Another trip to The Granada last night did not disappoint.  What drew us there this time was Ra Ra Riot, who were fantastic!  But the big revelation for me was the opener, the Villagers, who is the remarkably gifted Conor O'Brien from Dublin.  So much talent compressed into such a compact frame, he was mesmerizing from the moment he walked out.

I thought I had never heard of them before until they performed “Becoming a Jackal” which is the title track on their debut cd.    I may have only heard this song once (I cannot for the life of me figure out where – probably KXT 91.7 – my public radio station) and I had most of the lyrics memorized – to my astonishment!  I think that’s what happens when I hear great writing – it gets burned onto my brain and I replay it as background music to my dreams while I’m sleeping.  Does this happen to you?  This has not happened to me in a long time.  Take a listen:

In case you haven't hear enough, here's a really good World Cafe Interview.  Could this be where I heard them?  Here's their official website where you can find links to their Facebook and MySpace pages or buy cds or tshirts.  Conor does all the artwork, btw.  LOVE that.  You can also download the album on iTunes.  But I bought a CD because I wanted to have the words.  Oh, the beautiful words.  The cd as a whole is a cohesive collection of slighty dark, deeply passionate, beautifully spun personal glimpses into a human experience.  And, lookie:  they even signed it for me!

If you still want more, here's a Tiny Desk Concert from NPR.   Happy Listening.


One Hot Halloween Mess

I can feel Halloween coming.  It's windy out, the weather's kinda freaky (tornado in October?), the days are getting shorter and the moon has been making me want to hoooowwwl.  So I celebrated the crazies this weekend by making this.  Can you see me in here?

Speaking of crazy, does anyone remember a Disney record of spooky sounds called "Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House"?  My brother sent me a link to it on YouTube a couple weeks ago and it shot me right back to my childhood.

We used to play this out the window of our house while the trick-or-treaters slowly inched their way up to our front door.  It used to scare the heck out of of those kids!  I was thrilled to find out that I can get this record on iTunes now!  Go here to see for yourself!  What about you?  Are you feeling kind a spooky???



Playing with the Lensbaby 2.0

I've had a Lensbaby 2.0 for atleast a year now and I've just now gotten around to taking it out for an afternoon.  I've seen some beautiful photographs made with one of these things, both landscapes and still lifes.  I am no where near controlling this thing like I'd like to, but I'm having fun playing with it.

Here's a little video made by the inventor that shows how to use the Lensbaby that I have:

The Lensbaby website also has some videos and a gallery, so you can see what a photographer who knows what she's doing can do with it.  I need way more time with this little toy!


Keep Dreaming !!

Gosh, I have never been so proud of my husband! As you may already know, he has illustrated his first children's book! Written by his friend, Jake Brittain, this little book has a very powerful message for kids ages 2 to 12. It even comes with a cd of accompanying music recorded by Jake himself. Kids can look at the book and follow along with the lyrics of the song – in three fun versions! We keep our cd in the car and play it while we’re out running errands. We like it and our seven year old loves it, too! 

The message of the book is about how our dreams can become realities. In essence, Scott and Jake hope to give children the inspiration to begin to have dreams of their own and to nurture their dreams. Just think of what wonderful things could happen if children receive this message early in life – to remember their dreams. Isn’t that how wonderful things happen?

What dreams do you have for yourself? Your family? Have any dreams you’ve had come to fruition?

The message is strong and the music is fun to listen to, but the kicker is that for EVERY book sold, one book will be given to a child in need.  Their first donation of books will go to The Boys and Girls Club!  One for One.

To purchase the book, learn more about Scott and Jake, and find out where they will be talking about their wonderful book, go to http://www.newdreamstudio.com/.
And have a fabulous weekend!!!


One for One

I’m so excited right now, because I am about to see the first copies of Keep Dreaming, a book for children that was written by my husband’s friend, Jake Brittain, illustrated by my husband, Scott Dykema, and designed my me. Jake and Scott have decided on a One for One business model for the book.  What that means is that for every book sold, one book will be given to a child in need. They have decided that their first donations will go to The Boys and Girls Club. Isn’t that cool?

This One for One idea came from one of Scott’s friends from Martin High School in Arlington, TX, Blake Mycoskie – the founder of Toms shoes (or chief shoe giver - as he calls himself). As you probably already know, for every pair of Toms you buy, a pair of shoes will be given to a child in need. LOVE this! And apparently, so do a lot of other people! Business is booming for Toms.

Another wonderful company with this same business model is Warby Parker. They offer beautifully made, vintage inspired frames with top of the line lenses (the lenses you pay extra for at the stores) and a 30 day return policy for one price - $95. They’ll even send you 5 pairs of glasses to try on before you decide which frame is right for you! Great deal, right? But the clincher for me is that for every pair you buy, they’ll give a pair to someone who needs glasses but can’t afford them. I’ve already picked out the five I want to try, but due to high demand (eh-hem), I may have to wait a few weeks to get them in my hot little hands. Want to know how I know this? I emailed them to ask how long it would take along with several other questions. The next day I had an email in my inbox from a real person answering every question I had. I just LOVE that!

One more recent discovery that is along these same lines is a website just I found called Collect.Give. The amazing photographers who sell their work on this site have pledged to donate 100% of their profits to the charitable organization of their choice. Very cool!

So stay tuned to see how the new book turns out. Since this is the first book I’ve ever designed, I’m both excited and nervous at the same time. I’m just hoping that the design of the book will show off Jake’s important message and Scott’s gorgeous illustrations. Fingers crossed!

Here's a little preview of the cover:

Go here to see the website where you can buy the book, learn more about Jake and Scott, and see what events they have planned.


Love at First Sight

1939 Pontiac Coupe
Have you ever fallen in love with an inanimate object?  I can honestly say I have in the past - an old windup clock, a gauzy vintage dress from the 1920's, an antique armoire.  Usually, I fall in love with things I can just barely afford or can somehow scrape cash together to take it home with me.  But this time was different.  This is a 1939 Pontiac Coupe that I spotted at the Good Guys Lone Star Nationals at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth last weekend.   I'd never been to a car show like this one!  There were muscle cars, beautiful old cars from the fifties, bigger than you could ever imagine station wagons, an old school bus and my new favorite - the rat rods.  I swear, by the time I left that place at the end of the day I had a "happy headache".  And I had an ache in my heart because I had to walk away from this beauty.

Love the cracks in the steering wheel.

Isn't this hood ornament perfection?

You can see the famed Silver Streak in this shot.

Love the simplicity in the design here.
The sign on the car read:
1939 Pontiac Coupe
Barn Find, Always Garaged
6 Cylinder
Original Motor, Doesn't Run
Donald Greer
(817) 228-1411

Gosh, if I just had a spare $6,500 stashed somewhere.....  And a friend who is a mechanic....  And the extra cash it would take to get it to run....   Yeah, that would be awesome!  I can see myself driving this lovely machine.

Here's a little history about Pontiac from Edmund's:

Pontiac originated as the Oakland Car Company of Pontiac, Michigan, in 1907; it was founded by Edward Murphy. Acquired by General Motors in 1909, Oakland introduced the first Pontiac vehicle in 1926. Dubbed the "Chief of the Sixes," the car was powered by a six-cylinder engine and made its debut at that year's New York auto show. It was so successful that the Oakland name was phased out in favor of Pontiac, the name of an 18th-century chief of the Ottawa Indians. Throughout the 1930s and '40s Pontiac made coupes, sedans and wagons in the low-to-mid price ranges. A unique styling cue of Pontiac cars from the mid-'30s to the mid-'50s was known as "Silver Streak," a set of art-deco-inspired chrome "speed lines" that ran up over the length of the hood to the base of the windshield.
Well, a girl can dream, right?  I mean, that's where it all begins in a dream.