In keeping with my resolutions this year I am doing more art not related to book projects. Here is a portrait of our cat Wilbur I painted this weekend. Bruno said he has so many whiskers on his face he looked like a dandelion. There does seem to be a resemblance.
I haven't done so well on the waking up at the same time every day, but I did cancel the cable so I'm watching less tv. Progress has been made!
"We support the printed word in all its forms: newspapers, magazines and, of course, books. We think reading on computers or phones or whatever is fine, but it cannot replace the experience of reading words printed on paper. We pledge to continue reading the printed word in the digital era and beyond."
Go to their web site and take the pledge yourself!
Another big congratulations to all the winners this year, HURRAH!
Needless to say it was a busy weekend with hundreds of librarians, authors, illustrators, agents, and publishers buzzing around the Boston Convention Center. It was nice to take a break from quiet Northampton life to run around the city for a few days catching up with old friends and chatting with new ones.
On Friday before the main events began Grace threw a dessert party at her apartment in Somerville so locals and those traveling could sit down and catch up over cupcakes. I didn't get any pictures of the fun, so I am stealing this one from Alvina. Not a bad spread!
Saturday after lunch with my agent (and more sweet treats), we headed down to the Convention Center to take a peek at the floor.
There were booths and displays full of books books books as far as the eye could see.
Then we headed over to the Tweet-up thrown by Mitali Perkins and Deborah Sloan. If you don't know what a tweet-up is don't worry, neither did I... turns out it is just like a cocktail party except every so often someone takes out a device and tweets. OR if you're like me and don't have an iphone or whatnot, you just get to meet the people whose tweets and facebook posts and blogs you always read... lots of fun!
I knew it was going to be a big event but my goodness it was MOBBED. Nice work ladies!
Grace, Alvina and I made the rounds with fellow tweeters.
Including the lovely Jeannie Brett (below) and countless other book folks who I sadly neglected to get pictures of.
One of whom generously brought some of Grace's cupcakes from Friday night to share. Mmmm they were good.
It is always exciting to find out which books the ALA will name as the top children's books of the year, but today when I crept out of bed to come to my computer and look for the announcement it felt like Christmas morning. This year was different because all weekend at the convention there was buzz that Grace's new novel was a Newbery contender. And sure enough I quickly spotted her name on the list!!! Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was awarded a Newbery Honor! I can't think of anyone more deserving of such an amazing honor and am truly thrilled that such a beautiful book will be in the hands of children for generations to come. Hurray Grace, and Alvina who edited it!!
In case you didn't know, The Wellesley Booksmith (one fabulous independent book store in the Boston area) is having an Educators Appreciation Day on January 20th! They are offering 20% off ALL new books. What a deal!
As I mentioned here, I am in the midst of a new project about a bunny named Greta. Its not exactly brand new as the story has been in the works for several years now (can't wait to get to paint it at last!), but after spending much of 2009 working on Desmond it feels new...
This year's American Library Association's mid-winter conference will be in Boston, a short drive from Northampton, so I'll be heading to town for some book fun in a couple days. This year Mitali Perkins and Deborah Sloan are throwing a TWEET-UP for authors, agents, editors, or any other book people who tweet to get together face to face and talk books. I am rather new to twitter but its always fun to see the book making community out in full force. And good to know there are real, live people behind the tweets, blog posts, and facebook links that make up a big part of my daily work-at-home life.
If you're headed to the conference, hope to see you there at one of the gatherings around town! I'll post photos when I'm back.
I like Alvina's declaration that this will be the year of "no guilt", so I will expand on that and say that for me I hope 2010 will be a year of balance. This means creating restricted, focused work time, letting play time be play time (so I guess I am shooting for "no guilt" too), and less mixing up of the two. Also I think I've underestimated how much quality down time can contribute to my creativity later on. So here are my goals/aspirations/resolutions that I hope will help to create more balance:
*Wake up at the same time every day, and earlier. I've been working at home full time for over four years now (part time for 6) and this has aaaalways been a struggle. I'm a night owl and would love to work all night and sleep all day. Problem is the rest of the world does not seem to be on that schedule, including my fella, so I aim to see more of the daylight hours. And be more consistent.
*Do more creative projects that do not have to do with my job. I think this was on last year's list, but it will have to be a rollover. Like down time, doing different kinds of creative projects helps feed your creativity. And I just LOVE makin' stuff.
*Panic less, relax more. Publishing is so unpredictable... I feel like half my time is spent panicking about signing up the next project, and the rest is spent overwhelmed with everything I have committed myself to. It really cuts down on the enjoyment of writing and painting, which is why I started doing this in the first place. SO. Time to relax. And just trust that things will work out as they should.
*Watch less tv. I am not a terrible tv addict, but I do have a bit of a weakness when it comes to watching Clean House and trashy fashion tv (oh Style Network). Dare I cancel the cable? Tempting but maybe will try to wean off slowly. Also, less blog reading. UGGG.
*Less email. After listening to this clip, and refreshing email like 12 times while he spoke about how people spend too much time refreshing their email, I see that I clearly have a problem.
Longtime readers of this blog will remember that each holiday season I like to do a little craft, and send it out to those I've worked with that year. Since this year marked the release of What Can You Do with an Old Red Shoe?, I thought it fitting to make something environmentally friendly.
So this year's project was to make reusable canvas produce bags, to replace the plastic ones we all use at the supermarket. Just think of all the plastic produce bags you might use in a year! I got the idea from browsing reusablebags.com, where I've purchased many non-leaching water bottles and travel mugs. Here are the bags they sell.
I decided to make some roughly at those sizes, but with more interesting fabric, which I found plenty of at Ikea. Below are instructions should you like to make your own. I just made this pattern up so feel free to improvise- and I'd love to hear how you change things up!
First, lay out your fabric. If there is a cat sitting on top, remove him.
Next, cut out a rectangle shape with the fabric doubled up (I cut at the folded edge of the fabric, so that the bottom edge of the bag did not need to be stitched). I made bags either 8 x 10" or 13 x 17" roughly, but you could do any size.
Sew a zig-zag stitch along the top two edges of your bag individually, to prevent fraying. Then, on one side of the bag, sew a seam about half an inch in from the edge. Go over those edges with a zig-zag stitch as well.
On the opposite side of the bag, cut into the fabric about half an inch, and three inches down from the top. Fold over the edges in this little section and stitch them down. Then sew along the rest of the side edge, about a half inch in, and straight down from the folded over section. Go over the edges with a zig-zag stitch as you did on the other side.
Fold over the top edge of the bag roughly an inch and a three quarters, and stitch it down.
Turn your bag right side out.
Get some rope or string (I used simple cotton cord from the hardware store).
Once again, remove cat (sheesh):
Cut a length of cord and knot one end. There are a couple ways to thread the cord through the top of the bag- you can run the end with the knot through, nudging it along with your fingers on the outside of the bag, or just attach a safety pin to one end and nudge it through that way. I think the pin is easier. When its all the way through, knot the other end of the cord.
Here is what a finished bag looks like, filled with apples.
I packaged them up by first printing out a simple label...