Friday, February 27, 2009

A Trip to the Rink

Last Sunday, we finally got Magoo out to the rinks.  Magoo is not a gung-ho skater.  It's difficult and he gets frustrated.  But the boy does love an arcade and this rink has one.  After a turn around the rink he was already asking if he could go and play some games.

It took awhile for him to get his ice legs on, but it was much, much easier on Mike and I because he's so much taller.  We could hold onto him and NOT get the tremendous back pain we're used to.

And when he felt comfortable, we took him out to the middle so he could practice skating between us - back and forth - solo.

A little more nervous than last year. (You know I thought I had previously posted about going to the rink, but I can't find any old shots.  You'll just have to trust me.)

But we still had a lot of fun.

And I think Magoo loves to do just about anything with his daddy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I've been a busy little beaver lately.  I recently got two new picture book proposals into my editor and am revising my first Young Adult novel.  Let me tell you, it's much easier to revise a 700 word document than a 70,000 word document.  MUCH!

When I feel a little overwhelmed, I like to take my mind off of things for a bit.  Via the School Library Journal, I found a blog called Color Me Katie.  I don't know much about this woman, but some of her posts make me laugh.

Here's one about giving high fives to people on the NY subway system.

And here's what she did to brighten a dreary day.

I think she's part of an improv group and here's a video of a very large assembly of people that decided not to wear pants on the subway one day.  (This is on her blog, but I couldn't get it to work so it's a YouTube link.)

She takes beautiful photographs and has a lot of fun ideas.  Enjoy. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pop-Up Cards

I made a pop-up Valentine for Magoo.  Since I'd been so busy, I hadn't made it ahead of time.  I made it right in front of him.  Classy!  But he was tickled by it and wanted to make one of his own.  So we popped over to Robert Sabuda's site (if you've ever seen a pop-up book that was more a work of art than a picture book - his name was probably on it.)  He has a ton of great pop-up tutorials that come with patterns and instructions.

Check it out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More Jewelry

Over the weekend I was able to sit down for a bit and piece together more jewelry.

This is a pendant that I made out of avacado polymer clay.  (The green doesn't really sing in this pic.  It's the same clay and style I made the earrings with.)

It's strung together with ochre floss and silver, wood, and clay beads.  Here's a detail of the pendant.

I made some faux turquoise earrings.  (I really like how these turned out.)

And I finally used the kanji earring beads I'd made awhile ago.  The rest of the stuff went in my little cigar box of things I'd like to try to sell eventually - my stash.  But these are for me.  In fact, I'm wearing them right now.

That said - if you're in town and you want to look in my "store", please feel free.

Again I want to refer anyone interested in making their own beads to this wonderful book, How to Make Polymer Clay Beads by Linda Peterson.  I show it to all my crafty friends and everyone thinks it's pretty darn cool - which it is.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


We just started reading the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey to Magoo.  If ever there was a boy who would appreciate the humor in Captain Underpants - it's Magoo.  He loves them.
And they have inspired a story of his own - Toilets vs. Pteranadons - which he wrote and illustrated with some minor help from his father.

Page 1:  The Toilet.  "Yum, Yum, Eat the Pteranadons up."
Page 2: The Pteranadons have bombs.  "I will defeat you.  Now is the time to make toilets extinct!"

Page 3: The toilet blocks the extinction.  "Ha ha! You can't get me!" (There are bombs exploding at the top of the page.)
Page 4: The Master toilet throws a fire bomb.

Page 5: The pteranadons catch on fire.  "Uh oh."
Page 6: The toilet king is happy.

The End.

Sorta looks like the toilet king turned into a crab there - but hey - as long as he's happy.

Last night we were reading a book about butterflies.  There was a page about what animals eat butterflies and they specified birds as their biggest predators.  Magoo said something along the lines of - "I wish they (butterflies) had a secret knife."  I couldn't help but think was an awesome picture book that would be: Badass Butterfly Assassins.  Maybe that will be the next one?

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Radio Interview

About a month ago I did an interview for a site called The Author's Show.  

The 17 minute radio interview is now up on the site.  I talk about how I came up with the idea for my picture book and how I made it.  (If you're interested, give it a listen.)

It's funny because I wrote most of my own questions.  It's only toward the end that the interviewer asked me questions that I hadn't prepared for.  I'm glad they weren't math questions! "If train A is traveling to Buffalo at a speed of 65 mph..."  :)

OKAY, looks like that was a one day deal so if you're just reading this post now, the interview has been removed. 

HOWEVER - my sneaky husband found it elsewhere, so if you go into the comments of this post, there is another link.  That said, I have no idea how much longer that will be up.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Photo Tag: Magnolia

I got tagged.

Normally I don't respond to tags because the most recent one was list 25 random things about yourself and that would take too much time.  But my buddy, Shirley, tagged me for a photo game/thing and I figured it was low on the time-consuming scale so what the heck!

The rules were thus: go to your 6th file folder of photos and post the 6th photo.  

The magnolia (directly above) is the 6th photo.

Then, I guess I'm supposed to tag 6 other people, but I won't.  I'll just say if anyone else wants to play to feel free.  Maybe Jessica?

Anyway - this is a photo of the magnolia tree in my backyard.  It wasn't taken for the sake of the photograph, but rather as subject material for a watercolor.  Magnolias are some of my favorite flowers to paint so whenever the tree is in bloom I snap a bunch of picks.

I never used these.  They're not open in a way that I particularly like.

Also, I cheated a bit because this is from my 5th folder.  My 6th folder was simply photos of my artwork that I took for the sake of recording them.  Not too exciting for a photo tag.

So there you go.  Magnolias.

Now, since the tag makes you pick a photo at random and I wasn't too pleased with this particular shot, I thought I'd include some nicer flower pics to get us all ready for Spring.  But when I uploaded them, Blogger put them at the top.  So there you go.  My layout suffers from sudden inspiration.  But I like those shots so I'll keep them.  Feel free to go and look at them now, again.  Go on.  :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Magoo made a Valentine and asked me to post it on the blog.  Happy Valentine's Day from Magoo to you!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Dam

Magoo and his buddy, N, had wanted to build a big damn in the puddles in back of the school yesterday.  It started sprinkling so I made them come home.  By the time we got back, the sprinkling had stopped.  There was plenty of water in the sidewalks - so they decided to build their dam out front and wrangled a couple older boys to help.

Here's N laying out the sticks.

When that was done, Magoo was ready for some ice fishing.

They played outside until they gathered all the stray sticks and were soaked through.  Then we headed in to warm up.

Still, it was good to be outside - to be able to watch them run and jump and plot and plan.  And this muddy, ucky melt is always the first sign of Spring for me.

I hope you all have a lovely Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yet Another FIsh Painting

You know what kind of blows about painting fish?  Coming up with titles.

I'm calling this one Three Goldfish 2009.  Catchy - right?

I needed to get back to painting and get something into the gallery before the owner had a heart attack.  So this one is a little smaller (24" tall) than the giant watercolors she likes - but it was good to get me warmed up and back into the groove.

Maybe next week during February break I can work on a big one.

It's very difficult for me to write when Magoo is home, but I can usually paint.

Here's my current To-Do list:
revise one chapter a day on YA (young adult) novel.
work on storyboard for new picture book.
Finish art for new webpage.
Make baby gift for Magoo's teacher.
work on jewelry - HA!
Try to find that library book - due Feb. 23rd.
Fill out grant forms for YA novel.
Clean and organize studio in hopes of finding that library book.
Semi- daily blog.

My goal is to work on three to four of these thing a day.
Today I have done two.
I'd better get back to work!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

300, a Snowman, and Zed

Woo-hoo!  This is my 300th post!  And you know what?  It feels like it too.  :)

This weekend, Mike and Magoo went out to make 2009's first snowman.  The snow hadn't been good for snowman making in a while - but this stuff was perfect.  Mike did most of the structural work.

Magoo helped with the patting.

And the decorating.  Here he's getting the scarf just right.

And now the eyes.

Viola!  Magoo and his Snowman.

We're currently in a hot snap, so we'll see how long Mr. Snowman makes it.  But as of right now, he's still standing!

On a completely different note, I was library helper at school today.  It is a normal Kindergarten class, like any other.  And like any other there are the stinkers.  Last time I was there the main stinker, stinker #1 - who I will call Zed - was not there and BOY what a difference.  So much easier.

Zed was there today, though.  And so was main stinker #2 - who I will call Bill.  

The librarian was trying to read books about love, since Valentine's Day is right around the corner but Bill and Zed were giggling about poops, tenders, and pee.  It wasn't long before Zed had to sit in a chair away from the group.

When the kids were allowed to pick out books, I went with the group to navigate the stacks.  The librarian was speaking to Zed, Bill, and a couple other boys who had a hard time listening.  Zed even manage to get kicked out of that group.

The next time I saw him, he was sitting in a chair in the hall.

Shortly after that, because he was talking to kids in the halls, Zed had his chair turned to face the wall.

I have to believe if it was acceptable to put a child in a closet, Zed would have his own private office most of the day.

Ah Zed.  Zed, zed, zed.

For what it's worth, Zed didn't seem at all upset to be in the hall.  I think he was quite used to it.  Maybe he preferred the quiet to let him imagination roam free?  Maybe he just liked being outside the box?

Magoo and I just started reading Captain Underpants.  If ever there was a book that was written for my son - it's Captain Underpants.  On the back cover there is a short bio on the author, Dav Pilkey, which said, while at school, he spent a great amount of time at his own private desk in the hall.  He would sit and write stories about a character he called Captain Underpants.

I wonder what Zed will write about?

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Evil Fairy

I was finishing up some storyboards for a new ninja story and read the rough draft to Magoo.  I guess that got him thinking about books, because later that evening he wanted to make a book of his own.  A while ago he wrote one called, The Bad Fairy.  Well, I guess she got a little meaner, because this one is called The Evil Fairy. (BTW - what's up with this negative fairy image in his head?  This is one kid is is not cool with fairies.)

page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4 I omitted b/c Blogger will only let me post 5 images.  So on Page 4 it reads:  They captured a princess, and there's an illustration of a happy princess.

Page 5 (The big one is the knight and the small one is the fairy.)
Page 6

So I guess that evil fairy and her evil knight got theirs, huh?  The next book is probably going to be, Crispy Fairy: Mad as Hell.

In other news, I joined a group called Authors Now which features people debuting books in 2009.  Check it out.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Package

A few weeks ago, I came home to find a box sitting by my front door.  I hadn't ordered anything.  Hmmmmm?  What was this box?

Then I saw who it was from, a friend's mother in Canada.  Double Hmmmmm!  I thought maybe the mother wanted to send a surprise to her daughter.  So I brought it inside and I opened it.

It was fabric!

The mother, Martha, works at a company that does home decor and they were getting rid of a bunch of material samples and Martha hated to waste it so she sent them to me.  I was as giddy as a kid in a candy store!

Here's a very small sampling of what was inside:

Lovely, huh?

I wanted to make something for Martha as a thank you so I made her this tote - using some of her swatches in the patchwork portion.

I'm not the queen of patchwork or quilting, but I really like how this turned out.

For all the totes I made in 2008 - I never got around to making one for myself.  Maybe I'll make another version of this?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Rockin' Out

What happens when you break out the karaoke machine and give a microphone to a couple of Kindergarteners?

Rockin' songs about farts and peeing - that's what.

(Do you like Magoo's signature right arm windmill move?)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Blue Clay Beads

I've been very busy lately.  I have two picture book texts in the works and I'm editing my first Young Adult manuscript.  I'm also working on a set of four collages on commission and then there are all the odds and ends of life: bills, phone calls, groceries, chores.  It can be overwhelming.  So I am trying to make sure I take a small amount of time to do something fun every day.  And right now that is making beads.

Again, I must give props to my new book, How to Make Polymer Clay Beads by Linda Peterson.  There are so many fun beads in this book, I'll be referring to it often, I'm sure.

For these beads I took some raindrop blue clay (I didn't have turquoise, which is featured in the book, and when I tried to mix some it looked dull.)  I pulled the clay apart into bits and then pressed them together into the shapes I wanted.  This had to be done several times to get it just right and it's important that you press - and not roll - because you loose the cracks if you roll and these beads are all about the cracks.

When they were baked, I stained them with some blue and green inks (things I had at home.)  I painted them and then wiped it off immediately.  I did this several times to build up the color in washes.

When I liked the colors, I stopped.  Then I dressed them up with findings.

I really like the way these turned out.  The ink enhanced the blue color of the clay and made them pop a little more.  (And I did make it out to the craft store and bought some turquoise clay, so I'll be trying that soon.)

And since I'm making more jewelry than I intend to wear - I think I'm going to have to seriously think about opening an Etsy shop.  I'll have to look into it.

Monday, February 2, 2009

GF Sugar-Free Carrot Muffins

Well - I tried uploading images onto Blogger THREE TIMES this morning and for some reason, it just wasn't having any of it.  So this is an image-free post.  

I have been making carrot muffins for awhile now and can hardly believe that I haven't posted the recipe before because these are FREAKIN' YUMMY!  I can't remember where the original recipe came from - but it probably wasn't gluten-free or sugar-free so I had to make some changes.  Anyway, these are moist and flavorful and everyone who eats one wants to go back for another.  But I slap their hands away - "No No," I say.  "These have to last all week!"

GF Sugar-Free Freakin' Yummy CARROT MUFFINS

3 carrots, peeled and chopped into pieces
1 1/2 cup GF flour blend
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup safflower oil
1/4 cup plain yogurt (I use Water Buffalo yogurt b/c it's casein free)
1 large egg

Boil a pot of water and plop the carrots in.  You want to boil them about 20-30 minutes until they are very soft.

Preheat oven to 350.  Line muffin tin with baking cups.  This recipe usually makes about 15 muffins.

Combine dry ingredients in big bowl.  Whisk.

Combine honey, egg, oil, and yogurt.  Check carrots.  Are they done?  Good.  Pull out your food processor and throw those babies in there and mush them up good.  Now add that to the honey mix.  Stir.

Combine dry and wet mixes.

Fill cups 2/3 full.

Bake approx. 17 minutes.

Cool on rack for 5 minutes, then remove muffins from tin and cool on a wire rack.

Did I mention they were yummy?