Friday, December 9, 2011

I'LL do it.

Jammed the last two weeks with endless loops of designing and editing, keeping very odd hours, while juggling children like clementines.  A little extra TV, take-out, and mini cars zooming at my feet while I worked squeezed minutes out of the day.  Things I promised myself I wouldn’t do seemed to keep the schedule going.  And somehow, everyone is just fine.  Perhaps except for the night I made tomato soup with eggnog instead of cream.  But the frenzy has slowed, and the kids seem unfazed.  I’m awaiting orders to trickle in from the press and getting into a rhythm of going to bed before 2 am.  Strangely I miss the hot buzz, my brain feeding on that blue-creative-fire, but it’s been nice to get back to the very important business of wiping tears, laundering sheets, photographing the kids just mucking around, and figuring out how to get the two-year-old dressed in a timely fashion.  I think it may be fair to say the Christmas orders will be boxed and pretty before we sort this last one out.

Friday, November 18, 2011

{Preview} Sam & Annie

I could not get enough of these children.  Sam soaked to the waist in water.  Darting like a wren, unaware of the cold, the wind his ignition.  Until he’d turn, realize I was taking his photo, and lunge his hands forward.  You.  STOP.   Something would grab his attention and off again into the white wind he scattered like leaves.  Annie, the opposite, was absorbed in my moving black circles.  She’d crawl until there were inches between us, and watch.  Drink in what I was doing.  Riveted, coy, utterly beautiful, corn silk locks grazing her enormous, blinking eyes.  Everything about her was motionless, gleaming, like a shiny drop of candy.   

I have known Liz and Andrew for a long time, and realize they are amazing parents, but after this day, there was nothing more obvious.  So lovely to watch Liz constantly bowing, whispering, swooping, tender.  Andrew deep in sand, exploring, carefully watching.  I said goodbye wanting to parent more like them.  Let my children get wet just because.  Run limitlessly.  Vow more to not forget the energy that makes them raw, beautiful, wild.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Made by hands

My favorite gifts over the past few years have sat under the tree in crumpled paper bags.  Adorned with glitter and smudged paint, they are bound with unfurling yarn, and thick, pepperminty white glue.  Preciousness related not to what's inside the bag, rather than the hands that carefully made it.

This is our holiday card from last year.  It's made by hand, layered with luxe, creamy stock, archival glue, the velvet ink of Little Rhody Press.  Slipped into a sexy little velum sleeve it's like wrapping a tiny piece of art to send to your loved ones thru the mail.  This time of year our mailboxes are overrun by the artwork of a few large companies that have a grip on the market.  Consider scouting out and supporting an artist you love this holiday season.  There are people right around every corner making beautiful things to share.

I will be sure to post the custom cards from this season, as well as the faces I get to capture.  I cannot express how very thankful I am to those of you who have booked, read, ordered, recommended, supported.  You have kept my hands busy and my heart full of gratitude.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I visited Jane's Kindergarten classroom for the first time this week.  She sat upright.  Lanky.  Restrained.  Trying, trying, and trying again.  Wanting.  Listening.  Looping lowercase.  Shadowing her teacher’s hand.  Tracing again and again.  The teacher would ask them to try something new and I could see her brain tinker with the idea of fear.  Fear of doing it wrong.  But her small-girl stamina quickly stamped it out; horse hooves flying.  Off she went.  That afternoon at home, dumped backpack, at it again.  Bent over the table, peeling through paper, like moths fluttering to the floor.  White.  Thin.  Veined with letters.  Uppercase.  Lower.  Mistakes.  Backwards J’s.  A never-ending stream of trying.

I’d written several posts this week, to no avail.  Taken hundreds of photos.  Shuffled around words, like peas on a plate.  My trail seemed lost.  I put my head on the keys, thrown most of it away, tried to let go.  But still arrived at fear.  Fear of failure, fear of making something I didn’t like.  Fear of posting the wrong thing.  Words giving the wrong impression.  Fear of making something others will find just plain ugly.  Fear eating fear.  Swallowing me up like a huge dragon.

I picture Jane.  Boots on.  Licking lips.  Bent over, pencil in hand.  I find my small-girl stamina.  And move on.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In the middle

A paradox.  The more I create, the more stimulated, alive, and happy I am - the less I sleep.

I have a huge amount of respect for mothers that work outside the home.  As the kids get older, more and more of my friends are trickling back to work.  I am in awe of how they make it all happen, for as my own little business grows, I feel stuck.  Between a rock and a hard place called exhaustion.  It’s been such a gift to stay at home with my kids, be a part of their everyday lives, but as jobs increase, and it's my arms that still provide the primary childcare with the exact same number of hours in the day to cook, care, love, play & create - I am spent.   So if adding art back into my life makes me undeniably more content, why am I like a walking zombie?  Eyes burning, I am the picture of exhaustion, with a brain that I cannot turn off 'til two in the morning.  Jane asked me yesterday why I am always in my pajamas, hair in ponytail.  I was without answer.  I am down to only cooking two basic staples, grilled cheese or Annie’s mac-n-cheese from a box.  Just today I watched Henry tug open the fridge door and help himself to three cheese sticks in a row.  For breakfast.  I hadn’t had a coffee yet, so there was really very little I could do about it but watch.

Seems dreadful my creativity is exhausting me. I’d prefer to think maybe I am just getting old. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I find mad beauty in the way these structures make absolutely no sense.  In the past few weeks, the kids have fallen to Legos as the default heavy, with little monuments of meaningless rhythm and pattern scattered about the house.  Under beds.  Lodged in the couch.  Pieces all over the floor.  Like we live in a fallen city.  How many hours I have watched small fingers build with the deepest intentions, yet worry not about form or function.  Just gut and intuition.  Some days I cannot stop watching as their minds get into a deep groove of  attentiveness, abstraction, color.  A mating of architecture, machinery, and colors like bubble gum.  Cubism and Op Art.  I am awed by the intensity.  Then try to rationalize, was the choice based on color, shape, feel?  I guess, why does it matter?  At the end of the stretch they are emotionally and creatively spent, pieces strewn on the floor.  Someone has stepped on one and needs a band-aid.  Game over.  Till tomorrow.

Monday, October 10, 2011

{Preview} Deer Island

Roots run deep for Kate and Michael in a small town that hugs Boston’s north shore.  They live in a lovely maze of suburbia; grand old homes lined up like creamy dominoes, anchored with sweeping white front porches and patches of saturated green lawn.  We went to Deer Island where the city lingered like wooden blocks on the water’s edge.  And the hum of Logan’s airplanes overhead was like white noise; huge birds momentarily blocking the sun.  Peeks of silver water glistened while enormous boats inched by.

I leave jobs like this shaking, nervous I did the subjects justice.  In awe of the tenderness.  Or flat-out beauty.  Like Kate’s straight, strong features.  And mother’s razor-like focus.  Or Michael’s steady gaze.  Immense hands swooping up their babe.  Somewhere between their house and my home I found myself pulled over in a parking lot, flipping like mad through the photos, hoping for stills without a filter or haze of sweetness.  Crossing my fingers for just a few raw moments which define a little piece of who they are.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Last bit of summer

It’s still hot.  We've been sleeping under sheets.  These balmy nights followed by cottony, humid mornings have turned my lingering green tomatoes into pretty, orange rubies.  Sweet like candy.  I have to pick them when Jane is at school, otherwise I am left with empty hands, stained faces, and one too many little sticky fingers.  Late on Sunday afternoon we gathered enough for a meal.  Doused with oil, and a fistful of Greek oregano, I roasted them just enough to pop.  Pureed and dumped over pasta, it turned out to be the type of meal I will be dreaming of this February as I scurry about in wool socks wondering why we live in such an old, cold house.

Here is the (rough) recipe.

20-30 cherry tomatoes
one very small onion, thinly sliced
¼ of a red pepper, sliced
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, pressed
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
cracked pepper to taste
large fistful of torn, fresh oregano
basil, 5-7 large leaves

Slice tomatoes, onion, and red pepper.  Mix together with pressed garlic and spread on a baking sheet or pizza pan.  Drizzle tomato mixture generously with olive oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt, cracked pepper, and torn oregano.  Broil on low setting for approximately 10 minutes.  Scrape and turn mixture, then broil for another 10 minutes until vegetables are bubbling, golden, and slightly charred.

Dump roasted veggies and juices into food processor. Add torn fresh basil.  Pulse chop until thick and soupy.  Toss over hot pasta.