Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Grateful for the Distractions

The CSA farmers were late setting up today...which left Amelia and I waiting around in the humid drizzle of Florida rain...in work clothes. I got my favorite brown, high-heeled Mary Jane's all soaked and muddy :(. Luckily, we had some happy distractions to help pass the time. 
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A six-week old kitty called Smokey:
And these guys. Who promptly waddled up to shore to try and attack some ducks. It was wild. Literally. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Truthful Tuesday: Black Thumb

Have you guys heard of Truthful Tuesday? It's a fantastic new blog movement where lovely ladies are revealing a little more "true" life moments in their blogs versus only the pretty or "blogworthy" moments, if you will. Click here to learn a little more from Hip Mountain Mama blog. 
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My Tuesday Truth?
I come from a long line of farmers and landscapers...yeah, um, I am thinking that particular gene escaped me. The irony is that I love flowers and plants, as you probably noticed from what I tend to photograph. I just can't seem to take good care of them. If I happen to post a pretty picture of a flower you can be sure either: 
     a) It's a purchased, cut flower from the grocery store. 
     b) It's a brand new plant freshly home from the nursery. 
     c) It's a lovely, healthy bloom from one of my neighbor's yards. 


Oh well! We can't be good at everything!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cookies and Tea for Me!

My artwork is now featured, and for sale, at a most darling little girls' party wonderland called Cookies and Tea for Me. Yay!! 
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The owner asked me to make a business sign to include with my art. Actually it went more like: "Do you have signage that you can display with the art?" and I said "Absolutely!" and then I had to absolutely get busy making it. Such was the task last night and oh-so-early this morning (hence the inferior lighting and pre-caffiene crookedness): 
I will also be participating in her trunk show in mid-July (details soon). This is getting exciting. So exciting.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Barefoot Sunday: Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins

Barefoot Sunday is back! With all of the blueberries on hand from yesterday, what better recipe to make than Ina's Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins? The first thing you do is make a huge mess:
Ha! You know you've made a mess when cleaning up the cooking requires the vacuum. Despite the mess, know that the muffins were quite yummy and did have the sugary, crusty "coffee cake" quality that the name promises. 
Some tidbits you may need to know: 
1) The wet ingredients did have a curdled look to them, which if you are not used to seeing when baking, can freak you out a little. 
2) Using big, fresh blueberries caused the muffins to be tasty but not hold their shape when unwrapped. Heads up!
I am SO glad it's summer...back to the beach, back to the kitchen, yeah!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Blueberry Picking!

My friend Roseann clued me in to a delightful little treasure only a half-hour drive from the house--a blueberry farm! For all my dreaming of Maine, this was quite a pleasant surprise and treat. It was so amazing to see the beautiful color changes that happen to the berries as they ripen. From white, to pale pink, to vibrant pinks, purples, and blues my camera just kept on clicking. And since they grow on bushes, Amelia could easily reach and hold the bucket, which pleased her greatly. Thanks Roseann!
Now, as it is stormy outside, we are waiting rather impatiently for this to get out of the oven. I'll let you know how it turns out!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Butterfly

Here is The Butterfly! It is heading to a store alongside The Hummingbird, hopefully for some good 'n plenty Custom Caterpillar exposure. Speaking of a different kind of exposure, I simply cannot figure out how to photograph hot pink felt without it coming out looking red. The red you see below? It's pink I tell you!! Not even close to red in person. 
And because it's Friday (yay!) here is a "fun" one: 
Happy weekend to all!
PS: If you like either of these pieces and would like to have your own in a similar style or color palette, just send an email!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rumor Has It

What an adorable cover, no? Who could resist! This from the back of the book:


Newly single, Tilly Cole impulsively accepts a job offer in a small town as a "Girl Friday." Fun job, country house, fresh start, why not? But soon she finds herself in a hotbed of gossip, intrigue, and rampant rivalry for the town's most desirable bachelor--Jack Lucas...


Chick lit at its best I tell you! I found it funny, readable, and down-to-earth. It had enough characters in it to keep it interesting but not so many that you lose count and forget who people are (don't you hate it when that happens?). Tilly is perfectly frustrating as a lead character and Lou, the teenage girl of the house, is incredibly likable and fun to read about. I liked this one so much that when my Borders coupon clicked into my inbox I ran out and picked up another book by the same author. Good stuff! 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Hummingbird's Companion


I am working on a companion piece to The Hummingbird, in embroidery/applique versus mixed media canvas. So far it has been quite a bit of felt-cutting followed by arranging, rearranging, some more arranging, and finally sewing :). I am shooting for a Friday blog-post with the finished piece. Tomorrow: a Book Bit! It seems like forever since I have felt passionate enough about a book to share it in this space. Tune in!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Knitting "In the Round"

...also known as knitting on circular needles...when making items that are tube-shaped such as hats, sleeves, etc. I was quite intimidated by the thought, but pushed forward when I saw this free pattern that was too cute to pass up. 
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As it turns out, knitting in the round is easy and in many ways more fun to me than straight needles. The circular needles are shorter, thereby feeling a bit more manageable in my hands. Even better, it's psychologically easier for me to complete one rotation of stitches at a time verses going back across a straight needle (Sort of like running...I would rather make a one-mile lap than go down the street for a half-mile and have to retrace my steps back home).
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PS: In lieu of a fancy stitch marker, I used a safety pin to mark my spot at the beginning of a row. Whatever works, right?!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Weekend Fun

We had a wonderful weekend--full of a whole lot of hanging around and only teensy bits of homekeeping and yardkeeping. Brownies were baked. Movies were watched. Dog toys were fetched (kinda ;). Blocks were stacked and tumbled. Birds perched on the fence, only to fly away mockingly as I ran to the window with the camera, and I cast on for my very first knitted hat (details on that tomorrow--knitting "in the round" is a hoot!).  

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

We spent the day taking very good care of the boy who takes very good care of all of us on all days (today included). Happy day to you and yours!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Hummingbird

All done! The Hummingbird is a whimsical 5 x 7 inch mixed media canvas. Truly, I have got to figure out a way to properly photograph my mixed media pieces because this picture does not do this wee bird in her garden justice! It is precious in person. Precious!
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In exciting news, I will tell you that The Hummingbird is not set for the shop. It is headed to a store in town for selling (more on that later). BUT--if you would like a similar art piece, customized in size, design, and colors just for you, just shoot me a comment or email and we can work something out :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Evidence of Art

If you were to drop in for coffee one afternoon, you would most certainly need to scoot aside some artsy materials to make some space for yourself. Growing up, my family always said that I left a trail wherever I went (at the time it was likely Seventeen magazines and scrunchies). Over a decade later it is no different! Just a mere few of my trails: 
I do love (and use) my studio. Stuff just seems to spill out of there all by itself;) 
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Today was the last day of Creativity Bootcamp. I have so enjoyed the process and the friends made along the way! Speaking of, I have a lovely mixed media canvas to show you tomorrow. It's called The Hummingbird and it's oh so pretty. Until then!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Inspiration, Round and Round

I have been so inspired by women in this electronic world we call the blogosphere lately. Alli from One Pearl Button inspires me to put my artistic eye (and effort, natch) into how I dress each day. MyCakies and Lovely Design blogs each helped me see that rearranging even the tiniest areas of the house will help me love my space again and therefore clean it ;). As always, Soulemama is my greatest source of inspiration for all things. In cleaning out my bathroom and closet today I decided to keep my makeup in a pretty bowl instead of a zippered bag that gets crud caked into the bottom. The bowl will probably get cruddy too, but at least it will look pretty while it all accumulates! 
I learned that I inspired my friend Rebecca with this post the other day. Thanks for letting me know, Rebecca! I am loving the round and round of it all!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Progress, Hush

Here's a little something I am working on: 
In my head, it's a totally cool and flowery mixed media piece full of turquoise and hot pink--perfect for a middle school girl! Step two will be getting what's in my head to transfer through my hands and onto the canvas. We'll see just how long that takes me...
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The Creativity Bootcamp word of the day was hush. In honor of the word, I am going to show you an image of the super-secret main ingredient for a special Father's Day present for my Dad: 
Now, let's all hush about it--it's a secret after all ;)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Grocery Flowers + Yard Clippings = Awesome




I love warmth of this picture. It's relaxing, I think. It also reminds that I have been meaning to share a new trick that I have discovered...
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I love to stretch inexpensive grocery-store bouquets in various ways--making them look a bit more purposeful and classy and also help those few dollars stretch just a little further. I have also enjoyed seeing images on other blogs, where lovely ladies are able to snip away at their own gardens for bouquets. Alas, there are no snip-worthy blooms in my garden; however, greenery abounds. SO...I filled a big tomato can with boxwood greenery from the back yard and then interspersed a very small bunch of grocery store flowers throughout. I now have a very lush and full centerpiece for the kitchen table for only a few dollars. Score!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Things to Show

Thank you for your patience while I worked on my technical difficulties! I have two things to show you on this rainy evening: 
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I (finally!) finished my ivory project. Couldn't you see this in a little boy's space? And who can resist the pairing of orange and blue? Certainly not any little boy whose parents went to a certain University of Florida...just sayin' :) This item will be available in the shop shortly. 
Now I'd like to introduce you to a little character I have created. Her name is Imogen the Baby Elephant and I love her to bits. I am planning to make prints of Imogen and her friends for the shop. Yay. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Technical Difficulties

I have worked quite hard on two pieces to show you. My Ivory embroidery hoop for Bootcamp is finished at last and I have created a colored pencil character whom I am quite smitten with and will hopefully be available at the shop soon. Alas, technical difficulties abound at my house this evening. So, it was either post with a funny outtake of Isa the chihuahua OR throw something heavy at the computer. I chose the former because it was less costly :). 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Coffee Crisps

Soulemama's kitchen post was simply dreamy. Inspiring. Tempting. After waiting for the opportunity to hit the grocery store for some molasses, I was finally able to make Amanda Soule's interpretation of Miss Mae's Coffee Crisps. Truth be told, I was not feeling encouraged during the making process--the molasses had an unpleasant smell to me and the wet mixture of ingredients was not pleasing to look at to say the least. However, the resulting coffee crisp was quite intriguing to us all. It had a nice flavor, not too sweet. It had a light, crispy texture...sort of like a biscotti but not as hard. I have had two already and will  certainly stop by the kitchen again soon. Yum!
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One of today's Bootcamp assignments was to photograph out of your norm. Therefore, instead of showing you the finished crisps on a pretty plate by the window, I show you mess. I still think it's kinda pretty though ;)
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Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Grow

The painting above is one that I did when I was sixteen years old...so, roughly half my life ago. It's funny to reflect back on that time now. In some ways I knew more about who I was and what I wanted out of my life then than I did in my twenties. So now, years later, as I embark on an exciting new career path with The Custom Caterpillar while keeping the best bits of the original path of teaching and counseling I hope that I am growing toward a lovely merging of all of the versions of life that I wanted. Yay. And may I just say thank you to my husband for growing with me and supporting this exciting/scary idea :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Heavy Metal

Today's Creativity Bootcamp prompt was heavy metal. So cool, no? It gave me loads of inspiration for new shop items: mixed media cars and trucks, instruments, robots, etc. I am only one person, though, so the construction of said "heavy metal" items may take a while (I'll be keeping you posted!). 
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I still wanted to participate in today's theme. Since cooking is another love of mine, the first heavy metal item that came to mind was my big pasta pot. Every Italian girl needs her own gigantic pasta pot--I was so excited to receive my very own when I got married. How many gallons of water have come to a rolling boil in this pot already? How many times have I heaved this heavy, steaming pot from the stovetop to the sink? Bazillions I would imagine!
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Keep 'em coming Bootcamp--this is FUN!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Just Plane Fun

Pardon the pun, but I just couldn't help myself! This biplane was quite fun to make, though constructing a fairly accurate yet cute-looking plane was a bit of a challenge. I envisioned a charming little boy's room when making it...the kind with a wooden model dinosaur on the dresser and sports equipment strewn about . Maybe you know a little boy like this. Maybe this little boy would like to have Just Plane Fun :).  

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Perfect Picnic Spot...

Wouldn't you love to fluff out a blanket and rest under this pretty shade tree? The Creativity Bootcamp word of the day was: Picnic. Couldn't you just envision a soft gingham blanket and a full picnic basket sitting atop the dandelion grass? 
I was so grateful for this word of the day as it helped me navigate the creativity required to finish this special order art piece. It's for a gender-neutral nursery and I was getting stuck on what to put underneath the tree. I toyed around with several options until (serendipitously) the word picnic came my way. Now all that stood between me and a finished product was sweet dandelion grass. Speaking of finished products...Picnic got top billing this afternoon, since it needs to be mailed tomorrow. However progress has been made on Ivory. Good progress indeed...
PS: For those Bootcampers who are keeping tabs: yes, I am technically sticking to the one medium philosophy in that my medium consists of items for my Etsy shop: The Custom Caterpillar, which has mixed media canvas, embroidery applique, and colored pencil sketches for children of all ages :) 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Creativity Bootcamp: Ivory

I signed up for a very cool challenge online--Creativity Bootcamp. Every day for two weeks we will get both a journal prompt and a random word prompt to get our creative fires burning. Already I am excited, as even on this very first day it has pushed me into a fun direction for the shop: a sailboat hoop for a nursery with a most delicate color palette of creamy blues and oranges and (of course) the random word prompt: ivory. I'll keep you posted! Also, I encourage you to do it too--there is no official registration and you use any medium you'd like so long as you stick with it for the two week duration. Superfun! 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Maine Alewives: Fabrics

I crossed my fingers as I waited for the directions to Alewives to load on the computer the night before our drive back to Portland. Is it too far out of the way? Please don't be too far out of the way...What? It's ON the way? Sweetness!!
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I had read and seen so much about Alewives Fabrics in the blogosphere; about how gorgeous their shop is and how amazing the fabrics and patterns are. The whole experience did not disappoint. Even the shop ladies were helpful, generous, and nice. And the shop? There are no words...but there are pictures, my friends: 
My new stash (thanks again J!):

Friday, June 4, 2010

Maine Alewives: Fishies

On our very scenic drive from Bar Harbor back to Portland we stopped off in Damariscotta to see the Fabric Alewives (more to come on those lovely ladies later) and on the way ran across a wonderful festival celebrating the fishies called alewives and had a smashing time. 
Can you spot the alewives in the picture below?
Bear with me, folks, for I have one more Maine post to go--but it's a crafty good one!