November 30, 2010

December Daily 2010

This is my cover for the project.

I've been intrigued by this project for a couple of years and have decided to take the plunge. Am inspired by Ali and love her style. I've decided to create my 12x12 pages digitally, and am using the template that Jessica created for Holidays in Hand - a free online class last year. I will not be listing every source for my pages, but if you have a specific question I'd be happy to answer it.

So looking forward to this!

Journal pages

Was thinking about connections and networks after attending a party.

I find it interesting to learn how people know each other.

Sometimes they surprise you.

November 29, 2010

Local Attractions

The photo Theme of the Month is Local Attractions. These are pics from Fruitlands and the fabulous Japanese Maple in our back yard.

November 28, 2010

Journal pages

Yup, I've got a thing for sock monkeys. I cannot quite explain it - there is something cute about them. Love the idea of making them from socks that have lost their mate. I've got several of those lying around.

November 26, 2010

Journal pages

A fun creative outlet for me is to hang out in book stores and draw some of the people around me. I get to practice my drawing skills and charge my batts at the same time.

November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

We are celebrating Thanksgiving day in this part of the world.

For me this is a holiday that celebrates family, community, connection and gratitude. I find the sales and marketing frenzy to be annoying. The constant message that you are not enough. That you need to buy X so you can be enough. Be cool. So sad really. It is not about stuff. It has never been about stuff.

On this day, if only on this day, take the time to reflect on what you are thankful for. Focus on what you have instead of what you want.

I am thankful for so much. Here is the start of my long list: Health. Love. Family. Friends. Enough food. Enough money. Choices.......

What are you thankful for today?

Breeches Buoy

Luke has been working on his plans for building a breeches buoy. What is that you ask? He is devising a rope-based way to transfer himself from one tree to another in our yard. See design plans he drew in his journal on left.

He has already run the pulley up the tree and the project this day was to create steps to enable him to climb up the tree to a platform - see diagram.

Photos of this phase of the project can be seen here.

November 23, 2010

Recent Reads

1. Flight
My book club selection for this month has gotten rave reviews and I for one do not get it. In my opinion the book was written for a YA audience - even though that is not how the publisher marketed it. I felt like I was exposed to lots of violence for no reason at all. Unlike Diary of a Part-Time Indian, the author here does not add anything to my level of understanding. An interesting discussion at my book club revolved around the question: is violence ever justified?
Not a book I'd recommend.

2. The Island
After reading my book club selection was looking for a light book and stumbled across this chick-lit book. A little too light for my tastes - read more like a romance novel with one-dimensional characters. Found myself saying puh-lease out loud throughout the book. Sigh.

Owl Cookies

In my house these cookies create quite the stir. Susan's mom, Jane, makes these and ships them to us in time for Halloween. Umm, granted I do most of the eating. A very tasty tradition indeed. All gone now. Waiting for next year....

November 19, 2010

Reading with kids

1. Biscuit Takes a Walk
Five, almost six, year old Jonah is motivated to read. His vocabulary and spellings skills have greatly improved. With a little help, he read this one all by himself. A proud day.

2. Rodrick Rules (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #2)
Seven, almost eight, year old Luke has discovered and loves this series. We discuss books all the time, and this is the first book he has ever given to me to read so we can talk about it. Love that.

November 18, 2010


An example of backgrounds created with tube watercolors and plastic wrap. Love the texture.

Playing with backgrounds reminds of the backgrounds/backdrops of our lives. We live in a layered way - adding, subtracting, revising parts of the backdrops of our lives. And while we might make mistakes or go down the wrong road, if we take the time to reflect and synthesize these experiences we just might end up with a deeply textured background to our own lives. Something beautiful and meaningful.

November 17, 2010

Journal pages

After last night's rain and wind, there are not many leaves clinging on to the almost bare trees. I love the colors, light and smell of fall. I love going for walks and hearing the crunch of leaves underfoot. Love looking up and watching the leaves let go and swirl and float their way down. Beautiful.

November 16, 2010


Trying to draw hands makes me appreciate the old masters.

Played with contour and blind contour drawing and like the results - somehow captures the essence better I think. Don't think I'd really seen the connection of thumb to forefinger before. I mean take a moment and really look at your hand. Incredible no?

I've never understood how people get bored. Shows a lack of imagination I think.

November 15, 2010

Journal pages

A Picasso inspired page. Since getting the clutter out of my study have been on a creative ride - so fun.

We continue to have a beautiful fall out in these parts. It was almost 70 degrees on Sat! Incredible for this time of year when it could just as easily snow. Well, am sure there is some of that headed our way as well.

Here is quote to ponder:
A perfectly kept house is the sign of a misspent life.

November 14, 2010

Recent Reads

1. Faithful Place
This book got great reviews and I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. A murder mystery of sorts, set in Dublin. While I enjoyed the ambiance, and story idea, the characters were all dysfunctional in their own ways. I stuck with it primarily for the local color. The writing itself was not compelling.

2. House Rules
I know the bar for the author has been set unreasonably high by this book, so was not surprised that I did not love this one. The author has a predictable formula at this point - the story is told from multiple voices, there is a medical condition, there is a court case. What I enjoyed was learning more about Autism and Aspergers - have taught students with both and after reading this book have a little better understanding of those conditions. Not a rush out and buy book.

3. Sketchbook
Interesting to see the ideas behind the final product and how people use their sketchbooks to work things out.

4. Journal Junkies Workshop
A good starter book for anyone who'd like to keep a visual journal. Some interesting ideas.

5. The Concord Life
I have a soft spot for self-published books. This one describes some of the sights in the nearby town of Concord.

6. And the Pursuit of Happiness
Was so excited when this little piece of eye candy showed up. Loved it, as I've loved all her work. A little history, a little sightseeing, lots of paintings. Loved it.

November 13, 2010

Sketch crawl

A sketch crawl is the artistic/visual version of the classic pub crawl - walk and sample. Took myself on one in Charlestown earlier this fall. I walk this route regularly, but I see more when I slow down and actually look at what my eyes see.

November 12, 2010

Journal pages

My art journal group met last weekend. The prompt I assigned was inspired by Carla Sonheim - go to your local library or bookstore. Flip through magazines and draw what captures you. The goal being to draw.

Love how this page turned out. I've already posted other pages based on this prompt here and here.

The group discussed various topics including how to get unstuck, how to push past resistance and how art helps us heal.

November 10, 2010

Dad's Birthday

Here is a pic of the two of us from many moons ago. Not sure what I'm doing with that jug of Kallu (Palm wine) which my Dad is sampling - guess the drinking age was different in those days.

Happy birthday Dad.

Journal pages

Hands. Wouldn't be my journal without hands. Love the details I get with my new technical pen.

It has been raining for days - feels like weeks. I miss the sun. While I wait for it am loving my life with Susan, playing with my adorable nephews and catching up with my sis who is visiting.

Life is good.

November 8, 2010

Page One

I've written before about how hard it is for me to make a mark on the first page of an art journal. I usually get to it after I've already made friends with the book. This new journal was different. Took a deep breath and plunged in - started on the first page. Pushing past the critical voices and resistance. Here is what I ended up with. I like it.

November 7, 2010

New Journal

It is that time again - time for a new journal. I find myself resisting it. Why? After sitting with that question, this is what I've come up with - a new journal is a stranger. We are not yet intimate or even friendly with each other. I am loathe to leave behind the last journal that feels like a a part of me. An intimate. But I push myself. Cherish the old one, but let it go. Embrace beginnings. Start again. A good life philosophy too. So here is the cover to my new journal - one I bound with colors of the fall.

November 6, 2010


You know me you know I am a huge Louisa May Alcott fan. So I loved our little excursion to Fruitlands yesterday. I had no idea that Louisa's father had moved the family out here to Harvard to start an Utopian society that lived off the land and oppress neither people nor animals. The experiment lasted about 7 months and they moved to Concord. The docent was full of fascinating facts and clearly loved the topic. Yes, there were other cool things to explore as well, but I was most fascinated walking in the Alcott house and hearing about this story. Fascinating.

You can see pics of the excursion here.

November 5, 2010

Quote of the day

Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.
-Elie Wiesel

Happy Deepavali

Happy Deepavali/Divali. May you be the light that chases away the darkness.

Taking a time out from cleaning, painting, sorting, etc for a fun play excursion. Details when I return.

This page captures the fun I had reading The Hunger Games trilogy. Dark, dark world, but a fun read.

November 4, 2010

Snippets of time

Click on image to see larger.

While browsing through 21 Secrets was delighted to find the Get Carded workshop by Dawn DeVries Sokol.

I love scraping paint on pages with credit cards, gift cards, etc. Many of my backgrounds are created in just this way.

I also believe that a little art every day goes a long way. These pages are a good example of what I mean.
  • It took about 10 minutes to scrape several shades of acrylic blue paint on the un-prepped pages (no gesso).
  • A different day I brushed gesso on some leaves I had collected on my walk and stamped the pages - 10 minutes. I love the texture the gesso created.
  • I colored the leaves with water soluble oil pastels and wrote the text with a sharpie paint pen - 15 minutes.
If I had waited to find time to do the entire layout, I would still be waiting. I snatch a little time when I can, and I find that the process of leaving the page and coming back later changes what I end up doing - different ideas come to me. Instead of waiting for that perfect (read not gonna happen) time to create, why not try creating using little snippets of time?

Journal pages

Here is another page inspired by a magazine I was flipping through. Created just before Halloween using pen, ink and watercolors.

Reading with kids

1. Duck, Duck, Moose
Had Jonah on a solo visit yesterday and after homework we got out books to read. I read him this story and he loved it - a cute story of migration.

2. Alphabeasties
We both loved this book. So cool how kids are introduced to different fonts and the graphics are fab.

November 3, 2010


Continue to love how these pages capture a place and time.

I am not a witch

Only in Nevada could a candidate use that as the intro to her TV ad and still expect to get elected. Thankfully the good people of Nevada proved her wrong. Incredible!

I love flipping through magazines looking for inspiration - drew this one at the store and added color at home - made it my own.

November 2, 2010


Am starting to realize how much hands are a part of my lexicon. They speak volumes without a single word.

This page was created while I was reading The Big Short, and getting mad. Seems to me that the stop the insanity motto holds up just as well today on election day.

Election Day

Am headed out to vote right now. Please vote today.

November 1, 2010

Random Musings

And just like that it is November. Where the heck does the time go?
  • Been hard at work cleaning out and re-arranging my study. Found a changing table - the one used for little ones when they are still in diapers - and guess what? They are an excellent addition to my study. No, no diapers on the horizon - but great storage and the perfect height to create while standing - which I tend to do most of the time. Decided that rather than simply stuff it in, to take this opportunity to clean, re-organize and purge. Has taken me days - but so worth it. Love the new space - much better wa.
  • Watched a good football game yesterday between the Vikings and the Patriots. I'm a huge Farve fan - gotta love the guy who plays with a broken ankle AND broken heel. Who does that? Especially at 41. When he got hit and was helped off towards the end of the game, the wind went out of my sails - it is no fun watching games where players get bloodied. Guess stitches are better than a broken jaw and concussion. Wonder if he'll start next week.
  • Did not get as many trick-or-treaters as usual. The little ones are so adorable. And they take only one piece of candy. The gangs of older kids are not as fun and are greedy to boot. Well, I'm surprised that there was any candy left for the kids after my candy spree this past week. Asked Susan to hide the rest someplace I cannot get to without a shovel. Stay tuned.