Saturday, October 30, 2010

good enough to eat

Good Enough 2 Eat

Any other suckers for felted items out there? I was updating my shop last night when a yummy little turquoise tea cozy caught my eye, sending me into hours of distraction in the listings for more felted gems. Etsy is so naughty in that way. Out of it came this treasury, the closest I'll ever get to felting. I managed to complete the shop update, too, mostly behind the scenes/tedious things like cleaning up and streamlining my item descriptions.

So, what's everyone doing for Halloween? I'm planning to sit on my can, eat candy, expand - and gear up for Art Every Day Month which starts Monday morning, November 1! Anyone is welcome to participate!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

arts & letters


Whee! On the heels of my trip to Minnesota came a surprise in the mailbox - a copy of Somerset Studio! At the beginning of the year, I hand lettered the alphabet and did an interview for the "Lively Art of Lettering" column, and had nearly forgotten about it. When prodded for a title, I named it "Arts and Letters" because, well, I didn't know what else to call it. I usually call my pieces like I see them, but "Alphabet" seemed a bit too smart-assey. This is my third lucky break in a Stampington publication and I've smacked myself silly every time the mag showed up. This exemplar in particular was a real thrill to do, because I always go directly for that column when I pick up a copy of Somerset Studio. So it's a little freaky to see myself there this time. But a very happy kind of freaky. Thank you, Stampington, from every letter in my alphabet!

Still riding high on the fumes of my northern voyage - see Rachel, Kolleen, Carissa, Susie, Jen, Liv and Lori for more pics! Thanks girls for an unforgettable time!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

list it tuesday (10/26)


whoa, is it tuesday already? this week, mine was a quick memory exercise - a list of familiar streets in chicago. i'm sure there are many more, but these were the ones that first came to mind, so probably the ones on which i most traveled, cursed, and honked while stuck in traffic. in chicago it is a birthright, if not an obligation, to lay on the horn at least every thirty seconds, especially when you're in the city proper. otherwise, peeps know for sure you're a foreigner.

if you composed your own handwritten list today, drop thy link in the comments so i'll have something to console me when i come home from the dentist this afternoon with a numb head!

Monday, October 25, 2010

the north shore



















the last time i went to the north shore of minnesota, i was so stuffed with baby i could barely waddle on the rocks. this weekend i went back with a considerably smaller tummy and my arsenal of paper, inks and pens. there i met seven spirited girls for my first art retreat. four glorious days. two shining, two blustery. one kind of weather to push us outside to the art of nature, and another kind to keep us hunkered down inside, creating art of our own. a magical weekend on a magical inland sea, a load of creative ruckus. home now, stuffed with enough food, wine, music, art, walking, talking, swearing, waves crashing, cafe hopping, mom-and-pop shopping, and goodness to make my belly just as full as it was eight years ago.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

list it tuesday (10/19)


welcome to the first "list it tuesday"! whether it will wind up being a blast or a bomb, i don't know, but there's only one way to find out. here's my first list, a collection of words that caught my eye while magazine and book surfing this week. words are my favorite art material, so i'm always on the lookout for new ones - sometimes a single word will spawn an entire doodlepoem (or doodlerant). "frothy" already has.

if you posted your own list today, please let me know in the comments so we can find you! someone suggested that i create a "list it tuesday" button for blog sidebars - i have no clue how to do this, but if you would find it useful, i'll look into it. let me know! happy listing!

update: the new list it tuesday icon is now on the sidebar! i can't find any tutorials that show how to create a button without the distressing looking code underneath, so for now, you are welcome to grab the image for your sidebar and link it back to artsyville. not required, though - only if you wish to do so!

Monday, October 18, 2010

the bra bridge










whenever we return from a weekend out of town, i feel a brief gearshift, a millisecond of transition that tells me "we're home". usually it's an intangible thing, a sense of a change in the atmosphere around me. but yesterday, coming home after a few days of glittering mississippi sunshine and pomegranate mint juleps, it was more than just a feeling. the bridge across the kansas river was strung with brassieres from end to end, as it is every october for "bras across the kaw". just like the city itself, there are bras of every shape and size and personality. big bras. little bras. painted bras, smiley face bras, studded bras, memorial bras, beaded bras, glittery bras, doodled bras, corset bras, modest bras, lacy bras, racy bras, feathered bras, just about any kind of bra you can imagine. (for those in town, they're still accepting donations, as some fool filched a string of them last year before the display came down.) it's a far more personal and persuasive effort, i think, than a traditional display of pink ribbons. a reminder that a lot of people and a lot of boobs lived in these. a reminder to be proactive about my health. perhaps most of all, a reminder that i was clearly back in lawrence.

see you tomorrow for list it tuesday!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

doodle dump

to borrow a phrase from a favorite sketch dumper, today i'm doing one of my own! from here follows a mishmash of pieces i've recently re-lettered, re-doodled, re-written, re-painted, re-something-ed, as well as a few new ones...


secret door was aching for a calmer, more serene feel to it...


the space once occupied, one i did long ago for an illustration friday prompt, called for a re-do(odle)...i liked the words but not the drawing...


re-sized and re-lettered storm...just felt like it...


wonderland wanted a cheerier life...


when in rome wanted a bit of company in my travel folder so i added a painting of santa fe...


...and a jumbled up doodlescene of paris. pardon the excess kitsch factor on this one. i couldn't help myself!

all of these are now in the shop as 5x7 doodleprints and magnets. or they should be, at least. great to see all the list-a-holics in that last post! thanks everyone for stopping by - so excited to see old friends and new peeps alike who want to play along!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

list it tuesday


i've been wanting to add some zip to this blog with a regular feature, something to put a little spontaneity within its structure. as i mentioned in my pillow book post, i love making lists. they help me recall, classify, learn, and plan. they put strengthening girders on my brain and let it run wild at the same time.

so every tuesday, until i get bored or incapacitated, i'm going to post a handwritten list. of what kind i don't know. maybe brands of peanut butter. everywhere i went last saturday. types of trees in my neighborhood. (probably not). my favorite four letter words. irregular verbs in french. all the florists in town. wines i like. fruits that are in season. things that pissed me off yesterday. stops along an old train route. just something to document a slice of my life - past, present or future - on a regular basis.

anyone want to play along? i'd love the company. scribble a list on an index card, create a list in your art journal, write a list on the back of a receipt. maybe it's simply your to-do list that you want to keep tabs on from week to week. however you want to do it is fine. no need to let me know in advance, and no need to participate every week. simply leave a comment here on any tuesday you've posted your own list, and that way we'll know where to find you. i'll leave it prompt free; choose a topic that is important to you, and you'll inspire the rest of us with new list ideas. if you're a regular visitor and this doesn't seem like your thing, please don't feel obligated to join in. voyeurs welcome!

feel free to pass along this link to any list-a-holics you know, and we'll get started next tuesday, october 19!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

happy mail

for a while the only handwritten note i received in the mail was from the air conditioning company thanking me for my business. it was sad. my mailbox was lonely. starved for the personal touch. then one fine day, the postal drought broke, and arty color rolled in with the sunshine!


that fabulous funny ninja girl sent a tulip field of goodies from amsterdam - stickers, foam beads, postcards, seeds... my girls' eyes boggled when they saw it all! we will have so much fun playing with these treats! thank you / dank je wel / gracias / grĂ cies ninja...(please do not get too upset if i botch the zonnebloem - i'm terrible with cultivation)...

happy mail from thereza

...then my artsygirl came running into the house, yelling, "mommy, you have some royal mail on your hands." did i ever! it was a "wee goodie" packet from thereza! i love her work so much; it's always a delight to get a surprise from her in the mail and now i have more tiny red goodies to sprinkle around the house! p.s. the girls and i tussled over the pencil, and i won....


my friend chopsticks and spaghetti recently returned from a year in china, italy, japan, and lord knows where else, and last week i found a beautiful little paper box on my front porch. she knows how i feel about foreign candies! thanks, chopsticks, and sorry if you got tangled up in the spider webs - i just realized this morning how bad they were and cleaned them all out...


i ordered a few prints from the delightful lori portka, and she sent an avalanche of extra beauties my way! i love her paintings of couples dancing around the world. i can't dance worth a damn but i can at least live by proxy through her work. i get to meet lori soon, and i'm super excited about that...


...and dawn's new book doodle diary, which i was planning to get for my daughter's upcoming 8th birthday, came as a huge surprise this week - autographed by the master doodler herself! this book is absolutely adorable - it's written for girls, but adults can have a load of fun with it too! it puts beginning art journalers entirely at ease, and every page is a reminder how much FUN it's supposed to be. artsygirl loves it so much that the morning after we got it, i had to yank it out of her hands so she wouldn't miss the school bell!


thank you, ladies, for brightening my postal life! and happy sunday to you all!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

the old bag gets a facelift

A few weeks ago I got all excited about printing lunch bags. I resized my groovy doodle patterns, put a white lunch bag through the manual feeder, hit print, held my breath - and heard a disturbing crunch. Fished it out, fed a new bag from the other end. Same thing. Repeated w/flat merchandise bags. No. Wasn't going to happen, at least not with my printer. It required ten sheets of paper to clear out the residue from the jams. It was dejected and so was I. Back into the drawer went the bags, until I took out my paints last weekend to finish up something else, and thought, "Hm! I think I'll watercolor them instead."

So I did. And what fun! A big middle finger to you, printer! Liquid watercolor, I'm all yours.





If you're interested, here is how I made mine:

1. Get a large package of inexpensive white lunch bags. Target or Wal-Mart will fill the need.

2. Create a bottom layer of texture/pattern/random markings on each bag with whatever materials you have on hand. I used water soluble crayons, white out (for resist), and drawing inks (Koh-i-noor Rapidograph inks in bright colors; I drew squiggles directly from the bottle).

3. Add a layer of liquid watercolor with a foam brush (or a regular brush about the same size). At first, I diluted the paint, but upon drying the color was too insipid for my liking so on the remainder I did it directly from the concentrate. If you have patience, you can do some interesting color layering by letting the watercolor dry before adding the next layer. Be gentle - the sides are delicate and rip easily when wet. To get around this I opened the bag entirely and put my hand inside it like a puppet, which put most of the pressure on the bottom of the bag where it is strongest. This also enabled me to reach every side at once while I painted.

4. Let it dry - I found that the easiest way is to stick the bag on something like an upright papertowel holder. Or flip a chair upside down if the legs are long enough, so you can dry four at a time. I turned a few plant stands upside down and that did the trick too. If possible, put your desiccation station outside - they'll dry much more quickly. Mine were finished in less than fifteen minutes.

5. Once dry, fold them back into form. If you're really ambitious, you could run over each bag with an iron to give it that crispy look again. I kinda like the crumply shape though.

It's worth making multiples with this project, because it is a messy process and requires just as much effort for one bag as it does for ten or fifty. The more I got into the groove, the more I started experimenting, and the more fun it was!

As for the finished goods? They'll work just fine for lunch bags, obviously, but I think they would also make great gift bags, party treat bags, luminaria, or even a gift in themselves if prettily bundled up. If you have any ideas on how to spice up this project, please share - the more ways to give that old bag a facelift, the better!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

seclude yourself

in the span of 50 minutes yesterday afternoon, i picked up girl #1 from school / hopped back in the car to fetch girl #2 from school / shuttled them both to #2's ballet class / started to walk #1 over to the dentist while #2 was pirouetting / found that #1 had just eaten a load of candy corn / zipped back home with #1 with instructions to brush teeth three times / flew back with girl #1 to the dentist / skidded into a parking spot on the side street / fed the meter / didn't work / swore / backed up one space / flew out of the car / fed the new meter / looked up /

and was greeted by this.


(bittersweet floral & design, 9th & new hampshire)

freeze pause. really had to think about the last time i did this. not just a little walk out and about around town, but a complete retreat into the wilderness - the kind where phones and planes and cars and appointments and twitter and e-mail and everything else extraneous falls away. places for really deep thoughts. for me, it was a hike on enchanted rock in texas back in june - what about you? do you have a favorite spot in nature for "restoring your link"?

Monday, October 4, 2010

happy little feet


1 stepstool from Target, 2 pieces of patterned paper, 3 coats of Mod Podge on each step = happy little feet! I looked at this plain old thing for a year, and finally decided it needed some color. I love spontaneous creative explosions like these! They give me a surge of energy that longer, planned-out projects cannot deliver. I need to do more of them simply for the rush. Have you done any creative quickies lately -- projects in less than an hour or two?