7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #92: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Eric Orchard

h1 December 7th, 2008 by Eisha and Jules

“Winters can be very long in the Arctic. It’s good to have something to read.”

— Eric Orchard

Jules: Welcome to our weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week—whether book-related or not—that happened to you.

It’s the first Sunday of the month — can you EVEN believe it’s the last one of the year? — and so it’s time to feature a new or student illustrator. Canadian illustrator Eric Orchard isn’t exactly new to illustrating, but I will join the Vancouver Sun in describing him as “a first-class up-and-coming illustrator,” which they did in October of this year when discussing Anything But Hank!, written by Rachel Lebowitz and Zachariah Wells and published this year by Canadian publisher Biblioasis.

In addition to that title, Eric—who graduated three years ago from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and who also teaches—has illustrated A Forest for Christmas (Nimbus, 2007), written by Michael Harris, and The Terrible Horrible Smelly Pirate (Nimbus, 2008), written by Carrie Muller and Jacqueline Halsey. He has also produced a book (a comic/graphic novel) for Scholastic, called The Robot Museum. His work has also been exhibited at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, and he will be presenting pieces for a gallery show in Paris in the new year. Eric’s drawing for the Totoro Forest Project at Pixar Studios (a fundraising exhibition/auction that supports the national trust Totoro Forest Foundation—which Oscar-winning film-maker Hayao Miyazaki has been helping over the years and which protects the Sayama Forest in Japan—featuring original art created by internationally-acclaimed artists in the fields of animation, comic books, and illustration), entitled The Guardians of Autumn, was recently accepted by the Society of Illustrators and included in their annual from this year (congrats to Eric!). Here’s that drawing:

At the moment, Eric—other than dealing with a wee tiny welcome addition to his home—is working on a comic book for Top Shelf’s site, entitled Harry and Silvio. Eric’s work seems, more and more lately, to have an element of the fantastic to it. In fact, he wrote here at his blog in August (where he shares musings—“be bolder,” for one—and sketches and paintings and experimental pieces and etc.), “I think of myself as a genre artist, not a strictly picture book artist” (though he doesn’t want to be tied down to just one genre, by any means, as he also writes at his blog: “I think that’s one of the great challenges in being a creative person: being open to many things and being brave enough to explore places that are new and surprising”). Inspired greatly by artists like Dave McKean, Eric even does the fantastically, horrifically creepy quite well (here and here are but two examples).

So, that’s Eric’s story, and I’ll just let his art work do the talking now. Many thanks to him for stopping by and for letting me pick images from his blog — and for sending a couple as well.

Eric’s “experimental mermaid” — experimenting with digital media. (And may I interject unprofessionally here and say that I freakin’ love this piece? Well, I just did)…

“…Another Photoshop doodle. I call it a Morris fairy,
because the wallpaper is by William Morris.”

Maddy Kettle, a character for Harry and Silvio: “Maddy Kettle is an orphan raised in the Arizona desert by cowboys. She used to constantly be fending off her land from the goblin gang. One day she found a boat and flew to the clouds in it; now she defends the clouds from goblins as well.”

Maddy again — “Maddy Cowgirl in the Clouds”

Two illustrations from Anything But Hank!, written by Rachel Lebowitz and Zachariah Wells and published this year by Canadian publisher Biblioasis

An illustration from A Forest for Christmas (Nimbus, 2007),
written by Michael Harris

A sketch from early November

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

1* That art is sweet, dude. I love the “Guardians of Autumn” drawing. And that spooky-ass mermaid. And the whole idea of Maddy Kettle.

2* Jules rolled out some kick-ass interviews this week. I want to go grab Maxwell Eaton III out of that canoe and drag him over to Cece Bell’s fabulous kitchen and see if she can get him to eat something besides Cheerios while we all hang out.

MST3K3* So, the husband and I have this Thanksgiving tradition, where we watch old episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 while we eat. It’s because Comedy Central used to run “Turkey Day” marathons of the show when it was on. Anyway, he bought a couple of new DVDs this year in preparation, and we finally watched one of them Friday night.

4* While watching it, we ate Korean take-out, and drank the bottle of Bek Se Ju we brought back from our trip. It was sort of an ironic late-Thanksgiving, you see.

5* I got some sleep! Friday night I think I actually managed to fall asleep before 2:00 a.m., and I slept until 9:30 Saturday morning. Ahh.

6* I finished a project at work, and made more progress on the Lead Belly collection.

7* And I found out what my next project will be: processing a recently-acquired collection of oral history recordings taken from interviews with staff of mental hospitals in New York State. Call me a big nerd, but I think it sounds fascinating.

7.5* Bonus kick: I reconnected with a few of my old high-school friends via Facebook. I’m hoping to see a couple of them over Christmas.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

I’m raising my hand, too, as a fellow nerd, Eisha, ’cause I agree that project sounds really fascinating.

1). My husband and I rented and watched Pan’s Labrynth this week. Seriously, people: It is so blazingly, terrifically good on so many levels. I can’t believe it took me that long to see it. Why didn’t any of my friends do an intervention? It is beautiful and gripping and stirring and nail-biting and heart-breaking and like nothing I’ve ever seen before. And now I want the soundtrack so that I can hear that score—and that lullaby—whenever I want.

2). I went to a friend’s Friday night, and we had a sort of girls’ night out with a crafty twist: We made our own soaps. That was a first for me. It was fun, and now I’ve got my own lavender and patchouli and eucalyptus-scented soaps (and some for my girls, of course), even though mine came out kind of clunky.

3). We had breakfast with Santa yesterday at a great bistro in one of Nashville’s most beautiful bookstores. It was much better than waiting in a long line at some mall, and it was my girls’ first time to meet Santa. All went well.

4). I finally got my library copy of Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears. Emily Gravett is flippin’ brilliant.

5). This story I heard on NPR about an organization in San Francisco called Food Runners. Mary Risley, who founded it, deserves a medal for being so smart. If you—or a hotel or a restaurant or what-have-you—have excess food you’re just gonna otherwise throw away, Food Runners will either tell you where to deliver the food, or a volunteer will come, gather up the food, and redistribute it to the hungry. Talk about work that makes a difference. I emailed them and asked how such an organization could be started in middle Tennessee. No kidding. Someone actually responded. The problem I would have is that you’d have to be available 24-7, 365 days a year. I have two young children. Not possible.

Anyone want to move here and do it with me? I’m only partly kidding.

6). This retired, elderly man came to library story time this week and read to the children. He was good. He also looks like Maurice Sendak. He was so awesome that I wanted to just go up and hug him and ask him to be my friend.

7). I no longer get a slew of review copies at my doorstep, by choice, but somehow some way I got two books in the mail this week (one from Frances Lincoln Children’s Books and one from National Geographic). And one of them, We Are Born Free: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures (in association with Amnesty International) is this wonderful collection of various illustrators’ interpretations of the document — from Niki Daly to Polly Dunbar to Bob Graham to Jackie Morris to many more talented artists. IT OPENS WITH AN ILLUSTRATION FROM JOHN BURNINGHAM, my second favorite illustrator of all time. I squealed.


8). Jarrett J. Krosoczka shared this link this week. WOOT!

9). Adrienne’s new jazz-hands ratings system. Why didn’t I think of that?

What are YOUR kicks this week, dear readers?

28 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #92: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Eric Orchard”

  1. Canadian, eh? Kinda cool that I can discover amazing artists from my homeland here on 7-imp. That mermaid is just…wow. Can’t believe how many different styles are represented here…dude’s got mad skills and versatility.

    Sounds like nice kicks for both of you this week; mostly mellow and fun. Eisha, I was a big Mystery Science Theater fan back in the day, and will totally rent them now that you’ve reminded me. And Jules, I loved Pan’s Labyrinth too (and also just saw it relatively recently) — I think it’s the kind of movie you don’t readily recommend even if you loved it. Like a friend of mine rented it for a date night and I sent him back to the store for something else…he thought it was light fantasy fare, a la Narnia or something.

    My kicks this week:

    1) My wife’s birthday yesterday, nicely celebrated by all of us, especially when my folks took the kids out for supper so we could have a date.
    2) Nine Inch Nails in concert…so, so, so fun. It was so fantastic that I’m now fully embracing my status as an aging metalhead.
    3) Ivy and I had our first violin “performance” for the students and parents at the her school. We sounded exactly as terrible as most beginner violinists, and had fun anyway.
    4) Went into the office for the first time in two months. Thai lunch with work friends! Working at home is great, but can be isolating.
    5) Friday and Monday off work for no good reason.
    6) Made a new friend at the school violin event too, which is the hardest thing in the world for me to do.
    7) I baked bread this week. So easy and delicious. No idea why I don’t do it more often.

  2. Jules, my son saw Pan’s Labyrinth first and then made me watch it. I’d heard the NPR interview with the director a long time ago, and my sister had seen it, but it took my son getting all AWESOME MOM about it to make me sit down and do it.

    Eisha, this is far-fetched, but if you come across a James V. Lewis at Bellvue in the 60’s, that’s my dad. He did his residency there. But I don’t know if anyone interviewed him.

    My movie kick this week was watching Shakespeare Retold from the BBC. The Macbeth set in a modern day kitchen with the three witches as English “bin men” is riveting.

    In other news, I turned in my revisions and am free to frolic. Or write something new. Which I will after I’m done frolicking. So far, the celebrations have included a mint mocha latte, a haircut and the wearing of a rocking pair of green corduroy pants. (Wild, aren’t I?)

  3. 1) Cece’s breakfast here wasa highlight for her and for me, too!
    2) Following that with an actually successful booksigning!
    3 – 7) All yarn related. I’ve got a home-made loom set up in the living room and I am wefting like wild!

  4. Great art and kicks! I love the mermaid. I think eisha’s new project sounds amazing, and my Netflix queue is full to brimming with every MST3K DVD I could find. (I had forgotten the Turkey Day marathons. Good times!) I still need to see Pan’s Labyrinth.

    My kicks:
    1) The Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog DVD went down in price at Amazon, but they let me keep my free shipping.
    2) I got two new sweaters this week, in gorgeous green and teal, thus doubling the number of sweaters I have that both fit me and are attractive.
    3) I went to see a friend in a production of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. He was playing Aslan. A lot of fun!
    4) I bought The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and am pacing myself in the reading of them.
    5) My parents, who are moving to Cincinnati (sad because I’m going to miss them), bought a beautiful home up there (happy).
    6) More than once this week I got my classroom 100% ready at the end of the day so I could start the next day stress-free.
    7) I’m kind of maybe figuring out how to use Twitter for more than just lunch posting.

  5. Jeremy, have I ever mentioned that I just want to hang out with you and your family? If I’m ever, ever in Canada, may I rudely invite myself over for a visit? Or a violin performance? Seriously, that sounds so great. I’m glad sounding terrible (which I bet you didn’t) was never so fun.

    Also, Jeremy, I work from home, too, and I know how it can be isolating — and I’m talking in terms of your other colleagues, since you don’t have a real, LIVE water cooler around which to meet and talk about, say, the last whacked-out episode of “Lost.” I find that it’s just weird.

    Happy birthday to your wife! And Nine Inch Nails are still performing? I had no idea.

    Sara, congrats on completing your revisions! Also, you just made me want a mint mocha latte something fierce.

    Hi, Sam. Who knew you were so fond of yarn? I didn’t.

    Kimberly, I didn’t know they released a DVD of the Dr. Horrible thingy. This is good, since I didn’t get to see all of it when it was online….you had a good kicky week, indeed, if you can say you were in the presence of Aslan.

  6. Eric’s work rocks! Love Maddy Kettle and the illos from Anything But Hank.

    Glad you got some rest, Eisha, and your new project sounds fascinating! Jules, haven’t seen “Pan’s Labyrinth,” yet, but you’ve convinced me.

    Happy Belated Birthday to Jeremy’s wife, and Congrats to Sara for finishing her revisions. Yay for wild frolicking!

    I only have one kick this week. It’s a bittersweet type of kick, but a big one nevertheless.

    On my birthday, I learned that my dad (who just turned 94), has prostate cancer. It was such a shock, because all along, I’d been subscribing to the “my parents will live forever” kind of thinking. Anyway, all the time we were in NYC over the weekend, we were worried about the outcome of his scans, which would show whether the cancer had spread. He was already expecting a worse case scenario.

    But — there was good news after all. The cancer is early stage, slow growing, and he won’t need chemo or surgery, just medication. We are rooting for him to make it to his 100th birthday. So you can see, the promise of added years, or even months, is a huge blessing!

  7. Love that bear reading! And digital media? I can’t quite wrap my head around how something can look painted but is created on the computer.
    Eisha, I must be a nerd as well, your new project sounds fascinating.
    Jules, isn’t soap makig a blast? I made it once but I discovered someone locally who makes great soap and just went yesterday to buy Christmas presents…she has a killer clove soap. Pan’s Labyrith is going on y list.
    Jama, I send good thougths for your dad.
    My kicks:
    1. The same 2 books that Jules received showed up at my house as well.
    2. Making sesame “S” cookies with my daughter last night. My granddaughter was only interested in eating them.
    3. Getting the Christmas tree with my other daughter and gdaughters. Bake french toast int he over as we speak.
    4. Our library meeting this week. After a year when we had to meet “undercover”, we have our meeting back.
    5. Family Library Night. Play bingo for books and lots of families show up.
    6. Tracie at Scholastic Books Warehouse sale who got me the first three books of the Twilight series for $15. I got the last book with a 40% coupon last weekend so my gift for the giving tree request is completed.
    7. The “elfyourself” I put Chuck and the animals in…hilarious.
    Have a great week.

  8. Jules, you are welcome to join us any time. We’re four hours from Vancouver…and about 80 hours from Eric’s place on the East Coast.

    And yes, the lack of water-cooler discussion can be a pain…although mostly I’m glad to be removed from the office politics and other work unpleasantness. When I miss it, I go in to the office (45-minute drive)…best of both worlds.

    Not only is NIN still performing, they probably rock harder than they ever did. Amazing lights and sound. Highly recommended to see them once, even if you only have a little interest. I realize it’s not for everyone.

  9. Just discovered your blog…brilliant.

  10. I love the last image before the kicks (sketch from early November). Her face just speaks to me. Here are my kicks.

    1. I won a copy of Laura Miller’s The Magician’s Book: A Skeptic’s Adventures in Narnia in the Book Dads drawing.

    2. Classes ended on Friday. I still have exams and grading, but it’s effectively over. It’s been a rough semester, so I’m glad this one is coming to a close.

    3. I’ve tried all week to be restrained, but I know I can do my happy dance (ecstatic dance?) here. Jane Yolen stopped by and participated in the poetry stretch this week.

    4. If Jane Yolen wasn’t enough to get me going, add Julie Larios and douglas florian to the list of participants.

    5. My holiday shopping is done. I finished Friday night at the Bizarre Bazaar, an annual craft and art show. Now all that’s left is packing it all up and sending it out.

    6. William has agreed to “wait” for the guinea pig until his birthday. I’m so incredibly excited about his Christmas gifts that I may not be able to stand it! Art supplies and books make up about 80% of it.

    That’s it for me. Have a great week, all. And Jama, you’re Dad will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  11. My family, including me, has been sick for much of the week AND our washing machine decided to stop working. However, a friend of mine is letting me use her washing machine today so that we don’t run out of clothes and sheets before Tuesday, when the repair person is supposed to come. I’m glad to read everyone else’s kicks, especially Jama’s good news about her dad. Mazel tov!


  12. P.S. Jama, just to clarify, I’m not rejoicing in your dad’s cancer, but the news that it’s in the early stages and he’ll just need medication for it.

  13. The illustrations are lovely, and feel seasonal too.

    Eisha, that project does sound interesting, although probably also with the potential for scariness depending on when the histories were recorded. And getting sleep is a very worthy kick. My problem with facebook is that I sometimes forget who I went to school with, an get friend invitations from people and have to ask my actual friend from that time if I know them…

    Jules, I’m not a crafty person but I’m organising a girl’s night with some women from work and know they would love the idea of soap making. I’ll run it past them!

    Jama I’m glad you got better than expected news for your Dad!

    1. A water logged path to work and lots of frosty nights has meant that my new favourite winter pastime has become jumping on ice puddles. Something I discovered after the first day – people might assume you are doing it to help the birds have water to drink, which makes you look kind. Win-win situation!
    2. A live wreath is hanging on the front door – my first ever! I mentioned last week I planned to buy one, but our manager surprised us with handmade ones from her garden on Monday!
    3. We bought a Christmas tree in a pot, with the hope it will live in the backyard until next Christmas. It is very cute, and will be brought in and decorated closer to Christmas.
    4. We went for a drive yesterday afternoon through some cute Northern Essex and Suffolk towns (with names like Saffron Walden) and ended up in Long Melford, where we had cream tea in a 16th century pub with a log fire.
    5. I finally went to the dressmaker and have left my material, drawing and measurements and am reasonably confident it will look OK
    6. The dressmaker didn’t have any olive green zips or cotton on hand, but I was able to find some easily yesterday, and survived the brush with Christmas shopping crowds (hard to believe there’s an economic downturn!)
    7. I visited my local freerange farm store and stocked up on different types of meat for the coming weeks. The farmer who runs the place is so friendly that I don’t mind that I always end up getting more than I had originally planned!

    And Zoe, if you’re around and feeling homesick, I’ve been catching up on posting British pics at my blog this week

  14. Oh Jama, I am so sorry about your dad, but I’m very relieved to hear that he won’t need radiation or chemo and that it’s in the early stages. Like Jone, I send good thoughts to your dad and to you and your family.

    Jone, I wish you were *my* librarian. You DO know you are a really, really freakin’ good one, right? Also: I’d like to see Chuck as an elf.

    Jeremy, I WOULD be interested in seeing NIN live. They are another band that take me IMMEDIATELY back to high school. Same for The Cowboy Junkies and Jane’s Addiction. … I was thinking the other day, Jeremy, that I need to go and find that post where you listed your favorite new music. I keep listening to the same great CDs over and over again. This week it was Neko Case (man, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood is just FLAWLESS), but I really need some good NEW music and need some guidance. And it’s been on my mental to-do list anyway to go re-read that comment of yours and explore. ‘Cause I trust your taste in music.

    (Both Eisha, since we were once roomies, and my husband can also attest to the fact that I wear out CDs and then just keep listening to the same five ones over and over. Why stray from greatness? But I do need to branch out)….

    Oh, and thanks for obliging my inviting-myself-over one day in the future, Jeremy!

    Thanks, Anne. Come back some time and list your kicks. I love it when new folks join the kicks-listin’ tradition.

    Tricia, that post on Friday was great, and I noticed that you had Julie and Jane and Douglas stopping by. That’s awesome. Thanks for doing that and rounding it all up. ….Congrats on finishing shopping. I also have most of the girls’ stuff, and I also think it’ll be hard to wait ’til Christmas. Especially since I got this for them:

    And art supplies, too! Though I’m not going as far as a guinea pig. ….anyway, sounds like William’s gonna have a blast.

    Farida, sorry you all have been ill and that such a vital and huge appliance flaked out on you. But I’m glad help is on the way and hope you all get to feeling better, too. Did you get the flu?

    Emmaco, a 16th century pub? Sweet. I’ll have to go explore your site and look for pics. And your kick #1 made me laugh outloud.

  15. Thanks for all the reassuring thoughts and support, everyone!

    So sorry to hear you’ve been ill, Farida, and about the washing machine. It’s such a hassle when an essential appliance konks out.

    Tricia, I was SO excited to see Jane and douglas and Julie participating in your poetry stretch too. 🙂 And Emma, cream tea in a 16th century pub? You know you’re hurting me, right? SO jealous.

    Jules, I also listen to the same few CDs all the time, though I’ve never worn any of them out. Your list of high school faves made me feel very old. I don’t know anything by NIN. Now Jeremy won’t invite me to his house. 🙁

  16. Wow, fabulous art this week. I love the same one Tricia does–right before the kicks start. And the freaky mermaid. Amazing stuff.

    Jules, I’ve had Pan’s Labyrinth for I can’t tell you how long and I just haven’t managed to put it in the DVD player. So I guess I really should, huh?

    Loving everyone else’s kicks, too–here are mine:

    1. Tricia’s elf yourself video. Too funny.
    2. End of semester–woo-hoo! I’ve even got a bunch of grading done already.
    3. Finished two knitting projects this week. Christmas is coming!
    4. Concert tonight w/my choir should be fun.
    5. The Trader Joe’s run is becoming a weekly thing. I’m so glad they finally opened in Richmond!
    6. My summer class is full!
    7. Did I mention classes are over?

    Jama, glad to hear your dad’s prognosis is good. And, Emmaco, where is this 16th century pub? Can I get there from Oxford this summer?

  17. Jeremy, ROCK! (I’m totally doing the devil-horns hand gesture as I yell that.) I’m glad to hear ol’ Trent has still got it, and that you and your daughter are almost there too.

    Sara, no way! Bellvue is, like, the mack daddy of all mental hospitals, isn’t it? I’ll definitely keep an ear out. Congrats on finishing revisions.

    Sam, wow, I didn’t know you were so crafty either.

    Kimberly, glad to find another MST3K fan! (Jeremy too!) And THANK YOU for telling me that Dr. Horrible is available on DVD now. I’d downloaded it, but I want a hard copy too.

    Oh, Jama, I’m so sorry your dad is sick, but I’m so very, very glad that it’s not as bad as it could have been. I’m wishing you the very best.

    Jone, I’m so glad you got your library meeting back. Sounds like things are getting a little more tolerable for you there.

    Howdy, Anne Michelle! Thanks for stopping by.

    Tricia, that Narnia book sounds fascinating – congrats! And triple-congrats on the fabulous poets you got to cyber-hang with.

    Ooh, Farida, it sucks to be sick, and it sucks even more for the whole family to be sick at once. Hope you’re all on the mend soon.

    emmaco, how brilliant to disguise your puddle-jumping as altruism. You slay me. And yay for free wreaths! And specially-made-just-for-you dresses! And cream tea before a fire! Again, I just want your life.

    Libby, YAY for the end of the semester! And I’m jealous you’ve got a Trader Joe’s – we’ve got Wegmans, which is fairly awesome, but I wish we had a Trader Joe’s and/or a Whole Foods just to mix it up a little.

  18. Oh, my goodness, Julwa, you got We Are All Born Free? Thank you so much for reminding me of it!! That’s a PERFECT Christmas gift for my sister who was bullied — just a little reminder that no one has carte blanche to do so, no matter how old you are.

    The reading polar bear reminded me of an illustrated snowflake…

    Eric Orchard really does draw active gorgeous skies.

    As always, it’s good to read here and check in with everyone. I’m late enough not to add anything but good wishes for Jama’s dad and the encouragement to keep looking forward to year 100.
    Emmaco, I’m laughing at the jumping-on-frozen puddles thing. May childhood never cease.

  19. Jama, I bet Jeremy’d have you over anyway. He seems like a nice guy.

    Libby, I once lived near a Trader Joe’s (near D.C.), and yes, they are pretty great. I remember they were reasonably priced, too. Congrats on the end of the semester!

    TadMack, it’s never too late for kicks, but thanks for stopping by anyway. You’re right: Eric does beautiful skies.

  20. Yes, Jama’s invited too. Our shared love of apples trumps her lack of NIN knowledge. And her dad can join us when he’s back to 100%.

    Neko Case must be due for a new album already. I can’t believe I never got her last one after loving The Tigers Have Spoken (released on my friend and landlord Bill’s record label) — it sounds great.

    That music comment was here, but that was more about process…I wish I had some easier recommendations. Ok, here’s one: Alela Diane…I’m thinking that her new album is going to be outrageous.

  21. Ooh, ooh thanks, Jeremy! I followed many links and heard a bit of Alela. I like her sound, and I like anyone who describes her occupation as “wandering minstrel” (and describes her music as sounding like “the deeper parts of the river”).

    I also think Neko Case is due for a new CD. I don’t think I’ve heard The Tigers Have Spoken, but she has a live CD I once got from the library and nearly wore out. It was so good.

    Jama and I will be there for lunch.

  22. Libby, it was the Bull hotel in Long Melford. Reading their website it looks like it was built in in 1450 (I suspect it was only a part of it) which makes it 15th not 16th century! It’s not very easy to get to from Oxford without a car, you would have to catch a train to London then up to a town called Sudbury and then catch a bus. But the wonderful thing about Britain is that there are cute towns and fantastic old pubs everywhere. I’m sure you’ll have a ball in Oxford!

  23. It has been super crazy busy around here since before Thanksgiving, so I have not had time to post in a while. The best part is I get to read a bunch of kicks all at once.
    Jama – best wishes to your Dad and your family at this time.
    Emmaco – as soon as I post these kicks, I am heading over to your blog to check out pictures of home. I think England is beautiful in the winter, and do get homesick around this time, so I thank you for thinking of me.

    My kicks this week (and the previous week):
    1 – Thanksgiving was a blast. We had 9 kids aged from 3 months to 6 years running (or crawling around). It was so nice to spend time with family.
    2 – Cy has Christmas fever!!! He has been running around like a loon since Thanksgiving all hyped up over trees and lights and presents. It’s hilarious.
    3 – Also, my shy boy is coming out of his shell. He will actually initiate conversations with neighbors, cousins, waiters etc. Somebody flipped his on switch at Thanksgiving!
    4 – Ruby has become such a ham, especially when a camera is around. This is great because I can send post some smiley pictures for the folks at home to check out. (See for yourselves at http://www.flickr.com/photos/rascoe_photos)
    5 – The “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” display in the library routunda has been a big hit.
    6 – We put up our Christmas tree to the joyful sounds of the Tennessee Titans becoming AFC South Division champions. Usually we play Christmas music, but this year, we could not resist the play calling of Mike Keith and Frank Wycheck.
    7 – An good friend from Knoxville came to stay with us on Sunday night and we had a wonderful time catching up.

  24. I am very late this week, but loved reading everyone’s kicks! That reading polar bear is awesome, and Eric Orchard’s site is great fun to visit.

    Jama – sending good thoughts for your dad and your family.
    Eisha – as someone who works with (some) clients with mental illness, that project sounds unbelievably fascinating, for many, many reasons.
    Jules- glad you loved Pan’s Labyrinth. Several of us took a friend to see it at the theater when it came out – it was his birthday request. Afterwards
    we all sat in a coffeeshop just stunned by it. I thought it was just heartbreakingly sad and beautiful all at once.

    I am intrigued by Tricia’s Narnia book. (Which means now I’ll have to go find it.) We just watched Prince Caspian this weekend, and the bf has never read the books. I found myself explaining about how when I was little, I really wanted to go there too, (heck, still do!) and I thought the films did a good job of capturing the essence that makes Narnia so real and appealing.

    My kicks this week were having the time to stop by and read everyone else’s!

  25. Hi, Zoë. Glad to hear Cy is hyped for Christmas. So are the girls. This time of year is a blast with kids.

    RM, you are going to talk your boyfriend into reading the books, right?

  26. I am so late that I can’t even list my kicks, but, DUDE, I totally saw the Totoro Forest Project exhibit at the Cartoon Art Museum while I was in San Francisco. I had never even heard of the project, so it was all new to me, but it was also very cool. (Even cooler was that they had a TV running where you could watch a seemingly endless loop of cartoon shorts. How fun was that? Very. I highly recommend this museum.)

  27. […] (a.k.a. “Elio”), Kali Ciesemier, James Hindle, Maris Wicks, and Lauren Minco. (Eric Orchard goes without saying, as we featured him just last month, but really, he rocks.) Remember any of […]

  28. […] books I’ve never even seen. But I stumbled across her site (thanks to Canadian illustrator Eric Orchard), liked what I saw, and asked her to stop by. (This is the way I roll sometimes, for good or bad. […]

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