Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Flashback: Froggies! I Love Them!

(scratch board frog from my freshman year of high school)

So I have this thing for frogs. LOVE 'EM. Always have, always will.

Even in my Things I Like book from first grade, I'm carrying a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone and a drawing of a frog.


I remember in high school Spanish class, my teacher remarked upon the frog prince cartoons I drew on EVERYTHING.

"QuiƩn es su rana principe?" she asked (or whatever the Spanish for "Who is your frog prince?" is - I got a C in Spanish, and that was about 12 years ago, so I'm just making stuff up here).

To which I replied, "Um...."

To which she replied, "Is it Micah?" and pointed to the hot guy who sat in front of me.

Now, for the record, I didn't have a thing for the hot guy in front of me, but his face turned bright red and she thought that was fantastic, and proceeded to call him my Rana Principe for the rest of the school year, which we both just LOVED if you can imagine.

And that was when I stopped drawing frog princes on my homework...

But those frog princes - I continued drawing them.

La Rana Principe - drawn in 1999
(this picture is huge, so I could only scan a portion, but he has fabulous feet!)

At the moment, I'm working on a picture book dummy (for those who don't know, a dummy is a mock-up of an illustrated picture book - mostly done with black and white sketches with text and a few full color illustrations thrown in) for a story about ....


Spanish frogs, to be exact. I started the story of Hector and Consuelo when I was in high school Spanish (no joke), and now I'm working on bringing it to life.

So. I hope you all like frogs, too, because you will most certainly see some more frog illustrations as I put my dummy together and share bits and pieces of it.

Happy Friday, to all of you! And for those of you who read these flashbacks and think, "HEY! I like flashing back to my past, too!"

JOIN IN THE FUN! And while you're at it, hop on over to Tia's blog and add your linkie-loo to the Flashback Friday list.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Boring Stuff Update and a Super Cute Song

I've been doing nothing but boring stuff lately (*ahem* TAXES) but I've been listening to Elizabeth & the Catapult non-stop, which makes the boring stuff a whole lot less boring.

I'm pretty sure this song is the cutest thing EVER, with the cutest music video EVER to go with it. Also, I want to live in a world where stars hang from strings and paper cranes fly through the air. Just sayin'

Happy Thursday, folks!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Something About Socks. And the Flu.

I wrote a blog post the other day. Longhand because I've had the flu and haven't been out of bed since my last blog post almost a week ago.

But as I read my paper over this morning, ready to type it in, and definitely proud of myself for managing to write whilst sick with the flu... I saw that it was just something about Annelie taking off my socks.

Yeah. Socks. It was clearly brilliant. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out anything I wrote other than "Annelie took off my socks..." because it mostly looked like I was just practicing writing out the alphabet rather than saying anything halfway intelligent... so that is all I am able to leave you with. Socks.

(Although I can vaguely remember being so sick and miserable that I wanted to die and knew that the key to my well-being rested solely on whether or not Annelie could take off my socks, which she did, and that is probably why I am alive today)

Wishing you all the very best health this cold and flu season! All four of us Hopkins were knocked out at the same time which was rough. But we are all well, and now I'm trying to get caught back up with life, which is never easy to do!

Happy Tuesday to you!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Barbie Party!

The other day, my friend and awesome photographer, Tia, came over for a photo shoot with the girls. A Barbie photo shoot, with plenty of pink and pizazz - just the thing to capture my two little dress-up loving Barbie girls.

I hoped for a couple great shots of them... and ended up with a ton - especially when the photo shoot was moved into Annelie's bedroom (with chalkboard walls) and the girls began to draw. Here are a few of my favorites from the shoot, but stop on by Tia Colleen Photography and check the rest - SO CUTE!

Thank you, Tia!


Monday, January 17, 2011

Outta the Mouths of Babes: Monday Morning Observations

SETTING: Kitchen table. Annelie and I are working. I have my coffee and the morning pages, and Annelie is enlightening me with her observations about life as she studies shapes in her workbook.

ANNELIE: Mom, you have a mole on your face.

ME: Yup, I do.

ANNELIE: Only old ladies have moles.

ME: I've had mine since I was a little girl.

ANNELIE: Well, I only see old ladies with moles. And hippos.

ME: Hippos?

ANNELIE: Yeah. See? This hippo has moles, too.

ANNELIE: See that? The hippo has three moles! Only old ladies and hippos have moles like you.


Kids are a treat, aren't they?

Happy Monday, folks!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Flashback: Itsy Bitsy Baby Annelie

Annelie turns four this month, which is pretty much insane, as she's a brand new baby and there is just no way she could be four.


I don't have plans for more children, but BOY OH BOY do I love babies, and I miss my baby as a baby!

I miss my husband's cheeky wink as he watches James Bond movies with a diapered Annelie on his chest.

I miss watching Gracie try to figure out how to play with her baby doll-sized little sister like she does her baby dolls.

I miss the look like, "Dude, you are WAY sketchy," that Annelie gave me and every other person on the planet until she was about five months old.

I even miss explaining to people that "Yes, Annelie does like you. She does. She looks at everyone that way, really."

Because now she's all grow'd up, and she's got her wheels and is off into the big bad world.

THAT is a four year old...

WHERE is my newborn baby!?

It's Friday, folks, which means two things - Flashback Friday! - Join us at Tia's blog and share a flashback of your own!

Also, HURRAY it's almost the weekend! Have a good one!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Candy-Colored Ice Castles

Gracie's kindergarten class is making a giant group ice castle today - every kid instructed to bring a block of ice, personalized with food coloring, glitter, small toys - and I thought oh how FUN! Gracie and I spent several days making her ice block - colored layer of water upon colored layer of water, with a good freezing in between, so that her ice was striped in a frozen rainbow, infused with rainbow glitter.

Annelie watched as we made Gracie's ice and I could see in her eyes how much she wanted a rainbow block of ice of her very own.

Ah, little grasshopper, I am the Queen of Ice Castles and you are the Princess and together we will make a candy-colored masterpiece, I thought.

So we did.

This project is far from quick, but RICH with learning, and my nearly-four-year-old had the best time ever, both in the project prep and in playing with her ice.


  • Water!
  • Food coloring!
  • Small toys or whatnot to make your ice blocks rock (we added Mardi Gras beads to a bunch of our ice blocks - partaaaay!)
  • Plastic containers (for freezing the water) - various sizes and shapes, and lots of 'em!
Annelie helped mix the colors. We used primary colors only - red, blue, yellow - and Annelie added the colors to the water, stirring them up, dropping in glitter. We only filled the cups partway before freezing, so that we could add more layers of color.

No, I don't freeze our buttery spread - that is a giant purple and Mardi Gras bead work of art!

At one point, I counted 15 ice blocks in various stages of creation. The making of the ice blocks took us about 4 days, adding more layers of color here, and more Mardi Gras beads and glitter there.

(Usually my freezer isn't this empty, but we are desperately in need of a trip to the grocery store - a trip that I will procrastinate for as long as humanly possible)

And then the magic began. Using warm water to help pop the ice out of the containers, and baking pans to hold the castles of melting ice, and mugs of hot chocolate to warm our insides as our fingers froze, the castle construction began.

At one point, Annelie and our cat Sophie were both licking the ice. I had to shoo the cat outside, but Annelie was more than welcome to lick her ice, squish her ice, build with her ice, and play play play.

And as the ice began to melt, Flounder found himself an orangey-brown swimming pool.

A fun project just perfect for playing in pajamas.

Go on! Make an ice castle of your very own!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tumbling Down the Mountain of Revision

ALPencil Print
by Sara Olmos of Teconlene

I haven't blogged about my writing lately - not since NaNoWriMo, which was already a month and a half ago. I've been working on a re-write of the book I finished drafting in September - a modern retelling of Sleeping Beauty. I'd like to say that it has been going swimmingly but truthfully, I'm not really sure what I'm doing, which frequently puts me in a funky mood.

Sometimes I find the words flow and I love them. Most of the time, however, I feel like I'm forcing the words out and they are a disaster. And then there's the struggle with what to shave off here, and what to develop there - from my already too-long book.

Not to mention my descriptions. Oh, those descriptions. The words on my page go from being too sparse and flat, to purple prose, choking through a cloud of holographic glitter and cheap drugstore perfume.

(See what I mean?)

I knew that the revision process wouldn't be easy. I already imagined it would be like rappelling down the mountain I spent a year struggling to climb, and hitting every rock and bush and Rocky Mountain Big Horn sheep along the way.

Yeah, it's pretty much like that, only instead of rappelling, I'm more like tumbling.

As I've said before, I love writing to music, and currently this is the tone I'm trying to create for the part of the book I'm working on.

Trying being the key word. It's a funky, beautiful song, with a funky, beautiful music video to go with it, and though my story doesn't have shamans or swimming pools, I do hope to capture the funkiness and beauty of it all! Eventually. I do believe it will take much hair-pulling, teeth-grinding and pots of coffee to get me there.

Someday I hope to look back at this post and laugh at my struggles. This will be after all my issues click themselves into place and I'm dancing in the light at the end of the tunnel.

I am so not there yet. But I'm hopeful.

Happy Tuesday to you all!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Spider Girl

Do you see that? Do you SEE that SPIDER? That huge, crispy-bodied, hairy-legged, gargantuan SPIDER?

It isn't real.

BUT that doesn't stop me from screaming and running around the house like a lunatic under a full moon every time I see it.

Annelie loves to watch me freak out, as she says. My O-M-G-there-is-a-spider-in-the-house-and-it-will-surely-KILL-me dance is one of her favorite things to see (it is pretty well executed, if I do say so myself - I've had tons of practice, what with her frequently putting bugs in her hair moments before sitting up at the dinner table).

This ginormous plastic spider has become her very best play-thing, despite the tens of billions of times I've dropped it in the trash when she wasn't looking. And somehow it always ends back on my studio floor, or on my desk, or on my chair, or she just chucks it in my direction as I'm walking past...

You know Ron, from the Harry Potter series, and his fear of spiders? Well, I'm slightly less extreme. Slightly, although frankly, I think he kept his cool quite well in the woods when he and Harry were under spider attack in book/movie #2. I would have been a giant spider's dinner in three point five seconds or less because I would have been too busy screaming and jumping all around and waving my arms above my head to run away.

And the really annoying part is that there are supposedly all sorts of big and hairy spiders where I live. Just ask Tia, who apparently finds them in her yard all the time.

But the only spider I scream and run from is plastic. Yeah...

And my almost-four-year-old is quickly going from my little buddy-pal...

... to my arch-nemesis.

Happy Monday, folks. I've only screamed from a plastic spider attack once so far today, so my day is looking pretty good. Hope yours is, too!


Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Flashback: Danny's Little (Ugly) Brother

I haven't blogged in days. Not because I don't have anything to say, but because I'm too lazy to clean my studio and find my camera cord to upload photos. Yep.

But it's Friday, which means one thing: Time to pull out my scanner and embarrass myself.

The other day, I was chatting with my pal Alyssa about haircuts and I mentioned that I had the WORST hair cut in 2nd grade, as shown in my school photo from that year which I DESTROYED all evidence of, because seriously, just looking at it burned my eyes.

And then I went to my grandma's house and lo and behold, not only is there evidence of that haircut, but tons of it. And that school picture that I destroyed....

Well, I should have known I'd find it at my grandma's house. And not just one copy, but about 8 of them.

When I was in second grade, my mom got so annoyed with my hair-sucking habit that she took me to The Hair Connection (how is it possible that I remember the name of my hair salon from my elementary school days, but I don't remember even a fraction of all the cool stuff I learned in college?) and they chopped it all off. And that was when I found myself with a new nickname on the playground: Danny's Little Brother.

Aren't kids just so CLEVER and HILARIOUS??

Well, luckily by third grade my hair was normal again. (but I probably still had slightly intense and creepy smiles and lame turtle necks). And luckily my awful nickname went away (although it was replaced with Marisa Medusa which I wasn't much of a fan of. And actually, it was my brother who started that nickname. Thanks, Dan).

Hurray for Flashback Friday. And hurray for photographic evidence of sucky hair cuts. Have a flashback of your own to share? Head over to Tia's blog and join in the fun!

Enjoy your weekend, folks!


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