For Valentine’s Day, I got Chris the latest Chris Ware collection, “Building Stories.” It’s an amazing package of graphic art/comics/I don’t even know what to call it — all in different formats. We are long-time fans of Chris Ware. His work is meticulously designed, and we were pretty awe-stuck by “Building Stories” just looking through the package. Anyway, this giant book/box needed wrapping, so here’s what I did. It’s pretty self-explanatory. I always love a project that uses what I already have around.
Next, I used my valentines for Chris and the girls as an opportunity to play around with Illustrator. Though I took a class on Illustrator years ago, I am very much a novice with this software. Use it or lose it. I’ve lost it. Frankly, I was pretty pleased with myself for being able to make a heart shape with the pen tool. Baby steps.
As soon as all the girls are in elementary school, I’m hoping to finish up my half-completed degree in graphic design. I have a feeling pottery is going to require a day job, and jobs for editors (my pre-child career choice) are few and far between these days — not that graphic design is booming, but I enjoy it. When I took my typography class, we were using rub-on type. Rub-on type! Do they still do this? It’s not like we didn’t have computers then … Anyway, until I’m back in school, I’ll continue to make little projects for myself like this. Practice practice.
Sidenote: Check out the new button in the corner of my images. It allows you to pin the image to Pinterest, so pin away! Just be good and give credit where credit is due. Speaking of which, I got the ISLY Pinterest WordPress Widget from Melissa Esplin here. Thank you, Melissa and Chris (her husband who made the plugin).
We are planning on doing some camping this summer, so we recently purchased a tent! Our old tent was ruined in the great flood of 2010, and it wouldn’t have held five people anyway.
We were all pretty excited about the tent, so we decided to do a test run in the living room. We moved the couches out of the way, but it was too big. We were whacking walls and windows and pictures with the poles. It’s giant. So, no tent in the living room. It caused great disappointment among the littles when we decided to wait and set it up outside the next morning.
The evening after we set up the tent, a big storm came in. The tent was subjected to lots of rain and strong winds, and it didn’t leak or tear! So I guess it is a pretty good tent for our purposes. (It’s the Coleman Montana 8 if you are wondering.)
I’ve been soliciting advice from friends and family about camping with kids, and everyone has been so helpful. Besides the usual kid-craziness, I think our biggest problem may be how to get all of our equipment in and on our car, which isn’t huge. I’m looking at either the Sherpak or the Rightline Saddlebag. I’ve even toyed with the idea of getting both.
Looking at camping equipment is so fun! It reminds me of Girl Scout camp, which I only attended once and was plagued by shyness the entire time. But the equipment? The canteens? The little metal cups? The name tags in your shirts? That stuff was great. (Can you tell I’m a camping novice?)
Do you have any camping tips?
Last weekend the girls and I worked on a giant pile of homemade valentines for their classmates. We made 73 valentines! I asked them if they wanted to use store-bought cards this year, but they picked homemade. I was thinking our days of homemade valentines were nearly over with my oldest, but her crafty instincts are strong.
This year the girls picked the printable butterfly valentines from Cindy of Skip to My Lou. I did the printing and cutting; they did the stickers and writing. I bought googly eyes that already had adhesive on them in order to avoid a glue mess. The larger eyes seemed to work better on the lollipops — they had more surface area of stickiness.
The girls were a little concerned by the butterflies’ lack of antennae or mouths, but these were quite enough for them to handle without those things! They turned out really cute
I just noticed the little note on one of these that says “Books rool.” That’s my girl.
I hope you have a good Valentine’s Day!
Here’s what I have been working on this week. I made a couple plywood molds with a jigsaw. Working with power tools is always a little bit exhilarating. (You know, with the threat of cutting off your fingers and all …)
I made an asymmetrical mold because after all the wheel-thrown pots, my brain needs a little asymmetry. I also wanted to start making some tray forms because that’s really the easiest way to play with some new surface designs.
My goal with this one was to reproduce the look of bokeh. I tried to use a paper stencil method I learned in a Meredith Host workshop, but I had some problems. First, I was too impatient to let layers of underglaze fully dry before peeling off the paper stencils. (When you have limited studio time, you get impatient. Well, I do.) Also, I think my paper was weird. It was just copy paper, but it seemed to have some sort of coating, and the water turned blue when I soaked my stencils. Then the stencils stuck and shredded and tore, even when I broke down and let them fully dry, and it was not fun.
I need to figure out a better way to deal with the stencils, because I do still like the basic idea of this. The white areas may burn out more than I’d like, but this is an experiment. Next time I also want some of the bokeh blobs to go up the sides, too. I’ll show you how this turns out. Soon. I have a whole lot of making to do before the kiln is full.