Tuesday, December 16, 2014

race to the finish

I've pulled more all-nighters in the last two months than in undergraduate and graduate school combined.  It's been crazy.  But today, one of the most meaningful assignments we've had to date---with NC State's Alumni Magazine has finally left the studio and is on it's way to print.  To say I'm breathing a deep sigh of relief is an understatement.  I can't wait to share more of what we've created in January when the issue comes out.  In the meantime, here's one illustration that didn't make the final cut.

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Monday, December 15, 2014


We sometimes hear that people have a hard time distinguishing between Edgar's and my handiwork. I can see how this is the case, as, creatively, we enjoy collaborating throughout the entire design process--each doing what we enjoy, handing the brush, pen, mouse...back and forth...back and forth...until we're where we want to be...as a team.

However, there are a few things each of us does on our own, independent of one another.

Pet portraits are Edgar's---and, not to sound like a gloating wife---though I am---I think he is so good at them.  He loves animals---almost as much as he loves plants...and sees each as a personal challenge to bring paper and ink to life and, in the process, provide another moment with a best friend.  I can't help but feel a piece of The Beagle is in each and every of these.

This morning's work : Maddy, for a loyal friend of An Open Sketchbook.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

a candy a day?

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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

chaos is around the corner

Ever since the boys were born I've tried my best to make our bedroom a peaceful place to relax: a zen spot, if you will.  And, finally, I actually feel like I've might have made some progress at it.  Clutter-free, dim overhead lighting, lots of plants, horizontal lines, no toys...

This was my document of that quiet place. This is Max's contribution :) All I can do is laugh.  My life on paper.

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Monday, December 01, 2014

patience is a virtue

Edgar and I currently get 16 hours a week twintern-free.  Therefore, I don't consider us stay-at-home parents in the traditional sense.  However, this past week, during the Thanksgiving Holiday AND the most deadline-filled-time-of-year, we only had 8 hours to ourselves to work.  We definitely enjoyed our break, but we also definitely enjoyed dropping the boys off at school this morning.  Cheers to you parents with patience everywhere.  Could you send some our way?

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

the sixth sense meets toy story

Sometimes I could swear their toys are talking to me.

This drawing was prompted by Buzz, started by Mama and colored by Max.  Miles sharpened pencils.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

full-circle moment

Four years ago I blogged about this.

I never reached out to J.C. personally...guess I was too shy.  Today, this came in the mail.  I'm speechless.

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Friday, October 31, 2014

a moment of your time

Friends, I need your help. I have two pieces of work that are finalists in the US Figure Skating Championship Poster Competition. There will be a People's Choice Award and I would really appreciate you casting a vote for which one you like best here. 


Thank you so much for all your support! 

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

my two stray cats

I can't get enough of the Twinterns' preschool artwork.  I'm fascinated by how differently they will layout the same basic shapes---and in the process show their unique personalities.  I love it.

These cats are SO Miles (left) and Max (right).

As a side note, have you ever taken note of the 232,333,532,112 ways a paper plate can be cut, glued and fashioned into a precious piece of self-expression?  Thank you preschool teachers everywhere. You're incredible!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

full hands

Max's hands are always full with little toys. He'll carry around the same two things for days at a time. It's like nothing I've ever seen. If only I had this attention span! Here is a sampling from a few days back.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

this monster called motherhood

I gotta tell you---motherhood is kicking my butt.

Every. Single. Day.

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Thursday, September 04, 2014

goodbye summer. hello fall.

The boys and I spent Monday outdoors, soaking in the last of summer's warmth and 'helping' Edgar work on the greenhouse.  I loved seeing the fallen leaves next to the boy's inflatable pool---the perfect illustration of the change of seasons.  

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Wednesday, September 03, 2014

the wonder years

Couldn't resist drawing this toy.  It transported me back in time to Pokey's puppy years.  
Boy, do I miss him.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

toy of the week : play-doh candy cyclone

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Friday, August 01, 2014

paper tulips with a side of ritz crackers

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

andy : a very gentle giant

We spent a lot of time this past week with our neighbor's Great Dane, Andy.  We've really missed Pokey, so it was nice having another four-legged-companion around--especially one that can stay still for long periods of time while I draw him.  I can't get over how the geometries of Andy's body are so different from The Beagle's.  He's one big guy.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

just as you are

Imperfection is perfection in my book.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

a recent collaboration

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

you're doing your best

Here's a little reminder for my desk [and perhaps, yours] this afternoon.

I've been feeling a little defeated here lately.  An Open Sketchbook has really begun to thrive.  Yay!!! But, as a result, I'm feeling spread incredibly thin and overwhelmed by the rest of life, particularly the Twinterns who need and deserve so much attention these days. It never fails that when I feel as though I'm excelling in one area of my life, I'm lacking in another.  Don't ask me the last time I cooked dinner.

After taking a much-needed time-out this afternoon, I've decided I needed a new mantra---and this is it.  Here's to deep breaths and positive affirmations.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

an open coloring book

Recently, the #twinterns have discovered that their papi and mama draw.  As a result, they're like first year professors, constantly giving us prompts. And, we, in turn have been providing some pretty nice pages for coloring...if I do say so myself.

Our friend, Jen, happened to capture a recent 'collaboration' when taking some photos of our family last week. Even if the boys don't go on to be creatives, I love that they enjoy being creative now.

See more of Jen's thoughtful captures here. Pin It Now!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

the story of my life...at present

[please note: no illustration today due to complete lack of creative fervor]

It's 1:49 pm and I'm just sitting down to work for the first time today.
I can hardly see straight.

Currently: the boys are washing their toy tractor under Papi's supervision.

Already today we've:
underslept [5:30 for Max and Papi]
watched 'George'
made toast
refused to get dressed
delighted in the prospect of wearing Thomas the Train Shirt
cleaned room
read 3 books
exchanged Thomas the Train Shirt or Superman Shirt
pressure-washed the shed with Papi
gotten wet
gone for a ride
learned to enunciate Chick-Fil-A
visited the park
met a mother of 6---how is it possible?!?
learned to identify moss
learned to identify grass
learned to identify pinestraw
napped in the car
made Papi snap
repeated first bad word
eaten pasta
eaten grapes
eaten rice-crispies
refused to take a nap at home
listened to Spanish kids' music
washed windows
washed refrigerator
washed floor
washed walls
pow-wowed in a teeny-tiny-tent
made a pretend fire
pulled hair
held and, quite unfortunately, killed a baby frog
played with at least three worms
had one major 3-year-old meltdown
narrowly avoided a meltdown of my own
...and the rest---I can't even remember

It's 2:13 and I'm going to sneak in a quick nap.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

mini greenhouse in the making

It's been a dream of Edgar's for some time---a little greenhouse for our backyard, made entirely from salvaged materials.  It's finally coming together!  The less money we spend on this one, the more accomplished we'll feel.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

casa cabrera

The most meditative thing I can do is draw on location.

It's the one thing that completely quiets my restless mind.  Earlier in the week, after particularly long afternoon, I sat out in our driveway and drew our house.  It's not exactly the same as the days when I'd spend hours in coffee shops or restaurants sketching---but it's close.  Not to mention it's a good feeling to sit back and take note the ways in which our house has transformed into our home over the last four years.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

the twinterns' new kicks

It seems like every other day we're needing to buy the boys new shoes.  Their latest pairs pay homage to their Papi and the cool soccer-playing boys from when I was in high school.  I'm doing my best to hold out on having to buy Spiderman sneakers as long as possible...

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014


Thank you all for your kind words regarding Pokey.

Right now, we're thankful for the memories of our good/bad beagle---both here on the blog and in everyday moments.  In the same way I remember my grandparents every time I smell fresh laundry, I am reminded of Pokey each time I roll my chair back from my studio desk and for a split-second, cringe, thinking I may have run over his tail---only to realize he's no longer there.

Memories (sometimes consciously, other times not) are at the root of so much of what we're creating these days.  Over and over, our work is filled with visual reminders of the people and places we care about the most---from our own childhood to our children, parents, grandparents and pets.

:: reilly saying thank you the best way she knew how ::

:: church potlucks and my mom's banana pudding in her green pyrex ::

:: the flowers that dot the hills in spring, reminding me of my grandparents :: 
:: sunday drives in the family station wagon--affectionately referred to as 'the mayflower' ::

:: i think this one speaks for itself...hi mom! ::

Thank you for visiting our blog and encouraging us to record and share these memories.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

facing the inevitable

There has been a dark cloud looming over our home this week.  We took Pokey to the veterinarian on Monday and the prognosis wasn't good.

Over the course of 11 years [8 of which have been documented here] our beagle --'The Beagle'--has grown from the bargain pup we purchased at a flea market to the first animal I've ever truly loved to a constant companion, foot-warmer and muse.  In recent years, he's willingly accepted a backseat to two energetic little boys, but has forever remained in the center of our hearts.

This week, as we sadly accept the fact that he will not be with us much longer, I want to take a moment to pay tribute to our Buddy Boy.  I've been looking back this morning over all the posts and drawings dedicated to Pokey and his antics.  I hope you'll do me the honor of checking them out as well here.  He's been such a character and tremendous source of inspiration over the years.

Pokey, there will never be another who can replace you.  You were with Edgar and I from the beginning and will be with us in spirit to the end.  We love you.

UPDATE : Sadly, we had to put Pokey to sleep on Thursday.  He was a tremendous part of our family, and it will take us sometime to get past his absence.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

special spring collection preview sale!

This winter's bad weather has inspired us to be that much more aware of all the beauty spring has to offer. We invite you to check out a special preview of our newest collection, devoted to just that via our Etsy shop.

We also invite you to take an extra 25% OFF during our 24-hour preview sale with coupon code: THANKYOUKINDLY   Share with your buddies on FB or elsewhere? Take 30% off with coupon code: THANKYOUSUPERKINDLY

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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

life's sweetest moments, recorded and preserved

Edgar's illustrated journals are, without a doubt, the best gifts he could ever give the boys and me.
I appreciate these recorded memories so, so much.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

hazelnut for him, sweet tea for her

A little snippet from a project we were working on over the weekend.  Care to guess who this charming young family chowing down on bagels is? :) Nothing is more fun than being able to draw [literally] from our everyday experiences in our professional work, including our morning ritual at Bruegger's.

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

creative freedom

I think blind-contour drawings, like this one, will always be some of my favorite to do.  I love the absolute freedom that comes from the process.  There are no expectations or mistakes, only discoveries.  It's such a liberating exercise.

This weekend we're in the midst of finishing up our new products for spring. We'd love to share some of our process with you via our Instagram accounts and Facebook page.

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