April 27, 2007

Cyber world collides with your "real" world ...

I woke up in such a hurry with so many things to do I wondered if I really could get by without brushing my teeth. Just this once won't a piece of gum do? But guilt overwhelmed me because my mother went to great expense to correct my crooked buck teeth in junior high and I figured at the very least I could brush my teeth for her - so I devoted 2 full minutes to my Sonicare electric tooth brush. When your day starts out like this trying to save minutes and skip brushing teeth or hair let alone applying makeup inevitably means you WILL run into someone that matters to you. But this didn't register until later.
I ran to Trader Joes to pick up my favorite snacks and beverages because tonight is my night to host the "article club" and instead of reading an article I decide to be a rebel and have the girls come to my house with their "very most favorite" children's picture books to read aloud. I'm stopped by a woman in the store asking about my cool tanktop made by my friend Sharon B. (the snazzy girl to your left) It's a picture of my mom going to prom and she looks like a princess. But it's also a picture of her first date with my dad. Apparently she went out with him in the afternoon and then off to prom with another fellow. People ask me about my tank all the time and I love telling them the story. Once again I find myself writing Sharon's website on the back of my business card and just wonder why I don't get my cards printed with her info on the back.

Next stop the 5001 on 2nd Street - they have such cool wine glasses and I've been eyeing these chartreuse glasses for some time now and I decided today was the day I would buy them, I mean I did get money back from taxes... And, aren't they sooooooo pretty!!!!

And, here's where I wished I had done a little more to myself in the morning... So, I'm bustling along the street and I see this woman and I blurt out "You're Vickie Howell", like I've just discovered gold. Poor thing, I must have scared the Bejeezus out of her. I mean I'm sooooo not a celebrity hound. I saw Harrison Ford at In-n-Out Burger and Vince Vaughn at the Burbank airport and barely blinked an eye. But this was Vickie Howell and she's a knitter, author, and one fantastic creative soul that I really admire and I read her blog all the time. I mean I felt like I knew her. And this is what happens when cyber and reality collide - it's a bit confusing and one can be very one sided and at first I felt weird and guilty like I intruded into her life... Anyway, she was gracious and kind introduced me to her friend. I now call my new wine glasses, my "Vickie Howell Wine Glasses". Cheers

April 24, 2007

Can you say ranunculus....

Well, it really doesn't matter if you can't say ranunculus what's most important is to SEE them (you can always point and say "pretty" - that works too). I've just finished three watercolor paintings and placed them to sell on ETSY.
They are truly a splendid flower -like lots of pristine layered tulle under a skirt. They have to be planted in the fall to come out in the spring in most parts of the country. I just buy them because I'm nearly sick if they don't come - such flaky flowers. They're like person on your party guest list that you really,really want to come. However you know that they probably will flake on you and not show, but you still love 'em.

April 23, 2007

Rainy days and cool aprons

The weekend started off with rain - not that I minded. So Cal gets so little rain. It's a nice change AND I got to wear my lime green rain boots. I went to my friend WoW - whose parents were in town visiting from South Dakota. The highlight of the evening was watching their family videos - mostly birthday celebrations at a place called Pizza Ranch, babies swimming and walking, junior high basketball games and people avoiding the camcorder. I loved it and these people aren't even my family. It's intriguing - extraordinary in the ordinary. Life happening. How I wish I could watch a video of my brothers and I at play.

Then Saturday I finally finished the Amy Butler apron I had started last Saturday. Woo Hoo! I feel so cooly domestic. I've sewn curtains and pillows and a quilt here and there, but never anything of the wearable sort. This apron is awesome and I just love the material - who knew there were so many hip fabrics. Since my discovery of Amy Butler, I've learned of Heather Bailey and Anna Maria Horner. So, what will my next project be....

Yes, yes, I'm still working on "GerAmyUm" the picture book. Unfortunately, when I hit a difficult place in the creative process, it's my tendency to do something that comes easier - knitting, sewing, cleaning the litter box... you get the idea. I like things to flow easily - but who doesn't. And, ironically, the book is about when life gets rough ... I kept out these sketch/idea pages for the book on my art table as a reminder, that this just isn't going to go away. The next morning the sun peaks through the blinds as a reminder - get to work. The proof...

April 17, 2007


The killing at Virginia Tech leaves us all with questions. The biggest one being, "Why?" But even that requires some sense. We can't come at this with sensible, rational thinking. None of that occurred when that troubled boy killed. Sadly, I don't think there will be an answer that will satisfy any of us. I went to college in Virginia at George Mason University, many moons ago, so I'm familiar with the area, the people and several of my friends are Tech alums. Very close to home - even though home is on the other coast. My heart goes out to all the people who lost loved ones. I cannot begin to understand their pain, THEIR questions. My prayer is that those who must bury their loved ones won't let the questions, the anger and the pain destroy their lives too.

April 16, 2007


I just opened a shop on ETSY- a way cool website for selling art and handmade items. There are so many beautiful and amazing things to look at and buy on that site. My shop is under GerAMYum, of course. I'm selling these blank note cards.

Red Geraniums

Musical Geraniums

Pink Geraniums

Sumi Geranium

I spent most of Saturday packaging these note cards together and laying them out for these photos. I had fun, even though I'm still not that great at using my digital camera yet, but I'm working on it. I need to get some tips on lighting. The Grand Prix took place this weekend here in Long Beach and all day I heard the sound of the cars speeding in circles - it sounded like big bees buzzing.

After my note card photo shoot, I was part of the inagural ride of the "Cute Girls Bike Club". My sassy friend SB the founder and tattooed leader led us to a local biker bar downtown called House of Hayden. We were not bikers of the Harley sort but of the pedal sort with matching baskets and little bells. I had to race home alone leaving the CGBC and Van Halen music(to my dismay) but I was off to great food. CP was making dinner and there was NO-WAY I was going to miss it. ONE AMAZING grill master - the tri-tip and mushroom sauce was mouth watering aMAZing!!!

April 10, 2007

GerAmyUm Picture Book - Part II

Baby Kitty supervising a new knitting project.

Ah, yes the picture book, GerAmyUm - the first one I'm taking a stab at illustrating. The writer in me is re-writing, re-writing and re-writing. I have about 4 picture layouts in my head and I think I'll let the words go for awhile and work on the pictures. Oh, the pressure I feel in making this book amazing. I think it's because the story means so much to me. I mean, it is the name of my blog, my website, my cards.... When a story means alot it is both good and bad. Good in that you are passionate, excited and interested -- Bad (mostly bad) because you are TOO excited, interested and passionate. For me that means it's really difficult for me to keep it simple. And the beauty about children's picture books is that you have to tell a story simply and rather quickly thanks to the parameters of the book itself.

In August, The SCBWI will be hosting a week longer conference. My plan is to attend and really push my work. I have five completed children's picture books I hope to pitch. However, the big one for me is to pitch myself as an illustrator too. I've not done that before. The insecure 14 year old inside me sees all that I'm not - mostly that I've had no formal art training. But clearly that doesn't matter. Look at Susan Branch - her story is amazing, or even Beatrix Potter. Ultimately, the work will speak for itself and hopefully speak LOUDLY to an editor at the conference.

April 9, 2007

The Sun Is Back

After two full day of no sun, I'm doing a little jig now that the sun is out - burning my eyes. I walked this morning without sunglasses. AHHHHhhh- I can breathe now. I also can paint too. I hope to find some very light pink geraniums today - they can be so hard to find. I put this picture away for awhile and pulled it out a couple of weeks ago - I do that when I'm unsure of something I'm working on and don't know where to go with it - to keep going or to stop. The million dollar question. For now I say stop.

And, as a treat to my self for finishing my taxes last weekend, I pulled out my new Amy Butler In Stitches sewing book and ordered some of her material to make an apron (and maybe some matching hot pads if all goes well). I ordered a stack of quarter pieces and can't tell you when the last time I've been so excited about sewing. It's been years. Beautiful fun material makes all the difference. What's even more exciting is seeing all the other beautiful materials being designed - perhaps I'm a sewer again.

April 6, 2007

E.T. at The Huntington Gardens

After having tea with a bunch of friends I decided I try to do a quick watercolor in my book before I headed back to work. The Huntington was packed with people because it was Free Admission day so I felt pretty lucky to find a somewhat secluded place under a tree. I get my book and travel paints out and I'm ready to go when a man appears beside me.
"So you're going to paint," he says.
Now I have to tell you, my biggest dislike in painting plein air is the people who come to "watch". They never just watch, they too also paint and want to tell me all about it while I'm trying to paint. No matter where I go and where I've painted this same conversation always happens. And, I'm still amazed. My response is usually the same. I politely smile and nod and turn back to my work. Most get the hint. However this man continues.
"I paint from my dreams." he says. And I smile and nod and I think whispered,
"O, cool."
"Mostly I paint Extra Terrestrials," he continues with all seriousness.
Of course he does. I know this because he's talking to ME. If there is a odd ball in the park, they find me.
"Wow that's pretty imaginative, I can only paint what I see, " I say and turn back to my sketch. He stayed and watched for a bit. (I really would have loved to see his ET drawings.)
I didn't get very much done because security came by at least five times to let me know when the gardens closed.
NOTE TO SELF: Just pay the $15. Going on Free Day - too crowded and no parking.

Peter McCarty

I don't go to many art exhibits simply because my time is so limited and there are so few exhibits that are worth the time investment for me. I'm sure I could fill my weekends with exhibits and that would mean NOT working on my own stuff. But whenever I hear of a children's illustrator art exhibit, I go. Seeing the work of illustrator Peter McCarty was a true pleasure. His art has such a soothing beauty to it. His children's picture book Hondo and Fabian just makes you want to reach through the page to pet and play with the animals he draws. Simple yet complete.


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