Friday, December 30, 2011

And so the year draws to a close.

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Christmas with a 14 month old was much more fun than Christmas with a 2 month old.

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Virginia loves the (many) gifts that light up and play (horrendous repeating) songs she received from family. Brandon and I knew those gifts were coming her way, so we tried to balance it out by making her a few things. We also gave her a "Band in a Box" so she can make her own songs, and many books (including Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus).

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(She makes funny faces because of the bright lights on the camera :)

Here is the kitty I made her:
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It does not meow on its own, but she loves it just the same.
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Brandon and I also decided to hand make all the gifts we gave out to our families. Among the many things we made were:

Turtle Popcorn
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Manly Mustard
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(Made from an Ancient Roman Recipe! We're going to use ours this week with some roasted pork.)

Relaxing body lotion
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(Bee&Kitten is a fake business name I made up for an imaginary cosmetic company my friend Megan and I have.)

Brandon and I thought it would be fun to give each product its own identity and special treatment for the package design. I think he did an amazing job creating all the different logos.

Next year we may not be so ambitious to hand make EVERY gift we give, but if we do have to buy anything we hope it will be from small businesses and/or handmade shops.

How was your Christmas?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Oh hi, it is me! Did you think I had disappeared? Because I really thought I did.

This holiday season is kicking my behind like never before, but it's ok! Being busy with work means that my little family can eat and live in a house and sometimes do fun things like get sushi (Virginia really loves spicy salmon ... just kidding).

What have I been busy with you ask? Mainly portraits. Here is one I just finished up for a repeat customer:

Merry Kissmas

This family is great to work with, and they must think I do a pretty good job since they keep coming back for more. This is their Christmas card this year.

I have also been to several holiday craft shows this season, including the Bloomington Handmade Market, The Crafty Supermarket, Art Vs. Craft, and Renegade Chicago. Tomorrow I'll be at an awesome Yelp party in downtown Indianapolis, and then Bizarre Bazaar over the weekend and then I'm DONE! With shows. Will still have to finish up 2+ portraits. But then it will be Cordial Christmas Break! At last. Maybe I will work on that needlepoint I started LAST Christmas break. hmm.

One last thing: if you sign up for my mailing list you can stay up to date with what is going on in my Cordial World, as well as get access to free offers from time to time (including a free card pdf I am giving away right now! Limited time only!).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Things have been quite hectic around here.

I made this drawing:
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And this one:
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And some more, but they are secrets.

In other business news, I decided my skin had once again become thick enough to try looking for an illustration agent (this happens about once a year or every two years). It has been a pretty rocky road on my way to getting an agent. It is more or less nothing but rejection, which can be kind of hard to take. I usually end up crawling back into my hole to nurse my ego, and to try to continue getting by on my own. I know all it takes is that one person who really loves my work, and who is in the right place to take on a new client, but I just haven't come across that person yet. I try to tell myself that the rejection I am getting isn't (usually) a direct blow to my craft, but is usually more of a personal taste issue. When I think of it that way I feel a bit better.

In personal news, Virginia turned one!

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Personalized cupcake stand from Vessels and Wares.

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Party hat tutorial on Oh, Happy Day!

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It was a really lovely day, and a pretty successful party.

Maybe later I will tell you about the pumpkin eating dinosaur we saw today ...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Awhile back I was reading this blog and the author mentioned something about his friend who keeps a list of things that he enjoys. "'Watching cartoon cats eat fish' was one of them .. when I saw that, I smiled ... I like that too, especially when they pull the fish back out and it's just a skeleton." That list has stuck in my head. I keep thinking about it, and today I decided to start my own list. Firmly at #1 is "When people call babies busy." I don't know why, it's just so cute to me, and makes me so happy thinking about a baby being busy doing "very important things."

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What would you put on your list?

I have felt simultaneously busy and lazy the last couple of weeks. It was a scramble to get ready for Renegade, and now I am just sort of coasting by. I haven't been to my studio in almost a week (although I do a little bit of work from my satellite office, aka "the couch"). I have portraits to finish, a top secret poster project, and my ever growing list of personal projects.

I am also trying to plan Virginia's first birthday party, which is coming up very soon! I might be crazy, but I'm envisioning fringy crepe paper, homemade cupcakes, and maybe a diy photobooth!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I'm gathering ideas ... I'm starting to write *stories* again, and it feels good. For awhile I felt burned out from children's literature, but I think I'm ready to take another stab at it. Look out!

ps These mittens are adorable!

Monday, September 12, 2011

My lovely studio mate Kathryn Dart and I are back from vending at Renegade. Man, it was a trip. A real trip!

We decided to drive into Chicago early in the morning on the first day of the fair, which was this past Saturday. That could have proved disastrous, but it was ok. We were bleary eyed, but with coffee in hand we soldiered on.

It was quite foggy, which made for a mysterious hour or so at the beginning of our journey. We were chatting and laughing, heading into the abyss when suddenly cars were STOPPED RIGHT IN FRONT OF US! They just materialized out of the fog, too quick for us to stop. Luckily there was quite a large shoulder and Kathryn headed that way to safety. Before we had a chance to process what just happened, traffic was already moving. We could see a ghostly semi-truck turned sideways off the other shoulder, which caused the whole thing.

After that things were more uneventful. For awhile.

Of course I forgot my camera (and my toothbrush. and my beautiful stock inventory sheet), but here is a picture I stole from the Renegade flickr set:

9th Annual Renegade Craft Fair Chicago

Our tent was somewhere to the right of that balloon man.

We ended up being right next to the Yard Sale Press, which is nuts because I was right next to them at the Handmade Arcade in Pittsburgh back in ... May or whenever that was.

We had a long and busy first day, and ended it by meeting up with my best friend from grade school, Chrystan. We hadn't seen each other in probably about 10 years, but thanks to the magic of facebook we've been connected for a little while. She was nice and brave enough to let two silly girls stay in her apartment overnight, so we took her out for the most healthy dinner of all: macaroni and gouda and fries.

The second day was also busy and tiring. At the end, we packed up quick, and Kathryn went to get the car. She was gone FOREVER. She called to tell me she couldn't get onto the street yet, and then her phone died. She was gone for forever again, then suddenly appeared on foot. She parked just as far away, if not further, b/c she kept getting turned around, and didn't know what to do. Eventually we could see cars were driving onto the street, so she went back out to the car again. All the tents around me were packed up, my friendly neighbors were wanting to leave, and were wary of leaving me standing there alone in the middle of the street. But finally, there she was! Yay! We packed up, then decided to hit up the bakery one more time for road cupcakes. After a moment of sheer terror thinking she just locked the keys in the car with it still running and the gas tank on empty (it wasn't locked), we got our sweet treats and were finally off.

And then we got pulled over for speeding in a construction zone. Someone was watching out for us because we left with only a warning.

Then finally finally finally, after hours of driving into the night, eating french fries, identifying mysterious looking night-windmills, we made it home and I was never happier.

Until I discovered way in the back, trying to hide from my toothbrush and floss, I have my first cavity. Crap.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Life has been busy around here, but we still try to find some time for quiet contemplation.

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Yesterday morning I woke up to bring Mona her breakfast outside, and realized it was definitely sweater weather. 59 degrees! When just the other day it was 100 degrees! Quite a change, but a welcome one. So I broke out some sweaters, and Virginia's new long sleeved shirts and overalls, and we had a little photo shoot.

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She is very mobile, now!

From time to time I am jealous of my friends living in such places as San Francisco, which has my most favorite kind of weather pretty much year-round. However, to miss those few days each year that happen as winter melts into spring, or when summer fades into fall, would be a tragedy. Really nothing else is quite like the change of the seasons. It makes me feel renewed, and ready for a fresh start. I feel happy every day I can open the front door or a window and just breathe in the change. Bring it on!

In business news I have been working very hard getting ready for this weekend's Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago. My prints are all printed, my pendants are all pretty, and I have a small pile of plush awaiting their final stitches. Not much time left to go now. I am nervous and excited!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Little Kid Candice would be so impressed with Adult Candice. Not only do I get to draw pictures for my JOB, but I frequently make some pretty impressive nutritional choices. For example, tonight I had pizza for dinner, and peach pie for dessert. Then I had a brownie. Then I had a (diet) soda. Then I had popcorn. When I was little I would only have been able to choose one of those things. But now I can choose them all! Where is the part where I gain 200 pounds? I always expect it to be just around the corner, but it never is.

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These are a few things hanging in Virginia's room. The Vulture print is new, by Jen Oaks.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Woops ... oh well.

Yesterday I missed Awesome Artist Day! Didn't take long for that to taper off, did it? Actually I'm still trying to figure out the schedule, and I decided perhaps once a week was too often. I don't want my art blog to be filled up entirely of other people's art. MY art must also make an appearance from time to time!

Because otherwise you'd miss such gems as:

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Sheep Wearing Sweater

and

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Party Tiger

I made both of these pieces (plus one more) to sell during First Friday at my studio. Missed First Friday in August? Come out on September 2 from 5-9! The Harrison Center is having an open house and all the studios will be open to the public.

On Tuesday I had a birthday. I turned 29. I am almost old, but not quite. It is weird as I get older, the things I forget and the things I remember. I have a very distinct memory of turning 8. I got a card in the mail with a button attached that said, "It's Great to be 8!" And I wondered if I'd get one the next year that said, "It's Fine to be 9!" (I didn't, by the way). That was 21 years ago. 21 years ago. I also have a pretty good memory of my 5th birthday party, where I hid my face in my arms while everyone sang Happy Birthday because I was embarrassed for some reason. That was ... oh crap that was 24 years ago!

Anyway, for my birthday I got some pretty good presents.

Look! It's me wearing the ring I've wanted for oh so long!
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Honestly, I was really hoping I'd get this for my birthday, but I was trying not to hope TOO much, just in case I didn't. So, I was quite happy when I opened it. If you'd like one for yourself, go check out Sara B.'s etsy shop.

I also got this purse:
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From Refind Originals. The creator, Anita Hopper, makes all her bags from upcycled outdated leather apparel and upholstery. She also makes some pretty cool earrings and wrist cuffs. This purse was a total surprise from my mother-in-law, and I love it!

(And it's Virginia tested and approved)
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And last but not least, I received some cash pooled from my lovely family, which purchased me some much needed new natural cleaning supplies. Check it:

what i got for my birthday 2011
Dr. Bronner's Almond scented liquid castile soap, Seventh Generation toilet bowl cleaner, Seventh Generation bathroom cleaner, and Burt's Bees facial cleansing towelettes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Awesome Artist Day!

Lately I have an intense interest in patterns and lettering (look for some new art from me featuring one or both very soon), and today's Awesome Artist really satisfies my longing. Please welcome Katie Daisy!

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Katie is a girl after my own heart, making illustrations for magazines as well as attending art festivals and shows (and she's done some work for Target ... if you know me you know my dorky obsession with Target).

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The colors she uses are so delicious I want to eat them up, or maybe I could shrink myself down and and be surrounded by their warmth and cheerfulness.

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One of my most favorite things about Katie's work is her positivity. I am learning as I get older how important it is to surround yourself with positive energy. I want everything I see to bring me up, not down.

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So if you are in the mood to feel uplifted, content, and happy (and I hope you are), please check out Katie Daisy, and maybe buy a print from her shop to help brighten up your space a bit.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Awesome Artist Day!

Today's Awesome Artist: Derek P. Sullivan.

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I first came across Derek's work while searching for alphabet cards on etsy. I fell in love with that lil narwhal up there.

I am enchanted with his subtle humor and cute characters.

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This Visit Washington poster is freaking amazing. I love the colors, the composition, the typography ... everything.

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Cute and funny (notice the animals playing cards).

Don't forget to see more of Derek's work on his website, and to purchase prints from his shop!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Awesome Artist Day!

Hello, all. In an attempt to blog more regularly I will be instituting Awesome Artist Day! Ideally this will happen once a week, and I'm going to say it will happen on Wednesdays. I spend a lot of time clicking from here to there on the internet, and come across a ton of amazing artists, from illustrators, to fine artists, to jewelry designers, to seamstresses. I want to share their awesomeness with you and describe what it is I think makes them great. So stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The amazing Brandon With Glasses (ahem ... my husband) has graciously spiffed up my blog to coordinate with my website! Isn't it grand? He is very good at making the web a nice, clean, and functional place.

Also check out the new Binding Bee site, which I love. My friend Megan, who runs the business, had started the site up herself, and had Brandon tweak, nudge, and bring everything together. Now it is as lovely and charming as her hand bound books (and Megan herself).

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

I stayed home from my studio last night so I could go to bed early. I ended up trying to do some sewing, climbed into bed around 11:30, then did some reading. In other words, I did not go to bed early. I'm going to try again tonight. I am so exhausted I feel I can barely keep my eyes open, and it's only 7:45. I must be in bed by 10. I can do some reading, but lights out by 11. No excuses! This girl is keeping me on my toes more than normal, now that she can crawl:

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It's more of an army crawl, scooting around on her tummy with her toes. But she can definitely go places. Going places leads to trouble, like pulling on cords that belong to scanners or speakers, and finding every piece of crap on the floor that the broom somehow missed (ie, a rogue piece of toenail. I know. Gross.), and eating bandaids when I'm not looking.

I have been doing some work lately, although it is slow going.

For the Little Lutheran Magazine
:
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For the Day Nursery Association of Indianapolis:
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And Kryslis:
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Next up I have some personal portraits to finish, and then I must madly prepare for the Renegade Craft Fair in September. It feels like the summer is already gone.

Oh and humming in the background of every day is my desire for this ring:

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Available here from Sara B Jewelry. Sara is one of the many wonderful, beautiful, amazing women I know here in Indianapolis, and she makes such beautiful jewelry. I feel honored to know her.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I've been meaning to make a strawberry rhubarb pie for a really long time. Like, probably my whole life. I finally did for the first time tonight, and it's so delicious! When I was little my grandma would make her specialty rhubarb pie, and I HATED IT. It was way too sour for my kid mouth. But I'd still want it because come on, it's pie. I'm pretty sure I'd only eat a bite or two every time till I realized oh yeah, this is pie I do not like. When I was a bit older my mom showed me that pie with rhubarb could be delicious if it also contains strawberries. Since then I've only ever had store bought strawberry-rhubarb pie, which contains those goopy-almost-not-real-sugar-coma-strawberries (you know the kind you can eat at breakfast? On your waffle?). I decided the time had come that I make a REAL strawberry-rhubarb pie with my own two hands, I guess sort of as a throwback to my roots, and just to see what the heck it would taste like with fresh ingredients. I feel proud that the strawberries and rhubarb came from my neighborhood farmer's market, even though the pie crust came ready made from Kroger. You win some ...

Maybe you'd like to try it yourself?

Ingredients:

3 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups rhubarb, red, 1 inch slices
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups strawberries, fresh, sliced
1/4 cup enriched flour
1 9" pastry crust with lattice top
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter or 1 tablespoon margarine
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

1 Combine eggs, sugar, flour, salt, and nutmeg; mix well.
2 Combine rhubarb and strawberries.
3 Line 9" pie plate with pastry; fill with fruits.
4 Pour egg mixture over.
5 Dot with butter.
6 Top with lattice crust, crimping edge high.
7 Bake at 400 degrees about 40 minutes.
8 Fill openings in lattice crust with whole strawberries.
9 Serve warm- plain, or topped with vanilla ice cream.

I would post a picture, but I do not have one. So you will just have to use your imagination.

Now I should probably get some sleep ...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mona the cat has been living outside. Overall, she seems to love it, although she still asks to come inside from time to time (but she is not allowed to anymore). She has picked up two new naughty habits, though. One, when Virginia and I go out for a walk, she will follow us. This sounds very cute, however it is not. She will stay about a block behind us, and howl like the world is ending. "WHEEERE ARE YOOOUU GOOOINGGG?? DON'T LEEEAAAVE MEEEE!" And neighbors will all look at her like "What is wrong with that cat? Is she dying?" It's annoying and embarrassing.

The second is she has discovered her cat instincts.

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(I love this second picture, it makes me think of graphic iconography ... that bird is clearly dead since it is upside down).

This bird she left for us on the front porch last week.

Then this morning I heard a bunch of bird commotion, and went to the window to see what was up. A flock of birds was flying back and forth between our tree and our roof for some reason, and making a huge racket about it. Suddenly one swooped a little low and Mona came from nowhere, bringing it down to the grass. She just sat on it for a long time, meowing. I could see that it was still alive and I felt very bad for it. Brandon told me to leave them alone, since they were just doing what is natural. However I know Mona will not eat the bird, so I feel it is such a waste.

Enough about murdering birds.

Today is a freaking fantastic beautiful day outside after many days of what felt like late August. Virginia and I are going to walk to the farmer's market in a few minutes, and later this evening she is going to her first of many weddings this summer. I'm so glad it's no longer winter!

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Monday, June 6, 2011

On of my favorite blogs, Oh Happy Day, is sponsoring one of the best contests I've ever seen: a free trip to Paris! I am so excited, and have my fingers firmly crossed. There are several ways to enter, so head on over there to see how to do it! Good luck to everyone!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I didn't think I would ever make it to this day! My streak of out-of-town shows is over for a minute, and now I can take a bit of a breather. Still tons of work to be done, but at least I don't have to go out of town to do it.

I am so grateful for the chance to do all of these different shows. It is always really fun to run into other vendors I know, and to meet new ones. I made a new friend named Laura (I LOVE her illustration work), and we realized we're on the same show circuit. We were both at The Bloomington Handmade Market, The Handmade Arcade, Indie Craft Revolution, Crafty Supermarket, and we'll see each other again at the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange. Whew!

Last week the fam and I were in St. Louis for the Handmade Revolution. I must say it was pretty fun. Much better than Pittsburgh, but probably only because we weren't all sick. And the drive wasn't quite as long.

On the way in we stopped at the Cahokia Mounds, which were beautiful. The experience would have been much more amazing if there wasn't all the noise from the interstate. :\

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Hard to believe people made that hill by hand.

We checked out the arch:

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It was big and shiny.

And we went to the City Museum, which was a pretty amazing place:

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It would have been more fun if we'd had a 3rd person to watch Virginia b/c there was a lot of climbing that we missed out on. Although Brandon and I both went down the 10 story slide, which involved me going up the entire flight of stairs twice and down once. Virginia wasn't allowed to go down on our laps.

The drive back home felt like FOREVER. Virginia wasn't a very good driver, either. ;)

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Then Friday was the big First Friday open house; after which I had to pack up my car in the dark, then sleep for 6 hours, get up and drive to Cincinnati for the Crafty Supermarket. This was the first show I've done alone since Virginia was born, and I have to say it was kind of awesome. She spent the day with her dad and her grandma, and I got to have a solo road trip, and interact with my customers with undivided attention, and not have to answer the question "AAAWWWW ... HOW OLD IS SHEEEE??" 30 times. I missed her a lot, and at one point I talked to Brandon on the phone and I heard her crying in the background and it almost made me cry, but we totally both survived! And now it is Mother's Day, and I'm taking the day off. I want to work on for-fun embroidery, and work outside in the yard if it doesn't rain. Yay!