Saturday, December 15, 2012

Yes, I Do Still Exist

2012 christmas penguin colored web
I am still here, if there is anyone left reading this blog. Life has been sort of intense, yet boring, since I last wrote back in May. I plan to be around more often in the new year as I attend to my freelance career more ruthlessly than usual. The reason for this is because I recently made the decision to (almost) entirely quit doing the craft show circuit. This past year I did 16 shows. That may not sound like a lot, but it really is. Months of preparing, brain power creating new products, nights sitting up packaging and pricing. And then about half those shows were out of town which meant, at the very least, a long drive in the morning before an early set up, or an entire weekend spent away from my family. Travelling across the midwest has been pretty fun, though, I have to say. My good friend Sadly Harmless and I were lucky enough to attend a lot of the same out of town shows, and got to spend countless hours in the car getting to know each other better than we ever have before in our 12+ year friendship. So that was a perk. I got to stay in hotels, some fancier than others. I got to explore some new cities (even though that sort of thing is sort of overwhelming and scary to an introvert like me). I got to meet a ton of new and amazing vendors. I got to have some alone time only worrying about myself and not my toddler. However. Coordinating out of town shows with a 2 year old back at home can be trying. Particularly with a husband who is still cultivating his new-ish home graphic and web design business (Brandon With Glasses. He's just passed the 1.5 year mark!) and needs to work most weekends. I was starting to get burnt out, and not really looking forward to travelling. I wasn't always meeting my monetary goals, which I think had a lot to do with the fact I wasn't making plush any more (I just can't do it ... I love making them, but I don't love making them in bulk, and I just don't have the time to sit around sewing eyeballs like I used to). My passion is drawing, and the amount of images I have to offer is becoming a little overwhelming to shoppers, I think. I need to focus my energy and talent in a place where an overabundance of ideas and images is essential: freelance illustration. At some point, I almost completely dropped the freelance ball. I still have a couple long-term clients that come to me here and there, and of course I do personal portraits (love love love doing those). But my advertising efforts in that area have been zilch. I have been reevaluating and recalculating everything that I do, and everything that I love to do, and have decided I need to stay closer to home (I will still do one or two local shows a year), and I need to start letting the advertising and children's book world remember that I exist.

I am feeling a mixture of fear and overwhelming excitement as I drop something that has sort of worked for me these past 5 years, and embark on something new, the *real* thing I want to do in my life.

Oh, and also I'm expecting another baby in March. I suppose that also had something to do with this decision.

So, here's to 2012! You were busy, you contained a LOT of head colds and morning sickness, travelling, smiling, gardening, and exploring. And bring it on, 2013! Let's do this.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ok, I'm sorry. I hate it when people say "Woops, haven't written in my blog in awhile!" So I'm not going to say it. Instead I will say, "Hey! It's been a long time! How've you been?"

I've been busy with this: Untitled

And this: Starting the Dog Series!

And making delicious food: Watching it get puffy in the oven. It's magic!

Homemade pita, homemade red pepper hummus, homemade chicken salad. Awesome!

Dude, I made baked "hard boiled" eggs today, and look what happened! Do I win a prize? (my yolk came out in a solid ball! Awesome!) I'll pop in again soon. See you later!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Coming soon: Fancy paper garlands! I just love these little bugs.

I don't mean to brag. I really don't. I just want to help myself remember how amazing this time in my life is. Sure, I am just like the rest of you: I forget to go to the grocery store, so we eat McDonald's for dinner last minute. I go to bed angry sometimes. I leave the house 3 times because I keep forgetting something I need. I don't do the dishes every day. I don't always feel like the perfect mother (who is?). But beyond all that, the main fabric that is my life is really pretty perfect. My immediate family is happy and healthy. My extended family is wonderful and supportive. My husband and I wake up every single day and know that we both get to do what we love: make art, and play with our baby daughter. We don't make enough money to take long extravagant vacations, or have a huge house, or hell, even go to the movies all that often. But we never go hungry. We are confident of the roof over our heads and our love for each other. We are surrounded by amazing men and women who are also making their dreams come true by illustrating, sewing, binding, photographing, selling, cooking, baking, and just creating in general. Inspiration and love is around (almost) every corner here. It's pretty sappy, and it's pretty amazing.

With all of that out of my system, I'm going to use this space to announce the winner of my latest facebook contest:

#31, Peggy M! Congratulations! I will contact you later this evening.

If you'd like to be in on future contests, become a fan of Cordial Kitten here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Real Life

Tonight we watched a movie about zines, called 100 Dollars and A T-Shirt. It was pretty good. It kind of almost made me want to make a zine again, but not really. I hypothesize that all those people making zines grew up and opened etsy stores (like me. I prefer that my "hobby" makes my living, rather than working at a coffee shop). Now instead of having interviews in dirty disheveled apartments, all these etsy sellers and bloggers have interviews in these glossy magazine-ready cottage homes, with perfectly decorated windows and accent rugs, globe collections, and other thrifted and repurposed knickknacks. A sweet little 4 year old and his 2.5 year old sister cutely run through the shot, almost blurred beyond recognition. I won't tell you I don't like looking at the glossy perfect lives of other people, but I will say it makes me feel a bit inadequate about my own home and life sometimes, which is dumb. I look at everything every awesome person has done, and sort of lump them into this one giant amazing awesome person, who never has crumbs on the floor, who always folds laundry right away (in a beautiful natural light filled laundry room), who has an amazing wardrobe, who works for all the publishers I want to work for, who gets flooded with unsolicited calls from art directors, who has cameos on Martha Stewart, who has 10,000+ sales in their etsy shop, who goes to the gym, who eats organic food, only free-range meat once or twice a week, and still has time to make personal work to fill a small gallery or two per year. A totally unrealistic person to look up to. Not real!

In the zine world, people seemed a lot more real. They weren't afraid to write about gross things, or personal things, or to have their picture taken next to their dirty dishes, or before they had a shower. Or maybe all those people were just college kids who didn't give a crap, and I used to be one of them too.

Ps, I haven't had a shower today, and have worn my pajama shirt all day, even though I did leave the house (just to the studio, but still). The hell with perfection right?

Here is what my life normally looks like:
(Virginia, putting a whole new spin on the phrase "food truck.")

(This truck offers a wide selection, including cheerios, broken pretzels, and bits of peanut butter sandwich leftover from lunch. Notice the mid-air cheerio, and the ones already on the floor, which will later be ground into fine multi-grain dust by my feet)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Oh, internet. I am finding artworking to be difficult these days. The problem seems to be a huge mixture of a bunch of different things. I have a ton more free time since I am not getting ready for shows, so I end up not going into the studio quite as early in the morning. And in the evening I've been watching a lot of movies. I have a couple of commissions to work on, but do dumb things like forget my computer cord at home when I go into the studio to work, so I can't use my laptop. Which has all the photos I need to work from for the commissions. I have a ton of ideas for personal work. I started a new series that I will start revealing to you soon. So at least there is that. But that is only like 20% of the ideas I have that I want to be making now during my "non-busy" season. Another huge part of my personal work is to make a children's book dummy (actually, two ... no it's more like 3), and I just can't seem to get started on it. I am intimidating myself, and I need to figure out how to let go!

No more complaining, me. Here is one of my favorite portraits right now:


Funny to work on a summery portrait in the middle of all the wintery-christmas themed ones. But it makes more sense when I tell you this portrait made its way to Australia where is is now, yes, summery.