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1. stress reliever



My favorite stress reliever (apart from sleep and a good movie) is going to antique stores. I love browsing old things and digging through junk and there's something very relaxing about it. I love items that hold a memory like finding things that my grandmother used to have or something I had as a child. The above is a huge old suitcase I found a few months back for only $18 and inside was an old pin of pilot wings. I wonder were they were going when they got those wings and who exactly was F.C.T?

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2. Earth Day 2010

Last week I went and did an Earth Day project with the Woog's kindergarten class and we made Junk A Doodles®.


Each table had their own supplies:



And these were the creations they made:
(sorry about the photos, they were from my iphone)


^house


^star wars ship


^skunk


^robot


^group shot in the hallway

You can see what I did for last year's earth day here.

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3. Tea Party Time

There's a Tea Party coming with 19 squealing little girls. The Woog turns 6!

sketches:







final (completed with glittery flowers on the printed version):




past parties & invites

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4. starry night



This week, the hero of the week in the Woog's class is Vincent van Gogh, so we did a little Woogie Wednesday project to learn more about him. Starry Night is my favorite piece of his (and the Woog's too!) so we took the project outside and used sidewalk chalk to recreate the work on the deck.

In progress:



Complete:



I remember when I was in 5th grade, we did a starry night project using oil pastels and I thought it was so fun. I remember meticulously making my swirls and dashed lines.

Ironically, I was going through the pictures on my iphone the other day and found several I took while at the Met last summer. These were pretty awesome to see:




Starry Night is on display at MoMA so maybe next time I'm up that way I'll get a peek of it if it's still there.

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5. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

A leprechaun came to the house today and did some silly things! We found a note this morning:



taken with my iphone so it's a little blurry

"HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE!
Can you find all 10 things changed by me?
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
-Mr. Leprechaun

P.S. Don't forget to eat your Lucky Charms"


There were 10 things he changed in the the house so we ran around trying to find them all. Only one was the most obvious:



taken with my iphone so it's a little blurry


Here is all the changed links in order of when they were found:
1. Shamrock drawn on chalkboard
2. Suitcase in bathtub
3. Lampshade upside down
4. Can of ravioli on the tv cabinet
5. Kit hanging upside down by her shoes on the window curtain
6. Flamica shoes on her huge baby doll
7. Her Liz Lomax cow parade bank upside down
8. Book in the bathroom upside down
9. Tennis shows on the freezer
10. Her picture turn upside down in a frame

Last Friday he came to the Woog's school and did silly things in the classroom and when she got home, he had totally messed up her room AND "tinkled" (out chosen potty word) in all our toilets without flushing. They all had green tinkle in them!

Silly leprechaun!

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6. there's a loodle in my doodle



This week is read Across America week in celebration of Dr. Suess's birthday. The Woog had activities all week at school and today they were to come as one of his characters so, I sent her off with a wocket in her pocket. It was so cute to see little Cat in the Hats, Cindy Lou Who's, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 running around the Kindergarten hall.

We also worked on a Woogie Wednesday/Weekday/Weekend project of the Cat in the Hat. We made a Junk A Seuss-le:



As a creative person I have always loved Dr. Seuss and his weird and wacky world. I love the rhymes and his playful use of made up characters. When I was in Orlando once I saw one of his taxidermy pieces and thought they were awesome. I've always thought I would make my owe sometime with my art. I found another artist who did one here. I found a cool flickr stream with pictures from the Seuss exhibit at Fresno Metropolitan Museum:


photo via jentwo


My favorite book of his has to be The Shape of Me and Other Things. It was one of the books the Woog always wanted me to read her so I have it all memorized plus I love how Suess-like the simple shapes are. Amazing! What's your favorite Dr. Suess book?

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7. Going all 50's




The Woog had her first Daddy/Daughter Banquet tonight and it was a 50's theme. We treated her to a professional "up-do" and manicure. She was beyond excited when they left.

I'll be changing over my blog to Wordpress in the next few weeks since Blogger is no longer supporting FTP uploads. I've been testing getting everything moved over without hiccups, but they might just happen when I move it all over so if the site's offline any, you'll know what's happening.

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8. teacher gifts

First off, thank you so much for the nice emails and comments on my last post. I really appreciate it and feel so much better getting it all out.

Since the past couple of months have been crazy, I'm just now getting a chance to show teacher gifts from December. I didn't get a picture of it all packaged up (I did good just getting them out the door) but this is what we gave:


I took one of our countdown to school projects and made notecards for all the teachers along with their own rubber stamps. The cards were printed at Overnight Prints and the stamps made at Simon Stamps I highly recommend them both. Great prices, quality and fast shipping!

On another note, I've had to switch my comments over since Haloscan move to a new product. I'm still getting used to how it works and looks.

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9. Completely Broken

Today my grief ends. I've had a cloud of grief hanging over me for more than a month and just when I though I had gotten my groove back and felt so much better last week, I got another devastating blow. I make it a point to not post too much about my personal life, but maybe this is the only way I can flush it out of my system and start to feel normal again.



^this was a woogie wednesday project we did back in 2008 - a portrait of 4 generations of women

My grandmother passed away a few weeks before Christmas. Her death was something I knew would hurt me worst than anything and I remember a few years ago when my dad suddenly passed away I told my husband that when my grandmother passed away that is when I would be totally beside myself. And I think I was. I knew it was coming and had a week to, for lack of a better word, "pre-pare" for what was going to happen. That might have made it easier for me but it was still just as hard as I thought it would be. I not only lost a grandmother (my last living grandparent), but my daughter lost a great-grandmother and I think that was even harder to bear. It's so hard seeing a child grieve but also a blessing to have the comfort of that child when you're grieving. Her sweet words and tender heart have amazed me.

As I said I got my groove back last week and then got another devastating blow. Thursday night my grandparent's house, the house that my grandfather grew up in (he would have turned 101 this year), the house he raised his family in, the house where all my childhood memories seem to come from, the house where my daughter was creating her own memories at last summer, and I extending mine, was struck by lightening and destroyed. Burned to the ground. My mother came over early Friday morning and I knew something was up. She said she had news but it wasn't about anyone and everyone was fine, but it is devastating and I should sit down. At that moment I knew what it was. Weird that I knew, but I knew. That second I felt I had lost everything from my grandparents. I had lost them all over again, I had lost the feeling of being at the house, the sound of the screen door slamming, the porch swing that had rocked so many generations, but most importantly their legacy. I was completely broken.

After a total freak out, I somehow got it together and went out to the house to see. The scene was heartbreaking. Still on fire that next morning and I left it that afternoon - still on fire. It was so surreal and still is. I sent Walker off to school that day without telling her why I was crying but let her know everything was ok and I would tell her about it after school. It was her 100 day celebration so I wanted her to enjoy her party. When I picked her up from school she immediately asked me why I was crying. We got in the car and I told her. She teared up a little but I don't think she knew what that really meant. We headed back to the house and when we pulled up, she new exactly what it meant. Her little face scrunched up and filled with tears and started sobbing. Seeing her so hurt, hurt me worse. My husband took her around the house and I could hear that they had started making a game out of it and seeing if she recognized anything (which there was hardly anything) and that seemed to help her cope. She was very glad to see her tree swing was still there and that we would be bringing it home for the backyard. That night when I tucked her in she asked for a picture of the house to put in her room. I am thankful for the memories she

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10. Ice Ornaments



It's 19 degrees and snowing in Nashville so The Woog and I made ice ornaments. You can check them out here.

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11. Valentines Placemats

As I said yesterday, here is a detailed look at the Valentine's placemats avaiable through Oopsy Daisy. I love how they turned out - a combination of found objects and lettering - my two favorite things!


girl sketch:



for girls:



close-up:



for boys:



what's on the back:




These designs are available to license as a whole or each "section" as individual pieces - wouldn't they make a cute pack of Valentines?

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12. New Licensee



My new year started off great when I found my work up on Oopsy Daisy's site - even in cute styled shots (see the mermaid on the beach?). I licensed a few Junk A Doodles® with them and can't wait to get my hands on the actual canvases. They have been on my client wish list for quite a while and I'm glad my persistence and follow-up paid off. So excited about this new relationship!

Tomorrow I'll show you a detailed look at the Valentine's placemats I did for them - super cute! I blogged a sneaky peek here.

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13. Custom Portfolio

Target recently contacted me (via a contact made at SURTEX) to send them "my book" to share with their creative team. My 3-ring binder of samples or my black leather portfolio was not going to be good enough for them, no, no. I needed something that said "Hey, look at me!", showed off my style from the front to the back and incorporated my love for found objects, lettering & color, so I created an entire customize album (that I can use later) where the contents can be easily edited and expand to any size.

I mailed it off a few weeks ago and got it back today in the same condition I sent it. I had a professor in college who had made this really cool portfolio that turned into a house (as part of her application for a architectural graduate program) and when it came back to her, she said the person looking through it must have been eating a snickers bar. There was caramel & nugget stuck to most of the pages. So thank you Target creative team for taking such good care of it.

front:




inside:






back:




packaging:
(I'm pretty big on reusing packaging materials so that's what I did)



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14. Podcast Interview




I was recently interviewed by Thomas James of Escape From Illustration Island about how I promote my work. The podcast is now available so take a listen. Hopefully you'll get some ideas on how to market yourself as an illustrator. After my Surtex trip to NYC I became more aware of my southern accent so if you hear some "twang" in there, feel free to giggle. It apparently amuses those not from the south :)

And in other news, next year I will be relaunching Living The Creative Dream. After a year of examining what I've done (I've even written a book on marketing for illustrators - but no takers yet) and what my original plan was to do with the site - I've decided to stick with what I know best so I'm shifting the focus more on helping other illustrators with their marketing. So stay tuned for that.

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15. Designs for Uppercase Living




For the last year I've been doing some work for Uppercase Living. If you aren't familiar with them, they are a company from Utah that produces vinyl wall expressions. Their products are only available through company reps and are pretty popular all over the country and their Design Manger is one of the best people I've ever worked with!

I've done about 250 design for them so far and just a handful are in the current catalog. More will come out in Spring/Summer and next Fall/Winter. You may be able to point out a few of mine that involve some sort of illustration or hand lettering. I've also done several traditional looking ones. If you had a specific question as to which ones I've designed or want to know if I designed a particular one, just let me know. You can flip through their catalog here.

If you'd like to purchase some of my designs or others you can order them from my friend Rannie - and to comply with the new FTC disclosures, I receive NO compensation for referring you to her :) These do make great Christmas & Housewarming gifts!

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16. Sneaky Peeks






I've been working recently on a ton of licensing and children's illustration projects (guess people are back to spending money again before their budget year is up). So above is a sneaky peek of 2 projects. Yeah, I know you'd love to see the rest, but I think I need to hold off for a while.

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17. flying




This is an older Junk A Doodles® piece but thought of it when I saw this week's illustration Friday topic "flying."

Here are other "flying" pieces in this style:

   

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18. Art Licensing Resources



Tara Reed has got some really great resources for Art Licensing! I'm a big fan of these and I was so excited to see her email newsletter this morning announcing her latest product: Product Mock-Up Magic. I can not begin to tell you how much time this will save me!! I've struggled with getting images together to mock up and honestly, I just don't have time time. And my philosophy is if you don't have time, get some one else to do it for you, and Tara has done that. I love her "teaching" technique. She is so thorough so anyone not totally familiar with Photoshop can easily follow her steps to help grow a licensing business. The product will ship on October 21st, but go ahead and pre-order it now because you'll save $20. I just ordered my copy and can't wait to get it and start mocking up products. I'm throwing out all my old mock-up because I never really liked how they turned out and these from Tara are so much better. Click here to learn more and purchase.

In the past I have also purchased Tara's repeat pattern e-book to refresh my memory on how to make patterns (hadn't done it since collage and I totally forgot how). I think it is a must-have and patterns are very addictive to make!!

She also has this cool affiliate program with all her products too so you can refer people to her products, get paid for it and use that money to buy more of her resources. So...I'd like to refer you- Go to the bottom of the page, click "affiliate program" and sign-up. Super easy!

Tara also agreed to be one of the judges for Pumpkin Junkin' so she just all around ROCKS!

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19. Man, I love this kid!



Bear with me, but this is worth a read. My mom emailed this to me today and I kind of got all choked up!

The Price of Children:

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140.00 for a middle income family. Talk about price shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition.

But $160,140.00 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into:
- $8,896.66 a year
- $741.38 a month
- $171.08 a week
- A mere $24.24 a day!
- Just over a dollar an hour.

What do you get for your $160,140.00?
- Naming rights. First, middle, and last!
- Glimpses of God every day.
- Giggles under the covers every night.
- More love than your heart can hold.
- Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs.
- Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies.
- A hand to hold usually covered with jelly or chocolate.
- A partner for blowing bubbles and flying kites.
- Someone to laugh yourself silly with

You get to:
- finger-paint
- carve pumpkins,
- play hide-and-see
- catch lightning bugs
- never stop believing in Santa Claus.

Have an excuse to:
- keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh,
- watch Saturday morning cartoons,
- go to Disney movies
- wish on stars.

You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.

For a mere $24.24 a day, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for:
- retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof
- taking the training wheels off a bike
- removing a splinter
- filling a wading pool
- coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and
- coaching a baseball team that never wins, but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.

You get a front row seat in history to witness the:
- First step
- First word
- First bra,
- First date
- First time behind the wheel

You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match. In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under God. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost. That is quite a deal for the price!!!!!!!

Love & enjoy your children & grandchildren & great-grandchildren... It's the best investment you'll ever make!

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20. art filled weekend




I am determined to have an art filled weekend! I have a promo to do for the Illustration For Kids mailer, greeting card ideas to finalize, some product ideas to compile and send to a manufacturer, plus start junkin' my pumpkin for my annual contest & exhibit (you can follow Pumpkin Junkin' on twitter or facebook for updates)!

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21. Miss Spider's Tea Party



I signed up to organize a Miss Spider tea party for the Woog's class Friday. We'll have Miss Spider there to read her book, plus games & yummy tea party/spider themed food. I've hit about every store I know to find spider things in the Halloween sections and it's been a challenge to find things with "just" spiders :(

If you're not familiar with the Miss Spider character, she is from The Miss Spider/Sunny Patch books by author/illustrator David Kirk. His work is fantastic and he also has some cute outdoor things at target during the summer and then cute cups and plates.

Unfortunately I haven't been able to find much of a portfolio online for him but did find this site. He works in oils and I love his color palette. And a cute tidbit, to go along with his nature themed work, all 3 of his daughter's are named after flowers.

His books have also been turned into a TV series which is very popular at our house. You can see it on Noggin:

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22. Staring next week!!


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23. Pattern

I haven't posted to Illustration Friday for a while, but since this week's topic is "pattern" I couldn't resist. I love making repeat patterns and they are quite addictive. If you don't know how, Tara Reed has a great e-book for it and you'll be making patterns in no time!

Here's the piece I designed first:


And then a "pattern" made from it:



And just a reminder that Pumpkin Junkin' started Thursday!

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24. i {heart} fall!



Yep, I just love it!

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25. Junk Your Pumpkins!!



Pumpkin Junkin' 2009 has officially begun!

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