Tuesday, August 30, 2011

everywhere but the drawing room


Documentation of the madness has commenced. Today is drawing room day, yet I have been everywhere but the drawing room. So our visit will have to wait, for I've been doing everything but doodling.

Here's what I DID do today.

I tore through the alley this morning with two panting children behind me and 5 minutes to arrive by the bell (and was clearly not going to make it) when our marvelous neighbors magically appeared from their garage, brandishing two car seats and whisking us all away to school before I knew what happened. (Thank you, good neighbors.)

Dialed Sears to track down an obscure refrigerator part but called Miracle Ear instead.

A friend called me to tell me she was late to meet me for lunch, which was a nice surprise because I didn't know I was going anywhere for lunch. Apparently I had wholeheartedly agreed to this last week but have no memory of it. Needless to say I was delighted. She picked me up and fed me a margarita before tossing me back into the fray.

Called more people. E-mailed more people. Printed stuff. Threw stuff out.

Faced the mystery of the dead garage door remote. It has been plaguing me for months and I've been just manually closing it so I didn't have to deal with the fix. There was no way to open it that I could see and I was afraid I'd annihilate it. So I called a local company and begged for help. They helped me.

Cleaned. Muttered and decluttered. Called more people. More people called me.

Zapped more kiddie graffiti with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, which is an absolute genius of a little device. Like Photoshop for walls.

Weeded through stacks of stuff. They are deceiving. One little pile can take days.

At one point ten tasks entered my mind and I went to do them all but only managed to pivot in a large circle. That's pretty much where I am now.

Back Thursday-ish with our drawing room guest. She's awesomesauce, if that gives you a clue who it is, and let me tell you, she is a show fully worth the wait!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

the next phase


Earlier this year I was planning a fall trip to NYC with Jen, and if all goes according to schedule, all I'll have to do is hop on a train to meet her, since that is where life has decided to spit us out for the next moving adventure. Somewhere around there, anyway. Final landing location is TBD, but it will probably be just far enough from the city that it won't be able to eat me alive, yet close enough that it can nibble on me at any time with its charms. Hopefully it will be dried out and not shaking any longer by the time I arrive.

For the moment, though, I'm focused only on the present (a rarity) to wrap up our lives here, enjoy Lawrence up until the last speck of a second, and to minimize the transition for the kids. When we decided to make the change, my first thought was to put the blog on pause and the shop on vacation until it was done, and then I realized what a stupid idea that was. The reason I started Artsyville in the first place was to document the doings in my daily life. If an upheaval like this isn't worth documenting, I don't know what is. And as stressful as such change is, I thrive on it, even though I might be a total pill while I'm going through it. So I'll keep posting through the happiness and moodiness, the excavation of the horrifyingly large stacks I've accumulated in the past five years, the reminiscing of the idyllic life we've had here, and the wonder of what awaits.

(Back Tuesday in the drawing room with the first girl I'm going to hunt down for a coffee date when I land in New York.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

the state of things


This morning I was scrambling and swearing and searching through my files for something that still hasn't surfaced, but I did find this beauty of an old photo which could not describe my life any more accurately at the moment. Big changes in Artsyville are afoot. We're moving to the east coast (more details to come) but for now I'm living in a state of perpetual transit and an enormous mess. I shudder to think of the de-crapification of the house that awaits me. Start with laundry maybe? Anyway, it's going to be a wild, happy, sad and adventurous ride for the next few months and I hope you'll keep me company through it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In the Drawing Room: Christen Olivarez


It's Tuesday! Come into my drawing room, choose at least three beverages and have a seat. But watch out -- that's Hamburgers you're about to sit on. On second thought just stay upright. Come on over to my doodle desk & grab some journaling stuff and join us! Our guest, Christen Olivarez, is already painting away, stitching something, reading a book, dreaming up her next project, probably editing something in her head, and just enjoying the moment.

In her day life Christen is the Director of Publishing and Editor-in-Chief for Stampington & Company. I'd probably buckle at the helm of that kind of responsibility. But she does a smashing job of it -- and the girl isn't even 30 yet.

I find Christen fascinating not only for what she Does, but for what she does, if that makes any sense. Not just her profession but the whole package. All of her. How her love for art and craft spills into the nooks of her life, and how her love for life spills into the nooks of her art & craft. Her Twitter updates are like journal entries with witty, endearing slices of the everyday. Beer festivals, oil changes, happy weekends, rummage sales, her woes with Redbox, muddy legs, why she's canceling her cable -- it all blends together in her quest for a creative life. Christen reminds me much of my younger daughter in that she savors the present no matter how grand or minor a moment may seem.

And I really love that she admits that reads her junk mail.

Friday, August 19, 2011

(un)rolling with it

Most of my creative explosions take me by surprise. But this time it was going to be different. I had a specific project in mind, and by golly, I was going to tackle Tammy's inspiring Daisy Yellow Index Card a Day. Set foot in Office Depot, headed for the index cards and... then I saw the rolls of cash register paper. Rolls and rolls and rolls and rolls of them. Just stacked up on an endcap in all their mass quantity fabulousness. Sighed because I knew then that this mission was not going to end in the index card aisle. Something about the crispy clean surface of the paper rolls (begging for ink), the narrow width (I like working within boundaries), the nearly endless length (I like working with no boundaries) and the general rolliness of the things just got me. Into the basket two rolls went, back home I fled, and started inking I did. And now they're my latest art journaling obsession.






I really wasn't sure where I was going with the rolls at first, but once I inked the paper I started seeing lots of possibilities. I jotted quotes, pieces of short stories, poems (the one above is part of To Be of Use by Marge Piercy) & lists of stuff, ripped the strips into small sections and put them in my journal, and spliced some of those sections back together with washi tape. I think it would also be fun to make scrolls with secret messages, short journal entries, or fortunes written on them. Any other ideas?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

in the drawing room: stephanie levy


You probably thought I was going to bail this week and I almost did. Buried under chocolate croissants, cafe au lait, decadent sandwiches, freshly squeezed lemonade, ripe strawberries, lemon tarts, and one ethnic feast upon another, who would ever want to surface and hit publish? Yet I managed to do it, because I wanted to introduce you to the talented, colorful, well-traveled Stephanie Levy.

I was first drawn to her work (so to speak) a few years ago by her bold colors and creative collage techniques, and from there I fell deeper and deeper into her world. Every time I visited I found a scene filled with delicious food and pastries; tales of her life as an American transplant in Germany; adventures in parenting; her love for exploring different cultures. I found out quickly that she is just as obsessed with travel as I am, but while I remain largely marooned in the middle of Kansas, she actually picks up and goes. The postcard I got from Vienna last week confirmed this. And somehow she manages this all with two little girls and a hands-full illustration career in her charges. She is one of my top creative heroes.

Go meet Stephanie on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter. She'll always have a yummy treat or a delicious drawing waiting for you. If you show up at the right time she'll whisk you away on a trip with her. Don't miss her 12 Countries in 12 Months (she is visiting one new European city every month for a year) and her Creative Courage course, which kicks off in September. I'll be part of that; hope you'll join us!

And -- the real reason for the late night posting is that the kids were jumping up and down in my face on their last few days of vacation and it has been utter and total chaos around these parts. On days like that I have a healthy freakout and then just roll with it. Which kinda fits right now, because for my next post I'm (un)rolling stuff like mad. Back soon!

Monday, August 15, 2011

your marvelous tales


freshly inked! a doodle encouraging writers-in-bloom to put their marvelous tales on paper so the rest of us can read and enjoy them. etsy added with love, as rachel a. would say.

hope you'll stop by the drawing room tomorrow -- the mystery guest and i will have chocolate croissants and cafe au lait ready and waiting!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

the kindness bus

The girls and I were tootling down 23rd street this afternoon in search of fabric markers when I spied a bus covered entirely in hand painted letters. Obviously I couldn't pass that up without a closer look, so I made a dramatic U-turn and went to check it out. Turned out that it wasn't just any old gussied-up bus, but the One Million Acts of Kindness bus! Bob, the founder of this amazing endeavor, is currently on a 10 year trek around the US to encourage people to practice one million acts of kindness in their lifetimes.













We chatted with Bob and Nathan, his videographer, for a bit about how and why he got started on his mission (read more about it here) and before we parted ways he gave us a delightful children's book he wrote about this cross-country adventure he's taking with his dog, Bogart. How lucky for us that they decided to make a pit stop in little Lawrence, Kansas on their way! And equally lucky for us, he parked the bus right next to Freddy's -- so it seemed only natural to head next door and top off the afternoon with a bowl of chocolate frozen custard. (Taking kids out for ice cream counts as an act of kindness, doesn't it?)

Friday, August 12, 2011

it's a swell life


it's our wedding anniversary today. ten years! my grin is wider and longer than the thousands of miles we've traveled to get to this moment -- a road filled with joy, color, change, adventure, and love. i'm crazy with curiosity to know what's coming our way next, but to be honest, i can't imagine a life any more swell than the one i'm living right now. thank you, my love, for the best decade of my life so far. ♥

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

in the drawing room: daisy janie


it's tuesday and the drawing room is open! please come in, grab a gluten free mint chocolate chip cookie and take a stand. no sitting today, for we are with the ever-moving, constantly exploring jan of daisy janie. she's a self-taught, self-made surface pattern and textile designer who derives her inspiration from within, from nature, from details of unexpected objects, from a passion for organic fabrics -- all things that have led her to be a pioneer in the quilting industry.

here's my doodled-up crazy quilt of jan's fun facts + a few of my observations about her inner workings, and to this i'd like to add some of the qualities i admire so much about her. jan is tenacious: if something's not working, she'll keep plugging away at it until it does. she's a tinkerer: if a piece of clothing doesn't fit quite right, she'll fiddle around with it until she's satisfied. she's honest: if she makes a blooper, she'll talk about what she's learned from it, then move on. she's firmly in the present: no dwelling in shoulds and coulds; she's a doer. and she is unfailingly supportive of her friends in the creative community. she is a joy to know.

find out more about jan and her work/life/miscellany on her blog, twitter, and facebook.

thanks for stopping by the drawing room this week -- i'm already doodling up next week's guest!

Monday, August 8, 2011

slowly moving haiku


I've gotten such a bang out of penning haiku over the past few months that I'm making a doodle book stuffed full of it -- some old, some new, none borrowed, some blue. If only the speed of my pen could match my level of enthusiasm! I'm way too slow for my liking. Here's a peek of the travel section in progress. I started with that hoping it would help move my sludgy hand a little more energetically.

Back tomorrow In the Drawing Room with a patterning pioneer who rarely sits down and bites her hand when she's hoppin' mad!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

sunday stuff

just walking in circles around the house today.


pillows i love.


postcards of pixie campbell's paintings. me loves these too.


the girls' room was a garbage dump. yesterday i took a deep breath & went in & gutted it. found three lampshades. (and a lot more.)


a paper star that has survived the years.


a print i picked up in buenos aires years ago -- artist garroffo (? scrawled signature)


a little nook in our attic. it looks over a well traveled intersection. sometimes i sit up here with a cup of coffee and spy on the passersby.

and... well, i have more, but i have to cut it short because the girls are taping towels to the stairs and it is only a matter of time before someone goes skid-bang on their caboose or worse. considerably more dangerous than the bananas they taped to the ceiling yesterday. gotta go :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

little hands


the other night i didn't know why my battery was on fire alarm red and gasping for juice when i had gotten nary a phone call that day. didn't take much sleuthing to find out.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

in the drawing room: my test case


Welcome to my drawing room! Come on in and have a cup of coffee, or perhaps something a bit milder or stiffer. My first creative guest is someone who is in my drawing room every day, my mix and match cryptospeaking girl, who in fact is here right now gobbling up a piece of Jen's No Way coffee cake. I picked her as my first one because 1) she's family and would have to forgive me if I botched it and 2) everything about her influences what I do and how I create. Everything. Her speech, her style, her curiosity, her writing, her whole way of being -- I suck it up like a sponge and it comes out in my art in every possible way.

So here are some fun random things about her thoughts and doings. Her Facebook, Twitter and blog links would be here too if she had them, but Mama says she is not yet permitted to have those. She'd also play Super Mario 64 on her DSI all day long if she could, but she is not permitted to do that either.

See you next week Tuesday another installment of In the Drawing Room (though I'll be back with other stuff before that)!