Monday, December 22, 2008


I've been madly painting and sewing in preparation for Christmas! Here's Sophie's painting. Her request was "A lamb wearing boots, a cat wearing boots, and a dog wearing boots." One sketch had them all having a picnic tea, but she voted for this one instead, playing in the rain.

More Christmas paintings to come...

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Dancing squirrels, a little rambunctious for Illustration Friday this week.

Remember I gave everyone on our gift list the choice of an original painting? Well, Angela requested "Squirrels, dancing." And so she shall have them. I had a sketch where one was upside down on his hands and she was really opposed to it for some reason, so here are her dancing squirrels, all on their feet. They'll need to have shadows underneath them, but other than that, I don't think I want to do too much more to it. In a perfect world, I would have painted the background FIRST, but I'm toying with going back in and adding in a light wash.

Extreme tail close up:

Tomorrow hopefully: painting in progress of a lamb, a cat, and a dog, all wearing boots and carrying umbrellas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

small faces

While making all the presents for Christmas has been fun, and rewarding, it's also time consuming. At least the dolls all have hair and faces... now they need some clothes! And while 4 of the 11 paintings are completely done and framed, and 4 more of them in various other states of completion, I can't show any of them yet or the recipients (and their parents) might see them. When my kids' paintings are done, I can post them, as all they're interested in seeing on the computer is YouTube, Cute Overload, and the occasional visit to Flying Pizza Kitty.

Monday, December 08, 2008

how we got the tree home

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The catchiest songs you've never heard

Thank you so much for all the book suggestions! Some of them are favorites of mine too, and I can't wait to get to the library and share them with the kiddos. I could go on and on about books all day because I love them so much.

I have been hard at work on paintings for Christmas, and the dolls (hopefully will be posting a photo of them tomorrow), but in the meantime...

In that photo of the fridge Thanksgiving week, you saw a picture of Paul McCartney that I clipped out of Blender Magazine, with a balloon coming out of his mouth singing "Obla-di Blah Blah Blah." (Taken from an article naming him one of the worst lyricists of all time. That photo just cracks me up.)

Anyway, one of the things I love about the interwebs is the fact that people post their bootlegs! Woo! So... if you ever wanted to hear unreleased gems and stuff that got bumped from albums, here are a few of my favorites. And I must remind you: pay no attention to the lyrics. Lyric disdain must always be suspended when reviewing a new McCartney tune.

A Love for You, which I shouldn't really list because it's been plucked from the vault and now has been released. But it has such great raw energy to it.

Waterspout. The catchiest darn thing ever, and we like to dance around the house to this. Kind of like C-Moon in that respect.

Two Fingers/Mary's Song. Great story, and interesting in how he was inspired by art to write a song with only two-fingered chords. This song eventually got words, but I like the whistling version much better.

Ivonne. It's a demo for 10cc, but I've never heard their version. When I was in high school and first heard this, I used to have a whole set of alternate lyrics made up about my brother and his beard. Something like "Antoine's the one I've been counting on... "

Monday, December 01, 2008

Ramona Q. vs. Junie B.

(Note: yes, I gave up on NaBloPoMo this year, with only 4 days to go... but I felt like all the posting was eating up precious painting time. So - the paints and the sewing won out, and you will see more of that soon.)

Sophie, as I've mentioned before, is a bit precocious. She taught herself to read at age two, and since then, we've had a time supplying her with enough books. She's gone through all of Dr. Seuss and Tomie dePaola, enjoys Shel Silverstein, Nate the Great, Amelia Bedelia, Frog and Toad, Curious George, and is now working on chapter books. BUT - while she may read like a 10-year-old, she is still only five. Her favorite books that she's carried around all summer are the Sideways Stories series, and they are now dog-eared from repeated readings. But the fact is, she's not in 4th grade like the students in the series. She's in kindergarten and some of it is just a bit beyond her understanding; I wanted to find something age-appropriate.

So I went to the library, determined to find some short chapter books that would be just right for Sophie: hopefully they would be funny or silly, because she loves that, and not be just about princesses and fairies and braiding hair (or makeup, pretty dresses, and braiding hair, or about whatever new thing marketers are painting pink and pushing on little girls. No Rainbow Magic or Jewel Princesses, thank you.)

I picked up two of the Junie B. Jones books because they looked about the right size, and were about a kindergarten girl, Babysitter's Club Little Sister books because I'd read the BC's waaaaay back in the day and knew they were clean, and Ramona the Pest, because guess what? Ramona is in kindergarten, and besides it's a classic. Naturally, I read them first before handing them off (or not) to Soph.

Junie B.... I was pretty horrified with. Yes, she's spunky, but she mouths off to her teacher all the time and is regularly rude to her classmates and family. There's been some controversy about her bad grammar; I could care less about that. The rudeness and name-calling - maybe it's funnier when the reader's older, but there's no way I was handing that off to Sophie. Those went back the library the next day.

Babysitter's Club, which I knew would be pretty innocuous, I also put aside for now. Karen, the main character, is 5 and goes to kindergarten, but she also lives in two houses, and has two families, because her parents are divorced. If Sophie even had one friend whose parents were divorced, or asked me about it, I would be happy to discuss it with her. But at this point in her life why should I even let the thought enter her head that some parents don't stay married forever? Not necessary.

And then there's Ramona. Ramona Quimby is all the things Junie B. wishes she were, and more. Ramona is creative, a little rambunctious, imaginative, and is not above "making a great big fuss" if she wants to get her way. But she's never rude, never intentionally mean, and her worst insult is to call someone a baby - which to her, is the antithesis of all that it means to be a kindergartner. We've been reading it out loud together and whenever we get to the part about the "dawnzer, that gives a lee light" she and Angela crack up. Ramona rocks and so does Beverly Cleary. (By the way, Ramona is the book that got carried around with her this weekend.)

My friend Krystyna, who reminded me of the Ramona books and also has a 5-year-old daughter, also suggested the Little House series and the American Girl series. So - here's where I need some input - what books would you suggest for Sophie? Something not too sophisticated or grown up, anything about adventurous characters is good but please no killing. I have tried reading all three of them Mary Poppins and Pippi Longstocking but they're still a little too young for it, it seems. (And by the way, my earliest memory is of sitting on my mom's lap, reading Nancy Drew.)

Please, suggest away!