Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Last Chance!!

Last chance to bid on one of the cute little lamb stuffies! The Ebay auction closes tomorrow! No bids yet, unfortunately- I just can't seem to figure out what people are in the market for apparently...

Monday, February 27, 2006

New Family Blog

Hi Everyone, I've decided to create a new blog for family-related posts and photos. I figure people who are reading to see my art probably aren't interested in reading about Riley, etc. (as cute as he is!). If you are interested, feel free to look at my other blog, but I'll try to keep this blog confined to art and design topics from now on!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Riley's Baptism

I'll be back to doing more art in a few days....once our houseguests have gone. In fact, I'm hoping to take advantage of the free babysitting, and do some antiquing on Wednesday! If I'm lucky, I'll find some fun art materials!

For now though, some sweet photos of Riley's baptism this morning!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

A Genius Already?

Here's just a quick, funny photo we took today of Riley in Grandma's glasses. I think he looks smart, don't you??

Friday, February 24, 2006

Shopping with Mom!

My mother is here for Riley's baptism on Sunday. We did a little shopping, which of course, you always have to do when your mom's in town! We went to Hancock Fabrics to look for some fabric for her to make a beanbag for Riley. We didn't find any, but I found some more fun fabrics and trim for myself! Mom also bought me a really pretty new sewing box. Mine has been too small for a while, and they were having a 50% off sale.

Also, in the mail today, I received some adorable vintage playing cards that I won on Ebay! They are from the game, Animal Rummy. I have to credit the idea for those to Merwing's blog. She showed some cards that she had, and I just had to get them as well!

Riley's loving all the attention he's getting having Grandma here, with more to come since his other Grandma arrives tomorrow night! He's going to feel really neglected come next Thursday when everyone's gone and it's back to just him and boring old me all day long!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Attn: Genie!

Genie, please email me directly at I'm not able to reply to your comment- it gets bounced back to me! The piece is still available for you!

Not Exactly a Corner...

Well, this isn't a "corner" in my home, but it's a spot that I just love. This is in my baby's nursery above his dresser. These are pieces of art I did while I was trying to become pregnant and while I was pregnant with him. During that time, I did twenty-four pieces of art about the subject. These four, I framed and hung in his nursery, and the rest, I bound into a Pregnancy Journal. An article about the process of creating this journal is going to appear in Suz Simanaitis's new book, Kaleidoscope, due out in December. Anyway, I love being reminded of that journey when I see these pieces of art in his room. It doesn't appear in the photo, but I now also display his baby journal, open to the latest spread, on an easel on the dresser as well.

Also, I've gone in and updated my art website to include prices on some of the older art that I'm ready to sell. So check it out- first come, first serve!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Riley's First Book Finished!

I did the cover to Riley's first book today. This book covers the time from his birth until the present, when he is four months old. Boy, at this rate, I'll have a whole library by the time he's eighteen! I had fun doing the cover- it's always nice to sort of consolidate the whole book into one place, and put a title to the whole thing. Not that "Riley's Book" is any sort of creative title, but you know what I mean. I have to say that I'm LOVING using fabric in my art lately, as you can see with this latest piece.

So now it's time to start his next book. I always have a little trepidation before beginning a book. I'm so anal that I require myself to keep the same format and style throughout a book. As a result, the first page I do really sets the rules for the whole book. So I need to spend some time thinking about what I want before I start.

We're going to be having some family in for a few days for Riley's baptism, so I'm not sure how often I'll be able to post while they're here...

Lambs on Ebay

Well, I decided to go ahead and try listing the lambs on Ebay this morning instead of making more first. Here's the link if you're interested! You know you want one!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Lambie Tuesday!

I made several little lambs today with some of my new fabrics! Aren't they cute? I'll probably make some more tomorrow, then list them on Ebay. I'm not sure how they'll do there- unless someone's looking for that sort of thing, I don't know if people would appreciate the fact that they're handmade. My friend suggested Etsy, but that would require me to set a price vs. letting people bid. Maybe I'll try Ebay first, and if they don't do well there, I'll try Etsy. Wish me luck!

Monday, February 20, 2006

A Day of Art

My friend, Tara, came over today to do some art. It's been about a year since we've seen each other though, so unfortunately not much art got done since we were too busy gabbing! At lunchtime, we went to Quizno's and then over to Ben Franklin, even though I just went yesterday! Tara wanted to see all the neat fabric I had told her about, and hey, I'm always up for another trip to a craft store! I got some more fabric, of course, and some scrapbook paper. While she was here, I got the beginnings of a spread in Riley's book done, and after she left, I was able to finish it. I'm happy with the way it came out.

The two photos are of me as a baby, and of Riley when he was a few days old. The poses in the photos are so close, we look like twins! Unfortunately though, at least for my ego, he really doesn't look like me at this point- it was just a fun coincidence with those photos.

With my new fabric collection, I think I'll try to do some sewing tomorrow.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

New Direction?

Awwwww! Is there anything sweeter than a little boy cuddling up with his Daddy? Riley's been much more cuddly lately, which just melts my heart....

Today, I took a trip to Ben Franklin and bought several pieces of fabric and some felt. Isn't it pretty? I love looking at all the colors together. A couple of these have vintage designs of little animals and nursery rhymes. Don't ask me what I plan to do with it, but I've been particularly drawn to fabric lately. I've been using some in my artwork, and also using some to make baby toys/stuffed animals. I may use this to make some more lambies and see if they'll sell on Ebay. I'd love to make a little quilt for Riley, but he has so many blankets already...

Lately, I feel like my art either is moving or needs to move in a slightly new direction. I can't tell if I've already begun the shift or if I need to do something in order to begin. I don't feel like it's getting stagnant just yet, in fact I quite like the work I've been doing lately, but I've just been so interested in other materials and other techniques lately, and I want to somehow incorporate them into my own style. That's always difficult though, because if you change too much, it doesn't feel genuine and "you". I just get so worried about becoming too formulaic and having artwork that looks like other peoples'. I hate getting stuck on a piece and having the urge to just pull out an old standard in order to fix it. Anyway, I'm not sure what this all means, but we'll see where things go.

My friend, Tara, is coming over tomorrow to do some art, so I should have something to show for it tomorrow night!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Custom Baby Toys

I will start this post by admitting that I know Jason and I have a sickness. Probably me more than Jason, I'd have to say. But we (I) like things the way we like them! There's nothing wrong with that is there?

So here's the story. We bought Riley an activity center last week. Like with any new toys, the first thing I did was cut off all the tags- I HATE TAGS on things, and baby toys are the worst- they have tags hanging out everywhere, and warning tags sewn all over the place! So after that was done, already things were looking better. But there were two major problems. First, the center is a little big for Riley, so his feet wouldn't touch the base. This is a legitimate problem, so I can't apologize too much for our solution. Second problem was that there was one toy on the piece that was just designed very poorly. It was a dragon puppet. I have no problem with the puppet, in fact he's pretty cute, but for one, he's attached to the activity center so you can never remove him. For another, there's an opening in the back of his neck in order to put your hand in (since he can't be removed and used as a normal puppet) that gapes open, exposing all the unfinished insides of the puppet (threads, batting, etc.). It was just a real poor design, in my opinion.

Here are our solutions. For the height issue, instead of using a telephone book under his feet like most people would do, Jason custom cut a piece of plywood that fits the base, then added carpet to the top. So now it's the right height, but even better, it matches our decor much better since the carpet is the same as on the floor. And the carpet also covers a large expanse of bright blue plastic-another added bonus! (There's another pet peeve of mine. It's impossible to find baby items in anything but primary colors. I know that babies respond better to bright colors, but there are pretty bright colors other than red, blue, and yellow. Even pastels are difficult to find!) Anyway...

And for the puppet issue, I cut the puppet away from the center, leaving the "base" it was attached to. So now the puppet is actually a puppet that can be used like a puppet! And I added wings and turned the puppet base into a pretty butterfly! How cute is that?

So the next steps we discussed are either spray-painting the legs of the center a more pleasing color with paint for plastic, or actually building wood legs to attach to it and removing the plastic ones altogether.... Really, we were just kidding, but those would be improvements, wouldn't they? I told you we were sick!!

Riley Approves!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Corner in My Home

I like the "corners of my home" posts that people do, so thought I'd do one myself. I have so many little spots in my house that I "merchandise"-make little arrangements. I love to do it, and these spots are always changing as I acquire new things. This is a corner in my breakfast nook. I collect little mannequin figures, and many of them ended up here.

I did a piece of art today, but I can't post a photo yet, because it's for a swap with Delila. I'll have to wait until she receives it before I post a photo, in case she's reading! So maybe instead, I'll post a photo of a piece of art I did just about a year ago. I did this piece about a week after learning we were pregnant with Riley. Oh, what I wouldn't have done a year ago to jump ahead until today and see what my life was like! It's certainly been an eventful year!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Laughing Baby

There's just nothing like a laughing baby, is there? Riley has started laughing more and more, and it's so fun! I absolutely love it! He also has just discovered that he has feet, and every time he's on his back the last couple days, his feet are in his hands- so cute!

I was contacted by my old boss about doing some special projects for my old company. (Before Riley, I was a custom picture framer/designer.) I said I'd give it a shot, because the projects sound pretty interesting, and like they'd work fairly well around Riley's schedule (I don't have childcare for him, so will have to either bring him along or work in the evenings/weekends when Jason can watch him). It will be interesting to see how it goes- I may be overestimating how easily I can fit this into our schedule- but it will be nice to make a little money and do some design work.

Tonight we are going to a baptism class for Riley's upcoming baptism. Hopefully, it won't take too long, because American Idol and Project Runway are on! What a terrible mother I am to put reality TV before my child's religious future!! Don't worry- I've got the VCR set, so we won't leave early if the class runs long!

Tomorrow I hope to do some art- can't decide if I should work in Riley's book or do some work to try and sell on Ebay. We'll see what I'm in the mood for...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day

Well, it's Valentine's Day, and I didn't even remember until yesterday afternoon! Staying home with Riley takes away all perspective of inconsequential things like the date and such! So I had to scramble to come up with a gift for Jason. I ended up making him a really cute T-shirt with photos of Riley on it. My sister, Katie, showed me a neat product that allows you to print out images on an inkjet printer and then transfer them onto dark colored fabrics (as opposed to most products that only work on light colors). I will post a photo of it after he opens it- maybe I can even coerce him into modeling it!

Yesterday, I did another spread in
Riley's baby book. I'm happy with the way it came out. I feel like the art I've been doing in his book is some of my best work- he really must be a little muse for me! I've only got one more page spread left in the book, and the cover. I like to leave the cover until last when I do a book. For one, I think it's the most fun, but also, since my art evolves with each piece I do, by the end of my book my style is usually slightly different than that in the beginning. So I like the cover to reflect my most recent style, since I usually feel like it's the best!

I got two really cute skirts and a vintage-style tee at Target today. I think I buy more clothes there than anywhere- almost my entire post-pregnancy wardrobe is from Target! And there's one moving in about one mile from our house later this year- hooray! I don't know if I should be embarrassed about my excitement or not!

Oh, and one last thing. I've let a lot of people know about my new blog, but I don't have any way of knowing if anyone's looking or not. If you're reading, could you do me a favor and post a quick note in my "comments" box? It would be nice to know I'm not writing this all for nothing!! :)

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Baby Toys, Baby Toys, and More Baby Toys!

Since we weren't very successful finding a baby activity center yesterday, we ventured out again today. Ebay prices were so close to retail (for used) that we decided to just buy new. We went to Walmart, as much as we hate to support them, since we had seen the style we wanted on their website. In addition to the activity center, we also got a doorway jumper and a few different rattle-style toys. Boy, we are going to be in major trouble once he's a little older. There were so many cute toys, but I justified not getting them because he's not old enough to play with them yet. I wrote down the names of a couple though, and I'll look on Ebay to see if I can get them cheaper!

We put him in the activity center when we got home. He's so little in it! His feet don't reach the base and he can't really support himself very well without a blanket stuffed in there with him. He was mildly interested in the toys, but he was also somewhat fussy at the time, so I'll try again tomorrow. He didn't really get the concept of the jumper either- he mostly just hung there, but again, I'll try him again later. Anyway, at least these are toys he'll grow into and provide a change of scenery for him when he gets bored on his floor mat.

Tomorrow, I plan to do some art, so check back for photos!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Semi-Productive Saturday

This morning Jason worked in the garage. He's been installing some shelves over the garage door, and finally finished this morning, so we were able to put a bunch of stuff up there and clear out the rest of the garage a bit. About half of what's up there is stuff for a future garage sale- I can't wait until summer so we can have a sale and get rid of some (or hopefully all!) of it.

While Jason worked on that, I made a little stuffed lamb from some scrap fabric. He was fairly easy to make, and now that I've got a pattern figured out, I could probably make more in different colors pretty quickly. I wonder if those would sell on Ebay? He is pictured here with a stuffed cat I made a couple weeks ago. The cat didn't go as easily as the lamb, although I do like the end product okay. Also sitting with these guys is an adorable aqua blue teddy bear I found at a consignment shop today!

So after the morning "work" was done, we went out shopping to look for a walker/activity center for Riley. He has suddenly learned how to "play" by holding things and reaching for things, etc., so I think that would be a good way to keep him occupied. We saw a couple we liked at Toys R Us, but they're so expensive, we thought we'd check at the consignment shop before we bought one. Well, no luck (although I did find the cute bear!). So we now may see if we can find one on Ebay, and if not, go ahead and purchase a new one.

On a different note, I was contacted by Rice Freeman-Zachary to answer some questionnaires about "living creatively" for a potential book she may work on. It looks interesting, so that should keep me busy!

Hope everyone's doing well!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Thrift Shopping

Today, Riley and I went to Value Village. I needed to get a book to "alter" for Riley's next baby book. I'm almost finished with the
first one, because it doesn't have many pages (and I glued most of them together anyway). I really like the size and shape of the one I'm using, and I was lucky enough to find a couple more of the same dimensions, so I went ahead and got them both for 49 cents a piece- can't beat that! I was hoping to find a vintage baby album and use the cover, but didn't find one. I bid on one last week on ebay, but didn't win it. I'll keep looking...

Last time I went t
o Value Village, I really scored with some good baby clothes for Riley, but today, didn't do as well in the clothes department. However, I did find some toys for him. I got these really cute stacking man blocks- I just love the vintage look of the illustrations on them! I also found a hanging "windchime" toy that sounds really pretty when it shakes- not sure yet where I'll hang it, but he liked the sound when I dangled it in front of him- and some other cute stuffed animals in different shapes-circle, square, triangle.

And check out
this website! It's the neatest thing! It's a line of cats looking at other cats on computer moniters, just like those mirrors that never end. Our cat, Tinkerbell, is number 1172! I had to do it when I saw the site- so fun! Now I'll have to see which kitty ends up looking at Tinkerbell in the next photo.

I hope to do some more art beginning of next week. I just had two
auctions on Ebay finish, and nobody bid on either piece, unfortunately. Seems I'm not having much luck trying to sell new stuff there (although when I put a bunch of older stuff up there a few weeks ago, it sold like mad!). I've got to figure out what people are in the market for!

Alright, that's all for now!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

First Blog Entry

Well, seems everyone's doing it, so I've decided to start a blog! Since my
picturetrail website really only works well for posting photos, this will be a good place to talk about what I post there. And in addition to discussing my artwork, what a perfect way to keep my family and friends updated on little Riley's progress!

And so, for anyone reading this who doesn't immediately know me, maybe for this first entry, I'll give a little background on myself. I'm 33 years old, and have just recently (October, 2005) had our first baby,
Riley Brennan Moortgat. Before giving birth, I managed a custom frame shop, which I loved, but now with the baby, my husband Jason and I have decided to see if we can manage with me staying home instead of working. So I am now adjusting to an entirely new lifestyle- trying to decide how to spend my days by both being a good mother to Riley, but also being productive in some form or another.

Those of you familiar with my picturetrail website know that I am a collage artist. I create art from vintage papers, old photographs, and all kinds of ephemera, quite often in books. My art has evolved over the years to become quite personal, taking on a journal feel in which I record my life events. I have been published in several magazines and a few books, with more to come in the future.

Having Riley has also introduced me to some new crafty interests as well. It has opened my eyes to all things "baby". I absolutely loved decorating his nursery and really adore some of the vintage-style baby items-fabrics, toys, stuffed animals. I've played around with making various stuffed toys for him, and am in the midst of trying to think of some kind of at-home small business using these ideas. We'll see what happens....

Another interest I have is decorating. We've recently bought a
new house, and are in the midst of decorating it. My husband is a very handy guy, and between the two of us (his handiness and my artistic sense), we do a pretty good job, if I do say so myself! My picturetrail site has photos of our house, and I will post photos here to show the progress.

Okay, well, I guess that's enough for now, and Riley sounds like he's waking from his nap. So, more later!