Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Today we said goodbye to our beloved friend.  Annie was our first baby, a wedding present from B's aunt and uncle.  She loved the beach and chasing shore birds.  She loved her tennis balls and trying to catch gophers.  Most of all she loved us.  She was sweet and cheerful even in these last few weeks when her body was failing her.  We miss her already.

January 25, 2012

September, 1999
October 31, 1999

She loved the babies and the babies loved her.

We will never forget you, Annie.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Don't Save It

The other day in yoga the instructor said "don't save it." In a specific pose don't go easy because you are saving your energy for the next pose. Give it 110% each time. I take this to heart in yoga...rarely do I save it. There are times when my 110% is not as strong as it was yesterday but I still try to push it to the edge each time.
I've been trying to do the same with my art. I recently got the book Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts and there is a quote I really like: "when we challenge ourselves to push our boundaries, we...shed layers of muck - jealousy, perfectionism, worry, fear and self-doubt." I have found this to be so true!

You've figured out by now that I am participating in Illustration Friday, a website that gives us a word every Friday and we are to illustrate that word. In trying different subject matter, techniques and mediums I am learning so much about myself and what I am capable of.    It brings to mind that saying about doing something every day that scares you (Eleanor Roosevelt).  I used to hear this quote and think about bungy jumping or jumping out of an airplane.  Things that would really scare me and I have no intention of ever doing, by the way.  But now I know that trying a new style of art - or picking up a paintbrush for the first time - can be scary. 

For years and years I wanted to create art but didn't think I could because I had not really ever tried!! Vincent Van Gogh once said "If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced."

I've posted about the first time I ever tried to paint but I thought it would be fun to show you my first ever attempt. .Corny, isn't it?  But I was happy enough with the results to realize there was something to this painting stuff. 

I am so proud of myself for trying something that scared me - years ago - and that I continue to do so now.  I try to push my boundries and do things that take me out of my confort zone, but most of all I don't save it.

See some of my departues from my safety zone here and here.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness in Rome

We've all seen the bumper sticker and heard the phrase: practice random acts of kindness.

Do you?

I try to. I knock on doors when I see cars parked with their lights on. I give homeless men & women the granola bars and sleeves of Ritz crackers I carry around for my kids. I let people merge in traffic, hold doors open and generally try to be nice all day long. Have you ever wondered what these random acts of kindness mean to the recipient? Sometimes something very small can have a very big impact.

My story is from 1989 but it has stayed with my all this time and is worthy of sharing. I was 19 when I spent 6 months traveling Europe using my grandparents apartment in Hungary as my home base. I was in Rome when I bought three over-sized postcards to send to family in the US and to my grandparents in Hungary. I spoke Hungarian fairly well but writing it was another matter! I sat in a cafe and wrote thoughtfully about my travels on all three postcards and was especially proud of my postcard written in Hungarian to my grandparents (it had a picture of the Pope on it, by the way). I addressed the postcards and then made my way to a post office to buy special stamps for the over-sized postcards. Somehow along the way all three postcards fell out of my pocket. I was so disappointed! The next day I bought three normal sized postcards and hurriedly wrote shorter messages, stamped them and dropped them in a mailbox. After a fun 6 weeks in Italy I returned to my grandparent's house in Hungary. I was shocked to see the Pope's smiling face on an over-sized postcard tucked into the wooden frame of my grandmother's china cabinet. Someone had found my postcards, bought postage for them and mailed them. I've always thought of this as one of the highlights of that 6 months in Europe. A big city like Rome can be gritty in the way big cities are but my postcards were found by a nice stranger who took the time to do something kind. There is no way to ever know who this stranger was but this simple act of kindness has remained with me and makes my memories of Rome even sweeter. I'm sure it never crossed the nice stanger's mind that this story would be told so many years later.

Next time you see an opportunity to do something nice for someone go fot it. You will feel good, the other person will feel good and it might just have a lasting impact in ways you didn't even imagine. A seemingly simple act of kindness can be so appreciated that it's affects might be felt forever!

Rome, 1989

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Illustration Friday - Twirl

Twirl.  Watercolor on handmade paper. 2012

Now you all know why I was pinning so many ballerina pictures on Pinterest.  This was painted using a black and white picture I found on the internet as my guide.  I had some trouble conveying the movement I wanted in her skirt and I think her right arm is waaaay too long but overall I am very pleased with how this turned out.  It was definitely not something I am used to doing.  I know a ballerina is not very original and likely to be in the company of many other dancers twirling this week but I really enjoyed doing something "scary."  This was the second peice of art this week that was outside my comfort zone.  See the other here

She Believed She Could So She Did

She Believed She Could So She Did.  Mixed media on cavas.  2012

My son and I were talking about New Year's resolutions the other day and he said he didn't have one. I told him that I did and he said jokingly: "what, to be nicer to your kids?" (GEEZ, thanks a lot, kid!!) And I said "Nope. It's to be nicer to MYSELF."

She Believed She Could So She Did

I don't know who first came up with that quote but I love it and am adopting it as my own. I am still very much enjoying this world of blogging despite technical limitations (I don't know how to use my Photoshop Elements, why does Blogger not work half the time??) and time limitations and ongoing issues with confidence. It amazes me how large a blogging community exists of women just like me...women with varying degrees of art education or experience, some with kids, some with day jobs, but all struggling with the idea that creating art just because it makes you feel happy or whole is something to fear or even avoid all together. I love the blogs of these women, they are full of ideas, affirmations, encouragements and yes, fears and doubts. One blog I came across recently is by Kelly Rae Roberts. I love her style of art and her positive energy. I bought her book which I have not had time to really read yet but has already inspired me to create this piece.

This is my mixed media collage/painting. It's made from old postcards, letters, maps and my own art. Each little bit is from someone special in my life or reminds me of a special time. I am going to hang it where I can see it every day and it can remind me of all of the wonderful things I have experienced and how all of my life experince has lead me to this point when I can fearlessly create art that makes me happy and I won't talk myself out of sharing it with you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Illustration Friday - Prepare

Prepare, mixed media, 2012

Nothing can quite prepare you for the joys and challenges of parenthood...

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Todays doodles.  Pen on paper.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Explore. Dream. Discover.

Have you see this link dear reader?  "30Thing to Stop Doing to Yourself" made the blog rounds during New Years but something going on in my life right now made me want to share it today.  I love it, it's worth a bookmark and regular revisits.

Wildflowers at the Botanic Garden
I've recently been introduced to this quote by Mark Twain.  Love this, too.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore.  Dream.  Discover."

Monday, January 9, 2012

Illustration Friday - Grounded

Grounded was not an easy word for me to wrap my head around.  I just didn't feel like producing anything that said "grounded" in any of it meanings, in any medium...until I was in yoga today and was looking at the tree mural on the wall behind me (it was upside down since I was in camel pose) and I wondered for the 27th time why there is a mural of a tree on the wall of an otherwise plain studio.  Then it hit me...the two things that make me feel most grounded are nature and yoga.  So here it is...my version of the yoga tree.  I often wonder what's in the hole...a wise old owl, perhaps?

colored pencil in paper

Sunday, January 8, 2012


The winner of the New Year Giveaway is:


Angela will get the original pen and watercolor "Color" flowers.  Congratulations!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Lovely Day

My beautiful day started out with a hike/trail run with my dear husband.  4.91 miles, 1600 ft elevation gain.  It was a lovely way to start my day.

All photos taken with iPhone 4S using Instagram

Sicilian tuna with carmelized onions

Sicilian Tuna with Carmelized Onions

originally called Marintated Tuna from Cucina Paradiso by Clifford A. Wright

2 large onions thinly sliced
1/3 cup olice oil
salkt and pepper
3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 pounds fresh tuna, cut into 1- to 2- inch pieces
finely chopped mint, for garnish (optional)

Cook onions in 1/2 cup water over high heat for 5 minutes or until water evaporates.  Reduce heat to medium and pour in 1/4 cup olive oil. Cook another 7 minutes.
Season the onions with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the vinegar and sugar and cook for 2 minutes.  Ass the tuna and remaining olive oil.  Simmer over low heat until the tuna is cooked but not dry, about 4 minutes.  Checke the tuna, the insides should be slightly pink.  It it's purple, cookr for 1 or 2 minutes loner.  Sprinkle with mint if you like.  Serves 6. 

I only needed enough servings for 2 so I used 2/3 pound tuna and halfed all of the other ingredients except the olive oil - you still need full amount as called out in recipe.  I used fresh Ahi tuna purchased the same day.  Using fresh tuna makes for a MUCH tastier end result but I've made this before with frozen tuna when that's all I had and it's still good.  Easy, fast, only a few ingredients, low calorie and yummy!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Illustration Friday - Highlight

The highlight of our New Year's Day beach walk was finding this beautiful "seashell."

Watercolor, pen, pencil, acrylic on paper

Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Year and a giveaway

It seems I can't be a serious blogger without a New Year's post.  So here is an inspirational blurb taken from the January 2012 issue of SELF magazine:

Be a hill seeker
Most of us try to avoid hills, but what's so good about flat?  Think about it: flat tires, flat hair, flat returns and -the ultimate- flatlining.  Life happens on the hills.  They're opportunities to prove to yourself that you are stronger than you ever imagined.  If you never attempt the ascent, you'll never know the thrill of swooshing down the other side.

My personal goals...which I have alluded to in previous posts but am now listing out nice and neat to make it official: be proud of my accomplishments, create more art, accumulate less stuff, live in the moment.

And now I resort to bribery...I will be giving away some art in the near future to a follower of this blog so go ahead and become a member.  You could have a nice piece of art for your wall and I will feel less lonely here in blogland.  It's a win-win.

Happy New Year!