artaboutthoughtsjournalfun
Monday, November 30, 2009 7:10 AM

christmas present work in progress: Samus + Cindy

Wow, a month of posting every day went by pretty fast! I'm going to keep posting as much as I can, hopefully still every day.

Stick with me?





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Sunday, November 29, 2009 1:00 PM

christmas present work in progress: Samus



A painting of Samus from the video game Metroid for my oldest godson, Joey. Darn that body armor is complicated! I remember what a big deal it was in the original game to find out at the end that Samus - the character who had been kicking butt and defeating baddies - takes off her helmet and is revealed to be a woman.

So that's how I'm starting my holiday paintings... of a princess and a bounty hunter. Could it get any different than that?

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Saturday, November 28, 2009 3:27 PM

christmas present work in progress: cindy

Last year I didn't post anything I was working on for Christmas, but you know what, the recipients of these presents don't use the internet! So I think we're okay on the whole surprise thing.

Sketched in and waiting to get taped and painted: Cindy and some dancing mice.

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Friday, November 27, 2009 4:04 PM

mama.... mama? mama!

Taking a teeny break from drawing the Christmas paintings (Metroid is done, Cinderella partly so, will scan and post soon). In case you are not one of the many who've see this already and/or sent it to me, please enjoy... the Muppets doing Bohemian Rhapsody! There are over 70 Muppets, and I think each of them are used in precisely the right way (and you know I'm picky) It's especially delightful to hear good voices for Scooter and Dr. Teeth who were voiceless for so long. (Guide to which Muppet is where is here.)

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Thursday, November 26, 2009 7:30 AM

in thanksgiving



To print out and share. And for before the meal, how awesome is this mix from NPR: Songs for Stuffing? Please pass me some of that Frim Fram Sauce....

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009 6:00 AM

french toast girl holiday card extravaganza

Want to send some art? Now's your chance to have gorgeous cards to send out for the holidays and original artwork to keep for yourself, so you get to be both naughty and nice.

Choose 5 card sets and get an 8" x 10" print FREE!
Whether you're looking for something deep and thought-provoking, or artwork to just plain make you laugh, this special's for you! These two paintings are the ones I've gotten the most mail about: the thoughtful girl with a tree and two birds; and the one we like to just call "Fishies." Choose any combination of 5 card sets to send out and pick a print for yourself! Each print measures 8" x 10" and is printed on glossy stock with quality inks. Just let me know which print you want in the field marked "Additional Information."

All cards are professionally printed on glossy stock in full, luscious color. And each card shows one of my original watercolor and colored pencil paintings. Or if you just can't decide which to choose, there's an assorted multi-pack so you can have a little of everything.

Go see the cards and check out those prints right here at the French Toast Girl Shop.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009 9:32 AM

leafy art

On the day I made my leafy hat illo, the kids were creating some leaf fairies of their own:



Note the copy of Faerie-ality open for inspiration.



Sophie's fairy.





Angela's fairy. There were two others, one with a flying "V" leaf guitar.



Peter's leafy friend.

Now, looking at these photos, would you even know that there was a two-and-a-half-hour complete off-the-wall temper tantrum going on before this? I was so upset from the aftermath that I couldn't even make dinner and we had to order out. This was an act of trying to make peace after the storm...

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Monday, November 23, 2009 4:30 PM

the list

Last year's Christmas paintings (Hanukkah and New Year's too!) were such a hit, we're doing them again. This year, the requests have gotten more complex. Last year, I got things like "squirrels dancing" or "a soccer ball". This year, I have much more detailed instructions from my painting recipients, who range in age from 1 to 12. My nephew Joe even had his mom send me reference material and tell me exactly where everything goes! So it looks like tonight I will be working on his painting from Metroid: "He wants the planet painted in the background, with Samus on the left hand side and her ship in the sky." I like a boy who knows what he wants! :)

Also on this year's list are requests for:
- Beethoven - not a portrait, or playing the piano, he has to be standing around, doing nothing, Very clear on that.
- Cars - Lightning McQueen (and friends? I'll have to check)
- Cinderella - I'm trying to work in some mice and the coach too.
- A princess with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a turquoise dress, riding a brown horse through the countryside.
- A formal portrait of the beloved-and-on-his-way-to-becoming-Real Lambey
- A drum kit
- A black and white electric guitar
- Bunnies - the mother should be white and the baby pink, with hazel eyes.
- Dogs doing something interesting (playing poker? Nah, been done... )


And the answer to yesterday's joke: How did black eyed peas get their name?

They were fighting over the chick peas!

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Sunday, November 22, 2009 1:26 PM

bad joke of the day....

How did black eyed peas get their name?

Leave your answers below in the comments, I'll tell you the answer tomorrow!

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Saturday, November 21, 2009 12:29 PM

Illustration Friday: Music



Four years ago, (and I can't believe it's been that long) I posted the companion piece to this CD cover as my Illustration Friday entry for "Cold". I like how they work together:



My husband is an amazing piano teacher, and I sing, so as you can imagine there are loads of opportunities for music and art to meet at our house. These are the covers of the music books we've done together... inside they're coloring books as well as having sheet music to play.



It's also occurred to me that for a girl who regularly posts about all different kinds of music and sometimes provides links to said music, I can't believe I've never had a label called "music" before! So this is the first. It's about time!

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Friday, November 20, 2009 8:41 AM

who....

paints on carboard t.p. tubes?



That would be me.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009 7:41 PM

Your apparent nonchalance belies the fact that you can only think of me

I just realized that I am more than halfway through the month, and I've really enjoyed it! I think I would like to keep this up as long as I can. This month has been especially nutty - most of the time I am drained from the all of the things that I do, caring for and giving my all to my family, and a certain small someone has demanded every second of my time. Which is now overflowing to the other two, who are totally picking up on the vibes and are of course affected by it and react in their own 5- and 6-year-old ways. This is what I'm getting from my youngest... something along these lines:



In any case, having to post each day is keeping me honest and letting me carve at least a little time for myself.

So, how are you?

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009 7:48 PM

does a body good



Check out this awesomeness. This is going on my fridge.

Then check out the newest from Mark Bittman, who is just so great. Very quick ones that caught my eye:
44. Autumn Rolls: Shred sweet potatoes or carrots and brussels sprouts or cabbage. Roll them up with fresh sage or mint and some sprouts in rice paper. (Add sliced shrimp if you like.) Make a dipping sauce of soy, garlic, grated or minced ginger and honey.

also 47.... has eggplant in it. :)

61. Cook a lot of chopped fennel in a skillet with butter until pretty much tender. Transfer to a baking pan and add milk, half-and-half or cream to about halfway up the fennel. Sprinkle with thyme and shaved pecorino, then bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, until bubbly and thickened.

81. Tomato Pinwheels: Soak 1 cup dried tomatoes in hot water, drain and pulse in a food processor with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (add water or oil if necessary). Combine 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon baking soda with 4 tablespoons cold butter (use food processor or fingers). Stir in 3/4 cup yogurt or buttermilk and gather the dough into a ball. Roll into a large rectangle on a floured surface, spread the tomatoes all over the dough and roll it up lengthwise. Cut the log crosswise into 1-inch slices, put them on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until puffed and golden, 7 to 10 minutes.

89. Vegetable Crackers: Slice beets, sweet potatoes, plantains or parsnips or all of the above into 1/8-inch disks (a mandoline is helpful) and toss lightly in olive oil. Spread the slices on baking sheets, sprinkle with salt, pepper and, if you like, other seasonings and bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. When browned, flip the chips over and bake for another 10 minutes or so.
Now I'm hungry...

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009 7:27 AM

what I wore

Yesterday's outfit. Some accessories not pictured: halo, superhero cape, jet pack.

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Monday, November 16, 2009 8:27 AM

Illustration Friday: Unbalanced



Some scoffed and called the group "unbalanced" for their preference of wearing silly hats. I say, who are we to judge?

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Sunday, November 15, 2009 7:45 PM

time flies, again

One week ago... I made myself get away from the children, the computer, and the kitchen, and go paint instead. Yay paint!

One year ago... I had my first spread in Craft: Magazine! I am so sad there isn't a print version anymore, but I visit the site all the time, don't you? So inspiring. I was also making and painting Christmas presents from scratch, and it was so fun we're doing it again this year.

Two years ago... I did a craft fair. Would I ever do it again? Not the way I did it, no.

Five years ago... I was pretty depressed. It got better.

Ten years ago... I was waiting with the rest of the country to see if all the power would go out on New Year's Eve while we partied like it was 1999.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009 1:02 PM

"Cookie Monster is the only one teaching how to consume like an American!"

This is freakin' hysterical! Sorry for another video post, but this is too good to keep to myself.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Grover the Hill
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

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Friday, November 13, 2009 8:26 AM

40 years of awesome music

Rolling Stone has a great article highlighting some of the fantastic guest stars that have performed on Sesame Street over the years. A standout performance from my fave, Stevie Wonder:



Check out that kid rocking out in the beginning!

A couple of my favorites that weren't on there: James Taylor serenading Oscar with "Whenever I See Your Grouchy Face" and Feist's "1-2-3-4". But they did include Johnny Trash, so that's all good.

Need some more Stevie on Sesame Street? Crank this up:

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Thursday, November 12, 2009 7:25 AM

leaf lady



I love Fairie-ality. I would so happily wear anything from that book. And sadly, I spend most of my days in jeans and a big soft grey sweater! This leaf lady clearly doesn't have to do anything as mundane as pick the kids up at school, though. There must be a happy medium...

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009 8:12 PM

something

Yesterday, in the car, I was playing Abbey Road when Angela started contributing her own lyrics.

Something in the way she moves... Is like a pony in the water...

We all laughed a bunch, but Angela doesn't know how lucky she was to sing that because she's been driving me up the proverbial wall for the past few days and I've needed something positive to think about. I've mentioned before how nothing that works with the other kids works with her, and we're up against another one of those difficult phases where her prime goal seems to be to make everyone's lives miserable and to do it all with an evil grin. I have to get to the bottom of this, but for right now, I'm just so glad to have an evening with my paints, Glee, and a bag of potato chips.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 8:40 PM

d'you know something, Schroeder? I think the way you play the piano is nice.



Cast photo from 1989, "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown". I was Lucy, but my dress wasn't done for photo day so I'm in a sweatshirt and a skirt, which is one of the reasons I'm behind everyone else. My hair is large enough to be seen from space!

I'm in between Peppermint Patty and Sally, and no, no matter how much we requested it, they didn't make our Charlie Brown shave his head for the part.

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Monday, November 09, 2009 7:05 AM

Illustration Friday: Blur



Most of 2004 was a blur to me. I had a one-year old who had recently undergone surgery, and then had preemie twins who were born 10 weeks early and came home with heart/lung monitors. I had a day job. And, unsurprisingly, a large case of post-partum depression. I had days where the only way I got through them was the fact that I knew that later on, when the dishes were in the dishwasher and everyone was in bed for a while, that my paints were waiting for me. I seriously have huge dark patches in my memory about that time. But I remember the freedom in those paints.

"I learned, again and again, the lesson of creativity: the painting I make today, the drawing I do today, the poem I do today, is meant to save my life today."
~ Judy Collins, Singing Lessons

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Sunday, November 08, 2009 3:28 PM

amigurumi, part two, or, birthday lessons



Looking back over the summer, it's amazing how little I painted and how much I crocheted! I posted earlier about amigurumi and the bunnies I made for the new babies in our circle of friends. This post is about the second wave - my birthday presents. Not presents I got on my birthday, but the presents I gave to my family, on my birthday.

Let me explain.

One of my favorite illustrators is Tomie dePaola, not only for his gorgeous linework, luminous palette, and sense of humor, but also because of how his life and his art are so intertwined. If you are a fan, you know all about his family and heritage because so much of his work contains bits of his life; from his grandparents in "Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs" (I cry every time I read that book), the 26 Fairmount Avenue books, his own love of art and how it was nurtured as a child in "The Art Lesson", and his love of God in countless books, "The Clown of God" being one of my favorites. (And don't even get me started on Strega Nona. She rocks!)

I've been really enjoying Tomie's website where he shows new work but also reminisces about pretty much anything that strikes his fancy. I was struck by this story in particular, where it's his mother's birthday but she begins the tradition of giving to others to celebrate her special day.

"With that simple but magnificent gesture of giving all of us presents on her birthday, Flossie taught us the depth of the old cliché, "It is more blessed to give, than to receive." As the years went by, the real fun of each of our birthdays was not what we would GET, but what WE would GIVE."

The following are the presents I made for my kids for my birthday this summer:



For Peter, a turtle with a rainbow shell.



For Sophie, a finger puppet mushroom.



For Angela, a family of baby birds in a nest....



who went with this mama bird (already made).

Sophie loved her mushroom, but when she saw those baby birds, she just couldn't keep her hands off the tiniest one, and kept trying to sneak it out of the nest and take off with it! So I had to make her another bird, one she called "the teeniest bird of all." And that's the wee bird next to Angela's foot in the top photo.

Patterns for pretty much everything:
* Tiny Turtle
* Baby Birds in a Nest/Teeniest bird of all
* Mama Bird
* Happy Little Mushroom finger puppet

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Saturday, November 07, 2009 8:24 PM

napkin/art



Doodled while playing with the kids. Some faces from a "Famous Composers" workbook, because naturally, my kids know their Bach from their Beethoven and their Grieg from their Gershwin. I can't recall exactly, but I am pretty sure that lower right was Beethoven, I think bottom left is Clara Schumann, and big head guy in the middle might be Bach. All those wigs start to look the same after a while.

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Friday, November 06, 2009 3:44 PM

Artists: check this out!

I found this through LinkedIn... if this applies to you, go for it! Cards will be featured on Greeting Card Designer blog which has 400-500 visitors daily. Send submissions to: kateharp@aol.com.

The article says...
Christmas cards are the top selling cards of any category, and I'm writing an article on unusual Christmas cards for 2009.

Cards will be featured on this blog whose 400-500 readers a day include agents, editors, stores, and reps.

This is great opportunity & free promotion for you.

If you have a card you'd like to be considered for the article:

-Send jpg image of card to Christmas Card Article
-Send Artist's name (or company name)
-Send Artist Contact Information
-Include direct link to how we can purchase the card.
-Card cannot be a one-of-a-kind craft project. We must be able to purchase multiple copies of the card.


Deadline November 10th.
Article will be published in mid November.

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Thursday, November 05, 2009 8:31 AM

google-y eyes

Yesterday, the always fantastic Google Doodle celebrated a special event: the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street. I was all set to post this morning about how yesterday's logo, featuring Big Bird's legs in place of the L, was lovely....



but should have been this instead (5 minute mockup by me):

But I should have known better! Google didn't let me down. Today's gorgeousness:



Okay, so if I can predict/design any others, I would work in Slimey as the L one day! Who would you want to see on the logo?

MUPPET NEWS FLASH: According to Muppet Central, there will be new logos every day through November 10th, with a "great surprise" at the end! Check out the thread here.

Even more awesomeness: different countries have their own Muppets from their casts of Sesame Street for their Google pages! Loving this! You can see them (so far) here.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009 8:29 AM

prioritizing



On my calendar for today, courtesy of Angela. I love the motion to it, she's actively handing me a heart. And I'm especially proud of the way all the letters go the right way and none of them are upside down or backwards; something I've been worried about lately with her. Luckily, her teacher is not concerned because they haven't learned to write all the letters in class yet and apparently that's quite common among 5-year-olds. (If she's still making letters backwards at the end of the school year, then we can worry about it.)

Every time I look at my little datebook today I will be reminded of what to do today, first and foremost: spread some love.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009 12:46 PM

the antidote for the overwhelming

I wrote recently about being overwhelmed, and thank you so much to the other mama/artists who wrote me. I've been considering hiring a (gulp, again, can't believe I'm saying this) Personal Assistant as a helper a few times a month to help me get out prints and do mailings. I am currently weighing the pros and cons of this, and part of it is the whole question of if I am important enough to require that kind of help, and if I am comfortable with asking for help in that way. Laundry help - easy! Filling orders, I'm not certain yet. I need to figure out how to have more time to do what I really love. Are any of you artists out there grappling with the same kind of thing? I would love to have more insight.

p.s. ~ about this time last year I started a Fan page on Facebook, which to me seems to be the height of egotism, but isn't a blog sometimes as well? :) My motivation for doing it was to keep in touch with people I only knew online and focusing on FTG news, rather than on Elena news, even though many times it's much the same... In any case, I've finally posted a "Fan me!" button over there on the right, and feel free to sign up if you'd like.

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Monday, November 02, 2009 7:04 AM

Illustration Friday: Skinny



A doodle for i-Fri's theme of the week, "Skinny." It's been a long time since I've had time - no, made time - to participate. It's good to stretch my brain and make something just because.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009 8:23 PM

if the stars were mine



Today begins what I hope will be a full month of daily posting. Hello, NaBloPoMo'ers!

I was driving with Petey today in the car and was listening to my fave WNYC show when Jonathan Schwartz set up a singer I'd never heard of, Melody Gardot. Her story is so inspiring; at age 19 she was hit by a car and spent almost a year in recovery in the hospital, using music as her therapy. She learned to play guitar and wrote her own songs, and now performs and teaches about the importance of music in healing. And then the song started: "If The Stars Were Mine."

And I was totally smitten.

I loved the song so much that I scrawled her name and the title on the back of a business card at the next red light, sang it the whole time we were shopping for Peter's new sneakers, looked it up as soon as I got home, and started an impromptu dance party in my dining room with the kiddos. I so wanted to call Rich and play it for him because he absolutely would have loved it, and it made me so sad that I couldn't. It's such a great song - deceptively simple, catchy as all get out, singable to your honey or your kids.

What follows below is not the video for the song, but it's the best I could find. I totally want to paint scenes from this song, or make my own video, but for now I've got some stars in a jar for you. Enjoy!

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