Just before Christmas, we lost our beautiful Chester. We adopted him and his brother Leo when they were 6 months old and we got a message from a friend that there were these puppies in need of a rescue. We thought we might be nuts getting two puppies at once, but it turned out to be messy, chaotic and ridiculously affectionate fun. Chester had a cancer of the blood vessels that had spread from his abdomen to his lungs. We had no idea that anything was wrong until very early one morning when he woke us up whimpering. The emergency vet was the kindest and most gentle person who had to break the news that the tumor had ruptured, he was bleeding internally and there was nothing that we could do but say goodbye. The cancer had taken over. It was a shock and it took us a few days to be able to talk about it without sobbing. He was much loved and he will be missed. My sincere thanks to everyone who heard and reached out to us with love. The photo above is one of my favorite pictures of him ever, blissed out and panting after fetching the ball a million times.
The rest of 2019 has just faded away into a blur. I had a couple of blog posts planned out; I often write a recap post of my year and a goal for the year ahead. But instead, I just took a social media hiatus. I stepped away and de-scheduled the posts and put my Etsy shops on vacation and I just took a break. In all honesty, the idea of having to deal with a panicked last minute online customer, a shipping issue or a negative comment on something was more than I could deal […]
Every week, Spoonflower posts a design challenge theme and asks designers to create something that is their interpretation of that theme. Themes this year have included pollinators, fitness, color-blocking, pirates and dinosaurs. In 2018, I made a goal for myself of designing something every week of the challenge. I decided to continue that in 2019, so this week was my 97th consecutive design. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, I post them there every week and often talk about how the design is made and what inspired my interpretation.
I was really happy this year that I had 6 designs that placed in the top 50 in the challenge at Spoonflower! My Color Blocked Elephants was my top finisher. It came in at #17. I also had one design – Eucalyptus Blossoms – featured in the Spoonflower holiday magazine. Most of the designs are also available in my Spoonflower shop in my 2019 Design Challenges collection.
I put together this slide show so you can see all 48 designs from this year and I marked my personal top 10 for the year and the six that placed in the Spoonflower Top 50. Some of these designs I love a lot – Striped Stegosaurus, Elizabeth, Moon Landing – and there are some that I am not so happy with. But I am super proud that I finished something every week. Practice! I am hoping in 2020 that I will break into the top 10.
Which was your favorite design from 2019? I’d love to know!
I spent this morning at a middle school being one of the guests at a middle school career fair. It’s part of a program that the local school district is doing to help kids see what kinds of things are out there and to help them get an idea of what classes they might want to take when they get to highschool and have more choices. A good friend of mine is the art teacher at this school and she invited both my husband (a software engineer) and I to come and talk to students.
We were there with representatives from the Marine Corps, nurses, a sports photographer, a midwife, a theater lighting designer (another friend), firemen and my table neighbor who has her own event photo booth business. The students had a list of questions to ask us about what we studied in school, what a typical day of our job was like or how much money we made. I thought it might be fun to write about some of the conversations we had.
Almost all of the kids I chatted with asked me about my degree. It was on their list of questions. I don’t have a degree in art. That really surprised them. I told them that really you don’t need to have a degree in art to be an artist, you just have to really love making art. (My degree is in education, with a specialty in middle school math. You should have seen the look on their faces when I told them that.) With one student I talked about how art is only a part of my job and that being an artist for me means that you also have to be able to communicate by writing and talking about your work, you have to make budgets […]
For my next board game post I am going to talk about a new-to-me game called Sagrada. My husband and I help host a monthly game night at the co-working space where he works. We teach people how to play some of our favorite games and sometimes someone brings along something new that we get to learn. This week we got to try Sagrada, which is a sort of puzzle game with dice.
Each player’s game board looks like a stained glass window and players take turns rolling a handful of brightly colored dice and placing them in the window spaces. Each person chooses a pattern for their window from a deck of cards. This part of the game is clever because the card slides into the player board, so you get a new pattern to play each time you play the game.
The game play is really simple. Players take turns rolling dice, picking and placing them. The interesting part of the game is figuring out how to place them. There are a few rules: the same color or number value of dice can’t be next to each other. The pattern in your window has symbols that tell you what can be placed there. A white tile means it’s like a wild, but there are colored spaces where you can only place a dice of the same color and numbered spaces which can only hold the same number.
There are also a collection of patterns that you are trying to make that will score you extra points. I lost my first game because I totally wasn’t paying enough attention to that. In our game the goals were to have sets of all 5 colors (red, yellow, green, blue, purple), pairs of 3s and […]
It’s the beginning of the crazy holiday season for artists, crafters, makers and other creatives and I just wanted to give a shout out to all of us who are heading into a busy couple of months. There are art shows every weekend, holiday concerts to play, events and end-of-year fundraisers and all of them are piled up in the next few weeks.
I had a show on Saturday, which was great, but on Sunday I spent most of the day feeling like I’d been runover by a truck. The show was awesome, but there’s a lot more that happens than the 6 hours you see me smiling in my booth.
I spent the week leading up to the show making things. Every artist I know does it; you frantically make inventory up until the night before because you feel like you need just those few more things. I waited impatiently for things to arrive: the packaging for my coaster kits, the ink cartridge because my printer was low, the business cards that I didn’t realize I was almost out of. I posted to social media. I sewed velvet keyfobs, packaged new stickers, made some new scarves, assembled kits, and added stickers and price tags to things.
Wednesday, I ran to the bank to get change. I updated the firmwear on my card reader gizmo. I charged my backup battery. I double checked the sales tax rate and the settings were all right and updated a few items in the checkout system.
Thursday, I took the tags off all of my scarves and ironed them. They get a little creased after sitting in storage between shows, so I gave them all a little fluff and press. Friday, I organized everything so I could pack it into the […]
Many people craft or sew as a hobby. Since sewing and designing (and teaching about sewing and designing) is my job, I have a couple of other hobbies that I love. One of those is board games. I play with friends as a regularly scheduled event once a month and my husband and I play once a week or so in the evening. We aren’t big tv junkies. I often post a “game night” photo on my Instagram feed when we are playing and I noticed that those posts always get lots of questions and comments, more than my art posts. So I decided that in addition to my regular art content, I am going to start a new series of posts here on my blog talking about board games. These won’t be critical reviews or tutorials, but posts about how you play, what kind of players the game would appeal to, and some of my favorite clever elements so you can see a little what it’s like to play before you jump in. I think board games are a fun way to unplug and do something with friends that uses your brain in a different way.
I won’t talk about games like Monopoly or Scrabble, but instead more “euro-style” games you might not have heard of. You can find them at your local board games store. (My favorite in the Minneapolis area is The Source.) Just do a google search to find one near you or one that can ship to you. I will also include an Amazon link.
I’m going to launch the series with a game called Everdell by Starling Games.
Everdell is a game for up to 4 players. I’ve played with 2 and 4 and it works well with both. The theme of the game […]