Colors of Fall

The autumn leaves are pretty much at their peak this week, so everywhere you walk in Chicago the sidewalks are covered with gold, orange, brown and rusty-colored leaves. So, needless to say, this is the palette that’s taking over my brain lately. Here are my favorite fall-colored picks–

Autumn Woodland print by Eloise Renouf

70s pullover jacket from River City Remains

Sunrise Surprise tee from lmkramer

Polka Dots

There’s something so timeless about polka dots. Tiny and vintage or oversized and modern, they work in every color scheme and on just about anything. I’ve been shopping for the perfect dotted cardigan lately, and in my quest found a few other confetti-ed gems along the way.

I Sew, I Draw, I Knit & I Saw

Artists do lots of different things. It’s sort of the nature of the gig, right? You express yourself in one way for a while, and then you try something new. Different mediums, different genres– experimentation is the way to keep things fresh.

That said, it feels sometimes like the quest to “brand” things these days means that you get pigeonholed into making just one kind of work. It’s hard to be cohesive when you’re trying lots of different things, and all the rules tell you you’ve gotta have a consistent brand. So it’s always refreshing to come across a maker who’s not afraid to break the rules and put a bunch of different stuff out there.

Sandra Eterovic’s Etsy shop motto is “I sew, I draw, I knit & I saw,” and it pretty well sums up the range of work she makes– paintings, drawings, sculptures and pillows and more. Her work is charming, weird and never boring.

More here.

Best Toddler Halloween Costumes

This is the time of year to start thinking about Henry’s Halloween costume. This is probably one of the last chances I’ll get to come up with an idea pretty much without his input– by 3 I figure he’ll have a fairly good grasp on what Halloween is and he’ll be damned if he dresses up like the quirky idea Mama came up with. So given that, I’ve been scouring my brain, and the internet, for this year’s ideas. Ours is still in the works, but here are some of my favorite costume finds so far from other toddler parents who are killin’ it in the Halloween department.

Johnny Cash Seriously, how sweet is this mini-Johnny Cash? Love his tiny belt buckle, and hope he serenaded for his candy. Via Huffington Post.

Bird Wing CapeThis wing cape would be cute for everyday dress up, but also easily added to to make a quick and simple Halloween costume. Henry is zooming around the house pretending to fly half the time anyway, so he would especially appreciate this. Via Handmade Charlotte.

Royal TenenbaumsI know, it’s almost too much, right? Royal Tenenbaums Halloween costumes for kiddos is pretty much as hipster cliche as it comes. But they’re just so cute! Via Oh Happy Day.

Little Troll DollTroll dolls are due for a comeback, right? I love that this idea is all about the hair, so there are fewer moving parts to worry about the kiddo messing with, and maybe (just maybe) they’d forget about that gag on top of their head? Via Brit + Co.

Mini PrinceOh geez, how good is this baby Prince? That jacket, the ruffled collar, the jerry curl? I’m dying. Via Twisted Sifter.

Rockford PeachThis tiny Rockford Peach, a la “A League of Their Own,” is killing it with the cute. Who says boys get to be the only sports heros at Halloween, right? Via Team Shep.

 

East Coast Meets West Coast: Grey Gardens and Plush You

Each fall for the past three years I’ve looked forward to making a piece for the Plus You show at Schmancy in Seattle. It’s such a fun opportunity to try puppet designs that are more ambitious than usual. The first year I tackled the “Golden Girls” and last year it was the cast of “Orange is the New Black.” This year I wanted to keep with the “strong ladies” vibe and did a set I’ve been wanting to make forever– Little Edie and Big Edie of Grey Gardens.

The Grey Gardens documentary is one of my favorite movies of all time, and those two are such incredible memorable (and confounding!) characters. The designs had a number of elements that can be tough to capture in felt– hats, scarves, strange “costumes,” as Little Edit refers to them. I’d sketched ideas for these puppets for years trying to get it just right, and it was also tough to narrow down what I wanted them to wear– Big Edie in her tube top or that crazy sun hat? Little Edie in her famous “best costume for the day” with the pants under the skirt? In the end I opted to recreate Little Edie from the flag dancing scene and Big Edie in her blue bathrobe.

Big Edie Bouvier Grey Gardens Finger PuppetLittle Edie Bouvier Grey Gardens Finger Puppet

I’m pretty happy with the results and think the essence of the Edies is there. The Plush You opening party is next Friday, October 10, so if you’re in Seattle, definitely go check them out in person.

#DogBabyRoadTrip

If you missed me last week, my lack of blog post can be blamed on the fact that we just got back in town on Sunday from a whirlwind roadtrip from Chicago all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. It was our first vacation since before Henry was born, and we wanted to go somewhere neither of us had ever been. After some thought, we decided on New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast region. And though there were definitely Griswald-esque moments, overall it was a wonderful getaway. As Ben said when we finally pulled back onto our street at the end, “You know it was a good vacation when you’re as happy to get back as you were to get out.” Amen to that!

Here are some of the highlights from Mississippi, Louisiana and places in between–

Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 9.58.49 PMScreen shot 2014-09-29 at 10.06.44 PM Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 9.59.57 PMFrom the first photo above you can see that we were all smiles setting out from Chicago. The one next to it shows me (and Henry) getting a little punchy around mile 870. We split the drive to Mississippi into an 8 hour and 5 hour day, though traveling with a tiny person and a whiny dog meant that both days were significantly longer in the end. That said, we tried to make the most of our travel days, including all of our first times seeing a cotton field in person and a stop in Metropolis, IL so Henry could meet “Supe’man.”

15129743088_97f764ceed_z15301200816_46991acd01_c 15169042219_ae48707666_zThis was Henry’s first visit to the ocean, so we spent a good amount of time at the beach. We rented a house in Gulfport, MS, a cute little harbor town with miles and miles of gorgeous white sand beaches. We literally had the entire stretch of beach to ourselves both days that we went, though the weather was gorgeous and warm.

Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 9.56.54 PMScreen shot 2014-09-29 at 9.57.15 PM15314506686_cea3102555_zOne of our sightseeing days was spent around Slidell, where we took a swamp tour. I wasn’t totally sure what to expect, but it ended up being one of the highlights of the trip. The bayous and waterways were gorgeous, and our tour was the perfect mix of information and tourist spectacle. Sure, they feed the alligators hot dogs and marshmallows to attract them to the boat, but what’s a swamp without an alligator sighting! Later that afternoon we checked out the Abita Mystery House/UCM Museum (“You-See-Em”), the kind of kitschy roadside attraction that I’ve always been a sucker for. Rooms upon rooms of weird collections, folk art, antique and salvage ephemera all pasted, nailed and glued together into a total spectacle. Highly recommended.

15346649042_e2ff899631_zScreen shot 2014-09-29 at 9.54.34 PM 15160243129_3656a9bb50_z 15355825425_8038b606cd_zScreen shot 2014-09-29 at 9.39.58 PMFinally, for the main attraction of the trip, we spent two days bumming around New Orleans, taking in the overwhelming number of sights, sounds, colors and layers upon layers of life to be seen in the city. Highlights for me were the great street band we kept running into around Jackson Square on the day we spent in the French Quarter, Hansen’s Sno-Bliz, and the St. Roch Chapel, full of notes of thanks, ex voto offerings in the shape of body parts and items like crutches and prosthetics offered in gratitude for healing.

Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 10.08.22 PM

Though the laundry is still to be done, the car is full of snack crumbs and sand, our feet hurt, we’re sunburned and still a little cranky, give me a day or so and I’ll be ready to do it all over again ; )

P.S. In case this deluge of photos wasn’t enough for you, a whole bunch more pictures are on my Flickr and Instagram.