Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Done early yet still out late.

Weeks, I mean WEEKS ago, I made three Father's day cards; it took me several days to finish the component parts and put everything together, and I patted myself on the back for thinking ahead since I was barely on time with my Mother's day cards.

Here they are:

fathers day
cards 2012

Books for my father who loves to read and is always sending us interesting books, beer for the Llama Papa’s dad who is very manly (and got a John Wayne quote on the inside), and a buck for my uncle who is an avid hunter (deer are very hard to draw).

But then I put off looking for good quotes to write inside of them and forgot that we had a trip planned for the week before Father's day, and now here I am sending them out the Friday before, and they totally won't get there in time.

*Sigh. Someday I will learn.

Anyways, here are the (very alliterative) digis I made if anybody else would like them (just click on them to go to my flickr account for larger sizes):


beer mug


Friday, June 15, 2012

Half-birthday fun

Last week the Llama Papa and I packed everything up and took the Llama back up north to visit family for the Llama's 2 1/2 birthday.

We were a little worried because last year the Llama had trouble staying still for so long in the car (3 1/2 hr drive) and had trouble adjusting to being away from home, but this year he was a total rock star. We burned our They Might Be Giants children's CDs and some Signing Time songs for the car and packed lots of snacks, and the drive was a breeze! When we got there we just chilled out in the hotel room and relaxed.

The Llama is too big for the hotel-provided crib, and they didn't have cots, so my mom lent us a small air mattress. It was a good thing we had him on the floor and not the spare bed. The Llama rolls around A LOT at night, and we found him cuddled in the corner by the door in the morning.

w-town trip
summer 2012 2
(reading with daddy)

The next day, we were going to go to the Zoo with the Llama Papa's parents before the party, but it ended raining all day, so we just hung out at their house while the Llama charmed their socks off. He ran around and played, played with their cat Jake, and gave them cuddles and was just amazing. After that we headed to my parent's for the party. My mom had a fruit plate and a veggie plate and even cheese and veggie meats for us. The Llama promptly polished off all the strawberries before moving on to the black olives and cherry tomatoes. The party was really fun and low key; we got to see my cousin who lives in SC and her brand new son, Grayson. The Llama got lots of new crayons, a bunch of colored pencils, some drawing pads, some new dinosaurs, new books, and Duplo! He even got some new clothes, but he didn't seem as excited about those. By the end of the party the Llama was VERY tired but he still behaved very well and was sweet with everybody. We headed back to the hotel and, after playing with his new dinosaurs for a while, he asked to go to bed early.

The next day (this morning we found the Llama in the bathroom doorway), we decided to try the zoo again, and it was a beautiful day! Both grandmothers came along as well as my Aunt and cousin with her new little one. We had a wonderful time; the Llama loved the big cats, we saw wolf pups and eagles, and he got down on his hand and knees to pace with the fisher. The wolverines were hiding, but the otters loved him and did all sorts of tricks. The Llama wanted to stay and watch the bear all day (even though it smelled strongly of skunk). He had a blast going through the "bear cave" with cousin Tasha. The Llama was fascinated by the chickens, donkeys, and goats at the petting zoo, but was a bit scared of the pigs. Then we got him to pose on the Dolphin Statue (both the Llama papa and I have pictures of us as children on the same statue).

w-town trip
summer 2012 5

w-town trip
summer 2012 4

After the Zoo, we headed back to my parents house and visited with my friend Monica and her new little one, Valerie. The Llama had skipped his nap and was very snoozy, but it was so late in the day that if he napped he wouldn't go to bed, so he cuddled with my mom as she read him stories from old books my grandmother has saved from when my dad was little. Eventually, it was time for us to all say goodbye and head back to the hotel. The Llama once again was VERY tired and had trouble keeping his eyes open, so we had another very early night.

w-town trip
summer 2012 6

w-town trip
summer 2012 8

The next morning, it was time to head home (in the night the Llama went from the mattress to the foot of the bed, back to the mattress, and finally in front of the door again--the boy certainly can roll!). We packed everything up, and my parents stopped by to say goodbye before we headed out. The night before, our rear driver's side window had gotten stuck down, but my Uncle Terry came and helped the Llama Papa pull it up. My dad brought duct tape and we secured it closed before we left. Otherwise, the drive home was uneventful, but full of Signing Time sing-alongs. We were all glad to be home. We quickly unpacked and sat back and relaxed.

The Llama is definitely glad to be home and back to his normal routine, but he has already asked if we could go visit cousin Tasha today and recounted many stories of adventures with his grandparents and Jake the orange cat.

Friday, June 8, 2012

I made a new sketch kit!

Ever since I readthe Artist's Journal Workshop I've really wanted to go out and sketch everything everywhere I went. So I got myself a cheap sketchbook from Wal*Mart, made a pretty cover for it, and then it just sat there.

Eventually I started taking each page and separating it into eight boxes: one for each day and a header box. Then each day I do a little drawing about something that happened that day, and journal a bit. It really helped me get more comfortable sketching and using watercolors, but it wasn't really what I was aiming for. I did a few recipe sketches (here and here) but not much else. I'm a member of the Artist's Journal Workshop group on Facebook, and seeing all the wonderful sketches people made was really inspiring, but I just wasn't sketching. Then it occurred to me.

This was my old sketch kit:

sketch kit old
vs new old

The book is 8 1/2 x 11.

Yeah, every time I went everywhere I would shove all that stuff into my bag and shlepp it around, and then not use it! The book was big and unwieldy. I never knew what art materials to use, and if I did pull it out, I was faced by this huge expanse of empty paper and I felt like whatever I sketched had to fill the whole page and be 'worthy' of a big sketch; very intimidating.

So I got to thinking: I knew I needed to stick to just one medium-- so I picked watercolor-- and that I needed a much smaller palette. And then I thought, my daily journal drawings were small, and maybe I would feel more comfortable sketching on a smaller format.

I started researching bookbinding (and you've seen my beginnings here; I’ve made several more, and will probably post more about them later), and finally made my own custom sketchbook:

little flower
coptic sketchbook 1 little flower
coptic sketchbook 2

It's 4 1/2 x 6, with 64 pages of nice sketching paper, Coptic bound with some cardboard I scavenged from an old tissue box for the covers.

Then I grabbed an old gum box I'd been saving and hot glued sections into it, and filled it with some tube watercolors I had. And now I have this:

sketch kit old
vs new new

Much better, a few paper towels for my water brush (in the pink and black bag along with my pencil, eraser and pens) and I'm good to go!

Here is the front of the book, contact info if I ever loose it and then my palette (a great idea I got from the Artist's Journal Workshop):

sketch kit old
vs new new inside

And my first sketch in it:

little book
sketch 1

The local park has these really neat sprinklers for kids to play under in the summer. There are benches positioned around the concrete splash pad for parents to sit at and watch the kids.

It's not very good, but I'll get better as I sketch more while out and about and get used to the new size and palette. It was freeing to only have a small space to draw; I didn't feel obligated to find something "worthy" of a big sketch, and it was easy to hold on to and draw in and to hide it back in my bag whenever the Llama came over while he was playing. (He gets very upset if I draw where he can get to, and is always trying to take my book away from me or grab my pencil, I think partially because he wants to draw too but hasn't figured out to let other people draw on their own paper and he on his.)

I'll still use my big sketchbook and different supplies for my daily journals, but for going places, this is definitely a keeper.

here's a better drawing I did last night before bed:

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