Friday, June 26, 2009

little surprises

thanks to a dramatic scene over at fruenswerk, we have two weekwords: SURPRISE and CLUSTER. at first, i thought about knocking them out in the same post, but the two words in the same sentence just did not conjure up good images for me, so these words will live separate lives. first up - little surprises that surfaced this week on my walks around the blocks...

this wasn't really a surprise, but i don't walk down this block much so i always get tickled when i see it...

an emotional scrawl outside the video store...

the de-handed and feminized godzilla got an outfit change...

i'm no boy... i just need some cash...

unpacked my ancient silk skirts for summertime... they have managed to survive another year AND still fit... a delightful surprise...

this thunderstorm descended out of nowhere, as kansas tempests often do, but quite frankly, it was a big fat DUD. this sky promised something splendid, but it left me unsatisfied...

another music poster that spoke to me. i have lots of fake problems - no surprise there...

and, oh, hello there, little guy - you were my favorite surprise this morning by far, hiding behind the trees and buildings...

and now, stay tuned for CLUSTER later this weekend. think GRAPES :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

getting out of my own way

joanne at breathe as me always has wise things to say, but the observation she made a few weeks ago about having to 'get out of her own way' made me slam my coffee cup on the desk and shout, "yes! she's got it!" finally, i have an explanation for 95% of the stuff i plan to do but don't, and then find some poor hapless chump of an excuse to blame for my inaction or distraction. so i asked her permission to run with the phrase and then word-mashed it into my own warped version, which i plan to look at every single day. that is, unless i get in my own way.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

corner view: music

since we live in a college town, there is no shortage of indie music here. i'm not much of a concertgoer, but i get a huge kick out of scouting the poster art and the clever band names around town. i took a picture of a poster last fall that i really want to show here, but it has a very bad word in the name so i'd better not. this corner view was very hard work, i'll have you know, toting around a toddler in 100 degree weather and gawking at building walls. it all worked out, though - i stopped to have a beer and she fell asleep. silence. to me, THAT is music...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

good clean fun

yay for the fabulous jen from painted fish studio, who braved the mind-numbing eight hour drive from minneapolis to lawrence to have a pARTy in artsyville! she is an absolute delight, super funny, and we had a great weekend together drinking wine, people-watching and exploring the university. then yesterday a bunch of us got together, including a few of jen's art pals who also came in from out of town, and we made soap and lip balm all afternoon. jen is an excellent teacher and i couldn't believe how easy it was! if you want to learn how to make your own, check out her tutorials here and here. also couldn't resist a pic of these delish daisy cookies made by my friend amanda. can't wait to order my own supplies to make more soap and lip balm - i think i have gift-giving covered for the next few years!

now i'm easing into the morning with a quiet cup of coffee on the front lawn, gearing up for a busy doodleday, and playing catch-up both in real life and in blogville. happy day! :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

putting together the pieces

thank you all so much for leaving such supportive comments both here and on bella's blog. it has been a chaotic week here, and bella's news stunned me, so i've been offline for a little bit wrapping my mind around how quickly life can be scattered into pieces, and putting things back together on our own home front. all is well here but i'm way behind on catching up on your blogs and hope to do so in the next few days. in my spare moments i've been cutting paper for a new project. these papers were created by jess gonacha - i was lucky enough to snag one of the few paper packs she put in her etsy shop last week. her patterns are so full of happiness and color, and papercutting is such a soothing activity...

and speaking of putting things together, i'm organizing a little collaborative effort in support of bella (thanks, jennifer, for the wonderful idea). i am going to assemble a care package of letters, poems and artwork from her supporters around the world, and send it to her later this summer. if you're interested in contributing a piece to the package (no financial contributions please), e-mail me at artsyville {at} gmail {dot} com for details.

looking forward to a peaceful, relaxing weekend with my family, a visit from this lovely lady (i get to meet another e-pal in person - yay!), and making lots of art with a bunch of creative girls. i'll check in with you all on monday :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

bella's loss

my corner view won't be posted this week due to a tragic turn of events. instead, today i'm writing about my dear friend bella sinclair, a brilliant artist and mother of two beautiful girls, who suddenly lost her husband last weekend. they were due to move back to the states from japan in just a few days.

this is where the e-world fails me. while it brings us together from all over the globe, it also splits us apart. we develop friendships in our online worlds with people who share the same values and interests, some to the point that we forget that we've never met them in person. when something tragic like this happens, we have the urge to jump in the car and go hug them, bring them meals, and cry with them. and in most cases we can't. instead we're stuck with the limitations of the keyboard, having to convey our sympathies in static messages that don't come close to touching the continuity and depth of feeling that we want to express.

bella is a rare soul who has touched thousands of people through her beautiful illustrations as well as her wise, funny, thoughtful and uplifting comments on every blog she visits. i hope in some small way that we can now provide that emotional support back to her. please keep bella's family in your thoughts as they cope with their loss and grief. and give your loved ones an extra long hug. life just doesn't last long enough.

Monday, June 15, 2009

a piece of cake

our little birdiegirl had a very pink and girlie birthday, although i couldn't help but toss some matchbox cars and whoopie cushions into the mix. now will someone please take this cake off my hands...

Friday, June 12, 2009


esti chose the weekword FAMILY, which coincided neatly with the longings i've been having for my grandmother lately. this is a photo of her visiting portugal in 1960, when she was 40 years old. i adored her. she refused to cook or do housework, she wallpapered her front hallway with book covers, and wrote me letters in french and latin. she meditated every morning under a bust of shakespeare. one day on a lark she put a pool in her front yard, and another day she replaced the dining room table with a pool table. she had the temperament of an artist and was the ultimate eccentric.

she passed away not long before my first daughter was born. i miss her. SO much.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

corner view: back door, front window

for corner view this week, i went with my journal and markers instead of taking real photos... trust me, you don't want to see the bird crap on my garage! even four hours of heavy thunderstorms today couldn't power blast it off.

see jane in spain for more corner views from windows and back doors. the theme for next week is street fashion - now that should be interesting!

Monday, June 8, 2009

the distribution of color

good monday! i'm well rested once again, but a storm blew through here last night and our teeth are all chattering. my artsygirl still hasn't fully forgiven me for dragging her off to swimming lessons a few hours ago (i had no idea it was so cold; you couldn't have paid me to get in that water). she's also moody about colors today. she likes blue and green but thinks they get way too much exposure in nature and public settings, while other colors get the shaft. easy for me to laugh but she's feeling some serious injustice over this. she wants to see more pink houses and purple horses. so i went to get coffee while she suffered in the water, and found some bits of color along the way to perk her up. i found no purple horses, but couldn't resist pointing out her purple lips.

a few other bits of monday news:

*esti chose this weekword and it is FAMILY. if you'd like to participate, leave a comment for her, and post your interpretation on friday.

*a sweet reader asked me to pass along the word about about her six word caption project. she's posting one photo each week and gathering as many captions as she can, with the goal of creating a coffee table book at the end of the year. sounds like fun - anyone is welcome to participate.

*scoutie girl is having an artsyville print giveaway - to enter leave a comment there before saturday at midnight. three winners will get to pick any 5x7 print from my etsy shop.

that's it from here! now will someone send me some warm weather pleeeeeeease.....

Friday, June 5, 2009


feeling a bit unbalanced today after a wrestling match with the insomnia monster last night. oh well. at least this time i got my weekword doodle out of it!

other (and perhaps more balanced) interpretations of the weekword SCALE: thereza, lea, cecilia, jenna, fruenswerk, trinsch, alexandra, chelsea, kristi, sandra, aris, valentina, anairam, nathalie, julia, and marie-louise. have a great weekend! i'll be catching up on my sleep. for now, though, i'm whiling away the hours with coffee and chocolate.

update: check out asja's fabulous doodle with the bird and house - without knowing it, she participated in this weekword! and yes, i'm still awake - the coffee and chocolate kicked in...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

cooking with color

if only this was a post full of inspiration to infuse color and artistry in your meal preparation. but if you're a regular reader here, this title probably made you suspicious, and you're right - it is of course an anti-cooking message. i did this one originally in black & white, but recently i've been feeling that it needed to be bolder and have a more prominent spot in the kitchen.

not too late to join us for weekword tomorrow - the word is SCALE. let thereza know if you'd like to participate, or in her words, 'if you fancy taking part'. gotta love that sweet britspeak! still no idea what i'm doing yet - it will be a surprise for all, including me!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

corner view - the beach

the theme of this week's corner view is the beach, but sadly, i have no photos of a fine kansas beach to show you. if you don't live in the US and don't know where kansas is (it's OK if you don't; i grew up in the states and its exact position eluded me until my thirties), take a look at this map and you'll see why. the sunflower state is landlocked in the middle of the country with no coastal hopes at all. sure, kansas has its share of lakes and token strips of sand, but when i think of a beach, i think of shores separated by hundreds and thousands of miles - ones that feel like the edges of the earth.

so today i'm taking you somewhere else: big sur. driving the pacific coast highway in california was a longstanding pipe dream trip for me; i had been to los angeles and san francisco plenty enough, but not on the path between them. so two years ago my husband and i flew into LA, got the hell out, and started wandering up the coast.

this drive is never the same view twice; the landscape changes remarkably between the two cities. in some parts the beaches are sandy, in others rocky, and at certain points there are no beaches at all - just cliffs that drop off into the sea. these pictures don't come close to showing how spectacular the drive is, but at least they bring back the feeling of the experience: those hundreds of miles of hairpin turns along the cliffs above the shores, the slow seaside villages along the way, the hilarious tourist bus to hearst castle, whale-watching and wine at nepenthe (a marvelous restaurant on the cliffs of big sur), an afternoon in monterey feeling like i was walking through a john steinbeck novel... a marvelous trip! i love california!

more corner views of the beach: jane, ladybug-zen, ian, bonnie, esti, sophie, cele, modsquad, caitlin, joyce, ani, couturecoucou, kim, a day that is dessert, natsumi, epe, kaylovesvintage,trinsch, c.t.,jeannette, outi, schanett, ritva, francesca, state of bliss, jennifer,dana, denise, cabrizette, bohemia girl, dianna, isabelle, amber, the girl in the yellow shoes, mister e,janis, kari, jgy, jenna, skymring, elizabeth, audrey, allison, lise, cate, mon, victoria, crescent moon, erin, otli, amy, ida, caroline, lisa, dorte, kimmie, la lune dans le ciel, nicola, malo, vanessa, britta, virgina, april, rebecca, b, kyndale, samantha, karen, kristina, angelina, dorit, goldensunfamily, sophie, janet, nicki, ruth, mcgillicutty, desiree, di, travelingmama, sunnymama, amanda, jenell, guusje, juanita, pamela, inna, daan, myrtille

hope you're having a great day, preferably on a beach :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

super tuffy

mindless word fun may not save the world, but it certainly keeps me amused. this time my six-year-old was loitering behind my back, watching me piece together phrases from my magic bag of words, and suddenly i saw a little hand slip into the stash and run off with a few. it hadn't occurred to me to set her loose on this game, but it should have - before i knew it, she was off in a corner, lost in verbal nirvana.

i convinced her to let me peek at her first two pieces:

which sent me to thrillsville! i now have a co-conspirator, one who is old enough to understand the world but not old enough to be warped by it yet. she has her priorities in order, i'd say.