i lava you a lot

It all started when my kiddo gave me a homework assignment:

After drawing a lava monster, he set out paper and a crayon on my desk for me to draw my own. As usual, I was focused on the tasks I wanted to accomplish that day, but something made me slow down enough to appreciate his assignment, and I drew a lava monster for him.

img_0807
The rest of that week, the three of us kept saying to each other, “I lava you … THIS much!” in monster voices of varying pitches.
So, I decided to print my monster as a risograph at Outlet PDX, the studio and print shop run by Kate Bingaman-Burt, and turn the lava monster into a valentine’s day card.
Risographs are like silkscreens, every color you want to print needs to be a separate drawing. Then, each drawing/color has to line up (register) just right, or intentionally overlap. I have no technology to do this for me, plus I had fun doing it by hand, but it took patience and multiple drafts. I could feel my brain rewiring itself as I tried to think of each color as a black shape or line.
img_1168

I cheered when the first color came out–magical to watch the monster go from black shapes on white paper to fluorescent orange and pink on pink paper.

IMG_1191.jpg
The final results made me so happy, I thought there must be others who will want to give this card to a loved one, a friend, a mom or grandma, or for Valentine’s Day. Now I have enough cards for my kiddo to give to classmates and a few to sell as well.
img_1196
Truthfully, and as some of you know, I don’t really love Valentine’s Day. I feel like it puts too much pressure on couples and singles. However, embracing it from a kid’s point of view and expressing exuberant love/lava has made it more fun. So, Valentine’s Day or not, I hope you have many people in your life who lava you a lot!
As always, thank you for reading and following me along at Carrot Condo. Your interest in my work keeps me motivated and happy.
–TRISTA

tell me what’s ahead

Happy new year to you. I hope 2019 is off to a good start. Do you celebrate the new year? Make resolutions? Or is the 1st just another day?

Sometimes the new year doesn’t feel like anything special to me. Other times, it feels good to step forward into something new. This year I’m feeling optimistic, which is nice, so I’m holding onto that feeling for as long as I can.

img_0833
More about this design soon!

For Carrot Condo, 2018 was a good year. I had fun making things, I learned a lot during the making-process of each product, and I managed to stay patient enough not to give up due technical challenges. I built up some tenacity in 2018 that has already helped me out in the new year as I continue to tackle technology.

So, what about 2019? What do you want to see at Carrot Condo? What should I create?

I have ideas. And I’ve already started a few projects. But it helps me to hear what others think. At recent craft bazaars, I got a lot of requests for cat illustrations. Also, my tiny stationery tins nearly sold out (only two left). And my monsters made a lot of people smile and chuckle.

I know I whined about how labor-intensive the tiny stationery sets were, but …… I’ve decided to do more. A few anyway. Maybe a few more owls. Maybe cats. Maybe bats.

IMG_9558

What else? And what are your plans for 2019? What are your thoughts for the new year? I’d really like to hear. You don’t have to leave a message here, if it feels too public. Email, or send me a message in FB or IG.

However your year has started, I sincerely hope you have plenty of days of cheer,  friendship, and adventure in the year ahead.

Thank you, as always, for reading.

–TRISTA

 

a flood of books

On Sunday, December 30th, at Nordic Northwest in SW Portland, I will have a table of Carrot Condo creations at Portland’s first “Jolabokaflod,” which means: Yule Book Flood.

Jolabokaflod3

Margaret Pinard organized the event and explains that Jolabokaflod is an “Icelandic national holiday where people exchange books as gifts on Christmas Eve then spend all night hiding away and reading them over mugs of hot chocolate (spiked or not!).”

This is my kind of holiday! Books, reading all night, and hot chocolate? I’m in! For us in Portland, it will be near New Year’s Eve rather than Christmas. In addition to an impressive line up of authors selling their books, there will be Nordic music and fairy tales performed.

You can get the full schedule here on Facebook or here on Instagram.

I’m excited to be a part of this inaugural event, and I hope to see you there!

PS: I finally made business cards!! (And I’ll have the last of these magnets at the Yule Book Flood event.)

Screenshot_2018-11-07 Trista Cornelius on Instagram “After a great experience at the All Saints Holiday Bazaar Saturday, I [...]-1

introverted monster sells crafts

It’s craft-show season for me at Carrot Condo! The next one is: Llewellyn Holiday Market on Saturday, November 10th from 10am-5pm at 6301 SE 14th Avenue in Portland.

Image result for llewellyn holiday market

Then, on Saturday, December 1, from 10am-3pm I’ll be at the Lewis Holiday Bazaar and Tree Sale at 4401 SE Evergreen Street in Portland.

Image result for lewis holiday bazaar

Last weekend’s bazaar at All Saints in NE Portland was great!

I sold a lot of Carrot Condo creations–the tweet-sized stationery is going fast!! (See previous blog post.)

Friends stopped by, and I caught up with a bunch of lovely folks I wish I got to see more often. Hearing about career changes, new puppies, creative projects, and so much more was so inspiring!

I met new customers–one is named Trista! We’re about the same age, and we both said we’ve only known two other Tristas in our lives, so we’re each other’s third Trista. That was pretty cool.

And a man in his late 70s or very early 80s stopped by and admired my biking monsters (I have some framed originals as well as this card). monster on bikeMy illustrations sparked some memories for him, and he told me about “The Vegetable Man” that came through his neighborhood with a cart and mule when he was a child. The gentleman remembered the vegetable seller’s name and admired his Italian accent as his mother negotiated prices each week. I can tell you this for sure: when I drew my goofy, but determined, biking monsters, I did not expect them to deliver such great stories!

These craft bazaars can be a long day for a quiet introvert like me, but I am grateful for the chance to catch up with friends and meet such lovely new customers and fellow vendors.

I’ll hope to see you on November 10 or December 1st! Thank you, as always, for your interest in Carrot Condo and my creative work.

 

 

 

tweet-size stationery: hoot hoot!

IMG_9539A collection of empty Altoid tins inspired the most painstaking and rewarding project I’ve made yet: tweet-sized stationery. These tins are too sturdy and useful to send straight to recycling, so how could I re-purpose them?

IMG_9566

I attended a meeting of the PDX Correspondence Coop, a group of people who gather every month to revere vintage typewriters, postage stamps, and old-fashioned letter writing. A co-op member demonstrated how to make tiny envelopes. —-Bing! The idea came together in my head but took weeks to figure out.

I did the whole thing analog, meaning: all by hand with a wooden ruler, measuring and testing and folding until it fit perfectly. Then, I took my drawings to the printer, then I hand cut every single page of stationery and envelope, THEN folded and glued.

I also painted the tins, cut out tiny pieces of felt, and patiently glued them to the top of each tin. One fun fact: visiting the “googly eye” section of a craft store is great fun. I turned the corner, saw the dozens of different sized and colored eyeballs staring back at me and started laughing so hard I could not stop. Definite pick-me-up.

IMG_9558

These tiny owls leave you just enough room for messages that get straight to the heart of the matter, like: “I hope you have a good day. I love you. –Mom” or a haiku!

IMG_9565

I’ve got these in my Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/CarrotCondo: 12 sheets of stationery all with different owls, and 6 self-sealing envelopes also with different owls, that fit inside the re-purposed Altoid tin. They cost $18.50 plus shipping.

IMG_9588

If you like these, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I have at least one more design in mind (monsters, of course), but I’m not yet ready to commit the time and energy. So in the meantime, I’m taking notes on anything I’d do differently. Ironically, I may not make the tins again. Still deciding.

Thank you, as always, for your interest in my creative endeavors! I’ll be in some craft shows soon and would love to see some of you PDX folks in person. More about that next month.

–TRISTA

What would you do for 100 days?

Sometimes, I am most successful when I *think* the least. In April, I committed to completing an illustration every day and sharing it on social media for 100 days straight.

I plodded through my usual task-filled days, but all the while, I drew with little time to think about it other than “get it done.”

Before I knew it, 100 days were over, and I am only now making time to reflect.

IMG_9474
This is me cheering myself on–the most valuable skill I gained from #the100dayproject.

In short? I learned much more than I realized as I was doing it. I discovered:

—if I did my drawing in the morning, a feeling of accomplishment followed me throughout the rest of the day, making everything else, even completely unrelated tasks, feel easier.

—completing the daily challenge at night felt much harder, and I almost always disliked the result. BUT…

—done is better than perfect. It really and truly is. Repeat that: done is better than perfect.

—but also, Carrot Condo followers gave me much support and frequently liked an illustration I’d found unsatisfying. I learned that just because I feel bad about something doesn’t mean it is bad. Set it aside for a day or two and then assess.

These lessons apply to most anything, not just creative work. Something else I do every day is make meals for my little family: breakfast-lunch-dinner day in and day out. One night, I lamented that I wasn’t making anything particularly good. Supportive soulmate said, “ It’s fine.” Kiddo sits down to the table, takes a couple of bites, looks up at me: “Mommy? Is this dinner?”

Done is better than perfect. Done is better than perfect. Done is better than perfect.

Thanks to this challenge, I now have 100 illustrations I would not have otherwise. The pressure of daily practice forced me to try new things and follow through whether I loved it or not. The challenge out-paced perfectionism.

IMG_9481
The cake my friend gave me to celebrate completing 100 days!

You can see all 100 illustrations at: #100daysofcheer, and you can still comment to let me know what you think. You’ll certainly be seeing variations of some of these at craft shows this winter. More on that next month.

Thank you for your interest in my work at Carrot Condo. Your support keeps me motivated!

—TRISTA

monsters lost: love found

It worked out to tie finger-puppet monsters to my Valentine’s Day cards for my kiddo’s class:

We had two left over that we raced in little cars after breakfast Valentine’s Day morning. The cars’ license plates said: “B.YOU” and “JUSTB.” Good Valentine’s Day messages, which made us think of “Our Person” at the gas station.

First, you must know that in Oregon, we are not allowed to pump our own gas. IMG_7343You pull up to a gas station, roll down your window, and wait for an attendant to help you. I’ve never liked this process, but a few years ago, we started going to the same gas station because of one particular attendant.

She’s petite with naturally wavy graying hair, and seems shy until she smiles. Her smile says a lot, full of genuine care and attention. Because I didn’t know her name, I started calling her “Our Person,” and now, if she’s ever not there, my kiddo laments with true concern, “Where’s Our Person?”

Racing cheerful monsters in even more cheerful cars made us think of her, so the kiddo colored my “It’s fun to share with a friend” card in vivid pink for her, and we attached it to a chocolate bar. On our way out the door, the kiddo insisted on bringing his two finger-puppet monsters by stowing them away in the hood of his coat. I figured he wanted to show them to our friend.

At the station, we hopped out of the car (we didn’t need gas), found our attendant, and gave her the treat. She appreciated the surprise and took time to admire the enthusiastic coloring. As we left, the kiddo realized his finger puppets were gone. We looked everywhere and decided they must have fallen out at home on the porch. When we got home hours later, the kiddo glanced around the porch but didn’t ask about the missing monsters. I decided I’d better not bring them up.

Two full weeks later, we pull up for gas. It’s crowded and someone else helps us, but through the mash of cars, “Our Person” glides over, says something to the other attendant who moves away, and there she is, smiling in our window. We chat, and then she says:

“Oh, I almost forgot. I have something that is yours. I’ve been putting it in my pocket each day in case you stop by.”

And out she pulls the two finger-puppet monsters! There they are, waving their sinewy arms excitedly. IMG_7647I notice a smudge of black on each of them and realize they must have fallen out of the car right under a tire, and, well…I probably drove right over them as we left the gas station.

The kiddo and I are both thrilled, but what he’s too young to ponder is this: Every day, for two weeks, “Our Person” has been putting the little monsters in the pocket of whatever pants she wears that day, pulling them out at the end of the day, and putting them in the next day’s pocket, just to be sure she has them ready for when we stop by.

It’s a small gesture that says so much about attention, kindness, care, and concern for others.

Her thoughtfulness and deliberate kindness fuels my hope in humanity as a whole. I’ve never liked Valentine’s Day, but for this year it turned out to be a good chance to celebrate friendship and kindness and to appreciate people for who they are. JUST B.YOU