The frigid weather and lack of light and endorphins of this season has been met with vigorous wedding album construction around my studio. Nothing brightens the mood like spring colors, googling wedding color trends (more flower photos) and dealing with the young-and-in-love. Well, an occasional bridezilla is always something to be feared, but luckily the etsy crowd seems to be filled mostly with happy people.

I have revamped my wedding album from last fall to focus on colors. All the books will have similar features, book cloth covers, long stitch binding through the spine, complimentary wedding colors on the inside of each cover which are the same lotka paper as the damask cut-out on the front and back. The text block will remain the same. I would like to limit the amount of hours I spend at Kinkos/FedEx. It is not pleasant there. I would very much like to go in, print 30 text blocks, and never go back.

That said about making everything the same, I'll start the photos off with a variation I just did for our great etsy customer. They are having a red and black "steampunk" wedding on Valentine's Day. I designed the patterned paper to look steampunked (think gears, industry, etc). The same paper is in a damask shape on the front with a vintage mirror bead and their stamped initials. I also had this one printed with their names (obviously) which looks great, but again, kinkos, hard to deal with. I need to find a different printer.



I am one to rearrange often. It's exciting to make a space look and feel like new. Thanks Mom, for saving all those episodes of Design on a Dime on Tivo! That show is (was?) awesome. My favorite part was the last section of the show where a designer rearranges a room to look totally awesome without buying anything new. True, she usually steals the furniture and decor from the other rooms of the house, but as long as one room looks good, who cares.

I've had my studio in the living space since we moved here. Yesterday we moved it up to FGH's room and moved his "room" into our room. He sleeps in our room every night anyhow. Now his mattress is next to our bed (used for playing so far). The living space is opened up for more running-about room. He loves it. I love it. When Peter is playing with FGH I can go upstairs, shut the door, and have full use of my brain, which will be necessary now as I'm embarking on a new business venture with a friend alongside my books and prints. Details to follow later on that!

Here's my new studio space. It's not decorated or completely set up, but it's good enough. I've already cranked out some wedding books since last night.
And now, FGH has more room to act like this:
We hope to feel more relaxed in our living space, too. Having my studio in the living room felt like there was always an aura of work in the air.



This time of year was always so exciting on the farm, lists to make, seeds arriving in the mail, prepping the seed starting area for the onions that would soon be planted into trays...

This year FGH and I are going to have a garden in the backyard. I've been not so excited about it, since it's really quite a bit smaller than 40 acres, but now that I'm about to put the seed order in the mail I'm getting excited. We're renting here, so I don't want to add any more tilled area besides the 8'x8' garden spot that already exists. So, I'm planning on some major container gardening. I've never done this and I'm a little nervous. I will continue to have a CSA box every week from our old farm (now loon organics) as a back up.

My list so far:

For containers:
Tomatoes (of course)
Bell Peppers
Peas (trellised in a pot)
Herbs (Basil, Parsley, Oregano for sure)
Salad Mix

Precious Garden Plot Area:
Green Beans
Herbs (Basil, Parsley, Oregano for sure)
Kale (a lot of bang for your buck space-wise)
Heads of Lettuce
Zucchini (trellised)
Cuke (trellised)

Things I'm NOT growing:
brassicas (broccoli, cabbage, caul, bok choy...)
winter squash
corn-I have always thought it so funny when home gardeners plant 6 stalks of corn!
everything else

I really like fresh eggplant, but it takes up some footage....might try it in a pot...we'll see.

If anyone has some container growing advice send it this way. I'll do some googling about it. I'm going to need a lot of pots, too. Hmmmm. I'm guessing water will be the biggest factor. I will have a toddler helping me, and he will probably REALLY like the hose next summer so TOO much water is probably the actual problem with those pots.

Here's a gardening journal that will find it's way into my shop soon. It's a journal made from a variety of papers from the "Veggie Line." I may have to keep it for my own gardening notes come to think of it.


More Album Sets

Two more baby sets have landed in my shop. I really really enjoyed making them. Once I printed off the patterned papers I was just too excited to wait and quickly cut them up into carefully measured pieces. The fabric lining the brag book pouch is also made from one of my patterns. I actually fed fabric sheets through the inkjet printer and it worked. Well, I cheated a bit, they were paper backed when I bought them. However, I have since purchased some gorgeous fabrics that I am going to try to back with freezer paper and feed through the printer. It's supposed to work. So, the top set is the Dala Set. One of my dala prints is on the cover, and the lining paper of the large album is the blue, white, and red star paper from a previous blog entry. The blue and yellow dala paper and beige patterned paper are part of the new "Dala Line." Nice!
I've gone a little wild with the "Veggie Line." Peas, tomatoes, squash, elf shoes, flowers...there are about 8 patterns in the series. I'll try to get them scanned tonight.
Next I plan on evolving into some more organic (strange to use that word not referring to USDA organic) patterns. I'm going to use some watercolors i'm working on, scan them, and print them on lotka papers. Hmmm. Could be great or could be a disaster.



Thirty it is.
And I got thirty presents from my mom.
And a bunch more, too.
Thanks everyone!
I took an I-Spy type photograph of some of the thirty gifts from my ma:
Can you find the delicious Mr. B's Chocolate Bar?
There are assorted antique brass bells that will be great hung on a hook or maybe on a wreath.
Vintage metal stencils may find there way onto a book cover.
A tiny white charm dog from my Great Grandma Mort's jewelry box is very mysterious, much like the odd vase that was my Grandma Myrtle's GRANDMA's (that goes back more than 120 years), very intriguing item!
Threads and soaps and sticks, fun fun.

And me! How serious I was and am.

An orchid now graces the presence of my messy studio area. Studios are meant to be messy. I have recently decided this despite all the magazine articles that pressure me to spend January organizing. Thanks for the fleur, Peter!


Fear of Sleep

I came down to the kitchen this morning, groggy, ready for a cup of coffee, needing a little wake up time. Surprise! We never cleaned the kitchen last night. Oh.
Now, it's 1:30 and the lunch dishes are piled on top of the supper dishes.
Not to mention the other chores, and Fredrik's been wearing the same socks for two days (gasp!).
I keep filling my sketchbook with ideas...but they don't get started.
It is the fear of sleep.
I finally diagnosed it.
Nothing has been working to get that 23 month old to sleep (except holding him in the sling that had been retired to a drawer a good 10 months ago).
We've tried the cry-it-out which was more of a yell-it-out, he just yelled, "mama, daddy, eggs, outside, thomas..." until he was hoarse.
We've tried soothing music, putting the lights down, calming baths, negotiations, snuggly toys, switching to a toddler bed (QUICKLY BACK TO THE CRIB!), our bed, and skipping the nap.
He looks so bedraggled.
So does our house.
Then, today we visited the Monroe Family Playroom at the Monroe School-which was awesome by the way, and free, and included 45 minutes of parent/child yoga-and during the free play portion of the morning I picked up a copy of "What to Expect...the Toddler Years (or something close)" and they mentioned that some sensitive kids will develop a fear of sleep. The cry(yell)-it-out method usually just makes it worse.
I think it fits.
He just wants to be up, to play, to read, to learn, to talk.
So, they suggested laying with your toddler until he falls asleep so we tried that today. He, in his exhaustion, fell asleep almost immediately on my shoulder in his room. I waited a good 10 minutes to transfer him, then covered him up (still sleeping at this point), covered him up so he felt secure and rested my hand a bit longer.
Soon, he opened his eyes and said,
And he's been in his crib a good 20 minutes now listening to guitar music and talking about Thomas.
He's so tired.
The house is so dirty.
Well, up I go to try again.



I love the making of patterns. Who knew?
These are some of my favorites thus far.

From the Love Ostriches line:
And the Veggie line:
Also from the Veggie line, made out of elf shoes:
And the Dala line:
It is extremely playful to make these. I use photoshop. Cutting, pasting, rotating, sizing, coloring, repeating...it is great fun. I'm thinking about selling some of the papers in paper packs. Could be fun. And, who knows, maybe someday Moda will ask me to design fabric. You never know.



A few weeks (months?) ago I split myself into two, swirling tree and swirling tree people.

The books vs. the drawings and prints.

My book shop was feeling cluttered with the prints and notecards so I thought they should be seperated.

Well, now I've brought them together into one big "me" collaboration.

I was crabbily working (tis frustrating to learn new things) on patterns to go with my new designs for about a week and a half and now I have produced these:

A whole "elephant ballerina" line of papers and even some printed fabric for the brag book pouch. Phew. I wasn't sure if I was going to pull it off. As you can see, the green elephant paper is made of repeated smaller green copies of my original elephant which is on the large album. The flower pattern comes from the corner detail on the drawn frame around the elephant. I'm selling all three books together as a set. So darling, if I do say.

The inspiration for these projects came from some christmas gifts from Peter. "Bend the Rules with Fabric" by the Angry Chicken blogger Amy Karol, and a silkscreening kit from the Center for Book Arts, and from my parents (with sis's help), the letterpress printer from Archivers. Aside from the book, none of these were exactly used for this project, but getting all of these printing related products spurred me to think about patterns and making my own decorative papers and fabrics. The letterpress and silkscreen are taunting me to learn more.

I have some veggie-people albums and brag books on the way, and then dala horses. I'm not sure if the movie fox will be appropriate as these seem geared towards baby gifts. Anyone have any input? Would someone want a set of albums and a brag book with a sly and cynical movie-loving fox on the cover?



Toddler Muffins

Freddy and I made muffins the other day and much was learned about baking with people of the toddler variety.

1. Have things ready as though we are on a cooking show. A quick trip to the cupboard to get vanilla may result in eggs in the honey jar.
2. Use the biggest bowl possible if you are to let the little one stir.
3. Flour is slippery (more so with gluten-free flour?)
4. Do not expect the product to "turn out"
5. The toddler will fill with pride and adore the baked creation, even if it crumbles to a pile of dust when touched.

Next time we may try instant pudding.


January Sunshine

I'm a big fan of January. I put my cuddle duds, wool sweater, wool coat, wool everything on and embrace the bitter cold. There is always so much bright sunshine in January that the cold is made tolerable ---OK, to and from the car is basically the only time spent outdoors on days like today when it hovers around zero degrees, but still, I have no bad feelings about it. The days are getting longer...and it's almost my birthday which is, of course, a cause for celebration. It's the big 3-0 this year. Despite the frozen tundra, we have some blooms in the house. Peter just scored a huge jade (monster plant is what he and Freddy are calling it) at Mississippi Market. IT IS HUGE. It took the place of our Christmas Tree, is is THAT BIG. Peter is freaking-out excited about it. Bonsai plans are in his head (Jade's are fun to trim...sculpt...not sure what the correct term is there). It's even blooming. I didn't even know that they could bloom here. Here is some photog of the monster tree:

Now that Law School is back in session, I am putting things back onto the back burner to simmer. I did, however, have a majorly productive couple of weeks so I feel OK for slowing up a bit and getting back into the normal routine. Here are some 5x7 albums that are among the many things I finished during the break:


Happy 2010!

Happy New Year!
I am extremely excited for 2010. I have SO MANY ideas for new drawings, books, kits, and the like.
For example, I had decided that I wanted to draw a fox. I like foxes, especially those of the cartoon variety. So, as I sat down to draw a fox, I drew this guy, sitting in a chair with popcorn and pop. What the? I guess I had watched Avatar in 3-D the night before (it was totally awesome), so that must have been my inspiration.
I am one of those artists that just starts drawing without a plan. It's the opposite with bookmaking, since the structure sort of necessitates a plan and cutting accuracy.
Below Movie Fox is one of my new journals, Red and Green Clock Journal. It's cute. It's clever. Both items are in their respective shops and more are soon to follow.