2015 is gonna be my year.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

You guys, I turned 34 last week! How did that happen? When I told my mom, she thought I should double-check my math. Nope, it was right - I'm officially older than I feel.

But despite the slight nausea-inducing sensation about being firmly in my mid-thirties, I couldn't be more excited about this brand new year. Since 2010, I've been pregnant or nursing for all but a handful of weeks, and as of my birthday, I'm my own woman again - ready to embrace my 35th year with open arms and an adventurous spirit.

I think the freedom from some of the shackles of early motherhood is making me feel especially inclined towards creativity and intellectual curiosity again in ways I haven't in a long time. I'm longing to read real books again - and lots of them - and I am excited to get started on some special projects that fell by the wayside over the past year due to the nitty-gritty daily life of having a toddler and a tiny baby to care for.

I'm a lot more prolific on instagram these days, if you don't follow me there already - but I'm excited to use this space for more updates about books I'm reading and the things I'm making for the shop and other venues. See you here soon!


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Just a quick update to say "hi, I'm still here"... photos from August and September, from art projects with friends to first birthdays and first days of school and ballet to just hanging around the house together. Hope you are all enjoying this beautiful transition to fall as much as we are!

reliving my childhood - a Betsy-Tacy adventure

Monday, September 1, 2014

I've been back in the saddle with lots of custom orders in my Etsy shop this summer, and it always feels great to work on items that have personal significance in some way. My favorite recent order was a set of four necklaces, each featuring a picture of elementary-school-aged Betsy, Tacy, and Tib (plus Betsy's little sister Margaret) from the wonderful series by Maud Hart Lovelace. Elizabeth, the woman who contacted me, ordered the necklaces for her daughter and nieces, who have been reading the books and decided to take a trip to the Betsy-Tacy Society in Mankato, Minnesota to see the childhood home of "Betsy" (Maud Hart Lovelace) and learn more about the books and the author. I was thrilled: I have fond memories of my own visit there as a child, and it made me nostalgic for my home state and those charming stories. What better project, really?

I wish I had thought to take a picture of the completed set of necklaces, because they were so sweet and some of my favorite pieces I've created, but I was in too much of a hurry to get them in the mail and to Elizabeth in time for their big trip. Luckily, however, she took some beautiful photos of the girls having the time of their lives in "Deep Valley" and gave me permission to share this collage with you (you can see a great shot of the "Betsy" necklace in the lower left, and you'll notice the girls wearing their pendants in the other photos as well):

I'm so honored to have been a part of their adventures "Over the Big Hill" - thank you for sharing, Elizabeth!

Blog Hop: My Art and Process

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I was tagged to participate in a blog hop about my current artistic endeavors, and I wrote the post below a few weeks ago but wasn't able to post it due to being on vacation with only my not-at-all-trusty iPod Touch with me. So, without further ado, here's my belated entry:

My friend Robyn, who is an amazing artist and all-around creative genius (evidence here, here, and here), recently blogged about her current work and inspirations and tagged me to do the same. I'm feeling a little bit daunted by putting my post up next to hers for comparison, because she is always attempting amazing new things and I'm, well, doing the same old, same old in between diaper changes. But here goes.

1. What am I working on? I've been making more of my story bracelets - wooden bangles onto which I decoupage selected lines of text from vintage books - to prepare for an upcoming [edit: now past] show, the Rockford City Market. I'll have a few of my items on display there alongside Robyn and our friend Ann as part of the Lucky Penny Collective, the name we've given ourselves for our joint ventures as crafters and (fingers crossed!) art market creators. Anyway, it's been a year since I've made any of these, so it feels good to get back in the saddle.

I've also been hoarding vintage fabric lately because I have a vision for a slightly new direction for my shop: I'd like to sell, in limited quantities, some purses, clutches, scarves, and headbands repurposed from vintage sheets and handkerchiefs. It's an idea I've been working on since last summer, but I haven't had the time to bring it to fruition yet, especially since experimenting with a new idea takes so much longer than churning out more of what I already know how to do. I have visions for some vintage book page buntings made with vintage lace and ribbon, too, but I haven't gotten farther than just collecting the raw materials so far.

As far as writing goes - since that's the other part of my "creative self" - I have slowly been getting caught up on a small, private blog I keep just for close friends and family with updates about my two daughters. I consider this my public writing space, but the other blog is just the quiet, ordinary details of our day-to-day life that I try to keep for posterity purposes. My ultimate goal is to publish the blog entries as a series of "yearbooks" for the girls - a virtual scrapbook printed on actual paper that they can keep just as they would treasure a photo album. I'm really behind on the entries, though, and it's overwhelming trying to edit photos and write the little stories that accompany each entry. I'd like to be up-to-date with it by the end of the summer.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre? To be honest, I don't know that it does. I often feel that what I create is derivative. I do think that, with my English teaching background, I tend to be pretty particular about the text I use in the jewelry I create, whereas some other Etsians who make similar items don't seem to be as choosy about the words they feature. I've also noticed that a lot of book jewelry out there is actually made from good quality photocopies or scans so that the artist can make multiples of a great segment of text that works well for a pendant, for example - and I'm just not willing to do that, which means I spend a lot of time poring over the books I've collected to find new pieces to use.

3. Why do I write/create what I do? It's pretty obvious if you've been a long-time blog reader, but I'm a bibliophile and I desperately need a creative outlet of my own while I'm at home with the girls. I certainly have to be creative coming up with activities to keep Lorelei and Phoebe busy, but I find that if I don't have a mental and psychological space of my own, I get very restless and resentful.

4. How does your creating process work? In fits and starts, because I don't ever have long blocks of time any more. These days, I work faster than I'd like, and so sometimes things don't turn out the way I've been picturing in my head. Maybe in the future I'll have time to linger over the creative process again, but for now, it's mostly hurry-hurry-hurry. I do spend a lot of time envisioning future products while I'm awake with a baby at 3am, so at least things are percolating around up there! When I do have a chance to work, it's usually in front of something on Netflix - I like to have noise on in the background while I'm creating. When it's clean, I like to work in my craft room, but it's also a guest room and - to tell the truth - a dumping ground for lots of kid project materials and other random things, so I find myself at my dining room table more than I'd like.

I'm tagging three other artists/writers/creative types - hoping to read all about your own creative processes on Monday, July 7th if you choose to share!

Manda of Captain Apricot
Meg of Boho Mama
Stephanie of Adventures of an Artist, Wife, and Mom

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