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July 2007 Archives

July 8, 2007

Back (But Slowly)


(I had no "real" email waiting from anyone blog- or CMP-related. Wow. Or is that yikes?!?!)

(Updated: Hey everyone, I was kidding. I know that I gave plenty of advance notice I was leaving and that you all respected that... I know that. I was really kidding as I broke the bubble of silence around my blog upon my return. And, we had a great time [broken and stitched and healing and swollen toe and all]. So, lots to come. But, wanted to say the official "hello" to everyone --- comic style... even if hastily-drawn and tongue-in-cheek... To know me is, of course, to love me. Yeah, sure! I know, you really all ARE glad I'm back!)

Parenthetically Speaking...

(I've been poking around at Flickr... I've popped in a few blogs...)

((I have much to share and show and talk about... including a week's worth of graphic-novel format (okay, comic) pages nearing completion that capture one "view" of the trip (in many, many boxes) ... and that have become an obsession for me... I am almost finished inking the last few pages... and then... I'll start posting them... and only after that will I begin sorting out the next episode of the CMP... because some of "it" will, of course, repeat what appears in the "strips...," and I'd rather have them up first... but... all at once or a day at a time... I'm still debating.))

(((Did I mention how glad I am to be back online?!?! )))

((((More... once I finish inking... ))))

July 9, 2007

Starting Off...


It was a trip saturated in color.

And yet... I start you off with a black and white view. Why? Not sure. Maybe a bit of quiet...

They Say...


(I took hundreds - no big surprise. And this is not my favorite - but there's something about the hands/arms here...)

So, I believe I deleted the Captain Underpants story (about the youngest at school) before I left... although Cheryl alluded to it at Flickr... so some of you may have seen it before I thought better of a longwinded post and abbreviated what I'd said the day before we headed out. At any rate... we sat down at lunch yesterday at a favorite diner. "Would you like to take off your coat, S," we asked. The immediate reply: "Can I take off my pants, too?"

And then... today, the first day of LEGO camp... and the first time the oldest has been in any program that involved having more than "just" lunch with him (2 snacks and lunch required for this)... I packed it all up... explained it... added in drinks... explained it again... and he looked at me, all worried, and said: "Can you write me a note?"

1 of 9


There are 9 pages of this set. They're all ready to post... just having some hesitation. As I post others, you'll see how the style shifted... and I played... and I settled in... and, generally, I had a lot of fun and got more comfortable. I added a touch of color in spots as a last step... but I need to explore that and figure out what really works for me on that level... which means... of course... yeah... more tools required. Endless, huh. At any rate, I have some thoughts on this process (don't I always), some of which I think I may talk about as part of the CMP. But... at least with these pages all done, I'm ready to focus on this week's show... I'm really not even all that "late" yet... but it will be a few days late.

July 10, 2007

2 of 9


(Hmmm... uploading day by day... will put them in reverse order... so, if you're just tuning in... scroll down to number 1.)

July 11, 2007

3 of 9


(Again, scroll down to #1 to start at the beginning. "Friends/Family" at Flickr can click through to see the larger versions - so you can actually read them.)

(Jessica mentioned the flashes of color in a note/comment... in theory, I need to color them in fully... not just a few flashes... I just didn't... this time... I think I need tools [pencils or markers, though I'm leaning towards pencils], and I need to not work on this kind of paper... It's okay though. There's so much left "out" of these... it really is all a learning experience.)


"Wanna hear this, Mama. This is something you may not have known." or... "Wanna know how to spell this, Mama. I know one you may not know."

All the time. 15+ hours a day. Where did this perception that I am clueless come from?

And, as I ponder that... the other one... sitting at a computer next to me... "Mama. Watch. Mama. Watch. You're missing it, Mama."

"Wanna hear this?!?!" "Wanna hear this?!?!" "Wanna hear this?!?!" "Wanna hear this?!?!"

July 12, 2007

4 and 5 of 9


July 13, 2007

6 of 9


(Thanks to Kritty for persisting about not being able to see the larger ones at Flickr. I think I've fixed that now. It only matters because they're hard to read otherwise!)


"Mama... I played with L. today and we not play a shooting game. We play princesses!"

July 14, 2007

8 and 9 of 9


There's so MUCH more to this, really. If I was more facile, there would be so much for to the story of this woman talking to me and to the young guy at the coffee shop (and his proud parents that stopped in to see him while he was making my coffee). But, you get what you get. And... in terms of the coffee... I got what I got!

Those Erasers...

Oh my... I carved eraser #2 this morning, on a whim... and, what fun! I'm so unbelievably excited about how these have turned out. I am having a tough time not posting photos before I record next week's show. But, that's the problem with the blog these days... it's far too easy to spill the beans here --- which will make for boring listening there!

So, you'll have to wait, I guess. But, so much fun!

July 16, 2007

Little Pink

Nothing "artful" from me today, I'm afraid. Not that artful isn't happening... it is and has been. Just nothing to share/show today. I hadn't even planned on a blog entry today, in fact... and you won't catch me at Flickr today, most likely, either (although I did pop in this morning)... a bit of a break. But, here I am... in the blog interface, typing up something because I really should be working on something else.

I have discovered in recent months that I don't get anything done in my office... when I was working (real and steady and predictable and validating work - the kind that filled my bank account), I had no trouble working from home. I'm the perfect totally self-disciplined-at-home-freelance-type candidate. I can sit here and work all day on a project without once being pulled to a TV or to the kitchen for more than the moments it takes to grab a plate of food and a drink and come back. Those were the days... I loved those days.

These days, I'm suddenly faced with a few hours here and there when I can work at my computer, in peace, but the things I "need" to work on... I don't do if I'm sitting here. Instead, I fiddle away my time... and it drives me crazy. I knew, today, that I should have just sat at the coffee shop to work after drop-off... I knew I wouldn't get much done here. But, I haven't been feeling "so" great. So... I came home, determined to work from here... and, after fiddling for a while, I did do some work, but I kept coming back to the image of that pink computer in my head... I saw it the other day in email, and then I got another email today... and I showed M. across the office... "Is it a small one?" I hadn't even noticed, but it is... and that made me think of this:


That's the screen of my Fujitsu LifeBook... after I dropped it oh, maybe two years ago.

Not that I don't think of it... often. I do... and finding that image today in old blog entries was surprisingly easy. I knew just what word to search on. That post begins this way:

That's my treasured LifeBook screen - now cracked. This is only one of many computers in our house, but it's always been a special one. When Matthew was a baby, I wanted something "really" small so I could work when he was sleeping and so I could easily carry it around the house. The LifeBook is just about the size of a hardback book. Really great.

Really broken.

Really my fault.

I turned it on again today just hoping maybe it wasn't as bad as it'd seemed yesterday.

It was.

The only other time something like this happened was when I spilled a cup of coffee on my red Palm.

That time it was my fault, too.

That this happened... an unfortunate drop as I tried to work in a rocking chair with a baby in my arms... is something that crushed me then... it's a computer I still mourn... it was a treasured thing for me... I'm a total electronics geek... total. But that time... I didn't want the biggest and baddest thing out there... I wanted the smallest and lightest. I wanted to be able to work whenever and wherever. I adored that computer. Adored it. And, at the time, I was in a position to acquire things I adored simply because I adored them. By the time I dropped it... a different baby in my lap... ... ... that was no longer the case....

When I saw the pink one the other day, I thought, "cute!" And then I thought... "Geez, you'd look so obvious with that." I prefer not to call attention to myself, for the most part. But then, today, seeing it again and seeing how small it is... it is cool.

And, apparently, colored notebooks are "in"... Dell, too, just recently announced availability of colored exteriors...


Okay... now back to work... "A Bird in Hand" is underway... (which means EP 56)...

Graphics Novels... in a Stack

A recent stack... a lot here... but for today... Mom's Cancer... This is one SunnyNole suggested I look at after hearing me talk about graphic novels on the podcast. She also referred me to The Squirrel Mother (also in this stack). Both are very powerful. Both have given me a lot to think about. I read Mom's Cancer last week. It's powerful and riveting... and so honest... the raw and unflinching and painful honesty of it all is staggering.

You'll notice in this same stack two that I talked about last week... The Hello, Goodbye Window and Stick Kid.

(I'm not going to talk about the graphic novel stuff I posted last week until next week, I think, by the way. I will say that I deliberately didn't use a ruler... I was going for something more raw and less precise... and I regret that now. I see those images on this page... and I see their crookedness... and I am not charmed... it is not endearing... I want to pull them all down!)

Reminder to self...

If it seems quiet for more than five minutes... and the little one is not asleep or sitting next to you... something is no doubt "in progress" that should not be. Thank goodness Matthew's bag of special Tombow pens (which do not wash off) were put away, out of reach when this initiative happened... these were... in fact, washable. Thankfully so. As always, the older brother was the first to find out... and he ran in to tell us that S had "colored all over his face with brown marker." A chase then ensued throughout the house with S ending up hiding in my closet. When he finally came out, this is the face I saw...


I may, in fact, hide the Tombow pens under lock and key since the effects of the Tombow-painted toenails and fingernails lasted quite a while. Had this been a Tombow-painted face... well...

July 18, 2007

Episode 56

Episode 56 of the CMP is live now... with a definite bird theme. I added in a few excerpts of songs, too, that I hadn't originally planned on using, and I felt like I ended up with my own "bloopers" track at the end of trying to dub in the "that was... x by x" line. I got so tickled trying to credit one song that I could not stop laughing. It was pretty silly. That's never happened to me before.

I was checking in at bloglines after months of not using it, and I ran into a wonderful bird (and a super cool frog) at So Many Stars (see June 28 for the bird).

And, I had already finished the show when I saw Kritty's wonderful grid of photos, many of which are stamp-related. She's done some awesome, incredibly cool hand-carved stamps, for sure. So, you have to go take a look. (She even had to clear out a stamp drawer!)

And, if you want to look at birds, I found a "pretty" bird group at Flickr.

Also, Mrs.P asked me about graphic novels for younger readers, and I'm hot on the track of a ton of graphic novels right now... several of which appear to be aimed at the young reader crowd... and, hey, most of those will probably end up my favorites anyway. Not sure what that says about me, but it's true. With titles like Amy Unbounded: Belondweg Blossoming, Alison Dare, Little Miss Adventures, The Way Home & The Bittersweet Summer (Owly (Graphic Novels)), and Meridian v. 1: Flying Solo, I'm very much looking forward to seeing these. I requested a ton of stuff from the library today, including a bunch of adult-focused graphic novels. Despite having struggled this week with my comic panels... their allure remains super strong for me.... stressed about a dr. visit yesterday... it was in comic panels that I recorded the bare bones of what was going through my head. So, something is here...

And... for those of you still reading... and for those of you who have heard EP 56... I can not yet bear to show a photo of this. But after goofing around with the "Super-A" stamp design, I went ahead and carved one... and... a total bust. The negative space within the supergirl shape and around the "A" has the effect of some horrible face, a la Munch's The Scream. It's awful. And I don't think I could have predicted the awfulness of it. On the paper sketch, the negative space didn't jump out at me at all. But STAMPED, it's knock-you-down "there"... "is it a vase or a woman" quality even... (you know, those neg/positive space images that you tend to see "one" or the "other")... Bummer. On to the next one. Luckily, erasers are easy to come by.

July 20, 2007

Books from the stacks

Yesterday was one of those days... becoming more common and freaking me out... even as it makes clear why I really don't have time to get a lot of (ahem, paying) work done. I left at 8:15 for the co-op because I'd agreed a while back to sub... I got home a bit after five (the co-op part ended just before 1). An odd day. But, strangely, it did involve not one but two visits to the library - two different branches, in fact... one with just S., then one with both (where we finally, albeit quite lately, signed up for the summer reading program, not that we need the incentive, but I feel it's something the kids should do as an 'official' summer thing).

I picked up the greatest haul of books I'd reserved at the library on trip #1. One of them I started reading while I waited to pick up my camper... the little one having crashed out in the back on the way there (no nap only works if we have NOWHERE to go the rest of the day). Immediately, I was so darned excited I couldn't stand it. I was holding a gem in my hands. I was holding a key to a treasure trove in my hands. It's a book I know I will buy and have to have. I'll report on that one... and those... later... maybe.

This next one jumped off the shelf at me the second stop... one was sitting, nose in a book he'd selected from the carousels, one was pulling five zillions movies off the shelf while we passed a few minutes before our next stop. I read this one to the little one last night (along with a few others from the day's stack), and it's quite funny (delightfully so) in some really strange way (though depending on your family, you might take it differently)... and quite well done both in terms of the writing and the art. Not for your youngest, necessarily, although I read it to mine... I'd say read it yourself first. But... look at it. I stumbled across it while poking in the kids' graphic novel section. It does use elements of comic style... but it's not what I'd put in that section... it's full-page, full color, collaged and textured and amazing art: The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish.

And, for some reason... the way I just described that one makes me think of Math Curse, which I talked about forever ago and loved SOOOOO, SOOOO much. If you never checked that one out, do so! Great for summer, too.

Then, also look at I AM I. It's one the book jacket describes as deceptively simple, and I agree. Check it out from the library... not a lot of text here. But... fascinating... and poignant... and geez you know I love that kid's hair on the cover... and, ummm, there are birds... and poppies... and a lot of kid angst....

Here's what I'm feeling as I start today... I want all of us to be creative... obviously. I want all of us to be individuals, too. I think everyone has to find his/her own voice and creative identity. And there is a modicum of imitation, of course, that is part and parcel to the process. It's how we learn and grow. Finding one's own path is the goal. I wish you all creative and productive weekends.

And, I hope my kids never want to trade me for a pair of goldfish.

No to Austen

You'll probably see this linked around the blogosphere. But if you missed it... interesting article. Of course, you could say lots of things in response to this... but, it's still interesting.

July 22, 2007


What a strange Saturday... one of those weekends that begins (after I've already been up and had some quiet and creative time and lots of email and ATC-exchange-administration time... before the whole house is awake)... begins with all of us in the living room, two of them eating a second piece of cinnamon toast (such a classic treat), and me saying something like "We really need to make a list today..." (because we've gotten out of the habit of the master weekend list that used to keep at least us adults on track and validated all those silly but things the kids expect to do). The immediate response... "Well, first we have to play Scrabble, Jr."

So, we did. And the list never happened.

But then so much else happened... including a full-family trip to FLAX (I am very clear I won't take the little dynamo in there, but he did okay with the other half of us and even came out with a super-cool bike bell with fish on it... and a pig keychain flashlight that oinks when you press the button...). I took the other by the hand... and we wandered and browsed... and then, evidently, someone saw and recognized me/M... but didn't say anything until later.

I picked up a Speed-ball carving set and a few bigger blocks. (Ryan told me the other day he'd ordered the set, too... and soft blocks.) I couldn't resist the carving set... partly, it's not expensive, so I didn't have to rationalize about whether I should or shouldn't (which I do about everything I buy for "me" anymore)... and partly because I was in the middle of an eraser... and I kept wondering if it would be "better" if I had the tools. So... I have them now... and I used them...

(The set is available at Dick Blick if you don't have a local art supply store that carries block/mono printing supplies.)

I got an amazing (and long) email from someone who started listening to the CMP recently but has (amazingly enough) already listened to the whole backlog... which I find staggering to contemplate. But, it was the most wonderful email... and full of great stories... and just what I needed to read yesterday.

I did a bit of contemplation of special (by request) oamyoamy pen pouches... but no actual sewing... while I waited for pizza to arrive... yum!

And then... much later... I painted on my series of ATCs for the July theme... which I sketched out in Oregon but which, after the first layer of paint on the first of 4 I ended up having a very strong reaction against... and in figuring out how to adapt what I'd envisioned, I stumbled over the right solution.... and then it all fell into place... and the second-go color range is so much better as well. I love them. This time, it's true. I love these. I ended up (again) not doing some of what I had envisioned doing on top of the paint... which involved words... I debated and debated yesterday as I painted... and I just can't go the final step. I am too attached to the simplicity of the painted space this time... so card #4 has changed and will bear the brunt of the text/wordage... Reactions at Flickr will, of course, as always vary or not appear at all.... But, these are staying close to home, so it's okay with me. I'm actually glad about that... and I didn't know that when I did the first sketches.

And then... I read the first two books shown below to the kids yesterday morning... both of them WITHOUT WORDS... and you know that I am a WORD person. I would NEVER, EVER have thought I'd recommend books that have no words... and yet these two fascinate me on many levels... but the first one is stunning in terms of the art as well... and the level of story.... I was going to talk about them more right now... but I think I'll wait... these I want to talk about on the show. I'll give you the covers though... (and if you've read them already with your kids, feel free to chime in):

Oh, and, of course, the new Harry Potter arrived.... in the very spiffy HP-printed/Amazon-branded mailer-box. Just having it in the house is exciting... almost unbearably so. (The oldest is a bit up in arms because we're saying he shouldn't read 7 yet because he doesn't know what happened in 5 or 6... This is the first release that has happened since he's been an independent reader....) So, it's here. But did I hole up in the bedroom with my nose in a book all day (as I'd threatened throughout the week, teasingly, to do - leaving them all to fend for themselves for the day...)? No.

I'm one of the crazy types... I'd like to do that... I could read it fast... but at the same time, I don't really want to. I'm always so sad when I'm finished. So... I looked at it for a while throughout the afternoon and then last night... sitting there... while I carved an eraser (during Pokemon) and later, after I finished painting my secret (in the house) ATCs for this month while I listened to the movie on in the other room (My Super-Ex Girlfriend, or something like that)... and then I went in and finished watching the movie (since I'd listened for about an hour...)... and when it was over... I grabbed the book, finally, and went in to start... and didn't get far before I crashed. (Such is the story of my "reading" this year.) But, I'm okay with that. I got a taste of the final book, which I plan to savor.

(Starting it does mean that once again, The Lobster Chronicles is started and unfinished... which happened last year, too. I am determined to finish it this time around!)

Oh, and at bedtime, the little one requested I AM I again - enthusiastically... quoting the notable lines... saying, before we started... "there are two I am I's, Mama!" ... which is, in fact, exactly part of the point and problem in the book. And, this time through, I liked it even more... I noticed things I had not noticed before... things I wonder if I'd been too tired the night before to pick up on... this is rapidly becoming one I love... and in a book with very few words, the emphasis on the power of words... is stunningly portrayed... especially the power of words to hurt and destroy and then... to heal and seed and grow. (When he saw it on my screen just now as I plucked the cover, he exclaimed excitedly... "I want to show Matthew" and climbed down from his stool to run and get the book from the floor in our bedroom. I assured him we'll read it with Matthew today - it's one he should see.)

Half-Pans and Empty Metal Boxes

Oh, and see... I just went in, mixed up another puddle of black since I've been sucking up black but have had the best time over the last 24 hours with black... and, next to it, a wonderful eggplant... variable mixing, obviously... I have no real technique... I just wing it and mix at will and see what happens... but in the past, I haven't been thrilled with black. Yesterday, I mixed the nicest black... and then the nicest eggplant... two colors that spoke to me... and so... I needed more this morning... blacker than eggplant... and I noticed, again, that my pan of red is almost all gone. Yikes!

And that made me remember that one of the reasons I'd orchestrated the trip to Flax (did I tell you they dropped the CMP as an affiliate a few months ago?) was because I needed three things: A) Gesso. B) The cutting set (maybe). C) More PITT S pens, just because. The gesso was a big thing... I started working in a large blank sketchbook a few weeks ago... playing with color and layers and just STUFF... and I ran out of gesso. How could that happen! I make sure we never run out of toilet paper, and milk, and even apples. But I ran out of gesso. And I hated knowing I didn't have any... even though I had plenty of projects to work on outside of that journal. (The graphic novel kick may swallow me whole before all is said and done.)

So, gesso felt imperative.

Probably, the red half-pan was more critical... on some level. But, I still haven't mustered nerve to ask about half-pans in person... they must be behind the counter. The man had stepped away from the counter as I passed... and I did lean into the counter and look for a minute... before I moved on.

I do have a list of colors at Dick Blick that I'd like... I'd really like a custom set of half-pans that fit the way I work... but I keep putting off placing that order... I've got to do that. And realizing yesterday that not only is my red near empty, but my yellow is, too... I need to pluck them out once they dry and see if I can determine what colors they really are... reminds me that placing that order is almost getting to the point of imperative (rather than impulsive and decadent). For if you run out of red and yellow... well, that seems like quite a problem... especially when you're a red and yellow and black kind of person a lot of the time (in paint at least)... not to mention that running out of two of the three primaries would seem to qualify as artistic crisis on some level!

So... I've got this list at Dick Blick (I love places that let me create a wish list simply because it lets me stash things I'm thinking about for convenience later)... but what has had me stumped is where I'll put new half-pans that I buy... in the metal box I use... it looks like I could scoot the included half-pans over a bit and maybe squeeze in two more... although I haven't measured. But in looking around, I wasn't seeing any way to buy "just" a box that you can fill.... an empty box. All the boxes come with basic starter sets and colors. And that's not what I want.

And then I ran into a photo at Flickr by the wonderful Cathy Johnson (author of all those books, yes), where she showed a new metal box she'd bought and filled... apparently, it IS hard to find empty boxes, but she listed a source. It took me forever today to relocate the photo/discussion from her (I should have 'faved' it at the time!).

So... eventually... I'm gonna take this new empty 12-pan metal box approach. Who knew the metal box was so, ahem, special!

But... first, I've gotta at least get a few half-pans... and maybe I'll just take out a few of the ones I don't use all that often for now to make room for some fo the colors I'd like to have...

For those of you that use watercolor pans... leave a comment... what are YOUR favorite colors (by name)? I'd love to hear. I keep thinking I want to go through all the books on my shelves and make notes on what colors they lay out... just to see how they all vary. But, when I look at Dick Blick's screen of half-pans... I start picking just on instinct and immediate response to the shade... every time. I'm such a sucker for color, I guess. How funny that I'm obsessed with the black and white of the comics these days, huh, she thinks, after spending sketch time this morning working, again, on capturing another strange moment... in that style.

Oh, and one more book... I meant to mention... It's propped on the kids' easel right behind me, so I keep seeing it when I get "up" from my chair... Ryan mentioned this book to me last week... asking if I'd read it. And then, I got a copy from the publisher... I haven't cracked it open yet, but I've been wanting to see it for a while. I've heard very good things about it.

July 23, 2007

Save-Ums and Snack...


Some mornings, ya know.... I had several things mapped out for this morning... not that they'd have all fit into my 3.5 hour window for a Monday morning, of course.... but I had options... a list... an agenda... And we all got out of the house pretty much on schedule... two cars going separate ways because Monday camp-drop-off is a bit earlier than other days... so splitting up works better. The fog was incredibly dense on our hill... and wet... sort of drippy feeling, so I offered a hat to the camper as he climbed into the other car... "No," he called back to me.

"I have your Save-Ums hat," I called, rummaging in my trunk, and knowing that both his Koigu hats are upstairs.

"Okay!" (Came the excited reply.)

And I passed over the hat. And for some reason, the excited reply, and the "yes" after the "no" made me really happy. He looks so cute in that hat. (Above photo is old... by more than a year.)

As we pulled up alongside their car at the first traffic light so that the little one could wave at them out his window, I was struck at how cute he looks in that hat... my little boy... still excited by a "save-ums"-inspired hat. That's pretty cool.

And then I went on to the co-op to drop-off the little one. He walked in proudly showing the director his newly acquired oinking-Pig flashlight... and then she turned to me... "Hello snack-mom!"

And I must have blanched.

I've never walked in on my snack day empty handed before... in the three years we've been a co-op family, this was a first. And I felt so bad... and so embarrassed.

Not the best way to begin the day. I got it taken care of, of course. Just not the way I "usually" do... no homemade pumpkin oatmeal mini muffins or, what I made last month, mini corn muffins (which were a first but were really good!). Oh well...

July ATC Exchange


I'm just going to post them and not spill a lot of words explaining them other than to say #1 is entitled "Fly" and #3 is entitled "Home." And... the scans don't quite do the richness and depth of color justice. But, this is them. I bet you expected fairies from me. Not this go 'round!

(For those of you just stopping in... these were for the Creative Mom Podcast ATC Exchange, July 2007, with a theme of "A Midsummer Night's Dream.")

July 25, 2007

A Sweater

"... and, today's your day for acrosports, so you wear sweatpants." (Says A, finishing up getting boy #2 dressed.)

"Spencer is a sweater! Spencer is a sweater!" (Chants M, bouncing around the room.)

"What?" (Asks A.)

"Spencer is a sweater!"

"No he's not! That's not nice!" (Says A.)

"Sweat-er... He's a sweat-er!"

"Not a sweater you wear. A sweater!"

"He's not sweating. Stop that!"

"No, not a sweater you wear... A sweater!" (He repeats and begins pantomiming someone pulling on clothes.) "Not a sweater you wear. Someone who wears sweats!"

EP 57 of Creative Mom Podcast

Is live...

July 26, 2007

Trying to Reach Senora...

Sorry for the broadcast... Senora... I received your audio clip... but I can't reply to you (no email address included) - and I don't seem to be reaching you with the address I have. Can you email me so I can get your new address for the ATC swap? Thanks! (I'll delete this post as soon as I hear from you.)

So Cute... I Mean "Fierce."

oamyoamy-LGkids-pirate oamyoamy-LGkids-grid
These two are special requests. They are bigger than the Moleskine-sized pen pouches... sized specially to hold longer (or dual-ended) markers. Each has an inner ATC-sized pocket, and, as you can see, a ring on a loop on the side edge... either to clip it onto something OR to attach something like a Peek-a-Pooh (or similar Pokemon-type thing). Plus, quite honestly, it's hard to resist a small ring, right? Both also have an elastic back-strap.

More adult ones are coming, but if you're interested in something custom... or something in specific colors, let me know. Also... I've got a few simple drawstring treasure bags coming in the pirate fabric!

July 27, 2007

More Erasers


I've written a much more extensive note about this at Flickr, so click through if you're interested in my "take" on how "wrong" things went here. On the spectrum of my carving experience thus far... well... this one ranks higher than "The Scream" for sure! This one was halfway an exercise in finesse. I won't say I succeeded, but I did stretch myself a bit. One I'm mailing out to one of you is an utter hack-job in comparison to this one. So, I can see the evolution here... for sure.

I probably should have been knitting, instead... One of you has asked whatever happened to my Podcast Sweater. I looked guiltily at it hanging on my bedroom closet door last night. I did finish Matthew's Goldenrod hat, and I'm midway through Spencer's turquoise Jitterbug hat. So... my needles aren't totally silent. But... I found carving an eraser stamp perfect for an episode of Big Brother last night.

I am going to have to get knitting though... it's quickly coming up on that time of year... and a few things are already on my holiday mental list... How can it be almost August!

Robots Quilt


The nine blocks above give you a bit of a close-up look at some of the detailing, amazing fabrics, wonderful free-form quilting, and just downright amazingness of this quilt created by Gooma8x. There are so many things about this that I love and admire and am awed by... so many... one of the detail shots I didn't get to include here (because I had too many things to show) is of the edge binding... which is all in a fabric full of robot and comic-styled words! This quilt is of the size Gooma8x refers to as a "Lovee" - and I think it would be impossible not to love it. (She doesn't sell online, but I believe Gooma8x takes on commissioned work. Let her know at Flickr how much you love this!)

July 29, 2007

Postcards and Colors...


So... the above are postcards (which those of you at Flickr know). I don't even think the original color scheme appears in the above grid. I was playing around in prepping and printing a set for Kritty (who asked if she could have some to mail out to friends who might be interested in the podcast), and I started messing with color. I had originally thought I'd start all over and do a new design... and then maybe have a set printed up (rather than futzing with it here at home - plus, then they'd be nice and shiny and glossy and in richer color than I'm seeing on my HP All-in-One with which I constantly do battle these days). But... a new design just wasn't in me this weekend. Besides, once I opened this one up (and I think it's a Jan 2007 design... similar to the first Cafe Press journal I did), I found that I still like many things about it. It's frilly, yes. And swirly, yes. And maybe even girly (which despite the name, I hope the show is not). But... there's still something about it. Ironically, I never sent these. Maybe I sent 1 or 2. But that was it. So, they haven't gotten any use... so Kritty's request for some was a good thing. And hers are ready to mail out... assorted colors.

What I'm torn about is if I do go ahead and have some printed... I'd have to settle on a color scheme... and I am not sure that I can choose just one now that I've played around with them!

Lots of Thinking

[Warning. LONGGGGGG post.]

So... I've been thinking... not that I don't always think... but I've been thinking a lot over the past few weeks about zines and newsletters... just little thoughts.... little teasers in my head. Violet (of L&V podcast) first asked me if I'd considered doing a zine. Then, someone else mentioned it... and so... it's been simmering in my head a bit.

On the way to Flax yesterday for a "kid" thing, I was thinking about something I'd meant to talk about on the show that is "tip" oriented... and I thought... well, I should just include something like that in the announcement newsletter each week. But, my mind says... no... that's not enough. I'm a layout person at heart... the nature of the grid and all... and so just textin email doesn't totally do it in terms of communication with "all" of you.

And then I started thinking about a publication I did as a graduate student... stranded in the swamps of LA (swamp not Hollywood) after being lured (suckered) there as a playwright and finding the performance tangent of the department disheartening, I focused again on fem. theory and women's studies, and poetry... the same mix I'd been doing for the previous four years... I rocked a lot of boats, I guess, when it came to reading things like Milton and Wharton... but I had a wonderful director there and the chance to work with a few wonderful poets... And, I don't remember why I started doing it... maybe because there was a need for more discourse and more subversive thinking and more deconstruction... but I started producing my own weekly newsletter and distributing it around the English department.

I haven't thought of that in years. (Amazingly... it has been years.) We can refer to it as BG. Really, BG is a thing of the past. In my head... it's a publication full of commas, and slashes (/) and parentheses and hyphens... all the things that turn traditional discourse into something deconstructed and full of new meaning above, beyond, and beneath the surface-level rhetoric.... which is how I read and think and even talk (if you know me well enough). How did I fill the newlsetter? I can't remember. But I know I did fill it. BG was a single sheet... a legal-sized page... double-sided... and I printed each issue in a bright color... black type on a bright colored sheet... and the sheet was crammed full of articles.

And very well-received.

Driving yesterday, I was thinking about BG... it's just this faded thing in my memory... something I did... along with all those poetry readings and performance readings those years in the bayou... years where I joke now that all we did was look at a map and try and figure out where I should land myself to do my post-Master's work. Love bugs, swamp, Hurricane Andrew, a fellowship with a small stipend, and then a year of teaching remedial English 101... and heat... lots and lots of heat. It was not the place for us. The highlights there... a Sonic where we could get a Route 44 Diet Cherry Vanilla Coke (we are still saddened that there is no Sonic in the Bay Area) and a Wal-Mart just down the road from our apartment.

But... the two years culminated in a creative non-fiction thesis that centered on the importance of quilting and sewing and was, itself, a quilted narrative of theory and memory and story and personal history. (Also something I haven't thought of or looked at in years.)

And then... many, many years of Web stuff and hundreds of technical and how-to articles.

And then... last year... we took on the co-op newsletter (well I did) after something happened during the year and there was a need for a new editor. And what fun I had with that despite the fact that it was a ton of work and the fact that I seriously doubt most people ever realized how much work it was. I didn't take it on this year... but... how much I taught myself in the production of the issues I put out.

And then... somewhere in that process, concurrent with the school newsletter and with the first seed of an idea about the Creative Mom Podcast, I started creating and producing the Kids PuzzleBlast newsletter... an idea, at the time, that meant so much to me... but got closed out for various reasons... in part because I had to choose between it and the CMP and in part because the realities of printing and mailing such a publication make it hard to come out ahead or even break even.

And then... I deliberately did not volunteer to work on the elementary school newsletter. (We are over-extended already is my argument.) But... I did suggest a new art-focused column for the new year... which means I need to write the first several of those (samples of sorts) to see if they want to run it as a regular section. (More non-paid work, just what I needed, right?)

And so... now... I'm thinking again.... This week, I've got a super-short show planned for EP58... unless I just can't help myself once I start talking... I'm interested in trying that... the super-short show... and yet... it means there are a lot of things I'd like to talk about and show you and share with you that won't get included this go-around.... a newsletter (PDF maybe) would solve that a little bit... even a SHORT newsletter.

It would be nice if I could still just "do it" and print them out at Kinko's and drop them in office mailboxes as I was able to do all those years ago with BG.

But, I can't. So... I'm still thinking.

And, clearly, I'm gonna have to stop sleeping.

July 31, 2007

Critters and Pin Cushions

I have been doing a good bit of work at my machine... not brilliant, inspired, full-o'-meaning work like my friend Gooma8x, but still... functional sewing. And yet... that has nothing to do with why I'm making this post. Although I did make Jack (the mostly unloved oversized doll) a few years back, I'm not really the one in the house that does doll and bear sewing. That's my other half. But... I did teach myself to knit however many years ago it was because I found Debbie Bliss's book of knitted teddy bearsand was smitten. (I never did make one - but I did learn to knit as a result of buying that book.)

You all know how much I love Stupid Sock Creatures (the book) (and I've even advocated a stupid sock creature as a perfect holiday or end-of-year gift for a beloved teacher... every classroom probably needs a stupid sock mascot or something similar). (Of course... I was a little disheartened by the strong legalese on the SSC site recently. I understand the reasoning... and yet it did sadden me a little.)

So why was I out at Amazon the other day doing a search that led me here? I am not even sure now... but in poking around, all these other "animal" and "critter" and "toy" books popped into my frame of sight. And... so I share the love. Plush-O-Rama is the one I think I am most interested in seeing. (I've reserved it at the library.)

But... I thought some of you might enjoy poking around some of these, too.

As for me... what I'm realizing I need to make is a pin cushion. Earlier this summer there was some "not just quilts" issue of a quilting magazine that came out, and there's a great square pin cushion in it (maybe even on the cover*). I'll have to go check Manda's site. She had the cover posted. I almost bought it when I ran into it. Then, I didn't. But... I remember that pin cushion. And then I started seeing some more... and then Manda did her fabulous (they seriously make me squeal every time I see them on her page) selvage cushions. And... I keep thinking... I've never made a pin cushion... but I should. I absolutely hate the one I'm using. And I know there are others scattered around that I equally dislike. I keep seeing great ones online and at Flickr. I even followed a few links to tutorials (here's another) last week on the basic construction. I should make one. So, I'm toying with the idea of that... (LIKE I NEED ANOTHER PROJECT) but as I keep sewing up functional little bags that have just a bit of fun on them, I find I love looking through books for all these crazy and zany creatures...

Had either of my boys given two hoots for things like this, it might have been a different story!

Go on... poke around. I don't know that I want a "cute" pin cushion (honestly), but poke around. Look here, for example. And here. And here. And, not a pin cushion - but cute! Okay, I'll stop. You'll find plenty once you poke around. What would your perfect pin cushion look like?

And... these will be ones to look for in the fall:

[*Yes! On the cover. I found Manda's post where she shows the cover of Quilts and More (Summer 2007) and the cute pin cushion on the cover.]

Episode 58

Episode 58 of the Creative Mom Podcast is live. This week... short and sweet (seriously!). Where Women Create comes up... and it's one that is so much fun to look at. It's beatifully photographed and full of inspiring ideas.

I should be organizing, I suppose, rather than blogging and surfing and emailing... actually... I should be painting or sewing. It's true!

Oh, but I'm back again because in trying to close about 20 browsers, I thought, "Hey, I'll just see what's on the front page of Whip Up and found this post and this group... all related. And, ummm, I'm seeing walls of cork.

Kritty double-dared me today to post a photo of one of my messy (albeit reorganized) squares of cork. But after scanning just a few of the photos in that Flickr group above, I doubt I'll EVER be showing photos of anything remotely related to how and where I work. And I'm not answering the doorbell if it rings, either! (Well, that's a given. I don't answer the phone, either, unless I really have to - or unless it's my mom. Caller ID is a blessing.)

I really need a P.O. box... just in case.


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