This Postcard is a Sculpture (Box)

Everything is Connected postcard book by Keri Smith

Last year I bought Keri Smith‘s postcard book Everything is Connected. It’s been fun because I decided to send postcards to people when I think of them, and when I do, I just randomly open the book and whatever postcard it ends on is the one they get. Oddly, each postcard that I sent  (I think 5 so far) has been perfectly suited to each person. I wanted to share one that came back to me recently in an unexpected way recently!

Postcard Sculpture Keri Smith

The postcard above was selected for my favorite college teacher, Michael Bennett. He was the head of the Art department at the Community College I attended, and I took many jewelry and metalwork classes with him, amongst other Art classes as well. It seemed fitting that he got a postcard saying to make a sculpture from the postcard. Of course I just imagined that he might fold it up into a paper crane or something and just set it on a shelf.

1.29 artbox Front

A few weeks ago he showed up at my work to visit, tell me about a show he is curating at the local university and to surprise me with this present. He made a joke that he was the teacher but here I am sending him an assignment. He took my postcard and made me a box sculpture from it! So, you can see the original postcard says “this postcard is a sculpture” and he changed it to say “a box sculpture” and that the object should be exhibited at “Robyn’s House”.

bare feet on log

He built the box and transferred the images of the original postcard, the altered postcard AND wrapped the edges with a repeated pattern transfer of an Art-O-Mat painting of mine he purchased (from the machine purchased in his honor when he retired). The picture above (left) is of him purchasing from the machine, from Kishwaukee College’s site, with a picture of my painting he purchased.

1.29 artbox back

The inside of the lid has a transfer of the written side of the postcard, stamp and cancellation and all! The back (or bottom) of the box has an image transfer of the original postcard.

1.29 artbox inside

The inside is filled with little reproductions of the postcard, fronts and backs!

I was so thrilled and honored to get an original piece by such an important person in my life. Not only that, but it is kind of a collaboration with his, my own work AND the fabulous Keri Smith as well!

edit to add one more postcard that I sent from the book:

From the #kerismith postcard book, a card I made and sent to a friend. #showandmail #mailart

The first postcard I sent out from the book was this one in May 2014, which was just an empty sign and I designed the lettering. It was just the beginning of projects that I started using cut up Gelli Prints from and I liked this one so much I’ve been thinking of using the idea for a series of cards or notepads.

Late night #sketchbook designs #robayre

I’ve filled a bunch of pages of designs but have just been sitting on them and stalling, not sure what to do next.

I Luff You #LittleArtBook Don't forget to enter to win a little art book by hashtagging and participating in the @littleartbook community

Custom Buttons

Custom Button Listing


This idea has been in my head for probably a year and half, and I have FINALLY created a listing for custom 1 inch pinback buttons in my etsy shop.

The idea sprang from bringing my button machine to craft shows and allowing people to make their own. I LOVE LOVE LOVE children’s artwork and I thought it would be fun to offer custom buttons so that parents could create a wearable keepsake of their child’s artwork. My favorite has to be when little kids make their own buttons. Adults will often just make buttons straight from the decorative papers I provide, but the kids will draw or color their own designs. The listing is for any design you want to send me, not just children’s artwork, but the thought originally sprang from there.

The listing is for just 1 button, but if you are interested in making a quantity for gifts, souvenirs, favors, promotional handouts, etc., the price drops dramatically the more you order, so feel free to just shoot me a message.

Real quick, I just wanted to share about the images I used in the listing. The first picture is my niece and a button that she made. When I was her age I wanted a button maker so bad, but they are expensive. Fast forward when I was a real certified grown up and realized I could now buy myself a real, quality, button machine of my very own. That was a happy day.

custom made buttons at NaDa Farm

The second picture in the listing (the image above) was from a craft show where I brought my machine. 3 little girls made these friendship buttons, because they love talking on the phone to each other, but don’t get to see each other very often. Brilliant! They each have a button that can remind them of each other. I had never thought of friendship buttons, but these girls did. So many great product concepts initiate from customer ideas or inquiries.

edited to add the following pictures of other buttons I’ve made over the years

7.23 buttons
polaroid button
6.27 buttons
balloon buttons
5 buttons
1.15.13 buttons
A red button collection
3.15 button magnet
5.14 buttons
buttons straight on
I made some pinback buttons to place inside a new neighborhood cache
Confetti buttons, oh yeah!
I ♥ mail
airmail buttons
Glitter geometric button set
making quilted button badges

Happy New Year!

Do you make resolutions? I really could use some. Things like creating schedules to cook regular meals, keep the house clean and make bill payments and work on some fitness goals. It’s nearing on 10 years that I’ve said I want to run a 5K and yep, that hasn’t made much progress more than the wanting part.

fall 2014 chalkboard

It’s Winter and time to clear the board and start a new season, but in the meantime here is a rough list of what happened in the fall. Highlights include Matt and my trip to Kentucky and getting engaged (although it also created a lot of self induced stress as well, on what that expectation means to other people), two new babies by two good friends, and finally taking the leap to start the Little Art Book project I have been thinking about forever. We hosted Thanksgiving this year at our house and the kids wanted to draw on the chalkboard so I let them erase  it, so some of the items at the bottom were later photoshopped in. Also, not listed is another niece or nephew that is expected in our family in June! 2015 is looking to be a GOOD YEAR!

More Chalkboard Calendar posts right here!

I was just looking over the previous season’s post and realized that I had said I wanted to crack down on finishing up items on my to-do lists from 2009-10 with hopes to create a new list for 2015. Well, I completely forgot about finishing up those items when I got sidetracked and focused on the Little Art Book, which is actually an item on that list. Time to go revisit those lists and see if I can crank a bunch out in a short period and still have time to start a 2015 list.

Happy New Year!

And since it is a new year and a change of season, this is as good a time as any to share our adventure from New Year’s Day. Leading up to the new year we were talking about our fitbits and the few times we reached 20,000 steps and my sister suggested we aim for 30,000 steps on New Year’s Day. THIRTY THOUSAND STEPS! For me, a thousand steps is roughly 10 minutes, so walking 30,000 steps is walking for 5 hours. It sounded like a fun idea and we talked about where we could walk. I’m reading Wild (I haven’t seen the movie yet) and love stories of people just walking/cycling/traveling great lengths on their own. What we didn’t think about is that we live in Northern Illinois and it is COLD. We didn’t let it stop us though and I came up with a big loop and my sister mapped it out to find that it was 9 miles. It was cold but my sister is a FAST WALKER. I was a bit overdressed and overheating and she was slightly under dressed and getting frostbitten legs, so at our pit stop we rearranged clothing a bit, had lunch and were on our way again. We were golden until about 20,000 steps when we both hit a wall. It was literally “I could go forever” to “I can barely lift my feet” in the span of 1,000 steps. By the time we got home we were limping and I’m sure our faces showed our agony. We only had 23,000 steps.  We recouped with the hope of going back out and making those last 7,000 steps, but as the sun went down we both realized there was no way we wanted to walk in the cold AND dark, so we took our adventure to Target and did some shopping, did some laps, did some more shopping, did some more laps and then finished our last 150 steps in my basement. 2 days later and my feet still ache, but I was able to still get in my regular 10,000 steps yesterday. I realized that I think I want to add in more regular 20,000 step days every week. I can do it!


Cut and Paste Gelatin Print Flip Through

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

Earlier this year I was inspired by Creative Unblock Project #2 of the Creative Block by Danielle Krysa, in which artist Jessica Bell challenges readers to cut up something they love and are afraid to lose, and create a collage from it. Immediately I thought of the gelatin plate prints I had made and love, but didn’t quite know what to do with them. It was really freeing to just realize that they weren’t as precious as I had been making them in my mind and that they may have even more value if I take them to this next step by “destroying” them. I loved that it challenged me to take these “finished” pieces and keep going. I think I have a tendency to fall in the rut of having an idea, loving it, and then just stopping there because I’m afraid I might ruin it. Altering a piece might be the difference of a good piece and a GREAT piece of artwork.

On a side note, I always remember this handout from my favorite college art teacher. At the beginning of each semester he had this list that fit tightly on an 8.5×11 that shared ways to change and develop a piece of artwork; things like stretch it, drill holes in it, paint it, mirror image it, and so on and on. He would challenge the students to think of new things that weren’t on the list, he would then add them to the list and make a copy for each student. I think of that list often and how I should still be referencing it and pushing myself to move forward and not just stop when I think it’s OK and safe. “Feel the fear and do it anyway”

For a long time I’ve been trying to move away from using purchased or found patterned papers (art, scrapbooking, wrapping, etc.) in my artwork, in place of my own patterns. (Vintage papers and photographs I still think of as OK.) I’ve made some (mostly drawn or water colored) patterns here and there, but once I made this connection of cutting up the gelatin prints, I instantly had an entirely new source or collection of new materials that weren’t what I thought of as “patterned” paper but were original and my very own.

I immediately got to work cutting up and collaging. I’d do a page here and a page there and after a few months I have a finished book. And I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE it. I just want to carry it with me everywhere and flip through it. I want to get cracking on making more prints to make more little books. I tried to stick with just the prints alone, but there are few pages here and there with added pencil or pen. Maybe other books might incorporate more drawing, or painting in addition?

So, without further ado, here is a video flip through, followed by unedited photographs of each page.

the song in the background is by Dar Williams, Closer to Me

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

LittleArtBook collage gelliprints

and then, just for fun the Hyperlapse video of the flip through



8.1 LittleArtBook graphic logo

The short story: I’m starting a little, fun internet hashtag project and I’m inviting you to join. It’ll be quick, simple and easy to participate! Post pictures of artwork of any kind that you make in or of a small book. Hashtag the picture on instagram #littleartbook. Now check out other images that other people have hashtagged! See, I told ya, easy and fun!


The long story:

I love little books, oh yes I do! I love making them and I love making art in them.

In 2010 I created a year long list of things I wanted to accomplish. #30 on that list was to “organize a glue book week”. In my mind what that meant was to email some of my favorite internet folks and invite them to participate in a week long project where people would post a picture of a little glue (or cut and paste, stapled, etc.) book to their blog, every day for one week. The concept for that project was in line with Polaroid Week or Color Week, where people share pictures of Polaroid pictures or photographs with color themes every day for a week.

That was 2010 and here it is closing in on the end of 2014 and I never accomplished that project. Maybe because I was waiting for the right time, or afraid that no one else would want to participate, I never organized it.

Fast forward to today, and things on the internet have changed. Many people don’t blog every day, or even every week for that matter, myself included. Fortunately, we aren’t missing out entirely, Instagram has taken the front seat, with hashtags sitting shotgun.

A few years back I came upon a fun, but flash in the pan, instagram hashtag project. The organizers invited people to share pictures of things in their notebooks. I think they shared weekly prompts and it was a good project to get me inspired and working in my little book again. Only, there were a couple of problems. One – even though I wasn’t the only one to share artwork in my notebook, I suspected that the administrator’s original intention for the hashtag was to showcase writing. And then Two – the administrators quickly no longer had the time to organize the project and it all fell apart.

I missed that project and the community.

I remembered my Glue Book Week and decided it was time to put these two together.

Welcome “#LittleArtBook”

Last minute studio time before bed. Always loving the energy created by reds and greens whilst trying to avoid Christmas colors at all cost.

What can you post and share?
This is an Art themed project, but as I like to say “I’m not the Art Police” so if you call it Art and there is a little book involved, then it’s good to go!

Here are some ideas and suggestions:

You could make a little book yourself, and the book alone is Art in itself.
Or maybe you want to fill pages of a little book with Art.
Or maybe both!

How BIG is little? Any little book, let’s say 8×8 inches (20×20 centimeters) or less, but as I said before, if you think a foot square (30 centimeters) book is little, so be it!

What is a little Art Book?
Maybe you made your little book (folded, stapled, glued, sewed, handbound, riveted, etc.) the possibilities here are endless.
or maybe you bought or found it (an out of circulation library book, perfect bound sketchbook, handmade by someone else, spiral bound ruled notebook, children’s book, etc.)
What could you put inside your #LittleArtBook? Collage, drawing, lettering, image transfer, patterns, sketches, photography, painting, doodles, needlework, sculptures, pastels, printmaking, mark making, mixed media, digital art printouts, fiber art, illustrations, a zine, maybe it’s not even a functional book, but a sculpture of a book, and the list goes on and on.

Weekly prompts and spotlight features
I’m still kinda working out the kinks and deciding on how much time I want to invest in this project. If you are interested in participating, would you like weekly prompts? At the same time I would love for the hashtag to just grow and people use it on pictures of their own little art books and maybe that is that. I created an instagram account @LittleArtBook for the project where I would like to share and feature contributor’s pieces and possibly other fun little projects. I’ve also just created a pinterest board for inspiration found elsewhere. Would you like to contribute to that board? Just let me know and I’ll add you.

Please join in the fun!


At the end of October Matt and I took a mini road trip to Kentucky (I’ll post about that later) and I packed a backpack full of essentials to have with me in the car. Whenever I go away I always have to take art supplies because 1. I live under the delusion that I’ll have so much down time where I’m just free to make artwork or rather, the idea that maybe if I had down time and wanted to create art and didn’t have supplies I might die. and 2. I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE creating art in hotel rooms. I guess it’s the new environment. 3. I have such great memories of when I actually was able to make artwork on the road, here and here are a few. Unfortunately, I don’t think I even cracked my sketchbook open on this trip.

When we got back from our trip to KY I naturally had to unpack and after pouring out the contents of my backpack I realized it would make for a nice “things organized neatly” or “Whats In My Bag” shot so I arranged it all and took a picture (at the bottom of the post).

That picture, even though it isn’t what is in my every day bag, it got me thinking. I did my first #WhatsInMyBag post probably over TEN YEARS AGO! That actually predates hashtagging, I’m pretty sure, so it would have just been a “What’s In My Bag” post. I posted it to my then-(mo)blog Ha, moblog, as in mobile phone web log. Sadly that post and image are gone, as I lost all the images that I had published there when textamerica sold their site and deleted my blog when I refused to start paying for it (no, I’m not bitter, noooooo). Hold the phone, I just remembered I had poorly backed up that blog’s images and found the only remaining traces, a thumbnail image below.

whatsinmybag circa 2003
Ta Da! Picture circa 2003, I’m pretty sure. It’s so tiny you can’t make any of it out unless you are me and remember that I carried a tiny army green purse with billions of pockets and buttons on it. I can barely make out my black and white striped sunglasses, my rapidoliner pen and a bonnie bell tinted lip gloss, Express Yo Self, and I’m sure there must be some sort of small sketchbook, perhaps a moleskine. The rest? I have no clue.

Moving on, Here was my next “Whats In My Bag” post from 2006. Turns out, this image also pre-dates thisblog by a few months.
what's in my bag

Things of note: yeah, I’m pretty much the same person I was in 2006. Still using white sunglasses (which actually were a carry over after not being able to find replacements for the black and white striped ones I always wore previously, see above), carrying rapidoliners, big sketchbook, little jotters, drinking only water, tinted chapstick (only now it’s Burt’s Bees), and an ipod, er, now it is an iphone,.

Poured out the contents of my stuffed backpack this morning and thought it was the perfect opportunity to share #whatsinmybag

Now 2014. This bag. As I said above, this was more of a travel bag. So, no, I don’t normally keep an apple in my purse. Let’s go left to right.

Everything is Connected by Keri Smith, a postcard book that I’ve been blindly selecting cards from and sending to people and every time the card is a perfect fit for that person,
Same hairbrush as 2006 picture, my ipad,
My Raydori (wow, just realized I never shared a post here about getting my handmade midori)
Charger for ipad/iphone, apple,
Old phone that still has numbers I need to look up occasionally,
2 jotters I made (one I’m working on, and one that was to become a travel journal, but I never opened) and a notepad from a hotel room we stayed in,
Gluestick, white gel pen, paintbrushes, rapidoliner, and a pencil
The last two Uppercase Magazines because you can’t rush those things and have to savor every little article bit by bit, and my sketchbook,
Ziplock baggie of graffiti stickers (gnomes) and 2 fuji instax pictures
An envelope from order from Amy Earles (Wool and Water) of an original drawing
The basics, red yellow blue paint, and the white rectangle above it is a tiny canvas I made,
Bag filled with all my Prismacolor markers

Not pictured, the backpack, which is also green, like the previous 2 whatsinmybag posts.

I would also be remiss not to share an inspiration for these posts over the years – The song Going Through Your Purse by the great, and sadly missed Chicago band Material Issue.

Kentucky Trip 2014

This post is long past overdue, and if you are here just for art stuff than you may want to skip it. I’m actually going to post date it so it shows up closer to when it actually happened in my archives.

At the end of October (2014) Matt and I took one of our VERY RARELY occurring vacations. We drove to Kentucky from Northern Illinois. I’m just going to share a selection of mostly shaky handed, passenger side, unedited pictures and make notes here and there where I am so inspired to do so.

Indiana Kentucky

We left Northern Illinois and headed down to Kentucky through Indiana via the road.

We road trip well. He likes driving and I like riding, which means keeping my eyes peeled out the windows. I’ve probably said this before here, but my family only ever drove places, so I spent a lot of time looking out of car windows while I grew up. I felt like it definitely had an influence on my aesthetic. One time I read, heard or saw an interview with Annie Leibovitz and she said she also had similar experiences and she felt that the car window was a perfect frame shape to view the world through.

Clouds in Indiana in Oct 2014

In Indiana I saw these cool cloud formations, nature is cool

Before going we did a bit of “research” to find out where to go in Louisville. I googled some and always enjoy the Design Sponge city guides (and NEVER miss the comments section because readers will chime in great places that might have been omitted in the article) and fortunately I also have a friend that is from Kentucky and could give me some good tips.

Matt and I in front of Ohio River

This picture was of us in front of the Ohio River which borders Indiana and Kentucky in Lousisville. We parked downtown Louisville and felt like we were sure to get towed because we couldn’t find a price or way to pay. There was tons of available parking everywhere. What?! In the Chicagoland area it’s not unusual to pay $30 bucks to park, and and then even if you are willing and able to throw money toward parking it can still mean circling and circling and parking a distance away from where you want to be.


I’m no expert on the city, but from the maps we were looking at we were able to walk from one side of the downtown to the other. I got tons of steps in, but it was a small enough big city that you can easily hoof it all over the place. We found some really great art gallery/handmade gift shops. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, I wish DeKalb could have places like that.

We got shirts from the visitor’s center with this logo showing the different pronunciation of Louisville. Side note, I have relatives that live in Louisville, IL and it is pronounced Louis vil, with the s and all. For the record, I think the correct way to say it is probably the first one on the list above, at least that’s how I say it and Kirsten Dunst too (another side note: we also stayed in Elizabethtown on this trip).

In the Heart of the City

Do people in Louisville love it? With signs like this and plenty of other public art pieces ALL OVER the place, I’d like to think so.

Look Ma, we're Art! #21C at one point when I was trying to get the camera to work it said "your face" perfectly on Matt's arm.
At Ann’s suggestion we checked out 21c Museum hotel. It’s a hotel and a gallery all in one. The gallery spaces are all open and free to the public so Matt and I spent some time there and really enjoyed it. Walking down a hallway we passed this (above picture) installation by the elevators, I think most people passed it right up and didn’t notice it was interactive. The red penguin is the hotel “mascot”.

Gina Phillips
There was an impressive show by fiber artist Gina Phillips in the lobby space, which was a great start to the whole experience. Please visit her website to see better examples of her detailed work, this picture is just a tiny thumbnail of a larger piece. Downstairs there were more gallery spaces and shows going on that we were able to enjoy and I was thrilled that we went, even though I knew we wouldn’t be able to afford to stay at the hotel itself.

While still at the hotel I had to use the restroom and noticed that a mirror right outside the door was actually a two sided mirror once inside the bathroom, so you could see people looking at themselves unknowingly. When I told Matt about it, he informed me that was nothing compared to what was going on in the men’s bathroom. Outside of the men’s bathroom there was another double sided mirror where you could tell there was a “fountain” of water running down the wall on the other side. Little did I know when I passed it, that was the men’s urinal! I didn’t believe Matt until he opened the door when I “just happened” to walk by at the right time and could see inside. If you suffered from shy bladder syndrome one might have major performance anxiety using that restroom that appears as if you are peeing on a window for all to see. Here’s a video I found that a guy made that shows exactly what I’m talking about.

On this trip we were really good about talking to people and asking folks for suggestions on where to go and visit. On my list of places was Cave Hill Cemetery, but the first time we wanted to go we got turned around at the entrance and in the few minutes it took us to circle back around, the entrance gate was closed. When we went back a few days later and got inside, we realized why it closes so early. Much like House on the Rock, it closes so early because there is SO MUCH inside that they need to allow enough time for people to get through it before it closes-closes. Since we didn’t make it in time the first day we took the suggestion of a stranger to check out the rest of the Bardstown rd./Baxter Ave. area.

off of Bardstown

There is tons of great shopping there and we also spent a good amount of time also walking the surrounding residential areas of the neighborhood and just admiring all of the HUGE southern homes. We were there a few days before Halloween and we noticed that other than one house that had a couple carved pumpkins out front and another that had some cobweb displays, no one decorated for the holiday, at least not like they do in Northern Illinois where it is not unusual to see a Griswold Family Vacation style home here and there, only instead of Christmas it’s Halloween decorations. Then when we got to the shopping area they were actually doing a trick or treat event where kids could go in and get candy from all the stores. I overheard one shop owner say something about so many houses being decorated for Halloween this year. Hmph. Maybe it was just the neighborhood we were in, but even driving around other areas and cities we just didn’t see it. Also of note: in this neighborhood we stopped for a bite to eat at the Falafel House on Bardstown rd. and it was the worst Mediterranean food we’d ever eaten. Just really bad, don’t go there.


We scheduled this trip for what we figured would be prime fall colors. I actually didn’t take TONS of pictures, and tried to focus on being in the moment and enjoying living it rather than documenting everything. Despite that I’d say half of my pictures are probably shots similar to this, showing the beautiful roadside view of the colors.

Or little videos like this, through the windshield.

Mammoth Caves

We went to Mammoth Caves and took a tour

Heading into #MammothCave the other day

A funny thing that happened on the tour – at one point they get you pretty far and deep in the cave and tell everyone to turn off all of their lights, hide their cell phones, stand still if you have light up shoes, etc., and then they turn off all the lights and it is pitch black. Without a solitary bit of light for your eyes to bounce off of, you can’t see a thing in front of you. Matt and I were holding hands and when they did this he held me with his other hand and leaned in for a kiss and just then I felt a third arm caress my back. EEEEEP! It was all I could do not to laugh. I think there had been a mother standing behind me and I think she might have been feeling around trying to make sure each of her kids were nearby. I can only imagine how embarrassed she must have been when the lights went on and realized she was petting a stranger.

Dinosaur World

Cave City, the Mammoth Caves area, is surrounded by TONS of roadside attractions, things like Dinosaur World and the Wigwam Village – the kind of thing that if I had been on the trip with my best friend, we would have stopped at every single one of them, but Matt, not so much. I got him to pull over at Dinosaur World where we took this picture and we went into the gift shop, but he was more interested in getting to the caves. Next time.

Back in Louisville, we finally got to go to Cave Hill Cemetery.


I think this picture might have been a failed attempt to show exactly how expansive this cemetery is, with the foreground, middle ground, and background, with the ground rolling up and down all in between. We climbed up the highest hill we could find and still, there was further cemetery in every direction as far as we could see. Cave Hill Cemetery is so big (how big is it, you say?) It’s SOOO BIG it has its very own app, tours, and also acts as an arboretum with well marked plants and trees throughout and their website has a section called “if you get lost”. Yep, it’s that big.

cavehill cemetery
Despite the somber fact that it is a cemetery filled with graves, it was a picturesque place and I realize why it is a “Must See” on so many Louisville lists.

cavehill cemetery
I think we took no less than 5 cameras with us while we explored the cemetery.

magnolia tree
The tree that had these cones and seeds falling from it fascinated me. Apparently it is a Magnolia and through this experience I learned that the trees up here that I thought were magnolias are actually just tulip trees. To this day it seems kind of magical that cones and seeds like these exist.

Another million things happened on this trip as well, but I’ve been working on this post forever and I didn’t document everything in photos. Other things of note include: the friendly people, Matt proposing to me, witnessing the half marathon running through Louisville, a truck stop diner, Homespun Indy, Spice Nation, the purchases we made, like the painting by Damon Thompson and our new winter coats, that continue to remind us of the great trip we had. We both loved it so much we look forward to going again. Maybe next time we will continue on and see the Smokey Mountains.

Illustrated Invitation

Woodland Theme Baby Shower Invitation

I’m back with the illustrated invitation I promised to share. The invitation was for the baby shower of my friend Ann (of A Beautiful Party). Ann and her husband are expecting a little girl and her name will be Maybellene, nicknamed Maybe, thus the “Baby Maybe” in the bunting above. The shower had a Magical Woodland theme.

Woodland Theme Baby Shower Invitation

I was given the task to design the invitations, and I think that it was probably thought that I would just whip something up on the computer, but when you’re at a computer doing stuff for other people all day at work, the idea of getting to design something how you want is kind of thrilling. I decided I’d rather illustrate it using watercolors, but then I worried that maybe I had bitten off more than I could chew. Would the idea in my head translate or would I wish that I had just kept it simple and put something together entirely on the computer?

I started out by sketching out a rough design in my sketchbook.

Woodland Theme Baby Shower Invitation

All along the way, from sketchbook to end result, I was sending proofs to my friends that were hosting the party with me, to see what their take on it was and to make sure no mistakes were made. They were the best type of client, and I wish all customers (at my day job) were so easy to please.

Once I had a layout, I scanned my sketch in and printed it out several times. I used Prismacolor markers to create 3 different color schemes. I did a neutral/natural color theme, a purple and mint (the baby’s bedroom colors… only I didn’t really have the right purple and mint in markers, so keep in mind it was just to get a rough idea on the colors), and then a full color theme which was a more robayre.

Woodland Theme Baby Shower Invitation

After we selected a color, I proceeded with the watercolored layout. After that was done I scanned it and added the text on the computer.

Invitation envelope

The invitations were sent out with the envelopes pictured at the top of the post because I was in such a rush to get them out, but ideally I would have had some red or blue envelopes like these. Even though I had my moments of fear that the invitations would end up a flop, I was happy with the end result and proud to send them out.

Fall Leaf Autumn Garland (take II)

10.19 shower leaf garland

This past weekend my friends Courtney, Bryanne, Janey and I threw a baby shower for our friend Ann. The party was magical woodland themed and Courtney hosted it at her house. I’m here to share this leaf garland/mobile (above) that I made as decoration for the party.

10.23. leaf garland close up

Courtney reminded me of this garland (above) I made for the Craft Day a couple of years ago, and then Bryanne shared a link to this leaf mobile, so I combined the two into one.


This time around I actually used acrylic leaves, rather than drying and pressing real ones like last time. Ironically, it wasn’t until I got them home that I realized the leaves on the garlands I bought were much more dimensional, so I ended up lightly ironing them flat-ish between dish towels after all. Afterward, I painted scribbley patterns with acrylic craft paints on each leaf. I used a needle and string to attach the leaves to the branch. How suiting that I felt like I was channeling Ann’s pom pom garlands while I worked.

I think we successfully showered @abeautifulparty today. So-so excited for the arrival of #babyMaybeGosser

I’ll be back later this week to share the invitation that I illustrated for the shower. I loved how it came out, so stay tuned!

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall

9.22 seasonal calendar

It’s September 22nd, my birthday and (what I deem as) the first official day of fall! So, what does that mean? It means it’s time to document my seasonal chalkboard, erase it and then start fresh. As you might be able to tell at the length in which the board is covered, this summer was BUSY. It was also a very hard one with the loss of my father, and probably why I really don’t want to rehash the season’s individual events, good or bad, right now. As much as I am not looking forward to another cold, dark winter, I’m finally ready to move on from this summer. Fall has been traditionally my favorite season, so let’s hope it stretches out for eternity.

More Chalkboard Calendar posts right here!

Speaking of lists, I’ve been really wanting to crack down on crossing off every last item from my yearly lists that I made in 2009 and 2010 and actually create a brand new list for 2015. Keep tuned as I might share a few adventures.

How many girls do you know who are thrilled to get a rotary reel lawn mower for a birthday present? My 16 year old (and current day) self are so HAPPY!

My sister surprised me with a reel lawn mower, something I’ve been wanting since I was probably 16 years old. Maybe even younger. My dad had an antique one in our shed, and every once in a while I’d try to take it out to mow and it was SO HEAVY and RUSTED I could barely mow a few feet. Then when I was probably 15 or 16 I went to stay with my grandma and she had just purchased a new rotary mower and had me mow her small lawn and it was such a breeze. I’ve wanted one ever since. I was a little worried that my dream might be just a fantasy after reading some of the negative feedback on reel mowers on Amazon. “Too hard”, “A good workout” and, “you’re gonna get ripped!” But after the easy assembly and taking it out for it’s first run I realized it was just as easy as any of the self propelled mowers I’ve used. I think that might be because I’m a little impatient, so even though the mowers were self propelled, I still push them to make them go even faster. So, pushing this little beauty was easy peasy.

One last note: Not only is it my birthday, but I recently found out it is Tatiana Maslany‘s birthday as well, ahem, only a few years later, cough. Who else is addicted to Orphan Black? I totally like to think of myself as a Sarah, and after dinner last week I realized my best friend looked like Cosima, with the same hair and glasses, holy cow. She was very much pleased when I told her that. If I can’t be Sarah, then I’d definitely want to be Felix, he is too beautiful, fabulous, sexy and sassy.