Tuesday, November 01, 2011

No. 2 pencils required… and probably an eraser or two

Welcome November! I'm so glad you are here. And thanks to you dear friends who still check this blog occasionally. My absence will not be felt any longer. But I'm about to shake things up and change it all around. (Officially) starting this month, I'm no longer a graphic designer, but a full-time illustrator working for myself! Woohoo! If you've known me for long, you've known this was always my (and our) hope. A couple months ago we decided it was time to give it a go. I'm not going to lie, I'm scared to death. The past few months have been different, shaky, and full with unexpected things. But I'm also very excited to try my hand at this, literally. (Sorry, it was begging for a joke.)

So, here's what is coming up:
1. The blog will be getting a new header (hopefully this week), and will definitely be getting a new focus. My goal is to blog at least once a week, but hopefully once a day during the typical work week. The once a day thing is going to have to be felt out as I'm determined that each post should from now on contain some form of an illustration, done by me or perhaps an inspiration piece I discover.
2. As mentioned above, each post should include an illustration of some sort.
3. I'll be doing themes most weeks for my own illustration challenges which will probably be quite apparent on the blog, so don't get weirded out if there are a lot of posts about penguins one week and then umbrellas the next.

There are other tricks up my pencil smudged sleeves, but they are going to come in time. Perhaps that will make it more exciting. But I decided it was high time I break the silence and give myself some blog-public goals for where this old friend is headed. Things to look out for in the future, and if you feel so led, to encourage me about are:
• my new portfolio site
• an etsy store including items like calendars, custom portraits, random prints and more
• another blog with a focus on something I'm uber-passionate about
• my first official venture into children's book illustration

Buckle your seat belt. I have no idea what kind of a ride this is going to be.

Friday, September 30, 2011

my favorite time of year

I can't believe September is leaving so soon. But I'm thrilled to the bone about the cool weather, the changing leaves, the sweaters I just unpacked… Yay fall!

September was an overly full month. I have a lot to catch up on, and much news to share eventually; but not now. Now I bask in the open windows, listen to the dog snore, and catch up on some long awaited pinning.

Happy fall friends!

[image via Cup of Jo]

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

so I may be a little obsessed

If you haven't heard of Pinterest yet, well, now you have. Pinterest is an online bulletin board of sorts that you can "pin" inspiration, photos, any image to and label, categorize and source it. It functions as an awesome moodboard source so you can see all the items you've labeled similarly on one long screen. I think it is a sickness. I heard about it a while ago, but as I tend to do with all buzzing media ventures, I ignored it. That is, until last week. Within 5 minutes, I was hooked.

Finally a place to store some of my favorite delicious bookmarks and see a moodboard of inspiration! So, for now, since I never seem to be here, I'm probably over there. You can see my bustling boards here if you are interested.

[image from marta writes]

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

the Appalachians are seeping into my skin

Stumbled across this new musician today, Jess Williamson. Her music is very simple and I'm loving it. Her banjo strumming and her gorgeous voice are quite the combo. Can't wait to hear more from her.

It looks like she is also a photographer. I'm particularly drawn to this image.

Monday, June 13, 2011

seriously crossing my fingers, and toes and whatever else I can cross…

Have I mentioned the rocking awesome designer blog Oh Happy Day! yet? I seriously can't remember. It's one of my all-time favorite blogs along with many other people. But now, they are even more my favorite thanks to this little (understatement of the century) giveaway.

So here is me, trying to get work done and yet continually wishing for the 20th to come so that Jordan will announce the winner and my agony of waiting will be over. Wish me luck, and enter yourself if you so desire!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

pictures like this

make me smile. And laugh. And dream of ways for Rosie and I to travel like this. And wonder if the rider is in the circus. And what would it be like to be in the circus. And I wonder if I could wear those shoes.

(image from public bikes)

p.s. bike in image is my new bike. Long story. But I love it! And Rosie will too as soon as we purchase a basket for her to ride in…

Monday, May 23, 2011

pardon the absence…

my last week was spent with these girls

doing things like cooking, playing, crafting, and watching Mark read ginormous books

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

I chatted with my neighbor for a bit

Nice fellow. At a distance at least.

the week at a glance

The days go by so quickly. Sometimes I look back on the day and think "did I even breathe through this one?" I was just thinking about my blog this morning and feeling the usual guilt that I've neglected it yet again. I want to blame it on busyness which is always valid, but in some ways, I don't want to have to have a reason. I think it is just the way I blog. It's sort of like reading for me. I would consider myself an avid reader, but I go through what Mark and I like to call "reading binges." I may have a month or 2 dragging through the same book and maybe never entirely finish it and then suddenly I'll hit a weekend where I read 3 or 4 books and be done. Perhaps these binges are a clue to my personality. At least they are of the healthy binge variety.

Yesterday I made an actual paper to-do list, which is something I love to do but haven't done in a while. It was long. Full of everything that really must be done this week. Until I made that list, I was feeling overwhelmed by the week. Wishing I could somehow magically insert 4 more days into the typical 5. But once it was all down on paper, I started to breathe more normally again. I found a different energy, sparked by the desire to mark something off the list. It's like those gold stars that I use to get in first grade on my desk paper when I finished all my homework and more. Those are a real motivator for me. It seems silly that getting to put a check next to something on my list serves as motivation, but I'll take it. I'm proud to say that nearly half my week's list was completed yesterday. And today will hopefully fair as well.

I have another list that tends to sit for longer periods of time and often I add more to it than I cross-off. This is my Projects list. All the ideas I come up with for decorating the house, fixing things, and personal art projects. It is an exciting list and I'm often depressed that I'm so far behind on it — like the yearly photo albums I really want to do to capture the images from each year of marriage and life. I'm 3 and a half years behind on this one, but I'm tightly crossing my fingers that I work on it this summer.

This week however, we have been tackling something off that list with a vengeance… the downstairs bathroom fix-up. Two weekends ago, on Holy Saturday, amidst all the craziness surrounding Holy Week and the music album (which is still yet to be released, stay tuned) and music for Easter morning, Mark and I awoke early and I said, "Let's demo the bathroom and put it the way we want." Amazingly enough, Mark said, "Great!" And we did.

Demo took all of one day and served to completely freak out the poor dog. So the last week and weekend we spent spackling and sanding on repeat trying to get a smooth wall once again after removing the construction bathroom mirror which is always GLUED to the wall. Yes, glued! Aggravates me to no end. Thankfully though, Mark whipped out his amazing sanding chops and I think the wall looks fantastic. So this weekend, we put a coat of primer and repainted the whole bathroom with the same color as before, but in semi-gloss for maximum moisture protection. This week, we must put the new light fixture, mirror and vanity into place and the bathroom will look better than it ever has.

So you may be asking, why the sudden need to do this after waiting for 3 years? Good question. The answer is quite simple: my sister, bro-in-law, and three little nieces. We are getting a happy visit in just 2 short weeks and being my mother's daughter, I've been obsessing over the state of the house and how to make it perfect for their short visit. Granted, this is the first time they will be seeing our house and I also happen to be faulted with a need to be known as someone with good housekeeping skills.

On another note, call me crazy, but I'm also running a massive yard sale this weekend for a couple families, including ours. So, amidst the bathroom reno and dust, we have piles, SERIOUS piles of stuff that I'm slowly working on organizing and tagging for the yard sale. This is my first yard sale ever and I am psyched. We've been brutal about getting rid of things this go around and so far I'm very proud. Even as I'm terrified that I'll completely screw up the sale somehow. But I figure you have to start somewhere. So here we go! Wish us luck.

Now, I just reread this post checking for spelling errors and general flow and I realized, there is no point to this post. I'm going to put it up anyway, because sometimes life is like that. It doesn't feel like there is a point, but it still happens. So happy Tuesday and I hope you are having a remarkable day even if it doesn't feel like one.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

become someone else

"When one reads books, he/she starts living it and identifies (or not) with main hero. These print ads for the Mint Vinetu bookstore, which sells lots of classics, focuses on the idea of becoming someone else. And provokes people to try on different personas."

Yay for reading! Yay for creative ad campaigns! Yay for books!

[ad campaign by Love, seen first on Black*Eiffel]

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

another photo obsession

about a month ago, I discovered the Instagram app for my phone. Things will never be the same.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

polaroids for music

Mt Desolation - Departure from BABANUKI films on Vimeo.

Not sure about the song, but love the use of polaroids for the videos. Also really cool is that the artists recorded themselves on webcams or personal video cameras and were brought together through the polaroid concept of the video. Great idea!

(via Black Eiffel)

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

digesting saturday

this is an instagram of some tangible things I accumulated on Saturday.

The intangible things are innumerable.
Saturday, April 2, 2011, I attended a 1-day conference called "Focus on Children's Literature." I discovered it just a few days before its occurrence. Thanks to a helpful little Knoxville email list I happen to be on, I was scouring the emails' many contents late one evening last week and happened to see this event in small little letters. My heart's beat quickened. I raced into our studio bearing the iPad and held its screen directly in front of my dear man's face. With pleading eyes, I asked that I be able to go at whatever cost to our wallet and our weekend plans. My darling man vehemently agreed and we proceeded to get me registered as quickly as our finger typing skills allowed.

Fast forward to Saturday morning, skipping much anticipation and dreams about what the day would hold, I abnormally awoke early, agonized over my attire and got myself to the school that was hosting it about 12 minutes early. My plan had been to get there a bit early, be able to scope the place out, settle my nerves and calmly drink my coffee until registration began. Ah, the joke was on me. My fellow attendees, I did not realize, were about 200 librarians and teachers, all eagerly anticipating Knoxville's first children's lit conference as well. And apparently all of them are used to getting up early and being at a school building. Who knew! Feeling a little behind already, I got myself into the building, successfully found my tiny packet of helpful info and unhappily attached the sticky nametag to myself. That's when I spotted the book sale table being set up. And so did every other eager beaver in the room.

Thankfully, I kept my wits about me and didn't rush to the table. I would not have survived such a daring move. Instead I maintained a safe distance and became a pro at peeking through tiny openings between varying heights, bent elbows and wide hips. In my attempts to keep this post less than a youth novel length, let's just say I visited that book sale table 4 times throughout the day and came home with that lovely stack of books in the top right corner of above instagram. Contents are:
Pretty Penny Sets Up Shop (which I first discovered here)
All Kinds of Families! (a favorite French illustrator)
Being a Pig is Nice (author of The Jesus Storybook Bible)
Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit (first discovered here)
Applesauce Season (by Caldecott illustrator and includes a recipe!)
Busing Brewster (by one of the main speakers)

The conference itself was fabulous. Jack Gantos, author of many books including the Rotten Ralph series, was the first main speaker. He's a brilliantly hilarious man with witty stories and many surprising thoughts. He gave a great talk about what makes picture books work and he illustrated his points with about 20 famous books like Where the Wild Things Are and Ferdinand the Bull. I captured so many inspiring quotes from him and can't wait to read more of his books. "Read more books and get smarter."

Next up was a screening of the new documentary Library of the Early Mind which I actually posted about in anticipation here last June. Co-producer Steven Withrow was there to talk about it and he was amazingly insightful and had a passion for children's literature that was extremely contagious.

Skipping details about lunch, we went back into a panel discussion about the film and children's literature with Jack Gantos, Steven Withrow, and the last speaker, Richard Michelson. They covered many thoughts and also ruminated on the well-known NY Times article about the demise of the picture book. Upon mention of said article, I'm pretty sure I felt the entire room suck in their breath. My feelings on this topic are another post including a very large soapbox.

Finally, the event was closed with another great talk by author Richard Michelson about his childhood, ventures with his art galleries and career in authoring picture books.

After the event, there were author signings, more book buyings and a near purchase of an awesome poster by Mo Willems from R. Michelson's gallery, but some sneaky librarian woman hooked it first.

I have many more thoughts about this awesome conference, but those are for myself, one-on-one conversations and a much bigger story. Here lies my documentation of the event for myself and anyone else who may be interested. I proceed to again and again thank my sweet husband for allowing me to spend the entire day dreaming, thinking and spending money on my beloved passion of children's books. I also wish to thank the CCYAL for putting on this event and hope to keep posted of more things they offer.

Until further posts on the subject, I've begun to again count my pennies and save up for the annual Children's Festival of Reading! Hoorah!!

for my own inspiration

Thank you for your brilliance Tomi.
[via his blog]

Thursday, March 17, 2011

happy St. Patrick's Day

Love this cake. I want a piece. But of course I don't have time to make this today and more importantly right now, I don't do food coloring, at all. But it is beautiful nonetheless. I love it.

Here's the recipe. Discovered thanks to Twig & Thistle.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

anatomy of a cupcake

(via Things)

let's sing it this way

Happy Tuesday for those who have adjusted correctly to Daylight Savings spring forward. Rosie and I have not.

This made me laugh, aloud actually.

(via Society6, seen at Design Crush)

Monday, March 14, 2011

how could I not share this?

We No Speak Americano ft. Cleary & Harding

Things like this just make me smile. And slightly flabbergasted. And somewhat heighten my feelings of incompetence and uncreativity.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


Well, our world has spun out of control. Most days I'm barely hanging on but Mark and I keep reminding each other to just breathe through and thank God for each day. Don't freak. Nothing bad is happening, just an insane amount of busy. Too many balls in the air and each time I drop one, the world just shrugs and says, "that's fine. here's 3 more." Despite all this, I decided to break the silence with a random picture post. Here's a couple shots from the past few weeks and some news on what's going on.

Here is one of my new favorite dresses.

 I've decided to mock our culture and it's lack of dresses for everyday wear and I'm wearing more dresses. I love dresses. And thanks to ModCloth, one of my favorite online stores, my stock of dresses has increased without killing the bank account. This day I wore this dress to work from home and then Mark and I drove to Maryville for a lunchtime showing of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical which was fantastic, made me actually cry and also made Mark and I giggle that we were the only ones in attendance without a child as an excuse. And yes, this dress has acorns all over it.

Next picture, Mark and I all gussied up and ready to attend the Knoxville 2011 Addy Awards.

(thanks Adam for the iPhone pic with fancy photo filter!)

If you are wondering what is in the background, we are at our church where Mark was recording for hours upon end and I joined for a couple hours to help with a particularly impressive "stomp-clap" group recording. So that pile is a drum kit covered with blankets to help separate sound, of course. More info about this to come, hopefully, but our church music team is recording an album right now. We've been practicing for about 2 months and started recording sessions. Mark is playing second guitar and I'm singing back-up vocals for many songs and lead on one. It's exciting and something we've never done before. The album is set to come out Easter week (appropriately so as it is an Easter album.) Just in case you are wondering, our group has a great folk element, a little Indelible Grace/RUF edge, and features great musicians on banjo, mandolin, electric guitar, marimba, and typical instruments such as piano, guitar, brass, strings, drums, etc…. Yes, all those together. You'll probably want to check it out.

But back to the Addy Awards. It was an exciting evening, and not just because I got to dress up which I never get to do, but because we actually won some awards! Mark got a silver for one of his web designs and I won a gold for my design for The Happy Envelope. It's my company's first gold! Here's a pic of the developer and I who worked ridiculously LONG hours on the site.

And while I'm tooting our horn, here's a program that our music team did for Christmas. It's an hour long, and has the Scripture readings and homily in the midst, but you can get a feel for our music style. You can jump around in the recording and hear great things like the children's choir belting it out. A little short of a quarter in is a dramatic Latin song that Mark plays the lead guitar on(!) and a couple songs beyond that is one of my favorite songs we do called Hail to the Lord's Annointed and I happily got to sing the lead on it with our worship pastor harmonizing. It was a really fun program to do. Mark and I created the advertising materials, which I need to take a picture of and post. We also got to perform a shortened version of it at a local venue called The Square Room.

Rosie is still quite alive and seems to be very happy with us.

She can often be found retrieving her beloved tennis ball in places like under the sofa.

Well, that's all for now from this girl. Work is calling, laundry has piled up and everything must get done before a marathon evening of singing for the Ash Wednesday service, practicing for Holy Week music, and then practicing til late for the recording session this weekend. I never thought music would be my life.

Monday, January 31, 2011

wild world and wild things

My breath caught when I saw this in my reader today.

So stunning. If only it weren't so much. And I had a reason to have it gather dust on my shelves.

[via ImagineNations and BB-Blog]

sometimes I get lost

Perhaps this explains it best.

Although Google Reader should be factored in there somewhere too. Facebook and Twitter are a come and go thing for me. I guess have short-lived binges with them. Google Reader and Gmail however, they are my best friends.

[not sure where I saw it first as it is making its way around the blog-o-sphere, but it comes originally from Fuchsia Macaree]

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

when I was kid, I really wanted a monkey for a pet

It probably would have been just like this one. A golden snub-nosed monkey.

(from National Geographic, via Heart Charlie)

Friday, January 21, 2011

rosie the infamous high-jumper

no autographs yet please.

oh rosie

pardon the delay, but may I present Rosie:

about Rosie:
• 1.5 years old
• 20 pounds
• probably has some beagle in her which makes her longer and a little shorter than typical Jack Russells
• one ear always sticks up and the other always flops over (unless she's in trouble and then they both go backwards)
• sometime in her life, someone docked her tail so now she only has a little tail nub as we call it. It's pretty darn cute when that little tail nub wags.

• she rarely barks, so far the only thing that makes her bark is the vacuum and if she really has to go out and we aren't paying attention.
• she's scared of vacuums
• she's a super-tracker and would take down every squirrel on the street if we let her off-leash.
• she's incredibly friendly and will lick your face if you put it within range.
• she's wonderful with kids and very friendly with other dogs

• she would play ball for hours and hours
• she has mad jumping skills—the highest so far being level with Mark's shoulder (yeah, that's high!)
• she is pretty smart and loves to be trained
• she didn't seem to know any commands when we got her, but now has pretty much mastered "sit," "go lay down," "crate," and "outside." We're working on "stay" and better leash training.
• she is a fast, and I mean fast runner. We learned this the fun and hard way when she slipped out the back door when our friend's kid stood with it open too long and we just watched her race around the cul-de-sac and feared we'd never see her again. Thankfully, she already liked us and once she had her fill of running her heart out, she stayed put for Mark to get her.

• she has a "diva-butt" as I call it and refuses to do her business if the ground is too wet to find the perfect spot; even if it means we have to traipse around in the snow for 20 minutes and she is shivering and whining.
• she is a fierce, aggressive chewer. Thankfully though, she only chews things that we give her to play with. Unfortunately, everything we've given her so far has been destroyed in about 20 minutes (especially if it has a squeaker)
• she can shimmy herself under our couch (about 6-8 inches of space) to retrieve her favorite ball

 • and she now has the coolest dog bowls around—one says Thirsty? and the other says Hungry? in big beautiful type.

Well, there she is. She would love to meet you and teach you to play ball!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

design so beautiful sometimes it makes me cry

Poster for "The Hold Steady" designed by Helms Workshop.


travelling pretty

Please tell me that someday I can be this awesome little old lady. I love her so much without even knowing her. From her cute white curly hair in the stylish hat, the awesome oversized glasses, the fashionable scarf around her neck, and that coat! Oh, that coat! She makes old age look grand.

(via Design Crush)