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!