Tuesday, September 22, 2020

One of Us Has Been Drawing

When I began this post a couple of weeks ago, fall had just kicked in.

Under a brooding ashen sky, it was dim and hushed and a little clammy. Summer had fled like the flighty, precocious coward she is in these parts, taking with her even the memory of flipflops and brats sizzling on the grill. I woke up that morning and voila! Instant and enduring twilight outside the window. 

Such were days on which one must muster all of what it means to be Minnesotan and find one's own Bright Side. While I was writing, some of the children were huddled in the garage painting with the neighbors while belting out the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack. Another child was busy with a photoshoot on the front step because (a) at least it wasn't raining like the day before and (b) an overcast sky is nature's perfect diffuse lighting. The cats were snoozing and (wisely) not begging to go outside. And because no one else was indoors hogging the laptop, Mother was finally writing a blog post after what'd felt like eons. Hurrahs all around.

And now, as I finish the post, it's sunny and warm again - an encore of shorts weather - but with a bit of a bite, a passive-aggressive version of August, if you will. September in the Midwest is nothing if not volatile. 

Well, how has everyone been?

Our summer was very odd. The waterpark was closed. The museums were closed. The churches were closed. Opportunities seemed much curtailed and meetings with friends and family felt furtive and fraught. Yet - heaven be praised - Things Happened. I look back over the past months with gratitude - if not also bemusement - that summer was somehow still very much eventful. One of us had all four wisdom teeth out and made videos of themselves being loopy while under the influence. One of us rekindled a friendship with a classmate from elementary school and spent many happy days together swimming and painting kindness rocks. One of us made a new friend from an unexpected source. One of us began music lessons with a brand new instructor via Zoom. One of us was fortunate enough to take springboard diving lessons just after athletic restrictions were lifted. One of us made mochi and boba from Youtube tutorials. One of us hatched a plan to start a neighborhood music group because school band lessons have become defunct. One of us is clocking driving hours toward a license. One of us, having only ever been in the ocean, swam in a lake for the first time in her life (it was green and weird and unlikely to be repeated). And all of us finally met our newest baby cousin for the very first time in person, albeit six whole months after he was born.  

And because she has had so much time on her hands, one of us has also been drawing.

And has launched her own shop on Redbubble, at which her designs are featured on various items on a print-on-demand basis. 

I am very excited today to invite you to visit Kate at BunnyBubbles!

In case Redbubble isn't familiar to some of you (I certainly hadn't heard of it until my kids introduced me to it some months ago) here are some quick facts. As mentioned earlier, Redbubble is a marketplace for artists. Anyone (we'll call them Sellers or Artists) can create a free account, upload their original designs and select items on which they'd like their designs to be featured. Other people (we'll call them Buyers) can browse both the Seller's individual home page or the larger common pool of artwork and choose items on which these designs can be printed-on-demand. Redbubble creates those items for the Buyer and ships them, and the Seller gets a small percentage of the sale.  

Here are some of Kate's designs. Their kawaii aesthetic - the quality of adorableness and cuteness made popular in Japan and which can be applied to anything, including inanimate objects - is something that resonates strongly with her generation. Currently, she has largely food designs in her shop: breakfast items and fruit. In the future, she plans to add animals and other things.

Here's a sampling of those designs rendered on various items. 

Blueberry waffles on a Tshirt.

A face mask with strawberries

and a happy watermelon slice in a different layout.

Blueberries on zippered pouches (those little faces  are such characters!)

An avocado on a light cotton hoodie,

and watermelon on a fleece pullover.

A pineapple sticker. Incidentally, these stickers, which are waterproof, were the reason we discovered Redbubble in the first place - we were looking for ways to personalize the kids' water bottles for school and were thrilled to find all kinds of original art here that made wonderful and inexpensive stickers. Apparently, tweens and teens still love stickers!

Jam toast on home linen

Fried eggs on a shower curtain

Cherry twins on an apron.

And butterflies

on a phone case.

Each design can be found on a variety of items - as an example, here's the avocado on clothing

stationery, accessories and home items 

If you have a minute, please stop by Kate's shop. We hope you'll find something you love, perhaps for yourself or the favorite people in your life. Many of these items would be perfect for dorm rooms, kids' and grandkids' back-to-school needs, gifts for the coming holidays or simply to bring a smile to friends and family far away and much-missed. Thank you for supporting Kate!


  1. Yes, what a crazy summer it’s been! ‘Nuff said.

    Your girls are certainly becoming entrepreneurs! I wish Kate all the best in her new venture!

    When will Jenna be opening her bakery? I can’t wait! 😉

    1. Hi Candy! Good to hear from you. I think our cats aren't sure what to do with all these people suddenly staying home in THEIR space. They keep wanting to go outside, and Maisy has been more adventurous than we are prepared for. I've never been a fan of our indoor kittens turning into outdoor cats but the rest of the family outnumbered me and said Oh Poor Things Must Be So Bored At Home. Anyway, come winter they'll have to adapt back to Life Inside.

      Yes, we're waiting for Jenna to launch her baking business, too! Unfortunately, she isn't very consistent - she'll go weeks without any desire to make anything, and then she'll find a recipe online and bam! Amazing cake. Then another bunch of weeks of nothing. We all love it when she's working the oven!

      Hope everything's going well on your end. Emily and I drove to Hastings the other day and passed a harvester chugging out corn into its bin and I thought of you and Leon and all the crops getting ready. Hope it's been a good year!

  2. So clever, Kate! I bet these would do well as fabric prints on Spoonflower, too.

    We had a... memorable summer. No road trip, which was sad, but everything was okay for a while. Then mid-August we had a massive dry lightning storm that knocked out our HVAC system. And also lit a huge portion of the state on fire.

    We were actually lucky, because we didn't get evacuated, and our house didn't burn down. But we lived with purple air for weeks. For several days we lived in a sepia toned world, and then for two nightmarish days the air turned orange and then brown. Sepia air was a gift after that experience. Then one day, an amazing rain drizzle cleaned the air out. The sun is even yellow now, instead of red (or invisible thanks to dense smoke).

    And now we are back to normal, at least by 2020 standards. Except for the HVAC, which still doesn't work.

    Are your girls distance learning, or in school now? Our schools are closed at least until January, so now we are exploring the World of Zoom (and my two younger girls are homeschooling, because I couldn't stomach four Zooms plus Mike's Zooms and my occasional Zooms).

    1. MaryAnne, we've been reading about the fires. I have a friend in Cypress who's been keeping me updated. She hasn't mentioned the discolored air where she is (and I'm not familiar enough with CA to mentally visualize where she is with respect to you) so perhaps she's farther away from the source. She works in a clinic, so her greatest concern is the safety of the vaccines. These natural disasters on top of everything else happening this year are adding so much stress to people's lives. Am glad things have gotten better for your family and neighborhood - I hope the HVAC gets fixed soon (those things can be so dreadfully costly).

      My kids are doing a hybrid learning thing this year. Two days in person and three at home. More disruptive than a purely in-school or purely-distance arrangement, I feel, particularly for the teachers who have to teach each lesson roughly three times in addition to juggling countless new things and being split across the different learning platforms and formats. They're essential workers and I hope they get the acknowledgement they deserve.

      Zoom - the social MVP during this pandemic, and also sadly the thing people have had more than enough of. I look back over the last six months and am just floored at how much adapting everyone has had to do, whether they like it or not. It's too short a time for the magnitude and intensity of change that has occurred. I love that you've made decisions for your own family that make you feel good. We do what we must, when and however we can, and we give ourselves grace when we can't. Big hugs!


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