Thursday, July 31, 2008

Book Arts: Travel Journal

Jonas (my 9.5 year-old), my mom, and brother are taking a road trip to Indiana. So I put together a little Travel Journal for Jonas, inspired by the Visual Chronicles book that I first mentioned here. My idea was to make a book that would have some pages of prompts and plenty of pages of almost-blank for my boy to embellish on the road. The paper inside alternates between lightweight rice paper in a light tan, and white heavyweight printmakers' paper (because this is what I had, thanks to Joanie's dad).

Any real bookbinders should not look too closely at the binding because I totally winged it.

Inside front cover, some ideas for embellishment:
Bee stamps:

We're big fans of the car game of "If you were a _________, what would you be?" So I made a grid of the three participants on the trip, some starters (time of day, color, animal, season, mountain vs. ocean, etc.) and left some blank space too:

"How many times did you stop for someone to pee?" and "How much did Nana spend on gas? Keep track of each time and then add it up here." Questions on this page:
The back cover:Some things I found out:
  • The oven at low temp can help dry out tacky pages of acrylic paint, but doesn't help dry gel medium.
  • Gel medium is tacky forever. A little cornstarch rubbed on the affected areas helped smooth things out a bit.
  • Drilling the holes for the binding made me almost hyperventilate a few times.
More Baked Goods
Could there be a summer post without a special dessert?
This apricot tart (OK, so it's baked in a pie plate because I have no tart pan) was baked in honor of Baby Alice (almost 2), who came to visit with her parents and charmed us with her tiny voice and many words. The tart above was not nearly as yummy as Alice herself.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bikes and Books

Feet on the pedals, no training wheels.

Yes, we have a new biker in the house. Remember my boy just turned 6 and was given a brand-new bike for his birthday by two of his Bumpas? Well, on Friday he started riding the Jet 16 with no training wheels. Just like that.

So here is a movie of one of Sylvan's first rides (try to ignore the cluttered yard in the background):

Bigger boy, bigger feet. Two bikes, two boys.

It was BookLovers' Cafe yesterday at Rockport Public Library. It's a program that I started at the library as a place for folks to come and be able to talk about the books they have been enjoying. Because so often, when you read a good book you want to tell the world about it! So I bake muffins and scones, we have tea and coffee, and we talk about whatever book is wonderful. While folks talk, I take notes and write them up; people talk about everything from Great Works of Literature to light mysteries to nonfiction and even audiobooks. And nobody passes any judgment on your choices either! The notes are posted on the web at the earlier link.

Yesterday I talked about Once Upon a Tart, my new favorite cookbook: full of great writing and tips and sidebars, written by two guys who have a cafe by the same name in SoHo. The treats in the picture above come from that book: Lemon Poppyseed Muffins and Honey Cornmeal Scones. And I brought in my copy of Collect Raindrops by Nikki McClure, which you first read about in this post. Because I just can't help myself from spreading the Good News about her work.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Surrounded by Talent

Yummy summer tart with local berries (raspberries, black raspberries, and high-bush blueberries) and non-local Kiwis (what beautiful party-crashers). Delicious. The tart crust stayed crisp and delicious even into the next day. This was the sweet ending to our feast with friends from Portland and NYC, featuring amazing mussels and halibut, a zingy herb salad, local wine, and berry gazpacho.
A very non-seasonal ATC, above, but that shows you my new alphabet set "Urban," which I love. Perhaps this ATC is in contrast to the un-Hushlike summer life that we are having and---mostly---enjoying quite a lot.

So check out this first ATC by our recent guest, Susan:
The quote is from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and yes, it features BEADS! Blow my mind into a new hair-do! Thinking outside the box is so fun for everyone involved. (Did I mention this was Susan's very first ATC?!)

Below, my sweet Husby's most recent card, with background drawing by Peter Sis and words by Pablo Neruda:
It always takes him a long time to make his cards, but they reflect his thoughtfulness and care. Again, making ATCs with friends and relations is my favorite way to learn and absorb ideas about process, construction, techniques, and gets me shuffled out of my ruts in short order.

Finally, the top card here is by Jake (the aforementioned Husby) and the card below is by our recent guest, Matt:
Hold onto your hairdos...Both men used the same quote by Neruda, Jake's in the original Spanish, and Matt in the English translation, unbeknownst to each other! The English is: Why do I live exiled from the shine of the oranges?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Birthday Boy

On the actual birthday we had peach-raspberry pie with crispy topping, sweetened with honey and sucanat.

The cake at the party was Maple-Vanilla with raspberries and vanilla frosting. For a less-sweet option we had the same cake with cashew cream and stewed berries. Sounds healthy, but both options were really delicious.

This is how the Birthday Mama looked:

Lots of water play on a hot day...And even a special guest appearance by one of our favorite tiny girls, in her birthday suit with blue Crocs on her feet! Below, taking a break from the whiffle ball game:

It's nice to have a teacher for a husband so that on birthdays, I do the catering and he does the games and fun. Summer birthdays are so easy...and the thunder storm held off until after the party!

Summer Time

We are deep into it now. Eating delicious salad from our garden, with bright nasturtiums and baby arugala that will make you jump right out of your socks.

So much eating and partying, with friends from near and far.


Little floaty airplanes.

Painting with new birthday paints.

Getting rid of a nasty old couch at long last (Jake had to take a hack saw to it to be able to get it out of the house. We have no idea how it originally got in, as it conveyed with our dwelling when we bought it!)

Monday, July 14, 2008


Gosh, I just love looking at that guy!


It is the week of Sylvan's 6th birthday! Yes, my water-birthed pentuple-Cancerian boy is turning 6, with a wiggly tooth and new bike. This is the boy who loves trucks and tractors, ballgames and boy-games and who is also completely charmed by sweet little people (much swooning if those little ones happen to be nursing). We have a collection of our favorite tiny girls: Alice, Leah, Tula, and Zola. So this truly is a man of the future: manly and nurturing at the same time! There are lots of plans right now, lots of list-making, food-planning, and delegation for a low-key (?!) celebration with a few friends.

More Reasons to Celebrate:

My new camera, which I am happily exploring and liking very much so far. Sometimes it's hard for a mom to indulge herself and feel OK about a big expenditure.

Still learning how to be the parent I want to be, while making mistakes along the way. Still learning how not to keep holding onto my disappointment in myself when I mess up (hmmm, there are others in this household who are still learning this one too). Still thankful that I have someone(s) to test me...just when I think I have things worked out, there are new challenges presented about twenty million times a day. Still grateful to have a patient and loving husband who can love me even when I can't love myself.
(and in case you didn't catch that caption...)

The evening sky, tonight.
Getting into my bed at night is one of my most favorite parts of the day. Even better tonight because I will go to bed having joyfully and completely exercised with Kimberly and the ladies this morning.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Inspired: Nikki McClure

I just received this gorgeous gift from my mom: Nikki McClure's book Collect Raindrops. It's my new favorite bedtime book; I love to peruse it just before sleep. Each family member has a favorite page, or two or three. You can read all about this talented artist from Olympia (Washington) in the bio on her website, but suffice it to say that although these lovelies look like woodblock prints they are paper cuts. Yes, that's right, I mean she takes a piece of black paper and uses her X-Acto knife to create amazing and sensitive portraits of life, families (and not just Mamas), and community. The color is added afterwards, and often the lettering is hand-carved.

Nikki generously gave her permission for me to reproduce the cover and an interior image. Let me tell you, it was tough to pick just one (I was really tempted by "Respond" which features a woman hanging the laundry, with crows. You probably already know my obsession with laundry lines.) But I adore these robins because I know them so well from my front yard when it is waking up:

Nikki has so many amazing products to check out, but high on my wish list are:
  • The Things to Make and Do journal, featuring these sections: Plans, Wishes, Dreams, Build, Explore, Learn, Make, Grow, Give and Find. I mean, perfect for the "J" type who likes to be organized and somewhat sanguine about her creations and visions. Love it.
  • Twine, the tee-shirt made from bamboo. Picture a ball of twine with a little bit unraveled.
  • All of the notecards, but especially Surrender because I love how you can tell that the little foot belonging to the nursing baby is a newborn foot.
And you can bet I'll be buying a 2009 wall calendar for myself and friends. Thanks, Nikki, for the gift that your work is for our world.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Windows and Doors on Your ATCs!

"Home Body." That's me! (The amazing green background on this card is by the paper-cut artist Nikki'll be reading more about her here soon.)

This Saturday the 12th, I will be at the Rockport Public Library facilitating the ATC group at 2:30. We will be making little doors and windows on our cards...Get thinking about how you could use doors or windows on your own cards! What do you want to surprise your viewer with? What is hidden behind Door #1? It requires a bit of forethought but is worth it.
"Kindness: Show It," above.

Here is what we have done today:
  • Taken Sylvan out to use his NEW bike, an early birthday present for this six year-old.
  • Eaten ice cream.
  • Swam in a lovely clear pond and the water temperature was just perfect.
  • Sat in the chairs in the breezy shade of our two big maple trees, watching 3 children draw pictures on the picnic table.
I'm a little bit pink from the sun. Such a nice tired type of feeling.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

"I'm Having the Creeps Because We Found That Bat Nest."

...about so many things, but definitely about taking off your shoes before going into someone's house.
The paper at left was from this fabulous notecard set, and somehow one ended up in my laundry, got washed and wrinkled and soft. No good for notes anymore, but in a new incarnation in this card. A new favorite and a little bit like a self-portrait.

Below, two new stamps! I just love carving my own, it takes me back to my art school days...
This chicken clucky has been in my head for awhile now, but I made it for Sylvan because I made Jonas his own ATC name stamps for the back of his cards:Old stamp, but I still like playing with it and coloring in all those little spots with my PrismaColors:
Independence Day Festivities...
Parade of Boats and Little Sailors; Jonas is at the end of the line, above. Below, picturesque Maine harbor, with parade coming by!
That's our nautical boy at the tiller, our not-a-team-sport kind of guy, but finding his own ways to be sporty:And of course, we ate too. Below, Garlic Scape Pesto smeared on bread by Jake. It's powerful stuff, amazing in its greenness, and so delicious. Jonas prefers it to regular pesto now. We later added grape tomatoes and mozzarella to what's below:
Chilled lemon cream pie with festive decoration and ginger snap crust:

PS The title of the post was from Sylvan at bedtime. He and Jonas found a family of bats living above our woodshed today.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Season of Parties

Forced hugging, brother-style. Note Jonas's first "real" tie, worn by my brother at MY wedding!

We were in the land of armpit weather (hot, humid, disgusting), down in Massachusetts last week, for Jake's brother's wedding. It was truly a time to be out of all of our normal routines...staying up too late, running around to different stores with various family members in search of belts, shoes, a tie, etc. But it was great fun to see family and friends, eat lots of food, dance, and cut loose a bit. And boy was it nice to drive over the bridge back into Maine and feel the temperature drop 20 degrees!
You know how sometimes you get a picture of your child that somehow captures a look from their future? This picture helps me glimpse my Jonas in his 20s. What a stunner.
The groomsman and his wife!

Triplet flower girls stole the show. Their mom and dad are amazing with these girls, especially keeping them entertained for all those pictures of the wedding party that take forever.

"Leon a l'accordeon," above, part of our gnome-ware set, offering fresh strawberries and yogurt. The link will take you to P.O.S.H. Chicago, a wonderful place to browse for interesting china, hotel silver, and all manner of interesting finds. And did you know that Carrie of Pink Crow Studios takes the beautiful photos for their website?

Now back home, back at my studio table, I am carving some new rubber stamps and waiting for the arrival of my new camera...Stay tuned.