Sunday, May 31, 2009

Lucky Number 9

And the winner is...
Wow, my Random Generator picture came out really big. Hey! Our lucky winner is catinanapron, otherwise known as Marne!
(balloons falling)
Marne is the brains and talent behind Cat in an Apron, mama, craftypreneur, and blogger. :) Yay, Marne, thank you so much for the support!

Thank you, everybody, for such a marvelous turnout, to my friends who spread the word, and to those lurkers who left comments for the first time here on I will totally be doing these more in the future, it has been a huge confidence builder. As you know, I'm a weekend worker, so coming home to read your comments before bed was super sweet. I've got *big news* to announce tomorrow, and because of it some fun new things coming into the shop during the best month ever: my birthday month of June. Thanks again for making the weekend pretty darn special, too :D

Friday, May 29, 2009


Remember the 10,000 times I said I would have a **blog give away**?? Well, friends, here it is! Yes, rushed perhaps, but I've had the flu this week so posting wasn't much on my priority list.
Here is to turning a corner!
Here is to feeling ship-shape!
Here is to letting you all know how much I appreciate your support and ongoing kindness- let's have some treats. :)

So this time we'll start big. I'm so happy to have Larger than the Sky back at ouou that I'll be giving away one of these limited edition Gocco screen prints! Today I'll also be listing the "second" editions of this print, Gocco prints on acid free paper. The "firsts" are on Strathmore watercolor paper, and one from this series will go to our lucky winner. :D

So stop by and say "hello!" over today and Saturday in this post. I'll be picking someone from comments at random (you know how these things work) on Sunday morning. The comments will be closed at 8 pm pst. on Saturday, May 30th. Thanks again and have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

a love Larger than the Sky

I hope everybody had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Over here we have been pretty busy these last few days, with an impromptu trip to the Oregon coast on one of my lucky days off. Before that, though, I was winding down my week days (I work mostly on the weekends) and finally finished the second round of Larger than the Sky.

This two color Gocco print has been one of the cornerstones of my shop; it serves as my logo on Facebook, for example, and was my banner on SilkFair when I had a shop there. Since the move last year I've been sold out, so I was pretty anxious to get these kids back into the shop.

This time around the printing turned out to be a chain of lessons in Gocco troubleshooting. First, while putting down the initial layer of blue ink, I realized I didn't have enough. The blue of last year's prints was always too light to capture well in photographs, so I considered this a fine motivation. But, I had to mix my next color directly on the screen, and that was a challenge. I'm really happy with the deep, brilliant blue I achieved, though.

The second step, weeks later, was much harder. I honestly don't remember how I printed this last year. The two parts of the image are in opposite orientations on the screen, making it hard to "stamp" the second layer over the first. It came back to me right away that this was one of my earlier Gocco experiments, and really not such a great idea in execution. There was no way I was about to let the 30+ sheets of watercolor paper go to waste, now that they'd been printed with the sky blue, however, so I waited for a day when I was feeling peaceful and up for the challenge. I hit a good pace, squeegeing away a late afternoon.

It took several hours, and quite a few mistakes, but I've listed the first of the new round in the shop today. There were far fewer successes on watercolor paper than I'd like, I think the screen will be retired simply out of difficulty. I'll be listing a round of "seconds" (that actually came out really well) that were my tests printed on Arturo paper in a few days. For now, the very very limited run of new prints is up, new photos and all!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


The other aspect of life that I've yet to report on, of course, is the similarly shifting role of live-in Aunt. The role of becoming an Auntie has been the single most transformed and important series of events in my life thus far. And yes, living with my sister and her twins these last three months has effected probably every aspect of my own life in predictable ways, but those alterations, too, have proven to be (extremely) positive. Going back to work, for all the ways that it was familiar and easy, was very strange for me on this level.

Lucky for me, this time around the boys were kind enough to wait for their Aunt to have a day off before they started some new antics. In fact, this past week I've been ringing my hands for my sister's sake as SL's night sleep suddenly went downhill fast the day I got the call to come back in, and continued throughout these last 7 days to be fitful and dramatic. MNJ, as is his disturbed sleep pattern, would be up more in the early morning hours... and awake at 5 or 5:30 to begin his day. As mamas do, she powered through (with a little help from our friends ;) ) and I've been hearing very sweet stories from their days together.

Wouldn't you know, yesterday as I was with MNJ while mama and SL were still asleep he started calling for "mama"! We've heard our share of "ba!" and "ga!" and the always enjoyable "geek!" coming from little M, and more and more often lately they've accompanied the corresponding sounds coming from us:
"Would you like to get down?"
That sort of thing. But this was something different, and clearly with the purpose of finding out where mama (!) was, what mama (!) was doing there, and when mama (!) would be back.

As if his brother was showing him up, SL decided the very next day to pull himself up to standing for the first time. This one was one of the milestones that brought tears to my eyes, his triumphant smile and squeals of excited laughter at his new skill were the icing on the cake. SL is not the kind of baby to just burst out laughing at any little thing, it was really quite a show. I guess add to that there were 2 then 3 days where I didn't see them much at all, suddenly these budding abilities illuminate everything extraordinary about the seemingly ordinary things (babies, jobs, a home) that have entered our lives. Not to mention the look on my sister's face telling me, first, about coming home to her second son calling her "mama!" and, not long after, watching her first born pick himself up. That radiant face will be with me for a long long time.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I'm finding the best ways to get creative work done is to schedule the rest of my day, and as it unfolds to look out for windows or opportune moments when the printing, Gocco or painting could get done. If I had looked at my week at all on it's onset I would have said "fat chance!" to getting any painting (one of my more time consuming past times) done, but wouldn't you know yesterday in the late afternoon as dinner was in the oven, the boys were out for a walk with their mama, at the doorway of our bedtime routine I happened upon the perfect segment of time.

You may wonder after these past years of keeping a blog- what does she do with all those paintings? I talk about the watercolor process quite often, while there are no watercolors in my Etsy shop, and no mention of their futures once finished. One reason is simply the process- painting is really enjoyable for me, and as it has many stages and steps I find it is easiest to photograph throughout the emergence of a finished work. Having moved so much, and been living out all these adventures along the way, there have also been little means with which to explore reproductions of these paintings. So they sit. And wait.

Perhaps now that I've got a feeling of permanence, something new can happen with the paintings. I hesitate to bring yet another element into my Etsy shop; I like the way it is set up now with printed cards, Gocco clothing, paper and prints. The goal, then, is to begin selling prints of the watercolors from my blog instead of through Etsy. I'm considering having mid-week sales that run once a month for limited edition prints or other items.

This is where the confusion about a give away, and all of the possible variants of that, stalled me last month. So, considering this weekend is a long weekend (in the States) I'll just postpone a week, and begin the exciting endeavor on June 1st. I'll have news about the upcoming give away here and on Facebook, and try a few of these before taking the plunge to actual sales through

Until then, and as long as I get some photos of them, stay tuned in the shop for upcoming Gocco prints, more gifts bags, and cards! Knitter Notes, cards that had previously resided in the guest artist section of Bamboo Village Press, are back in my shop until BVP opens back up. More knitting kittens, otters, and some familiar friends to come!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Its been about a week since starting work again, and though I posted regarding Droolicious, I feel as though ages have passed since I blogged.

Things have been great, and changing, challenging and fast. I've returned to a job I had before, and it hasn't changed a bit- so there is comfort and familiarity there. On the other hand, after the first two days outside of the house and a growing List of Things to Do, I began to think very protectively of what time away from work was made up of, from there the week became about observing myself in my ever-growing roles.

As a small business owner, this time being "unemployed"/ "self employed" was more fruitful than I was seeing at the time. Wanting to move beyond running the Etsy shop alone propelled me to get serious about investigating the realms of marketing, wholesale, and budgeting. With 2-4 days outside of the house, the name of the game right now is organize, systematize, act. The at home work space got a dramatic face-lift, too. I've hidden from sight all the supplies and products I don't regularly use, moved the winter clothes out of my dresser and replaced them with shipping, WIPs and silkscreen stuff, labeled my supply boxes. I now have the impression of a clear division between orders to ship and space to create. Putting away WIPs is such a breath of fresh air, I can hardly describe.

I have always, always, always worked on drawings and paintings in the middle of a cluttered and disastrous (to the untrained eye?) drawing table. This is one of those signature dichotomies in the life of the creative entrepreneur- my business owner self is such a neat nick, and shipping or emailing or anything business after a night of drawing (!) or painting (!!) has me "tut tut"-ing myself. On the other hand my artist self, who has been around much longer, is all pencil shavings, coffee cups, 5,000 images torn from wherever, tacked across my wall, and toppling teetering piles of notebooks. I no longer take this tug-of-war between instincts lightly, when time is so precious these days. I want both of those sides of myself to thrive, and when I'm in those roles I want to be able to pay full attention to my project without a single worry that I'm taking time away from either endeavor.

C recently loaned Craft Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco (Chronicle Books) from the library, a fine read for those of us entering into the middle years of Etsy ownership. It was a great book to settle down that dizzying whiplash of suddenly having 20 LESS hours for my own work. It helped with getting my mind around what to delve into in my "off" hours, especially on the expansion-beyond-Etsy subject. It also helped to feed my brain with business facts as I was cleaning/ rearranging my room, all the while scheming where and when to make the next glorious mess.

Monday, May 18, 2009

ouou on Droolicious

It was an amazing weekend here, sunny and beautiful. The last time I folded laundry, we were still putting away fleece pants and heavy cotton overalls for the boys, now its sun hats and rompers in just a matter of days. Summer seems officially here now that we have a kiddie pool stashed in our garage, so although I've been away during its use (I worked out of the house this weekend) I'm still ever-aware that changes are happening around more than just my schedule, a corner has been turned.

The fantastic news from the web world is that Droolicious wrote up a spot for the ouou Etsy shop on Friday! I'm really excited about this, and so thankful for C's helpful push toward it. Droolicious is a design blog for the modern parent, and they support an even split between handmade or otherwise. C has bought from their suggested necessities and been happy with the items, reviews, articles. I was thrilled to be a part of their Etsy reviews! Check it out here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Hello blog. Hello friends. How I've missed you! I know I was doing this before the Christmas holiday~ working, commuting, childcare (sometimes), drawing, blogging, packaging, shipping. Things that we're adding to the list are living with the kids, cooking meals, printing Gocco, wholesale and consignments. In a perfect world I'll add to this drawing, reading, and hanging out with friends. I know I can keep all of these things going, and even add more, but my blogging may be sporadic for the next few weeks as I have added the new out-of-the-house working element.

I'm posting photographs of recent additions to the shop that have yet to appear in the blog. Whats missing is the riot of color that surrounds me/ us here in Portland. What a joyful time to have such a multifaceted life, both days I'm out of the house and days I'm here at home. Walks to work under flowering, fragrant trees are something of a dream! I get home from work around 8 pm, the sun is just setting, the boys are asleep. The commute to work is useful for Etsy since it brings me closer, and with more routine, to my printers and post office. Days "off" are spent between playing with the babies, cooking for the week, and (now) a ton of artistic persuits. These are the building blocks for a *really* good summer.

Come see Robot Parade (top) and Cookie Bag - vellum (above) now at ouou. Keep an eye out in my CafePress shop, too, for the new Spring designs showing up on all sorts of fun stuff!

Monday, May 11, 2009


Around these parts there have been developments upon developments. There's a comfort to sitting down to a Monday blog post and feel the good energy pouring into another string of days! I'm happy to say I'm going back to work, like a break in the clouds this is more relief than I can remember feeling in ages.

Wouldn't you know I'll be back at the company I'd left in the New Year. I feel truly lucky about this. As my readers know, my sudden unemployment right as I was getting ready to move in with C and her twin boys, and just a few months after re-opening my Etsy shop, was not planned for. In my (initially) lackadaisical way, I didn't expect finding a new job to be the challenge it has been, even as months have gone by I've felt "you've got to be kidding me" exasperation at the job hunt. On the other side of that search, the Etsy shop and my own work to expand my business is hitting a nice, steady pace. The last month alone has been loaded with so much effective change, and I can thank my friends, family, and those of you online that keep me in that space.

new Gocco Rainy Day cards and Bobby stationary

More good news is that our fantastic new *printer* arrived, C made a lovely investment knowing she is going to be printing up professional marketing media (and, you know, we take some pretty good photographs of the twins). I'm excited at the opportunity for home printing this opens up, although my summer will be concentrating on more by-hand Gocco work. Speaking of Gocco, among other things, there is an ever-expanding selection of Gocco coming into the Etsy shop these days. I'm printing for the shop, as well as stock that does not appear on Etsy, limited editions that I'll be using at craft fairs or for give aways and promotions. Stay tuned here and on Facebook for updates!

I'll also be selling cards in more Portland locations in the coming weeks. Right now I'm selling single cards at Piccolina on se Clinton, Children's Exchange on Division (where I have Gocco cards, too!), and se Stark at Paperdoll. All of these locations are fun and family friendly, so if you are in the Portland area, shop local and stop by! :)

Friday, May 8, 2009


I've been looking after the boys for two mornings now while C has been out of the house. They are both napping, I've made myself a cashew butter treat, and I'm sitting in the back doorway while the spring clouds move quickly by, creating wavering temperatures, undulating shadows fall on the grass. The baby monitor makes a dulled chirping noise like crickets through a filter, giving the 10 a.m. hour a surreal, misplaced feeling. There should be fireflies, as I equate crickets with warm summer nights of my own childhood. Time settles down.
This is the company of two sleeping babies, one of the most precious of silences.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

apples from Cookie Bag photo shoot

Hello again from the week of fleeting rain, fleeting sun here in PDX. Somehow through a miracle of divided energies, yesterday turned out to be a really successful day of testing, printing, and even spontaneous photography around the usual menu planning and in-the-car-day that Tuesdays are for us.

I absolutely love the feeling of on-the-fly printing sessions that are cropping up for me these days because they give the peace of mind to then walk away from production and focus on something else. There was a window in the morning right before naps when I was able to crank out a whole new series of prints, those kind of windows are what is fueling my shop while other, larger, blocks of time are taken up in the job hunt and investigating Portland. In the afternoon there was a break in the clouds and I was able to swoop in and set up some shots. Truly a blessing in the rain this week.

I'll be bringing in Cookie Bag and Bobby tonight, the new Robot card tomorrow, and as-yet-to-be-released items on Saturday. I also have begun a Facebook page for ouou and would love for my awesome readers to come check it out! Facebook will officially be the place where I talk about updates in the future. :D

Bobby Pin on square khaki

I have to admit this is a pretty delicate balance right now. Days like yesterday feel really wonderful, giving me a sort of extension on other, smaller projects to finish up through the week. There is always something more I feel I could be doing, you know?, and that self-inflicted tension of the ill-made plan. Mine is around nights right now: relaxing goes somewhere around 7:30 or 8 pm to 9:30 or 10, and I still have dialogue with myself each night that I'll be working on something or other from 10 pm until bedtime. Maybe once or twice a week those hours are valuable, but otherwise I'm always surprised at how tired I am, how muddy my thoughts are, how often I stay up too late thinking I'm "working" but am on idle, staring at the screen or space with homework falling out of my hand.

A break in the clouds!

I'm thinking back on just how many posts this last few months have been meditations on my uses of time. Amidst the deep and resonant life lessons coming from living with C and her babies, this subject, personally, must be one of the most crucial places for my head and heart to figure out. I look over my calender from March or February and see my struggles at stringing one day's efforts to the next. Thank goodness I no longer feel so stunned and exhausted! Both C and I are making great strides in our individual businesses, this house is creative and motivated, and it feels somewhat magical when that sort of flow starts appearing throughout your days and months. I feel hopeful that I'm learning some footing in both the discipline of keeping to a schedule, and navigating with ease the times spent stepping out of one.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Sky layer from Larger than the Sky Gocco print

In taking a moment to pull together new Gocco printed items that need photographs, I realized I've been something of a Gocco whirlwind over here. Should I even bother anymore saying "Well, I live in Portland, so... you know... it rains a lot." golly its hard to find the right day (hour?) to take pictures. Not that I'm complaining- this place has amazing weather. I'm still in the production stage on many of these, back-printing or whatever assembly I've got to finish, but I feel pretty accomplished for the couple of print runs around our home busyness.

One, Two, Three new watercolor aceos now in!

One, Two and Three are in the shop as of tonight. I'm finally willing to admit that my computer is having problems with Etsy - another reason I'm freeing up time from being there is I can't seem to use it. Don't worry, I'm still fulfilling orders and being a good shop keep, lucky for us we have 2 computers in the house. For Etsy, I'm using my sister's computer throughout the day, and brought in these three (finally!) tonight after everybody went to bed. I'm feeling ambivalent about the roadblock since I'm finding I had once spent a *lot* of time on Etsy, time spent mostly...? I hear that's pretty common.
Without a clear channel to it now I find I'm much more focused there when I log in from C's laptop.
Funny, life.

I do feel relieved to bring in new aceo's, though, as they've been finished and waiting patiently for about a month. I've got another Robot themed card (related, but not the same as Land of Cupcakes) that has also been waiting on my desk since April- I'll be bringing that one in toward the end of the week. Otherwise, get your Gocco boots on kiddies cause I've been elbow-deep in printing ink and will be bringing you news as often as the aperture lets in any light at all. Portland, Portland- time for the sun to shine again! Pretty please?

Land of Cupcakes, make room for more Robots.

Friday, May 1, 2009

stay at home Aunt

Gocco silkscreen printer surrounded by newsprint, bib, bottle and... balloon

Welcome May, a new month, the doorway to a new season, and the month before my 31st birthday. I'm working pretty hard at finding a job, so my apologies for the lack of news otherwise. I've also been taking a long time between posts because we've been incredibly busy since our parents left.

Both C and I, in regards to our businesses, have been doubling and tripling efforts to put time into our work. I feel as though some balance has been struck between my shop's production (printing, cutting, packaging, shipping) and the household chores, between spending time with the boys and time spent job hunting. I'm feeling positive about the transition into work, too, but will miss being a stay at home Aunt. I've been home almost around the clock for the remarkable, breathtaking shift from infant to baby. From held-in-our-arms through winter's end to this exploratory, ever-changing stage with so much independence. Okay, I'll save this subject for another post or I'll be writing all afternoon. (wipes tear from eye dramatically) But seriously, although I'm ready for this chapter to close because of the larger picture, the larger picture also shows me how lucky I've been to witness that transformation. :)

recent print session for Butterfly Skies

In between the events that have been going on this past week, I have found a few times to come back to the Gocco and work on my stock. When I said I was stepping away from Etsy, what I meant for the beginning of this month was that I would not be checking in as much, and saving money on re-listing. I'll still be bringing new stuff into the shop all month long, and look forward to those updates, but I tried a re-list blitz last month and didn't really make sales. Right now I'm hopeful that increasing my Gocco products will not only bring traffic back in but provide me with stock for the rotation of craft fairs this city has to offer. Plus, you know, it is practically my very favorite way of making art. ;)

Other projects I'm hopeful for this month involve working more with fabric, though really I have to resolve giving some time to drawing every single day. That's pretty rough right now. I'm looking forward to meeting new people, seeing the friends I've already made, and continuing to explore the area now that the sun (sometimes) is out and the riot of color, petals, green has come to town. People of Portland bloom right along with their surroundings this time of year and the things to do around town get particularly exciting. Right now we are having a severe thunderstorm (I'm typing vigorously before suspected power outages with the soundtrack of thunder) with hail and wind. Reminds me of autumn back home, which I always miss when there is a season to season shift. Welcome May and all the adventures to come!