Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sneak peeks

Works in progress and a hasty post as I get my paint on. I can post these because I don't think the recipients will know to go online and see them! In no particular order: mama and baby sloth; hot-gluing twigs for the sloths' frame so they feel at home; a bleach-pen tshirt experiment (next step: sharpie); and the fact that I now apparently need to work with 5 palettes simultaneously.

My resolution for 2013: for God's sake, PAINT.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Watercolor minion

A little something I whipped up for my sister and sent in a care package:

And in case you're not sure what this is referring to, check this out:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

#78: hair chalking

This is a thing. Angela and I did it yesterday. You can too: here are the instructions. Enjoy!

(#78 from our 100 Things to do This Summer list)

Monday, July 30, 2012

#63: Swimming lessons

Pool doodle/journal entry!

We've been doing a fair amount of swimming lately. For some reason my children have incredibly thick amounts of hair (wonder where they got that from?) and so we've just started on swimming caps for them. The only one that came close to fitting Sophie's hair was an adult large, and still doesn't cover it 100%. She winds up looking like she's channeling Marge Simpson with her big tall blue headgear.

They are getting the hugest kick out of the Olympics. They jump up and cheer, lay on the floor to demonstrate a proper backstroke, and generally get carried away. I love it.

(#63 from our 100 Things to do This Summer list)

Monday, July 23, 2012

so you want to be an art director

According to the Nazzaro School of Art Direction, you must have the following:

1. Curly hair. Lots of it. May be piled atop head.
2. Glasses, the better to squint critically at your work.
3. The ability to make weird faces.
4. The compulsion to work and rework something until it is perfect, no matter how much it bugs the heck out of everyone around you. Demand excellence!

According to this list, Angela should be ready to report for work any day now.

Monday, July 09, 2012

A geeky dream come true...

Last week, we started something truly awesome with our children, something we've been waiting to do with them for years.

A D&D campaign!

Paul is doing a great job of tailoring it for the kids, making it challenging but not boring, and also bending the rules an awful lot so it's more fun. They rolled up and named their characters, and Peter kept asking, "So this is on the computer, right?"

"No, Peter."

"Okay, so it's a board game then?"

"No, Peter. It's in your head."

"Wait, I see dice... where is the board again?"

"Peter, just sit down and watch!"

(five minutes later, Peter has a revelation)

"It's ALL IN MY HEAD!" Mind. Blown.

We've had an absolute blast playing with the kids; they are so creative and funny and have great ideas. Instead of rolling up a new character, we brought back a VERY old one of mine from back in the day. The kids got such a giggle out of Brüna Stonginthearm and her dubious accent that we had to bring her back by popular demand. The sketch up top was doodled during one evening's campaign on a too-small piece of paper (which accounts for extra-shortness of our taller characters). I should post the version Angela colored in, everyone is wearing an awful lot of orange, for some reason. Just the thing for, you know, blending in and taking the enemy by surprise.

You know what they say; the family that plays together...

...stays together. At least, we think so.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

five hundred!

500 fans on Facebook! I feel like we should do something to celebrate... any ideas?

Monday, June 25, 2012

a painting of a painting

Hey, I heard you like watercolor painting so here is a watercolor painting of Sophie doing a watercolor painting. You're welcome!

Friday, June 15, 2012

100 things to do this summer

Inspired by images like this, I set out to create a poster for our own family. Feel free to use it as a springboard for your own 100 things!

Click to see the full image (and then click the magnifying glass). I don't mind if you pin it, but would you please include a link to me? Thanks!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

mother's day, part two

Not pictured: awesomely fantastic and loving husband.

Monday, May 14, 2012

mother's day part 1

Three creative Mamas: me, Jill, (Red Crayon) Michelle.

This Mother's Day was very special, but very different. I spent most of it away from my kids, at the Crayola Factory, with two women I find incredibly inspirational. They kick butt, they take names, they are ferociously creative and incredibly loving mothers. I'm in awe.

Eight years ago, when my little twins were finally home from the hospital and Sophie was one, these two wonderful artistic mamas came on a road trip from two separate states (!) to visit me and take me out to lunch. At the time had only "met" online, but knew we were kindred spirits from the start. We were artists and mothers. And both were equally important to us.

Michelle, me, and Jill, August 2004. We look the same!

We talked of dreams - dreams for our kids, our families, our art. We encouraged each other, shared ideas, and shared the day to day realities too. And we've kept doing just that for the past eight years, through moves, life changes, book deals, new businesses started - we've kept up with each other through message boards, email, phone calls, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, "and," as Michelle says, "whatever's the next way to communicate with each other. We'll do that too."

Since we all live hours and states away from each other, we'd always tried to figure ways to get together over the years, but none of them jelled. But then we got a message from Michelle that she was on a book tour of New Jersey (by way of Ohio and Georgia!) and when could we meet up? The only date that worked for all of us was Mother's Day. Then I had a crazy suggestion...

"Would it help any if we met partway, and then you could contiune on eastward? I think Phillipsburg is about the halfway point, maybe we could all go to the Crayola factory and play!"

With responses from Michelle ("Crayola Factory?!?!") and Jill ("That would be fun!!!") that had us using lots of extra punctuation, I knew that again, we'd all be on the same page. And when we met that morning, it was as if only a couple of weeks, instead of eight years, had passed since we'd seen each other last.

We talked about Michelle's book deals, and Jill's book deals, and (ahem) my lack of said book deals. And how it made perfect sense for me to concentrate on my kids at this time, and that my work would always be there and I would have more and more time to devote to my artwork and "do it right" as they got older and they needed me less. We talked about "Being Elmo" and the need to protect your creativity and your family. About designing book covers. About what it's like to raise teenagers. About celebrating your children and their creativity without losing yours. Oh, and we also painted, sculpted, drew on walls, put our hands up for crayons hot off the press, please, and spent way too much in the Crayola Store. (Research!) We were the only moms there without their kids and were actually kind of gleeful about the whole darn thing. It was, in short, a pretty awesome day, and we left with promises that we'd never go eight years again before seeing each other again. (Ladies, I believe mentions were made, in no particular order, of the beach, the lake, maragaritas, and a spa date. We don't have to do them all in the same trip!)

Did I ever spend time with my awesome kiddos? Of course I did. But that's for the next post....

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

How to miss a childhood.

How to Miss a Childhood. Go read it, right now. Then turn off your phone/computer and go play outside with your kids, get messy and make crafts, read together. I don't care what. Just do it, before you miss another minute.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

I don't care...

I know everyone is posting about Where the Wild Things Are today, but I want to send some love Pierre's way. For all the days you feel like saying "I don't care."

Monday, May 07, 2012

what we did yesterday

Angela and Peter. ♥

Saturday, May 05, 2012

the lost Beatles concert

Today we walked past the Rialto downtown, and on the marquee, it said "Lost Beatles Concert 5/22". The kids and I started eagerly speculating what that could be about, and Angela decided she would come watch it with me (my teeny Beatle Buddy!) at the movie theater. A Beatles concert! With my kids! On screen! Yeah!

But when I got home and looked it up, I found that it's a documentary about the first time the Beatles came to America and the start of Beatlemania. Now.... while I dearly want to see the concert, it's probably only about 15 minutes of the film, and the rest of it is rock stars waxing lyrical about the Beatles. Oh yes, and a fan who cut a chunk of Ringo's hair. (Seriously? Who does that?)

I have a feeling I'll skip the movie and watch A Hard Day's Night with the kids instead. Has anyone else seen the movie, and is it worth it?

Friday, May 04, 2012

taking on the world

I feel like I could.... like I could....

When the Model Magic comes out at our house, the kids are not the only ones who get their hands on it. (Of course not!) I took the opportunity a few weeks ago to make a teeny but "more aggressive" Purple Tentacle for my brother. I took a few photos, but his gets the larger-than-life bit nicely. This is one of the beauties of having siblings. I can be nerdily creative, and have someone I know will absolutely appreciate my efforts. Next I'm going to make Green Tentacle cringing in the background....

(For those not familiar with this guy, why he's going to take on the world, or if you just wanted to see it again, enjoy!)

Thursday, May 03, 2012


Many many books from the book sale. Score!

This week (April 30 - May 6) marks Screen-Free Week, which used to be called TV-Free Week until recently. It's a good change. Angela brought home a paper the other day where she had to list ten things she would do instead of watching television this week. She quickly reeled off a list and ended it proudly with, "I don't watch TV."

And it's true, she doesn't. But she does watch the few shows that Daddy records and cuts all the commercials out of, on weekend evenings. We are quick to whip out the iPad and check Facebook, or to visit some of our favorite sites (CuteOverload, YouTube for Japanese cooking shows and old cartoons, and sometimes music videos). Or to grab the iPod for a video game before bed, or my son's new obsession, Minecraft. So while we don't really watch television, we are surrounded by screens, and honestly, I think we're a little too dependent on them. Paul and I are just as guilty. So we're all making a conscious effort this week to unplug.

Obviously, we have to work, and we have to use computers for that. I will check the weather for the kids when they're picking out clothes for tomorrow. I'll use the iPad for my archived guitar music. But I won't be surfing, or browsing, and Pinterest will not see hide nor hair of me until next week.

Thank goodness Screen-Free week coincided with the annual library book sale this past weekend. True to form, we got about 120 books for next to nothing, and we left them all displayed on the dining room floor for as long as we could. Because in this house, we love us some books! It's hard to see from Paul's picture above (and again: Blogger, you keep resizing my pictures, and for that I will curse you with the fires of a thousand dragons) but there's a hearty dose of beach reads, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Mrs. PiggleWiggle, Beverly Cleary, and the find that made me squeal: my own copies of E. F. Benson's Mapp and Lucia series. If you've never read them, they are a HOOT. (Plus, some are in the public domain and free for Kindle! What are you waiting for?)

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Creativity is everywhere.

Heart-shaped rock Sophie found on our travels, now on our mantel.

Usually around this time of the year, I try to promote Every Day In May, a concept I thought of a long time ago where I encourage everyone to make a commitment to be creative for 31 straight days. I will be the first to say that May is actually a very stressful time for me. I picked May originally when I had no kids and I believe our recitals were at the end of May and possibly in June. To anyone I blithely said, "If I can do it, you can do it!" and you wanted to hit me, I hereby give you permission to do it virtually. (Ow.)

So this year, I'm using May as an impetus for blogging every day again. It may be art. It may be words. It may be a song, or a long rant, or photo. I'm missing having a place to stop and say, Hey, I am a creative human being, and I need to do this to live. I miss having comments/back and forth with other like-minded creatives of all sorts. I miss blogging, in general; the interaction, and the way things used to work in Blogger, and the way they do now (how DARE you resize my images for me!) You may come here one day to see the whole place looking different just because I decided to play.

The fact of the matter is that creativity is everywhere. I see it in clothes, hairstyles, cooking and baking, party-planning, typography, you name it. And instead of beating myself up for not having a new watercolor painting up here every single day this month, I'm going to try to document the creativity I find and celebrate it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Painting with Coke

So you all know I have painted with some non-conventional media in the past. Wine? Check. Coffee? Check. Tea? Check. Pomegranate juice? Check. But never have I painted with Coke! (Probably because I don't drink it, so we hardly ever have any in the house.) But should you ever get the urge.... here's a tutorial that explains how to do it!

(And here's the link for when FB strips it out of the reader:

Friday, April 20, 2012

you are precious and glorious

19th Annual Mom's Retreat. It was just as awesome as you think it was.

I made the theme poster as usual. I was feeling pretty colorful that day! If anyone wants me to post a tutorial, just let me know and I'll post it.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Caterpillar for lunch!

I know I need to scan some paint! But meanwhile, here's a snapshot of Angela's lunch: a caterpillar made from Brussels sprouts with peas for eyes and carrots for antennae. He's about to jump into a bed of spinach leaves. Also tucked in there but kind of hard to see are cucumber slices, carrot sticks, and sugar snap peas (tucked in the side to help keep things from sliding around). I am SO glad that 1) my kids get creative with lunch and let me help and 2) they love vegetables. (Not pictured: Sophie's apple rabbits.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Around here

Work in progress, plus my messy palette. Mess is good.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I (heart) her hair

Bonus Valentine's pic: Sophie's braids yesterday. I can't take credit for the idea though: that's why God made Pinterest! (I am always pinning stuff, btw.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

You didn't think we'd let a Valentine's Day go by without the yearly adorable kids-on-the-couch picture, did you? Have some cuteness!


And now let's have a trip in the wayback machine!








Monday, February 13, 2012

Welcome to Valentine Central...

....where all the Valentines are homemade. WHY? Because over the years, my kids have absorbed my mantra about using your talents, showing love by time and effort and creativity and so on... But OH how I wish sometimes we could just go the get-a-big-pack-from-Target-and-be-done-with-it route. At least they all said they had fun making them, and they were rather proud of their efforts. As they should be!

Below: Sophie's colorful owls, which later had small holes punched at the bottom so they were each holding a lollipop. Angela and Peter made spritz cookies (with minimal help from me, I did the actual pressing to save time but they've done it before) which then got wrapped and are now resting safely in the freezer 'till tomorrow.