Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Children’s Treehouse

I’ve been drawing these little kids a lot lately, and I think they’ll show up a lot in my more complicated drawings.  I’ve very attracted to images with a lot going on, like Where’s Waldo or Ultimate Cross Section books.  I’d like to start doing more large-scale drawings that are meant to be viewed close and long.

I made this for Eric’s birthday a couple months ago, and it was originally intended to be a drawing of an extensive treehouse, but gradually the treehouse simplified and the children took over.

The colors took over too…I’d also originally intended to use only three colors…I need to work on editing myself.

Watercolor is my favorite- because it really is a drawing medium. Even If I’m using a brush, I still consider the work to be drawing.  I also love the layering potential.  And gold paint.

I love artwork that tells a story.  Why do you think these children are here in the treehouse?



Filed under Paper Goods

The Folio Society

Turns out, our internet provider is crazy. Our internet is down so I’m sitting in a coffee shop for wireless, not that we didn’t try to fix the internet. Yesterday customer service sent us to an address that is in fact a drugstore to “switch out” our modem because it wasn’t “sending a signal.”  Which is ridiculous, because, A. why would they just give us a new modem if ours wasn’t working? and B. I’d bet my husband’s beta fish George that the problem isn’t lack of a signal, because C. Last time this happened they’d accidentally sent someone to our house to turn off our internet. Why? Who knows. They were bored.

All this concludes (hopefully) with a guy coming to our house this afternoon, sometime between 1:30 and 4:30. I guess I’ll get some good cleaning time in this afternoon.

However, I am not here today to talk about the my internet woes, I’m here to share the Folio Society with you.

The Folio Society publishes gorgeous books.  They publish familiar titles with elegant covers and fantastic illustrations.  A book lovers fantasy come true- lovely paper, bookish smell, heavy in your hands, gilt bindings, shiny colorful pictures.  I can’t wait to get my hands on some.  Here are some of my favorites, click on the link to see the illustrations:

Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy illustrated by Jonathan Burton

Kenneth Graham’s Wind in the Willows illustrated by Charles Van Sandwyk

Franz Kafka’s  Metamorphosis illustrated by Michael Hofmann

CS Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters illustrated by Bill Papas

William Golding’s Lord of the Flies illustrated by Sam Weber

JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings illstrated by  Ingahild Grathmer and Eric Fraser

Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, with his own illustrations

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden illustrated by Charles Robinson

Frank L Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

I picture myself surrounded by wooden bookshelves full of gorgeous books all arranged alphabetically by author, complete with one of those sliding ladders to whiz me from A (Austin) to B (Baum).  Swoon.


And because this nearly exactly mimicked my conversation on the phone with the customer service rep (“Ok ma’am, unhook the modem for twenty seconds, then rehook.  Did that work?”  “No.”), here is a clip from the British Comedy, The IT Crowd.  An awesome show, by the way.  We just got the 4th season on DVD and its hilarious.

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Story Salon Invitations

As promised:  FRESH FRIDAY.  Some fresh invitations for you to ponder.

Most of my time is spent baking (my job), drawing or screen printing- all things that I love.  However, all three are rather silent, lonely activities.  I bake for a small restaurant that needs it’s space during the day to cook for customers, so I am relegated to the solitary nighttime and early morning hours.  Don’t get me wrong, its fantastic to do my own thing all the time, but as a result of all the “dead air” floating around me, I have become an audio book and podcast FIEND.  Getting my headphones on in a coffee shop or starting my speakers shouting above the sound of the mixer is my first priority before I start to work.

Here are some of my favorite podcasts, all available for free on itunes:

This American Life

Snap Judgment

The Moth

The Sound of Young America


Studio 360

All Songs Considered

Dinner Party Download

As a result of all this listening, I’m now obsessed with story telling and stand up comedy.  I love the concept of The Moth in particular.   The Moth started in NYC and has since expanded to Detroit, Chicago and LA, and hosts weekly story shows where people, any people, come and tell stories live and without notes.  Every show is standing-room-only packed.  Show-goers put their names in a drawing and that is how the story tellers are picked, so there is fabulous diversity of stories.   I really hope to get to attend a show in the near future.

All this story-telling inspired me to want to hold my own little story show at my house.  I screen printed these invitations and mailed them out to our guests.  I printed some on white paper, some on French cement green paper with green, silver and black ink.

photo by Ellie at Bird in Hand

In my opinion, the party was a huge success.  I was a little nervous because almost everyone I invited came, over 20 people, so it looked to be a very long night of monologues.  I was relieved to find that everyone’s attention was rapt until the very end!  I put names in a bowl and we drew to determine the order.

We heard about a tiger loose in a boys’ school in Uganda, a road trip to a Harry Potter Convention, the real consequences of playing with guns, over-zealous parents and quite a few near-death camping experiences.  I was thrilled with the night.  I told of the time I won second place in a tiny-town beauty pageant and of my Lord of the Rings obsession days when I decided to learn elvish…. All the stories were from the tellers experiences, and best of all: we recorded it.


Filed under Invitations, Paper Goods

Tip-Top Tuesday! Inaugural Post: Whales.

There are so many inspiring things out there in the great wide internet-world.  I know I spend a good chunk of my time browsing other people’s inspiration, so I thought I’d give back, throw in some inspiration of my own.  And so in the interest of inspiration and also a regular blogging schedule, I give you:

“TIP-TOP TUESDAY,” featuring a post facilitating the forming of new ideas.  Many of the posts will feature vintage books with fantastic illustrations.

and whats more, Fridays will bring you:

“FRESH FRIDAYS,” featuring brand-spanking new work by yours truly.  Or at least work you haven’t seen yet.  Fairly Fresh Friday didn’t sound as impressive.

And so today I present:

This gorgeous book is full of incredible whale paintings by wild life illustrator Richard Amundsen.  Amundsen was born in 1928 and did a lot of work for Field and Stream Magazine. These paintings are not only accurate, but beautiful. I love the faded blues and the way he depicts light through water.

But mostly, I love whales.  I went through a year of college wanting to paint and screen print nothing but whales.  I made drawings of whales, made books about whales, read poems about whales and evenutally painted an undersea mural in the local children’s library that prominently featured a whale.  I’ll post some pictures when I find them.

The book’s end pages are this fantastic grouping of whales.  I didn’t scribble on it with crayon, don’t worry.  This book was discarded from Howard Linkous Elementary School in Blacksburg, VA.  I got it at a thrift store in Blacksburg.

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Love Bug Valentines

The Love Bugs are back in time for Valentine’s Day!   And they’re available for purchase on my Etsy page.

These cards were inspired by a Little Rascals episode I saw when I was a kid.  I still prance around the house singing like Darla “The love bug’ll getcha if you don’t watch out!”

Here, check it out starting at 2 min 10 seconds on this youtube video:



Precious, right?  Love those Rascals.

From there, I just had to imagine a smug little bug flitting around infecting people with loooooove!

Each card is hand printed and comes with a matching envelope.  They are blank inside.  Head over to Etsy for purchase.

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Filed under Cards, Paper Goods

Final Calendar Pictures

I’m glad that this calendar that has been consuming my life is finally finished.  Now I can move on the Valentine’s Day Cards and wedding invitations.  I will start next year’s calendar in JULY, dangit!

If you want to see some detail shots and pictures of the back of the completed and trimmed calendars, as well as packaging, look for more pictures after the jump.

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