January 31, 2011


Loving lazy days with nothing of importance to do. Loving the PBS series Downton Abbey. Loving being immersed in a great read. Loving the colors of my paintbox. Loving the warmer days in the midst of this frigid winter. Loving snuggles. Loving exploring new ideas. Loving fireside chats. Loving playing in my art journal.

January 30, 2011

Highly Prized - Alphanumerics

Learning to read and write is lost in the mists of my mind, so I am delighted to be able to spend time with my nieces and nephews and see how their brains get a toe-hold and then suddenly they can read and write. Almost like magic!


I've always been a good note taker. Taking notes adds an extra dimension to how I learn or listen - makes the process tactile in a way. I am able to recall things I noted down much more accurately than things simply read or heard.

Been listening to interesting topics lately - and these are a couple of my pages of notes.

January 29, 2011

David Kato

I am sick to my stomach this morning after reading about what happened to David Kato in Uganda. You can read the article here. What some people do in the name of their religious beliefs sickens me.

I believe that a big part of the problem is the demonizing of "the other". Intolerance is bred by the perpetuation of ignorance. In recent discussions with "liberal" women, I've had to play devils advocate to the ranting and intolerance I encountered. I simply do not understand how anyone can take a strong stance for or against something when they cannot articulate both sides of the issue. Where have those debate skills learned in primary school gone? When did we get so sure that we are right, and the other is wrong?

Am heartened by people like Elizabeth Lesser who suggest such a simple thing: Take the "Other" to lunch. You can see her talk here.

As the Mahatma said: Be the change you want to see in the world. Take the Other to lunch and be the light that chases away the darkness.

January 28, 2011


Loving time with my nephews. Loving making invisible ink and writing secret messages. Loving the look of wonder as the secret message is revealed. Loving meandering chats. Loving the laughter and hugs. Loving homework time. Loving staying in touch with who they are right now.

January 26, 2011

Recent Reads

1. Wolf Hall
I am fascinated by the Tudor court and how the world changed during that period of time, so was excited about this book. While I learned much about Thomas Cromwell and got better insight into the times, this was a difficult read. The writing seemed rather tortured.

2. Labor Day
An interesting coming of age story that stayed with me after I closed the book. It is often said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Well, I think the same is true of strangeness. What is normal in your home is simply the way things are - until you explore the outer world and realize that you are in fact strange. Really enjoyed this book.

3. Mary and O'Neil
Loved everything about this book and would highly recommend it. Beautifully written exploration of the human condition. I laughed. I cried. I found my hand over my heart during portions. One of the best books I've read in a while.

January 25, 2011


Loving the solitude of being home alone. Loving exciting football games. Loving the flash of the red Cardinal against the snow covered burning bush. Loving long phone chats. Loving tasty leftovers from the freezer. Loving immersing myself in a good book. Loving staying warm in this frigid air. Loving hot showers. Loving the taste of ice-cream in winter. Loving the space between thoughts. Loving a good nights sleep. Loving the transience of snowflakes. Loving the gift of time. Loving my healthy body. Loving missing my baby. Loving that all is well with my loved ones.

January 24, 2011

Baby it's cold outside

Read an article that we are having colder temps than places in the Arctic Circle! No wonder I'm freezing. Air temps are in the negative numbers. Good thing there were football games to get me all stirred up. So we are left with the Packers and the Steelers. Go Packers!

This journal page has a recurring theme for me - hands. The text is notes I took while listening to a book on meditation.


Watched an inspiring and thought provoking TED talk on the power of vulnerability this morning. You can see it here.

January 23, 2011


Loving these performances.

Highly Prized - Picasso

While surfing, found a photo on Seth's blog of La Lecture by Picasso. Estimated between $18,570,000-$27,860,000, this painting is certainly highly prized.

So, here is my ode to Picasso. If you'd like to pay me even a fraction of the estimate, do let me know...

January 21, 2011

Winter wonderland

We are having quite the winter season in these parts. Another snow day today - an additional 8 inches of the light fluffy stuff. At this rate school will be session till July.

Had to drive to the airport in the slop this morning - took about 2 hours each way. Could have been halfway to Hawaii by then! Fast moving storm has already cleared out and the sun is out this afternoon. So pretty outside - kinda magical.

Centered this journal page around the drawing of a woman who caught my eye.

January 19, 2011


Loving a night of poetry and scones. Loving the smells of a crackling fire. Loving having a stash of firewood to make fires. Loving snow days. Loving watching the snow fall with no place to go. Loving lazy mornings in bed with tea and a book. Loving fun book club discussions. Loving galloping with a dear friend. Loving good food and excellent company. Loving the inspiration of spending time with other art journalers. Loving the calm after the storm.

January 14, 2011

Highly Prized - el Morro

I love forts. Maybe it is because I grew up exploring Fort Jesus and it captured my imagination. It was like history coming alive - forts built in strategic spots around the world to secure trade routes and provide the first line of defense to attack from the sea. So highly prized.

I visit forts every chance I get, and the beautiful el Morro did not disappoint.

January 13, 2011


This year I am exploring how to draw faces. Here are a couple of sketches from a couple of nights ago.

It is hard to draw the face of someone I know - I cannot quite capture a true likeness yet.

I find sketching strangers easier to do - there is less emotional context attached.

Highly Prized - Butterflies

In the midst of this nor'easter, I've got butterflies on my mind.

The background color is oil pastels, and the butterflies images are from napkins in my stash.

January 12, 2011


The thing about January, is that there are so many new things to explore. I'm dabbling in many of them, and one is the Art Journal January 2011 by Milliande. She is playing with a theme the entire month - in this case stripes. If you have not seen her videos yet, do check them out for some inspiration.

Since I'm dabbling, I'm not playing in a particular order - decided to play with Day 5. I love the work of Guido Daniele - simply stunning, so was delighted to play with my hands and create this zebra. I used ink, markers and watercolors. Fun no?

January 11, 2011

Blizzard warning

There is something about an upcoming snow day - blizzard in this case - that gets my creative juices flowing. Maybe it is the nowhere to go feeling of a snow day that brings it on.

I started this page with a certain idea in mind and ended up here. Love it. I painted the background with water colors with some masking tape used as resist. Then attached this piece of tissue paper/napkin using gel medium, and love, love, love how it turned out. Got a stash of napkins from a member of my art journal group and decided to play and see what I could create with them. There needs to be some writing to finish the page - will post that when completed.

It's a new year. Get out that stash you've been saving and use it. Sometimes beautiful things happen.


Another ephemera page. I create these as I go along - simply start sticking things on the page until full, then I flip to another set of pages in my journal and start over.

A fun way to capture a place and time.

January 10, 2011

Wild Card Weekend

A weekend of fantastic football games - and several upsets. Fun.

Saw this image in a paper several months ago, and have had it on my desk for ages. Decided to draw it - captured the essence of what I liked - though I find faces tough to draw. Practice. Practice.

January 8, 2011

Recent Reads

1. Kid Chat
Had fun flipping through this book as I looked for journal prompts to add to the journals I gave my nieces and nephew in December. They would be good questions for adults too.

2. The Last Ember
Don't bother. Not sure what all the rave reviews are about. While I did like learning some of the historical events the book is based on, the story and writing are both really poor.

3. Black Swan Green
Loved it, and it has stayed with me since I read it. It is classified as a YA book, but the writing is crisp and intelligent and I loved everything about this coming of age story.

4. The Space Between Us
Loved it. This is what my book club is reading this month. It is well written and there are so many things to ponder and discuss after reading it. Looking forward to my book club discussion next weekend.

January 7, 2011

Recent Movies

1. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Woof. Woof. Why did this movie even get made? Could have been an interesting overview of the recent crash - great talent in the movie - but total waste of time.

2. Inception
The smartest movie I've seen in ages. Loved it.

3. The Road from Coorain
Have yet to read the book, but really liked this movie.

4. La Mission
Like the actors and the story, but the movie could have used some serious editing.

5. Rudi Y Cursi
Fun, light movie about sibling rivalry and life in the fast lane after growing up poor.

January 6, 2011

Highly Prized - Full Moon

I've always been a sun girl, but as I've gotten older have begun to appreciate the beauty of the moon. I love big fat yellow full moons low on the horizon.

Highly Prized - Crescent Moon

Beautiful crescent moon out last night.

Playing with watercolors trying to capture that little sliver of light.


Here are some recent book titles that amuse me:

  1. The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becomng Superhuman by Timothy Ferriss
  2. You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News by Cracked.com
  3. The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels - A Love Story by Ree Dummond
Would these be non-fiction then?

January 5, 2011

Food for thought

Listened to an interesting talk by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on Why we have too few women leaders. You can see it here.

January 4, 2011


A visit to the Bellagio is one of our regular outings whenever I visit my family in Las Vegas. I am always amazed at the creativity on display. You can see pics from the most recent outing here.

Highly Prized - Window Seat

Love the view from the window seat - this is a view from a trip to the Maldives several years ago. Stunningly beautiful. So many islands, so little time.

January 3, 2011

Highly Prized - Silence

So many things I highly prize are impossible for me to draw. How does one draw love? Or trust? Or safety? So this is turning out to be an interesting challenge in more ways than one.

Something I highly prize is silence. A space to hear my thoughts. A space to restore my balance. On planes, I use these noise canceling headphones to help keep me sane.


Here is another ephemera page in my journal - a capture of a place and time. I actually met the clown at my doctor's office - quite an interesting character.

January 1, 2011

Highly Prized - Ornament

I'm participating in The Sketchbook Challenge this year and the theme for January is Highly Prized.

I'm also doing something different for this challenge and not working in a bound book. I really love the book format, but thought I'd explore how it was working on individual sheets of paper.

The pages are 9"x6" watercolor paper and have holes pre-punched. My plan is to create covers and eventually bind the completed pages and covers using binder rings.

Why is this prized? It is part of our holiday ornament collection - each one has a story and memory connected with it. Love that.

What are some of the projects you are working on this year?

Happy New Year

2011. It's got a nice ring to it no?

This is typically resolution time. As you might know, instead of a list of resolutions, I choose a word that reflects my intention for the year. I've found it works incredibly well and since it is open-ended, I surprise myself with what I discover along the journey.

I've posted my word for this year here.

My word is EXPLORE:
1: to investigate, study, or analyze
2: to travel over (new territory) for adventure or discovery
3: to examine

Am excited about the adventure ahead. Hope you are too.