Tuesday, March 31, 2009

thank you, Sufjan Stevens

It's been a little bit hectic these past few days. I spent the majority of this morning on the phone with a slightly pushy admissions person who wanted me to apply for a program I really can't afford right now. I spent the majority of yesterday and this afternoon tracking down various tax forms and instruction booklets. (Here's a tip: probably neither your library nor post office have self-employment tax forms. Just go straight to your local IRS office. It's much quicker that way.)

So it was nice to come home tonight and just do some painting and listen to Sufjan Stevens.
I've always been a fan of Sufjan's music but it was especially soothing this evening. I usually have to listen to instrumental music while I paint or draw (soundtracks are a favorite choice). Words can be really distracting and I need good melodies to get my creative juices flowing. I would love to be able to listen to audiobooks or radio programs but I just can't get my brain to multitask like that. However, Illinoise is such a perfect combination of lilting melodies and story-filled lyrics that it really fit the bill... warm, thought-provoking (but not too thought-provking!) and steady. 

Maybe it works because what I'm in the midst of right now isn't very complicated.
It's 1 of 2 honeybee-themed canvases I'm completing for a client's daughter's bedroom.
But I'm kinda liking that border...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's 12:33 AM and I really should be sleeping, but it always takes a little time to unwind after babysitting, right?
So I was over at Design*Sponge and spotted this bag by Heather of skinny laminx:

And I thought, that's what my Spring Bag is going to look like! 
Somehow, this week, I'm going to make one with fabrics I already have. Because I need a new bag, and I just really like the idea of having a solid top + straps and patterned bottom like that. Yes, it will be done.
The fabrics won't be as lovely, of course, because they won't be designed by a really cool South African artist/illustrator, but it'll be fun to see what I can come up with...

Okay, now that I've got that out of the way, it's off to bed!

(...with lots of love from Tab)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

food, food, more food!

Who knew I was so obsessed with food? Well, I mean, I kind of did... anyhow I spent almost my entire yesterday in the kitchen! (The part not spent in the kitchen was spent buying ingredients.)

But wait, before I start sounding like a crazy chef, let me explain... 

I'm not so much obsessed with food as I am very interested in how it affects people. Specifically how certain ingredients affect people... bad stuff (sugar, chemicals, etc.) and good stuff (you know what this is). My health-conscious cycles go up and down (after all, I did just compose a chocolate cheesecake post) but no matter what I eat I can't help noticing that I feel and look tremendously different depending on what I consume. For instance, eating salads every day just makes my skin look better. Too much sugar gives me a headache. Overeating at supper makes it hard to wake up in the morning. Lots of common sense stuff, but anyways... I've been slacking off a lot in the whole health/taking care of yourself department these past few months, so I'm eating VERY healthfully this week as part of a gentle, get-ready-for-Spring cleansing process. Lots of herbs, seeds, vegetables, juices, etc.

Unfortunately, the recipe book I'm using only has directions for 4-6 servings at a time... so that's where I got the brilliant idea to make A WHOLE WEEK'S worth of meals in one day! I would make it all, and then divide it all up into single portions to freeze/refrigerate! Genius, right? Let's take a peek... 

gaaaaa.. chaos!!!

Sorry for the poor photo quality... the light in my kitchen is very dim. Almost as dim as me for trying to accomplish so much in one day in one kitchen. I ended up getting about half the recipes made. Whew.

However, I must admit there is something very soothing about roasting a whole chicken, especially the washing/marinating part; it feels like you are bathing a little creature, giving it a spa experience complete with herbal soak:


And after all is said and done, there's something very, very soothing about eating your own delicious, completely-made-from-scratch, insanely healthy meals. Only 5 more days to go!

Happy Wednesday, my dears.

xo, Tabitha

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

ah, animation...

So I sorta put everything else on hold while I finished up the final project for my illustration class... a [very] short stop-motion animation! The whole experience was delightful, fun, tedious, confusing, wonderful... I've wanted to try stop-motion for SO long and it was so much harder and more exciting than I ever thought it would be.

Here's my little film:
(music is from a Card Captor Sakura soundtrack)

It makes me want to try more and more and more animation and I can't wait to get a new project underway. Everyone has been so sweet + supportive of my endeavors and my mom even disclosed that she was at the top of her animation & cinema classes! What! I had no idea but was really excited to find that out!

It's a really humble beginning but... thanks for letting me share it with you guys. :) 
Happy Tuesday and I hope everyone has a splendidly brilliant week!

with lots of love from Tab

Saturday, March 21, 2009

muffins + mayhem

Some things just go well together. When I'm having a bad day (which, incidentally, happened a few days ago... it was a silly thing all from a misunderstanding and is happily fixed now) I find it very comforting to bake. And watch comedy. 
And this time, it was all blueberry muffins and Black Books.

First, the muffins! I'm crazy about muffins because they're SO easy + quick to make and only use one bowl.
I always use the old Betty Crocker recipe but doctor it up accordingly.

1 egg
1 cup milk (or soymilk)
1/4 cup oil (canola, olive... whatever you have on hand)
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar (I usually use brown)
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400. Grease bottoms of 12 medium muffin cups. Beat egg; stir in milk & oil. Mix in remaining ingredients just until flour is moistened.* Batter should be lumpy.
Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan.
Makes 12 muffins.

*Here's the part where I thrown in random stuff... blueberries, chocolate chips, nuts, cinnamon, apple pieces, etc. I also replace about 1/4 cup of flour with 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds for extra heartiness.
They're so perfect to make when you don't want to run to the grocery store just for a little baking, 'cos you usually have all those ingredients on hand. Plus it's fun to get creative with the add-ins. It's like the mix-ins at the ice cream shop, but [usually] healthier!

I love you, muffins!

Second, but definitely not of lesser importance, is the mayhem. 
It's silly, it's British, and it has a perfect combination of wittiness, sarcasm, and slapstick... Black Books, of course!
I just finished the third (and final) season of this series and am so sad to see it end.

Dylan Moran plays Bernard Black, a hopelessly grouchy & mean-spirited bookstore owner who hates all his customers. Add in Manny, his good-natured assistant, and Fran, their loony neighbor, and you get the recipe for many, many hilarious shenanigans... this is one of the few sitcoms that actually makes me guffaw! I can watch the episodes over + over again and still be amused. In fact, there's one particular scene that had me laughing many hours later as I thought about it!

Here's a "Best Of" clip on Youtube. Not what I would consider to be the funniest bits, but it definitely gives you an idea of what the show's like.
(Just a little disclaimer if you decide to watch the entire series... this is a British show, and while for the most part it's PG-clean, there's some very random stuff that would not have made it on American television. It's much cleaner than, say, the British Office, but it's not perfect.)

oh, and yes, Dylan, I love you too!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


A little peek at what I've been working on this week... it involves lots of painting, cutting, and planning. I've never done anything like this before but I'm really excited about it! I've been wanting to try this for a while and now have the perfect excuse: as my illustration class final project.

It's probably not going to be very professional-looking in the end, but it'll be fun and educational (to me, anyways), and that's always a plus!

And yes, those little things in the corner are eyeballs.

I hope you all had a happy St. Patrick's Day! :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mabel page 3

"Introducing Pax"

click on it to make it bigger!
Hmm... I wonder where this mysterious squirrel comes from...

In other news, I've been experimenting with animation this week (specifically stop-motion animation) for my final illustration class project. Of course, this requires a lot of 'research' (i.e. watching animation...) and has resulted in some quite splendid small-studio animation discoveries! My favorite so far has been Fruhling by Silke Parzich. I wish so much I could share the video here but I'll have to be content with a couple tiny images:

Tiny green forks bloom like fern fronds off a mismatched set of table + chairs, all dancing to Vivaldi's Spring. So, so lovely and creative! 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pouches again!

My adventure into pouch-making continues! 

I've been having lots of fun stitching up Mabel pouches to include in my Spring inventory, experimenting with different kinds of fabrics and colored zippers. The exteriors are plain muslin that I've drawn on with a black fabric marker, then added a little fabric dress that matches the lining inside. 

All the lining + dress fabrics are from recycled shirts/pants/skirts, which makes me really happy. I like the idea of making something new out of something old, giving it a new life.

As you can see, they're very useful for holding all sorts of objects!

And speaking of recycled materials, I came across these beautiful dishes the other day on the Oh Joy! blog. (Which, incidentally, is an amazing blog, you should bookmark it right now.)
Now that's what I'm talking about! What a way to turn something cast-off into something truly beautiful...

Happy Monday, everyone!
with lots of love from Tabitha

Friday, March 13, 2009

Spring was just here a few minutes ago...

...therefore I refuse to turn the heater back on!!! 

I'm not going to be around much this weekend (working for my parents, babysitting, church, birthday parties for splendid friends) so I figured I'd try to tough it out. It's supposed to warm up again next week so my endurance need only be short-lived... and while wearing silly-looking hats inside may look, well, silly, I can congratulate myself next time the gas bill comes and it's less than two digits. Hooray!!!
Things you might find me doing at when I am at home...

-Baking blueberry muffins

-Snuggling under blankets and watching Carol's Journey again... it's so beautiful and sad!

-Drinking far too many cups of piping-hot tea

-Sewing some new & improved zippered pouches (I'll have pictures soon!)

-Dreaming about summer and when the weather will be warmer again!

Stay warm, you guys!
with lots of love from Tabitha

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mabel page 2

ta da! Here's the second installment of the Mabel adventure. Enjoy!

(click here to read Mabel page 1)

hope everyone's having a happy week... I've been LOVING the warmer weather, it makes me feel so alive. It makes me want to imagine and dream and DO things! It makes me feel hopeful and joyous  and... and... ebullient
Thesauruses are so fun.

sending you lots of love wherever you are!

Monday, March 9, 2009

chocolate cheesecake

I've been promising my Monday night illustration class a treat for a while, but today was the first day I actually had the chance to make something, so I decided to make a chocolate cheesecake.
I think this is the first cheesecake I've ever made (it's the first one I ever remember making), so I was quite excited.

After I mixed the batter, I sent the children outside to lick the beaters. I know, I know, raw egg and all that... but I always licked the beaters as a child and was fine, so I think they'll be okay.

When it was cooled I cut it up into slices and stuck strawberry halves on top with melted milk chocolate. I gave some to my sweet neighbor Ophelia (isn't that the best name??) and arranged the rest on plates to take to class. It's going to be a little messy and hard to carry, but it looks (and tastes!) yummy, so it'll be worth it!

I even got my own little stove-top slice!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sewing my first zippered pouch, or, How the ugly fabric became beautiful

Once upon a time there was some Ugly Fabric. 
It sighed as it lay crumpled on the ironing board. 
"I will never be anything beautiful. 
I was once a plaid shirt from American Eagle, but now I'm outdated and boring. 
What shall I do?" 

"You there!" shouted a White Zipper. "The Queen needs to see you immediately!" 
The White Zipper smiled a fierce and toothy smile, 
but the Ugly Fabric was brave. 
Inside the castle, the Queen introduced the Ugly Fabric to some Old Denim. 
She gently sewed them together and they became fast friends. 
The White Zipper joined them, and although he was fat 
and caused the Queen quite a bit of grief, 
they appreciated his way of bringing things together.

"I'm so happy to be useful now," thought the Ugly Fabric, 
"and I am so cozy inside this pouch. But I am lonely, and I am still ugly." 

For a long time the Ugly Fabric waited, but then finally 
some beautiful markers came along. They liked the Old Denim. 
They liked the White Zipper, or at least they didn't mind it 
when he growled and showed his big teeth. 
But most of all they liked the Ugly Fabric, who kept them warm and safe. 

So the Ugly Fabric became beautiful because it was loved,
and they all lived happily ever after.

The End.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mabel, page 1


I wanted to share this with you guys yesterday but Blogger wasn't letting me upload any images. It's the beginning of a little story I've been working on just for fun, to help stay motivated and keep drawing. It's my first ever "comic," so it's a bit rough around the edges, but I hope you enjoy it. (Mabel is quite sweet and fun to get to know...) I'll be posting a new page each Monday!

Hope everyone's having a beautiful week!

P.S.- Click on it to make it bigger!