September 30, 2012

Books and Booze

Read this interesting post: 10 great novels and cocktails you should pair with them, and think it would make a fun themed book club. Don't you think?

September 29, 2012

Journal page

And you thought I was kidding when I said I've got a thing about people wearing hats....
(Click on image to enlarge).
(Pen and watercolors.

September 27, 2012

Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability

Brené Brown studies human connection -- our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.

Click here to see her TEDx talk.

September 26, 2012

Journal page

I've got a think with hats. Actually any head covering. Attitude can be conveyed with a simple hat. I particularly like this one. I gotta get me one of these.
(Click on image to enlarge).
Pen and watercolor pencils.

September 25, 2012

Background pages for travel journal

I like to use watercolor paper for some of my signatures in my travel journals. For this project, I used sheets of cheapo watercolor paper sized at 18"x12". I watered down fluid acrylics, and used stencils and a little spray bottle to create background paper. These pages will be cut into 9"x12" sheets and folded in half, before I bind them into my travel journal. Stay tuned for a video of my pre-trip journal.

If the embedded video does not work, click here.

September 24, 2012

New Travel Journal

I've got a fun trip coming up next month, so of course the first thing on my to-do list is to make a new journal. Hey, I've got my priorities right. I can always figure out transport details, and what to pack later. Decided I wanted to stay with a FALL theme, so picked through my stash of fabric, and starting up the ol' Singer. Here are pics of the completed cover.

Front cover: (Don't you just love that fabric?)
Outside front detail:
Inside front and back covers:
Inside detail:
Back outside cover:
Back cover detail:
Love the fabrics and how easy these are to make. Click here to watch a video of how I make these fabric covers. Work on the inside pages is in progress. Stay tuned for an update.

September 23, 2012

Recent Reads

99. The Sketchbook Challenge
I participate in The Sketchbook Challenge online, so was interested to read this book. The book is divided into themes or topics. A couple of artists interpret that theme in their sketchbook, and then create a final project. I found that I liked the sketchbook pages/sections much better than the final works. If you are interested in how artists play in their sketchbooks give this a look. Rating: 3 stars.

100. The Fifth Witness 
I listened to the audio version wonderfully narrated by Peter Giles. This is book #4 in the Mickey Haller series, and is a fast read. The audio is 12 hours but seemed to fly by. Interesting story, but not much in terms of flushing out the characters. As usual, the ending seems rather abrupt. If you already like the series, you will like this one too. Rating: 3 stars.

101. Wide Open 
This is not a book per se, rather a stack of cards that prompts you think about how you use your art journal. I own this set, and tend to read through them about twice a year. Have yet to use the notebook, as I prefer to make my own journals. A fun way use creative prompts.  Rating: 4 stars.

102. Hey World, Here I Am! 
A delightful little book of poems and journal entries by a young girl trying to figure out the world around her. Much of her ruminations are spot on. As a journal keeper from a very young age, I approve.  Rating: 4 stars.

September 22, 2012

Historian Says Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus' Wife

Did you get a chance to read this New York Times article?
You can read the article here.
Fascinating no?

September 21, 2012

A School of Life for Atheists

Alain de Botton is a philosopher who likes the best of religion, but doesn’t believe in God. So he’s created “The School of Life,” a secular community in London. He explains why wisdom and ritual shouldn’t be reserved just for believers.

I am already an Alain de Botton fan - love his books, so was fascinated to hear about this. Click here to hear his podcast and learn more. Lots to think about.

September 20, 2012

Art Journal Flip #3

Here is a flip of a journal I had completed earlier this year.
Double click the video to view in full screen mode.

If the embedded video does not work, click here.

September 19, 2012

Journal page

The theme for the sketchbook challenge this month is patterns. I immediately thought about circles.
(Click to enlarge).
Pen and watercolors.

September 18, 2012

Deborah Rhodes: A tool that finds 3x more breast tumors, and why it's not available to you

Deborah Rhodes is an expert at managing breast-cancer risk. The director of the Mayo Clinic’s Executive Health Program is now testing a gamma camera that can see tumors that get missed by mammography.

Click here to see her TED talk.

September 17, 2012

Recent Reads

97. Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend
I wanted to love this book. I really did. I love the clever premise. Who would not love a story told from an imaginary friend's point of view? Especially if you've ever had one.

I really liked the first half or so of the book - the character/scene setup. Getting to view things from Budo's perspective was fascinating. However, once we get to the "thriller" part of the book I found myself losing interest. While I quite willingly suspended disbelief for the first half, the second half did not ring true.

It is interesting that this book is recommended for people who loved Room, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I am ambivalent about the former, while I loved the latter. Rating: 3 stars.

98. Emily, Alone 
This is a sequel to Wish You Were Here, which is a book I have not read, but works well as a stand alone read.

It is often said that life is about the journey, not the destination. This book is a wonderful meditation on just that.

If we are lucky, we grow older. Gracefully, or not. With someone by our side, or alone. In sickness or in health. With money in the bank, or not. The writing is beautiful, and we are drawn into Emily's life. A snapshot in time. The highs and lows. The love and loss. The connections and misunderstandings. The minutiae. This is a slow paced, character driven novel, so if you are a plot driven junkie, this is not a book for you.  Rating: 4 stars.

September 16, 2012

Pay Phone Library

I love the idea of having books out and available for people. Like those lending libraries at B&Bs. You never know what treasure you'll find waiting just for you. I tend to leave books behind, like a trail of breadcrumbs, everywhere I go.

Imagine my delight when I read about an creative mind who uses the dead space around phone booths to host free lending libraries. Love this idea.

Click here to watch a short video and read more about the project.

September 15, 2012

The Other Day

The other day I played with watercolor paints.
The other day I met up with a new group of friends and spent a fun evening laughing and talking about books.

The other day I allowed myself to be vulnerable and ask for what I needed.

The other day I bumped up my running to the next level with no pain.

The other day I was flooded with memories of years long gone.

The other day I started making new travel plans.

The other day I was gently rocked to sleep on the boat.

The other day I tried something new.

The other day I was brave.

September 14, 2012

Journal page

The thing about a visual journal is that it involves a part of my brain that does not use words. I keep a written, private journal as well, and it is all words. In that journal I tend to record, reflect, ruminate. It is more of a cerebral thing. Does that make sense?

My visual journal lets my left brain take a vacation - well, not really, it always has input - but it is really right brain time. Colors. Shapes. Reminds me of pre-school years. Before learning that those squiggly shapes were the alphabet. I find playing with color and shapes soothing.
(Click on image to enlarge)
Pen and watercolors. White crayola resist.
Have you played with color and shape lately?

September 13, 2012

Brené Brown: Listening to shame

Shame is an unspoken epidemic, the secret behind many forms of broken behavior. Brené Brown, whose earlier talk on vulnerability became a viral hit, explores what can happen when people confront their shame head-on. Her own humor, humanity and vulnerability shine through every word.

Click here to watch her TED talk.

September 12, 2012

Madeline Miller: Writing at Six Miles an Hour

I read an interesting post by Madeline Miller. Click here to read it.

A couple of things struck me while reading this post:
One) I can so relate to people telling me that I should be doing something other than reading. Some of my fave examples are:
    • How can you sit inside reading while it is such a beautiful day outside?
    • You came all the way to Goa to sit on the beach and read?
    • Reading is a rather antisocial activity don't you think? 
And Two) As a beginner runner, the very idea of running six miles an hour is mind boggling. Forget about all that creative output after. Whatever. Six miles an hour? I'm working on running a 5K without walking.

So my lessons learned are:
One) You can never really explain why you are reading to a non-reader, so why waste your breath?
And Two) Comparison is the thief of happiness.

September 11, 2012

Next generation bicycle helmets

One day I will live in a place where I use my bicycle to go everywhere I want to go.
One day my friends will live a short bike ride away.
One day the roads will all be bike friendly, and I will not feel like I am risking injury every time I go for a ride.

Helmets, like seat belts, are essential A safety requirement. Accidents happen. But they are often uncomfortable, and leave you with helmet hair. Two women are working to change that.

Check them out here.

September 10, 2012

Journal page

If ever in doubt whether a journal is authentically mine, all you gotta do is look for a page with hands. If there isn't one, then you can rest assured that it is a fake. I mean, when I am dead and famous, and my journals are auctioning at Sotheby's for incredible sums. I'm just saying. You have an insider tip direct from me. Don't be fooled by forgeries.
(Click on image to enlarge).
Acrylic background, pen and marker.

September 9, 2012

Recent Reads

95. The Art of Fielding
I agree with the jacket blurb by Nicolas Dawidoff: "The Art of Fielding is a mere baseball fiction the way Moby-Dick is just a fish story." What unites the characters in this story is the setting of Westish College. It is an exploration of talent and hard work, of mentors and coaches, the pain of loss and the love of learning, of the joy of unexpected relationships, and yes baseball. I enjoyed following the story from multiple viewpoints. A well written book. Rating: 3 stars.

96. Honolulu 
Here is a jacket blurb: “In Korea in those days, newborn girls were not deemed important enough to be graced with formal names, but were instead given nicknames, which often reflected the parents’ feelings on the birth of a daughter: I knew a girl named Anger, and another called Pity. As for me, my parents named me Regret.”

I really, really wanted to love this book, and am having a hard time reviewing it - there is the book I wanted to read, and then the book I actually did read.

Immigrant stories are so similar at the diaspora view, and yet so particular at the individual level. This story has all the elements that I love - girls with dreams, women with grit, "picture brides", historical setting - and yet. And yet. I felt like I was snorkeling along the surface of a really deep story. And while snorkeling is fun, I really love deep dives.

I loved his other book Moloka'i, but this one not so much. Rating: 3 stars.

September 8, 2012

Jamie Lee Curtis: My Brave Year of Firsts

I've been a fan of Jaime Lee Curtis for ages. Talk about someone aging gracefully.

In addition to being an actress, she is also an author, and her new book for kids is about being brave. Kids are exposed to lots of new things, but as adults, we tend to be afraid to try new things for fear of looking foolish. How is it that we expect kids to be something we are not?

Click her to watch her interview on TODAY.

What new, foolish thing will you try today?

September 7, 2012

Scarves for word lovers

School buses on the street. The kids are back in school. No reservations required. The light is different. Sunset is earlier and earlier. All sure signs that we are heading into autumn.

Time to pack away those bikinis and sarongs, and inventory your scarf collection. If you love words and scarves, and words on scarves, you gotta check out these wonderful items.

September 6, 2012

The Boston Book Festival

The author lineup has been announced, and there are so many I am excited about. So looking forward to it. Click here to see the lineup.

Recent Movies

I don't get to see movies when they first come out. By the time I think about seeing them, they are usually out on DVD. So most of what I watch is not current.

1. My Week with Marilyn
The thing is, I don't really care about how men viewed Marilyn. This would have been a much more interesting story if told from her point of view. I know that it was based on a memoir, but did not find it a compelling story. Did love the wonderful supporting cast though.

2. The Descendants
Another book adapted for the movies. Interesting story, but on the lighter chick-lit side. I wonder if the book explores the sense of betrayal and loss on a deeper level.

3. One For the Money
To be fair, I had very low expectations for this one, and so was not disappointed. Another book to movie adaptation, and I was not impressed by the book either.

4. We Need to Talk About Kevin
This is the strongest movie of the lot. Another book adaptation, interesting how all of these are. A compelling, if incredibly, disturbing story. Lots to ponder with this one. Nature versus nurture. Not a movie for the faint of heart. The book is on my TBR list.

September 5, 2012

Journal page

Warning ahead - my sketch of you might not be the ego boost that you need!
People are hard to draw. We react emotionally to faces. But does that stop me? Absolutely not. I jump in where angels might fear to tread.
(Click on image to enlarge).
Pen and watercolors.

September 4, 2012

Suheir Hammad: Poems of war, peace, women, power

Poet Suheir Hammad performs two spine-tingling spoken-word pieces: "What I Will" and "break (clustered)" -- meditations on war and peace, on women and power. In her poems and plays, Suheir Hammad blends the stories and sounds of her Palestinian-American heritage with the vibrant language of Brooklyn to create a passionately modern voice.

September 3, 2012


One of the many things I love about being on the water is the ability to see huge cloudscapes. This tends to be much harder to do on land - trees and buildings get in the way - unless you are in big sky country like Wyoming or Montana. Incredible no? Don't forget to look up.
(Click on image to enlarge).

September 2, 2012

Red Sky at Night

Sailor's Delight baby! Looking forward to another lovely sailing day.

September 1, 2012

Scituate Harbor

Beautiful evening in one of my fave harbors. The GPS quit working on the way here, but never fear my mateys, I do remember how to navigate the old fashioned way with charts and a compass. One cannot always rely solely on technology gadgets.

So am now gently rocking in the mooring field, waiting for the recently full moon to rise. Life is good.

33 Ways To Stay Creative

Am I the only one stunned that it is already September? I mean really. Where the heck does the time go? Well, new month, new fun project. I found this list and decided to print it out and do something from it every day this month. See how many I get around to. Wanna play along?