Thursday, May 29, 2008

Inspired to bead

I am so easily distracted. Yesterday, as I was plugging away at design work I got an e-mail from Family Fun. Nothing personal, just the weekly mailer for the masses. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around ideas for teacher gifts so this tutorial caught my eye. Before I knew what was happening, I was in my bead stash searching for the perfect beads to create a stylish beaded bookmark.

I loved the idea to use initial beads to personalize. By the way my kids do not have any teachers this year with initials the same as mine. whoops. I guess I'll be keeping this one. Besides this project is easy enough. My kids will have no problem making their own to give to teachers along with one to keep for summer reading.

...and if you're a graphic designer or creative type looking to be inspired, I highly recommend this fuzzy green book.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

sweetening Tuesday

Waking up is hard to do especially after a gorgeous three day weekend. I made homemade cinnamon rolls this morning to ease the pain. We had a taste of summer over the past three days with bike rides, picnics, tennis and some time spent at the pool. Who wants to go back to school/work after that? My older kids have two more weeks before they are officially out for the summer. They are soooo done. Watching them trudge off to school in the bright almost summer sunlight with heavy backpacks and even heavier spirits is a pitiful sight. And I'm ready too. My office/studio space will be moving up a floor in our home in the weeks to come. After nine years of working in the basement I've decided I need some of that sunlight too. Before and afters will be coming soon.

Friday, May 23, 2008


I created this piece for Illustration Friday's topic of the week: worry.

I think just hearing the word makes me...well you know...worry. And there certainly is enough to worry about these days. I used various headlines and entries just from my May 23rd newspaper as the background. No problem finding concerns, housing declines, gas prices, the war in Iraq, tornados and deadly car crashes provided plenty of mental anguish. And I know I can't sit and dwell on all the "what ifs" and worst case scenarios that may or may not come my way. Sure it's all there in the background, but over top life gives us beauty and joy. Butterflies have found their way into my work after recently being inspired by my kid's butterfly garden. I thought butterflies were a good metaphor here. Life is about flying and making the most of what we have been given. Deep breaths, yoga, art, whatever it takes, keep the anxiety waaaaaaaay in the background.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


I created this piece for Illustration Friday's topic of the week: WIDE.
"Wide" is definitely on my mind considering that the pool opens for the summer in less than a week...yikes! I guess it's time to own up to that delicious winter.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Butterfly Garden

Last Christmas, my three kids were the lucky recipients of a Live Butterfly Garden. A Butterfly Garden—if you who don't know—is a kit that comes with a butterfly cage (pictured above) and a little dropper. Also included is an envelope that you mail into the company whenever you're ready to receive your hotel guests. A few years ago, I might have thought the concept to be a bit silly. After all as a child, I would roam the meadows of western PA in the spring and summer and bring home hundreds of monarch butterfly caterpillars. They hatched for weeks on end right by my bed side in a mason entertainment. However that was the last time I can remember finding a monarch caterpillar or any caterpillar that turns into more than an ugly moth (sorry moths...but really).

So being as this is 2008 and our part of metropolitan Ohio seems to be caterpillarless of the butterfly sort, the mail order caterpillars arrived in a little plastic jar. And boy were they small to start. Amazingly, they doubled in size almost daily as they ate the provided food caked to the bottom of the jar. Then after stuffing themselves silly, they formed chrysalides. Next, we gently transferred them to the main suite/butterfly garden. The box stated that butterflies will emerge in 7-10 days after forming chrysalides, but it took ours a good 2 weeks plus. Believe me I was sweating it out, thinking how I would explain defective caterpillars to my children should they fail to hatch.

Last Friday morning, between waffles and dressing for school, our first Painted Lady butterfly emerged. I knew it would be one after another after that, so I let my 3rd grader and kindergartner bring the garden to school to watch the remaining transform among their classmates. Good timing butterflies and thank you so much for not sleeping forever.

Yesterday, I suggested we let the butterflies go free. The box mentioned that the butterflies only have a lifespan of 2-4 weeks after their metamorphis. I definitely wanted my kids to see their winged creatures fly off into the sunset rather than finding them on the bottom of butterfly garden. So with a little coaxing, we all agreed that the butterflies needed to explore the world. We ended up with five beautiful butterflies to release. This was very exciting for all.

I can't say enough great things about this gift. Not only was it educational, but it provided magical entertainment found only in nature. And the best small parts to pick up off my floor. Thanks Uncle Bob, Aunt Jana, cousins Anna Katharine and Elizabeth. : )

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I created this piece for Illustration Friday's topic of the week "electricity".
Need I say more?!? : )

And for the record we are in the process of switching to those energy and cost-saving curly-q burnt-out light bulb at a time.

Friday, May 9, 2008

what i learned from cupcakes

Never waste time waiting for things to cool off.

The 'icing on the cake' should always be pink.

You can never have enough sprinkles.

Moments like this are meant to be savored.

And finally, remember to save some for later.

Friday, May 2, 2008

up in the sky...'s a bird, it's a plane...well actually it is a plane, in particular a Red Bull air race plane. This has nothing to do with Red Bull Art of Can other than a few Red Bull people now knowing my name. I was asked to make a model size plane out of Red Bull cans to promote Red Bull Air Races happening in San Diego and Detroit in 2008. So here's my whimsical answer to that. This project was really, really challenging for me. Planes are definitely a left brain job involving geometry, symmetry, etc. that is a bit beyond what my puny left side can handle. I did it though and subsequently breathed a huge sigh of relief.

I used almost all recycled materials to build the piece including newspaper, styrofoam, wire, plastic tubing and of course the obvious—empty Red Bull cans. I even utilized a little lost lego man that I thought my son would never, ever miss...

So I can not even tell you how BADLY my 6 year old wants that Red Bull pilot OUT!! I suppose I was being overly naive when I thought how Brendan surely wouldn't miss one little lego guy...yeah right. I think this particular lego guy got a new coolness (even though he looks exactly like the 20 bizillion other lego people we have around here) once he was sitting at the controls in mommy's air race plane. I actually hid the plane when I wasn't working on it as I had visions that Brendan would somehow try to disassemble to get at the lego guy. Luckily, the plane has now flown off into the hands of the Red Bull people. Sorry's the curse of having an artist for a mommy. Hide your lego men.