Friday, December 26, 2014

What Makes You Smile?

A child's giggle, spotting Orion in the night sky, a warm 

bath, a surprise meeting with an old friend, 

fox in a tree outside our dining room window, turkey

 chicks in our yard, a hawk soaring overhead, 

going fast on a bicycle down a hill.

What makes you smile?

See you back on Fridays in the New Year.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Cheer

I know you are as busy as I am this holiday season. Are you in the midst of wrapping packages? Do you now have a pile of scrap paper? Today at Craft Day, I turned some cardstock into gift tags. 

I cut 10 pieces of cardstock into 2" X 5" rectangles. I used a corner punch to round the corners. I punched a hole in each one at the top. I glued 5 of the pieces in the center of a piece of scrap wrapping paper. I trimmed the paper away from the tag except at the bottom end. I placed the other 5 tags on top of the first five and used string to tie them together. Then I wrapped the scrap paper at the bottom and glued it down to the other side. I attached cutout doilies and taped ribbon to finish the tags. A quick project to use up some of those pieces you and I don't want to throw away.  (They are good for something!)

Now that we are in the week before the holidays,  I am going to leave you with some holiday views that I hope will bring some cheer into your heart! Thank you to my husband Bill for these super photos! 

  Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Shades of Red and Green

We are still between Autumn and Winter here in the Bay Area of California. We haven't had a cold snap yet, but at least we have had some good rain for the last couple of weeks. Not enough to cure our drought, but enough to turn the hills green and the leaves that are left dark red.

I walked up our street today scouting for possible ideas for watercolor sketches.  I focused on red and green in nature.

Here is what I found:

You will have to look very hard at some of these squares to find the red or green in the photo. There are so many different shades! When the holidays are over, I hope to show you the watercolor sketches that result from my search for shades of red and green.

What colors do you see at this time of year where you live?
Don't forget to take time for a walk, a cup of coffee, reading by the fire, or whatever gives you peace.

I made this mosaic of photos at   

Friday, December 5, 2014

Oodles of Doodles

I've doodled all my life: on corners of important papers, while I'm talking on the phone, when I am trying to think of something to write. I've doodle and sketched across Asia and Europe.


Sketches from China and Amsterdam

Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, teachers and artists, have created a new, more focused doodling called Zentangles*. They have developed patterns to use and a system of doodling that incorporates mindfulness. Each stroke of the pen is followed by your eye: a great meditative practice.

For those of us who are long-time doodlers, following patterns and using their mindfulness practice is helpful, but  I have more fun creating my own patterns and just letting go to see where doodling will take me.

Sometimes doodles will turn into sketches that I think might be worked into something more finished, and sometimes not. They just stay on the page where I made them. I never thought that any of my doodling would be published, but a request for doodles came from Interweave Press last Spring, and I sent some examples in.

This is a piece I called "Letterform Lover's Nightmare," which will appear in the new book, Zen Doodle: Oodles of Doodles by Interweave (they publish Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.)

Look for the book at and then try some doodles! Show me what you doodle -- even the ones on your scratch pad or iPad.

*Also, check out Zentangles at for a different type of doodling.