Monday, November 30, 2009

sheep need wool scarves?

but of course they do. starting in on my holiday cards. very into plaid this season. here are some wooly friends to start the season's greetings out with.

(front of card)

(inside of card)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

gobble gobble.

(front of card)

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. This is a silly card I made about being grateful for what you have in the world. It is of a cute squirrel, yes. But it shows how the simplest things in life are what matter. The simplest things in life that I have and may take for granted most of the time, such as food and warmth and home, other people don't have. Sometimes when you are walking down the street and in a moment are reminded of this you realize you actually in fact have life pretty damn great. I am thankful for these basic necessities. I am also thankful for my family who I will miss tomorrow and love. I am thankful for my dear old friends who are out of town and who I wish a happy day of thanks to. And I am thankful for my friends who I will get to share the day with. What are you thankful for? It's good to think about.

(inside of card)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I dos.

(back of card) (front of card)

Last wedding card this year? Perhaps. So it had to be unconventional. I got the lovely couple a stylish bike bag for picnicking because marriage is not a picnic...unless you are of course on a picnic, and then it is! Or if you are newlyweds, in love, always doing romantic things such as going on picnics. The weather has been crazy warm in New York this November and I think we all need to take advantage of that before winter finally decides to make an appearance and we shut our windows and become partial hermits until April.

(inside of card)

images above © 2009 by Ivy Hickam

Jazz Rabbits?

Why not. This is a blank card I made for a friend who asked me to make him a thank you card he could give to his student's parent (he is a musician).

Sunday, November 8, 2009


All Hallows' Eve came and went last weekend so I'm a bit late posting the photos of my pumpkin carving but better late than never. One pumpkin from the farmer's market was big and green and the color of a mango inside and too thick to carve very easily so I cut leaf shape holes in it all around and it ended up like a pumpkin lantern. Also more importantly it made a delicious soup. I used my friend's recipe for butternut squash soup and just substituted pumpkin as the main ingredient. My other pumpkin from the local grocery I managed to thin out from the inside and carve into (not all the way through) with my lino and woodcutting tools to create a creepy owl. A hoot of a good time.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The last days for planting.

Last week it occurred to me that I should be economical and plant some bulbs. It has been getting colder by the day and I was running out of time before the first frost. Although now it has warmed back up again, because it is New York and the weather is unpredictable, especially in the fall. On a partially cloudy, not so cold day I ventured out to the stoop and surveyed the state of it. Dead leaf debris and copious amounts of cigarette butts would have to be cleared away from my slowly fading perennials before I could even get down to the business of digging holes for the bulbs. It has been a constant battle this year between trash and plant life but I have done my best and have learned that part of the fun of urban gardening is the challenge.

I hope the daffodils make it through the winter. I was told recently, after I had already planted the bulbs, that they may not grow in a stoop with the constant freezing and thawing of the elevated ground. I am not sure if the stoop's soil is deep enough to protect the big bulbs from winter and they may not flower. They have already been planted though, and if they don't come up in the springtime to say hello, lesson learned. Perhaps the smaller bulbs (galanthus and crocus) will emerge.

Playing at florist.

The other week when my friend got married she asked me to do the flowers for her dinner rehearsal. I found myself mid day, the day of, in the flower district surrounded by tall bunches of curly willow and rows of decorative green and purple cabbages. It was overwhelming and fun to track down the stores that would sell to me in a land of wholesale and figure out how to focus among all the options. I had to find something that would fit in wine bottles (the bride's vase of choice) and something that would remind people it was autumn despite the humidity and rain of the day. I ended up deciding blush toned dahlias were the answer coupled with berries (some related to eucalyptus and some other red berries that apparently were some form of pepper). I later decided something was missing and added a hand full of deeper colored dahlias from my favorite local flower shop back in Brooklyn. I decided there needed to be more color for the dining room was white from floor to ceiling.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

When college friends get married...

You get to make them fun cards. One of my closest friends from college got married last Saturday. I drove to the border of Jersey and PA for the occasion and it was a lovely ceremony with traditional vows and a party after at the country club with a spread of too much food and booze and the best of company. This seems to be the year of marriage for my fellow Syracuse alums and it makes me feel old and it makes me feel happy and most of all it makes me feel in awe of my friends for their willingness to dive head first into a life of commitment and twos. To trust in the love you have for someone and the love they have for you is remarkable. And so I toast to all my friends out there brave and lucky enough to find such happiness this year. It has gotten me thinking about marriage and love and as a result I have been having some fun with wedding card ideas. The one posted here is the card I made for the happy couple of last weekend's wedding. My friend is a guy and it is I must say quite girly but the present was masculine.

(back of card) (front of card)
(inside of card)

all images above © 2009 by Ivy Hickam

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My sister is turning 30 on friday.

I can't really believe it. And I probably shouldn't have announced that to the world. But nothing to be ashamed of. 30 is the new 20. And who wants to be 20 again anyway? And she looks so young and lovely. And besides she does not read my blog because she is unaware of its existence as of yet. Which is why I can post the card I just made especially for her before her actual birthday. I can not on her birthday because I will be with her in Vegas and I will be buying her a big drink. We are both getting older in the next week. Crazy how time flies. But I can still remember riding her banana seat bike and playing dress up for hours (actually I played with vintage fabric for this card, and it was really fun). And we are not too old to dance. Dancing is always the answer.

(back of card) (front of card)

(inside of card)

© 2009 by Ivy Hickam

Friday, September 18, 2009

Words my mother has told me.

My mother has sent me many letters and notes over the years. She started this when I moved all the way across the country to go north east for college. In many of these she tucked away quotes and poems that she thought I may find useful. I was going through some papers in my studio today and I found a book I used to compile these all in. And I revisited Robert Frost. It's remarkable how much more this poem speaks to me now than it did back when I read it probably freshman year. I don't just understand it now, now I relate my life to it. Life goes by so quickly when it's at its best. The loveliest moments are fleeting but isn't that why they are so magical?

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Robert Frost

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Feel better.

I have been under the weather since Saturday. Head colds are no fun and they seem to come always at the most inconvenient times. Because really when is it convenient to have a head cold? Anyway it reminded me about a card I made awhile ago (the front of the card is above and the inside is below). I drew it to actually cheer myself up one day I was feeling blue. It seems like a good card to give when someone is under the weather as well. Hopefully it will make me feel better. And make you feel better if you happen upon it and are in need of it. And now it's time for some r and r and a real cup o' tea.
all images above © 2009 by Ivy Hickam

Friday, September 11, 2009

Water Lilies in the rain

Water Lilies, Claude Monet. 1914-26. Oil on canvas, (right side of three panels), each 6' 3/4" x 13' 11 1/4". Now on view at the MOMA.

It was a cold, wet day out today. With snotting interspersed with gusts of wind. Perfect, I thought, for crawling deeper under the quilt and sleeping half the day away. Or Perfect for braving the subway and the city streets with only one goal in mind: Monet's Water Lilies. When I finally arrived and ducked into the shelter of the MOMA it was bustling. There were so many tourists and New Yorkers coexisting, practically on top of one another, all for the sake of seeing some art on a gloomy Friday afternoon. It should have been borderline annoying but it was kind of spectacular. I thought to myself, people in this society still care about art and this proves it as I looked down from the staircase and smiled at the camaraderie below.
I enjoyed the very small room I tucked into for the temporary exhibit but only because it was member's only and does not open to the public until Sunday. I have seen some of his water lilies before but it has been years and I was giddy. I was ironically excited for the calm I knew they would bring over me. Up close when you look at all the paint, all the layers of color and texture from all the years they were painted, they are impressively chaotic. And then when you are done trying to peer through all the paint and done trying to make sense of it and you step away and you sit down on the cushy bench behind you, you find yourself staring at emotion, but it makes sense. The emotion takes over everything. All the busy thoughts you had clouding your brain, what groceries you need to buy on the way home, gone. To me the emotion the paintings evoke are dependant upon your mood that day. The paintings can appear to be melancholy themselves because you are feeling particularly sad that day and you are bringing that perspective to the work before you. My sadness went away while I was staring into the aqua pools and pink brushstrokes, they absorbed it. This moment the paintings and I shared was like having a sympathetic ear to talk to. Monet knew life was about living and seeing the beauty in the world around him and you can see this in his paintings, his own offering of beauty to the world.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

History and new beginnings

Today I waited for Nanny's table to arrive. My inheritance from the South included a well worn, or loved farm table that my grandparents got for the kitchen after most of their kids had grown. The story goes that since the house was quieter, because less peopled, my grandfather could sit and have his morning cup of coffee in peace and talk to my grandmother while she was busy about the kitchen. My living grandfather, the one on my dad's side, to this day still makes my grandmother a cup of coffee every morning. I guess love shown through caffeine is a tradition in the family. Among other odds and ends I am now the proud owner of a pair of red gardening clogs Nanny used to sport. While waiting for these treasures from someone else's past, I started drafting up a part of a new chapter in my own life: the card company logo. I need to simplify it, make it crisper so I can reproduce it time and time again on the back of my cards, but for now I have included a pencil sketch.

country mouse, big city.

I have lived in New York for years now and I love this city. I love New York attitude; I see it as honest, to the point, and raw. New Yorkers may feel they sometimes do not have time for "excuse me" but if you ask them their opinion on anything they will take the time to give you one and maybe a piece of their thoughts. That being said. I am not a New Yorker. I merely reside in this lovely city and reap the benefits of good coffee, too much excitement happening for one night, and living stories all around me. As sort of a permanent visitor to this fare city (originating from the west, born and bred in Colorado) I have my own perspective on the daily survival tactics one needs to coexist with so many people. To survive as the stereotype, a resident artist of New York, I have to remind myself there is no such thing. My theory is that you have to enjoy this city for all that it is, even its tumbleweed trash and constant soundtrack of noise. But you also have to take the time to look up from your novel on the daily commute and notice the subtle beauty of it all. You have to find the escape in the everyday. The beauty that human created and the nature that survived is coexisting within this aunt farm we all run around in. There is art in your neighborhood's collage of fliers. And there is more nature to be found in this city than the remarkable sidewalk weed. Just look around you and you'll see it.

Seeing the beauty in the everyday is what my card company is partly about. It is about taking time out of ones life in this crazy technological new age of ours to slow down, smell the roses (and coffee), and cat nap. Taking the time to write someone a hand written thought in a card and time to put a stamp on it and mail it instead of clicking send. With some hand drawing, watercolor, a bit of whimsy, and some thought I don't intend to change the world but maybe change someone's day, make them think, or smile . With this blog I intend to document the makings of my card company. A company I have daydreamed about for years but that until now only existed in my head. I will share some of my life, some of my thoughts on life and some thoughts from life as well. Welcome to my first blog.