Sunday, December 20, 2015

Diving Duck Fabric

A friend ordered a yard of my Diving Mallard Duck Soiree fabric on Spoonflower and had pillows made for her porch.

I'm thinking I might need to make a duvet cover...


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Night at the Bell Museum

Happy the Hodag's new book had to take a backseat this weekend because I had a few eye-opening experiences this past week that gave me the kick-in-the-pants motivation to take care of some projects that have been on the back burner. Thankfully, I'm pretty excited with what I finally accomplished. Stay tuned ;)

Friday night, however, I made the time to attend the Bell Social at the Bell Museum of Natural History. They're moving into new digs very soon and this was the final hurrah. Drinks, nature dioramas, music and great conversation, it was wonderful for the humans! The poor turtles, snakes and other creatures in the Experience Space, however, were kept up way past their bedtimes ;)

Sorry little buddy...

I'm not sure what the new space will bring but the current dioramas are still absolutely amazing, hopefully they are just being transplanted.

A true feat of artistic mastery, a must see!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Happy Hodag Holidays!

Whoa! Take a weekend off and it cascades into a month!

Between traveling around for family events in Door County and Milwaukee and working on the new Happy book (um, did you know Happy the Hodag turns ten years old this year?! It's his b-day present ;) I was also making little people blankets from Happy the Hodag fabric scraps for a charity auction (or more like standing around while my mother made blankets...) and doing a book signing / Happy the Hodag photo booth extravaganza, I've been a little too busy to blog!

Head over to Happy's FB page to see the pics from last weekends event:

If you liked the blankets at the auction you can order the fabric over on Spoonflower (instructions below.) Spoonflower is launching a one-day free shipping event on Monday and so I'll likely buy a few yards so that I can whip up a few more blankets, send me an email if you're interested!

Each Happy Gift Basket for the Auction Gala included a book set, a plush set, a bag and a handmade little person blanket.

One blanket was a patchwork of fabrics and the other was a full yard. My mom and I backed both blankets with a flannel but it was a total pain and so I'll likely be backing the new blankets with a satin or sateen cotton for ease of construction.

From what I've heard it sounds like the most interest was in the blanket with the lighter print:

It is very easy to order!:
1. Select Minky as your fabric
2. Select how much you want (the solid blanket I made used 1 yard)
3. Here is a direct link to this fabric print on Spoonflower:

The other fabrics used in the blankets were these:

Happy Hodag Holidays!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Bookish Weekend

Books, books and more books.

The big industry book fair was in full swing this week in Frankfurt and Minnesota had their regional book fair and my local library had their book sale this weekend.

While I would have loved to be in Frankfurt, who wouldn't, I had a lot of fun buying author signed Christmas presents locally and picking up twenty books and ten cd's at the library for a whopping five dollars.

My favorite by far is Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant by Jack Prelutsky, a cleverly written collection of prose, gorgeously illustrated by Carin Berger.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Brand Loyalty: Cars We Have Known and Loved

Unless you're a New Yorker (or so I'm told) I imagine everyone has a fondness for a certain brand of car, whether it's your first car, a family members car or if you grew up in a car family, like me.

My first car, a much more loved (read: used) version than pictured, of course. The roof and cracked back window leaked a LOT.

To grow up in a car family means I was raised amongst people who care a great deal about vehicles to the point of them being a part of the family, like pets. We didn't actually have any pets growing up (my brother is terribly allergic) but we had a lot of cars over the years, especially once my siblings and I surpassed the age of 16.

Kicking off my 3rd birthday celebration in the back of the Dodge wagon. I still love Mary Janes to this day ;)

In fact, when my family gets together the conversation often turns to the talk of cars we have known and loved and the many adventures we had with them, much like normal families talk about a beloved pet who has passed on.

I'm thinking it would be a worthwhile and meaningful project to create a fabric pattern for my family featuring some of the cars we have known and loved inspired by the fabric design from Heather Ross where she features goldfish she has known and loved.

Copyright Heather Ross

Specifically, mine is a Dodge family per my father. My cousins are a Ford family per my uncle and my second cousins are Chevy families per my great uncles. Other brands are allowed into my immediate families car mix so long as they are not Ford or Chevy. So says my dad and my brother. My brother, by the way, is a master mechanic. That was his and his friends hobby growing up and that is his profession and hobby to this day - he can fix anything with a motor.

What is most interesting to me, as a designer, is the level of attention my dad and brother have for every single aspect of a vehicle. They are also total snobs about their car related apparel and mementos and make their selections with great care. And why wouldn't you? Fashion is about each persons unique take on a new collection and the pieces they choose to add to their personal brand, the same holds true for car brand apparel, tenfold.

This extends beyond cars for my dad. As a farmer he has developed a very deep relationship with John Deere.

My dad and I on his John Deere gator in the back 40

Although my dad's true love will always be a green vintage Dodge Charger, his first true car love.

What car was your first true love?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Creativity Boost

We are all inspired by the things around us including other people's creative work. It's important to respect the origins of the inspiration, you know, don't rip off someone's work or even their marketing language verbatim, that's pretty slimy. But other's work can be the source of wonderful inspiration even for a larger, more complex idea.

I personally like to read and take classes to keep the creative juices flowing. I've posted a lot about books I've been exploring that charge my batteries but I don't often post my class projects.

This past Spring I took a monoprint class at my alma mater Minneapolis College of Art and Design.


I love monoprint. You can come to the table with ideas but you have to create on the spot and what you get after putting it through the press is always a surprise.

My inked brayers, you can see I'm getting a little crazy with my layers

I find monoprint to be a creativity boost because you have to think through your creation process on the fly and the single piece you're working on evolves with each print you pull off of the press. You are also inspired by those working around you and the fresh techniques they're employing and the effects they are achieving on their pulls.

My working 'canvas'. After each pull you come back to this and work it some more.

This a partial account of my monoprint evolution, my muse was an amazing solid sliced geode.

Don't forget, classes like these make for GREAT team building, especially for creative teams!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Failing Upward

I spent the last week traveling through the great West starting in Jackson Hole, WY.

The last time I was here was a very long time ago. I was flown in for an interview with a climbing magazine in the middle of Winter. They had reviewed my work and we'd had several wonderful conversations over the phone, I was excited.

I was told to bring my skis and that they wanted me to stay for a few days to hang out with the team and bond. Unfortunately I had very little vacation left and so could only stay one day and I didn't bring my skis. I had looked at the Jackson Hole city webcams before leaving and got a good look at the town hill I was supposed to ski with my 1992, skinny, long, hot pink, midwestern skis and decided my broken back was not worth this piece of bonding.

Additionally, I had let my sister talk me out of my interview outfit of choice, a sweet pair of corduroy bell-bottom pants and a black wool turtle neck for a more 'professional' upgrade, dress pants and a dress shirt under a v-neck black sweater.

They took one look at me when I walked in the door and their faces fell. Other people came and went while I was interviewing, all rather disheveled and super casual. It didn't get much better from there when they found out I hadn't brought my skis and so they drove me back to the hotel and abandoned me.

Yeah, I tanked it and it was no fun. But on the upside I felt pretty confident that the job wasn't for me and that my husband (who had secured a Teton ranger job) and I would have been so poor we wouldn't have had much fun anyway.

Shortly thereafter we moved a little further northwest into Montana, our last youthful fit of freedom, and I went on to work for a book publishing company and loved it. That experience shaped my personal and professional career in ways I could never have fathomed and it would have never happened if I hadn't initially failed.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Do NOT Eat!

Pretty but deadly!

Do NOT eat these guys... I caught this one just shy of it's pretty little ruffle collar forming. That's when its veil peels off to expose it's spore dispersing gills.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Mushroom Kids Book Classics

Much like my late discovery of mycological groups I also just recently discovered 2 children's book classics starring mushrooms.

The seventies had a lot of love for mushrooms, I hope 2015 does too!

Theodore and the Talking Mushroom by Leo Lionni [1971] and Mushroom in the Rain: Adapted from the Russian of V. Suteyev by Mirra Ginsburg (Author), Jose Aruego (Illustrator) [1974]

And on a random note, I LOVE the smell of library books, it transports me back in time :)