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.

Little Bouquets and Tiny Posies

7.6.14 flowers and paintbrushes stripes

First there was my little bouquet post from earlier this summer when I found and fell in love with a picture of a bouquet and had to recreate it for myself (above). Since then I’ve realized that what I’m really drawn to is a small sized bouquet with wild and/or native flowers and plants, and not so much the store bought commercial bouquets. It comes back to my love of the tall grass prairie.

9.19 Poppy and Fern necklace

Then, Poppy and Fern was one of those booths at Renegade that we would visit each year and ooh and aaah over, but when it came down to it, I wasn’t finding a piece that said Robyn all over it. This year I noticed a floral piece that was perfect for my sister because it had an orange flower, her favorite color. The artist, Rachel, informed us that these pieces were inspired by real life bouquets that she or her friends had gathered. Next thing I know she whipped out her phone and was showing me pictures of the real life bouquets behind each piece. How cool is that? The bouquets she was showing me were just how I like them, small and filled with native or wild picked flowers. I really loved these larger bouquet necklaces, but they were all tall, up and down, like a bouquet, and I would like it more if it were more of a landscape orientation than the portrait. I asked if they could swap the orientation of a necklace around so that I too could have a necklace that I loved and they didn’t hesitate. I was sold! That is my necklace, pictured above.

#tinyposie

Then most recently I came upon the artist Alex Falkiner on instagram (alfalky) and she shared several photos that were tagged #tinyposie. It got me curious so I went through a lot of the pictures and discovered the first one was posted by her and she started the hashtag project and invited others to share their own tiny posie bouquets! There’s also a tumblr. I’m obsessed! Why did I have to find this out just as fall approaches?!

9.19 #tinyposie

I thought I’d make my first attempt at contributing and went out and collected a bunch of little flowers. My tinyposie bouquet (above) is actually quite large compared to most, so I need to work on that. Also, it is not as easy at it looks. Do you realize how hard it is to keep these super tiny flowers positioned how you want them? I finally had to just accept that some were not going to face the way I wanted. And you have to work swiftly because flowers this small will wilt in a blink. Hopefully, this is just the first of many to come and I will get better, but in the meantime I will keep my eyes peeled on the hashtag and tumblr.

edit to add: I like the idea of making a tinyposie bouquet to commemorate certain events. Make one for your birthday, or make one on your vacation, etc., etc.

Renegade Loot 2014

As promised, here is a loot/haul post from my trip to Renegade Chicago this year. Don’t miss the video of the fair at the bottom.

While assembling this post I went back to properly tag all my Renegade posts and realize that our trips to this fair predate my blog here, which goes back to 2006. I don’t think we went to the very first RCF (2003) but I think we made it to the 2nd one. For several years it was in Wicker Park, yes, the actual park, before it combined with the Division Street Festival. I feel like if there was a Division Street Festival before, it might have gotten overshadowed completely by the RCF now. It was also really cool, looking through old posts and seeing everything that I had purchased over the years and how the most of those items are still very much part of my life to this day.

That idea, combined with my experience shopping this year, I realize that even though I spend a bunch each year, I’m not buying blindly or aimlessly. I only buy what I REALLY LOVE.

As exampled in stack A.

Renegade 2014 loot

I usually collect tons of business cards each year, and this year was no different. There are always so many booths that I walk into and fall in love with their products, only to discover that there isn’t one particular piece that speaks to me. I’ll pick up the cards to keep a tab on their online shop and hope that maybe I’ll see a piece there that I just have to have.

We learned fairly early on in years past that you have to go to the craft fair on a Saturday because if you go on a Sunday all the good stuff is bought up. Well, not ALL the good stuff, but the variety is no longer there. One of the booths this year, that had tons of  pieces but not one piece that screamed ROBYN, was Build With Wood. They sold wood necklaces with resin centers that hold treasures of nature, like seeds, leaves, and lichen. They reminded me very much of long time “Robayre Favorite” Fern Works, but instead of silver, wood. I’d really love to own my own piece from Build With Wood someday.

B – Heron and Lamb necklace. This is a booth I’ve purchased from in previous years and started following on instagram. Recently she shared a new direction she was going with her work and I was really looking forward to purchasing this piece from her booth this year.

C – Gnome Enterprises shirt. This is a repurchase of a beloved shirt I bought at Renegade in 2010. The next year I bought another shirt of theirs with an american buffalo on it. In 2012 I debated buying another one of these fox shirts because I love it so much and with as much as it is worn it will inevitably get worn out, but I didn’t push the button. Figures, because last year we didn’t see their booth at all. This year I saw their booth and jumped! Let me highly recommend their shirts, they are SO COZY AND COMFORTABLE.

D – The Found I hotdog Chicago cards. I think this is a booth I’ve purchased cards from in the past. Well, I was going to buy one card which was $5 but then I saw that I could buy the set with 7 cards for $8. You do the math. I was going to buy one for myself, but now I can send some out to people.  1. I do hotdog Chicago and 2. it reminded me of this whole trademark episode I heard on 99 Percent Invisible on PRX.

E – Letter Writers Alliance – stamp. I just love this booth every year as well. I have some cancellation stamps made into buttons from them from a previous year and I just happen to be wearing a skirt that has one of those buttons on it permanently.

F – The Kite Collective – This beautiful kite has already been tested and flown successfully at the Kite Festival yesterday.

Kite festival 2014 A perfect day for the #dekalbil Kite Fest. Sadie got lift off @grrlroloff, @stat1995 and #docwells in the background
It was a perfect day for it and I have the lovely sunburn to prove it

G – Oh Hello Friend, magnet frame. It looks like a polaroid, it frames pictures, ‘nough said.

H – Poppy and Fern, necklace. This is one of those booths that we’ve fawned over in past years, but couldn’t find one particular piece that was meant for me. This year I finally found one and am so happy with it, I think it deserves its own post later.

I – Cardtorial, wooden cards. We actually bought 3 for a special deal.

A couple notes:

There should totally be a site “Overheard at Renegade” if there isn’t one already. I would have some great material, such as the girl who said that while she was hunting for her last apartment, almost all of the places she looked at had one of those Chicago neighborhood map posters hanging. I have one of those posters too. And then there was the NY lady in the Gnome Enterprises booth who thought she could throw her self important weight around because she had bought shirts from them in Williamsburg and the Hamptons and then she even had to call her daughter in NY to tell them “They have Gnome Enterprises in Chicago now too!” lol. I think she bought 6 shirts. Lady, they’ve been here for a long time.

Looking through the roster of vendors makes me feel like I must have missed so many booths. But then I think back to a conversation I just had yesterday where I was talking about how much I struggle with displays for my own craft booths. I said that because of my background being in 2D design and knowing photography, I’m much more comfortable with photographing my products and that when it comes to craft booths I just have no interest and want to simply throw all my stuff out on a table. But, I also understand the difference that a quality picture or display can make on selling. A friend had asked me to do some “research” while I was at Renegade and look at booths for creative displays. I realized quickly on that if I want to actually shop that I can’t be eyeing displays. In successful booths the displays are so great that you don’t even notice them and just focus on the products and those spectacular displays elevate the quality and price of the products compared to the exact same type of products that might just be thrown out onto a table.

I used Instagram’s new app Hyperlapse to take some videos while I was at Renegade this year. I put them together with another app which added that annoying logo in the corner. Not sure how to add music yet. But this video might give you a glimpse into how big and busy Renegade is.

See more Renegade Loot posts from previous years

Beaded necklaces in the shop

It’s been a while since I have listed any new beaded necklaces, but it’s been something I’ve been wanting to do for a while.

Feeling spread so thin with to-do lists a mile long and then today I wake up with a sore throat and feel achey all over. Please just let me make it through the week.  Just painting beads at midnight the evening before a big sale because that's how I roll

I went a little wild and made tons of beads. Now is the fun part of decorating them and assembling.

I finished 5 to take to a craft show last week, but the show got rained out, so now I have just listed 4 new beaded necklaces in my etsy shop robayre! These all have simple leather cords that are adjustable, so if you like to wear them long or short you can do either.

turquoise red orange

A turquoise and red/orange little ditty

green leaf gold

This was my first time making beads in representational shapes. Of course I had to make a leaf!

pink

Pinks, wood, and black and white

Peach

And last but not least, a peach necklace.

There are more to come so keep an eye on the shop! Have a great weekend.

Right Now I’m…

Drury Lane -The Game's Afoot, such an  impressive set, so beautiful

Anticipating My birthday later this month, of course!
Buying  I just went to Renegade Chicago on Saturday, so there will be a loot post on that shortly
Creating   oh gosh, so many things. I have so so so many projects I’m working on and finally feeling some drive to actually work on things
Eating  Well, maybe more like what I’m not eating. I got a cold or flu last week and didn’t eat at all one day, so I took it as a chance to reboot and eliminate sweets from my diet.
Feeling  I’m still getting over the sickness I had last week and have been coughing and sniffling. Hopefully it goes away quickly and isn’t one of those that sticks around for weeks.
Listening  Lots of spotify. Want to test out an album or artist, entirely? Spotify is your answer. So, spotify is reminding me that last week I listened to a lot of Ryan Adams (I pre ordered his new album months ago and it should arrive this week), Molly Ringwald – did you know that Molly Ringwald has an album out (I don’t think it was really for me),  and Pickin’ On Series – do you know about Pickin’ On Series? I’m not sure what their back story is, I’ve looked briefly online to find out what “the deal is without any luck. I first discovered them years ago when searching itunes for a cool cover of a Shins songs. It’s a cover band that blue-grasses” up all sorts of artists’ music, from artists like Taylor Swift and Disney songs, to Kings of Leon and Mumford & Songs, as well as Motley Crue and Aerosmith. Some of the music is just instrumental and while others have vocals. I’m guessing Pickin’ On Series it is a huge collection of different artists brought into the studio, not just one band. Their library has probably thousands and thousands of songs in their catalog.
Loving  My work schedule. Now that evenings are getting shorter, getting off at 3 is going to be the BEST THING EVER.
Missing  My dad, of course. It hits me here and there when things pop up that I would have asked him advice on. Lately, as the talk of fall approaches, I’ve been thinking about last winter when he picked me up from work a lot and we would drive around for a bit and just talk and see new things, or even just sitting in my driveway talking.
Procrastinating – Posting to this blog! I have a mile long list of posts I want to publish, but have just been procrastinating so long that now I feel overwhelmed about where to begin. This post is an attempt to break the ice.
Reading – The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, recommended by Courtney. We went camping a couple of weeks ago and I brought the book with me and pictured so much time reading it but really I only had time to read a page or two. Then I recently renewed my library card and borrowed, Share Your Work! by Austin Kleon, and  2014 Artist’s and Graphic Designer’s Manual, both of which I feel are actually worthy of purchasing, and finally, I’ve been slowly going through the Creative Block by Danielle Krysa (of The Jealous Curator) and only reading as I try to do each artist’s creative unblock project.
Seeing  This summer we have gone to the theater twice, once to see Arsenic and Old Lace at the local Stage Coach Theatre, which was a play my mom directed at the middle school, and then most recently we saw The Game’s Afoot at Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace (set pictured at the top). The Drury Lane show was very impressive, the actors were excellently cast and the set was just short of breathtaking, with slowly falling snow outside of the windows. A side note: I secretly wished to act when I was younger. I even got the nerve up to try out for a play in high school but was SO TERRIFIED I couldn’t do anything other than just read the lines, I don’t think I even looked up from the paper while I was reading, and you can probably guess, but I did not receive a part. Then when I worked for the newspaper we always ran articles about the Stage Coach Theatre, and then of course with my mom directing plays every year and helping out with those, I thought “someday I’m going to try out and be in a play at the Stage Coach.” Every time I’d see an article I’d think “maybe next time I’ll actually try out”. In reality, and fast forward to today, this was my first time even attending a show at that theater and going there I revisited that old dream and had to laugh because that sounds like an absolute nightmare to me now.
Watching  The thing most worth mentioning is probably Les Revenants (The Returned). Both my mom and I happened upon it on netflix much earlier this year, watched it and LOVED it so much, that we recommended it to our movie night group. So we ended up watching it AGAIN with everyone else and they enjoyed it too. I can’t wait until the second season comes out.
Wanting – a whole week where I could just lock myself in my studio and work on all my projects and I don’t have any outside commitments to go anywhere or do anything else.

Right Now posts

Scallop Bunting Garlands

garland

I thought I had posted about these garlands on my blog before but I can’t for the life of me find any trace mention of them.

It all started last summer when Ann from A Beautiful Party and I went to a workshop in Chicago and participated in maker project taught by Esther of Essimar. She taught us how to make these ornaments with scalloped decorated papers we made.

paper ornament

Mine looked like this, above. When I was done making my ornament I still had a bunch of my scalloped papers left and I gathered them all up and took them home with me. I didn’t know what would come of them but I thought they were too pretty to throw away. They sat on a shelf in my studio for months and months, then finally in February I had an idea and made the garland at the top. I sent it to a friend as a gift when she ordered something from my shop.

I really loved how it came out and wanted to make more. I had some craft paper on a roll and some acrylic paint and off I went.

Tonight's project, another scrappy garland.

I just love how I can play with paint, make patterns and a mess and they don’t have to be great or anything special, but cut it all up and voila, something functional and pretty!

I'm on a roll. Today it was a mint, black, gold, white and brown garland.

Each time I’ve started one I’ve been inspired by a color theme.

Robayre garland # 68 bobajillion

And then I started branching out from just acrylic paints but also using pastels, crayons, pencils and pens.

garland

Right now I’ve been making each one with someone in mind, but I still need to actually send them out to each person, but I love making them so much that it might be possible to see some spring up in my etsy shop, so keep an eye out.

When I was taking lots of metalwork classes I thought the instructor should photograph the students' hands at the beginning of the semester and then once again at the end. There'd be so much grime embedded and injury inflicted and yet the hands would be m

#patterns #color #art #wip

Fitbit One Year Anniversary

Hello, fitbit

It is my fitbit one year anniversary!

Some days getting that 10,000 step smiley face is absolute torture!

Some days it is my saving grace.

I will be honest I have had some days I didn’t get my 10,000 steps in. I’m thinking it was probably around 6 days, and over 365 days that’s not bad! At 3 MILLION 967 THOUSAND and 584 steps over a year that averages to 10,870 steps every day, so I more than made up for those few days that I didn’t make 10,000.

I do wish that it had more of a positive effect on my waistline, but it’s something I work on that through my food choices all the time.

In the time I got my fitbit they have EXPLODED in popularity. I went from having 3 contacts on the friend page to having 20, many have told me it was because of my fitbit talk that got them interested in getting their own.

My feet or back used to hurt walking just to our downtown, now walking all over town and back is no longer an issue.

Today is my #OneYearAnniversary of when I got my #fitbit. #10,000 steps every day, still going strong.   8.11 fitbit one year

Here are a couple articles that you might be interested in reading about pedometer/trackers

Time Magazine Kathleen Parker: Count Me Out

New Yorker article David Sedaris Stepping Out, Living the Fitbit Life

My #fitbit said #woot! 15,000+ steps today

10,000 steps is great and I’m so proud of myself, but occasionally I think I really should aim higher. Obviously I have plenty of “over” days as my average is near 11,000 steps, but I am afraid that I won’t stick to it and it will cause the whole thing to fall apart and I don’t want to mess with a good thing. I feel like since “They” says that the average person should get 10,000 steps that’s what I work towards. Maybe I need to do some research and see what is recommended for someone wanting to lose weight.

Provisions of Food 52 Turns ONE!

Happy Birthday Provisions

I’m a proud vendor of Provisions at Food 52. I’m also excited to announce that Provisions is turning one today! To celebrate, we’re offering 10% off, with code ProvisionsPartner  Here’s to many more years together! The coupon is valid 8/5-8/11 and can be used on my Gold and Silver Garlands or many other wonderful products by other wonderful makers!

How do you like the birthday present I wrapped and decorated with the gold and silver garland, pictured above? I had the vision for the picture earlier today while I was at work and was itching to get home and put it together. I’m pretty proud of how it came out!

Now I have to jet off to Food 52 and see what new goodies are speaking to me!

Summer

It's all about the HAPPY

It’s the end of July, not even August yet. The autumnal equinox is almost two months away, but I am already starting to get panicky about the end of summer. Last week while I was riding my bike to work in the morning I noticed the sun was that much lower to the horizon each day. Soon enough it will be dark in the am and I won’t be able to ride my bike. Immediately, I started to feel that sinking feeling, similar to the panic one might feel as an insomniac, when you see the clock ticking by later and later and still haven’t slept.

tomatoes!

I think this is more of an indication of just how horrible that last winter was. Normally I’m that girl that everyone groans at in the office because I can’t wait for Fall and I love the snow. I’m decidedly NOT a summer person. I hate looking glossy and sweating just sitting outside in the shade. Most summers I get cabin fever from being a shut in, avoiding the heat and oppressive sun. But, we’ve had another one of these MILD summers (enter all the hate from the summer/heat lovers here). It’s been the kind of summer where you can wear a t-shirt or sweatshirt equally comfortably. The best kind of summer.

Summer

I have so many things I still want to check off my summer list. Spend more time hanging out on the hammock, go to the Dunes, more little road trips, hiking, etc.

Inherited Gene for Little Book Love

In the days after my father passed my family poured over all of our family pictures looking for images of my dad to use in collages. One of the books I found was an album that was filled with cards for me when I was little, everything from baby gifts to letters from my first best friend that moved to Delaware in elementary school. Where are you Allison Trees?

Little books by my grandma, Sarah Catherine Wiseheart Wells

Inside I found these little books made by my Grandma (Sarah Catherine Wiseheart) Wells.

grandma collegegrandma four years old

She was born in 1910, was passionate about prairie conservation, loons, history and wrote poetry as well as special features in the newspaper. She was my dad’s mother. My sister and I took turns staying with her over spring break and summer vacation. She hugged HARD and would wave to us from the middle of the street as we drove away until we got so far away we couldn’t see her anymore.

Just a few short weeks ago I had shared another little book she made for me and speculated that was where I got the interest in making my own little books. Then I find these books. There’s no question now, it’s her coming out in me. These books are even the same size as the books I often make.

staple books

It got me thinking of an idea that I’ve had swirling in my head for quite some time.

An idea is brewing!