Good Times at the Five and Dime

I have an bit of an obsession with 5 & 10-cent stores. As a kid there were still the last vestiges of them around for me to pick thru.I clearly remember the Ben Franklin that my aunt worked at, and the Woolworth’s in Garden City and Providence (both complete with lunch counters). Too bad they’re all gone!
Or ARE they?
No, there are a few left.
One of my favorites is in North Conway, New Hampshire.

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It’s just a cute little hometown version that still has an authentic candy counter:

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That’s pure joy, right there.You can get yourself a little basket and fill it with various candies, then they put them into the traditional little paper bags.
So-weet! They also have all kinds of things that I haven’t seen in years- Dennison seals, those little gummed stars, dollhouse furniture, etc. And, it being New Hampshire, they have all those wonderfully tacky cedar chests and balsam pillows and the like. I really wonder where they get some of this stuff. The staff assured me that the makers still make the stuff. I guess there’s just not much call for it anymore. Thanks, WalMart!

With this image in my mind, I made a new Scrap Shack that’s based on the N. Conway 5 & 10. I love the exterior color!

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In my version, there’s a bear entering the shop, and the store seems to be filled with toys.
My kind of place! I made a few of them- one for me, one for my mom, and a couple for you at the Etsy shop!

NOW, here’s one place I NEED to go:

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The National Christmas Center in Pennsylvania!

Amongst the many Christmas exhibits, they have recreated a vintage Woolworth’s at Christmastime.
If you follow that link, they have a “virtual” tour of it.
Have mercy!! I am so there!
Has anyone been to this?? Do tell!

This was the Best Cat Ever.

Unfortunately, thing shave not been very rosy at Maison Dubois.
Our beloved cat Flo had to be “put to sleep” this week.

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My poor, old girl. That picture was from a couple of years ago, when she was happy to just hang around in the garden. She was already elderly, though- she was born in the 80’s!
1989, to be exact- that’s when Eric and I, freshly minted RISD grads, got our first apartment together and filled it with these two kittens:

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We got Flo first (which is short for Florida, based on the shape on her head). She always had a short nub of a tail, which I found adorable right from the get-go. We got Georgia (named because she came after Florida) a few weeks later.

We never thought they would live to see 19 years go by! The kids, of course, do not know life without them, so it’s been a hard adjustment.

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The two kitties have always been fine with each other, though not usually all cuddly like this! This photo was taken this past winter when they uncharacteristically curled up together.

This is one of the last shots I took of Flo.

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She looks like she’s had it, and she was really weary of the whole thing. Her systems were shutting down.
I know we did the right thing, but I will forever miss her wise, silent ways and kissing that little head!
I estimate she received approximately 50 billion kisses applied directly to the forehead over the 19 years.
I still wish I could give her a few more.

Etsy Update!

After finishing a big batch of artwork, I like to kick back and unwind with some heavy-duty crafting. Don’t you?
Well, that’s what I have been doing the last few days- taking a crafting break. Doing this periodically keeps me enthused for other kinds of art.
So, I added a new Scrap Shack to my village- here’s The Hope Library!

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This was inspired by my hometown library, but doesn’t look a darn thing like it. It’s an “homage”, I guess.
Here are the four shacks I have made so far:

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All can be seen in my Etsy shop, Recycle Rabbit.

I have also recently come into possesion of hundreds (maybe even thousands) of discarded designer fabric samples, courtesy of my Uncle Larry. He seemed to think that I would come up with something to do with them all. Touché! He knows me too well.

I designed some little velcro purses with vinyl stitched details (some of the fabric samples were vinyl).

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Fun, fun, fun! I do like getting to combine all the different fabrics into something cohesive.
These are available now in my etsy shop, too.
Etsy is a blast- if you haven’t gotten hooked on it yet, check it out.
Very addictive.
Don’t say i didn’t warn you!

2008 Surtex, The Stationery Show, ICFF, and All the Wonders of New York in One Post

June 2.
Ah, it seems like only yesterday it was June 1. Which is still a couple of weeks late for me to be blogging about NYC, but here goes anyhow!

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My illustratin’ gal pals and me jumped off the train and hit the Surtex and Stationery shows right on the first day.

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The overview here, as modeled by Laura, gives you a tiny idea of the sheer quantity of printed matter contained within the Stationery Show.It boggles the mind.

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See? See down there? Thousands of greeting cards, paper goods, collectibles, gift bags, etc., and all the fine people who’d like to sell ’em. It’s a great way (as an artist) to see who’s doing what, and where your art might fit in…but it’s not set up for that purpose, per se. Surtex, on the other hand, has a different vibe. It’s mainly artists and art reps who are showing images to license. Almost everyone we met here was happy to talk about their experiences with having a booth and/or the ups and downs of selling art (or art usage). Very interesting.

We hit the city for dinner and a little shopping. Here’s the colossal M+M’s Store:

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Do you need pink, purple, and green M+M’s? I did, and by gosh, I got ’em!
Do you need chartreuse, aqua, and dusty rose M+M’s? They probably have ’em.

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Here’s Janet and me dazzled by the array of choices. And stuff. And noise!
I also managed to go thru the ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair), which is very different from Stationery or Surtex, mainly because it has couches instead of paper goods. And all kinds of other highly designed, one-of-a-kind furnitury stuff. And all kinds of housewary stuff, too. My work at FRED dictates that at least part of me* be “in touch” with the world of cutting- edge design. I am sure you can tell this when you look at my bunny illustrations.

* the small but extremely hip part

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After 2 solid days of show walking, Monica and I went shopping in Soho. We tried to hunt down gluten-free goodies for her, but alas, we were NOT very successful! So instead we bought yarn and fabric.
Here’s Monica at Purl Soho:

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WAY TOO MANY colors to choose from! I bought some adorable fabric at the sister store, Purl Patchwork…I’ll show it sometime.

How cute is this random store window??

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On the last day in the city, I was on my own. Country girl in the big city? Yeah, it freaks me out a bit.I got to meet up with my editor at Simon and Schuster, which happens to be right next door to Radio City Music Hall!

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Oh, yeah! And right across the street from The Giant Metal Guy of Rockefeller Center!

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Actually it’s Prometheus, ancient God of insanely fast-paced cities.
And what do you know…I was watching the Today Show with MB in the hotel room, and right outside the door practically was the ACTUAL Today Show! They were doing some kind of wedding game:

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Trust me, it was exciting.
I had a bagel at the Dean and DeLuca that you can always see in the background of the Today Show.
I found this to be very surreal.

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Cool, NBC of course.
Whenever I am in NYC, I MUST go to the big Toy’s R US:

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It’s got a toy-themed Ferris wheel in it. WooHoo!

And a life-size T-rex, too:

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And something equally as terrifying…an entire wall of My Little Pony!
My MLP lover would be in Seventh Heaven!

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I went to American Girl store, too…a real destination if you are a girl, a doll, or a person with an unusual fascination for merchandising.
My 2 favorite dolls are: Molly, because she’s got a whole 1940’s world:

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And Julie, because she’s got a whole 70’s world:

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And here’s a typical weird thing you’d see in the city- a model in a photo shoot in the middle of traffic!

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Times Square:

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And of course, another thing I always look for when in NYC, the statue of George M. Cohan!

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George looks pretty weird surrounded by the competing visual noise.
But even in his day, Times Square was something like this, I guess.
He liked it that way!
After the George sighting, I caught the train back home and talked to a fascinating lady from New Delhi all the way home.
I think I know everything about her now, except her name!
People can be fun.
Back to work for me! 

New Stuff

My poor, ignored blog.
Been busy lately with a million things, and there’s a million more coming!
In the meantime, some of my art has been popping up here and there:

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Here’s April 2008’s issue of Highlights High Five, with my Creepy Crawly Dominoes feature (oooh, it’s a fold-out!).

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Here’s a little piece in May 2008’s Highlights magazine (the one for bigger kids). It’s a feature they run every month called My Best Self. Hey, look- Roz is on the same page!

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The Read, Rhyme and Clap DVD is available from the Children’s Book-of-the-Month Club’s Spring 2008 issue. I did the Muffin Man sequence on it.

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Here’s the new, improved children’s menu for the Newport Creamery chain of restaurants. I got to do the whole thing (fun!!) and will continue every so often as they need ’em. I applaud the company for pursuing a more individual approach with these- instead of using the menu equivalent of “clip art” (which they could have easily done), they commissioned me to make something with local appeal and original characters. Yay!

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And hey, what’s THIS?
You’re right, I did NOT do this. Eric did!
His design is featured in June 2008’s MacLife Magazine, where his iPOD watch idea came in as a runner-up in their Design-the-Next-Big-Apple-Thing competition.
They had some very nice things to say about it- check it out!

That’s it for now! Back to work!

Tagged, and Playin’ Along…

Barb tagged me for a little exercise in randomness…here’s what I was supposed to do:

1. Pick up the nearest book. 

2. Open to page 123.*

3. Find the fifth sentence.**

4. Post the next three sentences, so if my math is correct that’d be sentences six, seven and eight.

5. Tag five people and post a comment to the blogger who tagged you.

The alternate PB version is to go to page 23 and just put down the text.
Well, OK then…remarkably, I cleaned my desk recently, and there were NO books on it (!!)
So I went to my special book shelf (where I keep my signed books) and pulled off Lyle Finds His Mother, by Bernard Waber. Here’s the surprisingly pivotal scene I found:
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Gosh I love Lyle…he was a big favorite of mine as a child. I met Bernard Waber in 1990, at RISD, I guess.
Eesh, that was a long time ago!

I’ll tag:
Kim Norman
Jannie Ho
Kathy Weller

New Stuff Sightings in Mystic

Mystic, Connecticut is a great town that’s close enough to us that we can visit it often. And we do.I found some of my stuff on a recent outing there:

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 Bank Square Books is a sweeet little independent bookstore- I love them, because they HAVE MY BOOK! They put it with the pop-ups alongside the Sabuda/Reinhart ones. Hmmm, interesting choice. I usually find it in the baby/toddler section (if I find it at all)!

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Here’s a cute little shop in Olde Mystic Village called Hammen Home. Love the yellow paint and blue trim! It’s an extremely cool, bright shop, and I’m NOT just saying that because they have a bunch of my products there:

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Next to the Smart Cookies you can see some intriguing little Japanese collectibles that I couldn’t resist- ReMent (?) puts them out- the series I bought contained the world’s cutest, bitsiest, retro-ist tea sets ever!

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MAN, that’s cute! I put this set on my perpetually Irish shelf. It matched the leprechauns.

Spotted at Mystic Aquarium: a healthy dose of Snack Attacks!

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Thanks again for the exposure, Mystic- we’ll be back! 

Citrus-O-Rama! or, a Trip to Logee’s

There is a wonderful old greenhouse in Connecticut called Logee’s that has been open since 1892. It is one of the few places here in New England where you can walk through the door…

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…and instantly feel like you have entered a tropical rainforest. It makes for a great day trip when you are totally sick of cold weather (which always seems to hold on juuuust a little too long around here).

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It doesn’t matter what time of year you go, there are always things in full bloom.
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I was on a citrus mission this day.

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For unexplained reasons, I have always wanted to have my own orange trees, or lemon trees, or lime trees. This is going back to the time I was 10 or so. Maybe it IS explained, actually. I won a trip to Florida/Disney World when I was this age, and the sheer tropicality of Florida made a big impression on me, I guess.

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The 100-year old Wonder Lemon tree at Logee’s is amazing-it’s comfortably growing right into the ground of the greenhouse, and seems to always be producing gigantic lemons (like up to 5 pounds!).

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That’s Eric, The Jungle Boy.

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Here’s my little box of citrus (plus one orchid), ready to come home with me.

And here are my new studio inhabitants!
The biggest one I had gotten a while back- it’s a Kaffir Lime. Now it is joined by a baby Grapefruit, a Key Lime, a Buddha’s Hand, a Meyer Lemon, a Sunquat, and an Australian Finger Lime. Plus one Salu Spot orchid. So far, they’re all doing well and have new growth. I knew from the Kaffir Lime that the studio was a good place to grow stuff. They add a nice living touch to the studio too. And hopefully some oxygen. We spend a lot of time in here!

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