Monday, September 28, 2009

The Grass is Always Greener...

Today I have a whole bunch of new states plates coming to me, and I will soon be printing 8 more of the states prints! Yay! It's gonna take me a while, though, since they're 3 color runs, but I'm pretty excited. You'll have to wait for the big reveal later this week to find out which states made the cut.

Over the weekend, I finished up another 5x7 print that's been in progress for a long time. And in the background, we're always printing for the calendar. That's just going to be a never-ending process. And that's a good thing!

So back to the print at hand:

And here's another that I did a few years back. I have a few copies sitting around and I've never done anything with them. This is the first woodcut I did several years ago as part of a weekend workshop at the Frist art museum in Nashville.

One of Vanderbilt's printmaking professors taught it, and I stayed up half the night carving this so that I could have something quality to print. I also remember turning my nose up at a husband-and-wife couple who carved a very primitive teddy bear. I'm such a snob.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:16 AM :: (3) comments

Friday, September 25, 2009

Family Quilts

I know I've mentioned it before, but it deserves repeating: my family is quilty. My grandmother on my mom's side spent her lifetime making something out of nothing. She had her very own sewing room (which I suspect may have been more about a quiet escape just a pocket door away from her 9 children--but they were all angels, so I'm sure that's not it).

Last Christmas I went to her house which hasn't been lived in for years and got the quilts out of the cedar chest in her room. They had probably been there for 60 years or more, never used. Maybe she had quilts and used them, but I don't think so. Besides a few glorious chenille numbers in the girls rooms, and denim blankets in the boys' room, I don't remember seeing anything on the beds that resembled these quilts.

Now I'm a pack-rat (my mom would tell you it skipped a generation) but I also believe in using the quilts you have--at least displaying them. I have several up around my house. They're out of direct sunlight, which is important. Sadly, it's hard for me to get direct sunlight in my house. That's another point.

But these quilts are still in great shape because they were put away. Some have a few small stains, or heavy creases, but mom and I are working on them.

We did this photo shoot as part of a larger project. I want to make an album of our family quilts on Blurb--so everyone can have a copy. I intend to have a wide shot and detail shots of each of them, and also include any information I can find on them.

It's so important to have record of these things. With these quilts, we have no idea where they came from except that they belonged to my grandma. Sadly, she's gone now, and we can't ask her. I could just kick myself that we didn't ask her last Christmas.

Here are a couple of quilts that belong to me. First, the black and gold is one my mom made for my college graduation (still my favorite of all).

And then the wedding quilt my aunt made for me. I love color, what can I say?

So here are some tips if you want to make your own family quilt record, whether in book form or otherwise:

  1. Name of owner:
  2. Name of creator/quilter (sometimes they're different):
  3. Date created:
  4. Name of pattern if any:
  5. Materials used and where they might have come from (like a child's dress or the flea market)
  6. Any special notes about the occasion, the story of why it was made, or really anything. You don't know what will be important in future generations, so as much information as possible is great!

I'm going to use Blurb to make this book. I hope to make one with the other side of my family also, but it will probably be harder to get those quilts all together. I'm hoping for QuiltFest 2010, ladies!

And you know I'm excited about designing the book. Maybe I'll even do some freelancing books for other people. You could send me your photos and I could lay them out in book form and send it to you...hmm. I'm always entreprenuering!

The only thing out there on the web I can find about family quilt documentation is this site in Australia. You need to save your heritage! When one generation passes away, all the information is lost. I can't bear to think of my hard work being donated to Goodwill or otherwise.

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Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:12 AM :: (1) comments

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lunch break in the country

Sometimes I just need to get out of town. I work in a very rural community where you can't get a good salad anywhere.


So one day I hopped in my car and drove around. There are tiny little hamlets everywhere. This time I drove to Rush Hill, population: Oh, I don't know, 43?

Rush Hill, Missouri, Audrain County, Trailer park, small town

The town had dirt roads. Not a speck of pavement.


Then I photoshopped the bejezzus out of them using my Pioneer Woman actions. Love them!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 7:51 AM :: (2) comments

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Potato Soup

You know that Autumn is coming for the following reasons: it's soooo hard to get up in the cool, dark morning. The leaves and grass, although still green, just seem to have a little more color. I bought my first (and I swear my last) bag of candy pumpkins at Walgreens on a whim last week.

After a long, fun, but exhausting weekend, we decided on soup on Sunday night. My mom has a great recipe for Cheesy potato soup. I have it too, but I'm not so good on the replication. Hers just has a special umphh that I can't seem to achieve. Therefore, everytime he requests it, Jason says "But will you make it like your mom does?" I always say yes, but I know good and well that I can't replicate the cheesy goodness.

Still, this batch was pretty darn close. I used small new potatoes from my Aunt Jackie and I let the mixture simmer for an hour or so.

Saute an onion and 2 ribs of celery (and maybe a little tiny bit of bacon. Do not tell my mother) in a couple of teaspoons of butter in a large stock pot.

Add about 4 cups of milk--I used skim and it was great!
I also added a teaspoon of salt and a generous sprinkling of black pepper.
Add 4 chicken boullion cubes and let this mixture simmer and boil for quite a while. It can even be unattended.

Next, cube up about 4 cups or more of potatoes. I would go for more. Like use 5 large potatoes or so. Cover with water in a microwaveable bowl and microwave in batches of 5 minutes or so until tender to a forking.

Add 5-6 slices of cheese. I used American because it melts better, but you might experiment if you have a husband who is more open to interpretation than mine is.

Add the potatoes and simmer for a while, or eat immediately.

It's DARN good. And really not too fat-laden. Over the multiple serving this makes, there's not much butter, maybe a slice of cheese, and skim milk.

I think I may have mastered the recipe.

Perhaps this is the culprit of my past poor soups: I did not write down the recipe. Seriously? What does any of this mean? I am too ashamed to call my mom YET AGAIN for the real recipe.

Isn't it sad that with the popularity of my recipe cards, I only have my own recipes on these cards? I'm slowly converting. Slowly. I'll have to get the real recipe for potato soup before I transfer this one.

Our dear friend Jenn made us these potholders in our house colors as a housewarming gift. I love a handmade gift like no other! And I hardly ever get them, so these were extra special. They're really thick and soft. Luxurious potholders! Everyone should have them!!

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Posted by Beth Howard @ 7:03 AM :: (5) comments

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Allison's Wedding photos

My sister Allison got married 3 weeks ago. She used the same photographer as me, Notley Hawkins, who does just amazing things with a wide-angle lens. I was lucky enough to be his lovely assistant that day, which included him loaning me a super nice camera. The most important thing I can say about his talent is this: I had a camera and stood in all the same places, and my photos are total crap compared to what he shot.

I did have tons of fun bossing everyone around and having all the groomsmen and bridesmaids do funny things.

And I've been having a lot of fun photoshopping the daylights out of these pics that he shot. You can see about 100 of the originals on Notley's flickr page.

I'm totally hooked on photography. But I think I need to keep my job as the lovely assistant, because clearly I don't stack up. And I can't suffer for my art like Notley does. He works his tail off at all times. I tend to think "yeah, that's good. I'm sure there are some good things in the camera."

Howard-Zupon Wedding 8.22.2009
Originally uploaded by Notley

Posted by Beth Howard @ 8:28 AM :: (1) comments

Monday, September 14, 2009

Scrapbook Store Closeout=Heaven or Hell?

There is (was) a really great scrapbook store in the hamlet where I work. How a town with 10,000 people can support a scrapbook store is beyond me. Apparently, the owner was just worn out. Shocking!

Several of my co-workers got special invitations for the first day of the closeout sale. I cannot miss a good deal, and well, I actually could use some of those tools.

I was not prepared for the onslaught of people. One of the people I "interviewed" in the front of the line said she had been there for more than 2 hours--not just in the store, but IN THE LINE. Makes me break out in hives just thinking about it.

I hemmed and hawed my way around the store for 1.4 minutes before making a dirty deal with a large, white-bearded gentleman guarding the front door.

Me: how much for that card rack in the back with the faux bois base?
Santa: How much is the what-now?
Me: Uh, you know the card rack that's brown.
St. Nicholas: Oh, you mean D-5?
Me: Uh, sure. Yeah. It's about as tall as me.
Babbo Natale: I wouldn't know. (cut away to the 2 of us standing back to back, comparing our gene pool's success rates)
Me: So how much?
Father Christmas: $25 cash only.
Me: Sold. Now get me the hell outta here. (cut to me running and carrying said card rack over my head and pumping it up and down successfully while I run over several ladies holding stamps, paper, and stickers of all manners)
End Scene.

Posted by Beth Howard @ 6:58 PM :: (3) comments

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

2010 Letterpress Calendar

Presenting....the 1canoe2 2010 Calendar! Yes, I know it's only September. But we wanted to beat the rush to get this puppy out there and seen by as many of you as possible.

Carrie and I have been working our pens and our press arms to pieces on this calendar. It started with multiple meetings brainstorming concepts and talking on the phone on my commute everyday. After we settled on the basic concept of collections of everyday objects, we split up the month and design assignments and we hit the sketchbooks.

Then came all of the computer hours working up our precious drawings into printable plates.

And finally over Labor Day weekend we printed and printed and printed some more. And after all those joint decisions, hours spent in the studio, and paper cutting, we only printed 24 calendars. Our goal is to make a total of 300 this year. We'll see how they sell and how many we can actually produce. But we only ordered paper for 300 minus errors, so we probably won't make MORE than 300, so get 'em while you can!

Here is the link to the calendar

Cost: $24 plus shipping
Size: 6"x 10.5"
Edition: less than 300

Allow me to take this moment to complain about my house and it's lack of natural light. And also curse the moving process by which I misplaced my cable release. All of this leading to slightly blurry photos.

I think after we were done with the printing process at 9pm on Monday, we were most in love with the posters that we had been making along the way. They were a giant pain in the backside because they require printing of 24 separate plates, but we both really like the way they look. the plan is to make a very limited edition of these and sell them for quite a bit more money. Stay tuned!

Whew! I'm exhausted. But so so so happy! We love it and hope you do too!

Posted by Beth Howard @ 10:01 PM :: (3) comments

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day was Laborious

Among the tasks completed: house cleaning, laundry (thanks, Jason), photo matting and framing and hanging, walking with friends, and LOTS of PRINTING. Carrie and I had a print-in and spent 2 whole days working on printing our calendar. Exciting stuff! I'm going to wait a couple more days to post it. I want to take just the right photos, and we didn't finish tonight until it was dark.

On Sunday Mom and Dad had a cookout to inaugurate their new deer-riffic fire ring down by the pond.

Nothing like a roasted hot dog and deviled eggs to celebrate the end of summer. Sigh! I love Fall, but I hate the impending doom of winter and the passing of labor day means time to buckle down. As if I haven't been working my fingers to the bone all summer!

Oh well. Here's to a cooler than normal Missouri summer--it's seemed like Fall since about the end of July-- and looking forward to Autumn's crisp air and orangey sunlight!

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Posted by Beth Howard @ 10:58 PM :: (0) comments

Thursday, September 03, 2009

New York New York day 3

Our final day in New York was a wrap up of the things we didn't do the previous days. I miscalculated and didn't get to go visit either of the 2 letterpress shops I wanted to see because I had saved them til Monday, and they aren't open on Monday. Bummer.

We did manage to go to the home design megastore ABC Carpet and Home. Wow wow wee wow. It was amazing. It must be so fun to work there just to arrange all the goodies. I was surprised that they let me take photos, but they did!

Jason sitting in what must be the world's most comfortable chair.

We went in this store across the street called Fish's Eddy. I had never heard of it, but let's just say it's lucky that I only had a small carry-on suitcase, already stuffed with paper goods and envelopes, because I could have taken the whole store with me. Lots of really cool dinnerware, tea towels, and entertaining stuff. It was just my style. Not stuffy, just fun and well designed.

Jason fulfilled his final New York manifest: a slice of pizza, followed 1 hour later by Katz's Deli. That pastrami sandwich alone cost $14.95, but it was pretty freaking amazing.

Now it's back home and hard at work on calendar stuff and real work stuff. It was such a great 3 day destination. Of course, you know I could stay for a month. Maybe in my next life I'll take a summer sabbatical to New York.


Posted by Beth Howard @ 11:11 PM :: (1) comments

New York New York day 2

Treasures from MoMA and Asian influences....

Sunday we got up and walked ourselves to MoMA. I love that place.

I didn't really appreciate modern art until I took the hardest course in my college career called Contemporary Art History. I barely scraped a B in that class. It was a very reading and writing heavy course about way-out there theory. But it made me appreciate the value in someone having the cahones to do something first. Like very first. And to realize that it actually takes a lot of work to make that perfectly solid red canvas. Okay, so the red canvas wasn't my favorite, but I can appreciate Jackson Pollock's splatterings because there is an art to the way he moved his arm, to the color choices, to the dedication it took to make people turn their heads at that.

This exhibit by Song Dong was spooky to me because it seriously could have been from my own non-Asian grandmother's house. All it was missing was a garbage bag full of bread ties. The artist's mother was from the waste-not-want-not generation, and that apparently compelled her to say partially used bars of soap and plastic bottle caps. As someone who has a pack rat tendency herself, this is terrifying.

We moved on to Chinatown after lunch. These photos are an exact depiction of what I love about New York...the 5-6 story building neighborhoods and the bustling cultural soup. One street is Chinese, the next is Italian. I love it. And the men whispering in my ear as I passed by "bags. gucci. prada. louis vuitton." So sen-su-al. I always think I'm going to buy a bag when in Chinatown, but I just don't like any of them when it comes down to it.

Day two ended at Five Napkin Burger. Tuna burger for me, and a frozen strawberry mojito for dessert. I was so enthralled, I didn't take a single photo. Cause sometimes, you just gotta live in the moment.


Posted by Beth Howard @ 6:00 AM :: (2) comments