Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Farm Love

We've returned from Kentucky where we visited some of the BL Kids and Kiddlet and enjoyed some time on the prettiest farm in Kentucky. 

Been nursing a mild case of the plague that I brought back but am finally feeling like painting again.   I've got a llama and an awesome anteater that need their pictures taken for the Etsy shop but it's been as gloomy as Seattle here.  Hope for some sun tomorrow or the next day.

I've been wondering why we all love farms, or at least the idea of a farm.  We give our children farm sets to play with and schools love to visit farms.  I think a lot of folks now are looking at rural life as a simple, basic way to live that has a lot of appeal when we get to worrying about The Economy, Afghanistan, Radiation from Japan and the price of gas.  A sweet friend confessed a few weeks ago that she fantasizes about living on a remote farm or ranch where she home schools her kids and grows all her own food.  Only one barrier - her husband and soul mate is a concert violinist.  The chance that you can make a living as a performance musician, like he does, is about the same chance of having your T-ball playing child sign a pitching contract with the Dodgers.  I can't see him fiddling for the cows or doing anything on a ranch that would hurt those hands!  Most of us have practical reasons for not flocking back to the farm but that doesn't stop  us from reading Ree Drummond's adventures, or looking longingly at "For Sale" signs when we travel secondary roads.

I, though, have been inoculated against farm lust.  I grew up on this ranch in Montana. 

Though this is the kind of place that young women want to leave but old women would long to return to - I know first hand how much back breaking work goes into making a living here.  I wouldn't mind a summer home here, though.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fantsy Childrens Toys

I suppose this would count as a toy, though a big one!  It seems to me that we (American civilization we) are more likely to spend big bucks on creating a room for our child than buying very expensive toys.  This might count as an outdoor room. 

Imagine your back yard being the place where your tots could plot and play all day.

Heck, I'd spend the night here - often.  It even has a built in bed.

Everything is just amazing!  Look at this door.

Called "Red Beards Revenge" it could be yours here for a mere $52,000 plus shipping. 

Maybe you're handy enough to build something like it for less?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Noah's Ark Animals

There's some new kids in town.  Just listed are a cute pair of raccoons. . .
And  a fancy pair of flamingos (castanet flourish)! 

If you haven't noticed, I have two sizes of Noah's Ark Animals.  The mostly larger animals that are made of  two, three or even four layers of wood  and the smaller single piece animals.  Which animals are "3D" and which are single pieces depends on their relative size.  The raccoons and flamingos are the single piece, but they have been shaped and sanded as well as painted to resemble the real thing. 
Look for a few more animals coming soon.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Up - Down - Side - Side Dance

All my little critters do a funny little dance when they get their final top coat of non toxic water based varnish.
First their tops get coated.
Then Their bottoms (sorry for fuzziness)
Then a coat on the left.
And a coat on the right.
Makes me want to do my old cheerleading drill of  "stand up, sit down, fight! fight! fight!.  But there is no fighting.  I found that when I stick to this routine all sides of the animals get three coats and I don't have to wonder what I've coated or not if I've walked away (or slept) between coats. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Design Inspiration - Maude and Miska Petersham

I love children s' picture books.  Other girls love shoes or jewelry and I'm hauling home books for little kids.  Thrift stores are my favorite place to find great books.  I can't believe what I score there.  Before Christmas I was at my local Savers and spied a shelf labeled "Antique Books - $5.99".  It was an eclectic group.  Old nursing texts, classics in good bindings, law  books and one great, old kids book that came home with me.

I've seen this book before at way more money, even for a newer edition.  The story, by Margery Clark is not my favorite but it may be fun for a kid.  It's a series of several stories about a naughty little boy, a naughty goat, and a naughty little girl.  They all have aunts and uncles from the "Old Country".  I do love how the children and pets and loved and tolerated even if they are "naughty". It seems to be what was expected from children and pets. The illustrations are the prize.  They were done by Caldicot medal winners husband and wife team of Maude and Miska Petersham.  Miska is from Hungary and immigrated from "the old country" of Hungary.  He first came to England and then to the U.S where he met Maude.  Together they authored and/or illustrated over one hundred books in their lifetime.
 I love the clean, block print style with solid colors and black outlines.  Throughout the book there are two color graphics as accents and they are just amazing.
In checking this amazing couple out I couldn't resist ordering this beauty from Alibris.
 This has a 1950 copyright and both the BL Hubby and I remember it from grade school.  Check out this lusciousness. 

There's a bit more detail and shading in this work (26 years later).  Their style is still there in the limited color palette ( mostly gray, reds, black and yellow). I so love color that I can't believe I don't miss it.  They still rely on lots of line drawing with little pattern and shading but it feels deep and full.  Love - Love- Love!  Yup, I'm still fixating on happy Circus images even though I know Circus animals are so not approved of.  

Friday, March 4, 2011

Inspiration Is Where You Find It

I got to spend most of last week in Southern California tagging along on BLHubby's business trip.  This is the best time of year to visit as the air is clear, the hills are green and everything looks a lot cleaner.  We had great times seeing BLHubby's sis and her husband. We had dinner with a couple that have been some of our oldest friends.  I said I felt like a young mom cause if I was out with John and Susie then I must be running straight home to pay the babysitter.   I stayed a few days with my sister and we did what we do best - thrift shop!  I came home with a great haul.
Four Liberty Blue plates to add to my collection.  I always find these for less on the west coast.  These were $8.50 and $11.00 which is less than I can get on Ebay and no shipping.  The little apple dishes are a new obsession of mine - cheap and now I have 3.
Picture books, of coarse!  Each was $1 or $1.50.  All in beautiful condition. Do you know that in Corona (maybe it's actually Norco) there is a Goodwill bookstore?  Best find was "The Jeremy Mouse Book" by Patricia Scarry (wife of the famous Richard Scarry) and illustrated by Hilary Knight.  Published in 1960's it is a chapter book for small children.  Great for reading a chapter each night at bedtime.

Maybe the best thing I saw I didn't buy, though I did fall in love.  This tattered beauty was awesome!
We saw it at an Antique Mall in Old Town Orange, sorry about the bad cell phone pic.  This sweet zebra rolling/riding toy delighted me.  I don't think it was very old but it had that 1940's feel that I love - and yes, the legs were cardboard tubes over metal.  Love the red reins.  Miss my sis already - next time we need to devote several days to Old Town Orange.