Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Seasons of Decoration

I spend so much time cleaning up and trying to clear things out...the big declutter.  Then October hits and it is all out the window. We have entered the Seasons of Decoration. The kids could hardly wait for October and now that it is upon us the house is full of stuff. 

Fall is the time of decoration. First Halloween with spooky delights. Then Thanksgiving harvest and then of course the Grand daddy of holidays- Christmas. For Halloween we do simple decorations but the house still feels different to me. It can be as simple as the focus on color palette- adding black, playing with orange, rearranging and combining. And of course sometimes it's the treasures hidden away for 12 months, waiting to come out and play. I have to admit I really love some of my specially selected holiday decorations. They have personality. Pedro my Day of the Dead skeleton keeps me company while I cook. I'm tempted to keep him out all year.

Simple. Warm colors. Fall harvest, October oranges...enjoy...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Halloween Stamps

October is here...time to get in the Halloween spirit! Thanks again to the great designers with American Art Stamp for all the creative delights with my stamps!! Top to bottom, the designers are Janine Orchard (top two pumpkin cards), Amy Rohl, and Christina Fischer. Check out more of their great creations at American Art Stamp!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Young Seamstress

My daughter finished a quilt making class and this is her quilt. It is actually not the first quilt she's made. My mother, an avid sewer and quilter, has worked on numerous projects with her, but they have been the size for her American Girl doll. She has her own sewing machine and supplies and is quite motivated to create things. I couldn't be prouder. My grandmother loved Vogue patterns and making fashionable clothes. My mother made many outfits for us, whirring away on her Pfaff sewing machine, an early gift from my father. It was sturdy and made from steel, like the kinds you'd see in a factory. It was a scary machine with the middle speeds burned out so it went from barely moving to full race car. It had a tempermental knee pedal and that is the machine I learned to sew on. Now I am not a great seamstress by any means. To me, sewing is a creative activity for exploring stitch and texture on quilts, fabric or paper and mixed media. I sew up the binding on a book mock-up, make bags and totes, and shorten jeans, basic stuff. But I do know the difference between a raglan sleeve and a set-in sleeve and some parts come back to me with just a little reminding. And as for the old Pfaff, well today my mother does most of her sewing with her smooth-purring Bernina on numerous creative and contemporary quilts, making colorful, textural art pieces.

So I am very happy to see my 10 year old daughter have an interest in sewing. When some friends were over for dinner the other night, her friend had a small rip in her dress that started to spread. My daughter got out her sewing machine and fixed the dress while the rest of the kids were swimming in the pool and having fun. Sometimes I think she is 10 going on 40. She looked satisfied that she could do it and I didn't help her at all. She creates projects in her mind to make. Is this something that is passed down and is in your blood? I can feel the influence of generations of women in our family that have sewn and created with fabric and thread.
And all of it made with love.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gentle Pushes

my dear friend friend whose writing makes me laugh and sigh and opens a door to the soul- you feel like you KNOW her when you read her posts. And I am blessed to actually KNOW her, to know the real person and know the she is as spendid as the writing would entice you to believe. She is a gift.

I ran into Corine today. We had a brief discussion on the walk up to the school to pickup kids, and it was a fun moment laughing about the HOARDERS show on A&E. She had just blogged about it. I had just watched an episode my husband recorded this weekend (strategically left in the recorder in hopes of motivating me). It was the first time I had seen it. I sat up watching past midnight while everyone else slept...horrified, not by the people, but by the similarities I shared with them. My heart was pounding in an uncomfortable way, exposed, uncertain, shaky. Yes, I can walk through my rooms. Yes, most of my house is pretty normal and streamlined. But my office...well, it is my territory of cluttered, saved, stored, smooshed, piled and lost items. And a lot of other hidden spaces are as well, including the coat closet, my clothes closet, the laundry room, the pantry, the linen cupboard...ANY cupboard. The show ended and I got up. 1am.  While everyone else slept I cleaned out the space under the bathroom sink, wishing instead I had a dump truck outside and could start on my office, knowing I needed to go back to sleep so I could tackle more with the early morning light. 

And tackle more I did. 8 bags of recycling later and finally finishing some badly needed paperwork. My friend Susan came over and helped me go through some piles and a milk crate of papers that I have been carting around for over a year. It was uncomfortable to have someone else go through MY stuff. She commented that I started working faster because of the panic at having someone else do it. Yes. Sometimes a kick in the butt is what we need. A flame to the fire. Getting out of our comfort zone.

The clean-up is still in progress but it is so incredibly motivating. I believe you do need to make room for the new. If your space is too full, then you don't have breathing space to let the new wonderful prospects come to you. Every time I declutter I find money, gift cards, unexpected surprises and treasures. And wonderful things happen...the call about a new project, a submission gets excepted, something good comes to fruition. The space makes new things bloom. It's like I am asleep under a warm and heavy wool blanket and when I throw the covers off I find Spring has come and it's glorious.

So back to Corine and today. We talked about how the Universe can give you that push to move you forward when you can not do it for yourself. It comes in uncomfortable ways like losing the job that was crushing your soul so you can move into work that makes your heart sing. Disappointment from a friend so you become stronger on your own. And even having a hard drive crash so you don't waste time in the past but work with what is new and fresh in your mind. Ouch. It all hurts. But there is a valuable push in there somewhere. It is part of releasing the clutter, clearing the space and more importantly, clearing the mind.

Ah, and now I must listen to my own words. No, my hard drive did not crash, thank goodness and knock on wood. But I have felt the push. As I visited Corine's site, I saw the images of my fabrics, ready for the world to see. 

And my heart about stopped.
Yes, they are out in stores and I am proud of them. But I have been waiting for the time to show them more, to send them to other blogs, when I have sample items made to REALLY show the fabrics more.  Waiting for...waiting for what? Why not now? Corine, you have given me a needed push I had not given myself. Show it more to the world. Get out of my comfort zone. So I am going to try to live according to my own advice (ouch again!) and be living what is new and fresh in my mind and not hoarding my gifts to share and stalling in my "someday" cluttered talk in my head. 

Thank you my dear friend for my needed push.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Facebook Birthday Gift

Social networking. Today was the “social” part, the part about reconnecting with old friends and colleagues. I’m on facebook but haven’t really used it regularly and explored all the options. It was my birthday yesterday and I had the loveliest flow of birthday messages through facebook- it really warmed my heart. But the best surprise of all was a chat window open with a “Hi Robin” from an old friend I haven’t talked with much for years. She lives in Chicago, a place I called home for 8 1/2 years before moving to Los Angeles. We also were both in the School of Art at the University of Michigan and that alone bonds us in a lasting and unique way. A simple answer back and we were chatting away, catching up on what we’ve been doing for the last number of years, what is ahead, big life plans and little ‘what is for dinner’ plans. I forgot how large her vision is and how deep her thoughts. Little bits reminded me. And we had a laugh about a life theory of mine that she still quotes, that sometimes you have to close your eyes and run blindly into the light. 

Yes, honeydew, it brings it all back. And I can close my eyes and remember a life I used to live in a different place. The smells of fall, living in the same neighborhoods, meeting at the Melrose for brunch, drinking lots and lots of coffee, wind whipping our cold faces downtown, the metal stairs at The Reader, little Camerino, Albert and Vera, heated discussions, laughing till it hurt and we couldn’t breathe. The moody seasons, the spectacular architecture, music and plays... there was always something to go and do. The busy, thriving pace of city life. Life there was often so very intense.

And I love my life now, in a very different place and a very different existence. But what a treat to be transported back to a girl I used to be. It’s like finding the book you lost and remembering why you liked the characters so much, why the writing touched your heart and why the thrill of it made it hard to put down. So in a very unexpected way, a little facebook chat turned out to be the best birthday gift I could have imagined. Thank you girlfriend.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Deco Park Trees

I saw this image on the Robert Kaufman Fabric website. I love how they put the Deco Park patterns into the tree shapes! How cute! I think this is a great idea for handmade cards or wall art. I think I'll try one myself...

And Robert Kaufman also has bundled Deco Park into fat quarters and roll-ups for fun with a whole color family.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Big Bear Camping

Summer vacation. Camping. Kids singing, running, riding bikes and making s'mores. We went camping with a mixture of friends, some of whom we know well, others we met for the first time as friends of friends. Late discussions around the fire. Seeing night sky so dark and deep that the stars come alive in symphony. Birds squawking and tweating and mocking. Squirrels who scope out the scene then zig zag up to steal food. Sunshine making lace patterns on the ground. The pace of life just slows down.

One of the families brought up art supplies and the kids drew and painted in their "ladybug club." They hung their masterpieces along clothesline strung through the trees. They had an Open House to show us the art one night when it was dark, the pictures illuminated by lanterns and flashlights. It was magical and beautiful.

How nice to be a couple hours drive to the mountains. A lovely break. I must admit it feels good to now be back home, clean and showered, well rested in my own bed. Laundry buzzing, clothes to put away, activities to get back to...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

birthday wishes

Michelle Giraud created these cards using one of my birthday cake stamps from American Art Stamp. The pink card uses paper from K&Company with smooth metallic paint. I love the pink scalloped edge and ribbon with buckle. On the yellow card Michelle popped up the cake portion for more dimension. Check out more great ideas at the American Art Stamp blog.

Friday, July 17, 2009


I think the yoga girls are my favorite stamps. I did the poses showing flowers and vines flowing out with the direction of movement. I love taking yoga classes. When I leave I am truly peaceful and I have such great energy. I think of breathing beauty in and out when stretching and I wanted to capture that radiant feeling through the flowers. I look forward to adding more poses to this group of illustrations. Gives me motivation to do more yoga!

Amy Rohl and Michelle Giraud did these cards with the yoga girl stamps. Amy's card uses a blender pen for coloring in the girl. Michelle paper pieced the outfit together out of a cute polka dot paper for hers. Wouldn't it be clever to use theses stamps to make identification tags for your yoga mat carrying bag? Or to encourage your exercise partner in an inspirational way?


Halloween Stamping Fun

Thanks to Amy Rohl and Janine Orchard at the American Art Stamp blog for coming up with these cute halloween treats using my stamps!!! Janine's card is stamped with Memento black ink and colored with Copics. She embellished with glitter and sparklers for a really cute Halloween card. Amy's treat bag uses the cat trick-or-treater on green cardstock, matted and button-secured to this bag and decorated with ribbon and ric rac. Halloween trick-or-treaters are available through American Art Stamp.

Thanks Amy and Janine!

Monday, July 13, 2009

American Art Stamp

I have samples of my new stamps with American Art Stamp! They are rubber stamps available mounted on wood block or as clings for acrylic stamping blocks. I am so excited! I just got back from the craft store and buying some clear blocks so I can try the clings. 

American Art Stamp makes all their stamps here in the USA, in California. They've been making stamps for about 30 years and have great lines with artists including Emerson Quillin, Karen Stolper and Marsha McCarthy. I am thrilled to be included with their group of creative artists.  Currently there are about 25 different Robin Pickens designs available including my yoga girls, Halloween images, birthday cakes and Christmas birds. You can order them directly from American Art Stamp. 
Robin Pickens Stamps:

And check out their blog with talented designers showing you great cards and ideas with stamps

Happy stamping!!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Life is a blur

Where has time gone? It's been a while. Awhile since I posted. Awhile since I had fun like this dancing and laughing at blurred pictures the next day. This is how my life feels- active, colorful, fast-moving- moments of time rushing by...

Life has been very busy. I'm working with an agent now, Julie Newman of Jewel Branding and Licensing, and yes, she is in these blurry pictures out on the dance floor. These pictures were taken in Las Vegas, after the Licensing Expo, on our last night. It was a fun time and a needed celebration after the long hours, the stress, and work of getting ready and exhibiting at the show. It is exciting for me to be working with Julie. I have another person to bounce things off of, she sees things with a fresh set of eyes and thinks of areas for my work that I never considered. She has strengths in different areas than I do and I am able to focus more on doing my creative work. Julie had a booth at Licensing Expo and it was great to meet new companies as well as see people from other companies that I already enjoy working with. I've exhibited at Surtex in NY for the past three years and this was my first year at the Licensing Show. Just being there was exhilarating and left me filled with enthusiasm. Since I've returned home the pace hasn't changed too much. Only now the kids are out of school and I am finally, finally, finally getting a full night of sleep. And I have some exciting new projects I am working on. Stay tuned...

It's good to be back!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Right-brained quiltmaking

I have a variety of projects in various stages of progress. I'm a great starter but a bit more challenged in the completion part of the process. Ah, but part of creativity is the DOING, the joy of the activity. And with quilting I love the piecing. Being a right-brained, intuitive kind of designer, I like to randomly cut and put together and cut some more, replace, lay it out and see how it feels. I don't follow a pattern because my life has enough logical rules and instructions. For me, this is a time to be free and play with color and blocks and pattern. This grouping of blocks (and I don't know if there is a name for such a rectangular pattern/random piecing as this) I started in the hopes of making a quilt for our king sized bed. I'm scaling down my vision a bit because I would like to get to the sewing part someday. So a bit smaller but probably big enough to wrap up in while watching tv. I usually spread my pieces out on the floor to get some perspective and see how I am balancing the composition overall. Of course the downside to this dogs. I believe Roxy thinks I'm making this for her.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


A friend commented on her learning to "find her voice" while writing for her blog. It makes me think about how we, as artists, express ourselves through words when we are so used to doing it in images. Certainly I made it through school and can do the basics of writing. But it is a strange world to be in- this blogging world- where images abound but the expression of self is just as important through word.  I rely on my skills as a visual artist to communicate. Perhaps the visual images give me something of a crutch, a comfortable place where I am confident with my abilities and in a safe range. 

Drawing comes easily to me- words make me work. 

Writing seems like a zipper that can slide down without my realizing it and expose a bit too much. Brave new world of expression for out loud in excited, emotional, crazy mixed-up words. Looking for my voice, wondering if it always coexists with image and color. Is it possible to extricate the words from the visuals in my mind and allow them to grow on their own? Would they even be the same if I did not dream them in color?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Spring in the air

I was walking the other morning and rounded the corner to these flowers covering the bushes across someone's front lawn. Same block I am on every day but today it was splendid and announcing itself in color and glory. Did I not see this yesterday because my mind was too busy thinking about getting my tax paperwork together (yes, I know, a little late for that thought)? Or did all of these blooms really come out, perfectly timed, to greet me today? I'm not sure how long they have been blooming, how many days I missed seeing them, but I guess what matters is I saw them today and it stopped me in my tracks. Bright, happy, full of life and color...dancing in the sun, perky in the morning crispness. Any worries seem to melt away when you see something as lovely and simple as that. I know they won't stay forever, so enjoy now. Take a moment, slow down, and enjoy.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


So here are snippets from two of the other colorways of my Deco Park fabrics for Robert Kaufman. It's impossible for me to pick a favorite color group because, just like children, they are each unique and beautiful in their own ways. I think I will first work up some projects with the Autumn-toned group. There is something warm and calming about them. Perhaps it is because I love Fall and its crisp woody smell. I am imagining a table runner since I have some great green and black dishes and a lovely Walnut dining room table. I can picture candles softly picking up the glint of the gold. Today I'm off to look at some patterns and imagine what could be...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Gloriously Happy.

Gloriously happy is how I feel when I get new product samples of my designs. I take the samples out of the box and rub my fingers over the smooth new surface, smell the fresh printing ink and lovingly  inspect the items. It is such an exhilarating feeling to have your work out there in the world. Sometimes I'm so thrilled that I do a little happy dance. I'm glad no one is here at the time to see it other than the dogs because I'm not the most coordinated, but the dogs get excited, jump and bark and think they are getting a treat. So when I opened up my box from Robert Kaufman Fabrics I expected to be happy, but was surprised at how truly emotional it felt. My fabrics, 7 designs in 3 different colorways, took my breath away. They did a beautiful job taking my designs and crafting them into colorful repeats, glinting with gold metallic ink and saturated with color. The quality is excellent and I am so proud to have my name on them. My line is Deco Park and it will be shipping in July. Thank you Robert Kaufman Fabrics!