Saturday, June 30, 2007


Me as a Simpsons character.

If I were a resident of Springfield... I may go back and do a little photoshopping; I need the hair to be twice as long, and bigger. :)

Make your own (and post the link here to share!)
See the flickr group and add your own, I was about to add mine when I spotted Ally and Tim!
♥ You can see my bro's, along with his real picture, here.

Friday, June 29, 2007

pass it on

I got the loveliest email from Jo and her class about their own adventures in chalking, and she was kind enough to give me permission to share the story here. (Hi class! You guys are fantastic chalkers!) It put a huge grin on my face; I hope it does the same for you.

[Jo says.... ] I asked them what they would write if they were allowed to. Some just wanted to see their name, others wanted instructions (danger road!) but most of the girls wanted to make people smile with cool pictures and nice words.

We had a good chat about graffiti and how this version was not permanent and all the better for that.

Then they got into groups of two or three, chose a word or a phrase and set to. We decided to have a go in our 'secret garden' so that it wasn't so public as it was our first try.

The results are amazing. Some of the children started small and then discovered they had no limitations; it wasn't like using a piece of paper. we were out for a hour and everyone concentrated for the whole time...not bad for a group of seven and eight year olds.

They were so delighted with what they had done, they wanted to show everyone. The best view was from an upstairs form room but you had to get close to appreciate the detail and the joy in every inch.

Sadly the rain came a few hours later, but not before we had recorded our 'adventures in chalking'

Hope you like the results ... We are now plotting more 'Phantom chalking'

Monday, June 25, 2007


More reading I've been doing lately, in between going through my collection of old Ellery Queen novels, has been stuff like The Survival Guide for Parents of Gifted Kids. Paul picked this up from the library with Sophie in mind, but reading through it actually put some things about Angela in a different light for me. Regarding her behavioral issues, some of the points hit home -- for intstance, acting up out of boredom (which she has freely admitted to me) and her stubborn need to do things her own way, and the fact that she tries to negotiate with me about them like a little lawyer. (She's 3.) While I'm not labeling her anything, it's certainly opened our eyes to a wider scope of what we might be dealing with here.

As for Miss S., we've known since before she could talk that we were dealing with a kid that was off the charts. At her one-year checkup, she knew all her colors, body parts, and about 10 shapes. She taught herself to read at two, can write, draws constantly, can find all 50 states on a map.... we just keep trying to answer her questions and feed her thirst for knowledge, and make sure she gets outside a ton and plays away from books. (She's 4 now.) The other night at dinner we were talking about opposites with the kids. After a couple of minutes we had gotten through all the obvious ones, and I said, "Tasty.....?" Sophie thought for a minute and said, "Inedible."

And Petey.... I think Peter is biding his time. He's been working on seeing how far he can jump and pretending he's cooking the family gourmet meals; a habit that I for one want to encourage. :)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Memory Almost Full, basement almost empty

Getting ready for a garage sale this weekend, which I don't feel in the least bit prepared for. I refuse to hire a sitter to help with the kids during the sale, because there's the profits of the garage sale - I can just hand it over! :) Paul pointed out that the goal is not to make any money, but to get rid of stuff to someone who can use it, so if I look at it that way, it makes perfect sense. We have three of everything baby related (car seats of various sizes, clothing, booster seats, a highchair, toys... ) and we can certainly use the space!

Helping to take the edge off is repeated listenings of Memory Almost Full - it's in extremely heavy rotation at our house. I had written a review for my friend Craig, but the more I listen, the more songs I like and more things that grab me. The one thing I will say is that "Mr. Bellamy" is far and away the standout track. There are some posts going around online that are saying that it's about a cat in a tree, but the lyrics are clearly about a guy on a ledge and the people trying to talk him down (which Paul confirms in an interview). It makes me wish I was an animator, because it would make a marvelous video in the same style as "Free As A Bird".

♥ Hear "Mr. Bellamy" with a slide show with lyrics here
♥ See "Free as a Bird" here

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Go pick your prints!

The order form's up and ready for action! If you've already emailed me, I'll be writing back to you tonight about your order. (Correction, they're still being sent out.)

Most requested so far:

♥ The reading fairy (detail here, and many more fairies to be found here, btw)
Edgar Allan Poe/lar Bear
Balance (which I have hanging on my fridge!)

While I am still trying to go through and tag all my posts, in the meantime, if there's something you remember, go to Google and type in "french toast girl" and whatever you remember. That's what I do!

Other quick note: I've gone through my Yahoo Groups list and deleted any members whose messages have bounced or email address is out of date. If you think you might have gotten lost in the shuffle, please check (or sign up!) here to make sure you're included in news and announcements.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Strong-Willed Child

I have been trying to put into practice two tenets of "The Strong-Willed Child" (which mostly applies to Miss Angela). One is that I pray for the strength to be able to SHAPE her will, and not BREAK it. God gave her this amazing spirit, and entrusted me to be her mama. I want her to be the unique person she is meant to be, but not at the expense of everyone's else's sanity. I'm in charge, not a three-year-old, and she knows it, but she's the one when everyone else is playing nicely, will look around and decide things aren't quite exciting for her and need a little stirring up. (I have seen her say, sweetly, "Oh, Peter?" and when he turned to look at her, smiled while she punched him in the face.) Not that Angela is a bully, far from it. Most of the time she's quite sweet and kind-hearted. But when there's trouble, she usually is the one stirring it up, and then is difficult to stop.

While the book recommends spanking the child with a paddle, and then putting it up on display so that they will be reminded of this and that You Are Boss, I just can't do that. I am not a wuss - in fact, we are quite strict with our kids - I just grew up without being spanked and I think that's the way to go. So the other concept I've taken from this book is: I need to find some immediate consequence that bothers Angela enough to deter her from bad behavior. For Sophie, giving her a look and saying sternly, "Do you want to sit in the corner?" is enough to make her stop whatever she's doing; actually going in the corner has her in tears because she wants so badly to make us happy (this is the kind of kid I was, btw). Angela could care less! One time I completely lost it and was screaming myself red in the face at her, and she laughed. Sophie would have been sobbing. That's another point in this book I appreciated; it's not that we're bad parents, or lazy, or whatever. It's that Angela's completely different in her behavior than the other two. And we need other tactics. She's not fond of time-outs, and we do those, but we're still thinking up something else we can use as a deterrent, especially at bedtime.

As for me growing up, we had The Wooden Spoon, which Mom would sort of swat at you with but it didn't hurt because you could always run faster than she did. I remember one day rolling my eyes at her and saying, "It doesn't hurt, Mom," like, come on, you have to do better than that! And she explained about our friend's house, where the kids wait till their Dad gets home from work and he takes off his belt and whacks them with it if their Mom reports they've done something wrong. Would we rather do it that way instead? Because Mom could talk to Daddy about it and work something out if we'd prefer that. No, no, that was quite okay, we reassured her. The Spoon was just fine, and hey, did she need us to set the table or take out the garbage or something? And by the way, Mom, you're looking lovely today.

Friday, June 15, 2007

In search of...

We are cleaning house with a vengeance - books, CDs, clothes, and other stuff is getting set up to be either garage sale or eBay-bound. It's cathartic; cleaning house is good for organizing your mind as well. In the midst of getting ready for the garage sale (where Paul will not be parting with any of his beloved Macs), I find myself thinking of things I can actually use.

Does anyone know where I can find....

A skort that looks like this. Sophie has a bunch from Target, handed down from a friend (as far as I know, Target's not making them anymore). They are made out of sweatshirt material, in bright colors, and look like a full skirt with a pair of shorts underneath in the same color. The link above is the closest thing I could find to what one in my size would look like, 'cept that's a skirt (no shorts). I love the wide waistband and would love it even more if it were closer to knee-length. This is my problem: I fall in love with clothes that were designed for a 4-year-old. Foo. I could sew up a skirt, but adding shorts in is I think beyond me.

Good waffle recipes or a recipe for a sandwich maker that uses dough instead of bread. I finally got my Mother's Day present, a waffle iron (which I asked for, I know, I'm so domestic) so I could make the family healthy waffles instead of the loaded-with-preservatives version that you find in the freezer section. Anyway, the model we got has a sandwich maker with it, and I see possibilities for making calzones and fruit tarts and other things I can make and batch-freeze. We easily go through 1/2 a loaf at a sitting, but if I could make dough and use that instead, I think a little would go a long way.

An 80's rainbow shirt - they were white with 3/4-length sleeves and the rainbow went from one arm across the shirt to the other arm. I can't even find a picture of one online! This is so geeky of me, but I love rainbows, in a cheesy 80's sort of way. Darnit, maybe I'll just have to make one myself.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


We're officially on vacation this week, which means lots of fun day trips with the kiddos. Tuesday they saw an exhibit of Steve Gerberich's work that mixed machines and art, with buttons at kid height to push to get them going. The sculptures were full of toys and everyday objects that the kids could recognize; they loved pointing things out and seeing them move. Angela and Sophie's favorite was a machine that played music and contained the inner workings of a cuckoo clock. I really dug a sculpture where everything in it was blue - rubber ducks, hair curlers, flip flops, and the centerpiece - a child's chair in the shape of Cookie Monster. You can see a clip of an interview with him here. The sculptures look scarier than they really are - more zany than anything else. The kids also really dug that they could spot a doll of James Brown - yes, what discerning kiddos I have!

Note: as cool as this exhibit was, I was rather annoyed that the museum's website did not mention that due to construction, almost HALF the museum was closed at the time for renovation. We saw enough to interest three preschoolers, but just barely. The fact that the rock and mineral exhibit hadn't changed for 25 years (when I'd been there last, I like nostalgia), and this art exhibit, kept me quiet.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Fairies aplenty

I realized I never posted final versions of that EDiM fairy reading a book - she was meant for a banner for the awesome Notes On Design blog. Here she is atop the newsletter:

And here's a closeup of the finished piece, which, by the way, you can get a print of! (Currently, I'll only be doing prints in the US, but I'm looking into overseas as well, so fear not.)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Hello, Beatle People

While I'm going through and trying to tag each post for ease of finding artwork so that you can search for things like "Illustration Friday" or "fairies" and making myself a form (not to mention hanging out in the hammock in my pjs), make sure you check out these goodies:

♥ It was 40 years ago today: Macca Radio is playing "Breakfast with the Beatles" showcasing Sgt. Pepper with commentary from George Martin and Paul McCartney. I loved George's book, "All You Need Is Ears" which breaks down everything you hear on the album, from the calliope music and the alarm clock to the air conditioning system in the studio. I even learned that "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields" were originally supposed to be on Sgt. Pepper but they needed to rush out a single...

Memory Almost Full: Unless you have been living under a rock :) you know that Paul McCartney has a new album out, which you can listen to here! Annnnnnd, iTunes FINALLYhas Paul McCartney's entire back catalogue! (underline, bold bold bold, picture me dancing around my living room) While it seems really odd to me not to be holding an album physically in my hands, we might just go all-digital for this one. I look forward also to updating my copies of, well, everything I have vinyl for, purchased at Beatle festivals and used-record places over the years. Plus all those bonus tracks... I can finally get a clean copy of "Daytime Nighttime Suffering", at last.

Friday, June 01, 2007

drumroll, please...

I get numerous requests for prints of my artwork. I sat down and tried to decide which ones were worth printing, how many should I make, what would appeal to the most people, etc. And then we came up with this:

1. You tell me what painting you want a print of. Anything I have ever posted on this site is up for grabs.
2. I make it and send it to you.
3. Enjoy!

I'm working on coding the forms, setting up the paypal stuff, but I figured that making the announcement would inspire me to hurry it along. If you can't wait till then send me an email and we'll figure something out.

The details thus far:
* 5" x 7" print for $5
* 8" x 10" print for $10
* shipping included in the price
* printed on gorgeous glossy paper
* long-lasting inks in bright colors

It's going to just be that simple, from start to finish, because all I ever wanted to do is make art and share it.

So here goes. ♥