Sunday, June 28, 2009

.before I was your mother.

To my dear Little Miss Sunshine,

You know, I wasn't always your Mommy. Once, I was also a little girl, very much like you. My hair was always unruly and tangled, and I got into trouble ALL the TIME! I like to think that I had 'character.'

Before I was your mother, I had (and still have) a best friend named Mischa. She and I knew each other since we were in the third grade. She and I (and your Auntie Iris) would spend many summers having fun going to Kailua beach, walking up to Liberty House so we could spend what little money we had on Sanrio pens and erasers, and putting on plays for your Tutu to enjoy. We used Grandma Sylvia's yellow blanket wrapped around Auntie Iris's head like a towel so she could play Rapunzel one time. We would have Barbie soap operas in our room while Tutu was watching "All My Children." Most of the time, while Tutu painted in her art room, we played downstairs and painted too. We'd create different paintings to hang in our "gallery" so that Tutu, our art director, could appreciate them. Ask Auntie Iris about "Dorky of Oz" someday.

I wasn't always your Mommy who tells you "Don't do that! That's a NO NO" all the time. As a matter of fact, your Grandma used to say the same things to me. Especially when I was caught pulling the leaves off of her ficus tree. She didn't like it when I pulled the leaves off. There were many times when I'd do something I shouldn't have like play with your Grandpa's cameras that were hanging in the bedroom closet. Whenever he needed to take a photo of something, he'd realize that the film was used up. When he had them developed, he found that most of the pictures were of the bedroom. He didn't like that very much. For a long time, I think my nicknames were "hard-headed" and "smart-alec." I think that meant I had character.

Before I was your Mommy who tells you that you need to eat your vegetables, I used to be a kid who loved Big Macs from McDonalds. My favorite drinks were root beer and Dr. Pepper. I was a junk food junkie! In the second grade we had to write down some of our favorite things. One was our favorite hobby. Mine at the time was eating.
Before I was your mother, I used to be a chubby little girl who loved going to the beach. I'd stay in the water all day and watch your Auntie run from the waves as they approached the shore (she was scared of the water). I loved to play in the sand. But at the end of the day, I hated having to dump clumps of them out of my underwear. I miss the sound of people laughing mixed in with the gentle roar of the waves crashing and the savory scent of barbeque! See that picture above? This is what I'd look like NOW in a bikini. Funny how some things never change.

There are so many more stories to share with you. You know, someday, you will have a little one that you can share YOUR stories with too, like how you love to sing "Happy Birthday" or rather "Halabirtday" every day since you turned two. You could tell them that your most favorite things in all the world are riding the carousel at the mall and your little doll, Mele. You could even tell them that your Mommy said YOU were a "character" and you are, my sweet, unruly haired child that I love so SO very much! X.O. ~Love, Mommy

Inspired by the book, Before I Was Your Mother. Written by Kathryn Lasky and Illustrated by LeUyen Pham.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

.everyday matters.

As most of you already know by now, I'm addicted to books. It doesn't help at all that I work in a bookstore. I will be the first to admit that I have a problem. But please, no intervention for me. I love the fact that I'm addicted. "Hi. My name is Kat and I'm a book junkie." Here recently, the selection of books that have made their way from bookshelf to checkout to my eager hands have fallen under the "self-improvement" category. Specifically, in the improvement of my "artful" self. I'm very much a visual person so when the book The Creative License by Danny Gregory was brought to my attention, I had to get it. From the moment I opened it up, I knew that I also needed to read his memoir, Everyday Matters. Having just finished it, I'm glad that I did.

Unlike most memoirs, the pages are not filled with paragraph after paragraph describing what has taken place in the author's life. Rather, Gregory documents his life as he saw it, literally. Dealing with life after a tragic accident that left his wife paralyzed from the waist down, he allowed himself to absorb his surroundings by taking the time to look at them and record them with pen and paper. Whether it be the contents of his medicine cabinet, a sketch of his wife and son, or the rich scenery of Italy, this creative process allowed him to see and appreciate the beauty of every aspect of his life. In turn, sharing his journal has inspired many, including myself, to do the same.
The first "assignment" in The Creative License is to draw a mug. This one is mine. Don't laugh. Okay, laugh. The "shadow" looks more like a beaver tail. Ha! Yeah, I've got some work to do.
One of my favorite mediums to play with is watercolor. One, because I love the way the colors bleed into one another, and second because it's easier to clean up! I wanted my daughter to have some fun in our little "art room" so I brought out the Strathmore watercolor pad and the paints. She had more fun dipping her brushes (she had to have two, one for each hand) in the mug (the one in the sketch) and slapping water on the paper instead. Once she realized that she could add color, the above "painting" is what she came up with. I decided to outline her hands so that one day she'd be able to see how little they were.

I hope you folks are having a wonderful weekend so far! I'm gonna get ready for work and place my order for a new book: An Illustrated Life, also by Danny Gregory. Remember, no intervention!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

.cake crazy.

There are several things that I love in this world. My family, my friends, photography, music. . . well you get the picture. But there is another love that I have, a love of the "indulgent" kind. You know, the one you feel guilty for and yet you can't seem to break it off. No, I'm not talking about the type that sends divorce papers to your mailbox. I'm talking about the bittersweet relationship I have with cake! I've come to accept the truth that as long as there is cake in the world, I will forever sport a belly. But wait! Is there hope?!
There seems to be a multitude of cookbooks out there with yummy images of cupcakes, slathered with mouth watering frosting so neatly displayed on the front cover! Porn for the sweet-toothed. When I saw the book Babycakes on a display table at work, I had to stop and take a peek. My interest grew as I noticed that the recipes were vegan and gluten-free. I am not a vegetarian and I am not a diabetic. However, trying out recipes, especially to cut back on the sugar, seems like a great idea. And if it tastes good, all the better! The photos in the book are too awesome!
It's apparent that I'm not the only that thinks cakes are scrumpalicious! These wonderful delights can be seen anywhere and everywhere. How about on television? The Food Network features a show all about the decadent world of cake decorating. The show "Ace of Cakes" is a glimpse of what the amazing folks out at Charm City Cakes can do with cake layers and fondant! And what about music? How can you not love a band simply named Cake? Something a little more mellow and perhaps from the land of Lucky Charms? Tunes by The Cake Sale are rather tasty!
And last but not least, need a good laugh? Visiting the quirky blog that is Cake Wrecks is like taking a stroll pass the bakery department of your local grocery store, only the baker is out and the meat department guy is filling in, fully prepared with an icing bag and bad grammar. (Iris I don't mean J. hee hee) So the next time you attempt to put your Wilton cake decorating class skills to use and find that your roses look more like a cluster of cabbages, grab your camera! Be on the lookout for Jen Yates' Cake Wrecks book which will be out this October.

So now that I've got you thinking of buttercream frosting and fluffy layers, if you don't mind, I'm going to cut myself a slice! Happy rest of the week to you all! Let's eat cake!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

.chris h evans :: artist.

If you were to ask me who I admire most in life, who inspires me, who do I call my "hero," my answer would be my Tutu. I already know what you're thinking. 'What is a tutu? Isn't it a ballet skirt?' Ha! Yes, yes it is. But it is also the hawaiian word for grandparent. In my case, I am speaking of my grandmother, Christine Hall Evans, who was better known in the Hawai'i art community as Chris H. Evans.
Eighty-two years ago today, she was born in a little place called Watertown, Tennessee. The oldest of three, she was born a child of the Great Depression. Times were hard. Families suffered. She found adventure and solace in books. A frequent visitor to the town's local library, she always had her "nose in a book," escaping to worlds far away and to a time and place much different than her own. Her dream was to one day become an artist. After graduating from high school, like most girls her age, she began working in Watertown's hosiery factory. Having only worked there for two weeks, she quit determined to live out her dream. Despite some discouragement from family members, she made her way to Nashville, enrolling at the Watkins School of Art and Design, and later becoming one of Nashville's top fashion artists at that time. Soon, she would find herself married, a mother of three and living the life of an artist in the South Pacific.
Although she worked with several different art mediums, she is probably most well known for her soft pastel portraits of the Hawaiian people.
One of her most favorite Hawaiian subjects was that of Princess Ka'iulani, the heir to Hawai'i's Royal Crown, following in the footsteps of her aunt, Queen Lili'uokalani. The above painting portrays Princess Ka'iulani as an adolescent.
My Tutu's talents seemed endless. She balanced life as a wife and mother beside art and craft fairs. She made porcelain dolls (the kind that don't scare me!) and handmade every outfit. She taught me how to sew, knit and crochet. She encouraged my sister and I to create. I'm sure part of it was to simply keep us occupied so she could work on a commisioned piece IN peace! Ha! Everything from art, to antiquing, to cooking, to the love of reading I can truly say I owe to my Tutu.
Words fail me as I try to shed more light on who this amazing woman was, and is to me, and to our family. To share it all would fill up an entire book, which is something I still hope to do one day. This soft spoken lady from Tennessee, who traveled across the Pacific and made her home in the hearts of the many who knew her, lost her life to a stroke 10 years ago last January, three days before my 21st birthday. I still can't believe that it's been that long ago. More and more, as the days go by, especially now that I am a mother, I see her spirit live on in me, in my daughter. I can see her in my sister, my aunt, and even in my brilliant uncle! The desire to learn, to love, to create, to dream thrives in us, her family. For all the beauty and strength that you are, Tutu, I thank you. I love you deeply and God knows, I miss you terribly. Happy Birthday.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

.we heart daddy.

A truly rich man
is one whose children
run into his arms
when his hands are empty.

Happy Father's Day to all you groovy Daddies out there!

Friday, June 19, 2009

.helping a stitch at a time.

From the moment I found out I was to become a mother, I have always had the desire to want to create things for my child. The kinds of things that have meaning and purpose. One evening, restless, I put my novice knitting skills into use and began to make a wee cap for my little newborn's head. A soft, dusty rose, rolled brim cap. It was a pattern I followed from a book titled Itty Bitty Hats by Susan Anderson. The hat I knitted ended up being just a tad too big for her at first (remember. . . novice) but after a few months, she was finally able to wear it. Soon, life would get busier. Much busier. I found myself back to work, not by choice but by necessity , pulling anywhere from 50 to 60 hours a week helping to manage a very large craft and decor store. Needless to say, I had very little time and energy to spend in making anything, sometimes, that meant even dinner! What time I did have, I wanted to spend with my daughter. Now, let's fast forward to the present. There was a move, a job change, and my daughter has turned two. Life is getting better, and I think I can finally get back into the creative mode.

Amongst the projects I have in mind for my little one, I am also anxious to start a project for a group called Craft Hope. I came across their mission during a visit to Zee's blog. In the last project, the goal was to receive about 30-40 dolls to bring to an orphanage in Nicaragua. A whopping 405 dolls were actually received! You can read more about this story by reading Eren's post here. Project #3 is already underway, this time, the goal is to provide blankets, beanies and booties to newborn babies in India. The projects can be knitted, crocheted, or sewn. The deadline to submit a finished piece, or several, is July 25th. If you are interested in helping out, follow the instructions listed in this post: Project #3. Don't forget to sign up for the emails!

Knowing that there are communities out there that seek to provide children, who they will probably never meet, with a gift of something handmade for them, warms every inch of my heart. A simple act of kindness can help to restore one's faith in humanity. And we're going to do that, one stitch at a time.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

.a little spot for me.

Finally. As I mentioned in another post, the "craft room" is technically done. The walls have been stripped of their gaudy wallpaper and seafoam green paint. Now, all the walls are white. It's actually a very tiny room so the white definitely helps to open it up more. Believe it or not, I think just the simple fact of knowing I have a place to run to, a little spot a I can sorta call my own, makes me a little more sane. :o) Besides my two year old daughter and 3 year old nephew love to hang out here because they know this is the only place they can paint and make a mess in! Yay yay for everybody!
Here's a shot of my drawing table cluttered with my Country Living UK mag, crayola watercolors for my nephew, a couple of Anthropologie catalogs, and of course, an orange haired mermaid. I'd show you the other side of the wall, the one I'm leaning on as I took this shot, but it's not as interesting as this side. ha! So what's left to do? Create of course! Oh! And peel the specks of paint that dribbled on the floor. Oopsy!

Friday, June 12, 2009

.music music everywhere.

Hello everyone!  It's been a busy week and a half!  We've had family from out of town come in and, well, life hasn't been quite the same since.  Ha!  Finally getting back into the swing of things here at home.  I had no intentions of being away from this cozy corner for as long as I have so, my apologies.  Hope you all have been doing wonderful! 

As most of you know, I live in Nashville, Tennessee, "Home of the Grand Ole Opry."  There are benefits to living in Nashville.  The most obvious would be that this place truly lives up to its name MUSIC CITY, USA, especially in the month of June.  Specifically, this week!  I was reminded of some of the cool things that make this town unique when I received a copy of Anthropologie's June catalog.  The theme was "music" and to help them set the mood, they asked the folks over at Nashville's very own, Hatch Show Print, the country's longest running print shop, to help design the cover.  Loving the nostalgic, this place is too cool not to share with you all.  Here's an excerpt from Anthro's "In Our Own Words" about their experience:

"Established in 1879 by brothers Charles and Herbert Hatch, Hatch Show Print is thought to be the oldest continuously operating letterpress print shop in the country. Hatch is best known for their collaborations with musicians; they've worked with everyone, from Elvis Presley to Elvis Costello and anyone in between. Their motto is “preservation through production”—meaning, they pull from the same staggering collection of wooden typefaces and hand-carved images to create today's posters as they did to make minstrel show flyers at the turn of the 20th century

We teamed with Hatch in the hopes that they'd lend a bit of their rock poster prowess to the cover of our catalog. Chris, our production manager, and e, our catalog designer, helped develop the cover concept. To say that they enjoyed their time spent among the Hatch staff would be putting it mildly. 

“It was really clear that they all were just in love with their work,” Chris said of the Hatch staff. “They were all very excited about each project they were developing, and they clearly loved to create.” . . .

[Our] kinship revealed an unexpectedly common ethos between our two companies. We share the belief that every customer should walk out of our doors having had an experience—a tangible, sensory-delighting encounter between themselves and our craft, between the real and the imagined, the present and the past. 

As for us, we walked out of Hatch's doors with our heads still full of the rhythmic click-clacking of centuries-old presses. The tangy, metallic scent of ink still filled our noses, and we could still picture it smudged across the busy hands of the staff, themselves youthful practitioners of an age-old craft. Though their clients are modern—from up-and-coming bands to newlyweds and corporations—their product bears a human touch that the convenience of the electronic age often leaves behind. . . "
An enormous gig taking place as we speak, sits on a 700-acre farm right outside Nashville, actually more like 60 miles southeast, in Manchester, TN.  Bonnaroo, America's new Woodstock, can be likened to UK's Glastonbury Festival.  This event is truly rockin' & rollin' with names like Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Nine Inch Nails, Snoop Dogg, Neko Case, Wilco. . . and the list just keeps going!  If you don't mind sitting in traffic for hours, love live music. . . and camping. . . this art and music fest is a can't-miss.  Fingers crossed and stars aligned, our family plans to make it out there next year.  Rock. . . on.

What Bonnaroo is to the rocker, the CMA Music Fest is to the honky tonk.  Taking your attention back to Nashville, another music festival attracts crowds of Country music fans from all over the world.  People come here to listen to up-and-coming musicians but especially to hear, and hopefully meet, some of their favorite musicians.  What was once known as "Fan Fair" had its name changed to CMA Music Festival when its location moved from the Tennessee State Fairgrounds to what is now known as LP Field, the coliseum where Tennessee's favorite football team, the Titans, play their home games.  The streets of downtown Nashville are swarming with visitors, some donning the stereotypical cowboy hat, torn blue jeans, with a t-shirt sporting the face of their favorite country music star.  On a mad dash to pay my water bill on the north side of town, I had to plow straight through the center of downtown during the start of rush hour traffic.  What was I thinking?!  Waiting for the traffic light to turn green in order to cross Broadway, your ears were filled with a young lady's cracking voice as she sang her heart out to a southern gospel tune, blaring over a loud speaker.  The police are everywhere, directing the traffic of folks carrying Hard Rock Cafe bags and Nashville's own impatient motorists.  After driving through an obstacle course, which involved at one point driving around a man who had decided to just stand in the middle of 3 sets of traffic lights, I finally made it, with less than one minute to spare, to the Metro Water Services office.  Water bill is paid.  And now. . . the trip home.  

I wonder, if we sat on a satellite over looking middle Tennessee, would we see musical notes floating up into the stratosphere?  Probably not.  But wouldn't that be cool?!  Hope your weekend is full of wonderful tunes and delightfully loud singing in the shower!  

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

.reveling in his dreamy vocals.

It is Wednesday. It's almost summer. I say it's a grand time to revel in the dreamy vocals of one talented William Fitzsimmons. . . sigh. . .

Monday, June 1, 2009

.cool me down.

Today has got to be the HOTTEST day so far this year! I believe the high was at 91 degrees. NINETY-ONE! Already! And it's not even officially summer yet! Now let's toss some good ol' southern humidity in there and I believe I may have been one degree closer to catching "the vapors!" <--- said with my best Tennessee accent. All afternoon, the little one and I did what we could to cool down . . . yay! for popsicles, sweet tea, and tank tops! Sometimes, just the glimpse of cool, clear water helps drop the body temp a little. These sparklingly refreshing images from Toast, and cranking up the AC just a tad, sure seemed to do the trick! ;o) They say tomorrow's supposed to be even hotter. Sounds like time to blow up little sweet's inflatable swimming pool. Let's just hope Mommy won't faint in the process!