Stay Curious

stay-curious

A little behind the scenes of one of the projects I worked on over the weekend. A dear friend of mine commissioned me for an illustration to give to her colleague, and I loved trying out different lettering styles. The colleague’s catchphrase is “stay curious,” which is a brilliant one.

I have two more illustrations, another quick translation assignment (this time I’m learning all about the art of sushi plating and presentation — so, so cool), and a craft tutorial all due pronto so I am trying my best to stay focused.

It’s funny how the moment I had a stretch of free time, a slew of requests came in. They all sounded so up my alley and so enjoyable that I had to say yes.

I may or may not be back this week. Focus. That’s my catchphrase for the interim. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Happy Friday + Randomness

greyscale-flower

Happy Friday! We’re into the third week without a car, and I have to admit that my legs are pretty sore. Still, I’m loving all the exercise we’re getting and although everything takes longer and requires more planning without a car, it also forces us to slow down and live moment by moment. I’m stopping to smell the roses and flowers, if you will.

That’s a quick watercolor sketch I made a while back. I really really like it. You might be able to see a small water splotch on one of the leaves, and I even like that. Last week I taught a watercolor class at a K-8 school, and the best part was when I made a mistake. Instead of scrapping the drawing, I asked the students to help me come up with ideas to make the splotch into something else. The mistake turned into a basket with blueberries and ninja stars (I was painting Little Kunoichi) and the enthusiasm level was sky high. When the students created their own watercolor paintings, they were encouraged to do the same when they thought they’d made a mistake. A good lesson and reminder for myself.

I think I have to go soak my legs in epsom salt or something. I’ll see you back here next week, and I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

How long can we go?
We’re carless in Seattle
Want to make a bet?*

*M and I decided to see how long we can go without a car. So far so good!

Happy Friday + Randomness

samurai-hat-origami

Happy Friday! I had such a lovely time yesterday at the University Book Store storytime. The staff was warm and welcoming, and a sweet group of toddlers and adults gathered around a circular kids’ table as I read aloud Little Kunoichi. We followed up with a simple origami craft (samurai hats!) and I also created a little coloring sheet to go with the origami activity. This whole putting-a-book-out-in-the-world process continues to be surreal, and one of my favorite parts has been the charming, funny, and downright amazing stories people have shared with me. At the reading, a woman named Erin asked if I would sign the Little Kunoichi copies she’d brought from home, and as I scrawled away, she recounted her daughter’s reaction to the book and I was — as per usual — in tears (the daughter’s reaction was positive, thank goodness, and the tears were grateful ones). I was so moved that a real-life little girl struggling with school felt a kinship with the book and was encouraged to keep trying. Erin had serendipitously just written about it here. Thank you, Erin, I am deeply humbled.

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Perhaps you have a little one that might enjoy a coloring sheet? Feel free to download it from here. And if you’re interested in making an origami samurai hat as well, instructions can be found here.

coloring-sheet-origami-web

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It’s been quite a week! Between the flurry of school activities that fill the end of the academic year and book shenanigans, I’m zipping to and fro, trying to keep up — I’m looking forward to a calm weekend. I hope yours is calm and fun.

Oh, it’s happening
One year older tomorrow*
I’m a June baby

*Each year seems to go faster and my birthdays are piling up. I can’t help but visualize calendar pages fluttering like a flip book. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the idiom “in the fullness of time.” It used to be a common repartee, the equivalent of “whenever it’s ready”. I’m fond of that phrase. Despite the surface sense of rapidity, I feel like life events have been unfolding in the fullness of time…

Happy Friday + Randomness

young-authors-day

Happy Friday! A couple of days ago, I attended an event called “Young Author’s Day” at K’s school. It’s a big deal — the entire school participates and all the students are shuffled into groups of about 10 kids from various grades. Each student takes a turn reading a story he/she had written, and my favorite part is listening to the “About the Author” section. They all invariably include information about their family, a hobby and a totally random factoid like how they like to eat cereal for dinner or are completely opposed to school uniforms.

K’s group was exceptional. The fifth graders blew me away with their poetry (their haikus made me want to delete all of mine from here), and K recounted how M and I got engaged, which the teacher found hilarious. There was one girl who read a story about finding a lizard in the middle of the street and how she ended up keeping it as a pet (a true story).

The first grader who went last stole my heart, though. I saw how her hands trembled as she clutched her book with the green construction paper cover. Her cheeks blossomed into the color of the brightest of pink peonies, and her voice was so soft, barely a whisper, that all the kids tipped to their sides, cocking their ears to catch the small gasps of quickly strung together words. I remember being that little girl. The one who refused to go until there was no choice, the one who hoped that reading the story super fast would make it less frightening. I couldn’t quite hear the story in its entirety, but I saw her carefully drawn illustrations of a fox and clouds, and a little girl that looked very much like her. She beamed with relief and pride as the group enveloped her in applause and hands shot up to praise her efforts. What a beautiful, beautiful thing.

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Have a delightful weekend, my friends! I am going to RELAX. So, so, so, so excited about this.

At Mockingbird Books
I’ll be doing a reading
I feel like that girl*

I’ll be doing a storytime reading of Little Kunoichi at one of our lovely local bookstore this weekend – there might be a little bit of trembling involved…

Happy Friday + Randomness

moon-phase

Happy Friday! Sometimes don’t you wish you could pluck the moon and sun from the sky, put them into a container and take them out only when you need them? As I typed that it dawned on me that we use celestial movements as markers of the passage of time, but they aren’t time itself. I need a refresher course in the fourth dimension. The power to stop time…maybe in the future someone will figure out how to make it into an app.

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K: Look Mama! The froggies are breeding — that means they’re making babies. Just like you and Daddy did!*

*We finally had a successful discussion about the birds and the bees. As predicted, I was at my awkwardest, and she was completely grossed out.

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Abby-Sophia
You’re the giveaway winner!
Cute sock softies time

Have a wonderful weekend all!