The doodles

So I continued my drawing experiments throughout the tail end of last week. I squeezed them into my day between school drop offs, soccer practices, doctor appointments, Halloween parades, and of course, the power cut bought on by ‘Superstorm’ Sandy.
Note to self: drawing by candle light sounds lovely and romantic, but is actually rather painful to the eyes and brain.

Not everything I created was wonderful, but I do feel rejuvenated, in a creative sense. Here are some of the things I did:

I particularly enjoyed working with the colored paper.

Todd Oldham of ‘Kid Made Modern’ fame, has a great range of art materials for kids at Target, and I couldn’t help myself when I saw his huge block of colored papers. My daughter squealed with delight when she realized that some of the papers had glitter in them. If you like paper, go and take a look.

Happy Halloween!





Doodle therapy

I’m in a sort of in-between phase. It’s a pretty good place to be. I have no markets for a month, and am just about¬†to start making new products for the Holiday season.

Today I went shopping for plain shirts to print on, and ordered new business cards. Yesterday, however, I produced a few drawings…..of desserts. Why desserts? Well, to be honest, because I felt like it. You heard me correctly, I felt like it!

A waste of time? I don’t think so. I’m a big fan of the restorative powers of doodling, and breaks. Sometimes, it is just this type of unplanned creative ¬†activity that helps me to reorganize my thoughts, and decide which direction to move in next. Lately I seem to spend a lot of time managing my Etsy store, marketing myself, and doing other activities that draw me away from actually creating new ideas for work.

So I think that I will spend the next couple of days drawing, and re-calibrating.
After that, the gloves come off and the printing starts.

The Learning Curve

“Oh! I love these shirts, they are so vintage looking!! Said the young woman before scooping up a couple and buying them.

Vintage looking?
I guess she was referring to the low-tech printing process that I employ. Or maybe I really am aesthetically stuck in a different era.

You really learn a lot at fairs.
One thing I have noticed is that, people who buy my clothes really like the hand-made look of them.
I have stopped trying to make them all look the same. I have stopped freaking out about tiny imperfections. People actually like the fact that each piece is a little different. Who would have guessed that it would  actually be a selling point?!

I have learnt that the baby clothing always sells fastest.
I have learnt that applique or embroidery on anything always makes people gooey eyed.
I have learnt¬†that I really need a large banner with my company’s name on it. People lose business cards.
I have learnt that my six year old is a doggedly persistent salesperson, who can sell the shirt off your back.

The last Ballston Arts and Crafts Market of the season is happening tomorrow, and I have just made a stack of new baby clothing. It is all organic cotton, hand-printed, hand-sewn, and, of course, long sleeved for the Autumn!!

Have a look. I’m off to make a large banner!

The Most Bestest, Amazing, Wonderful Book List

I¬†have been thinking a lot about children’s books lately, and¬†it seemed like a good time to post that list that my six year old daughter and I have been working on. The List of Most Bestest, Amazing, Wonderful Books.
But first, a disclaimer:

The Disclaimer

The books on this list are a selection of children’s picture books, that I have read with my kids, and really, really liked.¬†We compiled this list purely by deciding which books we enjoyed reading the most. ¬†It is not meant to be a definitive guide to the best kids’ books around, just a jumble of personal favorites.

Also, we did not want the list to be too long, so we left out a few obvious books such as Goodnight Moon, Llama, llama Red Pyjama, The Cat in the Hat, and Harold and the purple crayon (and many more) because, well, everyone knows that they are great books.
Also, we found that there were many books that I loved, that the kids did not find engaging, and many books that the kids loved that were, to put it plainly, boring for me to read. The selection below are books that we all enjoyed reading. Maybe you will enjoy some of them too….

The List

Where is the Green Sheep? – Mem Fox and Judy Horacek –¬†Has a great rhythm to it.

 A Boy and his Bunny РSean Bryan РInsanely silly fun.

¬†The Daddy Mountain – Jules Feiffer – A perfect ¬†father’s day read. Simple with really nice illustrations.

¬†The Tiger who came to Tea – Great illustrations of 1960’s London. A classic.

It looked like Spilt Milk – Charles G Shaw – ¬†Encourages kids to use their imagination…and cloud watch.

¬†Dog and Bear – Two’s Company – Laura Vaccaro Seeger –¬†Very cute short stories for tots with short attention spans.

First the Egg – Laura Vaccaro Seeger – The timeless chicken or egg question. The starter of many philosophical musings in our household.

 How will we get to the Beach? РBrigitte Luciani, Eve Tharlet  РGreat for playing memory games.

¬†Emily’s Balloon – Komako Sakai – Happy,¬†simple and beautifully illustrated.

¬†Suki’s kimono – Chieri Uegaki – Another beautifully illustrated book about being proud of your cultural identity.

Quiet Bunny – Lisa McCue – Designed to help with early speech development, fun to read together with a toddler.

Too Small for Honey Cake – Gill Lobel –
¬†Sweet therapy for jealous older siblings ūüôā

The Red Hen – Rebecca and Ed Emberley – A funny take on a classic tale, with funky, bold illustrations, and a good cake recipe.

My Japan – Etsuko Watanabe – Fascinating, packed with interesting facts about Japanese culture. I loved this.

Hug – Jez Alborough – No text – great for honing story telling skills.

Wave – Suzy Lee – Same as above. The illustrations are gorgeous.

There’s a Wocket in my Pocket – Dr Seuss¬†– The most fun to read.

Gorilla – Anthony Browne – The kids loved spotting the gorillas in each picture.

Miss Lina’s Ballerinas – Grace Maccarone – Math problems with a ballet twist.

The Little House – Virginia Lee Burton – A classic tale about time and change.

I really want to eat a Child РSylviane Donnio Р Just incredibly cute.

The Jolly Postman – Janet and Allan Ahlberg –
Like opening a treasure box – only for kids older than five.

¬†The Red Lemon – Bob Staake –¬†Beautifully illustrated by a graphic designer, and very funny.

What are your favorite children’s books? I would love to know.