Well, Hello Dollies!

Guess who came to the local-ish American Girl store the other day?
None other than Lisa Yee! She wrote the latest Girl of the Year Books about Kanani, a Hawaiian girl. She also wrote Millicent Min, Girl Genius, and the subsequent stories relating to it. Oh, and also, she’s awesome. Add to that a few kids who are both American Girl and Lisa Yee fans, and you have the ideal day trip!

Lisa is from California, so it was great to get to see her on our coast! Here she is with the Dubois girls. Amazingly, she is still smiling after having met with approximately five thousand (mostly) little girls, with another thousand still to follow.

Poking around in the American Girl store, we couldn’t help but notice that our pal Mary Beth’s new book was on the shelves there, too! Check out the Paper Shaper Forest Friends, a make-it-yourself book of adorable animals in MB’s signature style.

Yes, Millie thought you should see what the back of the book looks like, too!

I bought some stylin’ shoes while we were there, too.
Doll shoes. Unbearably cute saddle shoes!

They do not fit me. But so help me, I will find the ideal miniature feet for them to fit on.
It’s a shame we don’t have any cats anymore!

This is how things are in Glocca Mora.

Do you like paper dolls? I loved them as a kid, as well as any kind of cut-out craft like “build your own town/diorama” books like that. My daughters seem to have inherited that gene (the gene for wanting to cut and assemble stuff). I recently found this odd vintage set on Ebay:

OK, so it’s a set based on the 1968 movie version of “Finian’s Rainbow”, which starred Fred Astaire as Finian and Petula Clark as Sharon. It also starred one of my movie favorites, Tommy Steele as Og, the leprechaun. Yes, there’s a leprechaun in it. Needless to say, this is one weird movie. It’s got a very fun musical score, and a very bizarre story line. But in 1968, you could get paper dolls based on it! And wow, only 29¢. What a deal!

I wouldn’t cut such a lovely thing up, but I WOULD scan it and print it onto card stock so my girl could cut it up!

I particularly like how the characters each have outfits from the movie, and also extra outfits that are just stylin’ sixties garb- vests and scarves, oh yeah!

I miss the times when paper dolls were seen as legitimate entertainment. Well, they still are around here.

I Heart Valentines

What do you think of Valentine’s Day? Luckily for my husband, I do not go in for jewelry (diamonds aren’t THIS girl’s best friend) or cut flowers (they are one step away from being dead). Chocolates… well, OK, maybe. Belgian ones!

On the other hand, a day spent making pink and purple cookies with my girls and a bunch of their wonderful friends is a day well spent!

I collect vintage Valentines because I adore the graphics of bygone eras, especially the 30s and 40s. I also like the idea of kids having Valentine’s day parties in school and exchanging them in little envelopes, or putting them into specially made bags or boxes. Kids still do this when they are very young, I guess, but they seem to outgrow the custom very quickly. How sad.

The handwritten names on the backs of these are precious!

As much as I love those very vintage ones, my favorite ones are the ones I’ve had for 35+ years. I kept all the cards that were given to me in grammar school.

I remember each and every one of these. I still remember who gave me most of them.

The names on the back are hard to read because I have stuck and unstuck and re-stuck them into albums over the years. Now they reside in binders like my other flat ephemera.

Sally, Becky, Gail, Jimmy, Jeff, Keith, Chris, George, Chrissy…just some of the names. It was perfectly legitimate to exchange cards like this right through sixth grade. I can’t imagine today’s sixth graders doing it.

I like to look back at these every year, and keep life in perspective.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

Draw Like the Wind!

It’s been a wee bit busy around the studio lately. I have been working on educational art, new product designs, a trade book, attempting to update my website, and stuff like that. Oh, yeah, and writing.

Rough sketches for educational workbooks.

I tend to sketch on tracing paper for rough stuff, and usually clean the drawing up onto marker paper, using a Cool Grey 90% Prismacolor pencil. Actually, a lot of them.

Even these little babies are still usable, though- see those wooden things at the bottom of the picture? Those are General’s pencil extenders! They are nifty little devices that your pencil nub fits into to give you a new handle. They let you sharpen the last bit out of your pencils. And that’s good, because there’s a lot of drawing still left to do. Yes, indeedy.