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Happy Graduation

by abby on May 25, 2012 | Comment

class of 2012 rit

Tomorrow my Senior Illustration students along with their RIT colleagues will graduate from college. RIT has prepared them well to transition into the role of professional artists. I want to wish them the very best and I will be looking for their names in the credit lines!

Congratulations to the Class of 2012!

Life Comes Full Circle

by abby on May 22, 2012 | Comment

watercolor painting

Over the weekend, D and I traveled to Saratoga Springs to celebrate my grandmother’s 96th birthday! It was a wonderful weekend filled with family, a gorgeous boat ride on a lake, and even a fantastic story.

My grandmother grew up on Staten Island and learned to paint with watercolors at the Art Students League. Throughout her life, she has kept up her painting and she is a truly wonderful watercolorist. As an young adult she moved to upstate New York. Last month she donated one of her paintings of the Saratoga Springs carousel to a fund raiser in Vermont for her great-granddaughter’s preschool. The fundraiser was a great success and to my grandmother’s utter surprise her carousel painting was sold to a family who lives on Staten Island!

Wow! It’s so perfect and fitting that one of her paintings should find a home on Staten Island. I love when life throws in these “complete circle moments”. Have you experienced one yourself lately?

Jean Craighead George Remembered

by abby on May 18, 2012 | Comment

This has been a tough May for the world of children’s publishing. We have lost two iconic authors and illustrators recently. First Maurice Sendak and now Jean Craighead George. Jean was known for being both a naturalist and an author. Her most celebrated books were: Julie and the Wolves (Harper) and My Side of the Mountain (Dutton). As a reluctant fifth grader, I remember the immense pull of the characters in both of these books. I hadn’t experienced the joy of reading a chapter book until Julie and the Wolves. After finishing that book I wanted more! Happily my mother was in tune with my new discovery and handed me the book: Island of the Blue Dolphins and then, The Secret Garden. Soon it was official: I was a reader!

I want to thank Jean Craighead George for all her amazing creativity and beautiful storytelling.

Farm & Wild Animal Art

by abby on May 15, 2012 | Comment

wild animal art

I’ve been painting up a storm lately in preparation for the Rochester Corn Hill Festival on July 7th & 8th and today I would like you all to be the first to meet my new animal friends!

children's watercolor animals

These paintings are a series of two animal collections—FARM ANIMALS and WILD ANIMALS. Each print will be mounted to a 6″ x 6″ wood panel for easy hanging. The Farm Animals will also have their matching animal sounds added to them in the final print versions.

animal sound prints

I love the colorful squares backgrounds! You will be able to mix and match these prints to built your own collection. They will be available for sale in late June in my shop, but if you are interested now let me know. I will make a note that you get one of the first panels off the production line!

Blueberry Coffee Cake

by abby on May 11, 2012 | Comment

mother's day brunch idea

Mother’s Day is this Sunday and to help you celebrate we’re sharing a delicious blueberry coffee cake recipe! We heard about this recipe from one of our friends and couldn’t wait to try it out. It’s sure to make your whole house smell amazing this weekend. The recipe is simple enough for kids to help an adult create it, too.

Blueberry Bliss Cake
Serves 12, generously

2 cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk (I used unsweetened soy milk, which I had on hand, worked just great)
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not defrost frozen ones as they tend to muddle batter

1/2 -3/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not defrost)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (nice rounded 1/2 teaspoon)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

Whisk two cups flour, baking powder, salt together in medium bowl. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down bowl.

Reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of milk. Beat in half of remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally the remaining flour mixture.

Toss blueberries with remaining one teaspoon flour. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold blueberries into the batter. Spread batter into prepared pan.

For the topping:
Scatter blueberries over top of batter in pan. Stir sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and sprinkle over batter.

Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter (topping side up). Serve warm or at room temperature. Cake can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.


AND don’t forget it’s the last 2 days of our Mother’s Day Sale! Save 15% off cards for all occasions, handmade party garlands, and children’s prints. Happy Mother’s Day!

ImagineRIT Collage Exhibit

by abby on May 8, 2012 | Comment

Last Saturday RIT hosted its 5th annual ImagineRIT festival. It’s a day when the campus is open to the public for exhibits and activities run by students and faculty. My friend and the art/photo librarian extraordinaire, Kari, and I ran a fabulous paper collage activity based on the picture book River of Words by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet.

We asked both young and old to help us create our own river of words out of magazine clippings, tissue paper, construction paper, and markers on a large wall of the library. The creativity from our participants was amazing! With both words and images we created this great river:

Wallace Library RIT

And I have to give a big THANK YOU to our illustration student volunteers too! Kari and I couldn’t have made this such a successful event without you.
collage fun

Here’s to an even bigger wall collage next spring!

Mother’s Day Sale

by abby on May 4, 2012 | Comment

flower card for mom

A MOTHER’S DAY SALE is happening at our shop! Save 15% on your entire purchase of unique handmade cards and prints! Use the coupon code MOMSALE15 when checking out. Start shopping now for you and Mom!

Book Architecture

by abby on May 1, 2012 | Comment

book architecture

Last week I attended a two day symposium on the Art and Science of Digital Reading. It was a fascinating collection of topics and speakers. The topics ranged from the science of eyesight to how we actually design typefaces and apps for tablets. There is so much technology happening right now that is changing how we interact with digital type! The conference confirmed my interest in adding ebook design to my skill set. It will be long road before I consider myself an expert ebook designer, but the sooner I start the closer I will come to my goal.

On a great side note, during one of the talks a photo of the exterior of the Kansas City public library was shown. Isn’t it the coolest library ever?! It makes me want to move to KC, Missouri just so I can go to this library on a weekly basis.