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I love to name things – Christmas trees, cars, plants, animals – but not anything of my own.

I am taking a leap this Fall. I am going to start – FOR REAL – making and trying to get an audience for all sorts of art and craft-related things that float around in my head but never see the light of day.

So I need a name. What should I call this venture? I welcome any ideas and thoughts and suggestions. The name I’m mulling over is “Beehive Crafted.” I love bees and their unwavering industriousness. Someone opined that this is a forgettable name (JERK) and someone else said it might be “too cutesy” (DOUBLE JERK) for the things I make. So…back to square one? Or not.

The first step in my giant leap was to apply to vend my wares at Handmade Arcade. I’ve done this show in years’ past at the L2 Design Collective table and I love every second of it. It draws a huge, selective crowd with great taste and to be accepted to exhibit is a pretty big deal. Fingers crossed.

I’ll be posting more in the coming weeks about the products I’ll be making. Of course I will feature my Love Letter to Pittsburgh series of prints on wood (along with bees, chickens, etc). But there will be other new things in the works. Standby.

And do let me know if you come up with anything magical.

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**UPDATE: My dear, sweet, best big brother pointed out that by calling people JERK and DOUBLE JERK for giving feedback might dissuade others from offering their thoughts. He’s so right. He’s always right about everything.

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The chicks should be arriving next week and we’re so excited to see the wee things. Fingers crossed that they arrive safely. We’re busy prepping for their arrival and also planning the large outdoor “Chicken CUBE” that we’re building. We have pretty much decided to build a fully enclosed space and then site the coop – and all other hen-related things – inside the cube.

First we have to relocate the castle:

 

Then try to build something a lot like this:

Then put this little guy into the “CUBE”

 

(and finish staining the deck and rebuild the retaining wall and stack the firewood and and and)

This past weekend we took a quick trip to Chadds Ford, PA and spent a few hours roaming around Terrain at Styer’s in absolute awe of it all. I know where I want to be buried. Hope the fine folks at Terrain won’t mind. Every square inch was inspiring. Maybe we will face one side of the CUBE in funnels?

 

More on Terrain later. Headed to the incredible Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

 

Oh, little orphan blog. I haven’t forgotten but I have been wrapped up in living. Whistle and I took a week-long trip to New York and upon our return I jumped into preparing for the National Stationery Show next month. And Spring is springing so I’m constantly outside checking out the progress of the perennials.

The sort-of-secret project I was working on is coming to fruition and I hope to have some new photos and info about that soon.

I also swear that we have been making progress on the house. I just have been terribly remiss at posting pictures. Well, actually I’ve been remiss at cleaning enough to take pictures. No sooner than we get a room “done” we fill it with our messy life.

So – thanks for your patience and I swear to get busy on this soon. In the meantime, some NYC photos.

Whistle took this one.

(and this one)

You may remember that when we bought our house it had two kitchens. “Ooh la la” you might say. You would be wrong. Both were/are totally gross (but workable). The upstairs kitchen is now well on it’s way to being a super awesome big-boy room for Whistle. I’m too busy getting ready for my show next week to go into much detail but here are some pictures of the before and during. The after will have to come later.

Kitchen: before. To me this was the cutest room in the whole house when we bought it. But we didn’t actually need two kitchens, let alone one on the second floor.

These cabinets/counters/sink caused  a small bidding war on Craigslist. Believe it.

Steve took up the vinyl flooring and we had the floors redone and the plaster walls/ceiling repaired. The former owners used 3″ nails for every home “improvement” project so when we removed the cabinets we destroyed the walls.

View where the cabinets used to be. Steve cut new baseboards and put down new 1/4 round in the room. The after pictures will show that.

Now, back to work for me.

Opening Friday, NOV 19, 2010

I am busy busy busy getting ready for my upcoming show at Wildcard in Lawrenceville. I am collaging and sanding boxes and burning screens and mixing ink and printing and repeating. And repeating. And repeating. I am so thankful to Rebecca and Brian for giving me this opportunity.

Now, back to work.

More details and photos (maybe NOT from my phone?) to come. Until then…

I was talking with a new acquaintance recently and she said “I checked out your blog. How’s the house renovation coming?” and I realized I have been terribly remiss in posting before/afters. And remiss in posting at all. But I won’t let it become an orphan, I swear it. There are at least three people who would notice.

It’s early in the summer but it’s already jam-packed with art festivals, screen printing, poster shows, house renovations, husband-making-a record, maybe a little light traveling, and worry about the future of our planet.

I swore when we moved into this house and tackled yet another renovation project, that we would not jump into new projects until existing projects were complete. What a funny joke that was. We have a minimum of four incomplete projects right now that show no signs of imminent completion. I was thinking about the house and this post and realized we have made great strides in the exterior of the house (repointing, fence, deck, glass doors, planting, pruning, etc) but not a ton in the interior. I love color and mixing inks and picking paint colors but for whatever reason this house has proven to be a wooly-bugger in terms of picking wall color. Not much works. Maybe it’s the light? The color of the pine floors? Not sure but nothing works. I’ve been stumped and, as a result, crabby about painting. So all of that is on hold. Currently we’re thinking about ceiling fans and dishwashers – I miss the finer things in life like an energy-efficient dishwasher. Or any dishwasher. I think this horrific oil spill has me sensitive about all the areas in my life where I am less than gracious to this planet. Hand washing dishes seems water-wasteful to me. I digress.

So, I have one wee little before/current (I won’t call it an “after” as we still plan to paint the trim and downspouts, plants more stuff, add railings or “cheeks” to the front stoop, hand a light fixture, yadda yadda yadda) of the front of the house. I promise we have been working on the rest but this is what I can offer you right now. And now I have to wrap up – the boy just announced that he is “a crabby man.”

Cheers to summer and you and yours.

ps – it always bothers me in those weight loss (or any) before/after photos, the model is wearing some crummy outfit with greasy hair in the ‘before’ photo and then all dolled up in the ‘after’ photo. You can’t help but think her extra pounds wouldn’t have looked as bad if she’d washed her hair and replaced the NFL jersey in the first place. So I know the “after” picture above is sort of cheating: the peonies are in bloom, the front beds are filled in, etc – but it DOES look a little warmer and lived in, right?

I am so happy to have been asked to put some screenprinted pieces into a co-op show in Massachusetts. Shoshana Phillips, of Red Horse Press, is putting the show together so it promises to be a terrific one. I will have more details soon!

This is it – tomorrow is the big day. It’s time for another Handmade Arcade and I can’t wait. Hours and hours of meeting new people and being surrounded by so much handmade awesome. I’ll be at the L2 Design Collective booth showcasing our holiday cards and banners, totes and gift tags and whatever else we happen to make today (this morning I’ve just put the last coat of varnish on these little test print boxes, for instance).

Stop on by (and I wouldn’t be too too upset if you brought a cup of hot chocolate with you) and say hey.

And here’s one more little idea – this Christmas when you’re thinking of how to spend your money, think handmade.

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This new old house is filled with texture. Cracked plaster, new plaster, sanded wood, stained wood, cracked paint and on and on. Overall the feeling of the house right now is a little bit mayhemish but there are these tiny bits of beauty that I love. I think they keep me focused on what this place will be for us. I think it’s the first place we’ve lived in that we truly see ourselves living in for – well, a long time. Recently I clocked the distance to the high school (there are no buses here. Kids walk to school – gasp!) to make sure it’ll be manageable for the boy. He’s almost three. So we’re thinking long term for the first time. I love the calm I feel about this.

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When I started this thing my husband said “just don’t let it become an orphan.” And then I did just that. To my credit, in the past six weeks we packed our whole house up and moved to a new fixer-upper and then tore out some carpet, removed some walls, pulled out 4356 nails, get the floors redone, had plasterers camped out for three days, balanced buckets all around the basement to catch the surprise leaks, met some new neighbors, applied for permits, got bids and everything under the sun and played a lot of trains with the boy.

So, I’ve been too busy to paint or draw or print or make any art. And certainly no time to take pictures of it and throw it up here for six people to see! I do miss it. I am so guilty of looking at other peoples’ work and being green with envy – not necessarily at their image making or talent or anything – just jealous of the fact that they made the time and DID IT. I need to get back on the horse. I’m too good at making excuses. I need a deadline.

In the meantime, here are some pictures of what life looks like at Camp Foxbury.

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