Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Reals: The Hibfoots

  I really love the picture of this family up above.  I am familiar with the kind of laugh that makes children lose control and arch their backs back like that little guy is doing.  The noise of the laugh is so touching, no one can resist smiling at it----as you can see from Mom and Dad.  The person I corresponded with for this gift for the Hibfoots was such a delight, her name is Joyce, and I wish everyone had a Joyce in her life.  She works for the organization that Mom up above is the director of: a non-profit animal welfare group.  They do something I thought was a joke at first, until I really read through and started to understand the importance and need of it:  providing oral contraception to animals.  You can read all about it here http://www.acc-d.org/ and it will make you go "Of course!", because it's such an amazing concept.  I'm including a write-up Joyce provided me about Mom and Dad up there because their lives are very cool:

Elly: Our board member. Dr. Elly Hiby is an Independent Animal Welfare Consultant and Scientific 
Coordinator to the International Companion Animal Management (ICAM) Coalition. Previously she 
worked at Dogs Trust as International Director, covering a range of dog welfare issues around the world 
but with a focus on humane dog population management. Prior to working at Dogs Trust, Dr. Hiby 
worked for the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) for eight years, including leading on 
the companion animal welfare program and advising on humane rabies control internationally. She has 
also worked as a technical expert with the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE), the World Health 
Organisation (WHO), and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on dog population management.
In 2006, while working for WSPA, Dr. Hiby and contemporaries from Royal Society for Protection of 
Animals, Humane Society International, and International Fund for Animal Welfare formed the ICAM 
Coalition. This coalition aims to improve understanding of effective population management by sharing 
experience and data from past and current non-profit projects and by combining knowledge to produce 
documents outlining best practice. In her current role with ICAM Coalition she leads the Indicators 
Project, aiming to develop guidance on monitoring and evaluation of dog population management to 
support academics, practitioners and funders to track progress, learn and subsequently improve their 
impact through the use of measurable indicators. 
Prior to joining WSPA, Dr. Hiby completed a PhD in dog welfare and behavior with a focus on improving 
the welfare of working dogs and the impact of training methods on pet behavior. However, her passion 
for animal welfare has led to work with many other species, from training horses under the guidance of 
“horse whisperer” Monty Roberts to surveying wild seal populations along the UK coastline.

Her husband Mike:   On the 23rd August, Mike and his brother Andy embarked on  a novel and eccentric challenge: to cycle Brompton folding bicycles between the British 3 peaks (Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis - in this order), wild camping en route. Then with Bromptons folded and carried on rucksack mounts, climb each peak via scrambling routes that would not be attainable whilst porting a larger-sized bike. We intend to complete our expedition in approximately 10 days: cycling for six of the days and covering on average 100 miles each day, scrambling the peaks in one day each, leaving one ‘spare’ day which is optimistically reserved for a recuperating beverage in Fort William.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Reals

Don't you just want to know these kids?  They seem like good conversationalists.  And, the style!  I'm lovin' the mismatched socks look!  Yes! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cheeky at Home --- My Weekly Post About Working From Home


I have to remind myself sometimes that my "career" dreams have come true.  Maybe not in the most ideal way, and definitely shy of a few Benjamins.  But, I get to be creative all the time, non stop.  I am in my element when I work with my hands, and I feel very strange when not.  One thing I do miss from being out of the more conventional work place is the coworkers.  My favorite coworkers are the kind you live with, like at summer camp.  I also love the coworkers at more entertainment type of jobs.  That could be interpreted a little oddly.  I mean, specifically, the coworkers at the second to last job I had, which was at a day program for adults with developmental disabilities.  There was a lot of "keeping the mood up" activity, and cheeriness there.  There was tons of creativity, less in the "working with the hands" arena, and more within the "how can I prevent this meltdown from happening" department. There was quite a bit of skipping and impromptu singing, and hugging.  Lots of hugging.  And, let's be honest, stress, but it was the sort of stress that is a result of trying to do good, so it was a bit more tolerable.   

When my house is quiet---when little boy is off at school, and little girl is next door with her awesome neighbor nanny, and the bearded man is off teaching, I only have one coworker.  Good ole Albert.  You can see him right there in the sunshine.  Albert has been with me for 8 years.  He was a rescue dog.  When Joseph and I adopted him from the shelter, his little bio said he wasn't to go to a home with children.  Check!  At the time, we had none, and Albert was such a sweet pup, I knew if we ever had any babies that he would treat them like gentle little lambs.  Wrong.  He treats them like ferocious, beastly lambs.  He doesn't go after them, or anything, but if they run past him with childlike glee, he'll give them an earful.  And, if they try to pet him, he'll snarl and snap.  Oh, Albert.  He's too small to do any damage, and his teeth are "elderly home teeth", so he's alright.  Sometimes they can pet him, in the mornings, maybe, if he's had a restful night of sweet dreams (which probably included a home without children).  He loves us deep down though.  We're his pack.  Also, he's my lone co-worker constant.  He loves the sunshine.  I mark my day by keeping his ottoman-top-doggie-bed into the sunshine as time passes.  Every once in awhile he'll be lying in the shade, so he sits up and looks at my with an accusatory expression and I have to inch it back in the sun.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Reals

  Believe it or not, these two are high school teachers.  They look famous to me.  Famous rock stars! They are expecting a baby, gender unknown.  They refer to it as "Sprout" (adorable).  This wall hanging marked a couple of firsts for me.  This is my first time making studded boots, my first time making eye shadow (I like it), and my first time making a little sprout hat on a baby.

ps  This is going to be a new weekly/bi-weekly post on the blog called "The Reals" where I will show you the real people behind their personalized wall hanging or mobile.

Cheeky at Home -- My Weekly Post About Working From Home

     I finished this animal friends mobile this afternoon.  It goes to a baby who was born in December.  I always feel a little frantic when I make the mobiles after the babies are born.  They are supposed to be awaiting their arrival above the crib and getting settled for a week or so.  My fear of rejection is strong if I am transferring that onto my little mobile dopplegangers.  I imagine the baby thinking, "Get out of here, you!", and "I preferred the ceiling tiles, thank you!".   But, that's ridiculous, of course the baby will be glad when they arrive.  Err.  This weekly post is getting off to sort of a weird start.  This is going to be where I document what it's like to work from home.  I want that to heavily involve the "Mom Factor" (is that a reality TV show, it sounds like it could be).  But, I am going to let it evolve and change if it needs to, as well.  We'll see where it goes.  Come along with me.

   My son keeps his chalkboard easel in my studio.  Believe it or not, that is my chicken scratch penmanship up there, not his.  We are in the middle of planning his birthday party.   It's a new thing for me:  Throwing birthday parties.  I've been to a few with him, taking notes.  He's mostly invited to ones at museums and other established places that offer party packages.  It's nice, yes, to have equipment on the ready to play with, and a staff there to add comfort to the chaos.  But, man, they cost a pretty penny.  And, we need all our pennies, even the ugly ones.  Plus, I love the home party and the cake that gets presented in the pan it's baked in.  So, we are going for it.  Walter loves Star Wars.  I am not sure how.  He's never seen the movies, though Joseph thinks (deep breath) it's time.   We talked about the theme at dinner last night, and he was a flurry of activity afterwards.  He had a million ideas, and before bed, he had me jot some things down on the chalkboard.  The first two are pretty obvious, and quite general, but the third is pretty specific:  "Dress sister like Yoda".  I've visited Pinterest for ideas, but I think I will ban it for the rest of our party planning adventure, so that we can make it our own.

   Also, a few days ago, I mentioned one of my goals was making all my photos the same size on the blog.  I actually researched how to do that, and implemented what I learned, which had to do with copying and pasting a few words in some very mysterious location on my blog.  Nothing happened yet.  I think what I did was enter in "code".  Very odd, that code.  If it's not making all my pictures the same size, I wonder if it's doing something else?  Mysterious.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Happy New Year!!

 A new year, 2015.  2014, was something special, mainly because of that blue-eyed beauty pictured above.  She is a smiley, easy-going gal, already attracted to the idea of sewing (see the spool?).  She's not crawling yet, which, for me, is when everything changes, but she sure rolls like a champ.  I worried about getting things done with her around, but things have been going pretty well, if not a little frantic.  There aren't as many naps (for me), as I'd like (especially since winter showed up down here on the bayou----tall ceilings are beautiful, but the heat hides from us up there). 

I designed a few new things in this new year so far.  These mainly are for friends having babies.  I am particularly proud of that sweet little hedgehog girl up there on the right.

Oh yes, and the Beatles.  We all live in a Yellow Submarine.  This one goes to baby Jackson, son of my friend, Tracey, who has the best taste.  She lives all the way in California.  Why is our country so big?  Why does everyone live so far away from Louisiana?  Though, honestly, Louisiana, I love your winters.  Deeply.  Your summers, though?  Meh.

Then there are these monsters ^^^  I've been wanting to make a monster mobile since I started making mobiles, and finally, Carolyn's baby girl gave me a chance.  This is one my husband loves.

I have a lot of business goals for the New Year.  I thought it would be a good idea to write them down here.  You know what they say about accountability being effective for commitment to change?  Keep me accountable, internets!


1.  I want to change my blog format so that the pictures are really large and all the same size.  I see it on other blogs and it looks so nice and organized.  How do you do that?  

2.  I want to blog more often, with special day-of-the-week categories, maybe?  I think it's fun to show people side-by-side with their personalized dolls, so that could be one category.  I also want to do some sort of photographic documentation of being a work-at-home mom (though I must give cred to my next door nanny, who does watch little girl a few days a week).  

3.  This is a big one.  This year, I have a goal to make and sell 5 patterns.  I am going to call them my Simple Sillies.  They will be baby mobile patterns.  I know for sure I am going to make a ninja one, a sumo one, a ballerina sheep one, and ???  Any ideas for the other two?  I actually think for this one I will finally utilize my connection to art students (my husband is a professor of painting and knows all sorts of eager graphic design students).  I will need help on the computery side of things.

4.  I desperately want to design fabrics.  I want to start small by designing a bib.  Again, the computer comes into play here.  Computers intimidate me.  Throw in a scanner and I am cowering in the corner doing deep breathing exercises.  Maybe I'll utilize those clever art students again.  The younger generation just knows how to do these things.

5.  I want to have ready-made items in my shop.  My made-to-order items are at a looong turnaround. 11 weeks?  That's crazy.  I am lucky I make mobiles and babies take so long to "cook".  I feel like I am always, always, always working on my made-to-order mobiles, and I need to carve some time into my schedule for new designs that I can make a few of at once and then have on the go, for people who don't order things months in advance.

So, that's that!  My real life/non-businessy goals are pretty standard.  Read more, eat less cookies, you know.  I'm excited for this year, though.  I can't think of a snappy sentence to end on.  I'll just end with a, "Hurray!".   

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ally Bean

Here she is!

Two days ago Little Miss Alice, my daughter, came into the world. Here is the mobile I made for her the day before she was born. A majestic cloud king to watch over her and sprinkle down shimmery gold stars full of sweet dreams into her wee little head. If you look closely, you can see my little Ally Bean asleep in the crib.

Today my heart feels two sizes too big.