Sunday, October 24, 2010

Where wolf?

We caught some spooky creatures of the night on the haunted trail cam. Wild meat eaters that scream and howl in the night. We used to camp in these woods. (now we stay at the Comfort Inn) And we loved hearing the wild dog's cry. But we'd never captured any wolves on the trail cam until now.

But the first photo is something different altogether. You'll have to enlarge it to really see the weird creatures. First there is what appears to be a deer head peaking out low behind the tree. Then look up the tree to see a long tail and foot. That's what we think is a fisher cat. And from what I hear they mean business. Scared?

Here we have what appears to be a wolf. But maybe the poor creature turns back into a tortured human by day...

Nope. All wolf.

We think this is a coyote. Only 50% as scary as a wolf.

And this is pumpkin pup. Graphic, Frightning, pee my pants scary I know.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cicada Symphony

I was inspired by an inquiry from my friend Alicia to do today's post. She wondered if I had ever gone to a concert while in Costa Rica. The answer is no. But there is ALOT to listen to for free. Sometimes the sounds are soothing and peaceful. Like a chorus of exotic birds chatting and singing. Sometimes the sounds are loud and exciting. Like the barking of a howler monkey. Or the ocean squeezing into the Ventenas caves South of Dominical. And sometimes the sounds are down right annoying. Those are the sounds that inspired my 5th installment of last Winter's fiction project. The culprit...the cicada. We never actually saw one. But their presence could probably be heard from space. Or at least that is the way it seemed. I had so much fun writing and illustrating my fiction project. And as I've said before the journal can now be found at the Brooklyn Art Library.

I've included 3 short videos. Turn up the volume and listen to the jungle. The chestnut toucan starts out blurry, but comes into focus later. The ROAR of the cicada can definitely be heard on the last 2. And it's free!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Is that a pumpkin or a giant orange elephant?

We had a smashing good time at the Stillwater Harvest Fest & Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off. And as the empty glass suggests there was more to do than weigh pumpkins. There was a chili competition. I sampled several yummy kinds of chili. BUT......I had to save alot of room for the beer tasting.

I have some very exciting news. A world record was set at this year's fest. Before this the largest pumpkin weighed in at a measly 1,725 pounds. But a pumpkin from New Richmond tipped the scales at 1,810 pounds! (not pictured) The farmer said that he planted the seeds in April and that the little pumpkin didn't even start growing until June 26th. After that he said you could literally watch it grow. He expects it to take around 12-14 hours to carve by the way.

Huge watermelons and long mystery veggies.

Honey, I made a wrong turn.

A little flooding. All the moisture this year made for record pumpkin growing I guess.

My friend Christina and her husband Travis. They didn't want to miss a moment of the pumpkin kayak race. You heard me.

Our local news personality Eric Perkins was among the 4 pumpkin racers. What a hoot!

This guy just doesn't know how to steer a pumpkin. Can you imagine?

Yes, that's a real deal gondola.

We climbed what seemed like 1,000 steps to take this photograph. I may have burned off 1 sip (among many) of beer. Darn we missed the pumpkin drop. Next year...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pumpkin spice and everything nice.

Kittens, ponies, pumpkins and beautiful scenery. A fall day doesn't get much better than this. We followed the Mississippi river down to Red Wing. And finally climbed Barn Bluff. What a view! Then we crossed over to Wisconsin and drove all the way down to our favorite pizza place for dinner. The Stone Barn. But we made a few stops along the way.

Our first stop was in Maiden Rock. We were on a mission to get some bird seed bread at the Pelican bakery there. But the darn bread was sold out.

So our next stop was for pie cookies in Stockholm. Whew! I got the last 2 cookies.

Then on to Maiden Rock Apples. No fall road trip is complete without stopping at an apple orchard.

And lastly we found the sweetest little pumpkin patch. Cheap pumpkins in all shapes and sizes. Barn cats, ponies and smiles. Now for some pizza...

My Pop Out Kitty illustration will probably always make an appearance during my October posts. For more Halloween kitties visit

Monday, October 4, 2010

Gift bags...101

I had the best of intentions on this week's tutorial. I thought I would take a photo of every step as I sewed my crafty gift bags. I think I missed a few steps. But the first photo shows the muslin fabric and ribbons. Shopping...step 1.

Then I cut the fabric into horizontal squares, approximately 8 1/2 by 11. I added 5/8 inches on three sides and around 2 inches on the top for seams.

Now for some sewing. I sewed the bottom 3 sides 5/8 and did a zig zag cut.

I folded down the top an inch and a 1/2. The cut ribbons were sewed underneath the fold to form the handles of the bag.

Now for the art! I printed out my illustration, "Confessions of a Children's Book Lover", 4 per page on fabric transfer sheets. Mirror image.

I cut the transfers and ironed them on to the bags.

My proud moment. A perfectly finished gift bag. Applause please. Silence...

The goods. Minnesota wild rice, a bear themed pencil, a goofy cow chocolate and a banana cream pie flavored lip balm.

Plus my friend Barb Bjornson made some pretty recipe cards and donated some pearson's nut rolls to round things out.

Now the bags are ready to give to the speakers at this year's MNSCBWI conference. I made a few extras and used some for prizes at the end of the conference. I may be a crafty Queen but I think I'll stick with my illustration career thank you very much.