Tuesday, October 18, 2011

rest, recover, resume

--Spanish proverb.

Do you, like me, occasionally need a reminder to sit still for a few minutes so you can settle your heart and appreciate the beauty around you?

Monday, September 26, 2011

the grandgirls' summer

Here's to the gift of remembering the pure joy of summer through one's granddaughters!
A few photos, from oldest to youngest (11 years, 9 years, and 6 weeks old).

Monday, September 12, 2011

our hearts are full

This weekend we remembered and repledged ourselves to live both with our history and for our future. Our hearts are full of sorrow and hope. At the top of my wish list is a visit to the beautiful memorial pools at the regenerated Twin Towers site, where state-of-the-art engineered waterfalls cry for us as we face our depths. And today we have the incredible gift of starting fresh, choosing again to build beauty.

These simple sketches were made using these magic tools here, which I just found this morning on a past post on Geninne's blog. With a little exploration, I quickly found the line options and color wheel but not yet the eraser. :) You, too, can take a moment to brighten your morning!

Note: The linked Mr. Doob tool page may look blank at first, but you'll see the short but sweet tool bar at the top. Just click on things and play around with it like I did. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

doodling for eliää

Over the last two weeks, while my middle son visits for too short a time, I've done very little that isn't grandbaby related -- lots of company, dinners by candlelight so little Eliää can sleep alongside us while we eat, some baking for the gaggle of sweet tooths, sitting in the sun listening to my son expound on the medical explanation for everything we can think to ask while we rock the baby and mama dozes on the deck lounge, and so on.

Somewhere along the way I started this doodle page to announce sweet Eliää's arrival. In addition to banners proclaiming "soar" and "fly high" and other good wishes, I'll add her name and birth date...and lots of color, of course. But since we still have company coming and going every day this week, culminating in a Friday funeral service in Gettysburg for the last of the great-grands, I'll share the page-in-progress now, just in case she's in college before I finish it. You know how that goes, right?

Hope you are enjoying some lazy days of summer!

Monday, August 15, 2011

we're tickled pink


We've had a houseful of family coming and going and oohing and aahing in celebration of our newest sweet granddaughter Eliää Rose, who arrived herself on Thursday and came home on Saturday. Noticing all the visitors most is our puppy Bogie, who apparently thinks everyone is here primarily to provide laps for him. But when the California relatives flew home on Sunday, diminishing the crowd a little after a week's well-timed visit, Bogie took over on guard duty, barking anytime little Eliää cries to make sure someone rushes to her rescue. Thank heavens our 12-year-old grandson is also here and happy to keep Bogie busy while his lawyer mother tries a month-long case in Germany. Next to arrive will be our very-anticipated middle son, finishing his med school first-year exams on St Maarten at 8:30 pm today and flying immediately into the island sunset to be here with his beautiful new daughter.

Wanting to use bright island colors, our daughter-in-law chose some of my recent doodles to make Eliää's birth announcement. If there's any time to post at all, I'm afraid this blog may become something of a baby photo gallery for the next month, until Eliää returns with her parents to St Maarten, for we are indeed all tickled pink.

summer afternoon

Lovely quote from Henry James.

Hand scripted for Amy Powers' Inspired Ideas summer ezine.

Sharing these summer afternoons with our beautiful new grandbaby.

Friday, July 29, 2011

it's an inspired summer

Crafty and techie at the same time, my hard-working friend Amy Powers just published the bright new Summertime issue of her Inspired Ideas ezine. If you have plans for crafting this weekend or this summer, it's just in time for you to treat yourself to a subscription (only $3.99). You'll find over a dozen colorful ideas with full instructions and beautiful photographs -- and a batch of my summery doodles, too!
While Amy was hard at work, I was hard at play -- whiling away my summer afternoons doodling birds and borders, houses and hot-air balloons to illustrate the projects in this issue. Amy thought her readers might enjoy using these doodles, too, so they are available for purchase and download through her magazine site. They're called the Inspired Ideas Summery Doodles Bundle, a batch of almost two dozen bright and colorful doodles selected from the magazine that could be printed out for your stationery and scrapbooking needs or uploaded to your blog.  (You can also click the image in the right column.)

Already I've had fun printing some black-and-white doodle boxes and "bluebirds" on Avery shipping labels to send some special envelopes and packages to my arty friends. My hand-penned quotations in the magazine aren't available yet, but maybe we'll collect enough good ones for a quote library.

Happy crafting this summer!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

in the flower garden

Stopping by to say hello --
we've had lots of rain here lately,
but today brought such lovely sunshine and
happily a chance to work in the garden among the flowers.
Now I'm ready for a shower and a lazy afternoon nap.
Hope you have sunshine or rain, whichever you need.

(still doodling with my Copic markers -- wait till you see what's up!)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

weekending with mary engelbreit

Can you imagine a happier way to spend a girls' weekend than sharing Mary Engelbreit's birthday in her St Louis studio surrounded by her cheerful designs and crafting with the likes of Charlotte Lyons and Kathy Curotto? The weekend went by so quickly that I took barely any photos, but you can find more photos here, here, here and here. Mary made us all feel as though we were the very friends she wished most to share her birthday.

Hostesses Barbara and Mary

Red magnetic wall display

Mary's birthday included gift bags for us

Charlotte's class setting

Kathy's display board and a small part of her class supplies

The birthday girl blowing out her candles

During two full days of crafting, we all made our own version of the four fun class projects offered by Kathy and Charlotte. I wish I had photos of the very creative outcomes that proliferated in each class. But at least I can show you some of my weekend projects.

In her first class, Kathy had already sewn for us various sizes of canvas bags, straps and pockets so that we could chose our own combinations and move right to the fun part of embellishing. My bag includes a pocket inside and another outside, the latter sewn to the front on three sides with a folded-over flap concealing one pocket while another is open at the top right behind it. Since I hope to use this bag on my next visit to St Maarten, I used a Sharpie to write "on holiday" across the pocket. My trims all came from Kathy's room-filling stash of trims, buttons, fabric, and more. I enjoyed sitting next to Jen, a recent design graduate, who fashioned a small hand bag with a zipper and an embroidered octopus. Fun!

Kathy's second project was paper-based, again with a room full of stationery supplies, vintage papers and old books, boxes, ribbons and trims--enough for endless possibilites. Among her inspiration photos, Kathy had some folded book art, which I had never tried. She gave me a quick tutorial on some options and an article from Mary's Home Companion magazine. While others made their very different projects, I patiently folded my old poetry book page after page, imagining myself sitting on the beach since Kathy said that's where she and Mary and Barbara folded their books. :) Then I added some stickers and a banner reading "once upon a time", surely still the best lead-in to a book adventure.

Charlotte's final class was all about shadowboxes. Using cigar boxes and foam board, we divided and papered our boxes and added our collection of tiny items to tell a little story or showcase a vignette. Many of my items came from a little gift tin assembled by my sweet friend Amy for our trip. My shadowbox also includes a hidden fold-out section behind the Eiffel tower (from a gift bag at Kim's Moulin Rouge event), which proved to be just the place to tuck a little gift Cherie gave me at the end of class. Again each creation was so different and personal.

As we wandered around Mary's studio, enjoying all the creative vibrations and new friendships, it was not easy to leave this magical place. Finally, Amy and I did leave, but only with a lovely invitation to return tucked firmly in our pockets. :)

Mary plans to host another crafty weekend in her studio in November. Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

doodle morning

This morning, with lots of weekend errands and inevitable car-sitting time (waiting for the vacuum-cleaner repair, for instance), I enjoyed the sunshine and doodled. I've been trying to discipline myself to stake out some time to get back into drawing more, but that hasn't been easy. For me, drawing requires a little patience and no interruptions so I can focus. But doodling seems to fit more easily, and it suffers less from change of focus.

So this morning, I took along a journal, a black pen and some Copics. After starting one spread (the one with the curtain below), I lost interest in it when I came back to the car. So I happily flipped the page and started another one (above). Since I'm excited to be joining Pam Garrison for her journaling class at Jenny Doh's home studio in July, I doodled the spread above in homage to Pam. It is inspired by a wonderful page in her Sketchbook Project 2011 journal. I can't wait to practice at the elbow of Herself.

As you can see, I'm not exactly a minimalist. Since I'm used to working on large-scale paintings, up to 5 feet by 8 feet, I tend to crowd the page. But I do have fun. What is your doodling style?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

my morning view

It rained all day Sunday while we were out on the sailboat
for the final day of the Heineken Regatta.
Even so, my nose burned except for the ridge of my sunglasses (not a pretty sight).
But today is another glorious morning.
Each morning I wake up around 6 am with the tumultuous racket of the birds
in the trees outside our balcony and the cool morning breeze through the open doors.
It will be tough to leave the island and to go home soon.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

dessert at sarafina's in marigot

This weekend the annual Heineken Regatta is the main attraction on St Maarten,
with all classes and nationalities of sailing boats entered,
including the Merchant Marine boat (which won its class today).
We can watch the Regatta from its origin at Simpson Bay on the Dutch side
or as it passes our Rainbow Beach Club or in Marigot on the French side.
When we go to Marigot, we always go to Sarafina's, a favorite French bakery and
cafe, for lunch and dessert. Today's chosen desserts included
raspberry torte and tarte d'abricots (sorry, I couldn't wait to take a bite).

But there's always so much more to choose.
The savory crepes and the peach tea are delicious, too.

Tomorrow we'll be on one of the Regatta boats,
and maybe I'll chance taking photos to share.

Monday, February 28, 2011

morning market in willemstad, curaçao

To avoid a water pressure problem in our area of Cupecoy on St Maarten that would take a few days to repair, my daughter-in-law and I decided to spend last week on Curaçao instead. That sounded to us like a legitimate excuse, even though we had to leave my son behind to fend for himself while he continued his studies. There wasn't a water problem in Curaçao, unless you count several days of on-off pelting rain while we were there. And when it rained, we drove our rented car from Punda to Westpunt, exploring as much as we could on an island that appears to have almost no street signs. The two helpful street signs we did find, Franklin D Rooseveltveg and Winston Churchillveg, formed a curious intersection that we now know by heart.

After a tail-gating taxi ride from the airport, we arrived at Het Klooster Hotel late in the evening to find this refreshing pool just outside our room. The small-scale hotel occupies a former monastery in Punda, within walking distance of downtown Willemstad.

Next morning, we set off to walk our way around Willemstad. Still early, the colorful produce and fish markets were set up right along the water's edge where the boats could unload their fresh catch.

Beyond the waterfront markets was the Queen Julianna Bridge, its span part of the Ring around the center of the island and high enough to allow the cruise ships passage in the bay -- and rather fun to drive over for the view out to sea and inland.

The Queen Emma Floating Pontoon Bridge, on the other hand, unlocked its water-level center span which was then floated open for boat passage. A horn sounded to warn pedestrians of the opening, everyone rushed to jump across the widening gap to the center section in time to either hurry on their way across the water or to ride on the floating section as it bobbled into its new position. Lined-up speedboats and other craft zipped through the temporary opening, the bridge then floated back into its locked position, and life resumed its normal slow pace.

Off in the distance below is one of the many oil tankers that bring Venezuelan oil to the refineries on Curaçao. The center of the island looks like one huge mass of refinery stacks, while the tourist business occupies the coast line. Besides oil refineries, we saw so many finance companies, banks and legal firms that we assume oil refining, money handling, and tourism to be the mainstays of the island. Oh, and endless casinos and lotteries.

I've shared just a glimpse at the downtown area along the water. Much of the town itself looks quite a bit like South America, a bit jumbled, a bit run-down, weathered by wind and water, with trash and drainage problems. There are over 100 languages spoken here by recent immigrants from many of the surrounding islands and countries seeking jobs, including a local patois called Papiamentu which seems to combine Portuguese, Spanish, French, Creole and much more. But we found some great spots without having to pay top dollar for the ritziest secluded tourist meccas. More photos to come.