Friday, August 29, 2008

My Six-Year-Old Sage

Happy Birthday buddy!

He got two hermit crabs today.

Hermie and Hurdy:

Next weekend we're having a party with his friends, so tonight we just had a little family party for him.

You've come a long way little dude.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Studio Tuesday - I love my magnets.

These aren't in my studio, they're in Erik's, which is really the garage. Or it was the garage, but it's currently crowded with an easel and paintings. These are the cabinets that hold garage-type stuff - the cleaners, scrubbers, sponges, buckets, etc. The magnets used to be on the fridge in our kitchen, but it was getting to be too much. I like them better on this.

In 1998, the summer after I graduated from college and before we moved to Savannah, Erik and Koko and I drove across the country and back in my Chevy Lumina. It took us 4 weeks and we didn't stay in any place more than one night. I made it a point to get one of those state-shaped magnets (that actually don't fit together at all) in every state we went through, plus some from places along the way. We've added to them since that trip and that's become my thing on vacations - to find the perfect magnet to remember it.

There's another cabinet beside that one. That's where we put all the weird stickers we get.

It's a work in progress.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Made by Monday - For the kids

Sage started first grade today. I think I'm really going to enjoy McKenna's naptime now when I can sew to my heart's content and get back to focusing on kokoleo. This summer my focus was on the kids, and while we had a lot of fun, those two are exhausting. I kept reminding myself to enjoy the moment - pretty soon I'll be back in the workaday world and we'll all be on tight schedules and I'll long to have those lazy summer days again (minus, of course, all the screaming, whining, and mess-making).

Sometime around the beginning of the summer, Sage came in to my studio and saw some monsters I was working on and said, "Wow, can I have one of those? " I told him no, they were for a shop. When I saw the dejected look on his face I told him that instead, he could have one of my biggest and most expensive monsters (that I had had for almost a year and never sold).

In this economy who can afford $55 dollar stuffed monsters anyway? I'll tell you who - I can! And I didn't have to spend a dime on them either. I let Sage choose which one he wanted and gave McKenna the other one. The fact that they own matching monsters made with love by their mom is worth way more than the $110 I would have made off them someday anyway.

Then I thought, why was I working so hard making stuff for other people's kids while my own wear hand-me-downs and thrift store stuff? So I raided my kokoleo drawers and gave them things that if I saw in a store I'd want them to have (but couldn't afford). I can! Suddenly, some of the things I made and no one wanted now fit my kids, and they want them! It's like going shopping in my own home.

This week, I spent some time sprucing up some of their well-loved items. Sage's poor "Blanken" went in for surgery (note the hole in the middle):

And came out shining:

McKenna got some pants revamped, like the ones above, and these (to hide the dirty knees):

It's not that I don't want to make things for other people anymore, I do. My kids have enough kokoleo stuff now anyway, so I can get back to restocking the shop. Mark my words: September will be the month I upload my new and improved web site, complete with lots of inventory I've been stockpiling this summer. After a few months hiatus, I'm excited to get back in the swing (sewing?) of kokoleo again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Happy B-Day Mickey Rae!

My baby girl turned 1 today!

Apparently they have 3rd graders working the cake decorating station at Ralphs. Whatever, she demolished it anyway.

We had a little party for her - just the 4 of us and her best friends Kali and Bella. (Note to self: Make it a point to get McKenna some age and species-appropriate friends this year.)

Erik got her a cute Bambi dress and hairbrush at the Disney store at work. Sage got her a Brobee doll (the last on the shelf at Target) and I got her a Yo Gabba Gabba guitar. McKenna loves music, at the faintest sound of it she'll start shrugging her shoulders and bobbing her head. Like this:

and this:

(Thank you Grammy and PopPop!)

Sage made her a "Summer Book of Fun" inspired by his Highlights magazine.

Can you tell I just figured out how to post videos from our camera onto my blog? I promise not to make it a habit.

Happy Birthday little girl. Don't grow up too fast!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Made by August

From the looks of the last few entries you'd think all I've been doing this summer is all-kids-all-the-time with the random friend visit and family vacation thrown in. Amidst it all I've managed to make some stuff, which I tend to promptly put away and forget about. A few weeks later I look at these things again and wonder why I spent so much time immersed in / obsessed with that project. For me, I've found, the process is more important. I got a little hopped up on Mod Podge last month and made a few things, like this mirror:

and this one: and this box to hold my buttons:

all of which were inspired by the vintage Women's Day magazine pictures, pattern pieces and Mod Podge messing up my studio while I was making these:

(and that's only half of them) but that's another story altogether which I'll tell another time.

Then the urge to make a purse hit me, so I made this:

and this:
because I'd recently acquired these awesome velvet tapestries and decided they needed to be turned into something practical. I just love petting these, they're so soft and furry, plus I'm pretty proud of my flat bottoms too.

One day, ironically at the American Way, I was buying this:

to replace our tattered one. Don't get me wrong, we're neither rednecks nor Republicans, but for some reason the two houses we've owned have both had giant flagpoles out front so I feel compelled to fly Old Glory. Oh yeah, and I love my country too. But as I was checking out I noticed there was something stuck to the flag's hanger - a vintage corkscrew linen with a "Made in France" tag still attached. It was cute enough, and only $1.79, so I went ahead and bought it and came home and made this:

It's hard for me to plan what I'm going to make because the things I acquire determine it for me. It's more fun that way. When I try to mass-produce things I think people will like, I get bored. Now that the economy is in the toilet I figure people aren't interested in buying odd handmade one-of-a-kinds anymore, so I'm not even trying to "market" them. I'm just making them, and trusting that one day they'll end up with someone who appreciates them.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sometimes friends come to visit.

Don't ever let it be said that the VanHorns are boring. Our friends from West Virginia, Pat and Jen and their boy Sam came to visit us this week - Monday night through Friday morning. This is what we did:
Tuesday morning I took them on the old zoo trail at Griffith Park. See the monkeys?

That ends up near the playground:

Later we met up with Erik (he had to go to work) and went to the Getty. Did you know there's a spa there? It's gross, they smear tomato sauce all over you and do all sorts of basil and oregano facials.

Get it? Spa Getty? Spaghetti? I wonder if I'm the first person to make that joke up. Jen fell for it for a little while. Erik didn't fall for it because I was giggling too much when I told him.

Aaaanyway, here are pictures of the interactive art area for kids:we made masks:
Sage wrote me a sweet note.Then, since we were in the neighborhood, we took them to Santa Monica Pier:

Wednesday! Grauman's Chinese Theater:

Hollywood and Highland:

and Roscoe's Chicken n Waffles.

Home, rest, wait for Erik to come home, then:

Home, hang out, sleep, wake up, then:

Malibu. . .

then the batteries died. And now they're gone. Suffice it to say it's nice seeing old friends again and I hope we do it again sometime.


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