My Etsy Shop

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mmmmm....Thin Mints...

Steve was looking out the window yesterday evening and spied a couple of girl scouts delivering cookies in the neighborhood and began knocking on the window and waving them over. He wanted to buy some Thin Mints. They said they were only delivering cookies that had already been pre-ordered, but that he could place an order. He placed an order for 2 boxes. Dang! instant gratification. But about 10 minutes later we heard some little footsteps on the stairs and they reappeared with one leftover box. Sweet. The girl scouts said we could pay for both boxes on Friday, when they deliver box #2. They know we'll ante up, because they know we'll be wantin' more come Friday.

What is it about these little chocolaty bites that is so addictive? Is it the melty dark chocolate covering or the softly crispy cookie interior? Maybe the melange of mint and chocolate tastes in your mouth? Or is it simply that they are only available once a year? Hmmm.

I got an email today that has a new "artist series" video available online. "The series takes an in-depth look at the work and processes of the design firm Pentagram and the designers David Carson, Milton Glaser, Paula Scher, Stefan Sagmeister, and James Victore." I think I'm going to check it out. You can sign up for $25/mo. and get access to all their great software training videos.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bathing Thrushes

I took these photos from my kitchen window this morning. The first one is a Hermit Thrush and the second one I'm sure everyone will recognize as American Robin. I have these plant saucers I got from a garden store set up on little plastic garden stools as bird baths...very "high tech". The birds love 'em. You can see how the yard is pretty much overrun by oxalis. While I was looking out the window, I saw a flock of about 60 Cedar waxwings fly by over the house.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Robins and Cedars and Jays...oh my!

Esther convinced me that it was much too nice a day outside not to take a post-lunch outing before heading back into the studio. All the outdoor furniture is coated with a light powdering of chartreuse pine pollen. We lounged in the backyard soaking up a few rays while robins and cedar waxwings zoomed around overhead. They travel in flocks this time of year feeding on berries. They were working the cotoneaster bushes next door. I love the cedar waxwing's thin, high pitched whistling call. A pair of scrub jays took a break from their insistent scolding to engage in some pair bonding. One jay joined another on the telephone wire and fed her some tasty tidbits. I've been worried about where they will nest this year since the guy up behind us had their favored nesting tree all hacked to s--- a few weeks ago. A few chipping yellow rumped warblers practiced aerial fly-catching. A lone red tailed hawk soared silently high above.

A shiny red ladybug gleaned the parsley while honeybees probed the periwinkle blue rosemary flowers for nectar. A large bumblebee buzzed lazily inches from Esther's face while she just gazed at it impassively. I notice that one of the foxgloves I planted in the fall has thrown up a flower spike that's already over a foot tall with pink buds. My new "strategy" of planting mostly Bay Area native plants is so far not working out so fabulously. The oxalis is threatening to choke out everything but this one plant which is supposed to be a Birdseye gilia. It's sprawling all over the place, making me suspect it might be something else. But my Julia Phelps ceanothus (wild lilac) bushes are covered in bluish purple buds. I love their subtle scent. (Too bad there aren't websites I can link to where you can sample the scent.)

While we no longer have our huge Monterey pines looming large in the upper level of our backyard, we now have a space where we can eventually put in a bench with a view over our roof of Mt. San Bruno and Montara Mountain beyond to the south and west to the sun glinting off the Pacific Ocean.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Passing On The Trophy

It was a major upset victory last night for first-time Academy Awards party attendee, Sean S. Here we see last year's winner, Steve, passing the trophy over to one-year old Sean, who looks pretty pleased with himself. Sean chose to wear a Reinhardt for his first Oscars appearance. (Yes, this stunning sweater was hand-knit by yours truly.) Sean, with an assist from his mom, picked 13 out of 24 Oscar winners, tying with veteran winner Jack, who ceded his trophy to the newcomer. Sean pleased the crowd by making his acceptance speech short, thanking only "Mama, Daddy and Kitty." He then proceeded to show his appreciation by placing the tropy directly into his mouth. Mom assures us that the trophy will receive a place of honor in their home, outside of Sean's reach.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Spring is on the way

It continues to rain a lot here, but I have noticed that some of the small trees have recently burst into bloom. They're so beautiful. These are right down the street from me. The yellow flowers are oxalis, which is a horribly invasive weed from South Africa. I can't tell you how many tons of oxalis I have pulled from my yard over the years.

Last night I watched a DVD of a film called Helvetica. It's a documentary on the typeface Helvetica. I found it fascinating. The filmmakers travel to different cities around the world and show you many film clips of Helvetica being used in signage all around the city and then they interview a famous graphic designer. I was really thrilled to see Hermann Zapf (the Zapf font & dingbats designer), Michael Beirut of Pentagram and Stefan Sagmeister. I am still kicking myself because back in the 90s, Stefan Sagmeister called me for an illustration job and I said I couldn't take it because I was going out of town the next day. I didn't know who he was.

Friday, February 22, 2008

James at Wondercon

This is the best photo I managed to get of James McAvoy at Wondercon today. He was appearing to promote an upcoming film called Wanted with Angelina Jolie. Judging from the clip they showed, this is going to be a way over the top hyper action film. Not exactly my cup of tea.

But Wondercon was actually more interesting than I thought it would be. There's a Dorothy of Oz superhero or something. Who knew? I got to meet one of my favorite illustrators, Tim Raglin. He was selling some books that he had writen and illustrated. I bought two. There was also a very cool booth called The Gilded Bat, which is a store located near Sacramento which carried first editions of wonderful illustrated books. And there were lots of interesting and odd people, some in costumes. The original Lois Lane from the Superman tv show was there, as well as the actor who played Chewbacca in Star Wars.

And The Award Goes To...

We host an annual Academy Awards party at our house. This is the coveted trophy one lucky contestant will bring home for one whole year if they can guess the most Oscar winners on Sunday. My husband has already posted his picks: Oscar Picks and Top Ten.

I am rooting for Atonement, which has 7 nominations, but is only expected to win one or two at most. I really think it has a wonderful score, so I hope that it wins Best Original Score. It stars James McAvoy, who I hope I will see today at Wondercon.

Daniel Day-Lewis is the odds-on favorite to win Best Actor for There Will Be Blood, which I hope will be good for sales of my I Drink Your Milkshake t-shirts. These t-shirts have been selling well over the past couple of weeks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Muse

I've been cleaning and rearranging my studio lately. Here's one corner that is now completely free of avalanching piles of stuff. My friend Jack manages a movie theatre and the UPS man delivered this standee of James McAvoy to his place by mistake. They weren't showing Atonement. This was my Christmas present from Jack. This is just one third of the display. The other two panels are still in the box down in the garage.

James is coming to SF on Friday to promote his upcoming film, Wanted. He'll be appearing at Wondercon. Wondercon looks to be quite the geek-fest, but I'm going to brave it for the chance to see him in person again. Wish me luck. James will be a presenter at the Academy Awards show on Sunday, so you can see him too.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Good Paper vs. Cheap Paper

Here's a good example of why you should always use good paper. You never know when a drawing might turn out to be one you want to keep. I did this drawing of a motorcyle in a drawing class in college. It's not a total masterpiece, but it has a lot of personal meaning for me. While doing this drawing, I lost all sense of self, time...everything. I was completely absorbed into the act of drawing. I finally came back to earth when the guy who owned the motorcycle started to move it. I hadn't even noticed that the class was over.

But it was done on cheap newsprint. I left it back east when I moved out west and my brother took it and hung it on his wall near a window. My husband decided to bring it back for me as a surprise when he drove cross country. But now it is crumbling. My friend Chris suggested scanning it in parts and piecing it together, which is what you see here. So now it is gone with the recycling. Sometimes it's hard letting go of things.