Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rain, rain, go away!

I think I'm going to learn how to dance! It's rained for forty days, and forty nights. Where is summer?

Fun image from Art by Trudy.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Author/Artist Series: Kate Endle

Scrolling through Etsy one day, I found this delightful book called, Big Earth, Little Me illustrated by Kate Endle. I loved the look of the book, and the other fun, funky paper cut out collages that Kate sells through her Esty store. I asked Kate to share her artistic story with us, and here is what she has to say!

1. How did you get your first book published?
My first book was with Innovative Kids, What Do You Want to Be?, and I believe the art director found me through one of my mailings. Prior to that, I was doing a lot of illustration work for beginning reader books in the educational market—little eight page books.

2. What was your next big break?
I don't think I've ever had a "big break". I've been illustrating professionally since 1992, while I was in school at The Columbus College of Art and Design. It's been a slow but exciting journey. I will say that Etsy has, for sure, reached an international audience for my work. I get featured on lots of blogs via that site. I also get lots of exposure displaying my art in boutiques, restaurants, and cafés.

3. What is your educational background?
I've been drawing since I was about 1-2 years old. I was drawing highly detailed faces, with earrings and eye lashes and jewelry, and my mom thought that was pretty good for a toddler. So my parents always encouraged me to draw. They took me to art supply stores for materials and drove me to classes. My high school had a really good art program and I took a lot of classes at The Cleveland Institute of Art. I got a scholarship to CCAD and majored in illustration. I've spent some time at Rhode Island School of Design's continuing education program.

4. Where do you get your inspiration?
LOTS of places. I recently traveled to Alaska where they have the BEST airports. I was really taken by an Inuit art exhibition while waiting for a plane and it blew my mind. I travel a lot. Amsterdam is a favorite; I get really inspired after visiting Holland. I love the store, Anthropologie. I used to help with their window displays. Anthropologie loves educating their employees with current color trends, cultural influences, etc. Mother Nature always has my attention, too.

5. What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
If you really want to be an artist, you have to be able to weather the down times. You have to develop a thick skin. Don't let your other "real" job get in the way, emotionally. I've had lots of part time jobs to make ends meet (art supply store, window display, nude model, farmer's markets, selling merchandise for a band) and they've all been critical towards my development as an artist. I didn't always realize that at the time, but you have to do what you have to do and try and find the meaning in it. The greatest thing about being an artist is that you never know what kind of path you're going to end up on. It can be really emotionally draining, but I'm a firm believer in, "you're always in the right place at the right time."

6. What were some of your first rejections, and what made you keep going?
This is my favorite question to answer. I was sending out promotion materials to various publishers for years—postcards, tear sheets, samples. At the same time, I was attending SCBWI workshops (Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators). At one of the workshops, I sat down with an art director for a portfolio review and the first thing she said was, "Oh! You're Kate Endle!". I was excited that she knew who I was and recognized my work. She went on to explain that she was doing a presentation later that weekend on effective promotion materials and she was using my samples as pieces that worked. I laughed and mentioned that they must not be too effective because they had never hired me. The art director reassured me that some day they would hire me. They were just waiting for the right manuscript. Two years later they called me with the manuscript Trout are Made of Trees, by April Pulley Sayre, published by Charlesbridge Publishing. I'll start my second book with them this fall.

Thanks to Kate for sharing her journey with us. I'm going to be looking forward to seeing her new book when it comes out!

P.S. I think Kate is so cute...she looks like she could be a cool English actress...Kate Winslet's sister perhaps?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Garden Painting

I came across a photo of a vertical garden the other day on Holly's super blog, "As I See It". Maybe I'm slow on the uptake, but I've never seen something like this before, and I think it's such a cool idea! I guess the trend was started by Patrick Blanc, a botanist and inventor of the vertical garden, or "living wall", and the idea has really taken on. Check out these gardens...neat, right?

Three beautiful vertical gardens by Flora Grubb Gardens. (Flora has a fun blog...check it out here!): 

A vertical garden as seen in Metropolitan Home by landscape designer Mia Lehrer and her assoicate, Holly Kuwayama: 

I think if I attempted this, I might end up with a pile of dead plants under an empty picture frame or wall, but I do love the idea!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Feeling Crabby

It's been a busy week, and I think Ricardo and I are still recovering from last weekend. He threw his back out, and I managed several aches and pains of my own. That, combined with Jake waking up for HOURS in the night a few times this week, and we're feeling like we're at least 82. Daycare (aka Dangercare) called indicating that Jake "might" have "impetigo"...something I never knew existed. 

The upside of the "impetigo" scare is that Jake got to stay home with Dad today, and they had a great time...a walk to town to Dunkin Donuts, a trip to his aunt's house, duck spotting in our local bog, and a visit to the mall, where Dad got him the cutest crabby outfit (see photo #1)...perfect for our upcoming trip to the Cape! I think this weekend we'll be past our aches and pains and on to some sunny, fun weather! 

Hope you all have a great, RELAXING, WELL RESTED weekend!

1. Crab swimsuit and top from Gymboree (both with spf 50!!!); 2. Sweater from Fleece on Earth; 3. Belt from Smathers & Branson; 4. Tote bag by Thomas Paul from Burke Decor; 5. Crab print by Jenn Ski

Robert Sabuda Pop Up Cards

I love these pop-up cards from the MoMA Store by best-selling children's book creators Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart. Aren't they great? You might know these guys for their wonderful pop-up books featuring exquisite engineering. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Now we know our A and A's

I've been trying to teach Jake his ABCs. So far (after 2 weeks), we're stuck on "A". We'll keep trying. Gotta love these cute toys that add a little incentive to the project! Is 15 months too young to learn the alphabet?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Author/Artist Series: Eric Carle

I have a new appreciation for Eric Carle. I used to say to my sister that I didn't really see the appeal of his books. And she just said..."you'll see". And I do. Something magical has happened between Eric Carle and me these days. Suddenly, Jake can't get enough of his books...and neither can I. The lilting, repetitive nature of his text combined with the fun, funky shapes of his characters create a magical glow in Jake's face as he stares lovingly page after page (again and again).

In 2002, Eric Carle and his wife, Barbara started The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. Their mission is to "inspire, especially in children and their families, an appreciation for and an understanding of the art of the picture book." The museum has three galleries of rotating exhibits, an art studio, an auditorium and library. I would love to take some of the art classes they offer...how fun! What a noble thing to do...start a museum so that your love of children and art can live on for future generations!

Did you know that The Very Hungry Caterpillar turns 40 this year...and Eric Carle is turning 80? In honor of these birthdays, there is an exhibit called "80/40: Celebrating the Birthdays of Eric Carle and The Very Hungry Caterpillar" running through August 30 at the Eric Carle Museum. The exhibit chronicles Eric Carle's life and career. If you'd like to send "Best Wishes" to Eric Carle, click here to download the Birthday Wish template and follow the instructions! Click here to see Eric Carle talk about his Very Hungry Caterpillar. I love him!

Happy Birthday Eric Carle, and thanks for all the happiness you're bringing us!

P.S. The shop sells this neat Eric Carle fabric...what could we make out of it?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Uh Oh...

Did I give my son a bowl cut? It's been a work in progress...he's a moving target!

It's hard for me to get really good portrait photos of Jake because he's always on the go. I love the photos that Ariana from Becoming Mom has taken of her son Jasper. I would love to have such handsome photos of Jake! 

I also think that Meredith from Welcome to Our World takes terrific photos of her kids (and others). She's starting her new photography business later this summer, so if you live near Marblehead, MA, you may want to give her a call!

If I ever DO get a professional portrait done of Jake, I think he should wear one of these smashing ties from Bella Bows.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Creative Financing Results!

Thanks to all of you who commented and contributed your unique ways of "creative financing" in response to my Creative Financing Challenge. Here are a few of the suggestions in summary:

1. Put all loose change in a piggybank. (I managed to save over $250 last year for Jake's college fund! Small amount, but it's something). 

2. Simiarly, Elle from Mamaloves (have you seen her twins, they're adorable!) said that 6 years ago she and her husband saved all their coins (in Canada, they have $1 and $2 coins, so it was a bit easier than in the U.S. to save more quickly) and managed to save $1000. Her kind in-laws let them use their time share, they were able to buy their airline tickets with points, and made they made their meals! 

3. I received an e-mail from a reader who mentioned that she never spends $5.00 bills. They all go into a special jar, and this is their "travel fund". She has managed to go on a trip every year doing this!

4. Erin from P-S Erin had several good ideas...stay out of stores (I second this motion...I'm weak!), use cash at the grocery store, turn off the tv service, sell things using consignment, stop spending on little things such as magazines and coffee. All great ideas!

5. Some "stuff" exchange websites were suggested. Has anyone tried any of these? It sounds like a great idea! Here they are:

6. Struggler suggested these great travel tips:
• If you're flying solo and are flexible about where you go, try flying as a courier.
• Air Bed and Breakfast helps you find someone's guest room (or couch!) in the city you're traveling to.
• If you're traveling in the summer, check out University residences. They often offer their residences after the students leave town for the summer.

7. My now very fit brother-in-law has begun biking to and from work most days of the week. As his commute is over 15 miles away, you can just imagine what great shape he's in!

(image from Barcode Art)

See what others are "hooked on" here!

Cute Carryalls!

My littlest niece, Avery May's, friend's mother (whew!) makes these delightful bags through her company Ann Judge. She lives on Cape Cod, and I think her bags reflect the area she's from. Slightly preppy, fun, yet with a sophisticated style. Good for the beach, and good for my more urban existence. She says that her company idea started in her grandmother's attic when she discovered her well-worn, well-loved beach bag. A nice beginning, I'd say!

And, I love the use of that Amy Butler fabric!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My how you've grown!

I just got the new VERY THICK Serena & Lily catalog in the mail. I just love looking through their catalog, and am psyched to see they keep adding (and adding) to their collection. I won't re-hash everything in there...I'll just show you a few of my favorite things!

Did not know they had a BOOK! (I wish I'd gotten my hands on that while I was decorating Jake's nursery!)
I think this is a very chic/timeless baby book that's cute, but not too cute...

Actually...I think the cutest thing is that little baby in the second photo! I wonder if he's for sale?