Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Time for Myself

I finally decided to do it. And it wasn't very much. This morning, I took a couple of hours out of taking care of the house, kids and orders to do something for myself. I have all sorts of projects lined up for "downtime", but I never seem to get any.

So what did I do with my couple of hours for myself? I made bookmarks! Nothing very fancy, but cute all the same. Each one is made of fabric I designed using my illustrations so they are definite Chichiboulie originals. And each is topped with a coordinating gingham ribbon. I love gingham ribbon.

And to make things more fun, I used props to photograph them and got to incorporate another one of my loves... names! Photographed on the page showing each name, the bookmarks are named after each one of my children and each represents that child's personality in my opinion.

Today's was a well needed break and I'm so happy to have done it. Tonight it will be back to orders.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Ducks Love Ravioli

I know. It's odd. I'm the first to admit it. But it's true. I swear.

And how do I know this obscure fact? Experience.

It's one of the joys of raising children; the multitude of experiences you must go through before all is said and done. There are the expected experiences like changing nappies, being spit up upon and loosing teeth. There are the exciting experiences like when your child first learns to ride a bike, the upsetting experiences of when your child gets hurt and the joyful experiences like the first ballet recital.

And then there are the bizarre experiences. Like when your child decides to feed his dinner to the ducks.

It was a warm afternoon today so I decided to leave the doors to the garden open while I fed my son his dinner. We very often have ducks in the garden and my he adores them. Although we're not meant to, occasionally we do give them bits of stale bread, mainly to assure they will continue to come around and amuse my wee man.

I promise I only looked away for a minute, but in that minute, in those sixty seconds, the damage was done. I looked over and saw my not-quite-2-year-old son at the door jabbering away very excitedly and beyond him, a duck wrestling with something pale and square. A few seconds ticked past before I realized we had gone far beyond the no feeding the ducks rule. Not only had we fed them, but we had fed them cheese ravioli.

I have no idea of the effect of cheese ravioli on ducks so my first thought was to try to retrieve the ravioli. The duck had other plans. He had his prize and was not keen on giving it up, despite his struggle to swallow it.

It then occured to me that if I could scare the duck, he would most likely drop the ravioli in exchange for his life. So I did what any person would do; I chased the duck around the garden at rather more than a jog, hoping to get him good and frightened. But my effort was in vain. The duck held on tight to that ravioli and I decided to give in before my remaining vestige of pride could be lost. I was defeated.

The duck, however, did eventually triumph over the ravioli and managed to swallow it. I can only assume he rather enjoyed it as while I'm typing this, I have an entire brace of ducks milling about my patio, chatting happily to one another. Waiting. Word must have spread about gourmet meals to be had at our house and it looks to be standing room only.

Imagine if the ravioli had had sauce...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

2009 Diary

I've recently signed up for a page in what looks to be a very fun and exciting diary project. The "artists" diary will feature 365 different artists for each day of the year. Since we got to choose the day we wanted, I took May 22 as it's one of my children's birthdays. I would have taken all 3 days for my children, but we're not allowed - need to spread the opportunity to others. It's only fair, after all.

Today, I finally sat down and designed my page. It's taken me a rather long time to sort through ideas in order to come up with something. I have to admit that I didn't quite know what to do at first. I can get rather intimidated by so many other artists out there. So much talent!

But then I figured I would stick with what I know best. Simple. For me, simple is best. And I think the result works. So here it is, a sneak preview of my submission for the 2009 diary.

And for those of you who are interested in knowing more, here is a link to the diary project.

Can't wait to see the finished result!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Nikes and 10-speeds and...

I suppose if I thought about it, I'd remember all those things that I thought were of utmost importance or ever so cool when I was a kid. Nikes were uber cool. I got my first pair when I was about 8. I remember my older sister being terribly upset as she had had to wait until the ripe old age of 12 to get her first pair. It just wasn't fair in her eyes and I (and our mother) was subjected to her complaints almost hourly. But oh it was worth it, because yes, they were cool.

Well my 8 year old daughter has a different view of things and I've discovered this past weekend just what it is that she thinks is super cool. While shopping for summer clothes, I realized just how important it is to her. She'd been asking for the past few months. Pleading almost. But it all fell on deaf ears, I'm ashamed to admit, simply because I had forgotten about my Nikes and the significance they held in my childhood. But now that she's got it, it's all become clear.

A belt.

Yes, it's a belt. And and I can't begin to tell how pleased she is. She's not taken it off since we bought it. I suspect she even slept with it, wrapped around her tiny waist carefully hidden beneath her pyjamas. Despite everything else we purchased for her yesterday, it is the chosen piece among many. It is the belt that made her run to greet Papa last night when he arrived from work just so that she could show him her treasure. Thin and turquoise in her little hands, it was delicately posed so that he too could admire her prize.

But Papa didn't get it. Just like Maman. Because we forgot about our Nikes, our 10 speed bikes, those items that meant so much in our little kid eyes. I'm glad she's helped me to remember and I'm glad I've finally gotten it. Because it makes me remember. It makes me smile. And it makes me ever so happy to have bought her a belt.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Toothless Grin - An Etsy tale

My Grandmother was a seamstress and so was my mom. Although the many quilts my mom has sewn throughout her life is proof she had a love of sewing, I have to wonder whether all my hand-sewn clothes as a child was necessity rather than enjoyment for her. I shed many tears over the length of my dresses and oh what I would have given for store bought clothes! Those were reserved for special occasions like my birthday or Christmas.

My mom taught me how to sew and I hated it. I would show her my work and if she disapproved the crookedness of my seam then out it would come and I would start over again. My mom now says that she wished she had not been so critical of my stitches. But in a way it was a good thing, because to this day my stitches have to be perfect or out they come. Needless to say, sewing for me wasn’t for least not until now. Now I find that there’s something calming about sewing and a pure enjoyment of creating something that I’ve been picturing in my mind.

How did I get started sewing tooth fairy pillows? Quite honestly I saw one one day, and like most people who like to create I thought to myself, "I could make that!" But I didn’t want to make that one. Seeing it inspired me, and I sat down to design one that I could call my own. What would I call it? I came up with a few names, but what I pictured in my mind was a child with a missing tooth smiling a toothless grin, and Toothless Grin was born.

After many requests my friends, I began personalizing my pillows, first by embroidering the names on them at home. But as they say, Necessity is the mother of invention and when I started selling at craft fairs, I found I needed a way of personalizing them without a sewing machine. And so I began adding alphabet beads to the special detail on the pocket. This I called "Spell It With Beads".

It was in August of last year that I happened across Etsy while internet surfing. I hung around for a few months and admired other artisan’s handcrafted items and even bought a few things for myself. I did think about opening my own shop on Etsy, but was very indecisive. After a few months I finally decided to just do it, and now I’m really pleased that I did. I love everything about it and I’m constantly amazed at how creative and talented people are.

It had been with the introduction of Miss Annabel Toffet, a toothfairy commissioned especially for Toothless Grin by another Etsy seller that I've seen my tooth fairy pillows take a new direction and evolve into something more unique. I have recently added yet another commissioned fairy to my shop and it is my hope that more will follow. My newest addition is as beautiful as Miss Annabel, but little Miss Toffet will always be special to me.

- Lori Trent is the creator of Toothless Grin Tooth Fairy Pillows. Find them at her Etsy shop.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Friend for Pia....

Meet Suki Smiles!

A second toothfairy added to the collection and also added to Toothlessgrin's fabulous toothfairy pillows.

I couldn't wait to see what Lori would come up with for this one. Different colouring and did you notice, a gold tooth atop her wand as she works her way up the levels of toothfairy world. Obviously Suki's been tending to her duties with much attention.

Well, Lori didn't disappoint and her second pillow is just as pretty as the first. She does such an amazing job with them, it's a pleasure to see my fairies on her work.

In addition, she's added something new to her pillows. She now offers two sizes in the pillows, both equally delicious and some even come with a small toothfairy prayer book.

In fact, Lori does SUCH an amazing job that she's had 2 fabulous bits of great news lately. First off, her pillows are going to be in the Mary Engelbreit magazine, August/September issue and out in July. How exciting! I can't wait to pick up an issue.

Second bit of good news is perhaps even better... Her tooth fairy pillows have been picked up by a (big) national company over in the US. Unfortunately I'm not allowed to say who, but it's big!

Huge congratulations to you, Lori. You and your work deserve the recognition.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

My New Home

For the first time in all of our house shopping and buying, we have finally bought a house that feels like it's meant to be ours. I'm so exited!

Not to say it's been an easy affair. We did have a few minor issues with the sale. Or maybe not so minor. A slight question of the owner wanting to reduce our garden by a non-negligible amount followed only days behind our popping the champagne cork. After a bit of negotiation, we thought we had come to an agreement on that only to find out that he then wanted to haggle a bit on the bathroom sink. No, not the kitchen sink. The bathroom sink. Apparently, according to the seller, it wasn't included in the sale. Along with the bathtub. And the the antique wooden columns in the living room...

But with fingers (and toes) crossed, all should be resolved this week and sink, columns and even bathtub will indeed be ours.

It's a charming house, truly. I can't wait to move in. And decorate!

So in celebration, I've begun looking around Etsy for those little bits and bobs that will look at home in our new home. I've not been disappointed.

This gorgeous cushion from brezomayo is one of the things on my list. I love the colours, the textures, the motifs. Such a lovely piece.

Another fabulous idea is from moocowhandknits. A handknit washcloth and coordinating soap saver. How luxurious! It even comes with the ribbon!

Of course, any excuse to buy a bit of fun art is a good one, and what better than to adore the walls of a new house. I just love this print from syko. Colourful, simple, happy.

Just waiting to hold those keys in my hands and then let the fun begin!