Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Made it to Z in the A to Z Challenge!


I made it! The final day of the A to Z Challenge & I didn't miss a letter. 

One last artist to feature. This one not too far from me geographically.

She is in Chicago. Someday I may go invade my son & daughter in law's home to take a class at the 
Lillstreet Art Center where she teaches print making.  

Printmaking is something I am drawn to & have done a fair amount. 
There are always better ways to do things & much to learn from other artists. 

I plan to keep learning & making art. But first I need a nap!

How do you feed your creative muse? 
Have you enjoyed the challenge?

Monday, April 29, 2019

Y is for Yarn Bomb A to Z Challenge

 I belong to the local Yarn Bomb Society.

 It is about random acts of knitting & crocheting displayed in public places. Meant to be temporary.     Yarn Bombing  has only been a thing for about 14 years, according to Wikipedia. 

There is a meeting of our local group at an art association near by. I wonder what we will adorn?

Never heard of it? Have you ever seen an act of yarn bombing in your community?  
Wondered what the heck was going on?  Now  you know.  You're welcome.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

X is for Xantus A to Z Challenge

 I was taking a break at a local coffee shop. They use an old children's flash card set to bring your order to the table. I got an X!!!  If this wasn't serendipity...good S word by the way.

Xantus is a type of hummingbird. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
gives you a full lesson on this species. Found in the Baja, CA area only. 

Isn't he the cutest?

Hubby & I happen to love hummingbirds. We have a feeder on our deck & by the end of the summer our resident population gets used to us. They buzz our heads from time to time.  
Ruby-Throated variety is what we get here in Northern Michigan.  Hubby checks the migration map to see when they will show  up here in Spring so we can have the food ready. 

We get so familiar with them that we know what branches they like to perch on, so we spend lots of time observing them as they come & go from the feeder. Lots of fighting ensues. 
They aren't very tolerant of each other.

Below are pictures I was able to take of the Antillean Crested Humming Bird 
we made friends with on the Island of Nevis a few years back on our winter escape from snow. 

He perched & fed on these wonderful red flowered bushes right off our little deck 
& didn't seem to be bothered by our presence.

This is the sweet little place we rented. The bush in the center of the picture 
with the red flowers is where our little friend hung out.

Two more letters to go in the challenge. Phew!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Wendy McNaughton A to Z W

 As promised in my "S" post, here we have Wendy McNaughton for W

Her New Your Times hand written & illustrated stories are marvelous.

Meanwhile  Wendy MacNaughton's illustrated column about the big implications of seemingly small things.

 Check out her portfolio. Love her hand written articles and loose style of sketching.

There is overlap in the creative world. Austin Kleon mentions Wendy, often,which is how I found her initially.  Then realized she was the illustrator in my Christmas present. 

 Some of her topics & subjects  have led me to do more research.  
Diving deeper is how I run across many of the artists I have featured in the A to Z this year.
I hope you are enjoying the ride & the links. 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Letter V in the A to Z Challenge

Another admiration post. This time a fiber artist.

I was introduced to her work via TextileArtist.org
I've discoverd many amazing fiber artists through this quirky site.

 Detailed dolls galore. She uses lots of "free stitching" in her decoration.

Her videos are fantastic. I can only imagine how much time & planning goes into them. 

"Shopping Bags" is one of my favorites. About 2 1/2 minutes in 
the bank of sewing machines & seamstresses is what I particularly like. 


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

UNPLUG A to Z Challenge

Unplug for Crying Out Loud

It seems a little counter intuitive to be urging folks to unplug 
while hoping they will read my blog & visit my Etsy shop
But...it bears discussion don't you think?

We are addicted. Why do we let "them" have so much control over "us"? 
Follow the money is always the answer.We are always being marketed to.

There are tons of articles, apps, conversations about this.
Being alone, (my initial post in the challenge)  silence, meditation.
Creatives all recognize the need for time alone/away to be productive
in our own heads. That's when the magic can be let in.

Brain Pickings always has good insight into our inner workings as humans.
This article on how to manage our time goes deep.

How do we reach a happy medium in our time plugged into the collective ether
& the time we spend with ourselves, friends & family
without our devices luring us away?

This from Matt D'Avella who makes his living from social media & online endeavors. 
A Youtube video about reducing his screen time. He has a lot to say about being a minimalist, 
& engaging in personal challenges.  He did a social media "cleanse" as well. I find him very interesting. It would appear he has things somewhat figured out for himself.

I'll be anxious to hear what all of you have to say on this.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

T is for Teresa Meier A to Z Challenge

 I love what can be done these days with digital photography. 
Manipulation creates amazing stories.

 Say hello to Teresa Meier. I've been a fan for several years.

Teresa Meier

Artist | Educator
I'm great. I'm an artist, teacher, native Oregonian, beer drinker, cat lover, wayfarer and wanderer. My left eye is lazy, I stick my tongue out when I smile, and I cannot for the life of me figure out the stove top diagrams. I love summer, miss the rain when it's gone and am transfixed by the quietness of snow...
 Her dream like images pull me in. 
Some of them are quirky & funny. 

Her website is a delight for the eyes. If you have an opportunity to
poke around I highly recommend it.  Her process is so layered.
Must take a large amount of time & thought.

Over the past few years I have signed up for, & dabbled in, a few on demand e courses on manipulating digital photos. I have yet to complete any of these classes. Well maybe one. My goal is to dedicate a span of time & focus on learning from them before I get sucked into another. They seem to be very time consuming. That could be because I am not familiar enough with the apps & programs to do things smoothly without struggle. The learning curve is steep.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Salt Letter S A to Z Challenge

Do you know the history of salt? Interesting commodity.


Salt plays a vital role in food & our health.

Meet Samin Nosrat. It all started when a friend told me about her Netflix 4 part series:
 Salt Fat Acid Heat. Watched them all, loved her personality, where she traveled to dive deep into each element, & the cooking. The chemistry of cooking is very important. 
That is what she explains in detail in her own style.

I'm guessing if you like to cook & look up stuff on the web at all 
you have heard of her, the series, & the book of the same name. 

My older son who loves to cook was also taken with her. I got this fancy embossed 
version of the book for Christmas from him!

Notice the mention of Wendy MacNaughton as the artist. 
More on her on  "W" day.

 I use this salt almost exclusively, for everything. Samin's advice is 
if you have the iodized old style version we all grew up with, throw it out. 

This salt & it's cousins from the same company are nice for sprinkling on appetizers, desserts, more special things, or just  your hard boiled egg in the morning. We all deserve something special. 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

REI Camp Table A to Z Challenge

Purchased this wonderful little camping table last summer. From REI.
Perfect for trips in the plane to remote places to camp.

Folds up into a nice neat package. Bag included. 

 I have been a member of REI Co-Op (Recreational Equipment Inc.) literally for decades. You get a dividend each year on what you have purchased.


 One day, just one, last week when the weather got springish we pulled the table out so we could sit on the deck & plot our summer strategy. The "real" deck table was still stored away. 
As you see it holds beverages nicely.

We coveted these camping pillows another couple had on North Fox Island last summer. Got us a couple right away. They crush down to nothing but are nice & full when you are ready to sleep.
It's all about the comfort when camping these days with our older bodies. 

REI Co-Op has loads of resources for outdoor adventures, trip planning, clothing, & equipment.

Do you like to camp? Where have you been?


Friday, April 19, 2019

Q for Quick Sketches

Sketching is a skill I would like to develop. It's like playing an instrument. 
You have to use those muscles or they atrophy. 

Artists Magazine has recently been inspiring me to put pencil to paper.  
The site has loads of opportunity to learn. 

Moment Sketchers is something I've followed for awhile. They host monthly challenges with the participants posting to Instagram as well as workshops.Images below are from the site.

This is Candace who started Moment Sketchers. Another place to see her art.

I'm drawn to city scape sketches but need to learn more about perspective. 

There are loads of classes both online & out in the world. You need to evaluate closely before deciding if you want to pay the price & hop on.

A few random pages from my journal. 
Times when I surprised myself with a fairly nice drawing done quickly

Use whatever is "at hand",or feet in this case, when looking for a subject.

A friend's pet bird I took the time to sketch when visiting.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

P is for Pantry What's in Yours?


I love to cook. A well stocked pantry is important. 
To be short one item for a recipe can be maddening. 
I also get to show off some of my fabric bins as they grace my pantry for specific items.

The truth is I'm an organizing addict. Is freak the right word?
 I'll let my friends be the judge of that. Anyone care to weigh in? I can take it.

 Open shelving is great if you have the space. I like to be able to see everything easily. 
Helps when you are making a shopping list. 
It's as bad to buy an extra of what you already have as it is to be short.


 I recently winnowed my collection of cook books. 
It all becomes variations on a theme at some point.
 Plus who doesn't love food sites & Pinterest?

I transfer most items to glass for storage.
An entire shelf full of anxious participants. 

 Open wire drawers work well for dry storage of those things 
that like to sprout if you aren't watching.
I use lots of onion & garlic so it's not a problem here.


 Did you notice the fabric box above labeled chalk? 

I have a chalk board wall in my pantry. Gotta have a place to play with design.
 I haven't changed from this ampersand in ages. I need to attend to that.
 Maybe after the A to Z is over...is anyone else getting worn out? 

A couple past designs on the wall.


It's not all about the food for me as you can see. Ways to express creativity always come into play. 

What's important in your pantry?

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows A to Z Challenge

A friend sent me a link to the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows awhile ago. It is a beautiful, thought provoking endeavor by John Koenig.  Link is to his TED talk. He makes up words that don't exist to describe feelings we all have as humans. Then little videos are created to introduce you to the word.

A couple examples to get you curious. 

A good list of the words to browse via BuzzFeed 

Take a few moments & have a look. It might change your perspective.