Oh Windy Day!

Today is a windy day. I did not know wind until I moved out West. The wind here can blow and blow and somehow, you are supposed to function like normal. And our neighbor Wyoming to the north has it way worse.

I took the middle girl to the new amazing Margaret Carpenter Park and Open Space today. I put on a brave face, but the wind was fierce and cold. My daughter asked if we could go after 45 minutes.

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Back in the house, I found Jonathan sketching a fun cartoon fox for the upcoming Westgate Community School 5K. He did the design for the inaugural run last year, too. I personally love foxes. I had an encounter with one years ago during an early morning hike in Yellowstone. The image of the silent, running fox has stayed with me.

RUN_WILD

Jonathan was also working on Fat and Appy, our online shop for modern children’s art. We’ve been adding the canvases in 3D, so you can see how the art will look. He just uploaded this cute Fisher Price car print.

Fisher Price Car Painting by Jonathan Fenske

As always, thanks for stopping by! Come back tomorrow for the true tale of the Millionaire’s Silver Chandelier. Intrigued? I hope so!

We’re Jennifer and Jonathan, and we make modern art for kids, in addition to some other projects. Subscribe to our blog at left, or sign up for our emails and receive 15% off of your next Fat and Appy purchase.

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Pie! Birds! Buds!

Happy Memorial Day to you and your family! We are relaxing today around the house and will head to a BBQ with friends later on. Meanwhile, there are new, tender plants to tend. I currently have a peony obsession which I blame on the Denver Botanic Gardens. You see, I saw the paeonia “Fernleaf Double Red” getting ready to bloom a few weeks ago at the Gardens. I decided right then I had to have my own, must have my own! And then I found out that they are pretty rare, and tres expensive (about $30-50, bare root). So, I thought it wise not to kill a $50 bare root peony on my first go-round, so I picked up paeonia “Sarah Bernhardt” at the Home Depot for about $14. Here she is: Welcome, Miss Peony.

Further blog posts will tell if I become one of those crazy ladies who is devoted to one type of plant or another. Actually, maybe it’s not so crazy at all. I have mentioned my new-found peony thing to a few friends and they all tell me stories of their grandmothers’ peonies. So, if my kids remember my peony bushes, maybe that’s not so bad?

Picture of Peony

This is my perennial bed I’ve been stocking with free, divided plants from friends. I did add a $13 (also from Home Depot) Spirea. Also stuffed in this bed is Shasta Daisy, Jupiter’s Beard and a ton of sedum from my dear friend Rebecca. More on her later—she’s a very talented landscape architect. The willow structure was Rebecca’s idea. I still have to weave in more willow branches. Hope to get to that next week. The kids love playing in it.

Picture of willow house

Our yarrow is getting ready to bloom. This variety is “Paprika.” I have divided it three times already, and it’s headed for a fourth after it blooms. It’s a monster bloomer and grower.

Picture of yarrow in Colorado

Nothing much to show in the vegetable garden bed yet. I raised my plants from seeds this year, to mixed results. I’ve lost all the cucumbers (rats!) and have reseeded those, ever hopeful. You can spy broccoli in the middle and spinach to the far left. Carrots are in the foreground, too tiny now to see yet.

Early garden bed in Colorado

Our much-abused bird feeder is hot to trot this year. We are visited by dozens of (fat) birds each day.

Picture of birdfeeder in Colorado backyard

And here is today’s Peach and Blueberry pie. The crust I make without fail each time just wouldn’t come together today–it was super crumbly, so I couldn’t even roll out a top crust. I scraped and rerolled to make a ghetto lattice crust. Here’s hoping it tastes good. Or that our friends at the BBQ are forgiving.

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We hope your holiday is special and full of love and laughing. Thanks for stopping by!

We’re Jennifer and Jonathan and we are delighted you are reading our domestic art and home ramblings! We create books and modern art canvases for kids at Fat and Appy. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Send your peony advice to Jennifer

Back to the Drawing Board: Guppy Up!

Back to the Drawing Board: Guppy Up!

When you are writing a book, some scenes don’t make it in for various reasons. For my second novel, my editor wisely cut about 20 pages that were truly terrible involving a cult-like artists’ colony (bless her).

Here’s a fun illustration that didn’t make the cut for Jonathan’s children’s book, Guppy Up! (Penguin USA). He ended up writing some other rhyme, which left this scene with no place to go. Enjoy!

Summer Arrives, Parents Hyperventilate

School is winding down, summer gymnastics and dance are upon us, there are some camping days ahead. Parents (that’s us) are terrified. What to do with three girls home all day, all summer? We’ll figure it out, I guess.

So far, we’re making water balloons.

Bucket of water balloons

Girl playing with water balloon

We’re gardening, from seed. This is a dicey undertaking. At this early juncture, some of the seedling have given up the ghost. But we’re hopeful. Our seeds came from Broomfield, CO-based Botanical Interests. Come on, babies, you can make it!

Broccoli plants from Botanical Interests

Wherever we go, whatever we do, we’ll keep on adventuring and exploring. And we’ll wear lots of sunscreen. May your summer-to-be be awesome.

Baby in polka dot dress walking

I Love My Anythink

I love my Anythink.

I say this statement at least once per week, and all of my friends know I can’t stop yapping about how great our quirky library is. Anythink is seven libraries in Adams County, Colorado, a suburban community north of Denver. Anythink is a true Cinderella story: Rangeview, our local library district, was the least-funded in the state with dilapidated buildings and dusty, dispirited collections. We moved to Thornton in 2007 and visited our closest branch once. We never went back. But behind the scenes, things were changing.

Back in 2004, the Rangeview Library district became an independent entity from Adams County. In 2006, voters approved a mill levy increase to fund improvements. Flush with this cash, and led by library director Pam Sandlian Smith, Rangeview was reborn as Anythink: A Revolution of Rangeview Libraries. From worst to first, as they say, and the world noticed. Awards started flying and the Anythink staff now advises library communities around the world.

So, how do I describe Anythink? First of all, the flagship branch, Wright Farms, is two blocks away from our house, so it’s bikeable, walkable, it’s just close. I love that.

But for everyone else, it’s stunning, modern architecture with an outdoor landscape rich in hands-on experiences. It’s no late fees and self-checkout. It’s the cafe. It’s The Studio. It’s the soaring ceilings, gorgeous furniture, friendly staff. It’s great programming, like a week and a half ago when I took my two youngest to hear author and illustrator David Shannon read Duck On a Bike, our One Book 4 Colorado selection. We also recently attended the opening of The Studio and interacted with cool technology (all five of us, no easy feat, but the staff made it easy).

Thanks, Anythink. Our lives are better because you’re here.

David Shannon reads Duck on a Bike

David Shannon reads Duck on a Bike at the Anythink Library, Wright Farms branch. May 9, 2013.

 

New Work: A Pig, A Fox and A Box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan has written a new children’s book, A Pig, A Fox and A Box. I have to say, this might be our collective favorite. We both laugh reading it—he laughs because I am laughing, I like it so much.

The book has three chapters and features the spry and impish fox. Pig is a kindly, slower-moving creature. The two play together one fine day until things go awry. It reminds me a little of the Looney Tunes cartoons we used to watch as kids (and have purchased for our girls). Think rocks and casts and some good-old-fashioned slapstick.

We’ll let you know where this one ends up! Fingers crossed, on a bookshelf near you.

An illustration of pig and fox by Jonathan Fenske.

 

Keep up with Jonathan and Jennifer (that’s me!) by scrolling to the bottom of the page and subscribing to our blog. Or you can always check out what’s happening on Fat and Appy, our online store for canvas prints of Jonathan’s work. 

The Bunny Makes the Journey

I wrote recently about art coming out of the trash. In this case, art is coming from eBay. Jonathan purchased this little fella recently for a few bucks. He’s kind of on a squeaky toy kick right now.

A vintage rubber bunny

The bunny in its natural habitat (a Fenske bookshelf).

Then, Jonathan sketched the bunny, dodging our well-meaning four-year-old who often “adds” to his drawings.

A squeaky vintage rubber bunny

Sketch of vintage squeaky toy bunny by Jonathan Fenske.

Jonathan’s currently working on the bunny design that we’ll add to Fat and Appy, our online store for modern children’s art. We’ll post again when the bunny makes his complete journey. Come back, won’t you?

Is vintage art your thing? Check our Near and Deer, Fast Car or A Need to Nurture at FatandAppy.com.