Stuff I Love Right Now

1. Leggings Under Pants

The Arctic. I mean, our backyard.

Much has been made of this Polar Vortex winter, but from all the crazy cold I’ve come away with the best cold weather antidote: leggings under pants. Seriously, how did I not thing of this before? Sure, some folks go the long johns route. When I was a kid we always wore those to go sledding, but it didn’t occur to me until this year that leggings are basically long johns and could be worn on a daily basis. Sure, under skinny jeans I can barely bend my knees, but such is the price for not freezing to death.

2. Short Hair

It’s time for a trim, ya’ll. I keep finding myself fantasizing about pixie cuts and little bobs, which is a surefire sign that this mane needs cut. Yesterday, Ben said I looked like “a maid.” I’m guessing he meant the medieval kind, not Downton Abbey (really, I thought I was more 60′s Jane Birkin), but either way, I think it’s time to make an appointment for a new ‘do.

2. The Return of”Walking Dead”

I have such a love/hate relationship with Walking Dead. I totally acknowledge what a not-great show it is and find myself laughing at the clunky dialogue multiple times an episode. That said, every week I wait anxiously to watch the next installment. Also, bonus points for all “The Wire” actors that keep showing up, though it doesn’t bode well for your show if I only know them by their previous character’s names. “Look out for that zombie, Cutty!”

4. Spring Projects

I’ve found myself pinning a bunch of spring projects recently, most of them having to do with patios and plants. Sure, the one pictured from A Beautiful Mess could be done for indoor plants any time of year, but I’m dreaming for a front stoop full of green. (To achieve, this, though, I should probably remove the dead mums that are still out there from last fall. Doh.)

Glory Fades. I’m Max Fischer.

Max is back, ya’ll!

When I reshot my puppets a few months ago, for whatever reason Max Fischer didn’t make the cut (I think he was out of stock at the time), so I’ve been waiting for a sunny day to take photos and list him in my shop again. Well, the wait is over, my friends! Everyone’s favorite king of extracurriculars is back and ready to join you for archery club, beekeeping or whatever.

P.S. I did a quick search to find a list of all the activities Max was in and couldn’t help sharing: Yankee Review – Editor-In-Chief, Publisher, French Club – President, Model UN – Russia, Stamp & Coin Club – Vice President, Debate Team – Captain, Lacrosse Team – Manager, Calligraphy Club – President, Astronomy Society – Founder, Fencing Team – Captain, Track & Field – JV Decathlon, 2nd Chorale – Choirmaster, Bombardment Society – Founder, Kung Fu Club – Yellow Belt, Trap & Skeet Club – Founder, Rushmore Beekeepers – President, Yankee Racers – Founder, Max Fischer Players – Director, Piper Cub Club – 4.5 hours logged, Kite Flying Society – Co-Founder

via this Rushmore site.

Slo Mo Forever

Oh, you guys. I was recently introduced to this mash-up of every Wes Anderson slow-mo sequence set to The Shins and, well, that’s my name, right there, written all the frig over this thing.

Of course I love the Margot-getting-off-the-bus scene but it may be the brothers Darjeeling walking to The Kinks (which makes me cry, every single time) that’s my favorite. The feel is different with The Shins, sure, but isn’t it nice to revisit all the characters you love all in one place?

Which is your fave Wes Anderson slow mo moment?

In the Studio: February

Recovering from the crazy/awesome holiday season, I spent a decent chunk of my time in the studio last month playing around with stuff I hadn’t tried in quite a while– digging out paints that hadn’t been touched in years and illustrating on the computer (which proved frustrating, given the stopgap external monitor I currently have set up with my ailing laptop). So far I don’t really have anything finished to share, but it was a good exercise in stretching creative muscles that hadn’t been used in a while.

The internet is full of a zillion creative workspace beauty shots and I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to imagine anyone actually getting anything done with everything in place. The photos are beautiful, sure, but partly as an counter to that (and partly because my studio is so rarely anything but messy, let’s be honest) I’m sharing what my work table actually looks like right now: a million bottles of craft paint, used palettes, dirty paint water, half-finished puppets, lists and notes and shipping supplies. It’s not glamourous, but to me this says “jump in and make something” more than a sparkly clean tabletop ever will.

Harold and Maude are one of my oldest puppet designs (check out these photos from their first sale back in 2007!). Even after making them for years, it’s still always a challenge to make a pair that matches in size. Usually I can get a majority that work together out of a batch of 4 or 6 of each, but sometimes I end up with orphan too-big Maudes and too-small Harolds that have to wait for the next batch to find a mate. It’s the challenge of making things that are less than four inches tall– the margin of error is pretty teeny.I still haven’t put anything up on the walls of the studio since I painted last summer. The big expanse of aqua wall is just so lovely, I’m paralyzed with the idea of messing it up. One of these days I’ll get inspired and finally get out the hammer and nails, but in the meantime this Amos Paul Kennedy print and the vintage calendars I picked up at the Uncle Fun closing sale are hanging out on the dresser.These are drawers are from the salvaged hardware store display that holds my collection of embroidery floss (a view of it was featured in another post on my studio space). Normally you can only see a bit of the color peeking through the front, but when I refill them it’s always fun to see the rainbow of colored skeins all laid out. It was a lucky break that these drawers built for screws and nails just so happen to fit the length of floss perfectly.

Valentines Day Food Passport, Revisited

A few years back, I featured a really clever Valentine’s Day Food Passport idea from The Spotted Fox, one of my fave blogs that sadly no longer exists. (Sniff, sniff.) I recently revisited the post after noticed it getting some traffic recently and realized I’d forgotten just how cute the idea was. Seriously, is there anything worse than rehashing the whole “Where do you wanna go?,” “I don’t know, where do you wanna go?” conversation? Too often in my house those exact questions end with an exasperated 9:30 run to Subway that leaves nobody happy.

The Valentines Food Passport takes a little bit of forethought to come up with all the restaurants to include, but once they’re collected, you need only consult the book the next time you’re hungry and idea-less. The cute colored sticker rating system (see the green sticker in the photo above) lets you score whether you liked the place so you can easily remember where to go back to. Plus, since all you really need is a pen and a mini-notebook, it’s the perfect quick and easy Valentine’s Day gift to make you look sweet and thoughtful, even if you actually forgot about impending the holiday till mere days before. Not that anyone would actually do that, right? ;)

Happy Face

Hearing from happy customers is without a doubt one of my favorite parts of my job. It’s awesome enough to be able to make stuff I love and for other people to like it enough to want to buy it. When someone takes the time to get back in touch after they’ve received an order or given a gift, though, it’s simply the icing on the cake.

In the spirit of awesome people giving awesome feedback, I simply had to share this photo from a customer, Paul. Paul’s original order was, sadly, lost in the mail and had to be replaced (Boo. Hiss. I’m looking at you, USPS). It’s always a bummer when that happens and I so appreciate customers who are understanding about delays like that. Anyway, I dispatched a replacement puppet for Paul when it was clear that his original wasn’t going to show up anytime soon, and a few days later received this note and accompanying picture: “I got it! Thank you so much Abbey!! I cant wait to give this to my friend! It is so cute! Thank you again!”

How great is that, right? If something I make (probably while wearing my pajamas and watching Netflix) can make somebody that happy, well, my work is complete.

Thanks for making my whole week, Paul.