Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fruit Flies

Between the large amounts of yummy produce we have in our house, the compost bowl on our cupboard and the warm temperatures, we have bred a large family of fruit flies. At first I wasn't that bothered by them (though Stephen was), but now even I am getting a bit grossed out.

It is amazing how fast they can [sniff] (do flies smell?) out a new piece of fruit. I can turn my back for a few seconds, and there they are, perched quietly on my freshly cut banana. Ew.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Utility Monster

Now that I'm consumed in design work once again, I find that I don't ever draw. So once again, I'm going to try to get in the habit of drawing a little bit every day. I'm not going to make it into an assignment, like the JCrew Illustrations, but more of the inspirational doodling.

The above doodle was done late last night, when I was re-capping our day. We've had some power issues the last couple days, with the power mysteriously going out Sunday afternoon. Turns out we needed to get a new utility box in our backyard, so yesterday was the day they installed it. Now we have huge, deep tire marks running along the edge of our yard. I'm not exactly sure how we're going to fix them, considering the actual ground has been pressed in about 8's not just a matter of smooshed grass. So the doodle is depicting the utility box monster, causing havoc in our neighborhood.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Yoga Bag holds the Mat

Stephen, with his new felted yoga mat bag

The yoga bag is felted, and is serving it's purpose!

I can now say I have completed a knitting project. After the long felting process and 2+ days of drying time, Stephen finally got a chance to use his new carrier when we went to the gym yesterday. As you can see in the photos above, I think it turned out pretty well.

Since I had never felted anything before (intentional or otherwise), I had no idea how long the felting process would take. I would say, when all was said-and-done, it probably took about 10 5-minute cycles in the hot wash before it shrunk to the desired size. The directions kept saying how fast the yarn would felt, so I guess I expected it to be much quicker. It is quite amazing how different the textures and colors are, compared to the original knitting.

I have to say, I love, love LOVE the whole process, and I can't wait to take up another felted knitting project. But now that it's done, I should probably be responsible and focus on my real work for a while, since this bag turned out to be quite the distraction.

Have a great week,

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jumping Bag

Warning: I'm being silly today.
Why? Because I'm in a great mood. The sun is out after a LONG night of thunderstorms, Team USA just advanced to the next round in the World Cup, and I've finished knitting my yoga bag!

I wanted to take a photo of me with the bag pre-felting, so you can see just how big it is. It measures approximately 48" from end-to-end (which seemed like for-e-ver when I was knitting). As you can see from the photos, I got goofier and goofier. I'm just so excited to start the felting process!
I'm trying REALLY hard to time a jump. It took several tries.

And, of course, here are the close-ups of the bag. I was a big unsure of the multi-colored yarn. It looked a little too 80's rainbow pastel on the skein, but it's really quite beautiful knit into the bag. And yes, in case you're wondering about the color palette, Stephen DID request pink. It will go along with his pink bike and pink shirts. He knows what he likes! :)

Once I gather my nerves I'm gonna felt this baby. I just don't want to ruin it! Since this is my first knitting project, and I've been working on it daily for about 7 weeks, I'd hate for it not to work. I'll post more photos once it finally happens!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Veggies

Summer is here!

There are many reasons I love summer, but one of my favorites is fresh, local veggies. This year, we are once again partaking in a CSA from Middlebury Hills Farm. A few years ago, before I even knew what a CSA was, though I liked vegetables, I wasn't very adventurous. Now, with Stephen constantly expanding my culinary horizions, and the inclusion of the CSA boxes in the summer, I am so excited to try new veggie-based foods. Last week's box was particularly pretty, so I felt inspired to draw some of the produce and practice my gouache skills, as seen above.

Stephen is the cook of the household, so he made some fun recipes with the new box: Quinoa with Carrots and Dill; Radish/Onion/Chicken Tortillas; and Swiss Chard/Bacon/Cheddar Quiche (though I'm not an egg person, so that last one kinda freaked me out). We also got a quart of fresh strawberries, so of course, Stella went to town on those, being the fruit girl that she is.

Now if only my garden would grow. The tomatoes and peppers are doing great, but half the romaine didn't come in, the green beans got sheared by some critter, and the peas look a little sad. I think I'm going to try re-planting some of them and see what happens. At least I can depend on the CSA!

Have a yummy Tuesday,

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Minor Setback

Happy Father's Day! I hope everyone had a wonderful day. We spent our Daddy Day at one of our new favorite places - Devil's Lake, near Baraboo Wisconsin. Stephen got there bright and early to swim from one side of the lake and back (3 miles!) and then Stella and I met him to go for a hike. We ended up hiking around the entire lake, about 4 miles. And I finally got to see the Balanced Rock, a super-cool rock formation on the East Bluff - it was totally bizarre! Needless to say, we were all exhausted by the time we got home. But, boy, it was a great day.

Now onto other news: on Friday I got word back from the Renegade Craft Fair - I did not get in. Ho hum. I am having mixed feelings about the whole thing. Overall, I'm really okay with it. It means I'm actually going to enjoy summer for SUMMER and not as a whirlwind of trying to get as much accomplished as possible. It means I can hang out at Devil's Lake with the fam and not feel guilty about the printing time I'm missing. It means I can watch a movie without feeling like I HAVE to sew a Fuzzy (though, to be honest, I probably still will sew or knit most of the time). Basically, what I'm trying to say, is that the pressure is off. And if I want to work on screen printing...or Fuzzies...I'll do it because I really enjoy it - not because I have a major deadline coming up in 3 months.

On the other hand, I've been working up to this application for so long, the fact that I didn't get in is a bit disappointing. Obviously, when you invest this much time into something, and build it up so much, it's hard not to feel like a failure when it doesn't pan out as hoped.

It's hard to tell why I wasn't accepted, because they sent out a blanket email to all the "rejects". Based on their list of possible reasons, I'm chalking it up to the fact that I don't have any other craft fair experiences, and I don't have any online presence. Basically, I don't have any reputation yet. Perhaps I was looking at this Renegade opportunity the wrong way. I was hoping this would be my jumping-off point, and it would kick my business into high gear. Now I'm re-thinking this idea. I think I need to build up my reputation first, and then hope that will help me get into future fairs.

So with this new strategy, I'm going to open my Etsy shop to the public. It is currently an empty shop, but soon it will be filled with Fuzzies and screen prints. And, now I will be able to explore some of the other creative projects I've had up my sleeve! There are so many things I've wanted to do, but I've been avoiding them until I heard about my Renegade future. Now that I know, bring 'em on!

Today, I'll leave with you a photo I took. I've been loving my new retractable clothesline, and apparently, so do the butterflies!

Laundry Day


Friday, June 18, 2010

Madison Multisport T-shirt

For the past few years I have gotten the opportunity to work with Cindi, over at Madison Multisport. Cindi is the coach, dedicated to motivating the team towards the goal of participating in a triathlon (or two). I have been working with Cindi since the inception, helping her with the identity of MM, including designing all the team kits (jerseys/shorts).

This year she asked me to come up with a design for a casual t-shirt that not only the team members will sport, but also their fans. Cindi gave me free-reign, simply looking for something that would be fun, and exhibit the team's colors. I decided to go the illustration route, focusing on a way to not only represent the 3 facets of triathlons (swim/bike/run), but also give a little hint of Madison.

The result was a whimsical depiction of the triathletes tackling the waves of the open water and the rolling hills of south central Wisconsin, complete with the State Capitol in the background.

Now, thanks to the t-shirt, Stella and I are now official "TEAM SUPPORT" (as it says on the backs of our shirts).

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rainy Day Fuzzies

It has been raining all day here. But you know what? I'm actually really enjoying it. It's a nice, gentle rain, and everything looks so green, fresh and dewey. It just feels like a great day to stay inside and take a nap (or get lots of work done, in my case).

Here are some more Fuzzies I've completed. I'm starting to ramp up the Fuzzy production again. I actually got a monkey done in one day this weekend - that's unheard of! But, if I get into Renegade, it is my biggest fear to have an empty-looking booth, so it's time to pick up the pace.

Do you know of any elves that I can put to work?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Applied for Renegade

With the print shop finally up and running, I was able to finish the 2nd of 2 prints I was submitting for the Renegade Craft Fair. This second print was quite the challenge, though.

I was planning on incorporating a gingham pattern in the background, but the thinner lines were giving me problems. I wasn't sure why these lines were being so difficult, since they were about the same weight as the lines in my previous print. But boy, were they stubborn. Finally, after 6 tries at different exposure times, I finally got one that was close. It's still not perfect, but I figured this was a good learning experience for me - and I've already fixed it.

This was a fun print because I was printing on some super-cool colored paper. I can't wait to print the other designs!

Here are the photos I submitted: 2 regular Fuzzies, 1 mini Fuzzy, and 2 screen prints, one of each style. I feel these are a good representation of my work. If I get in to the fair, and time works in my favor, I'd love to make some buttons, stickers and cards utilizing the Fuzzy theme.

Go, Team Fuzzies!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

First Official Print!

...And it's finally happened - I completed my first official screen print in my basement print shop!
I gotta tell you - I was pretty nervous to take the plunge and start printing a REAL print. Test prints are one thing - if I mess 'em up, it doesn't really matter. But the official prints are going to potentially be sold, so they have to be great.

Here are some photos throughout the process:

Pulling the 3rd color - my setup

My setup, different view

After the 1st color, all the prints laid out to dry

After the 2nd color - it's coming together!

And, finally, the finished prints, all lined up, nice and purdy.

Voila! Finished print : Fillipe, the Racing Bunny

On Friday I realized the Renegade application deadline is actually the 11th, not the 18th, like I was thinking. Agh! That means I have less than a week to pull everything together. But now I have 1 print in my pocket, and I'm going to do one more to represent my printing half of my booth. I already have several Fuzzies that I can submit, so there's not a problem there. This is so's all becoming so real!

Does this mean I can consider myself a printmaker now?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

French Paper makes me happy


I realize the posts have been few and far between, but don't start thinking I've been sitting around doing nothing. Actually, I've been so consumed with the Schwinn projects, I have had zero time to do anything else.

But yesterday, something wonderful happened: My jumbo paper cutter and 42 pounds of French Paper arrived! Talk about dropping everything to rip open the packages. And there it was, in all of it's glorious-ness.

With the Renegade Craft Fair application deadline looming, I really have to get printing so I have something to submit. Now that I have my paper, I can officially begin. I'm hoping to be productive this weekend, and hopefully finish a couple next week. Stay tuned for photos!
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