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Turtle-Themed Name Plate

by abby on November 21, 2013 | Comment

{new turtle art!}

Wow, are your days flying by like mine are? November is becoming a blur of RIT lessons, book design, paint washes, and wedding details. Before too much more of November disappears I did want to share with you the final painting of my turtle commission. Ta-da! Do I see a grin on your face? I know those turtles make me smile!

This turtle painting was designed to be used as a child’s name plate. I’m currently showing the painting without the name, but I can easily add in text onto the old wooden sign. It would be a wonderful new baby gift or personalized holiday gift.

If you are interested in ordering a personalized turtle print today please contact me. Otherwise, I’ll have it available in my Etsy shop before Thanksgiving.

My holiday to-do list just keeps growing. How are you handling the busy pre-holidays?

Best Children’s Books of 2013

by abby on November 15, 2013 | Comment

3 children's book covers from the list of the best books of 2013
{A few covers from the Best Children’s Books of 2013}

The kick off to holiday shopping season is only a couple weeks away. Are you ready? My head isn’t truly ready for the holidays, but this weekend my group of friends is continuing a new tradition where we all gather together for our own Thanksgiving or as we call it Friendsgiving . It’s a fun evening of amazing food (as it happens we are all good cooks!) and you cannot image how many laughs fill the air. With this event happening tomorrow I’m hoping my holiday spirit will come to life!

Since I know some of you are early bird shoppers, I wanted to share with you Print World’s Top Children’s Book Picks for 2013. PW breaks the books into 3 categories: picture books, fiction, and non-fiction. They select the 50 best books from thousands of publications in 2013. It’s no small task! But they do pride themselves in finding those books whose stories, characters, and in some cases art stay with us long after we finish the book.

The best book lists are too long to list completely here, but I’ll give you a taste of a few of them that caught my eye.

If You Want To See A Whale by Julie Fogliano, illus. by Erin E. Stead
Rosie’s Magic Horse by Russell Hoban, illus. by Quentin Blake
The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illus. by Jon Klassen
Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett, illus. by Matthew Myers

Doll Bones by Holly Black, illus. by Eliza Wheeler
Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo, illus. by K.G. Campbell
Better Nate Than Never by Tim Federle
Whistle In The Dark by Susan Hill Long
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

Locomotive by Brian Floca
Poems to Learn By Heart Edited by Caroline Kennedy, illus. by Jon J Muth
Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth & Cathy Trumbore, illus. by Susan L. Roth
Lincoln’s Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin
Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles,
America’s First Black Paratroopers
by Tanya Lee Stone

I hope this encourages you to gift a book this year!
Happy weekend!

Get Caught Reading

by abby on November 12, 2013 | Comment

cover image of Amelia Bedelia by Herman Parish
{Herman Parish has continued on his Aunt’s story of Amelia Bedelia. In this series, Amelia is as literal as ever, this time only younger. He will be at the festival!}

Rochester’s Children’s Book Festival tagline is “Get Caught Reading”. Isn’t that fantastic? I just love it! The 17th Annual Children’s Book festival is THIS SATURDAY NOV. 16th from 10am to 4pm at the Flynn Center at Monroe Community College. Oh and it’s FREE to attend!

The mission of this event is to promote reading to and by children, support the Monroe libraries, and create connections between the Rochester community and children’s authors and illustrators.

I’ve attended in past years and I can honestly says, it’s a fun day filled with lively activities and presentations about illustrated books and novels for tweens and teens. Come meet and chat with over 40 nationally known authors and illustrators as they sign your book! All through out the day there are craft activities for younger children at the Busy Bookworm. Get the inside scoop about how authors and illustrators create their work by attending a presentation in the Brighton Room or in the Excellus Presentation Place.

I hope you and your family can attend the festival!

Decorating With Family Treasures

by abby on November 4, 2013 | Comment

colonial mantle with paint brushes
{Creative decorating!}

Over the weekend, I was redecorating our living room mantle and I had a great “ah-ha” design moment! I was so excited that I wanted to share it with you. I like to redecorate this mantle every few months to freshen up our eyes and our minds. It’s one big design challenge. I also enhance the degree of problem solving by only using objects that are already found the house. (Occasionally, new holiday objects will appear, but most of the displayed items are pulled from other rooms and the attic).

fall decorated mantle
{Full view of the November mantle}

I guess you might say that our style is modern colonial. We do love lanterns, wood, wicker, and pottery. You can see bits and pieces of all those items on the November mantle. When decorating, I play with balance, color, and textures. It’s a lot of trial and error. I knew I wanted the wicker vase to be on the back right side, but I needed a little more height to get it to fit just right. Flowers were not on hand and I kept thinking “What do I have that’s tall and can fit in a vase?”. Eureka! In my studio, I have my grandmother’s oil brushes. They weren’t doing anything special there, so in they came to our living room. They are mostly tall, well-loved bristle brushes and their wooden handles are in a great spectrum of muted Fall colors! Hooray!

I am very happy that I brought a little family history and a touch of “artist” into our living room. Huge smile.
How have you decorated for Fall?