Monday, February 1, 2016

MORE Little Clay Houses

Picture books take a long time to make.  A looooooong time.  So I get a lot of satisfaction making quick tiny things.

 I get instant satisfaction and - BONUS - no criticism.

Most of these little houses will be hidden and given away. All I will see is the smiling face of the person who found it.  

I love making picture books, but it's great to have something quick and fun and sweet and all mine to balance that process with.

So, as you will see, I've been making a lot of houses.

All of these houses are made from polymer clay.  Most will be hidden in an art search called Hidden Houses that will take place in West Hartford, CT on April 30th.  If you're local and want to join the hunt, there's a Facebook Event Page now up.  Just look for Hidden Houses.

In other news:
It's way too warm for February 1st.  All the snow has melted and I'm a little bummed.  I like winter to be winter.  But, what can ya do?

Magoo and I saw the movie SPOTLIGHT this weekend.  Great movie - a little boring for a 13 year old - but still great.

Magoo has taken up baking.  He can now make bread, biscuits, and cake-in-a-mug solo.  He needs a little help with bagels.  Last night he experimented and made his own recipe.  They were cupcake-ish. He needs to learn some basics like vanilla extract goes in the batter, not on top like frosting.  But, yanno, you learn more from your mistakes.

Thanks so much for stopping in!
Happy February everyone!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Swimmer Boy

We'd had a bit of a break from swim meets due to Christmas and scheduling.  But yesterday, we were back at it.

Magoo swam in five events: #8, #16, #32, #41, and #68.  I was a timer for the first half of the meet - which, as always, I strongly recommend. In addition to keeping me busy, I get to be up close to get some action shots from the starting point.

Magoo did great.  His stroke has improved.  His turns have improved.  His speed has improved.
On the final event of the whole meet, Magoo was the last man in a 200 yd freestyle relay.  It was over before Magoo even got in the water, but man, did he swim.  Even though the race was lost, he motored through that water like a torpedo.  It was exciting to watch.

I'm so glad Magoo has chosen swimming as his sport.  It's fantastic for me to see him shine in an activity, but I also really enjoy the discipline and sportsmanship of it.   At the end of each event, the kids shake hands with the swimmers in the next lanes and then they all get out together.  Sure, some kids are a wee bit too competitive.  But, for the most part, the swimmers are gracious to each other and it's more about improving your own skills than beating anyone else.

In other news:

It snowed!  Finally!  We didn't get slammed.  It was just a nice snowing of about 6 inches.  I had to get up early to shovel since we needed to be out the door by 8am.  But by the time I was done and back in the house, Magoo was up and making pancakes.

Thanks so much for stopping by.
I hope you have a lovely week!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Hidden Houses

Clay Houses    2016    j. c. phillipps

The artist group that I'm with, the WeHa Artists Emporium, has been together for a little over a year now.  One of the things that has taken off are the art hunts that we do around town.  People seem to love them - and why not?  They're fun and they finders get cool free original art.

The trick for us has been how to continue to do these hunts and give art, without only giving.  As artists we are constantly asked to give.  Every charity event in town contacts our group or some other artists that they know for a donation so they can raise money.  Meanwhile, no one is buying our art or even covering the cost of supplies.

How do you find balance?

Clay Houses    2016    j. c. phillipps

For us, we've started to find a balance between creating these hunt events and having a show.  This Spring, we're doing a hunt called Hidden Houses that will feature small home inspired art.   It will be a one-day hunt and on the following day we're having a small pop-up art sale in one of our kind members houses.  We make extra houses and people who didn't find one can come buy one and maybe some other art along the way.

Clay Mushroom House        2016         j. c. phillipps

This worked out great in December with Finders Keepers.  We're hoping for the same response for Hidden Houses.

If this works, it will be a great way for our group to bring something fun to the community and give of our talents, but also get something back the next day.

Clay Mushroom Houses       2016        j. c. phillipps

I've started making some small clay houses (above) and just today started working on some paper ones (Below).

Paper Houses         2016          j. c. phillipps

I have three whole months to have fun, fun, fun with this project.  So I'm sure there will be many Hidden Houses posts in the coming weeks.

In other news:
No snow here.  There have been a few dustings, but it really hasn't been much of a winter so far.

I just submitted one of my picture book projects to my agent.  I think it's really good.  I hope he thinks the same.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Have a great week!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Wizard of Oz Collection

Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road    2016    j. c. phillipps

Oh my - the rain we got yesterday.  If it had been cold, it would have been quite a snow storm. (And it would have been pretty.)  But it was dark and dreary and it was all I got muster just to get some work done - so I decided to work on something fun.  My Wizard of Oz series.

I actually did the Scarecrow first.  I'm always delighted when I have the perfect paper for something and I did indeed have the perfect paper for Scarecrow's burlap face.  It's an old wallpaper sample that's basically a woven mat.  Perfecto!

Scarecrow Points the Way       2016      j. c. phillipps

Dreary Sunday was the day of the Yellow Brick Road.

In concept, a collage yellow brick road is pretty easy.  Draw a road, cut a variety of yellow bricks, glue them on.  Tada!  But - the cutting and pasting of each brick.  And the angled.  OY!  Not so easy - not so fun.  But at the end of the day, I think it looks good.

Three collages down - four to go!

Thanks for stopping in.  I hope you all had a much brighter weekend than I did.

Monday, January 4, 2016



Hi everyone.  Thanks for stopping in.  If you've followed this blog for awhile, you may have noticed that I don't post as frequently as I once did.  I suppose that's due in art to my son being 13 now and we don't do as many arts and crafts as we once did.  Also, I'm always very busy trying to get another book published.

I've been working my bum off, but the hard truth is that I can work on a project for a long time and - if no one wants it - then nothing comes of it.  That's been the case in the last two years.  I am, however, thankful that I am not blocked creatively.  I continue to have lots of ideas.  I'm constantly inspired.  I'm still challenged and thrilled by the work.  I just have't sold anything.

Hopefully that will change in 2016.

So anyways, that's why there hasn't been much blogging.  That said, I will try to post on Mondays. That's my goal.  Anything else is gravy.

So here's what I've been up to:

As I said above, Magoo turned 13!  I am the mother of a teenager who is almost as tall as I am.  Soon I will be the shrimp of the house.

He continues to be kind, funny, generous, and a true blessing to my life.

I am a swim mom.  Magoo is on the swim team this year.  Yay!

The upside is that he enjoys it and he's good at it.

The downside is that swim meets are long.  Whenever I can, I try to be a timer for half of the meet.  It helps pass the time.  Also, because Magoo is in the higher age group, he is ALWAYS in the final event - so no sneaking out early for us. Oh well.

I have started a new series of collages for a show at the children's library in town.  It's a Wizard of Oz series.  I have one piece completed: Dorothy and the Wicked Witch.  I only need 7 pieces and it's already tricky to narrow all the ideas down.  We'll see what compositions emerge. (I apologize - it's not a fantastic photograph.  It was too big for my scanner.)

Dorothy and the Wicked Witch    2015      j.c.phillipps
And finally, I am in the final stages of revision for a new picture book project that I am pretty hopeful about.  I could be revising for a few months yet before my agent feels it's ready to show - still, it's getting there.  Fingers crossed.

I wish you all a very Happy 2016!
Thanks again for visiting!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Holiday Pop-Up Show

Here I am in the Julieworld part of Hannah's house.

Yesterday the WeHa Artists Emporium did a Holiday Pop-Up Show at a member's house.  We arrived at 9:30 for set-up.  2 artists per room.  The doors opened from 11 - 2.  Then we packed it up and I was home by 2:45.

It was great!  No one brought huge items, because we were in a house, not a gallery.  And a Holiday Pop-Up Show is not were you find art collectors.  People are buying gifts.  And they did.

We had a lovely flow of people for the full 3 hours.  I was very busy talking with people, writing receipts, and packaging rocks.

Artists at the Pop-up: Me, David Davis Wilson, Kimberly Heil, Stefanie Marco, Hannah Dunnack Jackson, and Phyllis Meredith.
I'm so happy to be a part of this group of lovely artists.  And I'm equally as happy to be in a group that has been able to incorporate ourselves into our community.  It's lovely to do a small show and meet the people who go on the rock hunts or have seen me at the Monster Hunt or their kids know me from a school visit.  West Hartford is a lovely place to live and I'm very fortunate to call it home.

Big thanks to all my friends in the group, to Stefanie Marco who had the brilliant idea to form the group and was kind enough to include me, and to Hannah Dunnack Jackson for allowing us to transform her beautiful home.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season!

Monday, December 7, 2015


Face Rocks               2015               Julie Christine Phillipps

Hello everyone!  My apologies again for being a bad blogger.  I think we all just have to face the fact that I don't blog as much as I used to.  I'm trying to maintain a once-a-week schedule, but December is super crazy busy for me.

Much of that has to do with rocks.

It's Finders Keepers time again!  If you don't know, Finders Keepers is a town-wide rock hunt that my artist group the WeHa Artists Emporium put on last year.  A bunch of artists paint and decorate rocks.  We hide them in town (4 or 5 per day) and we put clues up on our Facebook Page.  People go out and find the rocks and post pics of themselves with their finds.  It's fun.  Everyone loved it last year, so we're doing it again.

I divvied the rocks out by 12 days.  Here are local artists Hannah and Phyllis picking up their assigned rocks for their hiding days.

Yesterday Magoo and I went out bright and early and hid some rocks.  (Magoo is an excellent hiding helper and I am thrilled that at nearly 13-yrs old he still wants to join me for such activities.)

In addition to Finders Keepers, I painted rocks for Open Studio and I have another Pop-Up Holiday Show this coming Sunday that I sell some rocks at.

Here's a bit of a rock gallery:

Tiny Town             2015              Julie Christine Phillipps

Bird Rocks            2015                Julie Christine Phillipps

Gnome Homes            2015            Julie Christine Phillipps

So between all the rock activity, working on a picture book manuscript, putting together a presentation on writing personal narratives for first graders, a Holiday Pop-Up Show, and all the extra Christmas stuff that I try to do around here, well ... let's just say I've been making a lot of lists.

I hope you all are having a lovely holiday season!
Thank you so much for popping in!