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* Fabric printing.
*Above freezing temperatures. High five, Mother Nature.
A sketch of the 11th Doctor, because I finally worked my way through all the David Tennant (SOB! WAIL!) episodes of "Dr Who."
Something I painted last month, then decided to turn into a repeat. Because I
want need a skirt covered in mushrooms.
Things I'm listening to while working on book edits. Got Spotify? You can listen here
Here and there this month. I was going to say that I wouldn't miss February a bit, as it's been the most miserably long and snowy winter that I can remember. But then I thought of this show at the Lamont Gallery
, coffee at Book & Bar
and new ideas/fresh inspiration.
So I guess the shortest month wasn't a total wash-out after all.
This week's agenda: finishing up a book cover that I can't show (yet), but a painting that I can show (now).
* I've caught the weaving bug (seemingly, like half the internet). This tutorial
is a terrific jumping off point.
* The film Haute Cuisine
is delightful. But be forewarned, it'll make you ravenously hungry.
I've been working on this in fits and spurts since December and am inclined to believe it's somewhere near finished at present. Watercolor, graphite, colored pencil, wash tape and general photoshoppery.
Happy (almost) Valentine's Day. Here's a PDF printable, perfect for classmates, coworkers and/or your top-secret crush. Enjoy!
Free for personal, classroom and library use only, please. Abigail Halpin, © 2015.
Snowed-in again and a brutal case of cabin fever has me ready to climb the walls. So what's a girl to do? Re-design her website
, that's what. I've added a few new pieces, updated the book list and dusted off the pixels in general.
Since our last transmission:
* Blizzards and book sketches have had me in mole mode as of late. Ergo, there's been many cups of this tea
* I'm completely obsessed with Natural Companions
, by Ken Druse. I've been using it for reference material -- it's a goldmine of botanical images.
* Anyone else watching the absolutely delightful Grantchester
* And I'm planning a craft night, tentatively for March, at my studio. Local (i.e, Seacoast New Hampshire/Southern Maine) and interested? Drop me a line at email@example.com
and I'll keep you in the loop!
A fat quarter turned out to be enough for a detachable Peter Pan collar. And now I feel like I'm ready to go out and solve a mystery or two myself. Move over, Nancy Drew.
I started reading Kristin Lavrandsdatter
last week, hence, the elf maiden above.
A little warmup sketch. She's dressed exactly
like I want to be right now, in the middle of this arctic blast.
Happy New Year! Here's the view from the window by my drafting table this morning. That river's looking mighty cold today.
So Christmas was lovely and New Year's was great -- here's hoping yours was, as well. I visited with family, ate large quantities of baked goods and enjoyed all of the goodwill and cheer. But now, I'm back in the studio, raring to go. I'm working on a new picture book and sketches are keeping me busy. Aside from that, I've been mulling over New Year's resolutions. So here's what I'm going to push up my sleeves and give a go:
* I'm collaborating with my sister on an online comic that we're hoping to share some time this Spring. She's writing, I'm illustrating and we're both pretty darn excited about this. More on that later.
* I want to sew and knit more of what I wear on a daily basis. A party dress with a paper wasp print? Made it. 1920's bathing suit? Done that. But the kind of shirt I'd wear 'till the cows come home? Nope. And in keeping with that goal, I've got my eye on Grainline Studio's Archer pattern
and Colette Patterns jersey Moneta dress
* Take a class or two. I've been thinking of an etching class maybe and I'm trying to find a cake baking one as well.
And besides that, there's vague plans of travel, sit-ups and 25 books that I want to read. So here's to 2015. Insert lots of noisemaker noise-making and clinking of glasses.
So last January I made a couple of New Year's resolutions
. I didn't come through on the jeans (to be honest, I chickened out in the face of flat felled seams and rivets). But I did manage the resolution I really wanted to stick to, reading more. So in no particular order, here's my favorites this year:
1. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
, by Douglas Adams. I'm a sucker for sci-fi. I inhale mystery novels. So long story short, Dirky Gently is a detective I can get seriously get behind. Caveat: don't read this on a crowded flight like I did, because your maniacal laughing will be impossible to contain. Sorry, seat mates.
2. The Last Gentleman
, by Walker Percy: Armed with a telescope and an insatiable curiosity, Will Barrett is on a hunt for life's meaning. Beautiful prose, wonderful scenes of Southern life and the most gut-wrenching final chapter I've ever read, The Last Gentleman
is a keeper.
3. American Born Chinese
, by Gene Luen Yang: One of the best graphic novels I've read in a long time. I loved the blending of past and present, fact and fantasy. So very good and well worth the read, regardless of age.
4. The Greengage Summer
, by Rumer Godden: A tale of five children fending for themselves in rural France, this one is brilliantly vivid with a pitch-perfect narrator.
5. Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Major Works
: Hopkin's way with the English language is completely unparalleled and his later poetry is especially mesmerizing.
And here's the rest of what I read in 2014
. Which begs the question: what should I read in 2015?
Things I am painting/stitching lately. I'm also dusting things off and getting ready to pop a few new prints up on Etsy. That should be all good to go the day after Thanksgiving, cross my heart.
What else, what else?
*I saw Murder on the Homefront
the other night and it ain't half bad. Granted the plot's a little thin, but oh goodness, the costumes. Seriously. Hats, wraps, teetering heels, even down to the acid yellow knit vest Lennox Collins sports, it's all a visual treat.
*I'm on pie duty again this year, which begs the very important question: what's your go to Thanksgiving dessert?
Like most freelancers, I end up listening to a lot
of podcasts. So I thought I'd put together a list of a few of my favorites.
1. After the Jump
: Hosted by Design*Sponge's Grace Bonney, After the Jump
is a terrific resource for freelancers, creatives, small business owners and the like. A balance of interviews, tips and how-to's, it's definitely given me a lot of food for thought.
: When I first heard that This American Life
was doing a spin-off, I'll admit I was skeptical. But Sarah Koenig's made a convert of me and I'm counting down the days until each new episode. What I really love about Serial
is the way it takes a story and disassembles it, examining all the bits of information we typically zoom past in this soundbite age. Caveat: Season 1 deals with a murder, so heads up if you're someone who listens to shows with kiddos around.
3. BBC Radio 4 Extra
: You guys have no idea how much of this I listen to. For reals. I'm a sucker for radio dramas, so Radio 4 Extra is my auditory Shangri-La. Modern book adaptations, classics in serial form, sci-fi, it's pretty much all here. And speaking of the BBC...
4. Desert Island Discs
: Stranded on a desert island, what tunes would you take along? Desert Island Discs
poses this question to a terrific range of guests, everyone from politicians to actors, humanitarians to academics. You can also search for shows where the "castaway" choses a particular artist (and yes, I did listen to every show where the castaway chose the Talking Heads).
5. Smart Creative Women
: A treasure trove of interviews with women in a wide range of fields, everything from surface design to quilting to illustration and more.
And what else? I figure This American Life, Radiolab
and All Songs Considered
are a given for most people, but if you don't listen, get a move on ASAP. I don't listen as frequently to How to do Everything
and 99% Invisible
, but when I do, like 'em a lot. And if you have the slightest interest in comics, Jerzy Drozd's Comics are Great
podcast is top notch.
Whew. So what did I miss?
There might be snow and slush on the ground, but I finally finished the last bits of the wildflower print I started work on this past Summer
But enough with flowers. I need to start thinking about a Christmas tree...
Because it's almost that time of year, here's some tags I made for your gift wrapping adventures.
Fine print: you'll need a PDF reader to open these. Before printing, I recommend fiddling with your printer settings so that it's at its highest output quality (especially if you choose to run these on card stock). Feel free to print as many as you like for personal or educational use. Hope you like 'em!
Bits and bobs, sketchbook things. December, I'm liking you (if for no other reason than I get to hear "Snoopy and the Red Baron
" on the radio).
*I made these cinnamon rolls
yesterday. Granted my version ain't going to win any beauty pageants, but they sure do taste fine. Bonus: they're grain-free AND sugar-free.
*I have the mermaid tea towels up in the shop
! If you don't see any, I have plenty to keep re-listing, so no worries. And if you want one reserved, feel free to holler at me
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I just ate a sugar cookie for breakfast and the lights on the tree are going full blast, which can mean only one thing: it's time for me to head on out and do some fa la la'ing.
Hope you're having lovely holiday seasons! It's been busy here, wrapping up a book cover and starting sketches for something new and exciting (more on that in the new year). I also volunteered for this year's Candlelight Stroll
at Strawbery Banke. I had the best
time playing a WWII Air Raid Warden (that hat sure does make you feel like you mean business).
But right now, I'm off to spend the next few days with my family. I have pies to bake
and tunes to listen to
and general seasonal frivolity to partake in.
So Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Peace and Joy to you and yours. I'll pop back in sometime before the end of the year, but in the meantime, here's wishing you the very happiest of holiday seasons.