Oh my Gourd.

This weekend I saw David Sedaris with my parents at the State Theatre in Minneapolis. He reminded me that 1) I love him and 2) I should catch up on my This American Life podcasts and 3) lots of things can be funny–even colonoscopies and dental surgery.

Oh yeah, and also, the State Theatre is really gorgeous. And old. I felt like I was back in Europe or something.

Also accomplished this weekend:

    • I cleaned my apartment–dishes and all
    • Re-watched the last two seasons of Arrested Development in preparation for its comeback in January 2013
    • Took a yoga class…ahem…a restoration yoga class, meaning I didn’t break a sweat but rather laid on the floor of a dimly lit dance studio at the Y with a group of middle aged women
    • Took a Kick-Boxing class, where I did break a sweat…and can only imagine how I’ll feel tomorrow
    • Made “adult grilled cheese,” that is grilled cheese that is made from gouda and wheat bread–not suitable for children


    • AND bought my mother a birthday present. Win.

While Halloween may have passed, we still have one good fall holiday left before we deck the halls, so I have decided to post some desktop patterns inspired by the season–before it’s too late.

I took these photos last fall at the arboretum and used some new (and old) patterns to spruce them up a little and add some more interest.

Comment if you like…or if you’re REALLY feeling adventurous, I have added a Pinterest button to share this post 😉


Jack-o-Lantern carving and designing with circles

With a little help from Martha and a bit of elbow grease, I carved the perfect Jack-o-Lantern just in time for Halloween. While my mother claimed to have bought the pumpkin for a fun project for us to do, it ended up being my project as soon as my mother got too engrossed in Facebook to help out. I’m not bitter. But my arm is a little sore. Anyways, the template for the pumpkin came from a collection of patterns found on Martha Stewart’s website. I just downloaded it, printed it out, and taped it on just as people have been doing for centuries… Then came the poking holes around the edge of pattern, classic pumpkin carving move, and then, of course, the actual carving. To be fair, my mom did come in at the end to clean up the edges a little. I bet she felt pretty cool swooping in after I did all the heavy lifting. She had the benefit of her hand not shaking. So in the end, I guess it was a team effort.

He looks pretty cute, right? I mean scared, but still kinda cute. It is Halloween after all. He’s probably just scared that all the binging on trick-or-treating candy will lead to even more binging on Thanksgiving pie come November. This, in turn, will culminate in stuffing his face with Christmas cookies. Obviously, all of this holiday spirit is going to be a slippery slope for Mr. Pumpkin as he will also be wearing plenty of big puffy vests and chunky sweaters at this point hiding his overall swelling. Then, come Valentines day, no girl pumpkins will want to date him because, frankly, all he will fit in will be his sweat suits. I’m not sure if you guys can relate to the situation since that narrative is so specific to pumpkins, but I figured I would enlighten you all to the gourd/pumpkin lifestyle nonetheless.

Back to the design part of this bloggy blog. Here are the latest desktop patterns. Enjoy yo.

Preparing for Halloweeeeen!

I’m going to keep it short tonight as its Thursday and the season finale of Project Runway is due to be on in about a half hour. My fingers are crossed for Viktor, but I still want to see all the final collections.

Anyways, I made some halloween desktop patterns and wanted to post them before Halloween is.. well, over. So here they are! (I told you I’d keep it short).

Back from NU with some new desktop patterns

So yesterday, I may have been at Peace Coffee soaking up the hip atmosphere amidst a sea of cool young flannel-clad twenty-somethings with MacBooks, but today I’m back to my old haunt: the Eden Prairie Smith Douglas More House Dunn Bros.

my latest hangout

Whew. That was quite the mouthful. That’s what she said. I’m sorry. I had to. Anywho, I am sleepy today and this coffee is barely cutting it. Plus, now its getting cold, the coffee I mean, not the weather. Boo. Cold coffee is the worst, unless of course it is ice coffee, in which case, it is the best.

To add to my overall discontent, the Internet is down, although, I seem to be the only one out of the five people with laptops in the room that seems to notice. So maybe its just me? I’m hopeful it will come back, but for now I am writing this post on Microsoft Word. I know. Lame. I actually just saved this document as “So yesterday,” which, as you can see, are the first two words of the first paragraph. To a computer, it makes sense that I would want to name my document after the first couple words of this post. However, to a human, this title is likely to conjure up memories of Hilary Duff’s loveable classic “So Yesterday,” now currently playing over and over again in my head.

Moving on, I just got back from Homecoming weekend in Evanston. It was wonderful to catch up with friends and consume copious amounts of pizza and beer. White and purple, white and purple. (Sorry I’m not sorry I just quoted Chet Haze). In classic Northwestern style, we did not win the game. In classic Liz Derby style, I did not stay to see the end of the game. Instead, my friend Zach coerced me into ducking out around half time and scarfing down Joy Yee’s crab rangoons and sesame chicken instead. I’m basically 100% sure that was the right decision.

Now that I’m back home, I think I’ll stay here for a while. Eight hours both ways alone in a minivan is an experience that no amount of This American Life podcasts can remedy.  I knew that when adult diapers started seeming like a good idea, a la astronaut Lisa Nowak, I had maybe gotten in a little over my head. In the end, the trip was worth it, but I could definitely wait a while before attempting such a feat again.

I will now present you with my next set up desktop patterns. They are a variation on a leaf pattern I posted a couple weeks ago now. Variations on these designs are available for purchase in my Society6 store for those interested. Let me know if there are any not on Society6 that you are interested in and I will add them!
 And now that thats done, I’m on to watching my TiVo’d Sing Off from this week. I love the Dartmouth Aires. Especially Michael, what a cutie.


Working for the Weekend: Boston & Sioux City

Hello, readers, I am tired. And though I have quite a few designs piled up, I will just post one today because I know I will continue to be busy for the next couple of days and I want to make sure I still have some good stuff to show you then. I have been busy, my friends, travelling to Boston and back to visit my sister and then to Sioux City, Iowa and back to visit my grandma and cousins. If there’s one thing I can say about my past two weekends, its that Boston and Sioux City are quite…different from each other. And because I know both my sister and my grandmother read this blog, that is all I will say about that. To steal a line from Dennis Duffy, “Apples to oranges, ladies.”

My trip to Boston was lovely. I basically alternated between eating and walking the entire trip making myself a very tired, but generally happy person. If you burn the calories by walking all day, having Mike’s Pastry three times doesn’t count, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought too. I also did a great deal of shopping, which as I’ve said before is good therapy and also good for the soul. I mean how could I not go shopping when A) I’m in a city where not only my sister but my best shopping buddy, Jess, both live, B) There is no sales tax in Boston, and C) I’m on vacation (sort of), duh. And because my sister made an artsy friend at college, I got to go to the Museum of Fine Art! Win. All in all, it was a great weekend.

My time spent in Iowa was also lovely. The view from the car was comprised of a lot of corn fields. I mean a lot of cornfields, which was quite a stark contrast from Boston. It was great to see my grandma and fun to see my cousins until my younger cousin, Elise, started wallowing on the floor of the chinese restaurant. Check, please. No, I kid. They’re cute most of the time.

Anyways, now that you have a short update on my goings on, I will post my next couple desktop patterns. These ideal for a MacBook 13 inch screen. If you want another size, please let me know! Anyways, enjoy!

As always, thanks for reading. I will post an interview with poolpony designer, Linda, tomorrow. Check out her Etsy shop and webpage in the meantime!

Minnesota’s best season and new ways to be a Little Dipper mega fan

Trees lining Lake Harriet

Yellows, reds, oranges, and greens color the foliage here in Minnesota. The fall in this state is really beautiful. I like to think that the leaves are just nature giving us a little gift before hitting us with below freezing temperatures and record breaking snowfalls. Its like giving someone a compliment before asking them for a favor or promising your kid ice cream so they’ll get a shot. Just so you know, Mother Nature, thanks for the leaves, but I’m probably still gonna complain about the blizzards. And so is everyone else. So, maybe its best we enjoy the crisp autumn temperatures and try not to anticipate the winter too much. The feeling of snot freezing in your nose… the numbness of your toes as you trudge through the snow… the way your cheeks feel all prickly when you come indoors… yeah that stuff. Don’t think about that yet. Oh, you weren’t thinking about it yet? Sorry, but I had to go there. Now maybe you’ll really appreciate the fall.

My very own store -- iPhone cases and laptop skins by LIttle Dipper!!!

I started building my Society6 store this week and might I just say, it is awesome. This site allows you to upload artwork — as much as you want — and sell prints and merchandise of it, while keeping rights to your work. Its pretty sweet. So if you were ever thinking to yourself that you wanted to help feed a starving artist, here’s your chance!

And now, for some more patterns to spice up your desktop… or whatever.

Saying my last goodbyes to summer and embracing the autumn leaves

Spotted: the last vestiges of summer at the Minnesota Arboretum

Coming into season: Honeycrisp apples and all types of pumpkins and gourds

We’re at that point in the year where the weather is crisp and the leaves are starting to change and all I want to order at the coffee shop is a Pumpkin Spice Latte. It finally really feels like fall even if there are days when it still seems like summer. I visited the Arboretum with my mom this week and experienced all facets of the current season. We saw everything from blooming pink roses to bumpy orange and yellow gourds.  Along with a stroll around the grounds, we also sat in on a class of eager 1st and 2nd graders on their field trip (my mom is a volunteer at the Arboretum and brought me along with her to observe the lesson). I learned, to my surprise, that things I had always assumed were vegetables were actually fruits…and I’m not just talking about tomatoes. Peppers, corn, squash, zucchini — all fruit. Surprisingly, I think I was more shocked than the 1st graders to learn this information. Apparently, anything with seeds on the inside is a fruit, at least according to a botanist. Now, I know there are some nerds out there who will read this and think, wow Liz, I already knew that.  Well, congratulations to you, but I’m pretty sure my veggie pizza should be called fruit pizza. I’m just saying.

In other news, I revitalized my Etsy shop this week! All my browsing in finding some cool artists to interview (like Mishel of Aeropagita Prints) inspired me. I made some items last summer that I meant to sell, but never got around to setting up shop. Now that I have the time, because of my recent “fun”-employment, it seemed like a good time. Check it out if you wish! I’m hoping to add to the listed items soon. Right now, I just have some beaded bobby pins listed, but I look forward to expanding on the inventory as I continue to create.

My pattern today was inspired by the fall colors and all the changing leaves. Enjoy!

Now onto a night of Parks and Rec and Project Runway. Perfect. Plus, I just found out I can get a free refill. #happythursday