Friday, October 28, 2011

Is it Fall or Winter?

This is what it SHOULD look like around here.  (And it did a few days ago.)  But we had wet snow slopping down last night and Saturday we're expecting 3 - 6 inches.  (!!!!)  So basking in this photograph might have to satisfy my autumn cravings this year.

That said, I can see the sun is trying to poke out today.  I might have to find 15 minutes to go outside and soak up some Vit. D.

I have a busy day before me.  I'm finishing up some small owl collages for the show and I'd like to get started on the iron-on Wink T-shirts.  If possible, I'd like to start a new illustration as well.  But I also have to hit the grocery store and do the birthday party at school today.  So we'll just see what ends up getting done.

Tonight, I am introducing Magoo to the movie E.T.  (I'm really excited to see it again myself.  I wonder if it'll hold up.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Baby Sweater & Origami Yoda

I'm joining Ginny's Yarn Along this Wednesday.

The baby sweater marches on.  I probably have another 2 inches to add to the bottom before I can do the "trim" and start the sleeves.  Maybe next week I'll be in sleeve city?!  I'm enjoying the slow, steady motion of knitting with sock yarn - but thank goodness it's a small sweater.  I love the weight of it and would LOVE for someone else to knit me a sweater in sock yarn - but I think when I finally tackle the mountain of woman sweater - I'll be using a thicker yard and bigger needles - for sure.

Thanks to all the knitters that chimed in last week to offer encouragement for my color choice.  I hope the recipient's mother is as pleased as you all were, you kind, kind people.

Magoo and I started The Strange Case of Origami Yoda last night.  So far, so good.  And, of course, I had to make an origami Yoda to go with it.  How could I not?!

That actually got Magoo, Mo, and Curly interested in making origami this morning before school.  Magoo made a samurai hat all by himself.  Mo improvised a hoe.  I don't know what Curly made.  Finally, when I had finished getting myself dressed, making Magoo's lunch, and packing his backpack - I sat down and helped them all make an origami crane.  Some turned out better than others.  But it was just fun to have them get excited about origami.

In other news:  It's my birthday!  The big 4-0, people.  I gotta say, I'm not that bothered by it.  Last year, when I saw some wrinkles creeping into my face I had a minor freak-out.  But I've come to grips with that, so I'm good and ready for what the next decade holds.  I'm going to let myself eat anything I want today.  I have Bollywood class later tonight so that will help burn some calories off.  But tomorrow I have to get back on track with eating, exercise, and all the stuff that makes me feel better physically.

But today ... today I eat chocolate.  Sushi.  And maybe some macadamia nuts!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pirates and Rockin' Out

I ran an errand yesterday morning and when I returned, Magoo had turned his bed into a pirate ship.  (With help from Mike.)  Isn't this the BEST?!  It reminds me of a Norman Rockwell-type scene.  Just a boy, his bed, and his imagination.  We tried to find some of his pirate costuming, but he - like his mother and father- is not the neatest of boys.  So the best we could so was locate a pop gun and a small spyglass.

In other news:

The karaoke party went off very well.  Our neighbor's son, Jon, made some KICK-BUTT guacamole!  Then we ordered Pizza from my favorite place in town, Jimmy's, then I made a dark chocolate cake with raspberry sauce.

Eat Until Your Gut Explodes - check.

I keep the karaoke parties kinda small.  I've found that it's important that all members of the party be
A.) willing to sing and
B.) comfortable with each other.
Otherwise, it's just me singing and no one else wants the mic.  Oh, alcohol helps too.

Even the kids got in on it.  Magoo can sing a pretty good Whoolly Bully.

(Sorry - it's dark.)

Lady Gaga got a lot of play that night.  I had a new Katy Perry disc and sang Waking Up in Vegas and my neighbor belted out Firework.  Of course, when it's a popular group song - usually the whole gang chimes in.  Mike did a very nice version of the Kinks' Waterloo Sunset.  Toward the end, as a group number, we put on Bohemian Rhapsody.  It was about this time that Mo came downstairs to see what we were up to, and was quite upset by the lyrics.

Just killed a man,
put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger,
now he's dead

Yanno, the sad stuff at the beginning before it starts rocking.

So I brought him into the computer room and showed him the Muppets version on YouTube.  If you haven't see it and you enjoy the Muppets, check it out here.

He perked up then.

Hope you all had a great weekend.  It's getting CHILLY 'round these parts.  We might have to turn the heat on soon!  Brrrrr.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Whatcha Makin', Bacon?

My main project on Wednesday/Thursday was to complete another spread for Monkey Ho Ho.  I'm finding that it takes roughly two days per 2-page spread.  And, of course, the studio is in shambles at the end of each illo, so there's a wee bit of clean up that needs to happen before I can proceed.

But today is Friday and I am on to new things like: Magoo's costume!  He's going as a frilled lizard this year.  I've just completed the mask (except for a bit of interior painting) and I have a green sweatshirt and pair of sweatpants that I have to dot up with fabric paint.  I love dots.  They cover all kinds of imperfections!

I just bought two more pieces of matboard so I can make more prints for OPEN STUDIO WEEKEND.  I also just found out where I will be.  So here it is:

Nov. 12 & 13th
11am - 5pm
555 Asylum Ave (right across the street from the bus station)
I'll be on the 3rd floor, by the BACK staircase.

It looks like all the halls will be JAM PACKED with artists this year - and a lot of new artists.  So that will be fun.  I'll be hanging with my pal, Angela, who will be showing her awesome photograph and watercolor paintings.  Swing on by, if you can!

Finally, I am making raspberry sauce.  Tomorrow night I'm having a karaoke shindig and making a flourless dark chocolate cake.  There's NOTHING I like better on my flourless dark chocolate cake than some homemade raspberry sauce!!!  (I think it's a lady thing.  I don't know too many dudes who would be like, "Pass the raspberry sauce!"  But we shall see!)

That's what I'm up to.  How about you?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Yarn Along: Baby Sweater

Since it's Wednesday - and it's gonna be a soaker! - I thought I'd join my friend Angela and Yarn Along at the blog Small Things and post my current knitting project.

My cousin is due to have a baby in April, and I have never made a baby sweater so I thought I'd give it a go.  Besides I'm kinda itching to try a big girl sweater for me - but this is a nice way to learn about holding stitches for sleeves and cast-ons once you get started and little things like that.

The pattern is Sock Yarn Sweater {Children's Version} by Hannah Fettig and I scored it from my friend Heather - my knitting guru - but if you like it and have a Ravelry account, you can get it there for a small fee.

The yard is Madelintosh Tosh Sock in Earl Grey.  In the store the blues and oranges really came out.  All knit up - it does have a grey tone to it.  Yeah - a grey baby sweater - right?!  But I'm hoping that it will go really well with bright colored pants.  (Maybe I'll buy some when I find out if it's a boy or girl.)

So far - so good.  I did make a minor mistake reading the pattern, but I don't think it'll be a problem - nothing a little math won't fix, at least.

AS far as my reading goes, I'm still working on Nowhere Girl by A. J. Paquette.  Normally I would have read it in 2 -3 days but I am SWAMPED with work between illos, art show, and other misc. things.

More on those later.  Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rose's Berry Farm 2011

One of our favorite yearly traditions is waiting until a beautiful crisp day in October rolls around and hitting Rose's Berry Farm to pick pumpkins, run the corn maze, eat apple donuts, and run around.  And this year did not disappoint.

I'm the only one who can eat the donuts.  And since I usually don't eat donuts at all - this is quite a treat.
But don't worry.  I always pack a snack for Cam. 

Here the boys are - all ready to get lost in the corn maze.

I can remember when Magoo was so little I would get nervous letting him run around a corn maze for fear that he'd get lost.  He's old enough now that I can just let him go crazy.  Of course, the rain did a number on the corn.  It was all dried out and low.  NOT pretty.  But the boys didn't care.  And the weird/nice thing about low corn is that you can totally find your kid in it even if he's on the other side of the maze.

One of the nicest things about Rose's is that they have a playground.  Someone was thinking.  After pumpkin hunting, after corn mazing, after donut eating, parents can have a seat on some of the many lawn chairs and let the kids run their ya-ya's out.  They have long tubes, tricycles, see-saw's, and a big slide on the side of a hill.

I know this is one of Magoo's favorite things to do each year.  Mine too.  And we had a gorgeous day for it.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Prepping for Open Studio Weekend

As I mentioned in the last post, I'm getting ready for my art show at Open Studio Weekend in Hartford, Nov 12 & 13th.  Yesterday's big project was getting all my bird watercolors matted and framed.  I like to prop things up after I frame them and just enjoy them for a bit before I wrap them in plastic and box them up.  Looks like Java was enjoying them too.  She's very sophisticated, you know.

I decided to makes some beaded origami cranes as well.  

Originally I was going to put them on branches in a vase, like I do in my home.  But I decided that I rarely have enough table space as it is, so I made a wall display from branches instead.

And I'll have some postcard options this year.

I love postcards.  I rarely send them out.  I just like to tape them up to walls like mini-art.  And I think that when people come to a big art show like this, they want to walk away with something.  Not everyone can afford a $200 painting, but most people don't mind plunking down a dollar for a postcard.

Today's goal:  make and mat some prints.

Have a great weekend everyone!  If you're in the West Hartford area, I will be doing a reading/signing at a fun event: H'Art of Art.  It's being held in West Hartford Center from 11-4 and will have all sorts of fun activities for the kiddos.  I'll be reading at 3pm.  Here's a link for more info.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

My Friend Flicker

Hi all!

Sorry I haven't blogged this week.  (My mother called to find out if I was OK.)  Yes, I'm fine.  Just busy.

It occurred to me the other day that the Open Studio Weekend art show is only a month away.

A month!  Zoinks!

I'm in good shape, but there are still paintings to frame, prints to make, mats to cut, cards to bundle, postcards to make, and I have to keep emailing the co-ordinator to find out my hall location to put on my promotional materials.  Let's just say, I haven't found out where I'll be just yet.

On top of that, all my sketches for the next picture book have been approved so I'm in full-on illustration mode.  It's awesome - but time consuming - but good time consuming.

And then there are the smaller projects: Magoo's Halloween costume, knitting a baby sweater, returning cable boxes to Comcast (surprisingly time consuming), groceries, cleaning, birthday gifts, birthday cards, and yadda, yadda, yadda.

I will try to keep things flowing on the blog - but if I'm gone a few days, know that I'm not trapped under a furnace in my basement - I'm just busy cutting, pasting, and all that jazz.

In other news:  A new bird friend came to visit yesterday.  Check out that awesome red triangle on the back of the neck!  Stunning!  This is a Northern Flicker.  My father-in-law said as the weather changes and the birds migrate I might see some new birds on the beat.  I'm sure this is all very boring for you, my loyal blog readers, but I have to confess that I get pretty psyched when a new bird comes along to visit.  (Fortunately I keep my camera right by the window.)

Happy Thursday everyone!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Picture Day

Today is picture day and Magoo is looking swank.  Last year was the first year he decided that he wanted to wear a tie to school pictures and I was totally unprepared for it.  Luckily, I had a tie and a dress shirt.  But I had to run around like a crazed chicken trying to find all the pieces and iron them and whatnot.  But when Magoo got to school I think all the teachers and aides made such a fuss about how nice he looked and he dug all the attention.

This year I was ready for it.  We had been given a couple ties from our neighbor next door who had outgrown them.  They're zipper ties - do you know about these?  You slip the tie over the boys head and zip it into position.  Whoever invented this is a genius!

I did have to go out and buy a dress shirt at Sears.  Normally I would hit the Salvation Army for something like this, but there was a crazy traffic back-up on the way and I couldn't be sure they would even have something in Magoo's size, so I decided to go new.

And yesterday Magoo got a new haircut - so he's looking very dapper.  I think he knows it too.  He didn't even give me grief when I asked him to pose for the photo.  (You just never know how the school photos will go, so I thought I'd better get my own shot of how handsome he looks.)

School Photos: 9.50
Shirt : 20.00
Haircut: 20.00
Magoo Rockin' Business Casual:  Priceless

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Read & Knit Along

I am joining my friend Angela, who, on Wednesdays, participates in a blog knit/read along.  What it boils down to is that every Wednesday people post about what they are knitting & reading.

Since I was a lame blogger last week, I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and share two works-in-progress.

READING:  Nowhere Girl by A. J. Paquette.

I have a confession to make: the author is in my critique group.  I KNOW HER!  And I'm so excited to see this book in it's glorious hardcover form.  The cover illustration is fantastic and I really think it captures the lush storytelling in the book as well as any image could.

Joan, as she is known to her crit partners, writes like a ballet dancer - gracefully.  In Nowhere Girl, you not only get the compelling story of Luchi Ann, an American girl born in an Indonesian prison who's set free when her mother dies, but you also get lovely literary writing.  It's gorgeous.

I'll write more about it when I am finished.  It's been awhile since I've looked at drafts of this and I want to write a fresh review, but I can say it's a beautiful story and I'm SUPER EXCITED for her.  You rock, Joan!

KNITTING: Hermione's Deathly Hallows Beret in Sky Blue.

I had some lush cotton/silk yarn in my stash and I had tried to make a couple different versions of scarves before, but nothing ever stuck.  They just weren't the right projects.  But I loved making the same beret pattern in black, for myself, so I thought I'd use the blue to make a beret for my friend, She-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named-In-Case-She-Reads-The-Blog.

It's perfect beret weather and I'll be finished with it soon.  It's not her birthday or anything, so it will just be a surprise present.  And, really, isn't it always great to get a gift just because?

So, that's what I'm up to (among about a million other little things.)  If you want to see more books and knitting projects, check out the blog: Small Things.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What's Goin' On

October is here so it is time to bust out the Phase 1 Halloween decorations.  (Phase 1 in interior.  I don't decorate outside until mid-way through the month.)

I bought a couple new things this year: two mini disco skulls that light up (Target).  Two black rats.  (Christmas Tree Shoppe) And two small pumpkins.  (Trader Joes.)

And since it was such a rainy, yucky weekend and we couldn't go out apple picking with my visiting mother, we decided to make new creatures for the Halloween Village.  

I made a new plot for the graveyard.  My mom made a jack-o-lantern.  Isn't it cute?  And Magoo dedicated himself to crafting a very spooky spider.

Here's the collection so far:

I'd like to build the graveyard up a bit, and maybe get some fake moss or something to lend some atmosphere, but it's coming along.

In other news:
I'm getting started on the final collage illustrations for my third book, Monkey Ho Ho.

I'll be teaching a class on creating picture books at the West Hartford Art League this January, so I have to work on my course description and sign my contract this week.  More on that later.

I had to go to my local cable center to pick up three digital converters for my TV's.  I got three of them, one for each TV, and I was very proud of myself for hooking them all up.  But, as it turns out, I'll be returning two of them.  We simply couldn't get it to work in the basement, and it messed with the HD channels on the big TV.  But it works on one TV and it's a TV with the VCR so I can still tape my shows.  Parenthood and Prime Suspect - I did it for you!

The house is a mess, but Mike scored a house cleaning coupon on Groupon so I plan to have my kitchen good-n-scrubbed by a professional!

And, I don't know what to have for dinner tonight.