White white white

It just started snowing about a half hour ago!  Really snowing.  I gotta say I was pretty skeptical about this whole snowstorm thing.  I heard bits about it on the radio, Portland crafters have been posting about their snow for days, and friends here have been planning around it.  But I figured I believe it when I saw it.  This morning I had a few more Christmas-y errands to run, and fortuitously decided to get them over with, rather than wait 'till later.  And I'm a lucky girl: snow started to fall as I pulled out of my last parking lot, on the highway back home I had to turn my lights on and now, about 30 minutes later, snow is covering everything.  I love it.  

This is after 15 minutes of snowing:

There's gotta be at least a couple of inches by now.  So I guess this means more wrapping and gift making and crocheting and baking. YAY.  

I couldn't get these coconut macaroons to photograph well, but they sure are yummy!

As you can see, Saulie insisted on supervising our batch.  (The gift macaroons are kitty-help/cat hair free.)

I used Martha's recipe.  I am also going to try her homemade marshmallows.  Um, without a candy thermometer. ergh.  Though I did find this site and I think its going to be really helpful, and its basically making me brave enough to try.

The wonderful Mr Bittman has inspired me to make mini meringues as well.  I'm going to try vanilla, chocolate and pink peppermint flavored one.

Ok! I guess I better hop to it!

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...

Cricket Thursday #5

Cricket Magazine, May 1995, volume 22, #9:

Cover by Alison Lester.  This Cricket is larger than the other ones-- by about an inch all around.  And you may have noticed, its in full color!  (I'm not sure when they made the switch. I did a bit of digging, but nothing.  I'll have to look some more.)  It also includes a little bit about the cover art and artist, which is nice.  Lester talks about her image and how its inspired by Northern Australia. 

While this definitely didn't turn out to be one of my favorite Crickets to read, there are some gorgeous images-- of course! 

Like this one, by Mark Langeneckert:

Makes me so happy for the full color.

Quentin Blake always makes me smile:


I remember reading all those Roald Dahl books illustrated by him.  The BFG, The Twits, The Witches, Mathilda, his drawings are as much a part of the characters as the writing is.  I really can't handle it when they release new editions with different illustrations, or god-forbid, those awful movie photo covers. blech.  I just get so attached with whatever version I grew up reading, that anything else feels wrong.  uh, I digress.

On to these lovelies by Laurie Harden, from the story First Flight, Based on a True Story

They're my favorite for this week.  

There are more images over at Flickr!

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! BuyHandmade.org

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.

Countdown to T Day

I drove out to Rehoboth last night, where my friend Jane lives, and we went to go pick up our turkey.  Its funny to drive 20 minutes out of Providence and be in this little, sweet farming community.  Well, it used to be mostly farms, but it sounds like its quickly becoming just a suburb, with lots of sprawling developments.  Anyhow it looked like the country, and it was so close.   Sunny Meadow Farms is technically the fenced in field behind Linda and Richard King's house.  They used to have sheep as well, but afore mentioned housing developments have encroached on that, so now they just raise turkeys:

Our turkeys are raised on the finest grains, and receive no medication or Hormones or any other additives... We have raised turkeys at this location since 1980 as a 4 H project for our youngest daughter Jaimie.  The love for fine food free to additives has kept us raising them ever since.

After welcoming us into their house and giving us lots of cooking advice (much needed!) they hefted over my 25 pound turkey, who was "walking around earlier" that morning.  

I love this.  After being a vegetarian for ten years, I try to remember to not take eating meat lightly.  I think this is one of the best ways to do it:  Supporting your community farmer, who takes good care of the animal.   Obviously, I haven't even tried yet, but the King's were so friendly and helpful, I'm sure I'll be going back to them for all my other turkey needs.

The mister and I got up early (ish) to salt it.  Oh man, those spices smelled amazing...

Busy Bees

Yikes its been a little crazy around here.  ...Which is nothing new, apparently.  Let's do some catching up:

The We Are Wizards Theatrical Release was so much fun!  It played at Cinema Village in New York, so we got to take a trip "home" and see everybody.

First we went to a Reading/Book Signing at Barnes & Noble for Melissa's Harry, a History  (--which is on the New York Times Bestseller's List!!)  She had us come up afterwards and answer questions about the film.  She even led a group over to one of the screenings, which was pretty sweet of her.  We raced back for the first Q and A, then got to have drinks with friends and family.  (That part of the evening could have used more planning-- we ended up in a pretty dive-y bar in the east village with both our moms. Ah well.  They didn't seem to mind.) Then raced back for the second Q and A.  And then out again for more fun.  Then sleep.  Finally.

 Anyhow, WAW played all week, ( and got a New York Times review!) and now the DVD's are available for Pre-Order!  Yay! 

We spent the rest of the week at home catching up on work and planning for our Thanksgiving dinner.  Plates, check.  Turkey, check.  platters to put food on... uh... 

We spent last weekend with old friends. Mostly cooking and eating. The best way to spend a weekend.  

And now we're back, trying to get it all together for Thanksgiving for real.  Hang up art, rearrange furniture, do some cooking ahead of time, pick up the turkey (from the Turkey Farm!) tonight, clean up, make our apartment pretty!  yada yada. 

In the midst of all this, the Mister and Saulie, aka The Possessed One, got to have some quiet time together:

They actually sat like this for a good 45 minutes before she tried to bite anyone.  

We're getting there.

Cricket Thursday #4

This weeks Cricket is from 1989.  And almost every page looks familiar! Cricket Magazine, January 1989, Volume 16 number 5.  The cover is by Margot Zemach:

I remember thinking this cartoon was funny.  

My siblings and cousins and I, spent many a rainy day sliding down the stairs in various ways. Inevitably, one of us would end in tears. 

General MacTiger, who is always "dignified and stately:" 

"By George, what a remarkable case of stripelessness! I must get to the bottom of it."


From "Gran's Fabulous Kitchen," by Ruskin Bond. Illustrated by Cat Bowman Smith:

Her illustrations are so familiar and comfy to me.  Growing up I read so many books illustrated by her. And looking at these, I get such a nice warm feeling.

My favorite illustrations from this one are from "Bear Watch," and are illustrated by Ted Lewin.  When Gita's father becomes sick she takes over in the bear-watch hut, guarding their corn-field from the black Himalayan bears all night.  

"Then she picked up the gun, pointed it toward the corn-field, and practiced sighting down the long barrel.  She sighed a little, wondering if she'd know how to shoot."

When a bear appears, her gun doesn't work.  Gita is terrified until she spies the lids from her supper. Banging and yelling she frightens the bear away and the corn is saved.  

What a great spread, right?  That pink is the third color throughout the magazine. Man, good choice.  

Also looks gorgeous here in the illustrations by Hillary Knight:

Funny how I would never think of Hillary Knight if I saw these before.  I just think Hillary Knight= "Eloise." Of which I am a long time, huge fan of.  But now that I know, they seem so similar.  And so obviously his.

I remember making these sari's:  

I'm also pretty sure I remember wanting to be that cute blond girl, second from the right.  She was so cute and cool and it seemed so easy. Probably because she had pierced ears. And an anklet.


More images at Flickr!

Cricket Thursday #3

And picked at random from the bag!....is...

September 1992, volume 18, #1. Cover by Normand Chartier.


There a bunch of wonderful illustrations in this one.  The loose theme seems to involve dogs:

                                       Kelly Maddox:


                       Ronald C. Lipking:

                        Chuck Eckart:

                        Suzie Skinner:

and sailing/sea adventures:

                        Mike Eagle:

                        Scott Brooks:

I love this one by Friso Henstra:

Its from the story called Mountain of Pearl (part3) by Peter Dickinson.  

And look at these entries from the Self Portrait contest:

They're great huh?

Alright, I've got to get back to packing and generally scrambling around to get ready for the We Are Wizards Theatrical Release in New York!  Its tomorrow night and runs all week.  If you're in the area we'd love to see you!

I ♥ Maple Syrup

I completely forgot about my fondness for maple syrup until yesterday.  The mister and I went out for brunch and I ordered french toast.  Three huge, thick pieces and a little bowl full of syrup. I keep picking at the leftovers. gah.   We had such a fun weekend!  It started on Friday with a free screening of Kid Blue at the weekly Cinematheque Film Series at Brown, run by our new friend Colleen (who was accompanied by the talented painter, Buck.)  Then a late dinner and drinks with said new friends, where it was discovered that during their time at RISD they lived in the building where I was born?!  What the--?

Magically, after little sleep, we managed to get ourselves over to the farmer's market before it closed. And then to the gym.  Also magic.  Then a yummy lunch with my parents followed by Mad Men episodes, crocheting and not much of anything else.  

Sunday, we resolved to hang up some art work.  We promise to do this every weekend and it gets eclipsed by laundry, or dishes, or watching The Office.  We procrastinated by going to brunch (where I got the afore mentioned delicious french toast.)  

While waiting outside for our table, I absentmindedly pointed out a large dog walking by (we have a serious case of large-dog envy.)  It, insanely, happened to belong to one of my very best friends from grade school who I haven't seen in years.  She just got married! To a chef!  She has a huge dog!  And she lives two blocks away!   After exchanging numbers, she had to run, but I spent the whole day grinning about it.  

We did get around to hanging up art, mostly in the living room.  

Its coming along.  

Plus, we even did laundry.  But left the dishes till today.  Actually they're probably still waiting for me.   


I know I missed the last Cricket Thursday.  With all the election excitement I failed to take the photographs early and then Thursday was filled with rain.  --Making it a very dark and icky day for photo-taking.  It'll be back this week!

Fingers Crossed

Just got back from voting.  Our district uses a paper ballot, completing the arrow with a magic marker.  It was a little weird to me, but maybe that's just because I'm used to the huge, hulking machines with the switches and the big lever to pull across.  I like that lever. Clunk. It feels more official than magic markering in a line.

But whatever.  I voted!  And it was breezy-- no lines, no hitches! I'm thankful for that.

Now off to compulsively check the news, squeezing in some  work before heading off to an Election Night Party.  Its going to be the most stressful party ever.

Halloween was fun...

We had such a good time trick-or-treating!  The night began with a pre-halloween Adoption Day Anniversary Party, which meant, among other things, a humongous, delicious cake!  Matilda sized, it was noted.  I felt so lucky to be there and to get to see such a happy family.  

Then, all sugared up, they scrambled into their costumes. I really tried to get cute photos, but mysteriously no one could hold still.  And we were out the door!  

Our friends' neighborhood is apparently a trick-or-treating hot spot.  People were arriving in cars!  Needless to say, there were some very impressive decorations.  This photo does not do this house justice:

Then it was back home to admire the piles of candy.  




Everybody ready to vote tomorrow....?


Happy Halloween everybody!  Its our first Halloween in Providence and we're gonna keep it pretty quiet.  

Aren't these photos pretty?  They're from our trip to Vermont last weekend.  It poured the first day, but then looked like this the rest of the time.  Amazing...

Anyhow, we're out the door to go trick or treating with my friends kids!  Hope everyone has as much fun as we will!

Cricket Thursday #2

Hey I'm back in the nick of time for week two of Cricket Thursdays!  I looked for a Halloween themed one and came up with this:

October 1988, volume 16, #2. Cover by Sue Truesdell.

I remember Sue Truesdell from The Golly Sisters Go West and Chicken Said Cluck.  This illustration is so funny.  All the different witch personalities and the funny cats who look terrified. The bulging, glowing eyes.  I love how you can practically hear them talking and laughing, and everywhere your eye lands there's some other little detail you almost missed.

Isn't this gorgeous?:

Its by Alix Berenzy and honestly I'm sure it was one I passed over.  Just a little too subtle for nine year old Gaia.  But its just lovely.  Working with the negative white space, makes it look windy and a bit chilly, but also so whispy and ethereal.  Which is a good contrast to the typical creepy/eery dark night scenes. Those witches are speed demons and they're having a good time. 


Aunt Jane and the Balloony Weekend is about an aunt who turns into a balloon every Friday at 11 o'clock.  Her niece takes care of her on a weekend trip. She's great: "Pretty soon a little girl came and sat opposite us.  She was all frills, bows, and curls, so I knew I had to be careful.  I have never gotten the hang of dealing with little girls like that."  The illustrations by Marylin Hafner fit perfectly:

My favorite of the bunch this week is from the "Subscribe to Cricket for the Holidays" ad on the back cover:

"Attention Grownups!" reads the copy.  This must be Trina Schart Hyman. Right?  It must be. Hmmm--It looks like someone embellished the cat a bit...

I messed around with the white balance on my camera to "eh" results.   Then I played with the settings in iphoto rather than bringing everything into Photoshop.  The colors are still a bit wonky, but better than last week.  Bear with me people.  Perhaps this will be the week I actually pick up the camera's owners' manual.  

If you'd like to see more images from this issue, head on over to Flickr.

Cricket Thursday #1

Who else as a kid obsessively read Cricket?   A few weeks ago, on my way out the door after visiting with my parents, my mom hefted a huge paper bag into my arms.  It weighed a ton and was full of... Cricket magazines!  

Looking through them, its crazy how many covers and specific illustrations I clearly remember. ( I felt the same way going through old National Geographics, and I must have been even younger reading those... yeah I grew up without a tv, ok?)  Some of them are so tattered and loved the binding is held together with tape.  They're all here: Sendak, Hillary Knight, Trina Schart Hyman...  I'm remembering Cricket is what made me want to be an illustrator in the first place.  

There are also drawings I remember hating. In those days, I had very specific views on what made for a successful children's book.  I have funny memories of sitting on the library floor, surrounded by piles of books, tossing ones aside in disgust.  

Picture Book Requirements:

1. Realistic drawings.  I was in LOVE with Trina Schart Hyman.  But no "baby stuff" for me please.  Meaning if I could hypothetically draw like it, I wasn't interested.  

2.  More pictures than words.  Who wants a wordy picture book? I was a big fan of Stephen Kellog.  

3. Mischevious and/or bossy kids.  The naughtier the better.  Eloise, Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, In the Night Kitchen...  

4. Lots of little details.  The more detailed the better.  Hidden puzzles? fabulous.  Silly something going on in the background not related to the text.  Perfect.    I poured over Graeme Base's Eleventh Hour

I like to believe my tastes have changed and ahem, matured. But I still think about that list sometimes when I'm drawing.  

Back to Cricket.  Cricket Thursdays!  Randomly selected from the bag: 

January 1991, volume 18, #5. Cover by Hillary Knight.

Though I remember the cover, I don't really remember any of the stories.  "The Man Who's Mother Was A Pirate" by Margaret Mahy is definitely my favorite of the bunch now.  Its illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain.  

"It's for my mother," the little man explained. "She used to be a pirate."

"Oh, well, that's different," said Mr. Fat, who rather wished he were a pirate himself.  "But make sure you are back in two weeks, or I will buy a computer."

Here are some more of my favorite images from the issue:

From Winter Wings by Mary Lee Donovan. Illustrations by Leslie Bowman.

From "Winter Wings" by Mary Lee Donovan. Illustrations by Leslie Bowman. 

Detail from "Dragon's Breath" by Mary Catelli. Illustrations by Richard Jesse Watson.

From "The Brave Lighthouse Keeper's Daughters" by Margaret M. Shermock. Illustrations by Victor Ambrus.

There are more images on Flickr...


Note: I'm noticing how grey these look. Sorry about that-- I guess I need to check my white balance.  I'll figure that out for the future.


I'm totally eyeing these sweaters from Anthropologie: Ski Lift Cardi in Beige:


And the Contoured Cardigan in Navy:

Emily, from  A Black Apple, has that one in a grey.  Its looks great on her, which makes it even more tempting.

They are both on sale.  And the Ski Lift one with a skirt would make a great Thanksgiving Day Dinner Outfit....

We'll see.

Anthropologie's shoes.  

Forget about it.  I'm not even aloud to look at them.  

Incidentally, didn't you love the photos in their latest catalogue?

Weren't they gorgeous?  They were shot in Iceland by my wonderful Julia!  Yay Julia... I can't wait to see you!!



My sister and I were supposed to spend the weekend in Martha's Vineyard visiting our Aunt. Unfortunately our Aunt was feeling not so great, so, much to everyone's disappointment, the trip was postponed.  Happily the weekend was redeemed by a trip to the farmer's market --during which flowers were purchased, a massage, an overnight visit from my sister, then Sunday brunch with all of us, plus a friend, ending with a dinner of grilled burgers and apple bread. Then I worked until 1 am, but never mind that.

Ok, so not as great as Martha's Vineyard, but pretty darn good.


Aren't those flowers pretty?  I love the woman from the nursery who sells them. She always finds an excuse to throw in one for free-- " Those petals look a little bent," or "You look so serious picking out flowers-- have this one!"  I appreciate it.  And I am serious picking out flowers.  

My massage included cupping on the advice of the masseuse, who was concerned about the tightness of my neck and shoulders.  What do you do? she asked. In some sick way, I was glad my back was so messed up she seemed worried.  --I always feel guilty spending money on a massage. But apparently I don't get them enough!  Which means I get to get them more!  My sister's New Years resolution last year was to get a massage every month.  Which is such a great resolution in so many ways.  I should adopt it.  

Back to cupping. I'd never done it before.   "It might leave a slight red mark for a day or two."  Um.  It looks like I got it on with a bottom feeder fish.  (Or, as my sister said, like someone hit me with a baseball bat.)  Then she said "...Oh some celebrity got it and then wore some backless dress to the Emmys and made a big fuss.  Who was it..?"  I was too embarrassed to say I knew exactly was she was talking about: Gwyneth Paltrow. NY film premiere.  Strapless top.  I feigned ignorance.  Anyhow, It felt great.  And its cold, so scarves should take care of it.  No problem.  

On the work front, I finished the animation project I've been working on!  I'll post some stills as soon as its approved by the client!

Business-y Books

My copy of The Boss of You  just came in from the library.  I've only read the first couple chapters, but so far its great.  Everything seems right up my alley.  I've been thinking a lot about my life and defining success and having goals etc etc.  Just trying to figure things out.  Right now my problem is focusing on one thing and going for it.  Actually, that's usually my problem.  I guess I'm in the process of figuring out how all these different interests fit together.  Anyhow.  I've been doing a lot of reading.   On the recommendation of RiffeRaff I read The Martha Rules.  

Its fun (and comforting) to read about how a mogul like Martha started out.  Not that I want to run a media empire, but obviously she has a lot of gems to pass along.  Incidentally, RiffeRaff's blog Make It, all about her starting and running her craft business of screen-printed goods, is one of my favorite and constant reads.  Loads of information about starting your own business.  Gobs.  Plus her work is just lovely.  So go check it out if you haven't.  

Has anyone read The Anti 9-to-5 Guide?  Its next on my list...

Busy and Bikes

I've been swamped around here. --Trying to finish up an online animation project, visiting New York last weekend! a few weekends ago and (still) getting the place in order.Lately, I've gotten to do some lettering for various jobs. Its something I haven't done much of in the past and its been really fun.

One of those projects was for t-shirt designs for the annual Lower East Side Kids' Art Bike Parade. Some first drafts:

Mostly, just fooling around with the lettering placement and different bikes.

The final design:

In the end they wanted ribbon lettering to go with the "2008" ribbon.  I think it came out really cute.  It was printed in black on yellow shirts. 

The parade was a few weekends ago and from the photos it looks like it was a huge hit:

Everyone looks great in their shirts!