July 27, 2011

It came to me

The other day

When I was walking

Around the way

That as of late

Up to this date

I might have given

Too close a look

At one too many

Kinds of book

That have been written

For little chittlin’.

The words, the meter,

And the rhyme

Will soak your brain

If you spend some time

In a tiny chair

With graying hair

Watching silly pictures

On the page

Play like fools

And not act their age,

All the while,

As they danced and pranced,

You’re certain this book

Is far too advanced

For the baby

That maybe

Is listening to you,

But who might rather have

Something better to do

In a seat that bounces

Or with a dog that pounces,

But still there you sit

At the side of her bed

Attempting to augment

That brain in her head.

But maybe

This baby

Might someday soon

At a time that’s probably

Right after noon

Take a look

At a book,

And this just might be

The fault of me

For reading a lot

To a wee little tot

To help to aid

This child I made.

But maybe, oh baby,

As of late

My reading of Suess

Up to this date,

Coupled with

A lack of sleep,

Has made me keep

Too tight a grip

And made me slip

Way down a hole

Outside my soul,

And now my mind

Works like the kind

That one might find

In Roald Dahl.

You know what I’m talking ‘bout,

Don’t you, y’all?

Too many rhymes

Too many times

Can put the mind

In quite a bind,

And with a sigh

I’ll try to lie

And say that I

Will keep an eye

On this little baby

Who might just maybe

Take a look

At a book

While I cook

In the nook

That serves

As my kitchen.

But I doubt that she’s itchin’,

This baby of mine,

To turn a page

At her young age,

But all the same

Am I to blame

For hoping she knows

More than her own name?

These books will find

A place in your mind,

They’ll sit in there

Down under your hair

And ultimately they’ll come out in the words that you drool and cause you to sound just like a rhyming fool. Personally, the Recent Paterfamilias is proud to state that, to this date, this unlikely fate has yet to happen to him. He thinks not on a whim. His vocab’s not slim. And he is glad to say that the mad Dr. Suess has not made his brain loose, nor have the words of Shel Silverstein caused his wits to grow lean.

His thoughts are his own,

They are his own alone,

And he doesn’t believe that any of those books have affected him in the least.

But oh my…(yawn)…this writing…(sigh)…it has become such a beast.

July 26, 2011

Oh No We Didn't

As you may know (if you read this blog often enough) aside from being an artist, my other job is a Production Designer for film, television and ads. This weekend I was helping some friends out by getting some of the set and props together for a short film they were shooting.  And for some reason I let them shoot part of this film at MY HOUSE.

First rule of film making. Never* shoot at your own house.
*unless you are getting a hefty location fee that can pay for any damages.

Although the husband was more reluctant than I was, we shot mostly outside, it was a small crew, and everyone was very respectful ie: no damages to report.  However, I have been reading this great blog Designwali and while the author has been away she has been featuring a brilliant series of guest posts with the theme "Oh No We Didn't".  The series involves a variety of professional designers writing in and revealing there home FAILS.  ie projects they started and didn't complete, furniture they purchased and immediately regretted or poor color choices that they just haven't bothered to fix.  It's a great reminder that I bet even Martha Stewart's home isn't perfect. 

So with this blog series on the brain, as I shuffled a bunch of people through my home my own "Oh No We Didn't" projects jumped out at me and I wondered if anyone else noticed them.  But instead of fixing the things that need fixing or trying to hide them I decided to share them with YOU.  

FAIL #1: The Last Hacked Curtain
When we moved in I found these great tone on tone striped curtains to match the paint color in the dining room.  The only problem is that I could only find 3 panels that were 84" long (the right length). So I bought one 96" panel to complete the wall with the full intent of cutting and hemming the last curtain to match.  Well.... life happened and I cut the curtain but never hemmed it.  So the last curatin remains with a poor hack job, strings fraying hanging in my dinging room.

FAIL #2: Those Stickers just won't come off!
We have these two arched nooks that are the perfect size for displaying  family photographs.  It took a visit from the parents to actually make me run out to the store and hastily buy frames in order to display said pictures.  I bought a bunch of cute frames at Ross (the best discount store on the planet).  But the best discount store on the planet also has the worlds stickiest price tags.   And for some reason they stick these tags right on the glass.  I got most of the stickers off but at some point I just gave up.  And now I still have a few frames with white sticker residue that needs goo gone and heavy arm scrubbing to get off.  It's been 4 years.  Maybe one day I will get around to it.  Or maybe I will just buy some new frames!

For more design "Oh No We Didn't" stories  check out Designwali's Blog.  Now it's your turn! What are your "oh no we didn't" secrets?

July 25, 2011

Cuts of Meat on Paper

For a limited time I am selling my "Cuts of Meat" prints on Paper in my Etsy shop.  They are a simplified version of the ones I did on wood. (They don't have the lyrics to Old MacDonald's Farm set behind the meat)

At $45 for a set of three, they would make a great gift for any chef, butcher, farmer or just plain 'ole meat lover!

July 20, 2011

To Tattoo or Not to Tattoo?

The Recent Paterfamilias has found himself in a situation in which he is typically uncomfortable. The Recent Paterfamilias is curious as to what the public thinks. More specifically, the Recent Paterfamilias is curious as to what his reading public thinks about one singular issue. This is not to say that the Recent Paterfamilias does not care for the public’s opinion, or the public itself (or himself, or herself—does the “public” have a gender?), it is only that the Recent Paterfamilias, being a Master of Opinion, is often loath to seek out the opinions of others.

So…let us begin:


Tattoos are commonly viewed as taboo, but really only by some (it should be noted here that the Recent Paterfamilias has tattoos of his own, so thusly he supposes that he might be referred to as the Tattooed Paterfamilias for the remainder of this column). In the opinion of the Tattooed (neé Recent) Paterfamilias, we have become a tattooed culture, and they are not all simply tribal “tramp stamps” and ankle sunflowers and gang signs and whatnot. Take half a look at any NBA team. Or the barista who serves up the morning coffee. Or most people walking on the sidewalk. Or Johnny Depp.


Tattoo Superstitions.

Tattoo superstitions seem to run rampant, most notably amongst the particularly superstitious (a group in which, for better or worse, the Tattooed Paterfamilias proudly considers himself a member). Most people likely know someone who got a matching tattoo with someone else. That friend who, with her boyfriend of two weeks, got a matching Japanese symbol for poetry or purity or whatnot on her wrist, and then, what do you know, Poof! They break up. That guy who got the face of a girl he’s dating on his shoulder, and Poof! It’s done. The aforementioned Johnny Depp gets Winona Ryder’s name on his arm, and Poof! It’s over. All in all, it’s a fairly common phenomenon.

As has been mentioned in a previous Note From a Recent Paterfamilias, the Recent (also Tattooed) Paterfamilias is confident that the body art he got for his beloved dog Oscar, if not out rightly, then certainly circumstantially, caused said beloved Oscar to die an untimely death. He firmly believes this. It’s mystical. It’s supernatural. It’s uncanny. It’s unsettling. Whatever anyone may think, the tattoo was gotten, and then, two weeks later, Poof! Oscar was dead from a seemingly random, but highly debilitating condition called Thrombocytopenia. For the sensitive soul, it would give a person pause before making a similar mistake again.

So…I want to get a tattoo for my daughter. My wife says No. A definitive No. An emphatic No. Being superstitious people, we tend to worry about this sort of thing. The Tattooed Paterfamilias has even brought up this topic when in conversation with his tattoo artist (yes, the Paterfamilias has a regular guy down on the Lower East Side). He, the tattoo artist, thinks this is ridiculous. Not that he doesn’t believe in tattoo superstitions, quite the opposite, actually, it’s only that, according to him, the tattoo artist, no manner of superstition is going to cause a person not love their child, therefore, it, the tattoo, should be viewed only as a celebration of the life of the offspring. The Tattooed Paterfamilias is inclined to agree with this sentiment.

But a superstition is a superstition simply because a person is superstitious, and frankly, the Tattooed Paterfamilias is reluctant to trifle with that theory. If a baseball player puts on his left sock first or eats chicken everyday, and that works for him, then let him do it. If a law student uses a particular brand of pen, then so be it. If a bachelorette party stripper has a favorite thong, then leave it on under his police uniform. Much the same as superstitions, luck is believing you’re lucky, and if you think something is superstitious, then it is. It’s just the way of the world.

This opinion of the Tattooed Paterfamilias has been mocked, of course. “Superstitious tattoos? Tattoos that kill people, or dogs? Preposterous! If that were true, then somebody should’ve run out and gotten a picture of Stalin or Hitler or Count Dracula on their arm, and then Poof! two weeks later, they’d drop dead.”

So…the Recent Paterfamilias wishes to hear all thoughts. Is a tattoo of his daughter sure to be bad luck? Is he tempting the Fates or the Furies or whomever it is that spins the planet? Is it simply bad politics?

And in the interest of full disclosure and hopefully to illicit a more complete response, the Recent Paterfamilias will even enlighten his readers as to what tattoo he would like to get, should he ever get the ink for his infant offspring: a shiny teapot going off at the boil, because she, the baby, tends to get all hot and bothered and then make a lot of noise. (The Recent Paterfamilias is proud to say that the concept of this tattoo was pilfered nearly verbatim from Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, the only major difference being that in the book it’s a samovar and not a teapot. Pompous enough for ya?)

July 19, 2011

No Sew Window Valance

I needed a window treatment for a nursery but the colors were very specific and I was finding it hard to find something ready-made to match.  I came up with this concept which was super easy to execute and turned out even better than I imagined.  All you need is a few supplies and a bit of patience to make your own no-sew valance. 

July 18, 2011

Meet My Intern

and check out her own amazing blog: 
You can read more about her  inspirations and adventures at  CharlotteCheshire.com 
You can also purchase one of these resurrected Horse Pattern Prints on Etsy

July 13, 2011

The Toilet from Heaven

God has a Porta-potty. It’s true. I have seen it.

In order to avoid any confusion, perhaps I should start over.

Pregnant women have to pee. This is common knowledge. It is a known fact. They have to pee. And they have to pee often. More than often. Always. It’s natural. It’s the way of things. It’s due to pressure being placed upon the bladder by certain unconcerned (see: rude) unborns, making this unpleasant condition just one more ordinary side affect of being pregnant. And my wife, let’s call her “Pregnant” (because that’s what she was at the time) suffered dramatically, incessantly, maddeningly from this particular prenatal malady.

It was late-December. The year was 2010. A grid-locking blizzard was threatening New York City, predicted to drop inches of snow an hour for days on end. But we, along with the dog, were on our way out of town, literally ninety minutes in front of the storm, headed to the Hamptons in general, East Hampton in particular, for one last vacation (idiotically labeled a “babymoon”) before our threesome (with dog—a Welsh Terrier) became a foursome (with infant—a baby girl).

My wife (again, we’ll call her “Pregnant”) had always wanted me to see the Hamptons. This was not seeing the Hamptons in the summer months, when it has its best face forward, but still, we were in the Hamptons all the same, and something must be said for that, I suppose. The Hamptons are beach towns. And except for the people, what’s not to like about beach towns?

It was while we were headed to one of the beaches, Egypt Beach in particular, that Pregnant, the Welsh Terrier, and I saw God’s Porta-potty.

As the Great Blizzard of 2010 had made the roads impassable and impossible, we had decided to trek it on foot from our inn to Egypt Beach. The map we had of the area gave us the impression that the walk was feasible, and in nicer weather, I am sure that would have been the case. Snow and ice-covered roads. Drifts on the shoulder two feet deep. Sustained wind gusts of forty miles an hour. Needless to say, it was slow going.

After about forty-five minutes, Pregnant announced that she was going to need to pee soon (understandable, given her state), but she also wasn’t ready to turn back, so on we went, past Hither Lane, past Middle Lane, closing in on Further Lane, and then Pregnant declared that things had suddenly taken a turn for the worst and the need for a solution had now become imminent. We had to either knock on the door of what were most certainly abandoned, blizzard-buried, off-season houses, or we had to turn around and head back to town in search of a toilet.

On we pressed, intrepid travelers that we were, looking for the nearest car in the nearest driveway as an indication of human occupation.

We turned a snowy corner.

And there, all by his lonesome (or her lonesome), in the middle of a snow-buried open corner lot, sat a hunter green Porta-potty.

Even as I was certain the Porta-potty door would surely be locked, I encouraged Pregnant toward it, hoping against hope. Closer and closer we came. Finally, we arrived at its green frontage. We looked at the door. There was no padlock. We looked at the small slot by the handle that reads OCCUPIED or OCCUPADO when the responsible occupant has locked themselves in. VACANT, it read, in bright red letters. Pregnant opened the door and disappeared inside.

Naturally, upon watching Pregnant exit the portable toilet, I expected the usual horror stories. It was disgusting. It was stinky. There was poop on the toilet seat. There was a derelict perched behind the door and a pervert peering through a clogged vent hole. And enormous spiders had taken up residence. And there wasn’t any toilet paper.

The circumstances had been far from unpleasant. The Porta-potty had been fragrant (and not how one might think). The Porta-potty had been clean, spotlessly so. It had been well stocked with all the necessities. All things considered, it was the perfect pit stop.

So, on we trekked, toward Egypt Beach, fighting snow, 40 MPH winds, and a general malaise caused by bad weather and a shoe-wearing Terrier.

Eventually, we made it to Egypt Beach. And it was lovely. It was beautiful. It was late-December in the Atlantic Northeast. It was cold. We turned around.

Hoofing it back through twelve inches of snow and wind gusts threatening to topple us, it was consequently announced that someone desperately needed to pee.

And then there it was, on the same corner lot, green, unlocked, and not OCCUPADO.

On the walk back, the case of the strange Porta-potty was discussed. Under all that snow, on that premium corner property, there must have been construction underway that had been halted due to inclement weather. And where one finds construction sites, there will one also find outdoor toilets. And in the Hamptons, given its common reputation and all the usual stereotypes, any outdoor mobile rental toilets would of course be of only the highest quality. Luxurious. Regal, even. A regal Porta-potty.

Then I didn’t think about it for a couple of days.

We went to Atlantic Beach. We went to Main Beach. We visited friends in Montauk for dinner. We finished our vacation.

Inches of snow were still on the ground when we were gearing up to leave for New York (which was still in a city-wide lockdown). Casually, on the drive out of town, the topic of the Porta-potty came up. I detoured the car toward Egypt Beach. I steered down two-lane roads past shingled Traditionals and shingled Saltboxes and shingled Contemporaries. We passed Hither Lane. We passed Middle Lane. We could see Further Lane in the distance.

There was no Porta-potty. There was no construction site on an open corner lot. There was no open corner lot, just a little space on the outskirts of two already situated properties with a stop sign planted in the middle.

I stared at the corner and the stop sign until Pregnant announced that she really had to pee.

And, of course, the next public restroom we managed to locate was downright repellent. The kind of place one might expect to find in Satan’s Rest Area, a toilet in the back corner of the Welcome Center to the Entrance of Hell.

July 12, 2011

Puppets Share 10 Reasons to Hate Facebook

I LOVE puppets! (yes, I am counting down the days until the new Muppet Movie comes out) Here is a great  team of puppets created by a friend of mine.  They are known as Mario and Fafa and the show is called Glove and Boots.  They are modern day puppets who Blog and give "lesson" on using computer and technology.   In this episode they explain why they hate facebook.

Enjoy ...and smile.  

July 11, 2011

Thanks for Sharing: Neve's Nursery

I love getting pictures from customers and seeing where my art ends up.  These pictures come from Ontario Canada.  Caleigh found me at the one of a kind show and ordered a custom Aviary print  and Love Bird print to compliment her magical baby girl's room.  Later on she also ordered the Magenta Dandelions on paper from my Etsy shop, making her one of my best customers to date! 

As I'm sure you can tell by the beautiful way she brought this nursery together, Caleigh is an artist in her own right.  You can see some of her designs in her own Etsy shop: Penguin Papyrus

A few more details: 
Color - Orange Nut by Valspar
Bedding - Pottery Barn Kids
Green Table - Homesense 
Birth Announcement - Penguin Papyrus

July 07, 2011

Look at these photos ...and smile

What a fun spin (pun intended)  on taking summer pictures.  I love not only the motion but also the sheer joy of the moment captured on the faces.

You can view more spinning children here at krmall's flickr gallery.  Also get tips on how some of these pictures were taken and so you can take your own action shots. 

July 06, 2011

There are Cartoons on My Kitchen Wall

           I’m not a big fan of comic books. A big fan? I’m not even a small fan. That’s not to say that I don’t like comic books, it’s just that I find them…well…how shall I say it?...I find them…geeky. Highly geeky. Incredibly geeky. Astronomically geeky. Geeky enough to make it into the Geek Hall of Fame, the inaugurations of which, I am sure, are probably held during the yearly Southern California assembly commonly known as Comic-Con, a sort of Lollapalooza or Burning Man for comic book fans, only without all the public nudity and consumption of psychedelics.

            Now, I know that comic books have come to be respected in recent years. And I know that comic books are inventive and creative and imaginative and innovative and whatnot. And I know that they are viewed as an “art form” into which a lot of work goes, storytelling, drawing, character development, and all the rest. And I know that comic books are actually referred to by anyone in the know, and by all those who wish not to be mocked, as “graphic novels.” They even have their own section in Barnes & Noble. Batman and the X Men movies, amongst other comic outlets, some as literary, and Pulitzer Prize winning, as Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, have proved to solidify the art form into the common parlance.

But all the same, I just could never bring myself to care one way or the other about comic books. They always seemed dated to me. Like something out of the 1950s for teenage boys. Like baseball cards. Or yo-yos. Or pin up girls.

Then my wife found an object lying out on the curb in front of The Paley Center for Media in Midtown Manhattan. Apparently, the custodians of the joint were doing a demotion or renovation of sorts, or maybe a simple cleaning of house, and many of the artifacts which had lined the walls of the place apparently had been deemed no longer fit to represent The Paley Center and subsequently had been put out on the street to die the death of the unwanted.

This particular item that my wife scooped up was a paint on Plexiglas rendering of a man and a dog overlooking a book written by a certain C.H.J. Waker (a name that to this day means absolutely nothing to me; exhaustive investigations into the origin of the aforementioned moniker have resulted in, precisely, zilch). The precise reason my wife grabbed this particular piece of garbage off the street, an act she has hitherto never been known to commit for any object of any value, was that the dog on the painting reminded her or her dog (i.e. our dog), a Wire Hair Fox Terrier named Oscar.

Upon completing a rudimentary amount of research, it was discovered by this prying mind that the duo in the painting (which we had professionally backed and framed) was none other that the famous Tintin and Snowy.

Alright. That’s great. Who are Tintin and Snowy?

As it turns out, a lot of people know who Tintin and Snowy are. The pair are even familiar to Steven Spielberg, who is currently putting the finishing touches on a live action feature film about the Belgian twosome (a tidy little fact I wish I’d known before I’d gone and gotten my Tintin and Snowy tattoo—see: photo—but more on that later).

Tintin and Snowy are the creation of one Hergé (AKA, Georges Remi—and here’s how his nom de plume works: Hergé is pronounced are-gee, like the letters R and G; the initials of Hergé’s real name, Georges Remi, are G and R, obviously; turn those initials around and you get R G, pronounced are-gee, Hergé, get it?). It should be noted that this Hergé, or Georges Remi, was a Nazi sympathizer during the Second World War, although I, the Recent Paterfamilias, feel it is neither fair, nor appropriate, to judge an artist’s art by an artist’s politics. I will say here that enjoy Hergé’s work, although, admittedly, his stuff must be looked at through an adjusted cultural and ethnically sensitive microscope. And of course one always hopes not to see the opinions of the creator (Hergé) in the form of his creation (Tintin).

But the reason I became such a fan of the Tintin comic books was not because of Tintin. It was because of Snowy. Snowy is awesome. Snowy, like any well-bred Terrier, is full of attitude. I have a favorite quote of Snowy’s from the dozen or so Tintin and Snowy adventures I’ve read: while prancing about the decks of an arctic-bound freighter in matching fur-lined coat, hat, and boots, Snowy says, via thought bubble, “I’m going to cause a sensation!” This statement sums up the personality of Fox Terriers to perfection.

I’m also not certain if I like Tintin and Snowy because of, or in spite of, the fact that, unlike other comic books, the protagonists are not superheroes. They have no super powers. Snowy is a Terrier and Tintin is a journalist. Tintin’s supernatural ability, I suppose, might consist of getting articles to press fact checked and in under deadline.

But all the same, it is Snowy the Wire Hair Fox Terrier that I like. Which is why I got that tattoo. Three weeks after I got that tattoo, our Wire Hair Fox Terrier, Oscar, for whom the tattoo was intended to honor, was dead from a very short, but very painful, battle with thrombocytopenia (the resultant tattoo-related superstitions inherent in my body art decision are currently scheduled to be discussed and elaborated upon in a future Note from the Paterfamilias). But that original piece of art, or “found item,” of paint on Plexiglas, is still there, hanging in our kitchen, a fan favorite of many who pass our threshold.

I can’t say that my impression of comic books, or graphic novels as I understand they are called, would have been altered as much if my wife had brought home a Cowboys and Aliens or Green Lantern painting she’d found lying on the side of the road, although, had the cowboys or the aliens or the Green Lantern or Rocketman or Captain America or Kavalier or Clay have had as a trusty sidekick a good-looking, beauty-boy of a pure-bred, show-quality Terrier, this paterfamilias might have been persuaded. It all comes down to the sidekick, I suppose, and in my view at least, Robin and Jughead and Aqualad and the She-Hulk simply do not possess the same je ne sais quoi. But, frankly, how could they?

Brief Side Note: She-Hulk? Really?