December 31, 2011

50 miles? Check.

I know you've just been on the edge of your seat waiting to see if I got in my 50 miles for this month. I gotta admit I was tempted to simply skip it. Had various things to take care of today and a fun date with my nephews. But I knew that it would bug me, and that is no way to start a new year. So, am happy (and quite pleased with myself) to report that I got in 50.56 miles. Yes, my legs are sore, but am so happy - think I mentioned that already.

To celebrate, I decided to chart my miles this year. If you recall, my goal was to walk 50 miles each month, and I squeaked that in some months. My grand total for 2011 is 714 miles. What an accomplishment to see it laid out like this. Little steps add up over time.

Happy 2012. May it be the best year yet.

December 30, 2011

Final push

One of the goals I've had this year was to commit to getting in at least 50 miles of walking every month. Some months are great and I am way over. Other months it comes down to the wire, and this is such a time.

I woke up this morning with 7.74 miles to go to meet my target of 50 and 2 days left in the month. I was too lazy to get bundled up and go out for a cold morning walk, so jumped on the treadmill instead. You know me you know my passion for books, and was I ever delighted to find an On Point podcast with the Best Books of 2011 waiting for me to listen to. Most of the books are already on my TBR pile. I've read a couple on the list, and was introduced to some new ones to add to my towering TBR list. You can see the On Point list here.

Okay 5.14 miles to go. Will I make it?

December 28, 2011

Recent Reads

131. Sandman Vol 3: Dream Country
I do believe this is my fave book in the series so far. Delightful.

132. Sandman Vol 4: Season of Mists
I am slowly making my way through this series. Slowly, because I do not want the series to end. Fun read.

133. The Defector
This is No. 9 in the Gabriel Allon series, and I'd suggest skipping it. It is boring, repetitive and lacks a cohesive story. Too bad really, as I have quite enjoyed the others in the series. Am keeping my fingers crossed that the next one in the series is better.

134. The Ice Limit
What are the odds that I would read two horrible books back to back? On a trip no less? I simply do not understand the rave reviews about this book. It is poorly written, lacks a strong story line and a thriller it certainly is not. Why did I finish it? The rave reviews gave me hope of something better around the corner. Did not happen. Skip it.

December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays

As much I love traveling, there is something wonderful about being back home.

This page was done in ink and markers. I saw this image in a mag somewhere, but cannot recall where. Let me know if you do so I can credit the creator.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a new year filled with love, laughter and adventure.

December 22, 2011

Happy Solstice

It is the longest night of the year in these parts. The desert winds are howling outside my window as I write this. The sun is not up yet, and it does not seem like it will ever rise again. I can see how humans started offering sacrifices to the sun god. As a species we are not comfortable in the dark.

I am loving journaling sessions with my nieces. We spent a part of every day playing in our journals. Love that.

This page was done in ink and watercolors.

December 20, 2011

Night on the Strip

Vegas at night makes up for her sins of the day.

You can tell there is a recession on. This has to be the first time ever in all my trips to Vegas were I've not been annoyed by traffic and jostling crowds on the strip.

December 19, 2011

Random musings

From the road:
  • Vegas is a fab place to watch sporting events. Found my way to the South Point casino for some fab football. So fun to watch great games with fans. And not just fans, but fans with money on the line. Having the Pats shut down Tebow on his home turf? Sweet. And boy, oh boy, did you catch that Lions game? Think I've got whiplash from watching several games at once. Oh, and did I mention the $2 drinks? Second hand smoke is on the house. All in all a wonderful way to watch football.
  • So the Vegas Barnes and Noble, on Maryland Ave, has full time security. Asked around and learned that it not just for the holiday season - no stampedes at a book store I guess - he is there all year round. The store even has their special editions and multi-pack books (like the Harry Potter series) behind the cash registers. Kinda like cigs in a liquor store. So, I've been having fun imagining book thieves at work.
  • Loving reconnecting with my brother and his family. There is something wonderful about kids around 8 and 9 years old. They are all there. Little people. We have the most fascinating conversations.
  • What is it about women getting all dolled up for an event or dinner out, when the men they are with wear jeans? I heard once that women really dress for each other, not men. Have been thinking about that as I watch couple after couple who do this. This does not apply to European couples.
  • While we are on couples, what is the deal with dressing up and paying for dinner at a high end restaurant only to sit across from each other and gaze deeply ..... into your smart phone? I say stay at home, order pizza and save the money for new apps.
  • Vegas at night is worth all the drabness and depressing sights of the city in the day light. Think of Vegas as a vampire. Sunlight is not good for it.

December 16, 2011

Journal Page

Greetings from Vegas my pretties. Am jet lagged and hungry at strange hours, but loving getting to hang with my nieces. Today is the last school day before they break for a 2 week holiday so am looking forward to some fun days ahead.

I did a quick sketch of the house across from the bus stop the other day. What was I doing there? Waiting for my nephews who had early dismissal. Background acrylic wash was already on the page. Quick pen sketch. I still need to work on perspective. Not there yet.

December 14, 2011

Journal Page

I was inspired by this Geo Paper project, and decided to try it. I did not have Sumi ink, so used watered down black acrylics. I found painting this quite meditative.

I fly tomorrow and am looking forward to seeing similar landscapes outside my window.

December 13, 2011

Journal Page

I'm not always in the mood to draw what is in front of me, so while I was waiting for people to arrive decided to try "automatic drawings" ala Comfortable Shoes Studio. You can see her fun videos here.

Here are my faces. Quick and fun to sketch. Added watercolors when I got home.

December 12, 2011

Bound for Vegas Travel Journal (pre-trip)

One of the things I do to prepare for a trip is make a new travel journal. I decided to make this one 6x6 inches as I really love the portability of that size.

As usual I try to recycle as much as possible when I make a journal. The covers are cardboard covered with wall paper samples on the outside and scraps of wrapping paper on the inside. I used a piece of furniture swatch for the spine. The inside is made up of cheapo watercolor paper colored with cheapo acrylic paint, and vellum paper that I had bought ages ago. Also recycled a couple of envelopes I got in the mail. Decided to add photos to this journal, so started with some photos from my visit this time last year. Added stamping, collage material, stickers and labels. All bound with an easy pamphlet stitch and I'm good to go.

You can see a quick video of the journal pre-trip here.
You can see all my videos here.

Thanks for stopping by.

December 10, 2011

Journal Page

I've reintroduced my body back to the gym a week and a half ago, and oh can I tell that I have been a stranger to the gym for too long. There is much groaning as my sore and aching muscles adjust, but I feel great.

This page gave my brain a workout too. The idea is to draw the face/vase line on the left side (I am right handed), and the draw the right side as a mirror object. My brain stuttered several times. A great way to engage both left and right brains. Give it a try.

December 9, 2011

Spring 2011 Travel Journal

I love travel journals. Making them. Filling them. Seeing how other people do them. The possibilities are endless. Quite fun.

I had made a travel journal for a 2 week trip this spring and filled it up, but did not make a video because I had to figure out a way to hide personal pages. I spent some time marinating on the issue. I could simply remove the pages. I could put them into envelopes, or cover them in some way. My eureka moment happened when it occurred to me that I could simply fold the pages in half - easy enough to do since I used a ring bound book. This way the pages are in the right place in the journal, but still I have a measure of privacy. Viola!

The fun thing about a ring bound book, is that the pages can be re-ordered at any time and I don't have to use all the pages I start out with - so no leftover pages at the end. On this journal I did not add any of my photos - something I will explore with my next one.

You can see a quick video of the completed journal here.
You can read about how I created the journal and see the "before" video here.

December 7, 2011

Hillary rocks

To see why, click here.


I have always loved stories and story tellers, and I found a new story teller today. You can see her here.

Strathmore Online Classes

I quite enjoyed the three classes that Strathmore hosted earlier this year. Looks like they are doing it again for 2012. You can sign up here.

Recent Reads

129. The Relic
Have read good reviews about the Pendergast series, so decided to dive in with the first book, and found it a thrilling ride indeed. Reminded me a bit of Crichton's early work. Every time I see an exhibit in a museum, anywhere in the world, I am reminded of how much of the stuff was stolen and/or plundered. How can displaying mummies be anything other than grave-robbery? And yet, I appreciate the privilege that museums afford me. This story is about the "curse" of moving things to places they do not belong.

130. The Last Council
This much anticipated book #4 of the Amulet series does not disappoint. Emily and her friends find that there is no help to be found in Cielis. As a matter of fact, a competition (kinda like the Hunger Games) is about to ensue. My nieces (7 and 8) love this series, and I just bought the first book in the series for my nephew (9). Cannot wait for the next installment.

131. Sandman Vol 2: The Doll's House
I am slowly making my way though this series. It is a fun ride and the illustrations are fab. Have the next two books on my nightstand.

132. Best American Comics 2011
I find anthologies tough to read - there are some stories are that incredible and others that are so-so. This collection is no different - a mixed bag. What I really appreciated though was the chance to be exposed to artists that I had never heard of. There is value in that.

December 6, 2011

Art Journal Flip #2

To see a quick video of my recently completed art journal, click here.

For this journal, I decided to try a different size, and made a 6x6 inch book. It took a bit of getting used to, as I don't usually create on square pages. I love the portability of this size and will make journals like this again.

This handmade journal is so easy to make and uses recycled stuff. The covers are leftover illustration board, the spine is a fabric sample swatch, and the cover image is a junk mail postcard. I used cheapo watercolor paper for my signatures and bound the book together with a simple long stitch. As always, I feel quite fond of my filled journal and was reluctant to put it down to start a new one. Books become friends don't they?

You can see my other videos here.

December 5, 2011

Journal Page

I'm starting to get excited about my trip to Vegas to visit my nieces, my brother and his wife. Have not seem them since May, and we have 10 days to do nothing but play and reconnect. I have, of course, created a travel journal for the trip and plan on having journaling sessions with my nieces as we usually do. Will try to post a "before" journal video before I head out.

This page captures 10 things right now. Acyrlics, ink, makers.

December 3, 2011


As someone who has sat through more boring Power Point presentations than I care to recall, I love this idea. To see what inspired me today, click here.

Imaginary Animals #5

Halloween is a fave holiday in our house. There is something magical about being whatever you choose to be for a night. Most people think it is all about the candy - but I think it is the chance to dress up and be someone else.

What do you want to be for Halloween? A superhero. A vampire. A mermaid. The options are endless and much more interesting than the answer to that age old question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Vampire never seems to be an acceptable answer for that one!

This is one of my final pages for the imaginary animals series. Pen and marker. Love how an old, almost out of ink marker created that texture on the box.

December 2, 2011

Imaginary Animals #4

The thing about imaginary animals, is that once you start you cannot stop. There are so many fun possibilities. The inspiration for this one came from a bike part - of all things. Ink and markers.

December 1, 2011

Imaginary Animals #3

This all started with a magnifying glass. Why did I have it out? I was trying to read the teeny tiny writing on the nib of my fountain pen.

It looked like an eye. So traced around it and then added whatever seemed to fit. Ink and markers. Ah, the lusciousness of markers. Had forgotten about that.