Summer Backyard

Two weekends ago I had friends over to help me celebrate my birthday. It was sooo much fun that I want to do it regularly - without the birthday part :o) We ate rum cake and drank two types of sangria. I set out a table of supplies and a couple of crafty project ideas: tiny felt strawberries and needle felted flowers.

A couple of strawberries were sewn and stuffed but there was mostly a lot of furious felting going on. Possibly a few drops of blood from the accidental looking up to answer a question (never take your eyes off the needle). Thinking about it, maybe it's not safe to mix needle felting with sangria but it sure was fun.

Summer Backyard

Summer Backyard

I also got to set the yard up all pretty which has been such a joy this summer. The garden has been amazing & I can't stop checking out all the new blooming flowers and fruits/veg. Every morning when Jared drives off Bird tells me it's time to look for sugar snap peas (in her cutest 3yo version of the words) and then we move on to strawberries, then tomatoes. Then we ogle at the corn and talk about the growing melons and ripening figs.

Summer Backyard

Summer Backyard

Summer Backyard

Summer Backyard

It's so fun to share this space we've been working on and nurturing for nearly 6 years now. My studio is still pretty rough around the edges but we can't justify working on it with full focus till we get a few other things done on the house. Plus, with a 4mth old and a 3yo it's been more than difficult to get time to myself out there. So for now it will have unpainted baseboards, leaky old windows, lots of entrances for spiders (and hopefully nothing larger than that), and mediocre lighting. Frankly, I don't care what it looks like really - I just want some time to get working and stocking my shop again. I have SO many ideas...bursting at the seams.

Summer Backyard

Have to mention, of the friends who were over the other night...some fabulous blogs, sites, and projects they are involved in. My lovely friend Klay has partnered with Anna Maria Horner and is selling her plushes in Anna's shop. They are made with an assortment of AMH's fabrics and they are incredibly cute and meticulously sewn. They would be perfect in a living room as much as they would in a kid's room. Here's Klay's post about the news and here is Anna Maria Horner's "Visiting Artists" shop page. And this is Klay's shop. I'm so excited for Klay!

My friends Wendy and Laura also came and they are both talented crafty ladies. Wendy used to work in a high tech job (same company as Jared, that's how we met) and has since left and is now, hopefully, going to be making and selling more of her beautiful things. Wendy's blog site is here and shop is here. You will love her design aesthetic - I totally admire her clean and modern design sense.

Laura is an illustrator here in San Jose. I can't even remember how we met at this point but I just enjoy her company so much and think she's such fun to be around. Her illustration work is so light hearted, colorful, and energetic. She's been working on building a licensing career and I think she's doing an amazing job. Her blog site is here and her main (fancy!) site and shop is here. She posted about the evening over here too :o)

Have you attended an evening of crafting and hanging with friends? What kind of projects did you work on? Have any advice to share? I think it's such a great time - I definitely recommend it. It's the perfect opportunity to share a new skill or just connect with creative friends. I wasn't sure what crafty project to offer and looked online a little for ideas but didn't find much. In the end, I just thought about what I like to work on and possibly what others might be interested in.

The two glasses of wine I had tonight have made my brain a little (more) mushy...I'm just happy to be finally getting this posted after 2 days of attempts. Such is life these days :o) Hope you're having a lovely week.

Hugs, Devon

Strawberries & Rainbows: Bird's 2nd Birthday Party

Intoxicatingly colorful photo heavy post ahead!

(many of these photos were taken by my friend Klay - klaydoughdreams.blogspot.com - thank you!!)


Bird's party was really fun - slightly chaotic with how many people were squeezed into our backyard (with half of them under the age of 5).

I had planned to make a rainbow "something" for dessert...maybe rainbow cupcakes, maybe a swirly rainbow cake. I really liked this look but thought it would be too much work. In the end because of how irresistible it was to play with color & because I goofed on my measuring I ended up making both a 6 layer rainbow cake AND rainbow cupcakes.

It was a long night.

Now, here's the fun stuff:

By the way, Bird had a great time at her party. She also had at least 3 timeouts (Jared and I lost track between the two of us and a couple that were interrupted). Since May she's been on a pushing craze...not aggressive pushing but definitely pushing. "I push" she says with matter of factness and a playful glint in her eye. It drives us nuts but seems like one of those things she just will work out of soon enough and then we'll barely remember how embarrassing it was to apologize to every kid/parent at the playground (and even at 2, she has no qualms about going after a 4 yr old, though she may choose to approach from behind - sneak attack).

Anyway, it was so enjoyable for me to exercise some creativity into Bird's birthday party - to make something beautiful & well thought out. I know I'm not the only one who appreciates these things. I was explaining that to J...it's so much more than making something pretty. To me its the same as making a painting or designing a pattern or gardening for that matter. I love the aesthetics. And if you're reading this, I bet you feel that way too!

Have a great week all...I'll be back to share what I'm working on. New pattern! With rabbits! And I got my fabric back from Spoonflower! Too much excitement! Or maybe I'm just thrilled about Bird's uber long nap this afternoon.



Big Floorcloth :: Tiny Papercut

After planning, researching, measuring, cutting, applying gesso, designing & painting, hunting down the right (zero VOC) polyurethane, applying said polyurethane, then applying more polyurethane, then still more...the floorcloth is finally finished!!

The process was really fun and it's very rewarding to now have a floor covering in our dining room that is beautiful & durable, and that I made myself. It's also pretty sweet that unlike a regular rug I can simply wipe off the gunk that Bird spills on it throughout the day.

I wish I had had a larger piece of canvas to start with. I used my largest remnant but it still only got me 7' diameter. Sounds big, but now that it's under the table it seems smallish. No biggie. Someday we plan to make a larger top for the table (and I'd love to paint the whole table white...yes, really, Jared would be quite unhappy with me...) but till then I think it works just fine. Maybe in the future I'll find another spot for it...it's always fun to move things around.

Thanks for coming along the floorcloth making journey with me! It feels so great to accomplish these kinds of projects. I have to remind myself that even if I don't have tons of time, if I just apply myself in short spurts and chip away eventually things will get finished. And that's a real boost for the next thing in mind.

On that note...

I made my first papercut! I love Elsa Mora's work and she is such an inspiration. She is amazing at whatever she touches it seems, and one of the things I appreciate is how many mediums she works in & types of artwork she creates with. It's always apparent that it's Elsita's work...whether drawing, painting, jewelry, collage, or papercutting! She even created a separate blog from her original blog devoted just to the art of papercutting. And we have a print of one of her papercuts in our office. They're gorgeous...you can find them in her shop.

My mom's birthday is today (happy birthday!!!) and I wanted to make her a special piece of art she could have on her desk at school (my mom is a teacher) or on the wall at home. I really wanted to try papercutting so I created this piece with a bird in a honeysuckle vine. The process was totally different than working on a floorcloth and it was refreshing to go from something very large to something small and precise. It was a little unnerving to make the tiniest of cuts and I did have one oops! but it's very difficult to find (please don't look too closely, haha).

After cutting it out with a curved x-acto blade, I used a tiny awl point to make the round holes in the flower blossom and the bird's eye. Then I applied adhesive to the back (I used a ballpoint-tip glue pen) and mounted it to a bright spring blue paper (an intense robin's egg blue almost) and put it into a thrifted frame (I'm always on the hunt for frames). The papercut is cut from a heavy & beautifully textured watercolor paper. It's yummy.

Now to send it off to my mom in Germany where Spring and the birds are starting to make their way out and saying goodbye to Winter. Hope she likes it :o)

Have a lovely day!

Lake Tahoe

We went to Lake Tahoe this weekend and had such a great time. There were a couple mishaps - lack of sleep for all of us & food poisoning for Jared - but our general feeling about the trip was a positive one. It's so nice to get away sometimes. Not having to board a plane or pack for a week's time was a bonus.

It was fun to see & play in SNOW! We sledded a lot (Miranda was the youngest sledder we saw - she was often happy just to sit on my lap and watch). Phylo got to run around a big snowy meadow and eat mouthfuls of fresh powder.

You can spy the cute little cabins where we stayed in the photo above.

Lake Tahoe in the winter is such a play of opposites. Lapping waves on a sandy beach with patches of snow & ice interspersed between pine cones and crustaceans crushed into the shore. The array of blues and grays in the clouds and sky were incredible.

Here you can see that there's something on my lens, haha.

And you can also see the sad little bruises on Bird's face. The result of knocking heads with Phylo in a game of ball (that Phylo won).

This is the uncropped version of the first photo in the post, which shows it was actually Jared throwing our Bird up in the air and that she can't actually fly - which I'm certain that you had assumed by now.

There are lots more Tahoe pics at my flickr.

And to follow up from my last post...this is what I painted at Noodle & Boo last week. It's a 16' x 10' wall that will have cubicles in front it (where I didn't include flowers). I took the photo with my phone so it's a little dark & not so crisp, but you get the idea. I didn't leave the work site till 11pm...and didn't get to complete the other area of the office to be painted (I just wasn't up for working into the next day - I mean, really). I'm headed back this week to finish up.

Happy Martin Luther King day to you!

A Grand Canyon full of inspiration (aka a letter from Lee)

My very first semester at RISD I had some of the most amazing experiences in all my time at RISD. This was mostly due to being in Lee Dejasu's 2D foundation class. The name of the class is so very deceiving. It really should be called "An opportunity to do absolutely anything you want with people that will support you, and totally celebrate with you." Really.

And the best part was Lee. I can only imagine how many lives he's touched.

Over the years we've kept in touch here and there. He never ceases to gift me with the kindest words - and they always seem so timely. How does he do it?

I received this letter from Lee the other day and wanted to share. I have to admit I cried while reading it.
Thank you to my friend Lee...for the reminder I needed so badly.
"You'll be back".
I'm humbled & grateful & totally inspired.

And isn't that
rad stationary??
She lives on my pin board now.