Sunday, June 26, 2011


I've been chasing deadlines all week!

One assignment is a collection of inspirational images on the theme "Dream."

I wanted to share one of them with you. I hope the words encourage you as they have me.

I'm sure my blog friends would never even think of it but just in case... please let me ask gently that you remember my work is copyrighted so if you want to use an image please ask permission first. Like my first grade teacher told us, "Children, please do your own work." I hate to even mention it but copying has been an issue for me lately. Thank you for understanding.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Home to the garden

I have been in Las Vegas, exhibiting at Licensing Show with my dear friend Barb.

To put it plainly, I am not the Las Vegas type.
Not for me the fake glitz and glamor. I was a fish out of water and could hardly wait to get home.

Back to where everything is real and nothing put on.
Back to where spectacular is the real deal, not a thin veneer.

Fields of raspberries getting fatter by the day.
Back to our own sweet garden, where the peonies are as big as a dinner plate.

Back to the kind of glamor I can relate to. 
The first day of summer brought spectacular beauty as the sun sank slowly.
I was out in the garden pulling weeds. 
Thank goodness I had the camera slung around my neck.

Have you ever heard a hummingbird call?
First you hear the buzz he makes as he passes by your head, then if you are very lucky, you may hear him calling, softly, with a sound something like a kiss.

Oh, what a sight!
Hummingbirds hover and drink from the honeysuckle, dipping and bobbing.

To me, this is true glitz, a show better than anything Las Vegas could even dream of.

We savored every moment, enjoyed the warmth of summer's first evening... 
I am learning more and more to treasure the priceless little things that make life deep and full.

Like hummingbirds at sunset. 

This promises to be the most wonderful summer of them all.

They can keep Las Vegas. 
I prefer an ordinary backyard garden stuffed with quiet miracles.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

DIY writing instruments

Remember I promised I'd share my experiments cutting my own feather quills?

Well, like so much else in life, it turned out to be rather more involved and adventurous than I'd imagined.

Shall we try it together?

First gather your feathers. Grab some small but strong scissors, a craft knife, and a pair of tweezers.

Now, using the scissors, cut the extreme angle in one straight line.  For me, the scissors worked better than the knife.

Use the tweezers to pull out the center junk (see it above, lying above the discarded tip.)

Cut the sides to a gently curved angle.

Now use the knife to slit the center line.
Take your time and be super accurate. You don't want to end up with the lopsided mess I did, split widely and crooked, too.
But if you mess it up you can try again from the beginning, moving a bit upward on the shaft.
Below you see what you DON'T want to end up with! It should be even and smooth.

If you've gotten to this point successfully, it's time to pat yourself on the back, take a deep breath, and dip into the ink!

I had to try it a few times before I had one that worked as you can see from this failure. But it's fun and free so why not experiment and enjoy the process?

I made pens from old cans, feathers, and even reeds the other day. 

I love the rough effects you get with hand made nibs! 
The odd orange and brown thing is a nib I made from a can and oh boy, I love the scrapey letters it makes.

But I do keep coming back to the fine fine pointed metal nibs I love best, as you see above.

Why not get out there and splash in inks using your own hand made lettering tools?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Feathered friends

When sunshine comes to the Pacific Northwest,
we all rejoice.

I celebrated with a day painting and sketching at Cranberry Lake.

Is it just me or is the world utterly stuffed with wonder?

Water reflected sky and forest with a brilliance that appeared almost artificial.
The saturated spring greens, intense blues and rich browns...
aren't they dazzling?

Gliding past me went group after group...

Young ones followed their elders, climbing up onto grassy banks to sun themselves.

Then they tumbled back in again. What fun to spy on them so closely!

Hours passed in almost-silence.

I sketched and sketched.

Even when I got so excited my camera missed badly I loved the feel of feathers and water.

I am left with the feeling that some days and some places are just pure miraculous magic.

At the end of it all I noticed a feather floating on the brilliant reflections of the water.

I walked along the shore and gathered a few, came home and cut some quills.

I am loving the scratch of quill on paper. Tomorrow I'll share a rough tutorial in case you want to go on an adventure of your own and try cutting a quill pen.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The new neighbor

I love surprise visits from friends, don't you?
Look who dropped by yesterday to pay me a visit!

I enjoyed him thoroughly. What fun to sketch and photograph the newest neighbor who lives beside the door.

I wonder who will be next. Would you like to drop in for tea?