Getting in the Mood

Took our annual trip to the pumpkin patch today, woohoo! 
So many pumpkins to choose from. . .

. . . but I went with good ole orange. Three of 'em! And I carved them up, stuck in some stick arms and a carrot nose. . . and voila, it's a Pumpkinman! I haven't bought any little candles yet, so for now Pumpkinman is empty inside. So sad.

Got the house's outsides ready for attracting trick-or-treaters too.
A plastic tablecloth + scissors + tape = cheap and easy Halloweeny windows.

Busted out my favorite non-perishable pumpkins (and a crow) today too, so the mantle is adequately festive. (That paper cut thingy was done by College Girl for Dylan's last birthday. She's so cool.)

Even Lulu and Tuzy are getting into the spirit. 
(Not really. Really, I'm just a dork with access to Photoshop.)

Hope I get lots of trick-or-treaters! 
But not sooo many so that I run out of candy and end up having to give some disappointed kid something lame like. . .oh, I dunno. . . canned soup? 

Have any of you ever run out of candy? What does one do in such a situation?
Turn out all the lights and hide?



 We took a day trip to see College Girl on Sunday.
10 hours roundtrip for a 6-hour vist. Totally worth it. Love that girl!


Owl Make My Own Calendar

Shivani over at My Owl Barn has put together a cool project for you to play with. It's a collaborative effort between My Owl Barn and 45 different artists. You get to pick your favorites and print out a little calendar. Or make lots of little calendars. You could also make them into owlicious cards or gift tags, circling the date of the gifting occasion. Lots of possibilities! I printed my selections on regular computer paper and then cut them out and glued them to pretty cardstock, rounding the corners. These are the ones I picked: (Yes, I included my own owls. Is that lame?)

January,                                 February,                             March. . .
April,                                      May,                                    June. . .
     July,                                 August,                             September. . .
        October,                              November,                        December. . .

The October one would make great invitations 
to a Halloween party, don't you think?

 Plus, My Owl Barn is having a give-away! Go here to enter.


Something-New Sunday

Here. . .

. . .here. . .

. . .and here.

Two new one-of-a-kinds and a one-of-nine.
I am having way too much fun over here!


Sneaky Peeky

Here's a little sneak peek at tomorrow's Something-New(s).
I wholeheartedly embraced my own silliness this week.
(As opposed to all those other weeks. Oh, wait. . .)


Thinking Pink

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Let's all pay some attention to our boobies.


An Uncharacteristically Wordy Post

I received the following email a couple days ago. We get asked variations of this question often enough that I wanted to share.

Hi Jo of Dylan & Jo,
First let me say I LOVE your creature creations. I follow your Blog and have you as a friend on Facebook, your artist page too "Cart Before The Horse."

I was recently given a sign ***let's say*** that it's time to kick start my artist life into full gear (by way of a lay-off) but I've been unhappy for some time just too afraid to make the leap. I'm a commercial interior designer by trade but an artist all my life. I must say you really inspire me and I hope I'm not being too forward -- I'd love to ask a question ???

How long did it take you and Dylan to really start seeing that this would be a way for you to have all the fun you're having and "make a living" ? I know it's different for different people.
Thank you for your time!

This is what I replied:

First of all, thank you! I'm thrilled to be of inspiration :)

This is a tricky question! I'll can only share our experiences with "making the leap". 
We moved to Oregon from Florida in 2003 with nothing but our stuff. No jobs lined up, no real plan, just the need to make a change. Dylan had always dreamed of making a living from home, but I wanted a steady paycheck, thinking it offered some sort of security. (As anybody who has been laid off can attest, this just isn't true.) I quickly got a couple of jobs, while Dylan stayed at home with the kids. I started making little paintings in my spare time and Dylan figured out how to sell them on ebay. It was a nice little added amount of money, but not significant enough to quit working full time. He chugged away at learning internet stuff and doing his share of helping with the art, while I felt the pressure of being the bread-winner (something he had done for the first ten years of our kids' lives).

Slowly but surely we were finding a niche for ourselves artistically speaking. Chug, chug, chug. . . Fast forward to three years later. . . The arty stuff had evolved and we started to get a following. I was making almost as much with the art as I was working, and work got less and less satisfying on account of I always wanted to be making art instead. It was Dylan who pushed me to quit my day job and pursue art full time. Seriously, he had been working on me for more than a year before I finally caved. It was really scary! But we did it, and continue to make a living doing what we love 5 years later.

The "living" we make isn't particularly grand, and there are always money concerns, but it was like that we were were gainfully employed too. Most of the year we live week-to-week. There is no 401k plan or health insurance. No fancy car or house on the hill. The thing is, it's not so hard being a little poor when you love what you do. I know plenty of miserable rich people. And I wouldn't trade the time I've been able to spend with my kids for anything. Any. Thing. We try to live within our means, recognize the difference between WANTS and NEEDS, and take comfort in the fact that in a couple of years our kids will be grown and we can live like paupers so we can manage to save up some money :)

Dylan recently did an interview for some magazine that really fits this conversation, so I'll just quote him:
He was asked, "What suggestions or words of encouragement do you have for people who want to support themselves with their art or any creative endeavor for that matter?" 

And he said, "It's worth it. Even if you never make a lot of money, even if it only provides a supplemental income, it's worth it. Using your talents is rewarding in itself. Suggestions? Work like the devil's chasing you. Work like it's sink or swim. Work, work, work! It doesn't take a certain amount of time to reach your goals, it takes a certain amount of work. Then it's time to set your goals higher and work some more. But if you're doing what you love, it won't feel like work. . .at least most of the time. It's a very rewarding life to see your ideas become reality." 

Dylan's good with words. Which, if you knew him, you would find funny on account of he's a really quiet guy.

I hope this helps at all. Best of luck! 


Today's Table (In the Works)

Today's table is all over the place. Kind of like my days lately. This year is going so quickly. It doesn't seem all that long ago that I posted this bony guy. . .

. . .but it was exactly one year ago today.

"Time flies. It's up to you to be the navigator."
-Robert Orben


Something-New Sunday

Finished up a couple of one-of-a-kind ornaments this week.
They're strawberrylicious!
(I like the pink one best.)

Lots more new designs in the works too,
but we've gotten a bit sidetracked by filling orders.

Hope you're all having a
strawberrylicious Sunday!


Design Day and Down South

Yesterday was a design day, wheee! Lots of new beasties in the works. Designs start with little sketches, then become templates (like these) which Dylan traces onto fabric. Then he sews, turns, stuffs (while watching some sort of entertainment on the computer), and hands them over to me. Blank and full of possibilities!

In other news. . .
Our goodies will be joining lots of other goodness down South next weekend. So if you're in the Atlanta area you should go and have some fun.


Today's Table (and Today's Shelf)

Playing with paper and paint again for something to be announced later. . .

And I couldn't help but snap a picture of the now-packed-up beasties as they said their goodbyes to the permanent Cart residents.
................. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .....................        

So, it's halfway through October and I haven't braved the garage (strictly Dylan's domain) to dig out the Halloween box. It's on today's list. And maybe making some big cut-out silhouettes for the windows might be in order. I'll have to think on it. How about you? Any Halloween going-ons at your houses yet? 



Playing with paper and paint in between making orders. It's always fun to do something different, even though it's not exactly way outta my wheelhouse. These designs are a first step in something new we'll be making. 

The rainy season (aka Not Summer) is upon us here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. The darkened days have me once again dreaming about lamps of all shapes and sizes for the studio. 
What are you dreaming about today?


Always Thinkin' Ahead

 Took a little break from Halloweeny stuff today to design something new for next month. We love Spoonflower! Working on some more sew-and-stuff stuff that'll be less oval-shaped too.



Tick Tock. . .

Halloween's just around the corner!
Wait? What?? Halloween's just around the corner? It's October already???

We were super busy this week, making stuff to go here and there. Most of the above goodies are packed up now, but I had to snap a picture of them enjoying each other's company before tucking them into their boxes. They just looked to festive! The big girls were loathe to let go of their tiny wards. There were tears, lots of goodbye hugs, and bribes of cupcakes.
 Lots of them (and many more) are headed to New York to accompany Jen O'Connor on her Earth Angels' adventures. If your looking to buy a piece from us that is sold out, Jen's a good one to check with; she just might have it.


Something-New Sunday

I stepped out of the box a bit this week and made a little box-shaped something new.

I think she looks like a drawing, but she's all paint.
You can see more (or even buy her) here.
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