Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Journal page I finished yesterday.


Journal page I finished yesterday.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cambrie Jo

I made this baby quilt for a really good friend of my daughter-in-law whose baby was born about 3 months ago.

Teddy Bear

This little guy was fun to sketch, even if I didn't get the texture quite right.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

This was a very quick read.  It is the story of a nine year old boy named Bruno who moves with his family from their home in Berlin to a new home that faces a fence.  All of the people behind the fence wear striped pyjamas, and Bruno doesn't understand why.  the family has moved here because Bruno's father has received a promotion to Commandant by "The Fury."  It is a chilling story that I highly recommend.  I rate this book 5 out of 5.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


I've never used hot press watercolor paper before. I like the way my pen (Staedtler pigment liner) writes on it, but not how the watercolor works. I may need to try a different brand (this is Arches) or maybe when I get my Noodler's ink I'll be happier with how it writes on cold press paper. I do like writing with my Zebra Sarasa gel pen, because the ink is wetter than the ink in the pigment liner, but it's not waterproof.

I tipped this page into my journal.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

This book wasn't quite what I expected.  It was almost more of a collection of related short stories than a novel; each chapter could almost stand on its own.  Olive Kitteridge is a domineering school teacher in a small town in Maine whom we get to know through her interactions and relationships with her family and the townspeople.  My favorite chapter was the first one, which was about Olive's husband Henry, a pharmacist in the next town over.  I also loved this line about another couple in the book:  "It was as if marriage had been a long, complicated meal, and now there was this lovely dessert."  I rated this book 3 out of 5.


We have played Monopoly every year at Thanksgiving for many years; this year, our son and daughter-in-law decided not to make the 12-hour drive for the short time they had off. So we had to postpone our game to their Christmas visit.


I purposely arrived a bit early to our lunch meeting so I could sketch, but then I got a bit overwhelmed and couldn't decide what to sketch.  I finally decided on the chair at the table next to me - not too exciting, but I've decided I don't care WHAT I sketch as much as that I sketch.  Funny - I never would have thought that.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas without Lucky

Our first Christmas in many years without our beloved cat Lucky has me sad today. It's been long enough (since June) that I don't think of him every day, but today, when I got out the tree skirt, it was covered in cat hair.

Charlie & Pat

My brother and sister-in-law are here for a few days, so I decided I had to try sketching them. He looks more like his sketch than she does, but neither is very accurate. Profiles of people with glasses are hard!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

This was a very strange book.  I didn't really like it very much, but after discussing it in my book club, I appreciate it a bit more.  It is the story of Billy Pilgrim, an unprepared soldier who survived the fire bombing of Dresden near the end of WWII.  He has become unstuck in time and travels through time.  He was also abducted by space aliens and taken to the planet of Tralfamadore.  Several of the characters have appeared in other Vonnegut novels.  Most notable for me was Howard W. Campbell, Jr., who was the main character in Mother Night, the only other Vonnegut novel I've read (and liked much better than this one).  I rate this book 2 out of 5.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stuffed Acorn Squash

When I posted my Acorn Squash journal page to flickr, one of my classmates asked me for my recipe.  It is one that I found here and modified because my DH is allergic to garlic and onions.  So here is my version:

1 acorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
cooking spray
1/2 pound lean ground beef
vegetable oil
2 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
cooked rice (1/4 cup uncooked)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Sprinkle squash with salt and pepper, and lightly spray with cooking oil.  Place in a baking dish flesh side down, and cover with plastic wrap.
3.  Microwave on high for 10 to 15 minutes, or until flesh is  fork-tender.
4.  Meanwhile, cook beef in sprayed non-stick pan on medium high heat until well browned, stirring frequently to crumble.  Drain, and set aside.  Combine beef with cheese and rice and spoon mixture into squash halves.
5.  Bake, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and squash is lightly browned.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Just a daily journal page about a well loved pair of mocassins I'm finally able to wear again.

Banana & Squash

I painted the banana on Sunday, then painted the squash today. I don't normally make my shadows as dark as the one with the banana - I just picked up the wrong paint color by mistake. I'm not using watercolor paper (this journal has Arches Text Wove in it), so I lightened it as much as I could without ruining the paper. I made sure to use the right color for the shadow of the squash! I had planned on painting more on Sunday, but when I didn't get it done, it worked for Kate's Lesson 5 of grids and combining more than one day on a page.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tea with Friends

Friday's (almost) daily journal page. Mixed media - added the tag from the teabag in the lower left corner. Watercolor pencils, watercolor, and Staedtler pigment liner pen.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The story of the German occupation of Guernsey during World War II, told in the form of letters.  Writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a resident of Guernsey in January, 1946, and begins corresponding with him.  She asks him for details about the Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society so that she can write an article about it.  Other members of the Society write to her, and eventually she goes to Guernsey.  I thought it would be difficult to follow a story told in letters, but it wasn't.  Many people's points of view were presented that way.  I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and rate it 5 out of 5.


Daily journal entry. I'm really pleased with this because I painted it without any instruction from anyone.

I've just finished up a watercolor class from Laure Ferlita - An Imaginary Trip Through Autumn - and I've learned so much. I'd never really used watercolors before the class, so I relied very heavily on her videos (which were excellent) to paint everything for class.

Now that that class is over, I need to paint on my own - and I did!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Snowy Day

This was my final assignment for Laure Ferlita's Imaginary Trip Through Autumn class. I learned SO MUCH from this class - I'm going to miss it.

Monday, December 07, 2009


I'm not much of a bird watcher, but who can resist a bright, fat little bluebird like this one.

This was a fun assignment. And I had less trouble with it than I've had since the very first one, so that's encouraging. Not that there aren't things that could be improved, but still . . .


I finally sketched with pen only - no pencil first.


This is the first time I've tried sketching my DH. It really doesn't look much like him. He was searching the web for information on water heaters, because ours started leaking yesterday (on Sunday). We got it replaced today.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Biga Italian Restaurant

This is a memory sketch - while I brought my sketching supplies with me, I left them in the car when we got to the restaurant. I'm still new enough at this that I felt a bit self-conscious - not so much about sketching in public, but about doing it with my friend at the table. Even though I know I can listen to conversation while I sketch, I was afraid my friend might not think so. But while my DH and my friend were talking, I studied the fireplace in front of me and wished I'd brought my sketchbook inside.

Reading Challenge for 2010

I participated in my first reading challenge this year and enjoyed it so much that I've just signed up for another one for 2010.  This is another War Through the Generations reading challenge.  This year's challenge was World War II; next year's is the Vietnam War.  I'm going to read (at least) 5 books for the challenge.  I haven't chosen my books yet, but I read primarily fiction and I love historical fiction.  If you'd like to join me in this reading challenge, you can read more about it here.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Bowl in Prismacolor Colored Pencil

I've decided to try sketching this same bowl in different media for the practice - and for Lesson 3 of Kate's class.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Bowl in Pencil

I don't usually work in just pencil, but I decided to try it for Lesson 3 of Kate's class. This is HB, and it smears more than I'd like. It's good to try new things.

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

When the Sarajevo Haggadah is found in 1995, Hannah Heath, a rare book conservator, is invited by the UN to preserve it.  The book had disappeared in 1992.  The story alternates between Hannah Heath in the present and successively earlier accounts of the book and how it came to be.  I thoroughly enjoyed the historical chapters, which were fictionalized accounts because little is actually known.  the present day part of the story of Hannah Heath was a little too melodramatic for my taste, but the book is still very much worth reading.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

EDM Challenge #16

Draw a favorite tool.

These are some of my favorite tools for journaling.

Making Cranberry Bread

Another daily journal page. It also works for two Everyday Matters Weekly Challenges -

#111 - Draw a bowl
#84 - Draw some bread


I was also not really happy with my corn from Lesson 5 of my Imaginary Trip Through Autumn, so I had a chance to start over on it as well.  This time I put it in my journal as a tip-in instead of pasting it over my other corn.  If you want to compare this one to my earlier attempt, you can see it here.

Imaginary Trip Through Autumn - Apple Basket

I am learning so much in Laure Ferlita's Imaginary Trip Through Autumn class - not the least of which is how to select and use my water brushes.  The first version of this one was a real struggle - so much so that I started over.  After finishing this, I pasted it over my first attempt.

Imaginary Trip Through Autumn - Seeds

I really had fun painting this assortment of seeds.

Imaginary Trip Through Autumn - Great Smokey Mountains

I'm behind in posting my pages from my Imaginary Trip Through Autumn.  This is a view of the Great Smokey Mountains in the fall.  Such a lovely view - I hope I've been able to capture it.