January 31, 2012

Doodling #2

Here is doodle page number two for The Sketchbook Challenge this month. The pink acrylic wash was already on the page. The doodles were done in ink and colored with markers. I found doing this page quite meditative.

January 30, 2012

You gotta check this out.

If you been reading my blog for a while, you know that I am a huge TED fan, so imagine my delight when I found this animation of one of my fave talks. Thanks to Les H for the link.

Ira Glass on the Creative Process

I am always inspired by Ali Edwards. Saw this on her blog and love it so much, I wanted to share. So, so true.

January 27, 2012

Amazon Book Boycott

Okay, you might have noticed that all my books are no longer linked to Amazon.com but to Goodreads instead. Why you ask? Well I just read (how did I miss this?) that Amazon ran this special back in December:

This week Amazon.com announced that customers who go into bricks-and-mortar stores on Saturday, December 10, use the company’s smartphone price check app on select products, and then purchase that product from Amazon will receive a discount of up to $5.

Creative sales? Creative marketing? I just call it slimy. So no longer am I linking to them for books and will not buy any more books from them. Am putting that money into my local indie store instead.

Recent Reads

9. The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt
New author # 7. This is an unusual and delightful book. I love looking through scrapbooks, and this one tells the story of Frankie Pratt, a girl from New Hampshire who leaves home, travels, comes into her own, and returns home to find that what she is seeking has been there all along. Love all the vintage ephemera used to tell the story. A fun read.

10. The White Queen
This is the first book in The Cousins' War series. This is the first novel I have read about The War of the Roses - I am much more a fan of the Tudor period. This is full out Plantagenet warfare - cousin against cousin, brother against brother. The story is told from the point of view of Elizabeth Woodville, a commoner who becomes the Queen of England. Quite enjoyed learning more about this period, but the writing does not hold up as well as her other books. That said, I will be reading the other books in this series.

11. A Game of You
This is graphic novel is #5 in the Sandman series, and I think it might just be my fave one so far. As usual I love the story and the graphics and even the fonts used. The story explores the breakdown between the dreaming and "real" worlds. What happens when you can easily shift from one to the other? How do you tell which one you are in? Love this book.

2012 reading goals:
Authors new to me = 12. YTD = 7.
2 books by Charles Dickens. YTD = 0

January 26, 2012

Maurice Sendak on The Colbert Report

How cool is this?
Part 1:

Part 2:

Journal Page

I like owls. There is something about those big eyes. And that they can turn their heads exorcist style. So cool.

Saw a pic somewhere of these felted owls as tree ornaments. Love the idea. A simple page using ink and markers.

January 25, 2012

Recent Reads

6. Print Workshop
New author #5. If you are an absolute beginner, this might be a good book to start with. It was too low level for me and while I liked some of the prints, was not really inspired by what I saw.

7. The Informationist
New author #6. I did not like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and did not continue to read the other 2 books in the trilogy. Since all the reviews I read linked these two books, I should have skipped this one. There are similarities between the books - the main character is an abused, traumatized young woman who solves a mystery. I did like the setting of this book - I don't often read thrillers set in West Africa, but that was about the only thing I liked. A fast read that kinda read like a video game - lots of action and slaughter. Not sure that I'll be reading the next in the series.

8. Aya of Yop City
This graphic novel is the #2 book in the Aya series. The story continues from where the last book ends, and the father of the baby is resolved. Like book #1, I enjoyed following the lives of Aya and her friends and am looking forward to seeing how the cliff hanger at the end of the book is resolved.

2012 reading goals:
Authors new to me = 12. YTD = 6.
2 books by Charles Dickens. YTD = 0

January 23, 2012

Bound for Vegas Travel Journal - Sneak Peek #2

It feels like winter in these parts, and I have started thinking about warm waters. Here is another sneak peak at my most recent travel journal.
Sketching gives me a chance to stare at fellow travelers.

January 20, 2012

Recent Reads

4. Divergent
New author #4. This young adult (YA) book as gotten rave reviews and I needed a quick read - a palate cleanser if you will - so dived in. Dystopian novels seem to be all the rage, both in adult and YA fiction lately. Wonder why. At any rate, I read this book in a day. Stayed up late to finish it. Tris is not as kick-ass as Katniss (Hunger Games), but you gotta root for a girl protagonist amidst all the boy centered books. The next book in the trilogy will be released this spring and is on my TBR list. If you're looking for a fun, fast read, check this one out.

5. Faith
I do not know why it took me so long to read this book. I heard the author speak at the BBF this year and I decided to bump the book higher on my TBR list, and am I delighted I did. I was braced for some tough stuff - the story is set around the Catholic Priest sex scandals in Boston. Like all great stories, the grander themes are explored using specific people - in this case an accused priest and his family. The story takes us into the lives of a family, dysfunctional in their own particular way, and we explore how things end up the way they do. Beautifully told. Loved every moment of reading it.

I'm delighted to have read 3 wonderful books in a row. Looking at my TBR pile to see what I'm going to dive into next. Are you reading anything good?

2012 reading goals:
Authors new to me = 12. YTD = 4.
2 books by Charles Dickens. YTD = 0

January 19, 2012

Journal Page

I find it interesting how the subconscious works. I started this page by slapping some paint down and drawing circles. Looking at it a couple of days later I see hints of my emotional state. There were several things going on that were making me crazy and I wanted it to stop. My journal page perfectly captures that.

I used fluid acrylics - they work surprising well with masks and stencils.

January 18, 2012

Atheism 2.0

I am always inspired by books that Alain de Botton writes, so was delighted to see his TED talk. I could not agree more.
You can see his talk here.

Stop internet censorship!

If you are in the US, please help stop this bill.

The Senate is poised to vote on a bill that would end the internet as we know it.

If it passes, the "Protect IP Act" (and its companion bill in the House, "SOPA") could put people in jail for uploading a video to YouTube and would severely limit our right to free speech.

This bill has been rushed through Congress because big corporate interests like Comcast, Pfizer, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have spent millions of dollars lobbying for this censoring legislation.

I told my senators to protect our free and open internet and oppose the Protect IP Act. You should do the same. You can sign the petition at the link below.


January 17, 2012

Recent Reads

1. The Assassini
I can never resist a Vatican thriller. There are so many skeletons buried in their closets, and the more I learn about the history the more shocked I am. Well, this fun read is a fictional story about the intrigues in the Church as the Pope nears his death. This is an old school thriller - one that moves slowly. Not a wham bam thank you ma'am kind of a thriller, and I enjoyed losing myself in this world for a while. This is the first book I have read by this author and I would read more of his work.

2. The Emperor of All Maladies
This book won the Pulitzer and I tend to be skeptical of prize winners, but it is my book club selection for the month, so I dived in. I've read 137 books in the last 12 months and this one is the best of the lot. Finally a book written for adults! The book covers cancer in various ways: the historical, the political, the scientific, the medical, the personal, the victories, the failures, the hope and the deaths. It reads like a thriller and I loved every minute of it. First book by the author, and I can only hope that he continues to write.

3. Aya
I love graphic novels, especially ones with alternative perspectives. I quite liked this coming of age story set in the Ivory Coast. Growing up in Kenya, I learned all the typical things about the Ivory Coast - history, exports, geography, etc, but nothing about actual people on the ground. So I found this snapshot of a girl and her community interesting. This is the first book I've read by the author and I certainly read more of her work.

2012 reading goals:
Authors new to me = 12. YTD = 3.
2 books by Charles Dickens. YTD = 0

What are you reading?

January 16, 2012

World Book Night

Love, love, love this idea.
I just signed up as a giver. Let me know if you sign up too.

World Book Night

We need 50,000 book-loving volunteers to fan out across America on April 23, 2012! Just take 20 free copies of a book to a location in your community, and you just might change someone's life.

The goal is to give books to new readers, to encourage reading, to share your passion for a great book. The entire publishing, bookstore, library, author, printing, and paper community is behind this effort with donated services and time. And with a million free World Book Night paperbacks!

The first World Book Night was held in the UK last year, and it was such a big success that it's spreading around the world! Please volunteer to be a book giver in the U.S. Sign up now to be a book giver. Read more about World Book Night on this site, from the free book list to the FAQs.


The sketchbook theme this month is Doodles. I don't often doodle. But had fun with this one. There is something meditative about line and color with no outcome in mind.

I decided to doodle over a double spread, so total size is 9x12 inches, which my scanner does not like, but you get the idea. This page was done with ink and watercolors.

January 15, 2012

It's the playoffs baby!

This weekend is all about football in our house. 2 games yesterday. 2 today. And what an incredible pair of games last night.

First up, the New Orleans Saints against the San Francisco 49ers. I was rooting for the Saints, and the first half did not look good. Everyone seemed to come alive in the 4th quarter. How the heck the Saints maintained such a close game with 5 turnovers is beyond me. The last 5 minutes or so of the game I was on my feet. Thought the Saints had it. Then no, they didn't. Then yes, they did. Then no, they didn't. They lost. What a game.

I barely had time to weep and shake off the stress. By the time the first game was over, the 2nd was already in progress. New England Patriots against Colorado Broncos. Home game for the Pats. Way below freezing temps - 6 degrees F. Brrr. What a game. Our defense seems to have changed overnight and sacked Tebow more times that I can recall. Pats all the way. A blow out. Sweet.

Now for the 2 games tonight. Need to remember to breathe.

Teenage Scientists

It warms my heart to watch kids, especially girls, get passionate about science.
To see the award winning young scientists click here.

January 14, 2012

Bound for Vegas Travel Journal - Sneak Peek

I know that you are probably wondering about the status of my Vegas travel journal. I loved the portability of the 6x6 inch size and got a chance to play in it daily. I still need to complete some of the pages, but here is a sneak peek to keep you going.

I woke up late one night to the sound of heavy rain. There is something magical about desert rain. Seems more special than rain back home for some reason. Love that clean, crisp air a heavy rain leaves behind. This page was created with ink, watercolor pencils, and a watercolor brush. Simple supplies that travel well.

Jan 18 Art Play Date

I'm organizing an art journaling get together on Wed Jan 18 at 7pm at The Java Room in Chelmsford, MA.


Bring along your current/recent journals for a show and tell.

Please RSVP by Tue, so I know to expect you.

Come out and play.

January 12, 2012

Journaling with kids

I made little 6x6 journals for my nieces, and we had art journaling sessions every day during my visit in December.

The girls love to paint, color, stick things in, and write in their journals. They loved the pockets I had made in my journal, so showed them how to do the same with security envelopes, and they had such fun making their own.

Their cousin, Neeya, was visiting for the holidays and sadly told me that they "had no journals in Michigan", and that she wanted to journal too. Love that.

I'll post videos of their completed journals when I get a chance.

You can see more pics from our journal time here.

January 8, 2012

Wildcard Weekend

It is the most wonderful time of the year. Wildcard weekend baby.

Of the 4 games on this weekend, there are 2 I really care about. Our house was divided during the Lions vs Saints game last night. Babes had on her new Lions Honolulu Blue shirt, and I kept singing: Oh when the Saints. Go marching in. Oh when the Saints go marching in ......

Such a fantastic game. The Lions could have won it. A good fight. Love that.

January 6, 2012

Recent Reads

Here are my final books of 2011:

135. Traveling with Pomegranates
I really wanted to like this mother/daughter travel log, but could not get into it. Finally abandoned it about 3/4 of the way through.

136. Nightwoods
This slim book is a wonderful read. The writing is cinematic - I can almost taste and smell the surroundings. The story of wounded people who find a home together. Simply lovely.

I've in the midst of several books that will make it to my 2012 list. So based on the numbers, I read 135 books last year. Less than some years. More than others. I've read about people who shy away from "thick" books so as to boost their count. Who are they doing this for I wonder?

2012 is the 200th birthday celebration of Charles Dickens. See more here. In celebration, I plan to read a couple of his books that are on my TBR list. In particular, will start with Bleak House. Other than that my plan is to read 12 authors new to me and to continue to immerse myself in great reads. Happy reading.

January 3, 2012

Happy New Year

There is something delicious about a new year. You know that feeling when you are out for a walk or snow-shoe, and there is a pristine snow covered field in front of you? Just waiting for your footprints? It's kinda like that.

And it is resolution time. You might now that I gave up on resolutions several years back. Instead I pick a word that captures my intention for the year. Last year my word was EXPLORE. And I can honestly say that I have learned and grown and explored terrains that were new to me. Physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, artistically, spiritually, geographically. Love that.

My word this year is LIGHT. Here are some definitions that sing to me:
  • Something that makes things visible or affords illumination
  • Luminous, radiant energy
  • Luminary
  • Spiritual illumination or awareness; enlightenment
  • Mental insight; understanding
  • Lighthouse
  • Lightly; to travel light
  • Of little weight; not heavy
  • With no load or cargo carried; no baggage

May 2012 be the best one yet.