.

whether gifted or stolen, those rare hours are measured bits of gold, and i get a secret thrill out of every second of them.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


did my best to hang out in lazyville today, but i always forget that a day off for the girls isn't the same as a day off for us! there's a continuous need for food, attention, fighting, mess-making, and so on, that does not go on vacation. so since doodling isn't likely until after hours, here's a little photo tour of things that make me happy around the house:

got these cute little stacking mugs this week, and couldn't decide on a color this morning so i had coffee from all of them.

a little garlic jar i found in spain.

a local roaster gave me these nifty coffee bean sacks. i stretched them on canvas and put them on the living room wall.

a french book with great illustrations that i found at the semiannual library sale.

a bookshelf of curious objects: my husband's grandfather made the seahorse, i found the little bowl at arcosanti in arizona (an artist workshop in paradise valley), and heather made the beautiful sunprint.

this crazy owl piggy bank mysteriously appeared here yesterday. it scared the crap out of me last night when i came downstairs because it has glow in the dark eyes.

and my favorite pillow.

now looking forward to a peaceful evening in lazyville with my lovely one (today is his birthday!), a long doodle session and a glass of shoo fly shiraz.

hope you all had a great christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


parts of us get left behind for many reasons: necessity, neglect, the desire to chase other adventures; it's different for everyone. finally i've stopped analyzing why i drifted away from making art long ago. now i'm simply grateful i'm back to it again. i started this blog on a lark one day in april, and it has been the happiest, longest-lasting creative adventure i've had yet. thanks to all of you for helping me to keep artsyville going with your thoughtful and inspiring commentary.

do you have special plans for the holiday break? we've decided to stay home this year to avoid driving across the country in this garbage weather. so i'll be lurking in blogville in my pajamas with my coffee this week, if anyone wants to shout out a hello. happy holidays to you :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

jars of fun

my secret elf project is finished! for my munchkin gifts this year, i stuffed little jars of fun with artsy goodies. each jar has a healthy dose of the basics - crayons, scissors, glue, markers, pencil cases, and post-it notes - as well as little foo-foo packets of yarn, stickers, googly eyes, felt squares, envelopes, and maybe a little chocolate treat or two. i laughed when i finished the label - it looks like it came directly from the circus. now i regret that it doesn't say "jar O' fun".

it will be a marvel if these arrive before christmas. maybe i'll just put "happy new year" on the tag so it won't look like i got the idea and did it at the last minute, which is indeed the case.

now, this spent elf is ready for a glass of wine, a spin of the dreidel, and a quiet evening!

Friday, December 19, 2008

voices of denial

finally, i made a few visual companions for those little voices that speak up when i commit social gaffes... for example, i did NOT tell someone to have a good weekend when it was only tuesday... i did NOT trip on the curb yesterday while i was carrying my two year old and eat the pavement... and i definitely did NOT think those rotten things about the woman who took the time to stop and watch our spectacular human splat and then just turned around and walked away... no, no, no, say the voices, i did not do, say, or think these things!

other thoughts... a big thanks to steve loya for his interview at go flying turtle. it was so nice of him to include me in his artist interview series... if you're local, be sure to check out heather smith jones' show at the merc; some of my favorite pieces are, i'm off to artsygirl's holiday party at school, and then full force into a secret elf project...think jars of fun... i will post them later this weekend :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

little zen bundles

a few weeks ago my friend robin sent me an enchanting little goodie package of chocolate, tea and a notebook. everything about it just sat right with me, and then i realized these would make excellent holiday gifts. so i shamelessly lifted her little zen bundle idea and went on a factory production run of notebooks. they aren't fancy like hers, but they'll function well as take & toss homes for quick scribbles. and who can argue with chocolate and tea?

had a wonderful evening out w/friends last night, and today is a self-imposed snow day. i'm not big on lousy weather, but once in a while i do like to nest in my warm little house and watch the snow fall while the rest of the world goes about its business.

Monday, December 15, 2008

art goggles

finally got back to this doodle i started after a midnight doodling blunder a few weeks ago. i'm a night owl. some of my favorite ideas surface then, and i'm rarely ambivalent about what i create after dark. either i really like it or i really don't. in this case i really didn't, and now it is in the trash can, but i had fun thinking about how differently i think and do during those hours. then i read this wonderful post by judy wise about creativity after dark, in which she describes how things go bump in the night, especially during winter when the days are short and the nights are long. how i'd love to have a little protective angel floating above my head like her beautiful night muse in that second photo. when i look at her work, i can't imagine judy ever having problems with midnight art goggles.

thanks to all for the birthday wishes. it was a wonderful day and now i'm coping with the annual december 15 deflation, as everything that goes up must come down. the weather did too, in dramatic fashion. yesterday morning it was 59 degrees. this morning it was 3 with a wind chill of 15 below. if that isn't a letdown, i don't know what is!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

favorite day

this is my favorite day of every year, not just because it's my birthday, but because i share it with four special people, including my mom! so every december 14 is full of cross-country e-mails and phone calls and text messages to find out what the others are doing with their special day. so far it's been excellent! i slept in late and woke up to a big chocolate cake made by my husband and girls. even better was the chocolate smeared all over the girls' faces and seeing how excited they were to surprise me. birthdays are so magical to kids, and they're still magical to me, so in that sense i guess i just haven't grown up yet.

last day with the left hand, i think. my right doodledigit is nearly mended and will soon be ready for action! enjoy your day, all. i definitely will! :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008


well, so much for the doodlebreak. i decided to give my left hand (see below post for details) a chance at the IF topic this week. had to give up some precision, but it encouraged me to be free with the lettering in ways that my right hand might have censored. a fun creative exercise!

Friday, December 12, 2008


[scribbled w/my other hand]

i might be taking a doodlebreak for a few days... i was cutting paper all day for journals, no problem there... then i went to help with artsygirl's classroom for a bit and the teacher asked me if i could cut out stars for a project they're working on... so i said, hey, no problem, i've been at this all day. so she handed me a box cutter and of course i immediately sliced my finger with it. (my middle finger.) so it's not cooperating with drawing at the moment.

thanks for all the sweet comments about my girls, my fun surprise packages, and our lark around town... i also owe a big thanks to heather smith jones for featuring one of my pieces on modish, and to kelly and cristi for the great plugs for my etsy shop on their blogs, too. it's been a great first week!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

surprise goodies

gave artsygirl the camera this afternoon to document some of the marvelous surprise gifts that have landed in our mailbox this past week... birdiegirl holding two gorgeous pieces of artwork, the sweet little girl print from the ubertalented bella sinclair and the african drummer from soulful soulbrush...took the camera back from artsygirl to get a pic of her holding the groovy market tote from my thoughtful friend estelle, who brought this back from france and treated me to an early birthday cookie wearing these beautiful vintage hair clips from generous ricë, who has sent me so many surprise goodie packages recently that my girls start jumping up and down when they see lime-colored and cowboy-adorned envelopes in the mailbox because they know chances are good that she included a few smarties for them...and last but not least, a few pictures of birdiegirl at the children's museum in indy a few weeks ago...she discovered a mirror exhibit and was beyond confused...all she could say was... "one me...two me... three me..."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


it's passport renewal time. it has been for a long time. i just haven't done anything about it. if i can't manage to drag myself to kinkos for a few pictures and to the post office to fill out a few papers, hopes aren't too high that i'm going anywhere but kansas city and indianapolis for a while. the odds are i'll just stay in one spot and daydream about the nonstop travelgirl i used to be. for a long time i traveled for work, and my old company had a deal that allowed me to fly anywhere i wanted on the weekend as long as the airfare was the same or less than to fly back home to chicago. believe me, i took full advantage of this policy and went as many places as i could manage, going home just often enough to collect my mail. fares overseas were surprisingly often cheaper than flying back home, so i made weekend rounds to rome, lisbon, paris and london, and oddly enough, saved the company money in doing so (and yes, i did show up at work looking and feeling like a shaggy dog on monday mornings after those trips.)

these days are different. i escaped the golden handcuffs of the consulting life, the frequent flier miles are gone, and my children, sweet darlings that they are, have dramatically slowed down my wayward drifting. now i'm just happy to get a good night of sleep, a good cup of coffee and an hour of doodletime each day. the girls are showing promising signs of being travelworthy. we'll see :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


gibberish is my other gossip language, and by far it's my favorite of the two. ob is OK, and it's easy enough to use, but it is clunky and doesn't flow well in speech when you have a lot to say. gibberish takes a little longer to learn, but once you've got the pattern, the words flow like a river. and, as with any foreign language, a few glasses of wine help things along tremendously.

my version (using the insertion 'teg' or 'dig') isn't the only one; here's a multitude of ways to garble your words. whatever version you choose, just make sure you teach it to someone else so you don't have to mutter to yourself :)

Monday, December 8, 2008


that's 'thanks' in ob, one of my favorite gobbledygook languages, for such tremendous support for my shop opening this weekend. a very special tobhobanobkobsob goes out to jan from scoutie girl, traci from serendipity factory, joanne from breathe as me, stephanie levy, and soulbrush for the features on their blogs and sending traffic to etsyville for me.

birdie girl picked two names out of the lampshade this afternoon, and the winners are: cindy and rachel! when you have a chance, ladies, please e-mail me your addresses and which print you would like.

oh, and if you're interested, speaking ob is easy enough to learn: just add 'ob' after every consonant and leave the vowels as they are. instant fluency. then go gossip in public with a friend; no one will know what you're saying.

Friday, December 5, 2008


cheers! artsyville is OPEN! the uploading in etsy went smoothly and faster than expected, so i decided to open ahead of schedule. i'd love your thoughts on how the shop looks, and if you have any suggestions, please send them my way. thanks for the encouraging comments yesterday... we'll see how it goes!

as a celebration to kick off the shop, leave a comment here over the weekend, and i'll draw two winners on monday to receive a free 5"x7" print of their choice.

now... i'm off to have a glass of wine :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

almost there

just about ready to turn the artsyville shop loose on etsy! hope to go live by next monday, if not before. the photos and prints are finished; now i'm working on the shop banner and sorting through a few remaining things. i owe a HUGE thanks to jess, jen, heather, and kelly for answering my fiftythousand etsy questions, and to bella for recommending that i create a wall of my prints - i'll put this photo on each etsy item so people can see how they look grouped together. and i owe a big note of appreciation to all of you, too, for visiting me so often with your kind and funny words. escaping to artsyville is such an important part of my day, and it makes me happier than you know when you take the time to leave a comment. thanks, all, for going on the ride with me :)


this morning i was lost in doodlethought at dean & deluca when i looked out the window at my car and panicked: there were two of them. my instant thought was that my car had reproduced. of course it hadn't, but in that millisecond between daydream and reality, i was genuinely confused. even after reason jumped to the rescue and assured me that my car wasn't capable of replicating itself, i still couldn't tell which one was mine for a few moments. the other, parked right next to mine, was the same make, model, year, and color, and it was just as filthy. once i sorted that out, my mind drifted to one of my favorite scenes from anne lamott's hard laughter: two pals were driving merrily along the highway when they passed the exact same car as theirs, and totally confused, one turned to the other and said, "was that us?"

so, i wasted five minutes of doodletime on that one, but the diversion was worth it.

Monday, December 1, 2008

lolly and tom

a big thanks to ana cozendey for the opportunity to illustrate her darling children's tale about a popsicle and a toaster who fall madly in love. i got to know ana through one of my favorite dailies, thereza's tiny red, and i was thrilled when ana sent me this sweet story of a pair trying to reconcile their cultural differences with their love for each other. lolly the popsicle is happy in the freezer, while tom the toaster likes to be in the warm sun. can they make it? will love conquer all, or will their temperature preferences tear them apart? well, I won't tell; you'll have to visit ana to find out :)

sea of glass

hope all of you (where applicable) had a wonderful thanksgiving. we took off for indianapolis, the city of my youth, and i could have spent nearly the entire time gazing at this exhibit at the children's museum downtown. this wonder was designed by dale chihuly, created by his team of glassblowers in seattle, then assembled in indianapolis. i was taken most with the base of the exhibit. it was installed on the first floor, so underneath from the ground floor it looked like a colorful sea of strange creatures, or maybe brain scans full of randomly firing neurons, much like mine feels right now after an exceptionally torturous drive home today. on the way there, we made it in a happy zippy quick 9 hours. but thanks to a three hour traffic jam, a generous gift from the city of st. louis and interstate 70, the trip home today pushed the 12 hour mark. so so so tired; not sure i'm even awake right now :)