Monday, October 31, 2011

No place like home

My red shoes, for when I wish to return to Kansas.

I liked them so much I bought the same ones in black.

Soaking up my last few days in sweet little Lawrence. Last place on earth I thought I'd ever live - and it stole my heart. Part of me will always live here.

Testing mobile blogger today so I can spout out posts from the road. If the pictures look wonky and weird words creep in, that is why. (Just there autocorrect tried to replace "pictures" with "lucifer").

I have way more gray hair than I did two months ago. In 30 minutes I will have way less. (off to the salon.)

Very reluctantly put my Etsy shop on pause for two weeks. Hard to print and ship at 70 mph.

Movers show up this week and then we'll be nomads for a while. Maybe I'll go occupy Wall Street!

Art Every Day Month starts tomorrow - I'm going to do my best to keep up.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

i ran a marathon


Earlier this year, a (fabulous) group of parents at my kids' school, hoping to keep their little ones on their feet and off the sofa, banded together to start an informal running club. It has caught on faster than free cupcakes! At least a third (if not half) of the school is now enrolled. Twice a week, the kids fly out the door, drop their backpacks by the entrance and begin their 1/2 mile forays around the block, supervised & cheered on by parents at frequent checkpoints. Some sprint in quest of the speedy finish, some jog with their teachers, some lope along in dreamland, some stroll with their friends, some walk backwards -- the main goal is just to get everyone moving. The other is to have completed one marathon by the end of the school year. But only 2 months into the school year, some kids have already completed their first marathon and are on to the second. Amazing what can be done when exercise is fun. I found the whole thing quite doodleworthy and made a poster for the ones who make it to the finish line. Also, as Rachel would say, it has been Etsy added with love.

Friday, October 21, 2011

the flip side


I stole three more hours last night to do the flip side of the cut & paste therapy journal. (There's always a flip side.)

Clothing laundered in someone else's washing machine always seems to have a nicer scent.

I have a splitting headache.

Honeycrisp apples are in season.

I'll miss the old guy who sits on his porch swing with his wife and says "Hi, Neighbor" every time we pass his house.

Plastic is a great backing for collage because it doesn't warp when I put the goo all over it. I want to try plexiglas next.

Lettering genius Lori from Elvie Studio is launching letterLAB November 7.

I'm a carry on traveler. If I have to check my bag for any reason I take it as a personal failure.

The caffeinators at Starbucks assumed that I needed two shots this morning and they were right.

My tolerance for anything right now is pretty low.

State alcohol laws baffle me.

Made little doodle cards to ship with my Etsy orders (here, here and here).

Signed up for Art Every Day Month 2011. How I'll do this I don't know yet since my computer (and I, and everything else I own) will be in transit. Journal postings by phone maybe?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

cut and paste therapy


Collage is great therapy. Last night I stole three hours to defile the cover of an ugly day planner with pieces of washi tape, painted/patterned papers, magazine bits, match book covers. I made a mess & it felt good.

The only thing I take in my coffee is more coffee. Either one shot of espresso or two.

Keeping sweet Liv, who just lost her dad, in my thoughts. I think she herself is an angel.

Parking tickets in Lawrence are only three bucks.

I want to make tape out of my doodle patterns.

After a year of using Twitter I'm still not sure I entirely understand it.

Anyone want a high chair? Or a Pack & Play?

Autumn is my favorite season. I can feel and see change happening. It makes me feel alive and pushes me into action. I know the year will soon be gone.

Today marks six weeks since I haven't touched a stove or an oven.

Check out what Michelle did to her stairs with a paintbrush. Absolutely incredible.

Insomnia has its advantages. This morning I decoupaged a journal cover, lettered a page, made a set of labels and packaged two orders. All before 6 am!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

disco pants wallpaper + an unfiltered waterfall of thoughts


Found the mother of all retro wallpaper on the house search this weekend. (60s maybe?) Impeccably preserved and pretty awesome.

I am a sucker for trial sizes.

When I check into a hotel, they give me two keys. I immediately lose one and within 30 minutes I lose the other.

There is a jar of buttons rolling around in the trunk of my car.

I love the scent of rain hitting dry pavement.

Why can't I pump my own gas in New Jersey?

I was supposed to meet Jen and Cindy in Manhattan on Sunday, but it didn’t happen. House stuff.

Not worrying about things I can't control at the moment. Not doing it as a consciously chosen mindset (I don't do those) but simply out of necessity. Quite a freeing way to live actually.

NYC gave me a sunny, stunning, sparkling view on takeoff yesterday. Kansas City gave me the reverse upon landing.

Starting on a new book contribution -- all about lettering! Based on current schedule I'll probably be doing this around 2 or 3 in the morning.

Just stocked up on thick, yummy tights for fall: black, grey, maroon, mustard, brown.

This morning I saw someone who looked like Snape pushing a jogging stroller down 7th Street.

The mums outside our house are dead. After it sold I lost interest in maintaining curb appeal.

Someone blew through the toll gate on I-70 yesterday (it wasn’t me). The wretched thing lay on the ground, all a-splinter.

If you saw a stuffed animal fly out of a car this morning in the school dropoff lane, that was me. 5 year old left it in the backseat. No time to get out & return it, so I chucked it out the window, she caught it from the sidewalk, and all was good.

Missing Lawrence already. But excited to start the new life too.

This morning my (normally cantankerous in the morning) artsy girl came downstairs at 6:45 a.m. fully dressed and yawned, “I woke up early so I could doodle before school.” Be still my artsy heart.

Monday, October 10, 2011

repurpose, iMagine, create


href="" title="wonderscope-folders by artsyville, on Flickr">wonderscope-folders












We took our final trip yesterday to Wonderscope, a hands-on children's museum near Kansas City that we always adore visiting because it is bright, cheery, educational, big enough to keep the kids' interest for a long time, and too small to get lost or overwhelmed. Within it is one of the coolest crafty concepts I've ever seen: the Repurpose, iMagine, Create store, a tiny room crammed with art/craft supplies and recyclables priced at next to nothing. The goal of the store is simply to encourage teachers, parents, kids & crafters to repurpose old stuff instead of buying new. Hardly anything costs more than a quarter.

The store is funded entirely by donations so it's like an ever-rotating garage sale. This time I saw latch hook yarn (!), greeting cards (one penny each), rolls of cash register tape, film canisters, fabulously cheesy paint by numbers, baby food jars, acrylic paints, ribbons, yarns, fabrics, envelopes, paper, even pieces of someone's personal scrapbook from the 70s. It's all more or less sorted out by category, but still jumbled up enough to make a treasure hunter happy. I found many a stack that looked (and smelled) like it had been in Grandma's attic for at least 40 years. So much fun to dig through. A place where you can still get away with giving the kids an allowance of 50 cents. Paper Source it is not, but if you're looking for the thrill of the find (and a year's worth of crafty projects) for less than the change under one sofa cushion, this place is indeed a scope of wonder.

Friday, October 7, 2011

art in the crossroads






















This morning I had a journal jam session with my free spirit art buddy Shannon and her two creative boys (who have to be the most well-behaved kids I've ever met). It had been a long time! Sometimes it takes things like moving away to set real dates and make them happen. We met at Mildred's, an adorable little coffeehouse in the Crossroads Arts District in Kansas City (about 40 miles east of Lawrence). I LOVE being around Shannon. She always leaves me inspired and pumped up to pursue some new creative thought that I've never entertained before. Afterwards I indulged in some photofun & I had forgotten how much visual food there is in the older parts of Kansas City. My pulse picked up as I realized that there are phototours around these parts still to be had... So though this was intended to be our goodbye coffee date, I realized that it probably wasn't. My business in Kansas City is not yet finished :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

not going Jersey Shore









So it's settled! Or at least, we will soon be. After tootling through lots of historic & charming little villages in North Jersey we've decided to drop our anchor there. As you can imagine I am taking a great deal of (good natured) crap these days about the whole Jersey Shore thing. I solemnly promise I will do my artsy best to not go all Jersey Shore on everyone. The most Lawrence-like of the villages I've seen so far seems to be Montclair, so I'll make sure to do lots of phototours there. If anyone has any recommendations on doodleworthy towns to visit in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut (anywhere in the NYC vicinity, really), my inbox is all yours. My camera shutter is itching to click and my pen is yearning to doodle. Fresh meat of the East, just one month away.

(street scenes from Montclair, Ridgewood, & Allendale NJ; patriotic mailbox and Sunset-on-Hudson in Nyack, NY.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

from funny farm to fun on the farm











In our final month of domestic limbo here in Kansas, I'm searching for stuff to keep us busy outdoors on the weekends and to reduce the human footprint on our house until the closing. Basically we bunk here, and we breathe, but beyond that I'm committed to minimal activity indoors. I've already proudly marked one month of no cooking. The oven exploded two days before we put it on the market, we had to express order a brand spanking new range, and I'm not touching it before we move. It has become quite a funny farm around here trying to keep ourselves occupied and sane.

Yesterday we took the funny farm on the road to a real one. We departed on the annual Kaw Valley Farm Tour, a self-guided tour of 25 farms around east central Kansas. We had never done it before, and I figured this was the last opportunity. I love driving on bumpity back roads, flying through the countryside past silos and barns, up and down the hills. But getting to a specific destination requires adventure and patience. Rural roads often go by multiple monikers: highway number, street name, rural route direction. Maps are marked with one name, the roads themselves with another. Sometimes neither are labeled, making both useless, and GPS (which I despise anyway) generally is just as confused. Paved roads turn into gravel and dirt; dead ends abound; required turnoffs quietly veer off to one side behind me while I'm looking out the other window. I committed all these fouls and more.

So in the end we only made it to two farms. But we made it to the best ones, I think. First up was the chocolatier Sleepy Jean's, whose factory is installed on an old farm. I've been buying and consuming Jean's confections on the sly ever since we moved here. They're amazing. And so is her chocolate farm. She let my kids cut past all the adults so they could get a first row view of her chocolate making demonstration, and she gave them double chocolate samples. I loved her story about how she left a high powered corporate career, learned how to make her own chocolate from the cacao bean grounds up, and built it into a thriving business. And I loved that I left her farm with two blissed out kids.

The second was Screamin' Oaks Farm in Tonganoxie. I figured with a name like that, it had to be good. And it was. For hours my girls milked goats, spun wool from their sheep, played in the sandbox, chased a turkey, built mazes out of haystacks, formed instant friendships with the other kids, and got filthy. Made me realize how content kids are when they can just run and play, free of parental clutches and playdate schedules. I ran into my sweet friend Estelle and her family (a surprise encounter, as that was the last place I expected to see anyone I knew) and we whiled away the rest of the afternoon having fun on the farm before we had to return to our own funny farm for the night.

P.S. The turkey's name is Dinner. Not kidding :)