Frozen: Natalie's First Theater Movie

After recording the podcast--while she waited oh so patiently--I took Natalie to see Frozen at AMC Southdale. She had never watched a movie at the theater before, and I hardly ever do anymore, so we were both very excited! Long story short it's a great movie and she had a great time.

We had some time to kill before the previews started so we walked around the mall a bit. Natalie was completely uninterested in the mall Santa, much to my relief. But we did have a chance encounter with a magical elf! In the second incredible coincidence of the day, we ran into my brother and his wife at the Games by James.

Frozen was delightful to the extent that it subverted expectations about what should happen in a Disney princess movie. And of course, since the plot is about two sisters, it hit me right in the dad feels. I'll admit it: I cried. Thanks, Disney.

Light Grey Art Lab Podcast

On Saturday, I visited my pals at Light Grey Art Lab to record a podcast, and today they posted it! It was super fun. We talked about the history of Craftstravaganza, behind-the-scenes secrets, inspiration and motivation. Give your ears an early Christmas gift and listen up!
Also in an amazing coincidence I just learned that some of the Light Grey team were vendors (under a different name) at our very first Craftstravaganza in 2006! Wow! The Twin Cities art community really is a small world and I feel lucky to be a tiny part of it.

Ignite Talk: Passion Projects

I was one of 20 speakers at the 6th Ignite Minneapolis event at the Riverview Theater. Remember when I did my Pecha Kucha Night presentation back in (holy crap) 2009? This is like that. 20 slides, 15 seconds each, for a total 5 minutes of terror.

No actually it was a lot of fun! I used my complimentary +1 ticket to bring along fellow Ignite speaker Micah Vono for moral support. The building was packed. I watched the first ten speakers from the audience, then we split for an intermission, and I got to kick off the second half.

The great audience energy carried me through my whole presentation. I got some applause and some laughter, especially from this slide, which popped up on Twitter a few times. It was an amazing experience. I'm already planning my next talk!

2013 Craft'za

The Craft'za this weekend was amazing. My week started early, filming with Fox 9 morning news on Wednesday, then live early morning spots on Friday with WCCO, and again on the morning of the show! This surely helped spread the word and the building was packed with shoppers all day.

I feel a little guilty that I didn't buy anything for myself except food. But we did buy tons of stuff for our families and finished all of our Christmas shopping! And the food was great: Gastrotruck turkey biscuits and gravy for breakfast, Messy Giuseppe sandwich for lunch, and a Natedog at the end of the day.

One regret: I meant to check out the hidden Bigfoot paintings but by the time I came around they were all gone! I oughta know better; they were even on TV. Celebrity shopper sightings included intrepid reporter MA Rosko (also on the hunt for Bigfoot) and Vincent Stall. And of course I always adore hanging out with our lovely vendors who are all super-stars in my book.

Rock Ink Roll Gallery Show

The original art for my DragonBall Jay-Z comic will be on display at Altered Esthetics during the run of the Rock Ink Roll show. I just dropped off my two framed pages yesterday and flipped through the printed anthology. I didn't make it into that, but when all the print copies are sold, they will release a free ebook version that does include my work!

I will try to attend the gallery opening on November 1. This is the first time that my artwork will be displayed in a (juried) exhibition, so I am excited. And if you don't know, now you know!

Meet & Greet

Craft'za is coming up (25 days away!) and we are in the home stretch for preparation. This Sunday we had our usual artist meet & greet at the venue and brought the kids along.

Jenna was thinking ahead and packed markers for them to color while we talked with our vendors and handed out posters and flyers. Natalie watched these transactions as she worked. When she finished her drawing, she whispered, "I hope someone will take my picture home."

We asked if she wouldn't rather keep it, but no--she saw people taking the poster daddy made, and she wanted someone to take her art too! A new vendor not only accepted but traded her one of his illustrated business cards. It was a proud moment.
"I think that parenthood takes away from you some of whatever is creative. It is very difficult to have children and create at the same time."

Gotta catch 'em all

Days of Eating Earth

The kids and I found a nice supply of Shaggy Mane mushrooms during a walk in the woods by our house. Natalie is becoming an expert mushroom spotter. Also she enjoys picking wildflowers on the side of the trail.

This was my first time finding edible wild mushrooms. After the rains last week I foraged a bag full of beautiful, fat, white buttons. They taste really good fried up with onions. I can't get anyone else to try them yet. Oh well, more for me!

Mix with tater tots, scrambled eggs and cheese to make a midwest breakfast scramble (I ate this for dinner). Be careful eating wild mushrooms, though. I did lots of research and tasted a tiny bit before going back the next day for more.

Back to School

Natalie started Kindergarten this fall and I rode on the bus with her for the first day of school. She's attending a Kindergarten Center and rides a full-length school bus with five other girls who all live within a mile of our house. In fact one of the girls lives in the apartment complex next door.

So anyway after she met her teacher and went to class, those of us parents who stayed at school were put to work preparing craft projects. I met a few of the other moms and got to use a sweet die cutter and heavy-duty paper cutter. (Christmas gift ideas?!)

A week later, I was back in Minneapolis on a Tuesday night for another semester at St. Thomas. I'm taking Business Law and Managerial Accounting. If all goes according to plan, this will be my last semester with more than one class. Meanwhile, the next three months could get a little rough.


I remembered that drawing is fun and I started making comics again and I submitted my work to a couple of places. First was Rock Ink Roll. I spent a lot of time on my submission and I'm really proud of it. It wasn't selected for the printed anthology but Kevin Cannon said he liked it and that is awesome.

Next I submitted a last-minute strip for the City Pages Comix Issue. That one wasn't published in the paper either but you can read it online here.

Maybe the third time's the charm? Altered Esthetics announced that they're planning an exhibition of single-panel comics, and that's perfect for the Family Hexagon strips I've been posting on Tumblr. I'm gonna draw a bunch more and submit the best one!

Natalie's last Twins game

All season I've been looking forward to the AZ Canteen stand (based on Andrew Zimmern's food truck). While we stood in line, I offered Natalie a bite of my Cabrito Burger. "No daddy," she shouted. "I'm not like you!"

Natalie got to choose one snack for herself. She was pretty set on ice cream (or was it popcorn?) until the cotton candy man walked by. She ate almost the entire thing and had a tummy ache on the way home. "I shouldn't have eaten that," she said.

Natalie took this photo. After an inning and a half she was bored so we wandered around Target Field, riding up and down the escalators and elevators. I told her that next time we go out, we'll just ride the train into town, get a snack, and go play at a park or something. Man if you could have seen her face light up then.
I got all these comics for 50 cents or a quarter each at the Chaska Library book sale.

Culinary Arts Competition

I was a judge for the Kitchen Window Culinary Arts Competition during this year's Uptown Art Fair. I saw they were looking for jurors to rate the art, so I applied for that originally. They didn't pick me as an art juror but asked if I'd be interested in eating food instead, which was even better!

My favorite photo is above and here's the whole photo set on Flickr. The competition was a lot of fun and it helped promote our craft fairs a little bit.

Between heats I walked around the fair and talked with artists. I met someone we'd rejected from Craftstravaganza, which was awkward, but I asked her to try again. Also got a nice leather belt from some dudes from Texas.

Wild turkeys and whitetail deer (mother and fawn) in our yard
Natalie playing our made-up Lego game

Date Night

Jenna and I don't get out of the house much--together without the kids, I mean. I don't remember the last time we went out alone. Jenna says it was my company's last holiday party, which was seven months ago. So when my mom offered to babysit we leapt at the chance!

Jenna was in the mood for sushi and Kai's has outstanding online reviews, plus it's relatively close in Chanhassen. We both ordered a plate of gyoza (vegetarian for her) followed by sushi: cucumber, avocado, and a spicy crunchy crab and tuna roll. Dessert was ice cream mochi. I had red bean; Jenna got mango.

Best dinner I've had all year. And the best part was spending it alone with my wife, while we tried to have conversations about something other than our kids or our craft fair (applications are open for Craft'za btw).

Fun With Bugs

We had some Great Black Wasps in the house. I don't like it. Even more I don't like the chiggers I picked up while I was in our woods two weekends ago. Only now has the itching mostly subsided. Nasty little things!

Natalie's 5th Birthday Party

Natalie asked for a cowgirl-themed party and Jenna--as always--delivered big time. My Little Pony Rides brought in a Shetland and an American (Buddy and Charlie) for the girls to ride. Natalie looks very serious because she is listening intently.

I made a wooden horse for this lasso game and drilled a hole in a block of wood for a horseshoe stake. Jenna gave the horse its mane and tail, and sewed some soft horseshoes. I'm grilling wieners in the distance.

Paisley and Lola, best friends forever.

Spring photo post

 Natalie and I went to a Carver Black Sox baseball game. It was a special day when the kids could practice with the team but she was too scared to do that. Instead she drew in my sketchbook and I ate her free hot dog.

 Natalie's first dance recital! She was a grasshopper and did a very good job. The boots are not part of her costume.

This is Paisley. Her hemangioma is gradually shrinking away as her face grows, so when she squints like this you can't even see it. She is walking and talking like a champ these days. And get a load of that curly hair!

Sketch'za on Tumblr!

Hey guys! I love widgets and I love Tumblrs, so I put my sketches on a Tumblr and put a widget on the side of the page where you can see the latest(?) sketches. Or it might be a random assortment of images from the feed... I don't know yet.

Anyway, I've been sketching a lot. It's fun!! I forgot how much I like to draw.

Sketchy Sunday

Aaaaaaaaaaaadventure Time!
Birds & Fish
Some Pokemons

Sketchy Saturday

I'm planning to draw the poster for this year's Craft'za. To motivate myself I'm going to try to post a few new drawings here each weekend. It's like when I was logging exercises, except this time I'm warming up my art muscles!
To kick things off, here is a quick sketch of Natalie and Paisley.
Gym Leader Sabrina, from Natalie's Pokemon manga
A cardinal.

2013 Flashback

Got some catching up to do on here. I've been logging my thrift shop adventures on Tumblr if you're into that kind of thing. This is the first year of my life I feel really confident about clothes, know what I'm looking for, and actually believe I look good in what I'm wearing. Speaking of shopping, I've purchased half the things I drew during Buy Nothing Month.

Natalie was on TV for the second time to promote Craftstravaganza. The first time was four years ago when she was just a little bitty baby! Paisley is talking up a storm and we really hope she'll transition to walking soon. She can do it, she's just been scooting so long that she doesn't want to. I took both kids to Free Comic Book Day. We grabbed a big of kid's books for Natalie and bought a gift for her first friend birthday party.

Meanwhile my second semester at St. Thomas is wrapping up. I took just one class this time, Financial Accounting. My paper was on EA which was fun because they just fired their CEO and got voted worst company in America for the second year running. Anyway, now I get a little break and soon we'll start planning for Craft'za #2 and fall semester.

That's a wrap: Craftstravaganza 2013

We had a good day at the Craftstravaganza. A nice lady bought my Pokemon triptych while I was buying Natalie a bun for lunch from People's Organic. And one of our vendors traded me a couple of his posters for the Pikachu portrait, to give to his daughter. So Natalie's not the only little girl obsessed with pocket monsters!

Jenna vetoed the purchase of a John Baizley print by Burlesque of North America, but I commissioned a painting from Taylor Lindgren. I bought some Mother's Day gifts too, of course. My favorite acquisition is a cigar box guitar from Soup Hunter.

I'd talked myself out of buying one, but Jenna convinced me, and I'm glad she did. I had a secondhand bass in college but quickly gave up learning to play and sold it back. Then years ago I bought a couple of cigar boxes from the local stogie shop to make my own guitar and also abandoned that project. So now I finally have one, and I swear this time I'm gonna learn to play!