Who Would Have Thought?

I have been painting children’s book characters on sweatshirts for the past 17 years. It was a ‘hobby’ that started sort of accidently. I wanted to wear a sweatshirt to work one day and painted a favorite book character on it first. It was an unexpected hit. Then I painted another one as a Christmas gift for our Media Tech. She approached me about painting shirts for the school staff to wear during our ‘reading month’ activities. They would bring in a shirt and a copy of their favorite book and I would be painting far into the night while watching television. I don’t think there is a classic book I haven’t painted – and read while doing it. I have painted hundreds over the years. I have done sweatshirts for birthday gifts….retirement gifts…end of the year teacher gifts…shower gifts…etc. I have painted them for visiting authors and illustrators – who actually LOVE them and never caution me about copy right infringements. One illustrator essentially gave me verbal permission to use any of her work in this manner. I loved it…once. It was relaxing and the sort of thing I was very good at. The ‘business’ end of it has basically gone through ups and downs. There was a time when a fan in another state ordered something new every fall. She must be retired now. Haven’t heard from her in a while. And then there was the person who called me from across the COUNTRY to order something similar to one she had seen a person wear on the beach in California. And the Dad of the local author/illustrator that wanted shirts for an entire family to meet his daughter in at the airport. It was an honorable business. So just HOW did I end up positioning plastic in the crotch of a pair of size 4 panties before painting bunnies? Well…a teacher friend was comisserating over the fact that her daughter HATED the only character that graces little girl underwear and she needed something to boost the potty training efforts. She begged and I painted Miffy the Bunny on four little undershirts and eight pair of panties that wound up in a three year old’s Easter basket. Okay, so my friend paid me to do it but I swore I wouldn’t do it again. It made me feel kind of….kinky. But it was a hit and the potty training has sucessfully commenced. And I have ANOTHER bag of undies to paint for ANOTHER staff member with a little girl who hates the character that is on the store bought stuff. Here we go again. Max and Ruby. Maybe I should just drop PBS a line and tell them to go into the toddler underwear business. Anyone have their number????

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