Long overdue but look my Nikon's back!

Winter 2011

I have a few free minutes so I figure I may as well post something. I have no idea how long it's been (whoops!) but it feels like quite a while.

So much going on these days...first thing to report is that my awesome camera lens is back - yes! I'm so happy and inspired by my camera again. I have only great things to say about the camera shop that helped me out. International Camera Technicians in Mt. View. A very sweet German man and his son who run an old school shop. He ended up sending my lens out to Nikon with a note saying "Rush! Baby due in March and needs camera ASAP!" I didn't tell him to do this at all of course but it sure made me smile when I saw it on the receipt. Pricing was fair, service was awesome - can't ask for more.

Daisy tree

The trees are popping out all sorts of blooms around here. We have some major chill and rain on the way again but Spring is 'round the corner. Such a relief to me...I'm hoping for lots of outside time once our little babe is here. Bird'll be happier, I'll be happier, hopefully baby will be happy. I've been wondering what he's going to be like. How I'll cope if things are totally different than expected. Mourning a little bit my last days of having Bird as my only child. That might sound strange but I bet most parents go through this.

I technically have to get to THIS FRIDAY to be able to have the baby at home (37wks). I've been really taking it easy. Then I plan to get back to my regular self as much as possible (heavy lifting, busy busy, etc.). Last week we all went through some version of the stomach flu and it was terrible. Really. Terrible. I got sick Tuesday night and although I only threw up a couple of times my stomach was in pain for a few days. This for some reason caused me to be in a near constant contraction. It was so uncomfortable. Thankfully it was done by Friday and I'm also thankful it's only the second time in my life I've ever had some kind of stomach flu. At this point in my pregnancy it's like I have no immune system (!). I'm ready ready ready for a change. Even if that means sleepless nights ;o)

Winter 2011

My days have been full of Bird of course...playing (a little slower than normal) and entertaining and teaching. I found her a trike off Craig's List and she loves it, although is totally frustrated by it too. Ah, new skills to tackle.

I've also been in deep clean/organizing mode in the studio. I've just been chucking stuff that I don't need anymore - no mercy! And going to town with a label maker, haha. I've been learning what I enjoy organizing (paints & sewing supplies) and what's a total drag (papers).

I'd love to have this place all picked up and set in order before baby arrives. I'd love to be able to come out here and say "oh, that's what I was working on" and get back into it, rather than come out here and frown at the piles of things I need to mail out, take to the basement, file away or sort. Currently on my list to complete is a simple quilt for baby. But I'm making myself wait till every thing else is done - a reward of sorts.

Below are a couple shots of some of my ceramic work :o) They aren't fired or glazed yet. And it's been near impossible to get over to the clay studio to take my last load of stuff (house #'s for a friend and a big platter I rolled from the last of my bag of clay). It's kind of an odd process to me. Clay work seems to take forever...you make something from wet clay, wait till it's at a certain state of dryness before you can do additional things to it, bisque fire it, then glaze it, then finally fire it again. When you're doing this on someone else's time table it can take a really long time. But I'm totally thrilled to have taken the class - ceramics are SO fun and I've loved being able to apply myself in a different medium.

Little pots, freshly carved

Owl vase, before firing/glaze

Now to tackle another pile of papers!

Happy day to you - hugs, Devon :o)

Travel sketchies

Finally got around to some coloring today. It's something I love doing - taking quick sketchbook renderings and giving them a shot of color using my tablet & computer. From this point it's easier for me to tell if something has potential for a textile design too. I'm a little smitten with each one for different reasons - in general the color palettes are making me happy which is the bit of inspiration needed to keep going with a design.

Happy weekending to you! :o)
hugs, Devon
Airplane doodling
Doodle from airplane window
Doodle of an airplane :) 

A happy sunshiney hello

At the Bay

If you live in California you HAVE to be amazed at the weather today (80?!) as well as over the weekend. All I can say is enjoy it!! Pretty soon it's going to be drippy & gray (sorry - not trying to be a wet blanket, but it's how I reality check my sun-loving self).

We had to drive up to Berkeley to get Bird a new (big girl!) mattress. We found an awesome deal on an organic zero VOC twin mattress for kids. It's difficult to find affordable mattresses without flame retardants (and fyi, Ikea's mattresses have flame retardants too...though you could cross the border & buy from Canada to get around it). The trick is to include wool in the cotton mixture making up the mattress. Wool is a natural fire retardant and therefore no icky chemicals are needed (not that we NEED fire retardants do we? Anyway...). European Sleepworks in Berkeley started making a kid's mattress just for this reason - they wanted something affordable for kids that would fit into the health & environmental beliefs of their company. Thank you for that!! So ironically, Bird has a ~$200 loft bed from Ikea and a ~$400 mattress. She loves all the extra space in her bed - so cute :o)

So anyway, long trek to Berkeley...on our way we took a wrong turn and ended up having to cross the Bay Bridge (this is a costly mistake). Poor Jared had to hold his hands to his head to keep it from exploding (very goal oriented guy). But we made lemonade from the situation by getting off the bridge onto Treasure Island which we'd never been to. It was awesome! The view from the island is completely amazing. It was a gorgeous clear day and the Bay was gleaming beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, Alcatraz, and city of San Francisco. Bird REALLY wanted to climb down the barrier rocks into the water and after nearly losing her shoes we decided it'd be best to hit a different water spot after getting the mattress.

We found Birdshore Park and had playground/lunch/sailboat watching/Bay splashing time and felt so grateful to live in such a beautiful place that never runs out of things to do & see.

Today I'm working on sketches for a new collection of fabrics. There's some geometric, some art nouveau, some floral, and of course stuff that's uniquely Devon :o) I'm loving it. My parents arrive for Thanksgiving family time this weekend so I'll be kicked out of my studio for most of next week (...sigh). Important for me to get a lot done this week.

Hugs, Devon

Late Night Install & a Little Ladybug

It was a late night but I got my art show installed at The Abbey in Santa Cruz yesterday. Unfortunately my photos are blurry and dark but you'll get the idea. It's a small show - just 21 pieces. It looks really fun all together - a grouping of my watercolors & paintings on wood as well as the fabrics I've made either directly from the artwork or into repeats inspired by the art.

I had to wait till the space was closed (it's essentially a coffee shop/hang out space for Vintage Faith Church) to install so I didn't get to start till after 8 & didn't make it over the hill from Santa Cruz till nearly 11. Tired today but still so much left to do for the sale I'm doing Thursday night.

Bird is sitting on my lap eating an apple...short nap today. I'm hoping my friend who offered to have her come hang out with her little guy is still up for it :o) I've finished all the plushes and accessories but have lots of sewn goods still to make. With time to kill before the install yesterday I got to swing by Hart's Fabric and pick up some lovely FQ's to fill some gaps in my stash for the next project.

Install for show at The Abbey

Install for show at The Abbey

Install for show at The Abbey

Install for show at The Abbey

Install for show at The Abbey

I suppose I have to share a Halloween picture or two! We had an awesome time trick or treating with Bird - she's really grasped the concept this year :o)




Happy Tuesday and beginning of November to you!
Hugs, Devon

Penguins, Owls, Wood, Ink, Fabric & Felt - that crazy time of year

WIPs for fall show & sale

So here's what I've been up to! Bet you thought I was just playing at pumpkin patches all the time based on my last posts ;o) All I can say is it's hard balancing being the cool, fun mama and the productive artist/designer, as well as keep up with other parts of life (did I mention all the renovation projects going on around here??).

WIPs for fall show & sale

I have a sale coming up on the 4th - I do it every year because it's just so fun. Basically I get to hang out with designers & architects & all sorts of other creative folks for a night of shopping & selling. And I usually do really well. I'm going on year 5 with them. This year I have more of what I usually offer (plushes, brooches, itty bitty hair clips, etc) with one BIG difference. All my sewn products this year are made with my own fabric!! Can you believe it? I can't!

This is a really positive step in the direction I want to go & I'm so excited to share it with you. I feel like even a year ago it seemed out of reach to get it together and design/print fabrics, much less end up with finished products in my hands to show for it. To be totally honest I was somewhat disappointed by my first round of prints from Spoonflower - many of my colors were deeper or lighter than expected, or bloomed in a way that I felt threw off the print. I also saw issues with scale and proportion. But really I needed to give myself a break and realize that this is part of the process & it's impossible to get it perfect the first time round. I don't know why I'm so hard on myself, sheesh.

Happily, I have enough fabric to put together a great group of new products and I'm thrilled with them. And a little cranky from the late nights working, haha.

WIPs for fall show & sale

My friend Cheryl reminded me (thank goodness at the beginning of the month & not at the end!) that I'm the featured artist for November for a gallery space in Santa Cruz. I had totally forgotten. Really. Where's my brain huh? So things are actually more busy than usual - I have several painted pieces on wood I'm pulling together (as well as some original watercolors & some pieces of framed printed fabrics) and will install on the 1st. Then I have the sale on the 4th, then the show opening on the 5th. Then I will crash & sleep on the 6th.

WIPs for fall show & sale

I've also been having fun catching up with family popping in unexpectedly & hosting another Creative Night at my studio with an awesome bunch of artists & designers. There's so much going on this time of year. Just need to hang on and go with it.

WIPs for fall show & sale

And this week puts me at halfway through the pregnancy! I've felt so much better over the last few weeks (just in time for all this craziness). We're already brainstorming on how to best design Bird's room to hold two kiddos (eventually - we'll have baby #2 in our room for first 6mths probably) and still be a place for fun & creativity. There is so much inspiration online - my favorite place to check out is Ohdeedoh. Definitely visit the site if you haven't before!

WIPs for fall show & sale

Now it's back to work for me...Bird's still sleeping so I need to hustle! Thanks so much for stopping by.

And I'm curious~ is this a crazy busy time of year for you too? What are you working on?


Tomatoes & Strawberries

Tomatoes & Strawberries

This is the pattern I worked on during Heather Ross's class in Portland - now in 4 yummy colorways :o) It's such a happy pattern & makes me smile thinking of Bird in our garden munching on all the goodies growing wild out there. The other day she had not only strawberries and tomatoes, but also figs and an orange. You have to love California's bounty - especially at the time of year.

This pattern will soon be real fabric - a la Spoonflower! I'm a busy bee trying to get all the color calibration and uploading complete, along with several other patterns. I have a sale on the 4th of November and would love to sew up a bevy of products & plushes with my own fabrics (a goal I've had for a while). This somewhat depends on how fast I can get the order placed...and how fast UPS delivers. I admit I'm pretty stressed about it.

I also had forgotten about a show I'll be doing in November as well :O November 5th actually haha!! It's going to be a busy week of mad sewing and making, painting installation, pricing & display, packing, and being extra clever about making sure Bird's needs are met too. I'm sure I'll fall in a heap on the 6th...

The upside is I'll have lots of beautiful new patterns and paintings complete and hopefully more encouragement to keep going.

Okay, back to it! Have a lovely day!

Hugs, Devon

My weekend with Heather Ross, textile design, & Portland

My strawberries & tomatoes pattern from Heather Ross Workshop
My pattern, "Strawberry & Tomato Patch" from the Heather Ross textile design workshop

I can't believe it's Thursday already...this time last week I was packing my suitcase for Portland and absolutely giddy about what could be ahead. Today I'm desperately trying to get this written while packing for another trip - this time to see J's family in Texas, aka the Mohave.

Long story short...it was a really special and amazing time!! Meeting Heather Ross (well, I actually met her last year at Hart's in Santa Cruz and chatted with her twin sister for awhile - not knowing till this trip that it was actually her twin, haha) was so FUN and she really is so great. For me, getting into this class was a dream come true and I didn't take it for granted - believe me that my rear end still hurts from those computer chairs ;)

Day 1 Heather started us out with introductions and then we jumped right into drawing, all squeezed around two ikea tables pushed together, elbow to elbow. It was challenging for some...I admit I love any reason to draw & didn't mind the exercise. I drew little houses, a sea turtle (ripple on the brain), a girl in the rain, a whistle (you can see I really embrace randomness), and then ended up spending a bulk of time (20min) on tiny tomatoes & strawberries.

We picked our favorite sketch then proceeded to make copies of it and move around the pieces, composing patterns. At this point several of us were a little hesitant to commit to using our half thought out morning scribbles for our workshop's feature pattern. But I went with it, adding a little sketched out Bird to the mix - you know, the ultimate strawberry & tomato eater - of course! ("shawbees and matos" as she would say).

By the end of the day we had our sketches scanned and some of us were already up and running on the computer, coloring away in Photoshop. I was looking over my pile of copies thinking of what in the world I was going to do with the mess. But oh! it was 4pm and time to head out for eats. Portland doesn't disappoint. We all thought it was cheap to eat there. And that there is no shortage of mac & cheese.

Heather Ross Textile Design Workshop Weekend
That evening was also Heather's public talk at PNCA...it was really enjoyable, & funny, & very candid :o) She is working on several new & exciting things - wallpaper, children's books, her own book with printable designs! Such an inspiration.

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
I have to say that Portland is a ridiculously walkable city. And clean too - noticed that right away. All those responsible Portlanders putting their recyclables in the readily available dispensers all over the place. And the bikes! It's truly a cyclist's meca.

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
I got coffee from many (many, many) different places but my favorite cup - a latte - came from
Stumptown which was connected to the Ace Hotel where I stayed. The bathrobes they provided were really cute & comfy - so much so apparently Heather bought one to take home :o) Great souvenir! (click on the Heather link above to see her post on the weekend)

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
This was the cave, I mean classroom, at
Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) that we did all of our work in. Heather went over her basic set up for working on fabric & it included: iMac, wacom tablet with stylus, color wheel, sketchpad, coffee, and a posable model for when drawing people. I think there were a few other things - oh yes, a scanner for sure. And probably a printer (we got to use the incredibly nice, large format printers - gorgeous!).

Day 2 we got to work with our computers & tablets! Heather went over how to use the stylus (and emphasized ergonomics which I really appreciated) and started us off in Photoshop using channels to lay out our patterns (instead of using layers). It was so liberating to break free from layers!! I have been trying to figure it out for a while (longer than I'd like to admit) and just couldn't get myself past a point of frustration or a long enough naptime (from Bird) to do it. It really isn't so difficult but it is a different way of looking at things - and it makes a lot of sense once you get started. I probably cut my drawing/coloring time in half using channels instead of layers. That's remarkable.

The day was an absolute blur...just being pasted to my chair and drawing in Photoshop...tomatoes & strawberries, tomatoes & strawberries. The best part of the day was figuring out how to get out of the city and go swimming (picture below). Sometimes there are just things that round out your time in a place perfectly & that's what our evening outing to Sauvie Island did (& only 20 min away!). I came back with just one mosquito bite...it could have been lots worse. The water was so refreshing and you know, it sure beat staring at a computer screen. Later on we went to a cute restaurant, Ping, and had chinese food (with a thai twist).

Heather Ross Textile Design Workshop Weekend
Heather (these shots are taken using the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone)

Heather Ross Textile Design Workshop Weekend
Adorable new friends, Jamie & Vera (Eliza not pictured but she was there too)

Day 3 was crunch time.

I was still (hand slap) working on my artwork instead of getting it into a pattern & ready to print. And my flight was soon after class was ending. So it was a bit of madness. I raced like crazy to color in every last tomato and strawberry and my little berry patch raider and then spent lunchtime running back to the Ace (in heels no less) to get my suitcase, grab and eat lunch and tea (while running in the heels & pulling the suitcase), then back to the computer. Heather was really helpful with suggestions for layout and color ways, as well as suggesting an inspiration to consider when planning out my patterns (Josef Frank, who I already am mad about).

By 2:30 most of us were printing out our patterns on glossy 13 X 19" paper and the excitement level was high. People were rushing in with gorgeous printed patterns that they had designed from start to finish from just Friday morning - it was a really cool thing.

Then it was on to quickly burning files, getting group pics, saying good byes, buying mailing tubes from Office Depot, catching a cab to the airport, an hour + plane ride, having my awesome neighbor pick me up, and arriving home to see Jared (and not Bird as she was sleeping). Then crashing for the night (and really not having any energy till probably Wednesday)!

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
Our group of ladies, and
"Quilt Dad"

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
Going over our work

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
My roommates and buddies for the weekend, Eliza & Jamie

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
Jamie, Heather, & me :o)

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
Post-swim at Sauvie Island

Hope you enjoyed the re-cap!

And hopefully soon I'll have printed fabric to show you...we are getting a credit from Spoonflower for printing what we made in class. Yay! I have some tweaking to do on my pattern - with color and pattern balancing - and then it's destined for linen I think. Not sure yet what I should make with it. Ideas? And should I put yardage or fat quarters in my shop?

I'm off to throw the rest of whatever clothes I'll need for 100+ degree weather into a suitcase and cook up dinner. We have farmfresh squash, tomatoes, green beans, and kale...think it's time for a summer pasta toss (with prosciutto, yum!).

Have a lovely weekend all :o)

hugs, Devon

ps: more photos at the Fabric Design with Heather Ross flickr group

Side project: Geeky cool bamboo phone case

Design for Grove Made iPhone case

Over the past couple of days (or nap times, rather) I've worked on an iPhone case design for Jared's spiffy new phone (which he really digs even with that one issue - dang it, 'nother dropped call). He found a company named Grove Made through one of his favorite online haunts (gizmodo). They take solid blocks of bamboo and shape them into cases, then laser engrave artwork onto the backs. They have really fantastic selections of current amazing artists' works but you can also upload whatever design you want using their template.


Jared hemmed and hawed plenty about the design - to the point where I was a little exasperated, I admit it. Most of my work just isn't his style. He loves my work, thinks it's fabulous, is totally supportive, but is not so into the idea of sporting illustrated owls or sketched California wildflowers you know? He finally found some more "manly" or maybe "geeky" ;o) ideas in the gears and mechanics of clockwork. In fact, he said it may be a hobby he'd be interested in at some point. This made me laugh - I can only imagine little old men bent over old garage work tables building the innards of clocks. But Jared is a mechanical kind of guy and loves to figure out how things work so maybe it's not so surprising. I still think he'd rather play frisbee golf.

Grove Bamboo Iphone Cases

Check out the site: http://www.grovemade.com/ - all hand made in Portland, Oregon! That's where I'll be in about a week!! :o) :o)

Hope you're all staying cool...I'm writing this from our deck outside, under an umbrella, in 87 degrees which feels marvelous. No complaints here.

hugs, Devon

New Fabric Patterns: Bunny Sunday & Nancy Flora

Since the beginning of the Summer I've been in a different work mode. No more murals. No more side jobs. No more plushes. Etc., etc., etc. It was a difficult, slightly squeamish decision but a good one. So what am I doing with my time (besides being with Bird full time save for a morning of babysitting 1x a week)? Well, thanks for asking! I'm finally working on fabric again. It's a wonderful exciting feeling. I'm meeting awesome fabric peeps on twitter & by visiting inspiring blogs and am trying to steep myself in the world of textile design once again. It really was a LONG time ago now that I was in school for textiles. I graduated in 2000 from RISD and it was only in my final year there that I did any textile work on the computer (using CAD for textiles) and only in my very last semester of school that I used Photoshop & Illustrator. Wow, that makes me feel kind of old :0

Flash forward to today...what isn't on the computer?? Really, the most important consideration is how much easier it is now to be a designer of textiles. I felt so stymied after school without a fancy CAD system. There was no way I could work freelance without having a space for hand screen printing fabrics (which I really wanted but never pulled off fully) or some kind of computer design support (which didn't really exist, at least not to me at that time).

Now we have amazing companies like Spoonflower (and Fabric on Demand which I haven't tried yet, as well as other companies - check out True Up's post on this topic) that enable you to easily print whatever you want to on fabric.

Last month I designed a pattern called Nancy Flora (Nancy is a city in France we fell in love with while visiting family). I definitely have some disconnect with the colors, and I feel squidgy about the pattern - it's not quite right, not balanced. It's also possible that the scale is off. But no worries, I'm moving ahead! It's so important for me right now to just KEEP GOING! There are so many distractions in my life as it is. Better to just keep being fresh, current, and inspired by a new day.

fabric designs June & July
Black & white sketch

fabric designs June & July
Sketch colored in Photoshop

Nancy Flora, Spoonflower print
Fat quarter of Nancy Flora, printed with Spoonflower on quilting cotton

Nancy Flora, Spoonflower print
2 printed samples of Nancy Flora, one on linen cotton canvas & the other on upholstery weight twill. There was a little oops! at the factory I believe but an understandable one - the samples were printed from two different files (with very slightly different color variations) so it's difficult to compare them based on base cloth.

I've been working on a new pattern called Bunny Sunday. This is a watercolor sketch that I scanned into the computer and then did modifications on in Photoshop.

fabric designs June & July
Loving blues & peach lately

fabric designs June & July
My original watercolor painting of the pattern

Bunny Sunday, in the blue & peach repeat

I'm still not sure what scale this should be...teeny tiny to match all the teeny details? Or each running bunny at 2 or 3 inches long? I'm also admittedly not satisfied with the current repeat...I think I'm just over complicating things. I may revisit. After starting a new pattern. Really - have to keep going with this momentum.

The most exciting news however (!) and definitely to feed the momentum is that I was moved from the waiting list onto the enrolled list for Heather Ross's class in Portland later in the month. It's a 3 day class focusing on exactly what I've been working on - creating textile designs using Photoshop and printing with an on-demand printer (we'll be using Spoonflower).

Pinch me!!

I feel so grateful.

Tthanks for stopping by. Feel free to leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the new designs. If you sew/craft what would you use these fabrics for?

hugs, Devon

Drawing, Painting, & Granny Square Gluttony

We're getting ready for a trip to Germany (and France because we'll be so close & because we simply HAVE to!) to see my parents and get a little time off from the day to day. So things are busy busy as we prepare for traveling with our not quite yet 2yr old (which means she'll be in our laps for 10 hours :dread:) and getting things shipshape at home with house sitting, pet sitting, farm share picking up, etc, etc...makes me realize how many responsibilities we carry around on a daily basis.

I've been painting - yes! Joy! And working on a project specifically for my sister in law who makes custom purses. It's very exciting and I'll share more as it develops.

I've been so inspired by SPRING. Maybe because it's been dragging its feet 'round these parts. Maybe because I'm just a total sun worshipper and I can't help myself.

I've been so happy to sit at my work table with my pencil & watercolors and float colors across awesome heavy paper and make the images from my head pop into real illustrations.

It's like a big drink of water when you're thirsty.

Bird's long afternoon naps have been a huge blessing (we're still trading Peter for Paul though as she's been going to bed late & occasionally getting up at night, but 's okay).

It's especially sweet to see Bird taking an interest in painting too! Her favorite kind so far is coating the deck, adirondack chairs, garden beds, and our dog Phylo with a water soaked paintbrush. I give her a big fat one that holds a ton of water and she's thrilled. Too fun.

When my MIL was here a few weeks ago she renewed my love of the granny square, heh heh. They're SO addictive!! I figured it out that if I were to crochet one every night for the next 187 days I'd have a decent sized blanket. That thought made me feel like it was a deadline or something and I stopped crocheting for a few nights.

Happy Monday to you and hope your week is wonderful!

:o) :o)

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!

Floorcloth update: polyurethane found!!

I've been kind of stumped with my floorcloth...(not just because we currently have company staying in my studio this week) because I haven't wanted to toss on 5+ coats of regular old polyurethane or polycrylic after painting it with zero VOC paints. I mean how silly would that be?

So I started hunting down zero or low VOC polyurethanes and I tell ya, there aren't a lot of them. First I found this one by Safecoat whose paints I've used and really like, but at $88/gallon I couldn't pull the trigger.

Then I found a product by Ecoprocote called Poly-Soy...$45/gallon (still pricey, but with 400-500 sf of coverage we should be able to use it for many things around here). I like what I read about it - ultra-low VOC, self-leveling, protects and adheres to practically everything, and is virtually odorless. Oh, and it comes in a satin finish. Sold! It's on its way.

The back of the floorcloth is another story...traditional rug pads are gross (just sayin'). I had thought of piecing together bits of non-skid shelf liner but that's kind of cheesy (plus it would take a LOT of it to cover a 7' diameter area), and so that's leading me toward the idea of adhering a fabric to the back. Just gluing it on. I need to think more on that one, but at least I can visualize it, and I definitely have enough fabric for it. And non-skid isn't really an issue since it will be anchored by our heavy wood table.

And then I'll have to address the edges at some point. To be honest I keep trying to wave off the critique that a round canvas floor cloth isn't a good idea because it will fray so it's better to stick to an octagon. Phooey! I really want a true circle. I may end up either hand-applying glue to the edge (like fray-stop for quilting fabrics but more durable glue in this case...or maybe I really will use fray-stop, hmm). Or I'm going to adhere bias tape. Seriously. I just might do that. Why the heck not.

Allright...enough rambling with no photos to show for it :o) That just makes me feel weird.

Time to figure out the rest of this wet, soggy, and hail-filled (yes, hail!) day. My inner Panama girl is threatening to jump on a plane about now.


Pinwheel Floorcloth

After a long fun morning in San Francisco we returned home to our still dirty house (no dust bunny fairies cleaned up while we were gone, darn). We were inspired to move a few things around our main living areas. The dining room rug went into the living room and the living room rug got rolled up. The dining room has been calling us back to eat there for awhile but I haven't had the nerve to let Bird eat over the wool rug (even though it's FLOR and easy to clean). So, I'm finally going to make a floorcloth! A wipeable, mop-able, easy care surface that I can design however I like - yes!

Above is my design...behind me is a huge piece of canvas which I'm about to cut into a 7' diameter circle. I'll gesso the entire canvas (I'll either tape the canvas to my studio floor or will partially pin it to my felt wall. The canvas is a little large to fit on the felt wall completely), then apply the paint - a warm off-white. Then I'll create the pieces of pie in delicious colors that pick up on the lovely fabric of the curtains hanging in the space (Anna Griffin, Sierra). After it's been painted it'll need several coats of varnish and I'll also have to contend with the back. I'm thinking more gesso and probably anti-skid backing. The edges will be turned and sealed with rug tape.

It may take me awhile to complete...hopefully within a few days, we'll see. Can't wait to share the finished project with you!


So much color & pattern I think it could POP

On Wednesday I snuck out of here (Ok, ok, I left Bird with her babysitter and then Jared took over after work. Like I could sneak anywhere these days, no way) and went to one of my very favorite client's house to paint her daughter's bed.

I painted the mural in her room maybe 3 years ago...it's still being enjoyed which made me tremendously happy. She and her brother are engaging, charming kids & I love chatting with them and having them hang out while I work. I kept having to remind that sweet girl to stop bouncing on the bed as she was talking though - the wiggly flower look wasn't what I was going for :o)

Happy songbirds and colorful blooms.

Star the cat kept me company most of the time, then Cocoa Puff would wander in and flick her fluffy tail over my (recycled baby food) jars of mixed colors. No cat hair in the mural this time though...

It was a fun cheery color palette to work with. I kept thinking this would make a great pattern for fabric.

This weekend we're headed to the SF Ocean Film Festival where Jared's sister is showing her film "Lost on a Reef". Can't wait!

Happy Friday to you!


Songbirds & Dotted Blooms: A painted bed

I'm headed out later on today to paint a little girl's bed with all sorts of loveliness...

We decided on the birds, flowers, and polka dots above. Below are some of the other sketches I put together in my design process (which was really long & drawn out this time for some reason). Forgive the graininess of the images - they're iphone shots of prints of my sketches so that's like 3x removed from the original.

I love this kind of mural work and can't wait to get over there!

And the mural in the background was painted by me too :o) Well before I had Bird and was able to spend 2 or 3 days straight in there without a care in the world except getting the colors right and filling this sweet girl's room with winged fairies, striped rabbits, spotted mushrooms and strawberries.


Noodle & Boo, part 2 + a pattern

There she is...the last bit of the Noodle & Boo mural job. Freshly painted this evening after Jared got home from work. I didn't mind the transition from mommy to muralist very much today. I will politely say that I was happy to get in the car and drive somewhere by myself and do my own thing for a while.

Of course, I missed the little crankypants (teeth? short nap? cabin fever?)...how could I not? She's been doing too many cute things to count. I really need to be writing them down! She does kissy sounds to call Phylo or Sanguine, and loves feeding them, she's trying all sorts of words these days and yesterday said "cool, cool, cool" which came from a book we were reading. And today she also tried to dance like a ballerina...doing circles and randomly kicking one leg. Adorable. Hard to believe next month she'll be out of the teens and into the 2's - 20 months.

This is the column in the Noodle & Boo office space entry. I like that you can see it from outside the office complex. It's a hint at all the prettiness inside. They've really done a nice job. It's so warm and cozy.

They would probably prefer me showing off a tidier image - but I don't have one, so heck - here's the main wall I painted last week. 16x10'. It was a long evening - deceptively long evening. Doesn't it look like you could just fling your brush back and forth real quick and have bunches of flowers? Er, no...

And WOO HOO!! I finally got the new Photoshop software - CS4! I uploaded it yesterday and started warming up to the massive amount of potential the new program has. Really anything over 7.0 was a big step up. Here's a pattern I just made today (during M's very short nap).

I made it my new twitter background.

If you live in California make sure you get outside this week - the rain is constant but the cabin fever is worse! I'm planning our escape tomorrow.


Frog Went-a-Courtin' & a Montana Wedding

I've always been nuts for children's books, illustrations, toys, etc. - for myself - having Miranda in the picture means the window's thrown open and I can free fall into the magical world I love so much. One of my absolute favorites is Richard Scarry. Anything Richard Scarry. Jared doesn't quite understand or appreciate it so much...he claims to like just one particular type of Richard Scarry illustration. Of course it hasn't stopped me from filling the Bird's eyes & ears with plenty of "Best Word Book Ever" or "I am a Bunny" (Jared actually likes that one), or "Best Storybook Ever" (my favorite, and maybe my brother's too).

I have a few even older classics...there are the fantastic 1920's Babar books by Jean de Brunhoff, and a gorgeously illustrated book from Mexico - "Nine Days To Christmas" - from my parents (they lived in Mexico City once upon a time).

And then there's "Over in the Meadow" and "Frog Went a Courtin'" by John Langstaff. The illustrations in these Langstaff books are by Feodor Rojankovsky and they are sweet yet rustic, simple yet very deep - colored pencil rendered in a way I could never think to pull off. Even better about the books is that they are actually folksongs so you can sing along rather than just read (I often hear Jared turning Miranda's books into songs while reading to her at bedtime - cute).

I just listened to a great version of "Frog Went a Courtin" as a folksong by Elizabeth Mitchell. While humming along to the catchy fun story of a wedding celebration that in the end goes awry, I was reminded of my sister in-law Stephani & her wedding 2 Junes ago to her sweetie Merlyn. They married in gorgeous Montana, a week after ice storms & just before Summer heat set in. It was an amazing day and I was so privileged to be a part of it. Oh, and nothing really went awry like in the book, it was all very magical and sweet (except for all the clean up we did after the party, hahah ;o). My mother-in-law asked me to paint Stephani from that beautiful day and so I took on the task of a portrait. Sort of a scary proposition, challenging & thrilling at the same time.

And just this week I've finished.

Stephani and a herd of shaggy cows in a lush field beneath green mountains and a great big sky, on a very happy day.

Painted, varnished, and nearly packaged...soon to arrive in Texas.

I'm grateful to my favorite illustrators as well as impressionist painter Berthe Morisot and the amazing Carl Larsson for a wealth of inspiration.

Have a lovely day :o)