Friday, July 25, 2014

The BIG Maze

Last weekend, Peter and I went to check out The BIG Maze at the National Building Museum, and it was a lot of fun. I have a pretty terrible track record with large mazes, and this one was no exception. We kept running into dead ends. The whole theory that if you keep your hand on the wall the whole time, and it will lead you out, did not seem to work. There was a mom and toddler on a similar track, and she joked that if we were following the little one we wouldn't get very far. That might have been true, but she was nevertheless really cute and highly entertaining. Once we'd gone all the way through, we went up several floors to view the maze from above. I guess you could look at it from above first and then memorize the path through, but that's sort of cheating, right? Also, it's a little fun to get lost for a while. :)

The BIG Maze at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC
The facade of the National Building Museum in Washington, DC
The interior of the National Building Museum in Washington, DC
The interior of the National Building Museum in Washington, DC

The Building Museum is so huge, it's the perfect location for something like this maze. I should warn you, though, that it's not cheap; non-member adult tickets are $16 and kids are $13. Peter and I are used to free activities here, so that seemed like a lot to pay. But we hadn't done a large maze since visiting hedge mazes in Europe years ago, so it seemed like an ok splurge. And it was fun.

I have more photos from the weekend, but I think I'll save them for the next post. And I have new notebooks to share soon! Happy Friday, everyone! xo, Mary

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Shop Update!

I know I just said last week that I was going to focus more on illustration and less on felt pieces, and I am, but I've been obsessed with all things fun and fruity lately, and I couldn't let the summer get away without making some cute fruit brooches.

Watermelon felt brooch and Lemon felt brooch by My Hideaway on Etsy
Lime felt brooch by My Hideaway on Etsy
Lemon felt brooch and Orange felt brooch by My Hideaway on Etsy

You can see them all here. I also made a fun stop motion video on Instagram. I tried to save it as a gif to share here but something weird happened to the colors and lots of areas became overexposed. But hopefully you can still see it by clicking the link above. :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Blog Hop and What I'm Working On

The wonderful Mirta nominated me in a creative blog hop to talk about what I'm working on and why I do what I do, and I'm honored to join in! I met Mirta through the blog team on Etsy, and I'm a huge fan of her work. In fact, if you follow me on Instagram, you know that I just bought a little llama notebook from her shop, and I can't wait to start sketching inside and coming up with new ideas! I've actually been feeling really inspired lately to take my shop in a bit of a new direction, so this blog hop comes at a good time! :)

1. What am I working on?
Right now I'm actually drawing covers of a few new notebooks for the shop. (I don't have pictures yet, so I just posted a photo of brand spanking new supplies I got a week or so ago. Is there anything more exciting than opening up a box of new supplies?)

I'm also working on illustrations and moving (slowly) toward adding prints to my shop. I won't be abandoning felt altogether--I particularly want to add a few new felt items when the holiday season approaches--but my main focus is shifting toward illustration and printmaking. This change has been coming for a long time, and I'm so excited about the possibilities! Painting and drawing were my first loves, and I feel like I've taken a really roundabout way back to finding what I really want to do. I know a lot of people decide what they want to do at a young age and find success (whatever that means to you) early on, but I feel really grateful and so lucky to have things come into focus at this time in my life.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I really just make what I want to make. That isn't always the best business strategy, haha. I might have more financial success if I paid close attention to trends and tried harder to incorporate them into my shop. But I just have to make what speaks to me. I have always been inspired by cute things, slightly sinister stories, my own experiences, color, bold patterns, architecture, nature...I guess the same things that inspire a lot of creative types. But it's how you interpret those influences, filtering them through your own unique perspective, that makes your work special. I do think I have stories to tell through my art, and hopefully people will connect to them, which leads me to the next question.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?
Like a lot of creative folks, I frequently will get a spark of an idea, seemingly out of nowhere, and it lives in the back of my brain and won't really go away until I've made some attempt to create a tangible thing out of it. There are lots of metaphors of the creative process akin to giving birth and creating life, and as clichéd as those are, there's an inherent truth in wanting to make ideas whole and put them out into the world. And an important part of that process for me is sharing it with other people. I really love putting a smile on people's faces when they open up a package and see a little brooch of their dog looking back at them, or an illustrated notebook that inspires them to write or sketch everyday and further their own creative process. I guess it's ultimately about connecting with people (as odd as that might seem for an introvert like myself).

On my shop's about page, I wrote that my main goal is to bring more joy into the world through color and texture, whimsy and playfulness. That's not a sales pitch or tag line; that's 100% me and what I hope to do.

4. How does your writing/creating process work?
Whether I'm working on a felt brooch or a notebook, my process always starts with sketching. Sometimes I draw lots of versions before settling on one that will work. And there are lots of sketches that don't ever materialize into a finished product. I do sometimes also get stuck or feel frozen at the start of a new project. The only way through that is to work through it, and for me that means to just start sketching.

By the way, the best advice I ever read when it comes to feeling stuck is from Chuck Close, who said, "The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case."

Reading that again is giving me a big push to stop typing this post and get to work! :)

Now I think I'm supposed to nominate another creative blogger for the next post, so I nominate Kate, who's endlessly inspiring, has several shops where she sells her creative wares, and is always coming up with fun new ideas. I own several of her prints and bought a Book Fair Kit for my niece, so needless to say, I'm a big fan of her work .If you haven't already, check out her blog, her Flapper Doodle shop, her Sweet and Lovely shop, and her newest endeavor, her Your Fan Club shop. Believe it or not, she has other shops too! I don't know when she sleeps, but I'm sure glad she keeps on creating cute things.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Let's Take a Walk

There've been a lot more of these posts lately, right? Guess I really missed getting out with my camera all winter and am trying to make up for lost time. :)

Happy Friday! Hope your weekend is filled with sunshine and good things. xo, Mary

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

10 Photos from Saturday

watermelon house near Logan Circle in Washington, DC
Last weekend was gorgeous. I mean really, really. When the weatherman says the phrase "low humidity," which is so rare in the swampland that is DC, people usually do a double take, then drop everything and head outside. We had planned to do work on the house all weekend, but those plans were deferred for lazing about outside, enjoying the breeze (there was a breeze!) and just in general loving life.

Le Diplomate restaurant in Washington, DC
We went to eat at Le Diplomate, a French café near Logan Circle.

Le Diplomate in Washington, DC
The whole entryway is beautifully tiled, but I tried to minimize the obnoxious instagramming and just snapped a quick pic.

Le Diplomate in Washington, DC
If anyone's curious, I had a gruyère omelette with a green salad, and it was maybe the best omelette I've ever had in my life. I did actually take a pic with my phone, but it just didn't do it justice.

When we were walking to the restaurant, we saw a stack of books on the street with a "FREE" sign on them, one of which was this beautiful hardbound art book from the National Gallery. I have been really good about not buying books for a while because we really don't have space for them, but it was free and I have my limits, people. It was published in the 60s or 70s and has pretty cool old photos in the intro also. Maybe I'll post some pics of the inside pages later this week.

millennium in Washington, DC
Next stop was millennium, which is a cute shop that stocks mostly mid-century furniture and accessories. We were looking for a nightstand for Peter, and they had a couple of contenders. We didn't have the car, though, and we didn't really see anything we loved enough to drive back into town the same day. I've heard their merchandise turns over quickly, so I doubt either of them are still there at this point.

mid-century furniture in Washington, DC
This shop is tiny but packed with goodness. Maybe they won't notice if I just move into a corner somewhere.

vintage mid-century accessories
vintage mid-century housewares at millennium in Washington, DC

I snapped a few pics when we were walking around, but I'll save those for another post. I can't really remember what else we did that day, but I'm sure it involved coffee and sunshine. :)

So, what about you guys? Did you have an awesome weekend too? Anyone else wanna paint their house like a watermelon?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Let's Take a Walk

Last Sunday, Peter and I decided to pop over to Old Town to be by the water for a bit, get some iced coffee, and take a walk. As per usual, I brought my camera along and snapped some random photos. :)

This building is now a restaurant, but like everything else around here, has had many past lives. I think I read that it was a brewery in the 18th century and then later a feed house, as evidenced by this fading sign. I love coming across ghost signs in unexpected places. There are a lot of other things I love going on here too, like those industrial light fixtures, the multicolored brick, and the black window sashes.

We stopped inside a couple stores. I came really close to buying some neon bobby pins in this place but they were $15 for a tiny package, and something that--let's face it--I will ultimately lose somewhere in the depths of my bag, so I just couldn't justify it. But they were cute. I might still go back and buy them. Maybe.

We saw a few "for sale" signs and looked them up when we got home, as you do, and both the houses I liked were around $3 million, so...anyone wanna go halfsies? ;)

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this walk with me. Happy 4th to all my compatriots, and happy Friday to everyone else! xo, Mary