Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Just a quick post to say "Happy Holidays!" to all of you! These are photos from my second bathroom-this is where I put all my pretty, sparkly decorations, since they didn't really fit with the traditional red and green in the rest of the house.

Thanks to all of you who wrote me empathizing with my last post. My kids are getting over their colds, and we now have lots of family around to divert them as well, so this is all a welcome break for Mommy! I guess mothers just need to take those breaks as they come and refresh ourselves for the next round!

I hope all of you have a great week, and a blessed holiday season!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Grouchy Mom

Well, it has definitely been one of those weeks. One of those weeks where you can hardly remember the days before kids, when you were able to talk in a normal voice instead of yelling, when you were able to go more than five minutes before hearing someone crying or whining, and when you were actually able to do something for yourself without feeling guilty about it.

Sometimes I look at myself and wonder where this grouchy, irritable, mean person came from. How can a two-year-old and a ten-month-old do this to me? Granted, both of them have been sick this week, so things have been more difficult than normal, but lately, I just find myself yelling all day long! And then feeling guilty for yelling, because how awful is it to yell at a poor child who doesn't feel well!

And so, I felt the need to do a piece of art about this. I don't like myself when I'm so grouchy, and I really need to work on it! I'm sure that this week will get better since the kids won't be sick, and then comes Christmas and Grandma and Grandpa, so that will provide some nice relief. And then, in a couple months, my husband and I are going to Jamaica sans kids, which will be a wonderful break..., when we aren't missing the kids, of course! Oh, who knew motherhood would be such an emotional roller coaster, right? I guess I've always heard it, but until you live it, it just doesn't sink in...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Lightning McQueen and Jelly Giraffe

So, as much as I swore up and down (before becoming a parent) that my child would never own any mass-marketed, commercialized, licensed character merchandise, I have given Lightning McQueen! For those of you without children, Lightning is the main character in the "Cars" movie, and Riley is currently obsessed with him. I don't think he even understands the story of the movie, but show him something with Lightning on it, and he wants it, NOW! And this kid has got eyes like a hawk for Lightning merchandise. I can be walking in any store, and all of the sudden hear Riley whining for something. Sure enough, there will be some random product with the "Cars" characters on it- toys, diapers, even soup! Boy, do those marketers know what they're doing or what?

I try to restrain myself, and have only bought a few small Lightning items for him, including one of his favorite possessions, a Lightning pillow. But dang, it can really be hard to resist a two-year-old sometimes! His little eyes light up, and he gets so excited that occasionally I give in. Anyway, obviously, this is the theme for the most current spread in his book...

Then, Noah's latest spread is about his own favorite toy. He has officially chosen his "lovey", a cuddly giraffe that I've named Jelly. Learning from experience with Riley, we've gone ahead and purchased two spares so that we don't run into any disasters when it inevitably gets lost (Riley has three puppy blankies for the same reason!).

For some reason, the more I look at Noah's pages, the more I like them. I really like how the patterns of the underneath papers are coming through. (If you can't see real well here, you can always look at the photos on my Flickr page for larger images.) I'll have to experiment a little more with this....

Hope everyone's having a great week!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cover #3

Like with Noah's book a couple weeks ago, one of Riley's books (his third) has been without a cover for quite a while. It was at the Somerset offices for several months for an article (which is in this month's Somerset Memories issue), and I finally received it back a little while ago. So, even though I really should be catching up and working in the boys' books, I wanted to go ahead and finish it, just so that I could feel a sense of completion, you know?

I decided to go the "easy" route, and used a pre-existing cover from a vintage cloth book for the large portion of the cover, and then just added some small embellishments to that. The little boy pictured actually looks a bit like Riley, with his messy hair and blue eyes. The picture above is of the shelf in his room where I have all his journals displayed, although soon the shelf may be too small, as I'm getting close to finishing his fourth book. Oh well, guess we may just need to buy a bigger shelf!

And I'd like to again send out a big "thank you" to all of you who have written me to let me know how you like the book. It means so much to me to know that I've inspired you and possibly given you a boost to make your own art more personal. It helps make up for a particularly nasty review the book got on Amazon (Wow! Did someone wake up on the wrong side of the bed or what? I mean, I know the book doesn't appeal to everyone, but jeez!) Anyway, I'm very grateful for the very nice comments many of you have sent me! Hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cute Art, Cute Kitchen

I haven't had the chance to do a lot of art recently, other than a commission I've been working on, thus the lack of posts lately. However, now the commission is finished, and I've got a little more time.

Even though I'm falling behind a bit on the boys' books, I really needed some fun art time, so I decided to do a piece in my "Self" Journal. I didn't try and convey any special meaning, or illustrate any particular event; I simply did art for the fun of it, which was wonderfully freeing! I need to do more art like that- the problem is just lack of time!

As you can see, some of the text on the piece reads "you receive this small gift from me". This represents the fact that I was giving myself a gift by allowing myself to do this piece without any obligation or expectation. And I quite like the result, if I do say so myself!

I also wanted to show you the adorably cute doll-sized kitchen set I found on Ebay. Isn't it wonderful? The colors are just perfect in my studio- I absolutely love it! What's funny, though, is that I've collected a few different vintage doll stoves, etc., and I really don't even cook myself! I'm one of those lucky girls whose husband does most of the cooking, so I'm not quite sure where my fondness for miniature appliances comes from! I guess maybe it's the "miniature" aspect of it- I'm always a sucker for anything that is miniaturized...

Anyway, hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! I've got an extra little turkey cooking in my little oven here, if anyone wants to come join me!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Creeping and Standing

Just a quick post to show Noah's latest journal spread. This past month, he's learned to "creep"- not quite crawl, because he doesn't lift his stomach off the floor, but he certainly gets around regardless! And he's also begun pulling himself up to a stand, on just about any piece of furniture he can reach.

It's kind of an odd color combination, but I somehow had to work in the purpley-brown of the photo with the reds, blues, and oranges of the little boy illustration- a tough group of colors! It was difficult to blend them all in, but in the end I'm happy with the result.
The next set of pages I need to do for both boys are Halloween pages. I'd better hurry up though, because before I know it, it will be time to do Christmas pages! It's just so easy to fall behind on these books- kids grow up too fast!!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Cowardly Lion, Some Art, and My Last Name

This is a little late to be showing Halloween photos, but I've been waiting to get the files from my sister, since we were having camera issues that night. (You know those strange times when everything you own starts breaking on you? Here's what's broken for us in the past 2 weeks- digital camera, DVD player, refrigerator, cell phone- I can't wait to see what's next!)
Anyway, here are the kids in their costumes. Riley was a lion, and Noah was a puppy dog. Both were easy costumes that I just made from hooded sweatshirts. Noah was a champ-no complaining at all; he was too busy looking cute! Riley was a different story. This was actually his first Halloween dressing up, and as I expected, he was a little wary. At first he cried when I put on the costume, then he tried to cover his face with the hood, and halfway through the evening, he decided "no hood at all". He wouldn't actually do any trick-or-treating because he was too shy, so I ended up holding the bag for him at each house. So, I guess I've got myself a cowardly lion! What's funny is that I dressed as a lion for one of my first Halloweens, and I was incredibly shy as well. I wish I could find a photo to compare...
Then, here is the spread from Riley's book for his second birthday. While I was visiting my parents a few weeks ago, I came across an old scrapbook of my dad's that included bunches of vintage birthday and Valentine's cards- score! He couldn't care less about them (they're from when he was like 5 or 6, so he doesn't even remember any of the kids who gave them to him), so I snatched them up for my art! You can see I used a couple pieces in this spread.
And this is the cover of Noah's first baby book, which includes his pregnancy-related artwork as well. When I finished this book a few months ago, I had to send it immediately to Somerset for an article I'd written (I think it should be in next month's issue), so I never had time to do a cover. Funny that it's in such similar colors to Riley's spread!

And finally, Beth left me a comment with a funny question the other day. She wants to know how to pronounce my last name! I know, it's a hard one! When I met my husband I wanted to know the same thing! So here goes: "Moort" rhymes with "fort" and "gat" rhymes with "cat". Hope that helps- I've heard it pronounces some crazy ways, so now maybe you guys can spread the word!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

My Life

Sorry for not posting recently, but our camera has gone "Kaput!", so I haven't been able to download any photos of art I've done. However, it's all for the better, because we've ordered a totally cool, super-duper new one that I hope will take great photos, and it's a pretty red color to boot!

But I did remember that I had this photo already downloaded of the limited edition piece of art which was included with the signed copies of my book. I think most people have received theirs, so I can show it to all of you now. I didn't actually title it, but I guess if I did, I would call it "My Life". It says "Oh, how different my life is now. But I wouldn't change a minute of it." and "For my own self I live and for my children." I think the meaning to my own life is probably clear, but I tried to make it universal, too, so that it could apply to lots of people, since it will be going to lots of people.

I do still have a few of the signed copies left, but they're almost gone. A few people have expressed interest, but haven't given me contact information to which to send an invoice (Cindy S-E and Mary Lib-Stine), so if you guys are reading, please email me at appendageassemblage at hotmail dot com so I can send you an invoice!

And a big thank you to those who have written positive reviews for me on Amazon! I love hearing from people directly, but for some reason, having it out there on Amazon for everyone to read somehow seems so official!!

And finally, before I go, the lovely Erika tagged me a while ago, and I'm just getting around to playing. This is the one where you write something about each letter of your middle name. Mine's Marie (isn't everybody's?).

M: Mother- well, this one's obvious!
A: Anal-retentive- I'm completely anal about most things- how I decorate, how I organize, etc.
R: Responsible- You can always count on me-I'm incredibly responsible!
I: Imperfect- Sometimes I still need to remind myself that I'm allowed to be imperfect.
E: Energy-lacking- see "M" above!

Monday, October 22, 2007

They're On Their Way!

Yay! The signed copies of my book are on their way to those who ordered! Thanks to all of you for your patience with my delay in shipping, and I hope the book is worth the wait! And also thanks to everyone who sent condolences on the loss of my grandmother- we are all doing well and are just happy with the many good years we had with her.
(Isn't it kind of funny how all the little "Corey's" are lined up next to each other when the books are stacked together?)
I'm so excited with the feedback I've been getting from the book! I've caught it at #1 in "Papercrafts" and #1 in "Scrapbooking" at various times on Amazon (the rankings are listed every hour)- how cool is that?? But no reviews there yet (I check several times a day- ha ha!- to see my first review!) I've gotten some wonderful emails and blog comments from people who've been inspired to use personal images in their own work, which means so much to me, since that's what my mission was with the book-to inspire artists to do personal artwork, not just art that looks like everyone else's! So, a big thank you to those who have written!

By the way, I do still have a couple signed copies left if anyone missed out! Cindy S-E, if you're reading this, send me an email at appendageassemblage at hotmail dot com-I don't have a way to contact you about a copy! And I finally listed the ephemera packs on Etsy if anyone needs one of those!

Riley had his second birthday last week, amidst a small amount of chaos with the funeral, etc., but we were still able to celebrate. I plan to do a birthday spread for him as soon as I get a chance, but here are a couple cute photos of him on his big day, and a cute one of Noah thrown in for good measure!

Okay, have a great week, everyone!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

In Loving Memory...

Peg Dray
May 27, 1919 - October 11, 2007
I'm sorry for my absence here lately, but we've had a very sad week. My grandmother died a week ago (yes, this is a different grandmother than the one who passed away three months ago) from complications of congestive heart failure. She was a loving, loving woman who took care of a wonderful family. I have countless fond memories of times with her and my mother's side of the family. She and my grandfather raised eight wonderful children, who have in turn raised many equally wonderful grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
We took the trip to Davenport, Iowa for her funeral, and although it was a sad trip, it was such a nice way to remember her- seeing the house I have such fond memories in and the people connected to her as well. We will all miss her greatly, but know that she is looking down upon us and "hugging" us from Heaven.
I am now spending a few days at my mother's house, but will be home by next week. I'm greatly sorry for those of you awaiting signed copies of my book (and also a few collage packs that were ordered). Mailing those things out is first on my list when I get back though!

Saturday, October 06, 2007


Well, I've started hearing from people that they've received my book from Amazon! Hurray! I totally didn't expect them to be out so soon- the last I heard from the publisher was October 11th. I just wanted to let everyone who's ordered signed copies that they are on their way to me now (for me to sign them), and the limited edition piece of artwork which will be included is being printed as we speak! So hang on just a bit longer- I'm sorry you won't get them before those that ordered from Amazon do, but hopefully the print I'm including will make up for that!

Here are a couple little bits from the print you'll be receiving- I'm really happy with how it came out! Once I've sent out all the copies, I'll post a full photo for you all to see.

And yes, I do still have a couple more copies before I hit my 25 limit, so hurry, hurry if you don't want to miss out! Or if you don't need a signed copy, there's an Amazon link right over to the left there to order it from there!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

One for Noah, One for Riley

Hi Guys, thanks for all the studio love! I really love it myself as well. It's just nice because it's the one spot in the house where I can have free reign to hang what I like, etc. While I do have most of the influence in the rest of the house, there are just some things that Jason would never allow me to put out there (dolls, doll furniture, anything pink!)...

A few of you expressed amazement at how organized everything is in the studio, but in reality, it's not that difficult for me to maintain that. For most of my artwork, I use very limited supplies. Some papers out of a file cabinet, some paint, and glue. That's it! So I don't make much of a mess when I work, thus making it pretty easy to clean up! But, at the same time, those of you who know me will attest to the fact that I'm pretty anal, so that helps as well....!

I've done a couple spreads in the boys' books this past week. I try to alternate with them, doing one in Riley's book, then one in Noah's. Riley's spread is about those rare, wonderful moments when he surprises me by coming up and giving me a hug. Those hugs immediately erase all of the "terrible two" moments that are coming more and more frequently these days!

You may notice that I don't have a photo of him actually hugging me. As I said, he always does it when I'm least expecting it, so I've never been lucky enough to get a shot of him! So I figured just a sweet photo expressed the sentiment just as well...
Then, Noah's spread is about a trip we took to the fire station a couple weeks ago. My sister is a graphic designer who is doing some work for the fire department's community day. So we packed up the kids (she's got two, and I've got two) and headed over to shoot some cute photos for a poster.

Not really as easy as it sounds, since Riley's going through a stage where he's terrified of strangers, and her little boy isn't that much better! Lots of crying and clinging to Mama was involved, but she did get some cute shots of her daughter and of Noah. One of the shots of Noah is going to appear on the poster, which will be fun.

Strangely enough, a few days after this trip, I was looking on ebay and came across these little fireman valentine images. They could not have been more perfect! They look just like Noah in his little hat!

That's it for now! There are still a few signed copies of my book left, as well as the ephemera packs.... let me know if anyone's interested!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Gazillion Pictures of My Studio

****These are pics of my old studio.  To see pics of my new studio, take a look at this post!****

Hi Guys! I know that several times I've mentioned working on my studio and have promised photos. Well, finally I've taken the time to actually shoot them! As you can see, there are lots! I went a little crazy, but I know that I'm always interested to see the littlest details when I see others' workspaces, so I figure others share that sentiment as well.

But before I begin the tour, I just want to mention that there are still a few signed copies of my book available (see my last post for details). Thanks for all the orders thus far, but you've still got a chance if you are interested and thought you'd missed out! And on the same note, I've also still got several grab bag ephemera packs available. Still haven't taken the time to list them on Etsy, but again, you can order them directly through me if you'd like.

Okay, enough business, on with the tour!

So my studio is located in a bonus room we have above our garage. It's a really large room with its own bathroom and large closet- a perfect setup! We have potential future plans to also use this room as a playroom for the kids, but since they're so young, it really is mostly mine for now. And you can definitely tell that from the decorating!

Here is a view from the far wall with a large window on it. The doorway you see leads downstairs. That corner with the desk is my main work area. We have a sectional sofa for when the kids start coming up there a bit more, because it sort of separates the room into "my area" and the "kid area":

Here's a better view from the opposite side of the sectional, etc.:

And again from the window wall. There's the stairwell, and the door into the bathroom. The only part of the room that isn't really done is those large cubbies on the wall. They're great for storage, but they're real ugly. I think we may put doors on them or something...:

The window and again, those ugly cubbies...:

Here's a closer shot of my desk. You may remember this desk that Jason built from my last house. I've repainted the base...:

And an even closer shot of the bookcase portion:

Even closer. The head vases were my grandmother's:

Here's my workspace. It's pretty cramped, but that keeps me less cluttered, because I have no room to make a mess!

Here's a little table on the side. There are boxes of scrap fabric, ribbons, etc., and my CD player there. Above the table are all my cotton fabrics and my CD's. Again, another ugly cubby up there- that one we will probably cover over, because it's really too high to be very useful:

Miscellaneous stuff:

Detail of miscellaneous stuff:

More of the same!:
Under the table is this old doll bed which I just found at Goodwill for $3! Right now it's holding all those ephemera packs that I still have- see, I told you there were lots left! You know you want one...!

You could probably see in the far-away shots that I have this wire strung along the long wall, holding all kinds of bits and bobs. I love it! Easy display of whatever strikes my fancy at the moment! It's from Ikea, if you are inspired to do the same...:
Here's some display on the other long wall above the couch. I used to collect teddy bears and dolls when I was younger, so you see some remnants of that here. This is the only place in the house where I can put this stuff! Oh, I so need to have a little girl someday...:

Here was a great Ebay find. Two paper dolls who look just like my two boys! Blond/blue and brown/brown! I'm sure you'll be seeing these images in my artwork:

On the right side of the window. My mom thinks it's weird that I have children's book illustrations hanging with the nude painting. When I hung them, I honestly didn't even think about it- they were all just things I love in colors I love. That's an artist for you, I guess...:

The left side of the window. You may recognize the doll from the sneak photos of my book!:

Here's what I did with the vintage highchair back from Jamie. A perfect little shelf for these bunnies!:

Some more dolls, etc. from the couch wall:

Here's the doorway into the bathroom:
Here's the bathroom. I found this really pretty shower curtain from Target. I don't know how well you can see it, but there are birds on it:

Bathroom, obviously:
And again:
And I think that's it! I will list these photos on Flickr, so you'll be able to blow them up and see larger versions. But that will have to wait a bit. Right now, I've got a baby whining from his crib at me, so I'd better run! Hope you enjoyed the tour!