Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Eve in New York


radio city



scribners sons



rockefeller plaza

We took a Christmas Eve romp through the city and what fun it was! Minimal meltdowns and everything! More or less we charted a path the shape of an upside down Utah through Midtown: working our way up 7th Ave quite bravely through Times Square (Toys R Us -- egad!) to 50th Street, hoofing it past Radio City Music Hall over to Rockefeller Plaza and down 5th Avenue, making a rest stop for weary feet at the Children's Center in the New York Public Library, taking a spin on Le Carrousel Magique in Bryant Park, going down the home stretch through 6th Ave (I don't know what others call it, but we call it Bead Alley), and ending the stroll at Macy's. Call it our miracle on 34th street that we hit most of the major hotspots in 4 hours. We also saw Santa everywhere -- he must be very quick on his feet to be in so many places at once. 'Twas a delight! Hope you all had a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

List it Tuesday 12/18: Holiday Traditions


Hot chocolate and crochet

Our kiddie menorah and our moose-norah (since our menorah was packed in storage last year, I had to buy one in desperation, and all that was left was a moose menorah. Candles go in the antlers)

Rating our neighbors' Christmas decorations (we are tough critics)

Buckeyes, white chocolate Chex mix, Cheryl's Buttercream Cutout cookies

Latkes (I now remember to dispose the oil properly and not put it back in the pantry, so I won't make brownies like I did a few years ago with what looked like good old pure canola oil)

Handmade things

Exchanges of little gifts

Making cookie houses that will win no Pinterest prizes

Memories of my granddaddy taking us to Kmart and loading up cart after cart after cart of toys, then delivering them to charities (I think he was Santa)

Searching for light and celebrating it, even now, when it seems that it is absolutely nowhere to be found

Being grateful for my family. More this year than ever before.

List it Tuesday will start again January 8 with the (suggested) topic "What's new". Gifts, resolutions, thoughts, perspectives, pounds gained over the holidays, new art materials or techniques you're trying, etc... it's all fair game!

Thursday, December 13, 2012



Balls of yarn, no matter how perfectly coiled from the start, hit a snag sooner or later. The strand glides along its path swimmingly for a while, working itself into neat and tidy twists and turns, and then surprise! I find myself in a yarn pickle. Sometimes it's an utter surprise but usually it's more a matter of seeing the glitch coming a yard away and ignoring it, hoping it will work itself out before it becomes my problem. Then it comes to pass and in the predicament I sit.

Now it all comes down to the approach.

Pull too hastily (my default procedure) and I could cement the knots for eternity.

Move cautiously (not my style) and I may find it was just a faux entanglement as the strand magically falls back onto a clear, singular, determined path.

Work strategically (the most unlikely to happen and thus potentially the most rewarding), both looking forward and retracing my steps through le grand mess to see it through to the very end, and eventually I'll claim victory over the mayhem I've created.

I could also cut the tie altogether and go for the reconnect. Sometimes it is the only way, but if done shoddily it means unraveling from both ends and a complete undoing of it all. Risky.

Or I could just get a new ball of yarn and start over. But that's no fun.

I also use this process for navigating roads in North Jersey.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

stencil hop and arty labels


The fabulous Jill Berry sent me a pack of her fabulous new stencils from Artistcellar and said: "Go and make something with them! And then give a set away."


I've been messing around with inked labels lately and thought these would add some terrific texture to them. It worked beautifully. Using my inkpad technique, I applied layers of color through the stencils on white Avery labels (I used the full sheets, though you could easily use the pre-cut.)

The best kinds of inkpads to use on the stencils are the thick, spongy kind so they can wedge themselves through the stencil to the paper. For these labels I applied two layers: the first through the stencil, and the second across the entire sheet to fill in the resist areas.

I chopped them up in random sizes with my paper cutter, then made them a bit more graceful by rounding the corners. (I love my corner rounder.)

They were perfect for pen and ink

and making gift tags for the little ones. I'll use them for shipping tags, too!

Jill designed these stencils from her own calligraphy in styles that she describes as Runes, Romans, Rivermap and Roadmap. For a chance to win your own set from Artistcellar, leave a comment (make sure you leave an e-mail address or a way to reach you) and I'll draw a winner on Friday. Bonus entry if you make up a four word phrase starting with all Rs. Show us the alliterative spirit! For a list of all the stops on the stencil blog hop, go here! And if you don't want to take your chances, you can pick up your own set at Artistcellar.

{And if you're looking for List it Tuesday, go here! This week is a don't miss; it's all about junk drawers.}

Monday, December 10, 2012

list it tuesday 12/10: the junk drawer


two joker cards / expired gymbucks / jello coupon that is not a redeemable coupon / two camera batteries and two camera cases (no camera) / pencils with chewed off erasers / gigantic crochet hook / membership to the bronx zoo (used once) / foil stars and circle stickers (everyone has those) / nintendo stylus (6) / staples (loose) / metrocard (fully loaded) / sunscreen / dried out glue sticks / dried out highlighter / phone chargers / east wok menu / WHERE IS MY TAPE / WHERE ARE MY SCISSORS / aquaphor advanced therapy lotion / broken alarm clock / broken pencil sharpener (3) / loose pencil shavings / north american van lines moving stickers / porcelain touch-up paint (not ours) / reminder for orthodontist appointment six months ago / other things of unknown provenance / and enough loose change to fund all village meters for a day

next week's suggested topic: holiday faves (days, traditions, events, recipes, people, memories, drives, places, music, etc...) and then List it Tuesday will be on winter vacation until January 8!

{and don't miss my other post today: a stencil hop and my arty label tutorial!}

from dreidels to WTF

This week I spun dreidels,

kisses had kisses for everyone,

night trainwatched the night train (I love watching trains),

gumballs relented on the gumball purchase only to find a big wad chewed under her pillow the next morning,

titos had Tito's Burritos make dinner so I wouldn't have to,

did not say freshened up a vintage Artsyville doodle,

leaves watched them jump in the last of the leaves,

stencils played around with Jill Berry's new stencils (see below -- more fun to come tomorrow on that),

photo-101 and made a note to get some kid-friendly notepads around the house. (6 year old is into writing us notes these days -- here she is having computer woes.)

The shop sale is officially over (signs have been taken down and craftily packed away), but UNofficially I'm leaving the code active one more day in case there are any procrastinators that straggle through today. HAPPYHOLIDAYS2012. You can count on a super speedy ship -- from now through December 19, all packages will depart Artsyville within one business day instead of the normal three.

See you tomorrow for a doubleheader! We'll have List it Tuesday as usual (this week we'll peek inside the household junk drawer messes of your fellow listers) and we'll also have a stencil hop party. I'm giving away a set of Jill Berry's gorgeous stencils from artistcellar and posting a how-to on the project I created from them. There is also a game involving alliteration...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

before the idea gets too big


This is how I'd create everything if I had my way. Idea comes, I jump, I live in it & play around with it, and get it into shape just the way I want it during that honeymoon phase of intuition. The downside of this is that everything else around me gets sacrificed: the house goes to hell, meals are forgotten, kids get scruffy, and all common sense vanishes. Often I have to forsake that eureka moment to preserve the environment, and then the idea either gets so complicated and involved that it outright devours me, or it gets mad and goes away.

The lists were awesome this week! (there's still time to contribute -- I always leave the post open until the following Monday.) I knew I'd enjoy the topic but didn't know how much until I read them. So calming and soothing, like salves for the soul. Stuff that makes everything right again. We had many comforts in common (which I found comforting in itself) and then we all had our specific individual quirky needs (which I found fascinating). Next week should be most interesting! I took a peek in our junk drawer, was terrified and closed it. Will have to recruit some helpers for this one.

{print is in the shop here and I'm sharing a bit early for Paint Party Friday.}

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

list it tuesday 12/4: comforts


their drawings / chocolove sea salt in dark chocolate / tazo refresh tea / colors and forms that fall into just the right patterns / making coffee / boarding calls / suitcases / stacks of books / little shops / oceans / crochet / deep sleeps / things handmade by people i like / walking / running / driving / flying / fresh bread / layers of warmth / quiet hours / support / full moons / sounds of the bus and train / waking up to a tidy kitchen / memories / everyone home / everyone OK / bourrée in e minor by bach / hang on little tomato by pink martini / love / remembering life in Lawrence / newspapers (real ones) / enormous diner breakfasts / paper / friendships that don't lapse even when they do / stars / colorful houses / hearing other languages / containers of things / hearty soups / options

{next week's suggested topic comes from natasha may: contents of your junk drawer}

Saturday, December 1, 2012

holy naptime


Finished my last piece for Art Every Day Month. Time for a nap! As usual, I was spotty at my AEDM game, but the last thirty days have been like living in a blender, so I'm surprised I got anything out on paper at all. Thanks for the snoozespiration on this piece to my friend Karen, who blurted this out after we had stuffed ourselves with pizza and cheesy garlic bread at Lisa's house, and we were all in dire need of a nap. I couldn't have said it better myself, so I sought (and got) her permission to doodle it out! Happy weekend, AEDM, and PPF to all of you!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

the last one


For whatever I neglected to include these past few days, this last deal should handily cover the rest! I will now shut up about the shop for the rest of the season unless I have a new item to hawk. The lists I've seen so far from yesterday are terrific and I will catch up on the rest of them after my last set of deliveries today. You'd think I would have warmed up by now to an advanced and efficient postal processing system (i.e. click & ship), but the truth is, I like my trips to the post office. It's one last chance to bid adieu to the goods before they go to their new homes. Also, the USPS upgraded the automated postal machine and now the stamps are excruciatingly difficult to extract. Why this is a good thing: before I would have to barely bend over to pluck the stamp out of the machine, but now it only spits out the edge of the label, so I have to do a full (and sustained) squat to locate the stamp and ease it out so I won't accidentally jam it back in. Right now I'm more sore than I care to admit. So I thank you not only for your orders, but also for helping me get my ass back in shape!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

List it Tuesday 11/27: Been There, Done That


This week's List it Tuesday topic was offered by Nicole and I loved it. Been there, done that. Checked boxes. Here are a few.

1. Rode a bus over the Andes from Chile to Argentina
2. Was a monkey in the 5th grade school play
3. Forgot the lines to a poem at a 6th grade recital and walked off the stage
4. Rode in a cop car and went to three police stations in Rio
5. Lived in a hotel for a month without checking out (I was working out of town, tired, and didn't have the energy to go home)
6. Went to a World Cup game (Spain vs South Korea)
7. Went to the Final Four in 1992 (my team lost in the semis so I sold my last ticket and went out to eat)
8. Drove a Miami of Ohio university bus (once)
9. Worked for a week on the Neiman Marcus Holiday Express train (it was a two year thing in the 90s where we loaded a full NM store on an American Orient Express and traveled to 10 cities in the South. I was in the men's clothing car and sold pocket humidors )
10. 45 out of 50 states (Alaska, North Dakota, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire still await)

Can't wait to hear about your checked boxes! Next week's suggested topic comes from Andrea: "small comforts" (things that make you feel better).

teacher tuesday


It's Teacher Tuesday in Artsyville -- great opportunity to stock up on Teach What You Love for teacher gifts! One more day of doodle deals and then we're back to regular programming ♥

Monday, November 26, 2012

a year of cheer


Hi all! Today is Flipside Monday -- spend $25 in the shop & get a flipside 2013 calendar for free ($10 value). Happy shopping! Now hard at work at my Been There, Done That list... can't wait to read everyone else's. See you tomorrow!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

stock up & stuff it




Just popping in to let you know I have stuffed fresh goods in the shop for Stocking Stuffer Sunday and they are all on sale! Groovy doodle cards are back, the doodle clips are totally new, and the magnet 10-pack is $30 today which makes each magnet $3 each -- a super deal, as they are normally $5 individually. Stock up & stuff it! And...again, sorry to be so shoppy with all of you... but it is that time of year and honestly I'm having fun changing up the scene every day! I'll have a few more days of doodle deals and then I'll lay off for a while. I have to get working on my bucket-list-in-reverse for Tuesday, anyway...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

art every day month : day twenty-four: time for kids


Born out of parental guilt. Of course I KNOW this is important. But it's so easy for us all to be left to our own devices (in this day and age, quite literally) and drift off to our own corners. And then I wonder why they show up with those devices, right under my ear, and yammer and yell and fight with each other until I either 1) blow my top or 2) realize what they're looking for, even though they may not even know it, is some one on one. A game. A conversation. A book. A walk. Real life things -- together. So now I'm going to make bread with them.... before they grow up and don't want to do it anymore.

{I'm having Super Parent Saturday in my shop from now through Sunday noon EST -- 25% off all parenting doodles, including the doodle book The Things We Do.}

Friday, November 23, 2012

a village in my mind & full color friday


When things get bothersome in real life, this is where I go. There's a place for everyone here if you'd like to escape too. As you might notice, this village has full power (including heat and hot water) 24/7. There is no shortage, outage, wreckage, damage or breakage in this village. There's also no mortgage. Just move on in, and we'll have arty parties all the time!

Also, there are no lines in this village for Black Friday because I have no idea what Black Friday is. Here in Artsyville we're having Full Color Friday in the shop! From now until tomorrow (Saturday 12 noon EST), buy an 8x10 doodle print and get a 5x7 of your choice for free. No limit! Just let me know clearly in the notes to seller which 5x7 you'd like for each 8x10 you buy.

I'll have fresh stuff and new doodle deals every day throughout this weekend, and then I'll take the Artsyville staff (my kids) to the PO on Monday to send out the goods. Your orders are turning them into mailing experts and postal whizzes! You should see the confidence as they approach that automated postal machine ;)

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

list it tuesday 11/20: wish list

happymamalisa's (lisa gonzalez) love painting and confetti throw

my pie-in-the-sky wish list

1. for our bedroom to be as cheery as happymamalisa's (above). lovely visit with her yesterday as always. I love her new love painting and happy confetti throw.
2. for Twinkies to rise again, and to bring back with it the Marathon bar, Carnation Breakfast Bars, and Jell-o Gelatin Pops.
3. for things to be there, always, right when I need them. (talking to you, keys.)
4. for my kids to quit quarreling, bickering, tattling, and sapping my energy.
5. for my kids to never stop drawing.
6. to have a full closet of ballet flats. I just added a cute pair of red velvet to the stash last week...
7. to fly to one random place each week.
8. for my cold to go away.
9. for autocorrect to leave me alone.
10. to find a decent challah bread. here you'd think they'd be as plentiful as bagels, but I've tried at least a half dozen different kinds, and no go. the ones in Kansas were better.
11. for someone to wave a magic wand over the Jersey Shore, Staten Island and Long Island and make everything right again.
12. for fourth grade homework to go away.
13. for someone to replace our twelve burnt out lightbulbs.
14. to speak five languages fluently.
15. to be not so impatient.
16. remaining house style desires: 1) bungalow 2) casita 3) hobbit hut
17. to open a shop and fill it with wonderful handmade things from around the world.
18. to see the Northern Lights.
19. for my boots to quit tearing holes in my socks.
20. for everyone to just get along.

Thanks for all the great lists last week! I think we have enough topics to get us through the next millennium. Next week's suggested topic comes from Nicole: "been there, done that". (Kind of a bucket list in reverse. Sharpen your pencils and tell us about your checked boxes! :))

Monday, November 19, 2012

art every day month : days whatever : artist-in-bloom manifesto


My artist-in-bloom manifesto: finished! I've lost track of the days for AEDM, but I figure as long as I'm making stuff, the numbers don't matter, right? I'm off to see happy mama Lisa and her almost-here-baby-bun today! Happy Monday, and I'll see you and your wish lists tomorrow for List it Tuesday!

{8x10 doodle print now in the shop here}.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

list it tuesday 11/13: double up


As promised! Here are two check-ins this week: one for the movie lines and the other is a receptacle for list topics. Share your ideas! Fill our coffers! As for me... I have lots of favorite movie lines (I could have copied and pasted the whole of The Blues Brothers) but the one rattling supreme in my head last week was... "we're not in Kansas anymore"...

Next week's topic suggestion comes from Storybeader: your Santa list! Make it as creative and as farfetched as you wish :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

book day

Happy Monday and thanks for the warm welcome back! I'll be catching up on visits this week! I'm interrupting my Art Every Day Month posts to share two beautiful books being released into the world today -- both so very different from each other, and both so very on their way to my book collection.


Polaroids. Who doesn't love them? Jen from Painted Fish Studio takes them better than anyone I know. And she's also really, really good at traveling and making books out of them. I've been chomping at the bit for her to finish Chairs because I'm borderline obsessed with empty ones. I'll sit in cafes for hours and watch seats fill and vacate and wonder: Who sat there? Who was supposed to, but didn't? What did they talk about? Who might have been there if circumstances had been different? Was it business or personal? Or both? What I love most about her Polaroids -- and these in particular (there are 35 chairs in total from New York to Seattle to Amsterdam to Minneapolis/St. Paul) -- is that Jen chooses her shots thoughtfully and sparingly, so each one really means something. You get to fill in the story.


Conversations. Who doesn't love them? Rachel Awes listens to them better than anyone I know. And she's also really, really good at capturing them on paper. I've been chomping at the bit for her to finish All I Did Was Listen because I'm borderline obsessed with eavesdropping on people, learning what goes on in their heads, soaking up all the great things they say. I read the prototype back in September and it's fantastic -- a colorful, juicy, a magnificent soul-filler. It has a wonderful and well-deserved endorsement by SARK. You'll see yourself or someone you know on every single page.

Now back to AEDM! I am finishing up two other manifestos to keep the Explorer company: the Artist and the Writer. See you tomorrow for List it Tuesday!