Thursday, December 31, 2009

a happy dandy year


a huge SMOOCH to everyone for making this such a fun and outrageous year in artsyville! whether you have stopped by just once or visited every day, commented profusely or lurked in the shadows, written e-mails or sent me long lovely letters, set me aflame with your art and ideas, clucked in sympathy with my mental foibles, or made me laugh until i can no longer move, i am grateful to every one of you for encouraging me to keep plugging along in the ville. loads of ideas are fighting for the pole position in the new year and i cannot wait to get started on all of them! i'll probably be asleep before the clock strikes twelve tonight, but before that i'm planning on a nice evening sitting on my butt with a glass of wine and cutting paper for a new project - i'm all for arty nights over party nights. happy 2010! it sounds so space age :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

the bell ringer


well! i think it's time for winter vacation to end. we've had a lot of togetherness, and out of that togetherness has come many a good thing. but truth be told, my funnel for caregiving has plugged and backed up. this mama is ready for a lengthy, peaceful moment to create, to plan, to strategize, to THINK. it is time to slip into my own "creative noise", described by writer-mother jennifer new in her article "the sound of silence" as a process that is "akin to getting lost in order to find one’s way. and it’s really, really hard to do when someone needs you to wipe their behind or make mac and cheese."

now seven years into parenting, i know that break i desire is not quite so clean and easy. once they are back in school and my need for silence is satisfied, i will miss my bell ringers and wonder what all of my kvetching was about, especially because these incessant needs are becoming less and less so as they get older. my oldest no longer needs me to wipe her behind, and she can make her own macaroni and cheese. i am no longer feeding and changing around the clock. my three year old pretends that there's a lot she can't do, but left to her own devices, she'll eventually take care of business as long as she doesn't get sidetracked writing on the wall. knowing that they are learning how to take care of themselves means that i need less time to recharge, and on really good days, i feel their absence more intensely. jennifer's children are young like mine, and she recognizes the same shift of emotion. "already i fear the silence of their departure," she writes, "just as i once feared their noise."

but for now, deliver me please. for just a moment.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

a speedy snacky swedish snowy week


on monday we drove from texas back to kansas, and as luck would have it, we made it home without picking up a duplicate copy of the souvenir i earned on the way there. (keychain by thereza rowe, lunchbox by the children's place, speed demon warning by the merciful kansas state trooper.)


on tuesday i went on a mass-production run of candy: chocolate covered magic wands, peanut butter cups, and chocorolopretzelthingies that wound up looking like alien eyeballs.


on wednesday my mailbox shrieked and i ran outside to see what was going on. waiting for me was a fabulous swedish surprise: a superhero screenprint from one of my favorite artists, alexandra hedberg, in her trademark yellow...


and three of her adorable prints for my daughters' room that were clearly meant for the frames and the fabric i got at IKEA last weekend. (you can see i've done nothing with the fabric yet, but i've realized i might not need to. it works great as a photo backdrop.) my artsygirl has renamed her prints "cheetah licking his lips looking at a person", "bear catching moon", and "cat looking at another cat". what a gift - i've admired alexandra's work for so long and now i own four of her prints! tack så mycket alexandra! :))


on thursday, possibly setting a processing record for our little post office, ANOTHER package showed up from gothenburg, sweden - this one from cecilia, including a cutting board made from one of her fabulous patterns, and a 2010 moleskine desk calendar that i won in her giveaway a few weeks ago. we have already made and sliced two loaves of bread on the cutting board, and it works beautifully! it is on our kitchen wall where i can see and use it every day! a big tack så mycket to you too, cissi :))


on friday, two little girls found their secret garden in the load of snow that arrived in a christmas eve blizzard and caused us to cancel our trip to chicago today. i should be somewhere near the quad cities by now, but instead i'm still in my pajamas in snowy little lawrence, gaining poundage by the second from the candy i was planning to take with me. if you're in town, stop by for some - it's going fast!

great weekend to you all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

secret garden


can you believe it? it's a feelgood painting from me, and an authentic one to boot. my daughter and i read the secret garden last week and i found myself just as enchanted by it as she was. so while i should have been packing for our trip into the texas sunshine, i jumped into this doodle at the 11th hour, powered by the thought that the yearning for a little secret garden doesn't go away even when childhood ends. for some of us it means getting lost in art, for others it is a retreat into reading, writing, cooking, running, conversation with best friends, tending an actual garden - really anything that takes us into our own happy dream world.

the fabric and little crochet thingies i picked up on a quickie IKEA spree on sunday - and since i don't sew, it's anyone's guess as to what will come of it all. pins, tape, glue, wood - i'm about to find out what i can do with fabric other than putting a needle through it. but first i will unpack and catch up on all of your worlds. thanks for your wonderful and supportive comments in the last post, even those from the spammers which i read with a chuckle and then deleted. wishing you a maximal fun and minimal stress week! if you find yourself stretched to your limit, find your secret garden and hide there for a bit :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

from blog to bookshelf


it started as a blog post and i can't quite believe it's now in print! my article Inky Antics and journal pages are on pages 98-101 of Art Journaling Winter 2010. it's a delicious issue and it goes without saying that i'm thrilled to be in it. you can get a peek of my pages here. a supersize thanks to Somerset Studio for another opportunity to be in one of their great mags! it will be available at borders, barnes & noble and most other major bookstores on january 1.

on the radar today: re-hydrating gouache from my dried out tubes (not pretty, but it works), finishing up a feelgood painting (sparked during this shred of time a few early mornings ago), working on some new magnets (some naughty and some nice), and finally having some decent coffee after brewing FOUR pots of toxic liquid. still riding high on the fumes from all of your birthday wishes! thank you!

Monday, December 14, 2009

a break for cake


hello to my favorite day of the year! every december 14 i still feel like a six year old (i woke up at 4:45 this morning with a grin) and i hope i always feel that way about it. part of the reason is that my two best friends and two close family members share the day with me. the other reason is that i give myself carte blanche to goof around the whole day. i saved a piece of cake for you, but if this isn't enough to put you in a sugar daze, i have a guest post on stephanie levy's art advent calendar today in which you'll see how i eat my way through the holidays.

so to celebrate i think i'll have a little BIRTHDAY SALE in my doodleshop. for today and tomorrow (monday 12/14 and tuesday 12/15),for any doodleprint you buy, i'll toss in a groovy doodle magnet of your choice. the free shipping offer is still going on, too.

p.s. if you're curious, i'm thirtysomething and this is the last year i can say that :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

the outdoors type








curious things continue to surface in the land of oz. last week it was a bowling ball in the street, the week before it was a soul determined to get that grocery cart full of natural light across 6th and wakarusa, and before that it was the burly guy on his harley zipping by with a tub of toddler legos strapped to the back. now my sharp-eyed amiga alix has led me to the most wonderful find of all, a yard full of vintage typewriters. the tree-stump installations wrap around the entire house. yes, i trespassed just a wee bit. i'd love to see the inside but i'm not that bold. i bet it's stuffed with stacks of books and real working typewriters that are clickety clacking away next to a warm fireplace and a vat of coffee. who really knows, but that's a nice image and i'm sticking to it.

some weekend reading for you:

> thereza opened a fabadabadoo shop of tiny red wares
> bits of underlying beauty that heather pulled out of a distressingly cold week here
> thanks to super groovy jan and nina for featuring artsyville in their posts this week
> joanne painted a stunning window to the heart
> how esti made her calendar (which is, alas, but not surprisingly, sold out)
> linda sarah is back with her sleepy towns and dancing villages

enjoy! happy weekend!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

an evening at pambiche






what's better than one corner viewer having a fun evening? two corner viewers having a fun evening! susie/inner toddler and i topped off our terrific day with dinner at pambiche, a tiny cuban restaurant in northeast portland, recommended by this fabulous lady. there were maybe 400 square feet and fifteen tables to pambiche, if that, but it had the culinary and visual impact of a citywide festival and proved to me once again that the diminutive dining spots are usually the ones well worth the wait.

dessert came in the form of an exuberant cab driver who invented stories for our entertainment and swore merrily at us on the way back to the monaco. a perfect, colorful evening. jane has more in store for you here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

a weekend in portland


i was thrilled to hear that so many of you stole a few moments for yourself this weekend! as you might have guessed from the last post, i was in the mood for some time to myself, too. so i took my own advice, hopped on an aerial dart and aimed for portland, oregon. i've tried to get there for years. i had landed on san francisco about a dozen times and seattle no fewer than forty, but my lack of precision in previous lives kept oregon a missing piece in my puzzle of travels. this time i hit the mark. when i dusted myself off from the landing, waiting for me at the gate was none other than the fabulous inner toddler, fresh off a plane from san francisco.

i knew i'd adore susie to pieces from the day i discovered her blog, and of course i did. we're at the same point in our lives, our art, our parenting, our outlook on life, pretty much everything. we both needed a break sans enfants. we had sweet husbands able and willing to take the weekend shift. neither of us had been to portland. it was a no-brainer. we booked without a second thought and off we went.

we spent very little time discussing bloggy stuff - we had too much else to talk about. the conversation topics never ran out, and for me that is a rare thing, because like her (as you'll read in her post) i'm rather an introvert in person and have a hard time spending a full day with others without having to take big naps in between to recharge. but the weekend just flew by and before i knew it, it was time to come home. she was just effortless to be around and made me laugh in person just as much as she does on her blog.


friday night we went to lincoln on north williams, owned by susie's friend jenn and her husband david. if you are in portland GO HERE. the food is amazing and they run an impeccable show, not to mention they are just wonderful people. i can't believe i didn't get any pictures of it.

saturday we spent exploring the city. portland is divided into quadrants which makes it very easy to figure out where you're going. public transportation here is spectacular! you can get anywhere on the train or the bus for next to nothing. we only took one taxi, and that was simply because we were too lazy at the end of the day to look up which bus we should take. one of the cab drivers was so over the top that it was fully worth the fare there and back. more on that in the next post.


we stayed at the hotel monaco in downtown portland. i stayed at the monaco in san francisco for work once upon a time and loved it. so i knew i'd love this one, too - and it did not disappoint. a very groovy, funky little hotel.


portland is super canine-friendly. dogs are everywhere, even in the hotels. here's the doggie welcome sign in the monaco lobby. the staff even provides beds and amenities for them.


peet's is as ubiquitous on the west coast as starbucks is nationwide, but it's always a treat for me.


the obligatory feet/street shot. we walked like maniacs around portland.


we spent a long time at the saturday market along the riverfront.


we each got a handmade sweater from the lovely lizzy of shabby knapsack. she makes gorgeous skirts, armwarmers, legwarmers - loved it all.


on the left is susie's cute red bag which i wanted to swipe but didn't. the artists in these booths were die-hards - it was freezing. they are there every saturday for most of the year.


it was sunny and that kept us trucking along.


i felt so jane of spain daily when i found this lovely couple sitting next to the river. susie and i are huge admirers of jane's extraordinary ability to capture people going about their daily lives. i was ready to start a portland daily blog.


it was but a momentary stroke of luck. after that i reverted to taking shots of trash haulers. i guess i'll stick to objects.


every local ordered us to get to powell's bookstore and we quickly found out why. it's at least three floors and takes up an entire city block. they give you a map so you won't get lost. we still got lost.


portland has a huge zine scene and powell's has an entire magazine section devoted to them. i spent a good chunk of my time in this spot. so many cool zines!


we wandered off to chinatown for lunch.


we would have never found chen's good taste without the recommendation of two locals. it has a very unassuming storefront with outstanding food. we both ordered the noodle soup, rice stick and fun. the fun arrived about fifteen minutes later when two of the restaurant workers hauled an entire pig into the restaurant and put it on the table next to us where it sat and "watched" us eat for a few minutes. watched is in quotes because that pig was no longer with the living. they put a christmas bow on the poor thing's head and hauled it back out the door, apparently a gift for someone. that probably just horrified the vegetarian readers but it was too absurd a scene not to mention. we decided we were ready to go after that.


we checked out the pearl district after that, peeked in art galleries, wandered in and out of shops, and retreated from the cold with fat mugs of hot chocolate.

so this is how we spent our weekend, bouncing like little human pinballs from coffee shops to boutiques to art galleries to stores, not really planning anything but just taking each moment as it came. best of all, and sorry to get sappy here, this trip turned another blogpal friendship into a real one. thumbs up to recharging, thumbs up to portland, thumbs up to sweet, dear, funny inner toddler susie, and thumbs up to all the super blog pals i've met this year.

in the next post: a corner view of our saturday evening in portland. i know this was a long one, so thanks for reading to the finish - and thank you susie for a terrific weekend!

Friday, December 4, 2009

in praise of self-indulgence


i'm having a great time with this "make time" series - so much, in fact, that i think i'll do something totally self-indulgent this weekend. if you can carve out a day or an hour or a few moments this weekend what will you do for yourself?

> christy is giving away three letterpress matchbook calendars from the petite press
> thereza's bandit chickens landed on a darling pillow cover
> still time to drop your name in the hat for cecilia's moleskine giveaway
> please join me in leah's 2010 creative everyday

i'll have some fun updates in the next post, and maybe i'll even slide in a few pictures of the pathetic cookie houses we made this week!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

heard from the corners


for today's corner view, i'll spare you the view and turn on the audio instead. my seven year old has a relationship with the english language like none other and these are just a few of the things she's uttered over the past few weeks. when she was younger i begged for a translator, but none appeared so i've learned to figure out her cryptospeak on my own. some days it puts me in tears of frustration and other days i just grab and hug her to pieces. just reading this makes me want to go yank her and her mismatching socks out of the classroom and give her a huge smooch. she is the muse for so much of what i do, and i worry that sometimes i take her for granted. writing it down helps me not to do that.

say hello to jane for some lovely corners of homes around the world, including her own. if you scroll to her eighth photo you'll see some familiar magnets, including one very bad word in spanish. hee.