Providence Kidlit Salon

providence-kidlit-salon Come to the Providence Kidlit Salon!  Organized by my friend Christina, it's this Wednesday at the Dorrance:

Join us for a Kidlit Salon event - a community gathering of children's book writers and illustrators of all levels who want to mingle, share resources and support, discuss industry news and announcements, and generate energy around picture books in southern New England.

Providence Kidlit Salon Date: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 Time: 8:00 p.m. PlaceThe Dorrance, 60 Dorrance Street, Providence, RI 02903 Fee: FREE

Bring your enthusiasm and, if you want: your book, business cards, postcards, etc. You're welcome to bring work-in-progress to share, keeping in mind that this is not a critique group, just a gathering of interested folks who'd love to see what you've got cookin'. Come grab a drink at the bar and meet us in the UPSTAIRS lounge of The Dorrance at 8:00 p.m.

All are welcome. Please contact me to RSVP or find the event on Facebook.

Working Wednesdays: Live Animal Study in Providence

Have you ever been to the RISD nature lab? If not, you're in for a treat:New England SCBWI

Live Animal Study: A Children's Book Illustrator's Workshop Date: Sunday, February 26, 2012 Time: 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. PlaceThe Edna Lawrence Nature Lab, 13 Waterman Street, Providence, RI 02903 Admission: FREE

Bring your sketchbooks, pencils, and light painting supplies and enjoy a rare opportunity to study a handful of live exotic (and some not-so-exotic) animals up close and personal!

RISPCA Humane Educator Laurelin Sitterly will present on each creature's basic anatomy, movement, and habits that will be sure to inspire you and provide a wealth of knowledge for your animal-themed book projects. Taxidermy and skeletal models will also be available to examine, courtesy of RISD's Edna Lawrence Nature Lab.

This is an event to gather inspiration from the animal world, practice your craft amidst an active environment, meet your fellow SCBWI illustrators, and benefit from a critique of your day's efforts by your peers.

RSVP by February 17, 2012 : complete the registration form and send it back as an e-mail attachment.

Coordinated by the talented (and fellow crit group member) Christina Rodriguez. Thanks for putting this together Christina! (and for using my animal sketches on the flyer!)

I hear spots are filling up fast, so register asap!

Snow Day

Snow Day We got our first real snow all winter the other night.

Snow Day

I took some photos on our morning walk and romp in the dog park.

Snow Day

Snow Day

Snow Day

Snow Day

What a happy girl.

Snow Day

Other members of our household enjoy snow days a whole other way:

Snow Day

Snow Day

Cooking without a recipe

Tamara Adler Do you use a recipe when you cook? It seems there are two types of cooks: those who wing it and those who adhere religiously to recipes. I like to wing it. (And it almost always works.) (The one exception is baking. I {mostly} stick to recipes then.)

I know it's annoying to some of my friends when they ask for the recipe to whatever and I answer this and this, then add a little bit of this until it tastes good. (Or like last week, when I had friends over, and I kept trying to add stuff that wasn't in the recipe. Oops.)

I love to cook. Which is great because I love to eat. We make 85% (more?) of our meals from "scratch" at home. Cooking is fun and mostly stress free, probably for several reasons, but one, that I hadn't considered until recently, is that I rarely use a recipe.

I spotted a write up on Tamara Adler's cookbook, An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace, on the NY Times "Well" blog. The article is entitled, A Recipe for Simplifying Life: Ditch All the Recipes and I thought Yes! That's it.  Not following a recipe to the letter is so key to easy, every day, cooking. (Well, for me anyways.)

Has anyone read her book? There's a crazy waiting list for it at our library, so I think I'll just order it.  Among other things, she advises roasting and preparing all your veggies right after you buy them. Then you have food ready that's easy to combine for yummy meals:


This is my 2nd week working this way, and so far it's really great. I love the idea of preparing everything in one big batch ahead of time. We've eaten a TON of veggies.

(And did you spot how pretty her fridge looked? gah! That's something to shoot for...)

In related news for all you Providence locals, check out the lovely grocery store Fertile Underground! They now have regular hours and are constantly adding yummy things to their stock.


All images credit Tamara Adler's site

Happy Thanksgiving!

Falling Leaves WorkshopWe're off to my parent's house, salted turkey and assorted goodies in tow!  I've recovered from my cold that's knocked me off my feet for the last few days, and in the nick of time, managed to get a good chunk of work done anyway. Relatives from my mom's side of the family, G's parents and brother, and my brothers will be joining us soon. I hope you all have a wonderful, snuggly, yummy, day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

PS. I took that photo in the Adirondacks, at the Falling Leaves picture book workshop I went to a few weekends ago. Gorgeous, right?

Scary Movie Update

Rustic Drive-In Theater An update on the scary movie outing.

I survived.

You were right, Fright Night was not so scary.  I think watching True Blood has dulled my fear of anything blood+vampires.  As expected, it didn't quite live up the original. G was not impressed. He actually fell asleep soon after, during the beginning of  Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark.

I thought about driving home, but then stubbornly watched the whole darn thing. All alone. (-Obviously not counting my snoring husband, the dog in the back and the hundreds of other cars there.)

I am happy to say, my second-grade-self, and I, are now not afraid of little goblins who like to kidnap small children.

So there.

Photo by michigandriveins, on Flickr

Going to the Drive-In


We're headed to the Drive-In tonight for the 2nd time this summer! Yeah, we're gonna sneak in before we get slapped with a hurricane tomorrow. And because I'm really brave, and a super nice wife, we're going to see Fright Night and Don't Be Afraid of The Dark.

I do not watch scary movies.

Well, I like thrillers, but anything horror? No thank you. When I was pretty young (second grade?) I slept over a friend's house and for some reason they let us watch two terrifying films. I remember her older brother and parents laughing, and peeking out from my sleeping bag, I was completely baffled. This was not funny stuff. In hindsight, I'm sure they were super cheesey, but growing up in a tv-free household I was not equipped to deal with movie monsters of any kind. I never knew what the films were, but they haunted me for years. Seriously, I can't get into a lake without picturing a swamp monster. People have said that one was probably Swamp Thing, or something. But the one with little grey people, who were really angry, and mean for no apparent reason, and weirdly strong? Not a clue.

Needless to say, I never saw Fright Night growing up, and so am lacking the fond memories that make watching the remake interesting and desirable. G is very excited. (And did I mention how great of a wife I am?) I also figure watching it in our car outside, with a bunch of other people around, and my dog in the back seat to protect me, all will be well.

So in the spirit of gearing up for tonight, I did a bit of research to see what I was getting into:  Mean vampires, check. Haunted house...fine.  Little gremlin people in said house that steel...Wait. WHAT-the??

I now have a sneaking suspicion that the 1973, Don't Be Afraid of The Dark tv movie is one of two films that forever damaged my fragile childhood psyche.

But I'm too scared to watch the trailer and find out.

Food on a bus

Yesterday morning we had a breakfast meeting at Julian's to learn more about using their fancy new double decker food bus for our rehearsal dinner.  You can't really tell here, but there are tables on the top level.  That would be pretty cool right?  We'll see...

Kitty humor+ Illustration Competitions

Your bathroom sink comes with one of these too, right?

hudson the cat

You may remember Hudson from this photo.  Need I mention his love of bathrooms?  Anyways.

One of my goals for the year is to enter some competitions.  The deadline for the first one I'm looking at, PEN New England Children's Book Caucus'12th Annual Children's Book Caucus Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award, (yep quite the mouthful,) is fast approaching: February 1st.  I'm going to try to get a final manuscript of the new story idea I'm working on and some sample illustrations done, but if not I'll just submit my illustration work.

I'm working on compiling a list of other ones through out the year.  Any recommendations?

Tis a gift to be simple...

Here's a rough sketch of an illustration I just finished for Time Out New York magazine. illustration for Time Out New York TONY

Other than that I've been working on knocking things off my monthly goal list, as well as some Christmas-y things.

My immediate family is considering "simplifying"  gifts this year.  We're  in the process of deciding what exactly that means-- no gifts? just stockings? a price limit?  donations in lieu of gifts?-- but I think we're moving in a nice direction.  We're all grownup pretty much-- my youngest brother is twenty-- and everyone seems to be interested in less stuff lately-- either in the interest of pairing down in general, or because of near-future moves.

I love to buy gifts, but I tend to be a little insane about it.  I get caught up in needing to find the perfect gift.  It starts out as fun, but it can turn stressful towards the end.  I think a simpler take on things, might open up the holiday for us.  Leave more room for enjoying each other and the season.

Which is what I'm looking forward to this weekend.  Getting a tree, decorating, some gift making, some baking... our apartment smelling apple cider.

Walking around.

As you might have guessed from previous musings, we have been debating moving to a new neighborhood? apartment? house?  the country??  Things were getting a bit desperate because of a pretty awful neighbor situation.  But they are gone and our new building mates seem lovely.  So perhaps we'll stay put for a while...?  And maybe being happier in our space will let us enjoy our little neighborhood a bit more.   I know it has a lot to offer.  But sadly we weren't in any mood to give it a chance.

Well, the other day we took a walk to pick up some wine.  We wound through the park, and then through the little streets with cute houses.  We stopped for ice coffees and a cookie on the way back.  It made me love our neighborhood.

I guess I forget how important walking to me is.  It makes me feel connected to where I live.  Well, I don't forget really, its just that I don't walk all that much.  And I've been thinking about why not.

Providence is a different walking experience than we're used to.  It's not that things are far away.  They're pretty close by.  Perhaps a mile or two.  Which is nothing compared to daily walks we made in Brooklyn.  I've finally realized it's that there's nothing in between.  Which is really different.  In every Brooklyn neighborhood I've lived in you pass a zillion little places in between here and there.  Even if the "there" is just a few doors down.  Here you pass maybe one store if you go down the right street, but the rest is a bunch of houses, or maybe a gas station.  I have no idea why this matters.  Less options?  Less things to look at?  --So why bother walking?

Anyhow I suspect once we get a dog our relationship to our neighborhood will change drastically.  We will have a reason to walk down long streets that are leafy and pretty and not much else.  We will have a reason to walk over the ugly highway into downtown.   We will have to walk.  I'm looking forward to it.

Pup please find us soon.

Art Show

A few weekends ago I participated in an art show at the boathouse where I row. And I forgot to take pictures.  Which is ridiculous, but basically my M.O. lately.  Darn.  However these are a couple of the images I displayed.  They're pen and ink, with collaged bits of vintage paper.  And the one above has some water color as well.

It was a small, pretty low key show of the boathouse member's, ie rower's, work.  Who knew I was in such good company?  Apparently, a lot of artists row in the Seekonk!  Anyhow it was a gorgeous evening on the river and everyone seemed to have a great time.  Thanks to my parents and friends who came out.

Here's an, unfortunately incomplete, list of the artists who showed:

As I row at 5 am these days, it was especially nice to connect with other rowers. Besides my team, there are only a few other people crazy enough to be up at that time.  And several people pointed out that it was fun to see teammates in their "regular" clothes, perhaps looking a little nicer than usual.  --No one cares much about looking nice pre sunrise.

Creative Leadership

Thursday night I got to meet John Maeda, the new president of RISD, at a RISD alumni event.  (Yes, I graduated from Pratt, but as my parents are alumns and Mr G is going to start teaching there this Tuesday(!), they let me in.)  

Copyright RISDCopyright RISD

Maeda's talk was really wonderful, and I have to say, unexpected.  The president of Pratt Institute is many things, but a dynamic public speaker he, alas, is not.  Maeda was witty, well spoken, and seemed to genuinely listen to those around him and then adjust, or not, according to their input.  He seems to be extremely accessable, which seems like a rare and good thing:  He has various blogs, is on twitter, facebook, etc, apparently he can be found walking around campus most days, and if you're an early riser you're welcome to go running with him at 6am.  At the Q & A someone asked a question he could have easily hedged, but how wonderful was it to hear him say, "I don't know.  But I'll find out and get back to you on that."  

What struck me the most was when he spoke about Creative v. Traditional Leadership.  This really hit home for me as it pin-pointed so many of the problems today with "leadership" in our country, the corporate world, and various relationships in general.  Plus, he laid it all out in a handy chart:

Take a look at it.  It seems to be the direction our culture is moving in. Which I find to be both heartening and really exciting.

Happy Mother's Day!

Today we tried to surprise my mom with a postponed Mother's Day lunch.  She made it difficult when she made various other plans, since "nothing was going on Wednesday afternoon."  My dad ended up breaking down and confessing that he had rounded up three of her four children for an afternoon meal, and that he had made reservations and would she please come.  She decided it would be more fun to go somewhere without "white tablecloths".  Which is how the five of us ended up at the fabulous Liberty Elm Diner, circled around a table in the back room.  

Once upon a time these, albeit partial, (--we missed you Will--) casual family gatherings were a rare thing indeed.  But my sister has moved to the east coast, and one of my brothers is back for the summer, and now that I'm here as well, meals like this are possible.  Looking around the table at everyone laughing and telling stories, a couple things struck me.  1.  Why don't we do this more often?  2.  I have such a great family.

 As the eldest child in our family, ahem, has a birthday coming up, my brother Sam pointed out that my mother has been a mom for thirty years!  And that, come Sunday, she will no longer have any teenagers to call her own.   This photo was taken a few days? weeks? after my youngest brother was born.  I think its the first picture of all of us as a "complete" family.   I love you mom.  Good job.

Flowers in Winter

I was lucky enough to spend last Friday at the Rhode Island Flower Show.  It was sort of amazing to be suddenly surrounded by so much green and color, when outside was/is a wash of grey and white. 

One of my favorite parts was the moss in the rock garden:

I took a lot of reference photos that I'll use for drawings at some point.  

I've started working with incorporating patterns and more organic shapes into my drawings for this new portfolio, so I'm excited to get to work with these.  I did a bit here:

I think they're going to become someone's hair...

Happy Birthday Mum!

My parents friends took this photo of them in Providence during the blizzard of 1978.  They were helping dig out cars covered in snow.  Anyhow, I just love this picture. 

Here's my mom last summer at my sister's wedding:

Another one of my favorites.

I love you, Mom.  Have a wonderful day!  See you later at your birthday dinner...

Thinking about Gifts

Its after Thanksgiving so I can safely start thinking about holiday gifts.  I seem to have inherited my mother's disdain for all things Christmas-Retail related before Thanksgiving.  It seems like every year the jingles and tinsel go up earlier and earlier. I swear they overlapped with Halloween witches this year. It makes me cringe. Anyhow!  Back to present musing.  I basically did this last year, but this year its official:

I Took The Handmade Pledge!

Last year my brothers and sister and I agreed to only make gifts for each other.  And it was great.  Of course it helps to have crafty and artistic siblings. heh. Which I happen to.  

Lately I've been so eager to make things, I've decided to extend this to the rest of my list. Unfortunately I won't be able to make everything myself, but I'm completely confident I can find handmade items for everyone on my list.  (Though, confession time, I will be including books.  While certainly not hand made [well, the kinds I'm talking about] they are books and books are always wonderful.  I have a book bias.) Etsy, of course, is a big help.  But I also live in a city of many artists, and have just left a city of many artists, and there are plenty of small shops around carrying such one of a kind items.  

There are also plenty of sales/events coming up.  I know there are tons in the Boston and New York areas as well, but in Providence:

This Friday marks the opening of Craftland.   I've never been, but know I've been the recipient of gifties from there, so I'm excited to check it out.  

RISD Alumni Holiday Art Sale is December 13th.  (Its $7 which seems annoying, but whatever.)

2008 Foundry Artists Holiday Art Sale runs December 4th-7th- and 11th- 14th. 


Thank you for all kinds of Family

Thanksgiving turned out to be pretty wonderful.  In fact, I noticed myself musing about next year's, with all the same people, and what everyone would bring, and what we would do (perhaps actually take a group picture?!)...when, really, it probably won't happen next year.  Or at least it won't be the same group.  Which is why I'm so grateful for this year's.  

Our guest list started out rather small (which of course would have been fine!) but then happily grew.  We're so lucky our good friends Henry and Mandy came, and got to bring along the lovely Miss Dot.  My brother Sam flew in from Utah as a surprise guest.  My sister and husband came despite terribly busy schedules.


At some point during Getting Ready for Everyone, I realized that we had the easiest group of people coming for dinner.  It made me happy to know that if we absolutely ruined the turkey Griswolds'-style, everyone would just laugh it off and have more of the stuffing.  We never worried if everyone would get along.  We knew they would. And they did.  Despite blending two families, plus friends, our apartment was filled with laughter and chatting for hours.   So I'm truly thankful for that.  What a blessing (as my parents would say) to have such easy-going, happy people in your life.  


The Mister and I asked everyone to write down what they were thankful for on slips of paper which were then placed in a bowl. After dinner everyone picked one and we all went around the table reading each others. They were funny and sweet.  My mother's said something about "Thank you for Firsts."  And I agree. 


But I still can't help but hope it was first of many.