July 31, 2011

Journal Page

I am fascinated by how cultures honor ancestors, and when I saw this statue was immediately drawn to it.

A quick journal page with ink, acrylic paint and pencil. I scraped and scrubbed the page to create the sense of an aged artifact.

(Click image to view larger).

July 30, 2011


Loving sailing season.
Loving re-watching Jackie Brown - such good story telling.
Loving that my nephews get on the phone to tell me about books they are reading.
Loving scheduling a play date with my nephews.
Loving good reads on my nook.
Loving early morning and sunset walks along the water.
Loving being startled when Old Ironsides fires her cannon.
Loving belly laughs and good conversation.
Loving summer.

July 29, 2011

Recent Reads

1. The Confessor
Picked up book three of the Gabriel Allon series - how can you not love the idea of a Mossad art restorer? An interesting read, and I learned more about the role of the Vatican during the Holocaust - something I sure did not learn about in Catholic school.

2. A Death in Vienna
This is book four, and the final book in the Holocaust trilogy featuring Gabriel Allon and I found it a fascinating and disturbing read. Like the earlier books in the series, I learned about things I had no idea about - in this case the role that Austrians had in the Holocaust. I love books that introduce me to a new way of thinking about a topic, and this trilogy did just that. Yes, we hear all about the Nazis, but what about the role of Swiss banks (book 1), the Vatican (book 2) and Austrians (book 3)?

3. Inkheart
I was introduced to this series by my nieces who love it. This is book one of the trilogy and it is quite a fun read, especially for those of us who love books and the worlds they create. The magic and power of reading is explored very creative ways.

4. Coraline: The Graphic Novel
I found the movie rather creepy, and have yet to read the book, but enjoyed this graphic novel. Really good story and the illustrations are fab.

5. Secret Daughter
You know that feeling you get that you have read a book before, but don't actually remember what comes next, so you keep reading? Well, have had that with several books lately - this being one. An interesting story about Indian families, adoption, identity and the burden of daughters. Have read several articles recently about the continued decline in girl birth rates in India and other Asian countries, and this story examines one example of what might happen when an unwanted girl is born in a culture that values boys/men over girls/women.

July 26, 2011

Element of childhood

In keeping with the sketchbook theme of ELEMENT this month, I captured this little toy who hangs out on our book shelves.

Toys are an element of childhood, though not just childhood anymore. Usually toys just get more expensive as one gets older.

Remember wooden toys? I have always loved them. In my opinion the lack of buttons and lights and beeps allowed my imagination to soar where I wanted. I was not constrained by all the bells and whistles of toys sold today. This little guy has been around for at least two generations of playtime. Love that.

July 25, 2011

Amy Winehouse

So sad to hear that Amy Winehouse is dead at 27. She had such talent and I love her music. I remember hearing Rehab for the first time while sitting in an outdoor cafe in Thailand.

July 24, 2011

Element of surprise

The sketchbook theme this month is ELEMENT. Well, I sure had the element of surprise today. I started out drawing a sea gull, and this is what I ended up with.

I took out my art bag and dived in. The page was created using pen, oil pastels, water-soluble oil pastels, acrylic paint, stencils and markers.

July 23, 2011

Baby it's HOT outside

In the midst of a heat wave in these parts - unusually warm for us. Temps around 104-107F - not fit for man or beast. Global warming? Am staying cool and catching up on some TV shows:

1. Battlestar Galactica
Started watching Season 1 recently - very low tech and strangely interesting.

2. Carnivale
Another strangely compelling series - just finished watching the first season last night. As a reviewer said, it is a cross between John Steinbeck and Stephen King. How could I resist that?

July 20, 2011

Recent Reads

I love graphic novels - they were called comics when I was a kid. I remember endless hours of pleasure reading the stories and looking at the illustrations, and wanted to expose my nieces and nephews to some of that joy. My nieces all have birthdays in a couple of weeks, so I read my way through several likely candidates to determine which ones I would send them. These are the ones that made the list:

1. The Stonekeeper
This is the first book of the four part Amulet series, and I love the story - has a strong girl character. I could loose myself for hours in the lush illustrations. I had not heard of the author before and will looking into more of his work. Fab.

2. The Stonekeeper's Curse
Book 2 of the Amulet series.

3. The Cloud Searchers
Book 3 of the Amulet series. Am looking forward to book 4 due out in September.

4. Flight Explorer (Vol 1)
Same author as above, but the book consists of shorter stories by different artists. A fun romp.

Some of the other books I read:
5. Still Missing
This books got great reviews and while I thought the writing was interesting, I did not love it. The story is a hard one to read - a woman gets abducted by a man and kept prisoner in an isolated cabin. Tough content, and the writing was not good enough to convey the material convincingly. Interesting twist in the end.

6. Artist to Artist
23 major illustrators talk to their kids about art. This book is a great read for young and old - anyone interested in the creative process of book illustration. Loved it.

July 19, 2011


I just might have found my next career. I could be a bibliotherapist and help create a reading list and reading nook for people who want a reading vacation. So love this idea. Go read this post to get inspired.

July 14, 2011


I love meeting readers. I love hearing what they are currently reading. I love hearing about books they loved. Or how a book changed them. And how they pick their next read.

I am often asked how I find books for my TBR list. Here are some of the ways:
  1. Talk to readers
  2. Listen to podcasts about authors and books
  3. Read the NYT book review
  4. Amazon - they have one of the best search engines in the market, and I am a nook person so that is saying something!
  5. I love Powells - both their store and website. I quite like the Puddly awards.
  6. Book blogs
Today I attended a summer book reading list discussion at my library. Two librarians reviewed various books and handed out a list they would recommend. Had already heard of most of the books, but discovered some new ones to check out. Love that.

On a slightly different note, I recently learned that most avid readers read one of three genres - romance, mysteries and thrillers. That explains the huge romance selection of ebooks at the library - something that has baffled me for some time. Who knew?

July 12, 2011

Journaling with kids

As promised in this post, here are the pages we created in the park. The one above is how I captured the afternoon.

I love how Jonah spelled my name below the heart he drew for me. Check out how he captured those 3D holes on the top. Love Luke's imagination - so cool how he drew me floating on a red raft.

July 9, 2011

Recent Reads

1. I Remember Nothing
A mini book of essays, most of which are funny and entertaining.

2. High Crimes
As I continue to search for a good thriller, picked this one and honestly cannot understand the rave reviews. While an interesting idea, it was not well written and the characters were not flushed out. Skip it.

3. The Valley of Horses
Am currently hooked on the Earth's Children series, and am reading each of these 600+ page books in giant gulps. This is book 2, and while not as fab as the first book in the series is a fun escapist summer read.

4. The Mammoth Hunters
Am currently hooked on the Earth's Children series, and am reading each of these 600+ page books in giant gulps. I read book 2 and 3 back to back and realize that there is quite a bit of recapping which is a little annoying. Guess it would not have been an issue if I had read them when they were initially published years apart. This is book 3, and while not as fab as the first book in the series is a fun escapist summer read.

** Except for High Crimes, I read all of these on my new nook. My wrists are so happy, and I was able to read one 600+ page book after another without having to carry a bag of books with me everywhere I went. Love that.

July 8, 2011

Art in the park

Recently spent the day with my nephews and we went to the park for the afternoon.

Activities included a picnic, hunting for fish and frogs, art and ice cream. A perfect summer day. It warms my heart to see kids (or anyone) play creatively.

I'll post what they created after I scan their art.

July 7, 2011

Recent Movies

I don't really watch movies in theaters anymore - am so disappointed by most that I rarely bother. I catch up on my movies when they come out on DVD.

1. Rabbit Hole
Was delighted when I stumbled upon this movie. It is made for adults. No need for guns and explosions - at least on the outside. The human heart is capable of that all on its own. A beautifully told story about love and loss and family and comfort and forgiveness. Loved it.

2. Hereafter
With Clint Eastwood as director, I was looking forward to some good story telling. But he fell short on this one. Too choppy of a story and not compelling enough to hold one's interest.

3. Waiting for Superman
Loved this documentary. Found myself saying YES out loud often. A look at education and how the current system fails kids.

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
The last book in the Harry Potter series was disappointing, and the movie is even worse. Too much focus on special effects and not enough story telling. What was with all that moody staring? And while the hairs on my neck stand up whenever Nagini is on screen, the movie as a whole is rather boring.

July 6, 2011

Old Ironsides

This was the view from our cockpit a couple of days ago.

One of the festivities over the July 4th weekend in Boston is the turnaround of the USS Constitution. She sure is looking pretty after all the restoration efforts. I hear that she is expected to sail under her own power next summer. Been a long time since I saw her under sail. Something to look forward to.

July 2, 2011


Loving boating season.
Loving gelatto. And ice-cream. And cannolis.
Loving being rocked to sleep on the water.
Loving harbor walks.
Loving warm days and cool nights.
Loving star gazing.
Loving being immersed in good reads.
Loving fresh veggies from CSA.
Loving fresh berries and fruit.
Loving fireworks season.
Loving everything about summer.