Making Wishes


We were meeting friends for lunch but were early so we decided to wander about. I was looking for four leaf clovers when I looked up and spotted her face, lost in wish making. I love that she wishes on things like I do. I love her crossed arms and her gentle heart.

“Wish on everything. Pink cars are good, especially old ones. And stars of course, first stars and shooting stars. Planes will do if they are the first light in the sky and look like stars. Wish in tunnels, holding your breath and lifting your feet off the ground. Birthday candles. Baby teeth.” ― Francesca Lia Block

“Nobody ever talks about the pyramids that weren’t built, the books that weren’t written, the songs that weren’t sung. Stop letting your fear condemn you to mediocrity. Get out of your own way. Your dreams are a poetic reflection of your soul’s wishes. Be courageous enough to follow them. There is no greater time than now to experience the full power of your potential. Make this the day you take the first step in the beautiful journey of bringing your dreams to life.”
―    Steve Maraboli

The last few days…

…have been filled with creative goodness, only not in the art room messy paint brush kind of way. Here are seven things that have given me cause to smile.

1. Olivia made a second batch of carrot cake cupcakes. They are downstairs in the kitchen right now, calling to me. There’s pineapple and coconut mixed in, along with the carrot. Cream cheese frosting on top. Yum! 8366121012_1957c9d64c_b


8366121390_261588ba8b_b2. On Sunday, we had a family day at Snowshoe. What a pretty drive! I squealed when I saw the snow on the mountain tops! I am like a child when it comes to snow. I love it! But, oh my, I thought I was ready for the cold. I thought I was dressed warmly but the wind on top of the mountain was BRUTAL. It unwound our scarves, took our words, and reddened our eyes. There is a nice row of shops and restaurants, like a little village, at the tip top. I would have loved to take my time and enjoy meandering through, but instead the wind chased us into a pub where we had lunch and warmed up. I added a sweater layer and got some hot tea before heading back down a bit to the tubing area. Not as windy there, thankfully. We were able to relax and enjoy. How wonderful to put my hands in the snow, to kick up my heels, to let my eyes rest on the big stretches of white! Heaven, I tell you! Olivia and her friend tubed until they couldn’t tube anymore. It was a day trip that we plan on doing more often. The next visit will be in the spring, maybe when my hubby’s band plays (they played there twice last year in the village), to walk the nature trails and maybe, maybe, do some ziplining. Or most likely, I will stay rooted to the ground and take photos as they fly by. We will see. I may surprise myself with bravery. 2013 feels like it could be that sort of year. There is also an observatory nearby and a mineral springs that has to be checked out. And soon. “Taking the waters” is a big part of the book I am working on so I must see for myself what the fuss is all about.

8365173381_f7dd85aa0b_b (1)3. In homeschooling news, we have taken a detour from our purchased curriculum (Oak Meadow) and are reading about India for Geography Club. And reading Anne Frank’s diary for our mother/daughter bookclub. The latter has Olivia so inspired that she has been writing nonstop in her own diary. The sight of her scribbling furiously stops me in my tracks every time. I stand there beaming at her until she looks up and gives me either a smile or shoos me away. Let’s just hope she is not writing about me in the same way as Anne wrote about her own mother. My heart would break!

4. And while flipping through an old notebook, (old as in 1999) I ran across a copy of  The Desiderata. Do you know this poem? I used to read it daily. I’ve never read it and not felt good afterward. So, I taped it to the inside of my current sketchpad after I shared it with Olivia. It’s what a friend of mine would call a “soul vitamin.”

8365173853_0faf88247a_b (1)5. Some new colored pencils arrived in the mail and have made the morning sketch project even more fun.

6. Writing news: I’ve had a slow start to the novel revision but I’ve a bit of time tonight to work on it. I can’t wait!

7. Also reading: The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? by Seth Godin. I found out about it at Lesley Riley’s blog. (thank you, Lesley!) I love the sharing of good information!

And now, I am off to make the most of my solitary hour and half. To Revison Land, I go.

Happy Creating!






reclaiming my mornings


“To me, being creative is a very fragile thing, and somehow I’ve always felt the need to be very protective of that.” ~ Holly Hunter

On December 31st, I made a declaration. One that feels important and life-changing but is at the same time, so simple. No more morning email checks. No more heading straight to the computer/phone. No looking up anything on the internet. No FB, no Pinterest. Important real life, being the best me I can be things will be first in the day and not saved for last or not at all. Less looking outside, more contemplating within. I am bringing back mornings like I used to have them. A cup of herbal tea with a nonfiction book containing some sort of wisdom, something to help get my head and spirit in the right place before our busy homeschool days. A bit of meditation and thoughts of gratitude. Some yoga. And writing. Lots of writing. And I was thinking of setting the goal of a small sketch a day and seeing how that goes. Playing with ideas for paintings on paper so that when that precious art room time presents itself, I will be ready. So, the pencils and paper will remain out on my desk. My alarm is set for an hour earlier than my usual. It’s the fifth day of 2013 and so far, so good. Here are 4 quick sketches to share. (I haven’t taken a pic of today’s yet.) Fun and quick. No worry about perfection. No worries at all. Just the tentative beginnings of something. Or not. Just getting some graphite and ideas on paper. A good way to greet the day. Good for the soul!

8348252220_b03f18df77_b 8338782331_a5ae1a69a0_b 8347195281_5e15cecb00_b

… and the one from New Year’s Eve.
8347196187_9e0891452e_bWishing you a lovely, creative weekend! xo

January 1-making vision boards

Yesterday morning the three of us started making personal vision boards. At two-ish, Kelly had to leave to set up for his New Year’s Eve gig an hour away but Olivia and I continued, snipping and arranging and pasting our cut-out wishes and goals on 18×24 inch sheets of watercolor paper. We worked for hours until somewhere around seven o’clock when we declared them finished. Images were gleaned from old magazines and catalogs and we drew a few things here and there when we couldn’t find what we needed. My sweetie was enthusiastic and tireless and I was such a proud mama when she shared the images she chose and explained their meanings. The whole process: the thinking about what I want for my future, the choosing of the picture to represent it, and the act of seeing it all before me, resonated more strongly in my heart than a list of resolutions I close up in a notebook and put away. “Thoughts create things.” I believe this and it makes me happy to know my thoughts will go to good places when I look at the vision board. Here are a few close-up images (it feels too personal to share my whole board though Olivia has kindly given me permission to share hers.) :

“New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights.” ~Hamilton Wright Mabie
[a big thank you to Lisa for the quote]

Happy New Year!

This image is from years back. Sixteen years ago, give or take a few. But I found it today when I was cleaning out a box of things and it seemed to fit the quote I’ve been carrying around and wanting to share here as we celebrate the approach of this new year.

“If, like a Cherokee warrior, I can look at the new year as an opportunity to stand on new ground, then strength and courage are on my side. If I have waited a long time for everything to be perfect – and there have been moments, brief as they were, that filled my expectations – then I can face the challenges. I will remember that things do work out, bodies do heal, relationships mend – not because I said it, but because I believe it. But it is time to make things right, to stay on the Path. As water runs fresh and free from the woodland spring, so new life and meaning will bubble up from my own inner source. I will be still and steady because there is nothing to be gained by showing fear in a chaotic world. I can turn from ignorance and prejudice toward a light that never goes out.”– Joyce Sequichie Hifler
May your new year hold many blessings. xo

june 26

Local Love+Book Love

I’ve never pulled into the parking lot at the Hollins University campus without an accompanying sense of excitement and gratitude. The Eleanor D. Wilson Museum is there with the occasional workshop (I’ve enjoyed myself immensely at each one) and constant spectacular exhibits (Goodnight, Hush: Classic Children’s Illustrations is there now), the theater where my hubby Kelly had a great time playing guitar in the play “Violet” is there and when Olivia was at Community School (we are back to being a home schooling family now) there were celebrations and plays on the grounds. I feel extremely blessed to live close to such a wealth of creative goodness.

Yesterday was the last day of the Children’s Literature Association event and it was an insightful, inspiring time. I did not get to attend the two previous days but wish I had.

At events like these, I take notes, jotting down anything and everything that triggers some sort of spark, snippets and wisdom that I think I may be able to pull from later to aid in a piece of writing or in a painting. I’m looking forward to looking those over this morning while nursing a cup of tea and see if any connections remain. But first, I have a few links to share with you lovelies.

A few things from yesterday stand out in my mind:

* Hearing Meg Medina read the opening of her book, “Milagros, The Girl From Away.” I am going to pick this one up as soon as I can. Magical realism=Love.

* Julia Mickenburg and Philip Nel’s lecture on radical children’s literature. You can get the entire book list on the blog. This is great as I think I missed a few in my notes, especially near the end when I thought my hand was going to fall off from all the frenzied scribbling. Ideas for home school lessons were foremost in my mind during this talk and the mommy/teacher in me was getting a healthy dose of motivation and ideas for group activities with friends. This lecture was also filmed and will eventually be available on the CHLA site.

* Thacher Hurd, son of Clement Hurd who was the illustrator for “Goodnight Moon,” and author/illustrator in his own right, was entertaining with his anecdotes about Margaret Wise Brown that left me wanting to know more about this beautiful genius who seemed to enchant all she encountered.

* Seeing up close the wonderful art of Ruth Sanderson and Ashley Wolff.

*The session on writing and illustrating fantasy: Charle Vess, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, and Amie Rose Rotruck –oh, the passion and excitement they have for what they do! That’s always wonderful to see and to be around. Meeting Kathleen Foucart Walker, a local writer and friend of a dear friend.

*Chatting with Becky Mushko, another local writer. I purchased her new middle grade book, a paranormal tale titled “Stuck” and can’t wait to dive into it.

*Spending the day with another dear friend, definitely one of the highlights. Where would we all be without our friends? I used to have a quote painted on the panel in the hallway. I have since painted over it but recall the words well. “Friends are flowers in the garden of life.” So true, dontcha think?

In the art room:

* I’ve been gesso-ing panels and organizing, getting ready for an art show at the Oddfellas Cantina in Floyd. I’ll have my art hanging there the months of September and October. Very excited about that!

* Fabric took over for a few days. Doing some mending and also making an eye pillow. I had to measure and pin—shew! SO not strengths of this impatient girl but I am proud of the end result. It’s weight felt good in my hand, filled with flax seeds and lavender, and smell was delicious.