Did I ever tell you that I met Amy? Well, yes I did (and I will tag this post "name dropping"). We had breakfast in Portland at the end of last Summer and I think we both spoke (probably at the same time) at full pelt for an hour and a half before she drove me around downtown Portland like a crazy person and then dropped me back with my conference posse. It was one of my favourite Portland experiences. She is almost exactly how you would imagine her, that is, pretty much perfect - creative, warm, passionate, a little bit wicked (you know, in that good way), hilarious and beautiful. Anyway, she was off to San Francisco the next day to film her craft tutorial for Creativebug. You can find Amy's tutorials here.
This morning I have been watching some of the other instructor introductory videos from Creativebug, learning a little bit more about some incredibly creative women. The videos are all inspiring and beautiful but here are some of my favourites. I originally had more than 15 in this line up but decided it was too many. Narrowing it down was really hard. Please take the time to have a look at the other videos at Creativebug.
We are trying to compile a list of our top favourites so the freezer is full of fruit and the fridge full of tubs of yoghurt. So far we are loving one we have dubbed The Flying Purple People Eater - blueberries, banana, vanilla yoghurt and almond (soy, coconut, cow, whatever) milk. A close runner-up was a banana/peanut butter combination (whizzed with some honey and enough almond milk to keep it moving). I also have a bag of baby spinach waiting to be turned into something bright green and alarmingly healthy.
I am just about to start The Night Circus by Erin Morgensen for book club, on my suggestion. It's always a bit nerve-wracking finding a book to recommend for book club but one of my club comrades read it overnight and she told me she loved it and wrote on my facebook wall "Just finished Night Circus. I cried a bit cause it was over and I wanted it to go on and on. SO GOOD. Thanks!" so I'm relieved and I'm looking forward to it.
I downloaded the Silver Linings Playbook (Matthew Quick) sample chapter for my kindle last night and started reading it while I was sitting in the dark waiting for the small kid to go to sleep. I think I will end up clicking "purchase" at the end of the sample.
I wrote a piece for the Children's Book Review - Five Family Favourites. I had to narrow down all our favourite books to our top five... it was tough.
"...plusss another guy".
This last week was the second week of a screen-free challenge month the kids are doing for school. They have already used up their two allowed "flex days" - one to watch a film at a friend's house, the other to enjoy a glut of video games, tv, and computer time the Saturday before last. The rest of the month might be a little bit of a struggle. On their precious flex day, I think we watched this video close to 15 times. The kids can recite it word for word.
Cards Against Humanity
A party game of pure, offensive craziness. Think Apples to Apples, for adults. We first played this in Portland in a pub with a group of fellow XOXO attendees, mostly strangers, and it was one of the best evenings of the event. Since we have played it with small groups and very big groups and it's always a lot of fun. Not one for kids, or even when kids are in earshot, but a great way to laugh so hard your stomach muscles ache the next day.
Still drawing -- This weekend I spent a little time playing with the new Vine.co app. It really is a neat little thing to tack on to a twitter account. I will attempt to not over-use it... but in the mean time here is yesterday's drawing, a raw little stop motion animation called "Mad Hair Day". I used one sheet of paper and added to the same drawing with each frame. The eyes are two circles from a hole punch sitting on top of the paper, which could be moved around with finger tip. You can't get too much simpler than that.
Welcome to my entirely brand spanking new blog.
I have a brand new host and brand new publishing software... it's very exciting.
What can you expect? Expect glitches, broken bits, expect odd bits of things doing odd things that they really shouldn't be doing... but also expect delightful bits of craziness, folders within folders within folders, pages leading nowhere but in an interesting, meandering, serendipitous kind of way - expect to see me put the 'og' back in 'blogging'...what that is exactly, is completely open to interpretation. Expect a little bit more 1999 in my blogging.
So - without further ado - I'm posting a video. Have a look at this inspiring film about Oliver Jeffers and his process. I'm going to see Oliver Jeffers talk over breakfast in Vancouver in February so I'm happy to see that he is a) very handsome and b) very talented, experimental and entertaining. Enjoy. And see you soon with some more drawing.
How can you resist a title like that? I have been drawing dancing beatniks today, inspired almost completely by this scene from Funny Face. A bookish, shy girl goes to paris and expresses herself through interpretative dance. We've all been there. Right? (In our dreams).
The chords for this sweet tune are here -- and hopefully if you can master that you'll get luckier than Steve Martin.
Personally I am terrible. Terrible-terrible, but I try to play a little every day. I have never really played a musical instrument before and, as a big music fan, it seems miraculous and wonderful to me that I can produce any actual music no matter how bad it is.
A friend of mine told me lately that she was chatting to a incredibly talented violinist about learning to play. She said to him that she wished it was easier but when she tries it feels like she has 6 thumbs on each hand. He said to her "for the first two years of playing, your instrument is the master. After that, if you are practising every day, you start to become the master." I'm sure this applies equally to the ukulele and when it's really sucking I try to remind myself that I am doing the necessary legwork. I like that you can get good at something just by doing it every day, even if it is incredibly, incredibly slow.
My top five favourite Ukulele links:
2. All the chords you need to "entertain" your family and those extra special friends for hours and hours (and here they are grouped by difficulty). This whole site in general is a gold mine for ukulele players, beginners and fanatics alike.
4. and for a little inspriation: Stop motion crochet critters singing along with ukuleles.
5. And one of my very favourite youtube clips: Ra Ra Rasputin performed by the West Cork Ukulele Orchestra - love it.
Also! Added bonus - I just discovered this extra one today. It looks like it has the ability to drive everyone else in the house crazy, but it does indeed look pretty fun: Ukulele Beatles Fun
It's like someone tapped into our family consciousness and made us the perfect film.
I posted this last year, but we've been watching the snow come down all afternoon and drinking "HOT chocolate" and singing this song. So now you can too.
Nathalie Lété is one of my favourite artists and here she is painting a beautiful shop window in Harajuku, Tokyo. I am feeling inspired to paint some white on one of my windows in the studio - once I finish tidying and I can actually get to the window.
(via wishthimble - so good Fran!)
PS. Thank you for all the lovely, kind words yesterday. I got a wee bit teary!
I was doing some searches on "doll hair" (because I am making a new doll for the Softies for Mirabel project, are you?) and I found an interview with Suzanne Moulten, head of the hair department on the movie Coraline. It's pretty cool to think that you might spend you whole working life carefully making beautiful stop-motion hair.
I went on to find another crafty Coraline video - Althea Crome's tiny knitting. It really is incredible to see such beautiful, tiny knitted pieces.
I spent so much of my childhood making tiny things to fit out my doll's house. There were hours spent tinkering away at little tissue boxes and christmas puddings with my friend Pia. Pia had the patience and the inspiration (and the endless supply of Liberty scraps) to make the most breathtaking little bits. I just did a web search to see if I could find Pia and HEY there she is! She's got her own crafty label. Hello Pia - if you ever google yourself and eventually come across this post. Glad to see you are still making.
"When one shrinks a craft or a skill into something so tiny it asks the viewer to imagine how it was done"
Now I am off to make some really tiny jars of cumquat marmalade.
A quick update tonight - as I can barely string a sentence together after a long night up with a kid with the voms. But we all went to see Ponyo this afternoon, and it was utterly charming. I kept thinking it was like an animation from my own childhood - no tacky glitz or bad songs sung by novelty characters. Charming, as I said. If you can bear that horrible movie-trailer-voice-over guy, have a look at the preview because it was as fun as all that.
I hope you don't mind me posting another video. I have had a stomach thing and have been sleeping and mooching for most of this week. Mooching includes watching too many videos on the internet. But I do like this one. I have posted this for my brother and for my parents who are adventurers at heart.
Sour's video for Hibi no Neiro. - A little like a fabulous human/web cam kaleidoscope - watch to the end, it will make you smile.
"The cast were selected from the actual Sour fan base, from many countries around the world. Each person and scene was filmed purely via webcam."
Director: Masashi Kawamura + Hal Kirkland + Magico Nakamura + Masayoshi Nakamura
(via Spike Jonze at We Love You So)
I spent a long time browsing through the short films of the Black Cab Sessions last night, and it made me so happy that I thought I would share them with you too. You've probably already seen them, but I live under a rock - it's cosy under here but I do miss a lot of good stuff.
The Black Cab Sessions is a simple concept. Put a band and a small film crew in the back seat of a London cab and film a totally unplugged version of one of their songs as they spin around the streets of London (or New York, or the Welsh countryside etc). They're all so full of atmosphere. I love it love it love it. So far I love Badly Drawn Boy, Lykke Li (oh so good), Dawn Landes (with a fabulously bearded Ray playing percussion on a notebook), Fleet Foxes and Martha Wainwright ... so far. I have many more to see.
And omg... it's the Brian Wilson, and his four band members (and the film crew) in the back of the cab. That's a full cab. and guaranteed to make you smile.
Let me know if you find a stand-out one.
** photos from The Black Cab Sessions blog **