Friday, September 27, 2013

Ready for Fall



Wishful thinking. It works, right?  If so, I wish the days of highs in the 90s would cease already and let's bring on the fall. I am ready.

So, you know. That's what this piece was about. Wishful thinking.

I have a feeling that sometime, sometime, summer will end. I dunno. Let's call it a hunch (a hunch that we'll call science).

In other news, I'm trying to get back into the blogosphere after an unexpected hiatus. Hurrah! Also, I'm working on trying to get this blog and all my art stuff resituated over at my new site, www.aliciapolicia.com .

Oh! And I'll be blogging over at the oh-so-wonderful Girllustrators site from time to time now, too. And if you haven't checked out their blog yet, you should.  These are some marvelous and talented ladies, and I am fortunate to keep their company.

In summary, my wishful thoughts: cooler weather, new artwork, back to blogging, and just to make it officially all caps and underlined, PRODUCTIVITY.



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Monday, July 1, 2013

Crafty Kit Cuteness


It's been a few years since I first saw the kits for these super cute Japanese stuffed felt wind up toys online. I have always loved them, but have always passed them by because I'm not much of a kit crafter. Or at least I haven't been in a very, very, very long time.

Anyway, typically I like to collect my crafting components independently as opposed to having them ready for me, and often prefer to just figure it out myself instead of following detailed instructions. I know. I'm a rebel (not really - I'm a strict adherer to Ikea instructions, just not crafty instructions).

However, when I was making a recent fabric purchase from The Cloth Parcel and saw that they happened to have several of the kits in stock, I decided to splurge and treat myself to some felted cuteness.


What does the non-kit-crafter have to say about her latest kit crafting? It was fun! I really enjoyed the process and I super enjoy my felt wind up Red Riding Hood. I especially love her little bottle of wine and wheel of cheese in her basket. Grandma is a foodie.

The only problem is now I have Little Red Riding Hood on the brain, and it makes me wanna draw some fables and fairy tales.  I reckon that's not really a problem though, is it?



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Monday, June 24, 2013

June Cukes

Yesterday I realized that June is practically over and I haven't made a blog post all month. That's no good.

That's why I drew up these various cucumbers having a pre-pickle hang out. I know it's not much, but I've also been feeling under the weather. Blah. Sick in summer is the worst.

I've also been eating a lot of cucumbers. Hmmm… I hope they're not what's been making me not feel so swell! I do love me some cukes.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Rain, Rain! (And Ink)


I had a whole day's worth of outdoor tasks and chores ready for today.

I was in the midst of them when I heard thunder, which prompted me to check out the weather forecast. You know, the weather forecast I checked a million times before setting out to do all of my outdoor chores. There it was: a big ol' rainstorm on the way.

I'm not going to complain. We need the rain here in Texas. Desperately. And it saves me from having to water the garden. So, yay!

I decided to use some indoor down time to play around, art-wise. This li'l lady and her flower-brella is what came out. What can I say?  I had rain on the brain.

I reckon I was inspired in part by my first meeting with the Girllustrators on Monday...



The Girllustrators are a wonderful, warm, welcoming and especially talented group of lady illustrators and SCBWI members based here in Austin, and I am so excited to have been invited to join them!

Anyway, I had made a passing comment during our get together about how I prefer doodling with a pencil over doodling with a pen. That's when Shelley Ann Jackson said,"You should try drawing in ink. Sometimes ink is more freeing, because you can't erase it."

Thus, when the rain thwarted my outdoor plans, I set out on my doodle exercise for today. Drawing in ink. No sketches. No do-overs. Just let it roll and see what happens. Let myself be rough and scratchy and happy accident-full.

I like it, and it turns out it was freeing.

That said - Thanks, Professor Shelley!



P.S. I need to figure out a better way to hold my pen when drawing with ink. Or maybe I need a new pen.Yucko.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Analog Art Time


I've been hauling a huge piece of uncut illustration board around since college. It has not been very easy to keep and store.

Today, I cut it up into manageable pieces and started prepping it for some good old fashioned, non digital, analog artwork.

I kinda missed doing this (here is a look-see at what I'm working on, by the way).

I do not miss having to store a giant piece of illustration board, however.


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Saturday, May 4, 2013

May the Fourth Be With You!



I always tell myself I'll remember to make a special Star Wars post for May the Fourth. You know, because I love Star Wars, and it's kinda become requisite for Star Wars fans to do so.

And I always, without fail, end up forgetting to get one up in a timely manner. That's just how I work.

The Leia of Guadalupe sketches started out as an idea for Star Wars Day (May the Fourth), but I ended up posting it years after I originally thought of it and sketched it out. Procrastination, thy name is Alicia.

But this year, I did it! Hurrah!

I present to you my own version of Boushh Leia. Leia disguised as the bounty hunter, Boushh, was my favorite Leia version when growing up.  I used to pretend I was Leia rescuing Han from his carbonite prison, guiding him through Jabba's palace to safety because he was all blind and helpless. Everyone was threatened by my thermal detonator. It was pretty awesome.

And my Boushh Leia figure was my favorite. First off, it was mine!  Not my brothers'!* Secondly: she had a helmet. And action figures with removable helmets were the best.

So here's to Star Wars! Here's to Leia! And here's to the many merry memories this fairy tale space saga has given all of us! May the force be with you.





* I was born in 1980, so although there was Star Wars stuff present throughout my life, none of it got to be officially mine until Jedi. Before then I was stuck with playing with the toys of my older brothers.
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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tea Party – In Space!


Space tea is probably better than Tang, I'd imagine.

I've been trying to push myself to make some more art. Art, art, art, improve, improve, improve. Time for new stuff, and lots of it. And I came up with this. And I happen to think it's adorable!

My favorite part: How did that cookie get a bite out of it?  Hmmm...

I even made a postcard of it, and had the pleasure of recently doling out those postcards at the SCBWI Houston conference, where I:

• Met awesome, friendly, cool, and incredibly talented writers and illustrators from all around. Seriously wonderful people, they are.

• Won a door prize in the raffle! I never win anything in those things.

• Learned a lot from incredible guest speakers like Peter Brown, Paul Rodeen, and Lucy Ruth Cummins

• And last but certainly not least, I won first place in the illustrator portfolio showcase! Hooray!

I was so shocked and surprised when my name was announced that I actually did the double hands-to-my-face-in-surprise move that everyone uses whilst mocking beauty pageant contestants. It was a totally involuntary reflex, I promise.

All this has added up to lighting a big ol' inspiring fire under my illustratin' behind. Way to inspire, y'all!

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Self Portrait (With Cat)


You know how some artists and illustrators draw cartoony versions of themselves all the time, every livelong day, and it's as effortless as breathing to them because that's just how often they're going around drawing themselves?

Yeah, well, I am not one of those artists. I find it far easier and more entertaining to go about drawing cartoony versions of everyone else in the world.

But this time, I think I finally worked up a self portrait that I actually like!

And of course, the cat made it in there, because at this point, drawing her is as effortless as breathing.
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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Cutest Mascot Ever!

Just a quickie post to root for my alma mater, Syracuse University, in their quest for basketball domination.

On a whim, whilst watching the last few minutes of the Louisville V. Wichita State, I decided to make a little felt and clementine Otto the Orange (and then I ran outside to quickly photograph it before the sun was completely down).

Can your team's mascot be easily (and cutely) made from fruit? Probably not.

Therefore, cutest mascot ever goes to Syracuse! Go Orange!

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Post Easter Sugar and Macaron Induced Coma Review


Hello, April! Sorry I missed saying hello to you yesterday. Here is a pretty bouquet of posies for you (in a vase that my grandmother made!) to make up for it.

I was busy crawling out of my Easter induced sugar-coma yesterday, and so any April greetings and Easter reviews had to wait for today.

Besides, yesterday was the much loathed (by me, at least) April Fool's Day, and I try to just overall avoid the internet on a holiday celebrated by lies and pranks for which gullible folks (such as myself) tend to fall.


Anyway, this past Sunday was Easter, so I thought I would recap my creative endeavor for this year's celebration. This year I would try my hand at making macarons for Easter.

Famously finicky, these little baked goods, but oh so cute!  I had to give them a shot, and Easter seemed a good time to make egg-based, pastel-colored pastries.


Overall, I think I did very well for a first attempt. In fact, my final batch might have finally come out right. Who knows?  I certainly don't as I hadn't ever even eaten a macaron until this past weekend, so I have no idea what it should be like. But from what I can tell via internet, they seemed pretty danged close to just right...

EXCEPT! (as you probably can already see)

The danged bottoms of my macarons always were ever so slightly browned! Always! Gaaaaah!

And apparently that is a no-no in macaron world. Even if your macarons have feet, and a smooth top, and no hollows. Sigh!

It did not matter what I did to try to amend the browning bottoms. I varied the temps, the baking times, the cooking surfaces (silpat, and parchment, double parchment, and parchment lined silpat), I nested pans, shielded heat sources with pans, repositioned racks...everything!

And they still browned on the bottom. It was maddening, I tell you.

I have come to the conclusion that I need new baking sheets and/or a new oven.  Guess which one I'm going to give a go for the next round of macaron making?



I used the superb Macaron 101 posts by Not So Humble Pie. They are absolutely helpful and highly recommended (especially the trouble shooting page)!

I made three batches of batter: pink, yellow, and green, split into six baking batches. The pinks had hollows, the yellows were a bit underdone, and the greens were pretty much just right. And they all tasted delicious!


I filled them with a vanilla bean buttercream icing. Super yummy! My husband and I gorged on them along with all of our other Eastery treats (see jelly beans, above, and a basket spread, below).



Hence the sugar coma. Hence the late Easter post. Hence it's already April second.



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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

I hope everyone is having a lovely Easter!

I am too full of celebratory food (namely sugar and chocolate) to write the proper post I had planned for today.

So instead I wish you a happy Easter by sharing with you this year's adorable Easter card hand made by my talented Mama.

Cuteness!

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bun-Bun Fun


It's Spring time, bun-bun-bunny time, folks!


If you're like me, that means it's time to alter your mouse softie pattern into a bunny pattern and have some fun stitching some buns-buns...


...and some bun-bun bums. They are very cute and fleecey.


These bunnies are about twice as big as the mice, and instead of round ears and a long tail, they have long ears and a round tail. And I think they're cute.


Looks the bun-bun-bunnies arrived just in time to "spring" up the decor of ye olde Alicia Policia homestead for the arrival of Easter Sunday this weekend. Keeee-yoot!*


*That's excited-ese for "cute," y'all.
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Friday, March 22, 2013

Mister Rogers Hand Puppet


It's the last day of my Mister Rogers Week, and so I thought it fitting that today's project be based on the man himself.


I give you the Fred Rogers fleece and felt hand puppet!  Ta-daa! He's just hanging in his television neighbor's garden on this beautiful day in the neighborhood.

He opted to wear one of his older sweaters, from the pre-zipper sweater days (because I did not have any zippers, but I have plenty of buttons!).

I know, I know - I made finger puppets just yesterday.  But I had to make a Mister Rogers hand puppet so I could do this...


So adorable! Puppet Mister Rogers is a puppeteer for finger puppet Henrietta and finger puppet X!


And he is the perfect size to hang out with beloved neighborhood crazy lady and museum owner, Lady Elaine Fairchilde.


Who, by the way, is one weird looking lady, no?  I've always wondered, where on earth did they get her puppet? Or alternatively, who decided that sculpt was the way to go for any puppet, anywhere?


I reckon it worked though, because I love her and the entire crew of the Neighborhood of Make Believe (in part because they are so different from any other puppets I've seen in real life).

But above all the endearing puppets and cast members (Lady Aberlin!) I love my television neighbor, Mister Rogers.

Thank you for planting so much kindness, understanding, fun, music, curiosity, ideas, and learning in the garden of my mind and in countless gardens in countless minds of generations of children and families over the years, Mister Rogers.



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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Henrietta Pussycat and X the Owl Finger Puppets



Meow meow introduce meow friends and neighbors meow Henrietta Pussycat meow X the Owl!

Sorry about all the meows, but one cannot resist a chance to use Henrietta Pussycat speak when one has the opportunity.


I LOVE today's entry for Mister Rogers Week, as one can tell by my all caps, bold, italicized, and underlined typing of the word "love."

X and Hen were always my favorite Neighborhood of Make Believe characters. I liked how they would get in fights, but always eventually made up. I liked X's goofy southern accent and Henrietta's somehow understandable meow speak. I liked that they lived in a tree and that they would visit each others houses.


And is there anything on this earth as cool looking as X the Owl? I mean, even his name is cool.


Also, they are an owl and a cat. So of course I automatically loved them at first sight.

I made these adorable little puppets with felt, fabric glue, and a little bit of thread, craft paint, and lace on Henrietta. Once again, I kinda free-handed the designs (whilst looking at my references), so no pattern pieces, sketches, or tutorials this time.


I have to say, I think they may be my favorite thing I've made in recent history. Or as X might say, I sure do think they are nifty galifty!

But again, how could I not love them?  They're X and Henrietta!
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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

King Friday XIII Cake


Happy birthday, Mister Rogers! Or as King Friday the XIII might say, "Felicitous anniversary of your birth, Mister Fred McFeely Rogers!"

You know, because he's all into long words and all (perhaps some of you do not know that about King Friday, but trust me, it's true).


Today's homage to my favorite television neighbor is a portrait of King Friday XIII. In cake form! Because today is Mister Rogers' actual birthday, and I thought a birthday cake was in order.


I tapped into my inner Chef Brockett and baked up this yellow cake recipe from Smitten Kitchen, cut the single sheet cake into the shape of King Friday surveying the Neighborhood of Make Believe from his castle, and then iced it in buttercream on super cool retro cake foil, adding some candy jewels (foil and jewels found at Make It Sweet!) to his majesty's wardrobe as a final touch.


My inner critic thinks that on technical side of things, I can do better, cake wise. 

But in my heart, I love, love, love it, just the way it is! Take that, inner critic!

I like to think Mister Rogers would've loved it too.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It's Such a Good Feeling to Know You're Alive Embroidery


Today's adventure in my Mister Rogers Week celebration travels to the land of embroidery, with a stitched sample of some of my favorite lines from one of my all time favorite Mister Rogers tunes.

A long time ago way back when I worked in a bead store, my co-worker (and friend) and I would sing this song together while closing the shop up for the night. It was always such a happy way to end a long (and sometimes arduous) day.



Seriously, it's such a happy, optimistic, sweet, and uplifting song, how could you not like it? I decided I should stitch it up and hang it in my studio for when my spirits need a-lifting...


...like dealing with embroidery frustrations. Grr.

It's been a loooooooooong time since I've done much stitchery myself, so I was happy to get back at it.  However, I basically free-handed this one, with a very skant plan of what I wanted to do. And the colors?  Totally on a whim. I kinda regret that now.

But then, it was also kinda fun and relaxing and exciting to have no plans...but then some times still very frustrating...

...but whatever! Because you know what? It is such a good feeling to know you're alive!

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Won't You Be My Neighbor? It's Mister Rogers Week!


The title of this post sort of says it all! I'm declaring this week Mister Rogers week in honor of one of my personal heroes and an inspiration to generations, Fred McFeely Rogers.

This Wednesday, March 20th, would have been Mister Rogers' 85th birthday. 2013 also happens to be the ten year anniversary of when the world lost this brilliant, kind, and caring man, friend, and neighbor.


I figured I would do what I do to celebrate his life and work, and that means making artsy and craftsy Mister Rogers related goodness. Look for something new every day until Friday!

Today I made this card featuring Trolley and one of Mister Rogers' favorite sayings (and one of my fav songs of his, too!), "You are special."

And it goes just swell with my trolley collection (of two)!


Which reminds me of something I like to say every now and again..


Dear friends, readers, and neighbors, you are special. You are special to me. I thank you all for reading this blog and hope that you remember, in the words of Mister Rogers, that "...you make each day special just by your being you."

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

May Your St. Patrick's Day be Lucky (and Charmed)!


Happy St. Patrick's Day, everybody! I decided to celebrate this year by making one of the most un-Irish, un-traditional foods I could. In fact, I would think of it as being very distinctly American, but it does involve a leprechaun of sorts.

Why, yes, I'm talking about Lucky Charms treats.



Oh, and besides making the treats, I drew up my own little L.C. Leprechaun, too. I based him on the vintage version, who was actually cute and yet still leprechauny. Not the crazed CGI styled boyish L.C. of toda, no sir!

                                         

Believe it or not, I've never made any "Rice Krispy Treat" style treats before, and I had never seen anyone else make them either (my mom was more of a cakes-&-cookies mom). I was surprised that it actually was really easy to make (I used this recipe here). Huh, how 'bout that? That commercial that came on all the time when I was a kid was not a lie!

Isn't it funny that I, Miss I-Like-To-Bake, can go my entire life without ever participating in making something as simple and ubiquitous as cereal marshmallow treats? I kinda feel more American now.

                                         

As for the verdict on the treats themselves: my husband liked them, I thought they were all right. I think they were better once they sat out longer and the marshmallows got a bit softer.

Sigh!  I reckon this means my cereal treats lovin' husband is more American than I. But on a day like today, isn't it more important who is more Irish? Sure.

(It's probably technically him, but let's say it's me)

Happy St. Patrick's Day! May the luck of the Irish be with you!







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