Wednesday, October 31, 2007 8:24 AM

In which I go for a walk

I was walking under an bright blue open sky, on top of a hill. My hand rested on the back of a unicorn who walked along at my side. With a flourish and a swirl of color, a dragon uncurled himself from the sky and invited me for a ride. Naturally, I climbed on and we whirled around in the clouds, looking down at the green hills below us.

He touched down and I slid off his back, thanking him with a pat and a hug. The unicorn had left, and he did too. I continued my walk alone down the hill into the woods, where the trees grew thick and it was dark between them. I saw small, wild faces among the branches, and soon felt fingers clutching at my dress. Folk of all shapes and sizes, some winged, some green, some bark-colored, soon surrounded me and laughing, urged me to follow them. We walked down the hill through the woods, where it grew ever darker, but something (will-o-wisps? lightning bugs?) lit our way and danced in front of us. We made a very joyful bunch.

As we walked, worries came to mind, and then actually formed themselves into my hands. One trouble was rough and wooly and tied with red yarn. I let it go from me, and dropped it away from the path. Others crumbled into dust when I let them go. One in particular was a shining heavy ball, a trouble that has been weighing on me for almost a year now. "I'm sorry," I said to it wordlessly, "But you really have to go now." I tossed it away and it rolled off quickly under its own steam off into the darkness of the woods.

Finally, we came to what passed for a table: a huge flat rock ringed with smaller boulders and stumps. I sat down and was presented with tea in a bowl carved from stone, rough to the touch, and heavy. It was filled with steaming tea of some sort, reddish-colored and smelling strongly of mint and fennel and lemon. I drank it all. Tiny cakes and nuts were brought out for everyone. What they were exactly I don't recall, only that they were light and incredibly delicious. The fairy folk and I never spoke words to each other, but communicated with gestures and smiles.

Tea done, they pulled me to my feet, and clearly it was time to move on. It was fully night now, and a full moon lit our path. We walked a short way through the woods to a clearing where a pond of water reflected the moon shining overhead. Everyone jumped into the pool; I got out of my dress and jumped in for a swim too, hearing the splashing of the water and the night sounds of insects and forest animals around me.

And then the yoga instructor told us it was time to start coming out of our meditation, and that we had been laying still for FIFTY MINUTES. I have never been able to stay still and quiet for that long before, and I most definitely had not been sleeping. If that was a meditation, it was the most alive and joyous meditation I've ever experienced (and one I didn't particularly want to leave!) I thanked God for giving me my overabundant imagination, and prepared myself to join the rest of the world again.

(Starting tomorrow, I'll be posting every day for NaPoBloMo. See you then!)

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french toast girl #

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 11:35 AM

Don't blame the dynamite

Words of wisdom, as sung by Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem:

If you ain't been dancin' lately
Don't blame your shoes
And if you ain't been happy lately
Don't put it on the blues
Don't blame the dynamite
if you can't light the fuse
There's a party all the time for them what choose!

The end is my romancin'
with football on TV
He ain't took me anywhere since 1963
Her hair is in the closet
Her teeth are on the shelf
I'll put the good parts in a bag
and go out by myself!

If you ain't been dancin' lately
Don't blame your shoes
And if you ain't been happy lately
Don't put it on the blues
Don't blame the dynamite
if you can't light the fuse
There's a party all the time for them what choose!

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french toast girl #

Thursday, October 25, 2007 8:25 AM


I've been reading a bunch about how cooking your veggies kills all the nutrients - this was in my inbox this morning (I subscribe to this great newsletter called The Ideal Bite):
Getting your nutrients. One study found that stove-cooked spinach lost 77% of its folate; another study found that broccoli lost up to 97% of its antioxidants when nuked in the microwave.
So I followed some links and found this: it's a guy(who happens to be a model) who eats only raw food now, and these are his before and after pics after ONE MONTH.

All this is making me want to go out, grab a ton of veggies, and throw them in the blender. I'm not saying I would not cook anything again, but I think maybe a smoothie here and there and sneaking the family some extra fruit couldn't hurt. We eat pretty darn healthy over here - my kids ask for tofu and spinach, I kid you not. But maybe we're ready to take things to the next level. Or at least I am.

Checking out:

We like it raw (blog by my coworker's friends)
Gone raw has lots of recipes I'm going to check out.


french toast girl #

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 8:15 AM

meditate on this

Before the kiddos came along, I used to go to yoga classes weekly. Once I was more homebound, I had my favorite DVD and would do it only every few months or so, and then when I did, it was with kids screaming for attention in the background (so restful!) or doing what I call "combat yoga" - where I do a pose (bridge, or downward-facing dog) and the kids would scramble to get underneath me as fast as they could. ALL of them. I was so afraid I would squash them! I kept asking myself why I didn't do yoga more often when I loved it so much.

Last week, right before I fell asleep, it came to me: we have to start doing yoga again. So now Paul and I have been getting up early; we let the kids know that we're doing yoga and that they may join us when they're ready (ready means: did a pee, washed their hands, gotten dressed, straightened their bed, put their pjs under their pillow and undies in the laundry). So far it's worked so well I'm afraid to talk about it, lest I jinx it. We're downstairs in Paul's studio, starting our day peacefully, while whatever squabbling over the bathroom and who has what underwear is all taking place far above us (did I mention the studio's soundproofed?). Angela likes to get done as fast as possible and wiggles herself inbetween us, and if I'm not careful, she steals my mat. Petey likes to sleep in, but when he comes down he sits on the sofa quietly with a book. With Sophie, it's 50-50. But so far, we've been stretching and they've been quiet, so I'm pretty happy about it.

I also got to join a yoga group at my friend's church. We practice in the entryway (it's huge) and afterwards, anyone who wants to, gets up, goes into the main part of the church, and we pray/meditate in front of the blessed sacrament. It was very very interesting not only to do yoga again somewhere other than my living room, but energizing to practice it amidst another group of Catholics - nothing much was said out loud, but we knew we were all focusing on the same Spirit.

I'm also going to start downloading episodes from Yoga Today so we have a little more variety; much as I like Rodney Yee, I can almost recite his routine from memory. Do you have a favorite DVD to recommend? Anything with "stress relief" in it is great, not looking for "power" or anything where they say "leap to warrior pose!"

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french toast girl #

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 8:19 AM


View my profile on NaBloPoMo

It's that time again! I will be posting every day in the month of November, and you can too! The site's moved, so go here and sign up to get registered. (And then make sure you friend me up and I'll friend you right back!)

Some people are posting on a theme for the month, but I can't think of one single thing people would actually want to read 30 posts on, so I think it's going to be a mixed bag, as usual. Unless anyone has suggestions... ?

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french toast girl #

Sunday, October 21, 2007 10:04 PM

a moment, please

Screen cap of test for 2 scans of the unicorn painting that usually hangs in my kitchen.

Spent this weekend on a trip to IKEA for some Christmas shopping, but mostly FRAMES! Mom came, and her help was invaluable, to say the least. She has such a great eye and is incredibly artistic herself, and is one of my biggest cheerleaders. Whenever I would suggest something, she would go one better; I looked at unfinished frames that came in packs but said I wasn't sure to get them, she grabbed them and said, "Tell Daddy what color you want them, he'll paint them for you." (Dad didn't mind being volunteered at all.) When I picked up a frame with a mat cut for three pictures in it and said I could see putting three unicorn or fairy pictures in it, she reached over and got three more. I said, "Do you really think I would sell them?" She said emphatically, "Oh, definitely. Perfect for a little girl's room." Did I add that Mom's manning the table with me? Nobody is going to be able to resist her!

So as I saw the cart full of frames of varying sizes, I started to have a Moment-with -a-capital-M - I rarely see my art framed, hung up, or anything, other than in my own house. Many times I paint, and the artwork just stays in the closet or never makes it out of my sketchbook. The idea of a whole table full of my artwork for people to take home just kind of overwhelmed me for a moment. And then I looked over at my mom, and I knew I was totally taking a step in the right direction.

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french toast girl #

Friday, October 19, 2007 8:40 AM

I can't make this stuff up

The other day, I was talking on the phone, when Peter starts yelling from the dining room, "Mama! Come here, look! I made a pee! I made a pee! "

I run over, and I'm starting to ream him out for peeing on the floor when he knows better, and it's hardwood, no less, and why didn't he get up and make it to the bathroom if he knew it was coming, etc. As I get to him, he has a very confused look on his face, and he hands me a piece of paper.

That he has drawn the letter P on.

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french toast girl #

Tuesday, October 16, 2007 9:52 PM

asking again

Sooooooo ... I have the nifty glossy card stock, I'm about to start printing out business cards. I listened to your feedback; my name is bigger, the other info's on the back, and even though you can't see it, the font is more interesting. I definitely want to make the two fairy cards, but then I'm thinking, no matter how gorgeous my tree/girl/heart cards are, should I be handing them out for free at the fair when people should be buying the print instead? What do you guys think? Make them, but don't bring them to the craft fair?

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french toast girl #

Monday, October 15, 2007 9:43 PM

chalk = graffiti?

I had to share this story, sent by both my brother and Jill: City calls girl's chalk drawing 'graffiti,' issues $300 warning. My favorite quote is where the mother shrugs (because it got washed away by rain) and she says, "It wasn't her best work."

and now, a crafty update
This weekend I went to the art store where I bought tons of frames, those little brackets that people put dishes on (you know, for one picture) and teeny woven baskets to hold business cards. Either that, or tiny silk bags - one iridescent green, one blue, and one deep red - I may have the cards spilling out of them. What else did I get.... baskets with liners, all different sizes, to put Christmas cards and prints in, and a yard of leaf-green chenille/velvet with huge raised flowers on it, to put across the table for color. Should pick up the colors of the framed 16 x 20 fairy print I plan to have on an easel in front of the table nicely. Slowly but surely... this is starting to come together.

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french toast girl #

Thursday, October 11, 2007 4:27 PM

Illustration Friday: Open

Open, a bookstore and art gallery in Long Beach, California in Long Beach, California is sponsoring this week’s topic, “open“, and in a show opening November 3rd — in less than a month — they will display 25 IF entries. Which 25? That’s up to you, the loverly IF community! You get to vote on your favorites to decide which ones go up on the walls.

(ahem) New painting.

These are the last few days to cast your vote (until Friday 10/19) so if you are so inclined: Go here, and click the text that reads "Vote here for entries on the theme: open". You'll see little stars (wait for them to load, there are a lot of entries!) next to each thumbnail. Clicking on the star turns it red and registers your vote. You must be logged in, and you only get 5 votes. Enjoy!

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french toast girl #

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 8:04 AM

Amen, sister.

Michelle, one of my artist-mama-soul-sisters, has gotten it exactly right:

A few dozen people around the United States have decided I am not good enough, not compelling enough, not original enough. And I let those few people negate 5 years of people that BUY my art, LOVE my art, take PLEASURE in my art. I lost my joy for what makes me happiest.... So my decision is not to quit my art, but to quit commercialism.

It's very easy to get discouraged when I look at all the other children's books, art in galleries, licensed materials, and think "I could do this better" or "There's no room for me." Michelle, Jill, and I have been doing a lot of talking lately, and realize that it's the need to create that fuels us. We would do it even if nobody was paying attention. It doesn't mean you don't still strive for success, or recognition, it's just that you put it in its proper place.

The art comes first.

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french toast girl #

Tuesday, October 09, 2007 8:03 AM

imagine peace


Yesterday I was really frustrated because after all the planning for the business cards, when I was ready to send them, they upped the minimum quantity to 250, instead of 100 (meaning I couldn't do three, possibly could only manage one, had to start all over again). Paul helped me see that I was spending too much time researching printers and not enough time doing what I loved (painting, designing, getting ready for the fair), so we decided that for now we'll print the cards here, on glossy card stock, off our printer. I can do as many as I want, bring them all to the fair, and see which ones get taken; that'll help me decide which ones to get for real, when I'm not pressed for time. Done. (And thank you for those who voted, because you all pretty much win. :)

That decision made, I took a walk downtown and got my hair cut. At least three inches off the bottom, some bangs, colored it too. The hairdresser barely spoke and it was lovely - blessedly quiet except the radio, I didn't need to make small talk, and I felt like I was doing something else good for myself (last haircut was at least a year ago, maybe longer, as I am a pretty low-maintenance kind of a girl). Check.

Most importantly, I started a new painting. I want to do it for this week's Illustration Friday, but in reality, it's to keep my sanity. Even if I work on it for 1/2 an hour a day, it's not on the computer, there is no undo, and if it doesn't work out nobody cares but me. I thought at first I was crazy to start something new, but now I realize it's not crazy at all. Not enough painting makes me verrrrry cranky (and David, I haven't forgotten Alice, she's almost done!).

And as another reminder to myself to stop being so frustrated and tense, today would have been John Lennon's 67th birthday today. Go visit and add your thoughts of peace to the millions of others.

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french toast girl #

Monday, October 08, 2007 8:31 AM


Post has been removed because of excessive whining. Things are looking up. Will post more later.


french toast girl #

Friday, October 05, 2007 8:32 AM

in which I am very confused

Thank you, everyone, for your input into the cards. But now I am so confused I don't know what to pick. :) At least I like all of them! So I'm going to sit on it over the weekend, print them all out, look at them carefully, and remind myself that I am only printing 100 at a time, so it's not a major committment. I run out, I print different ones. It's picking the first 2 that's stumping me...

What I did yesterday was big-time scheduling. I had the calendar out, and amidst the class trips, doctor's visits, and playdates, I carved out definite dates that I would do two shopping trips (one for the art store, one for Christmas shopping), and one date to place orders online. I also snagged the first slot next Saturday morning at our local photo studio to get the kiddos' portrait done. Last time we did it, they had to resort to Photoshop tricks to get the three of them in the same pic, and it was reassuring to know that it wasn't just me who had to do that.

I've also been compiling a load of helpful links, here are a few:
Flickr's "Do More" page - lots of options to print and make things out of your images. I thought I wanted to make the Moo cards, but now that I see the dimensions (long and skinny) I don't think they're going to work for me. Still keep exploring the other options from their partners to see if I missed something. :)

Preparing for a Craft Fair - this and many other posts (and wonderful comments from you guys!) are getting the old brain ticking overtime. Keep 'em coming!

Printing - while I dearly, dearly love this printer, they don't do short runs on business cards. So I'm going to give these guys a try.

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french toast girl #

Thursday, October 04, 2007 8:05 AM

help me pick

As I mentioned yesterday, I figured out that I can swing more than one business card, which is good, because out of all the designs I came up with, it boiled down to which picture people liked best. I revised them, figuring that if I had two (or three) that went together, they should actually match as a set, so... which ones work for you? I have two that are my definite favorites, but I'm not saying which 'till people weigh in. For the vertical ones, the contact info will go on the back. What do you think? (And did I overlook some piece of artwork that would make for a great card?)

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french toast girl #

Wednesday, October 03, 2007 8:42 AM

I've got too much on my plate

Brand new video! Maybe showing this to the kiddos will convince them once and for all that he is not saying "pinkeye, pinkeye, doo" which is what they love to scream whenever this song plays at my house.

On the holiday front: I sent out a few emails, made some calls, and did a little hunting on amazon yesterday. All adding to my growing gift list; all I'll have to do then is divide it up into what gets ordered online, and what I go out to the store for. Currently looking up Star Trek YA novels for my nephew, who digs Data and Spock. I love that boy.

Getting crafty: Made a ton of business card designs and sent them to the Inner Circle for feedback. Realized that everyone was choosing them based on which illo they liked better, so have done more research and found another printer that does smaller runs (meaning I could print 2 or 3 pics/designs instead of just one, for actually less money.) I also confirmed the size of my table and started to draw out plans of what needs to go where. It's a start!

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french toast girl #

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 8:09 AM


A few years ago, I documented step-by-step my endeavors to get my Christmas cards, including finishing up a new one, to the printer (start at 10/13 and work your way up if you want to read). I was pregnant with twins and had a 8-month old that needed surgery, but I was determined that if nothing else, these darn things were going to get printed or I would die trying. So I held myself accountable by posting every night what I had done for the day, just to keep myself moving forward.

So now I have two large items on my plate that I want to get done in the month of October:

1. To have all the Christmas shopping done (yes, I know y'all think I am insane, but I like to have it done super-early so that I can spend more time making cookies and watching Rudolph and enjoying my family). November is for cards and wrapping and making stuff.

2, which is way more urgent: I am doing a craft fair in the second week of November. I have never done anything like this before. So, other than knowing I want to bring my holiday cards and prints to sell, I have to figure out all the other details - what else do I want to make? (I'm thinking magnets and possibly magic wands.) Do I paint anything new for this? How will I present it all? Holey moley, I need business cards, so I better send those out first so I have them back on time.... see what I'm talking about? Massive amounts of planning will be needed, and then swift action. Oh yes, and heaps of creativity, which I'm not worried about so much as being too tired to carry an idea out.

So. I'm going to post here, every day, some sort of accountability note that I did something towards one or both of my goals for that day. You might learn something new, or you might be an old hand at this and have great ideas to pass on. In any case, don't be shy and feel free to comment.

And if nothing else, I hope this message comes through... you can do pretty much anything if you have a plan and work hard.

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french toast girl #

Monday, October 01, 2007 8:28 AM

Definitely silly

A pic from yesterday's Hoboken gig. That's supastar Sophie onstage with me, holding my hand and shaking her little maraca. By the end of the second set, the stage was full of kids playing percussion instruments, air guitarists each trying to outdo each other, and a group of giggly preteen girls I was trying to organize into backup dancers. It was so much fun! (Now, if only it hadn't taken us 1.5 hours to find a parking space...)


french toast girl #

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