Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Toymaker's Voyage

Adventure awaits...

I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.

~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Where would you go if you had a magical flying fish car?


Monday, August 27, 2012

I made a hat.

Maybe it's because the weather has been so hot and I want it to hurry up and be autumn... 

or perhaps because I've been studying Edward Gorey inkwork...

and paging through old copies of The Illustrated Milliner...
but I found myself wanting a hat. 

Never mind that it's an impractical thought, who has money for such a thing even if one could find one? So I doodled up a pattern. Then I went by Dorell Fabric. They have this marvelous bin of free remnants and I found two fabrics that matched and made this last night. I think it came out pretty spiffy.

Hat craving... sated... for now. 

I'm futzing with the pattern and trying to figure out a way to simplify it a bit. I also want to try to make a brimmed one. Bring on the cold weather. I'm ready.

So what would you make given the time and space?



“Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it so it goes on flying anyway.” ~ Mary Kay Ash

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

California Summer

Summer is almost over. School starts soon. It's been a good one, filled with many lovely things.

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer

 At the koi store. We looked but didn't buy any.

Cats on the bed...

 The Back Bay with the Hub.

 Homemade cheese...

 Our first potatoes. 

Boy and friend...


Needs haircut.



 Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
You'll wish that summer could always be here

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Alice's Wonderland

Today was a good day. I picked up my friend Andy Mitchell and we headed down to South County to visit our friend, Alice Provensen.

We had a delicious lunch. Alice's daughter and son-in-law made us THREE different kinds of salad.  I brought the cookies. We shared the artwork that we've been working on, Andy's  watercolors for magazine covers and sketchbook, Alice's new book, Murry in the City, and my doodlings from the iPad and Haunted Histories.

Alice and Martin Provensen illustrated many of the Little Golden Books, like Color Kittens. They won the Caldecott medal for children's book illustration for their book "The Glorious Flight" After Martin passed away Alice continued to illustrate books.

 After lunch, Alice showed us her new flat file. It was filled with all kinds of incredible artwork that she had done. Lovely, lovely stuff.

 Wonderful shapes and colors, don't you think? Her art is so alive.

It was a treasure garden of delights.

Here's a pict of Alice and Yours Truly from when we judged an art contest a couple of years ago.

When I am ninety-four-years-old I hope that I am still painting and making toys. 

Did I say good day? I meant most excellent day.



“I believe in the hands that work, in the brains that think, and in the hearts that love…I believe in sunshine, fresh air, friendship, calm sleep, beautiful thoughts.”
~  Elbert Hubbard

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Math people are cool.

 My desk looks like a piƱata factory exploded. There's paper everywhere. I've been designing math toys like crazy.

Yesterday, I went on a research trip and met with two amazing people.

This is Dr. Patrick Kimani and Dr. Cheryl Carrera who are math professors at UCSF. Now before you back away from the screen in the presence of such mathematical brilliance, let me tell you something... they have this magical ability to make numbers cool and interesting. I was enchanted.

We were talking about division and Dr. Kimani explained not just the formula but drew it out on a number line. We talked about how kids acquire numeracy and at what ages. We talked about how the toys might meet national standards so that teachers could use them in the classroom as extra activities to reinforce concepts. 

We also had a great time rolling these toy turtles around and talking about the different number lines and games that could be played with them.  (Spoiler alert, this is one of the first toys. There will be twelve turtles in all.) There are all kinds of math games that can be played with this little army of rolling reptiles. We talked about grids and axis, averaging and measuring.

There is a saying,

"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants" ~ Issac Newton

I would have to say that I'm being helped by giants and for that I am most grateful.

More soon!