Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good little mouse

Thank-you notes were a big deal in my house growing up and I took them very seriously. I had a great aunt who gave out single dollars each Christmas, and it became a joke in my family that one year I thanked her for "the good dollar," having already used "nice" and "useful" in previous years...Here's Mimi Mousekin busy with her letters...

Friday, December 27, 2013

Magical Wonder Tree!

Oh Magical Wonder Tree, at first you were an afterthought.
Not being very happy with the main tree we got (which is perfectly nice but turned out not to be great for showcasing ornaments), I picked you up a few days before Christmas and put you on the table. You are the perfect home for my handmade critters, and calling for more and more decorations day by day, you have truly become a thing of splendor!

You have made an impression on our home, and even when you're gone, you will not be forgotten.

Merry Mouse on the tree!

Here's how my new mouse ornament looks on the tree. Those big ears really pop!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Merry Mice factory!

It's a mouse factory in here, with Mocha Crinkles cookies baking in the oven! xo

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

beading around...

i've been in need of a new "everyday" necklace, so got out my beading stuff and's been a while but i like the result and think i'll get a lot of use out of this.

Friday, November 22, 2013

it's holiday crafting time...

sketching this year's mouse the interest of time i think it's gonna be the simple triangular ones featuring fun graphic prints...i'll post again when i have some made up!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

It's All about the Dog

Two fun doggie projects recently, altho this first one for a sad occasion. When a dear friend's beloved black lab went to Dog Heaven too soon, I wanted her to have a stuffie she could hug.
I made one of my Dilly Dogs using a really nice black wool suiting, a hot-washed wool scarf for the ears and hearts, and one of my fave vintage trims for his collar. When she first opened the gift she burst into tears! But now he's bringing cheer and comfort.

Then this Sleepy Dog set was commissioned by a relative. Light blue seersucker (really hard to photograph for some reason) with cotton velvet ears & heart. I was so late getting to it that I made a lined drawstring bag-bed too...
I hope the baby-boy recipient will have lots of fun and cuddles with his Sleepy Dog! xo

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sketching Skunks!

I'm working on a sweet little educational book about a family of skunks who live by the river...
I love doing animal characters and am having a lot of fun! xo

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

High-5 magazine job finished

here's is most of the finish for the high-5 job.
i really enjoyed playing with the fabrics and textures.
it was a lot of fun!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Pillows with Plushies!

Recently the very talented Kass, one of my Etsy shop customers, contacted me with these fab photos. Aren't these pillows totally fun and clever? Animal plushies she made using some of my patterns are cleverly tucked into the scenery.

                                                    Then they come out to play!

I especially love the fabric she chose for the "pond" - a dazzling blue/green moire.
Wouldn't you be psyched to receive one of these pillows as a gift?
I bet Rosina and William will have a lot of fun with them.
Thanks so much to Kass for sharing her project with me!

Friday, June 21, 2013

My favorite kind of illustration job

A new assignment from High-Five magazine and it's my favorite kind: a cozy indoors scene. Here's a snippet of the sketch. xo

Thursday, April 18, 2013


I'm so excited about this new magazine for babies by the Highlights company. It's printed on really nice glossy heavy stock. So far I've done a cover...
... and also a story for a different issue. The printing turned out great, and basically I would be happy to illustrate the whole issue every month!
It's swell to have another venue for very young illustration work.
Thank you, Highlights!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Working it out

I'm in the early stages of illustrating a new story by the fabulous Barbara Bottner. This is the fun part - where all the potential is's a brand new world.  I'm trying to visually work things out with thumbnails in a way that makes sense and enhances the story. This one is a bit tricky as there are two side-by-side narratives...
I'm getting to know the characters, deciding who they are, what they'll be wearing, etc.
The main story line takes place at the beach - I love doing beachy outfits!
Men are the hardest for me, but I like this hip dad I came up with.
Things always change and morph somewhat through the sketch phase and into final art stage, but at least the bones are there to build from. It's a fun time!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter bunnies!

Two little Easter Bunnies hopped into the yard today.
Easter is my favorite holiday - with the bright colors, the hope of spring after a long winter.
Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Belated Birthday Bunny

Since I was in the mode of sewing - making the simple elephant and bunny patterns to go with my new book - I finally managed to make a very belated birthday bunny for my friend Karen. In her birthday card, many months ago, I had included swatches from about 10 vintage fabrics that I thought she'd like, so she got to choose. I love how it turned out.
With a larger scale print like this, I have to be more careful in how I place the patterns so that large motifs will be in good places.
I always love how these bunnies look from the back too.
This stuffed bunny pattern was inspired by the bunny I created for this book by Linda Sue Park for Clarion some years ago. When I made the first bunny, I thought it was the best thing I'd ever made!
I started selling them in my Etsy shop, and they were very popular.
Here's a sampling of those I sold:
There was a thrill in listing a new bunny and having it purchased usually within hours. Compared to the long process of illustrating a book, the immediate response and connection with buyers was so satisfying, and a sale always made me want to make a new one. Also, each bunny was different.
But it was certainly far from cost-effective, so eventually I had to stop selling bunnies.
However, this bunny was the inspiration for my next book, My Blue Bunny Bubbit which will be published by Clarion this fall.
It's funny the circularity of things, how one thing leads to another in a way you'd never expect!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Second proofs for my next book

this week i received a copy of the second proofs for my next book!
it's called My Blue Bunny Bubbit, and will come out in the fall. the art for the book was put together digitally, which is a first for me. i used a combination of traditional and digital to create the artwork, and it was very strange and kind of anticlimactic to just upload the finished files to the art director's Drop Box after all the months of work. before, there would be the ceremonious labeling and careful packing of the original art, taking the box to Fedex, and then receiving an appreciative and enthusiastic phone call from the editor and art director when they had received the package and were seeing the art for the first time.

however, there was a reason to develop this new way of working - it was something that i felt called to do for this particular story, and i'm very happy with what i came up with and will probably continue to work this way. i was worried about how the art would print, since on the computer you're always seeing a brighter version of things due to the back-lit screen and you feel a certain disconnect. but i needn't have worried because it's printing very well, and pretty close to what i expected.

the story has a sewing theme, so i'm also making simple version sewing patterns of the two stuffed toys that will be available to readers through Clarion Book's website. i hope parents and kids will enjoy making them together! these are the first round samples - i'll show the finals next. xo

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New niece Amani

And here she is being held by big brother Tomo.
Could they be any cuter??

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Next Big Thing: A Global Blog Tour!

The Next Big Thing is a global blog tour (which started in Australia!) to bring awareness to authors & illustrators and their current work. Thank you to the wonderful Liza Woodruff for tagging me!
I will answer some questions about my newest book, then pass the Q & A on to three fantastic book artists.

1. What is your next big thing?
My new book: Pigs in Pajamas.

2. Where did your idea for the book come from?
I have a penchant for making up silly rhymes and alliterations and somehow I had gotten stuck on the letter P.  It became clear that lots of fun things and activities start with the 16th letter of the alphabet!

3. What genre does your book fall under?
Pigs in Pajamas is a picture book, and it might be released as a board book as well in a year or two.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
This is pretty silly for a book like this, but here goes:
Penelope - the hostess with the mostest - Juliette Binoche
Pip - (glasses) smart, studious, kind of shy - Matt Damon
Paloma - (pink flower on her head) girly, loves to dress up - Mindy Kaling
Pammy - (purple pj's') plays piano - Holly Hunter (she really does)
Paco - (propeller hat) pretty zany, the life of the party - John Leguizamo
Percy - (pinstripes) - charming, gallant - George Clooney
Pearl - (pink plaid) - the youngest, a bit spacey, adorable - Lena Dunham

5. What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A Pleasing Piggy tale, with rollicking rhymes and infectious alliterations;
Pertaining to Penelope Pig’s Pajama Party; with Plenty of hooPla,
Plus a Plethora of things (more than 75!) starting with the letter P, to PinPoint in the Pictures.

6. Who is publishing your book?
 Knopf Books for Young Readers.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? 
It's hard to say because like most writers I rarely work on one project at a time. But over a number of months I was obsessed with the letter P and noting down ideas day and night - I'd be trying to fall asleep when another P-word would occur to me and I'd have to make a note in my bedside notebook for fear of forgetting by morningThe first few drafts were far too long and complicated, because I was wanting to include every Possible thing!

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The Sheep in a Jeep series. 

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My love of language and getting kids excited about language.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader's interest? 
When I was working out the technique for the illustrations, I thought it would be neat if the P-things to find in the pictures stood out in some way from the acrylic paintings. I ended up using collaged photos for most of the P- things, which results in a fun effect in that the items really Pop. For the scene below I Prepared Pancakes (from scratch), Pasta Primavera, a bowl of peas, and my friend baked a Pie - and I took Pictures!

Thank you so much for stopping by -  I hope you enjoyed hearing about my new book.
The Next Big Thing Blog Tour continues on March 7th with the following book artists - you won't want to miss them!

Alicia Padron
Nancy Cote
Dana Sullivan

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

website redesign

I'm working on a Long overdue redesign of my website...featuring Miss Mouse! xo