Tuesday, December 30, 2008

IF - Clandestine

It was not until years later that Elton realized why his fluff of cotton candy had been smaller than everyone else's.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

All Aboard!

Shortly before school let out for winter break, the first grade classes had a Polar Express Party. They were allowed to wear their PJs to school, where they watched the movie and ate popcorn, along with other educational (wink, wink) fun. Usually, the first graders are the first to be allowed into the school building in the morning. But on that day, they were held back. And then Mr. J., the fellow who conducts the morning line-up duty, disappeared. Seconds later, we heard a shrill whistle, and he reappeared with a conductor's cap and tickets for each little girl. I had to restrain myself from jumping up and down and clapping my hands.

I didn't have my trusty camera ready, so I decided to remember the moment with a sketch. Of course, artistic license gives me the right to do away with the jackets and backpacks. And put my own kid at the front of the line. And clean up that bedhead look she's so fond of.

This is what happens when you instruct your 6 year old megalomaniac to put up the "MERRY CHRISTMAS" gel window clings up on the patio doors. It annoyed my 10 year old to no end.

And I leave you with this wintery image. What I wouldn't do to see THIS snow angel. I hope you have just the BESTEST holiday, my wonderful blogging friends!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

IF - Voices

In about a week's time, the country will be filled with the joyous voices of people celebrating the new year. Growing up in California, my family and I always watched the ball drop on TV and then toasted with a glass of Martinelli's sparkling apple cider. Not exciting, I know, but it was tradition. After college, I moved to the Big Apple. But in the 17 years I lived in or near NYC, I never spent New Year's in Time Square. Just a quickie drawing for this week.

Here's to a million and one fabulous things to come in 2009! Cheers.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tokyo Safari

I was inspired by my good friend Aimee of Artsyville to go on a safari around my neighborhood. Why is it that, in a land known for photo-happy tourists, I feel shy about whipping out my camera?! How lame is that.

I find the Japanese take pride in everything they make, even their beautiful manhole covers.

A lot of times, little items that were lost on the street are picked up and put aside for the owner to find again. That's courtesy for you.

How on earth do they get real grass to grow vertically like this?

A beautiful smattering of kimono colors.

Fall colors, just for Ces. They peaked just a couple of weeks ago. Looks like tiny fiestaware, no?

Understandably, the elves were a little busy, so the Union sent replacements. These guys are being constantly blown with air so they "dance." And there's music, to boot, but not necessarily Christmas music. It's kind of funny to watch them dance to Abba's Dancing Queen.

And of course, Santa. This is the statue of Colonel Sanders, in the holiday mood. The Japanese celebrate Christmas, but without the religious aspect to it. It's purely commercial, a time to feast on traditional Christmas cake. As my Japanese friend explained it to me, New Year's is the time to spend with family. So some years back, the KFC people starting promoting their fried chicken as the perfect meal to share with your sweetheart on Christmas. What can I say. It's a cheap date. Plus, they deliver here.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I saw a little clip on the mimic octopus recently. Fascinating creature. So then I decided to pluck one from the ocean and plop him at a bus stop, just to see what would happen.

Octopi are actually quite intelligent. In school, I read a study about how octopi can learn through observation. Cool stuff.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

IF - Rambunctious

Party like it's December 26 at the North Pole.

Have a super fantastic week!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


The other day, my daughter Emma was looking for her stylus for her Nintendo DS. But she kept mispronouncing it as stylist, which I thought was pretty amusing.

Other classic Emma-ism from the past:
bathing suit = baby soup
refrigerator = fidge-a-later
restaurant = resta-haunt

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Spread the Love. It's BOGO Award Time!

Can't get blue sheep out of my head. A little while back, I read a story about a farmer in the UK who dyed his male sheep blue so that he could see which ewes might become pregnant. But being the rowdy bunch that they are, the dyed rams starting fighting with the au-naturale rams, and they all pretty much ended up blue. Brings new meaning to the term spread the love.

Story here.

Looky looky! Two for the price of one! Bee, the philosophical creator of uber-cute critters, gave me the pink Kreativ Blogger Award recently. And soon after, TattingChic, whose incredible lace and wit often tie me up in knots, presented me with the blue Kreativ Blogger Award. Thank you so much, ladies. Gorgeous awards. Kind of make you want to run out and buy scrapbooking paper, don't they?

Gosh. I think ALL of you deserve these awards. But I'm going to play by the rules this time and list six. I think it takes tremendous creative energy to post frequently, so I'd like to present these awards to bloggers who keep me inspired and entertained with lots and lots of wonderful posts:

1. Soulbrush
2. Yoon See
3. Diana Evans
4. Dot at Dabbled
5. Ces and Her Dishes
6. Aimee at Artsyville

Rules, shmules.
1. The winner may put the logo on their blog
2. Put a link to the person who sent you the award
3. Nominate 5 blogs for the award. (or 6, you make the call)

Friday, December 5, 2008

IF - Similar

Santa and the Yeti
(which looks suspiciously similar to a hairy toe)

I created a wacky Christmas image for Dabbled's Holiday Card Contest, which I have forced-fit into this week's Illustration Friday. I have no idea why Santa is with a Yeti. Must have been a mental mad-lib moment.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thank You for Your Shelter

Thank you for the many warm wishes and words of encouragement about our upcoming return to the states. I was deeply touched and heartened.

When it rains, the girls at the elementary school build a house out of their umbrellas. How I wish I was tiny again so I could crouch in there with them. Then one of the mothers chided them, saying something like, "yadda...yadda...yadda...lose an eye!" So they don't do it anymore. Pity.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

IF - Balloon

Koi Riders

I know, I know, it's not exactly a balloon, but....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

IF - Opinion

Harajuku Girl Fashion
It's hard not to have an opinion about it.

Actually, theses are pretty mild compared to the real thing. Some costumes are very frilly and elaborate. Or very goth. A goth Bo Peep. Imagine it.

A bit of startling news to report. My husband has been let go from his job, so our days as expats are coming to an end. We will be heading to our home in Arizona soon. I'm having a hard time settling on one opinion about it. I've come to truly enjoy Tokyo and will miss our friends and life here. On the other hand, I'm looking forward to the ease of American life again. One thing's for sure. We're off on another adventure and moving on to another chapter of our lives.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Tag, I'm it again! Terrifically talented paper-whiz Carli has challenged me to come up with seven random facts about myself. Judging by how hard I had to think about this one, I've determined that I'm a pretty boring person. Ok, here are my seven facts:

1. A long time ago, a boyfriend ran me over with a car. Well, no, calm down, it wasn't that bad. I was getting in the back seat, and my boyfriend thought everyone was already in the car, so he began to drive away. I was halfway in and halfway out. Unfortunately, the tire pinned my toes to the ground, but my body kept moving with the car, and my knee became dislocated. That boyfriend is now my husband.

2. Speaking of my husband, he proposed to me two months after we met. But we waited seven years to get married, because it took that long to win my parents over. We've been married 14 years now.

3. I published a book with my advisor, and that book is now, oddly enough, translated into Polish. I only wrote the intro and one chapter. The rest of the chapters were contributed by fellow academics, so it's not all that impressive, trust me. Plus, it's on psychology and probably boring to 99.9% of the world.

4. I donated eggs twice to my sister, and twice it failed. Broke our hearts. But my sister now has a beautiful adopted daughter who couldn't be any cuter or more loving.

5. I've developed an allergy to overripe pineapples. Which is a shame, because I like pineapples.

6. I was in a magazine ad once. This is actually kind of funny. When I worked at an ad agency, there was one account that tried to save money by using photos of employees. It was an ad that showed a lot of sad and miserable people who did not have the product, and a lot of happy and beautiful people who did have the product. They took the pictures and then decided who would fit best in which category. I was one of the sad and miserable people.

7. I used to have my own business making custom, handmade stationery. After about four years in the red, I now know that I'm just terrible as a business person.

That's it. I'm now devoid of interesting facts.

I'm supposed to tag seven friends, but I'm going to leave this open to all of you. If you'd like to tag along, let me know. I'd love to know more about you!

Here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post the rules2. Post 7 random facts about yourself
3. Tag 7 friends at the end of your post and link to them
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Life on the farm had made her wise beyond her years.

Rural Korean villagers carrying water jugs.

My brain is on strike. It refuses to work. This week, I not only tried to pay $30 for a Subway sandwich and stood dumbfounded when the cashier returned my money, but I also loaded up a week's worth of groceries in the cart only to discover at the register that I had left the house without my purse. It's been a very unwise week for me.

This is a drawing I started over a year ago, and too feeble-minded to think up something new, I decided to finish it for this week's Illustration Friday.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


No more elephants, please! The White Elephant sale I'm working on for the school is going great. Tons of wonderful donations. Lugging boxes and bags every day and wading through the junk has turned out to be more physically demanding than I anticipated, but there are only a few more days until it's all over.

Until then, here's something else to feast upon besides elephants. These are a set of kitchen sponges I picked up at the 100 yen store (dollar store) in Harajuku a little while back. Aren't they cute? It's little things like this that keep me going.

Happy Super Tuesday!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

IF - Late

I have elephants on the brain. What would that be called? Pachydermis-cephalitis? I've been asked to chair the White Elephant booth at the school's fundraising festival next month. A White Elephant sale is basically a huge yard sale, with items donated from hundreds of families. It's a huge undertaking, but I'm up to the challenge. So forgive me if I disappear for a little while. If you need me, I'll be the one under the elephant.

And yes, I was most definitely a late bloomer. How about you?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tag, I'm it!

I’ve been tagged by the ever so sweet and multi-talented Yoon See. Actually, it was a triple tag, but I’ve been swamped with school duties and will only do the first one for now. (I hope that is ok, Yoon See.)

Handbag Tag
Here are the rules:
Find a safe quiet place free of significant others, nosey meme makers, priests, nuns, all things religious and men in general. (If you're a guy just reverse this process to male and tell us about your wallet, tool box, briefcase or metro sexual accessory.)
1. Dump the contents of your handbag in a pile.
2. Take a photo of your handbag and the contents.
3. Be brave and 'splain to your fellow bloggers what lurks inside the handbag.
4. Tag others who might want to embarrass themselves.
5. Answer these questions:

Describe the contents of your handbag.

What's the most important thing in your handbag?
My wallet.
What's the most embarrassing thing in your handbag?
Trash, including old chewed-up gum in an old receipt.
What's the smallest thing in your handbag?
Ponytail elastic.
Is there anything illegal in your handbag?
Does the sugar packet I stole from Segafredo count?


I was also tagged by she-of-nimble-fingers and-wonderful-humor, TattingChic. She makes the most amazing -- and I mean amazing -- things out of thread. You really should check out her work. Mind boggling.

This Meme is about 7's

7 Things I plan to do before I die:

1. See my kids grow up and become parents themselves. Then sit back and enjoy the revenge.
2. Needle felt something really cool.
3. Make a tiny zoo of beaded animals for no particular reason.
4. Conquer my fear of acrylics and watercolors.
5. Have an incredibly beautiful garden.
6. Become good enough at playing the piano.
7. Become fluent in a foreign language.

7 Things I do now:

1. Sneak in extra cookies.
2. Surf the Web too much.
3. Draw.
4. Collect craft ideas and never do them.
5. Knit, but only square and rectangular things.
6. Curse the Enjoli commercial from the 70s
7. Buy books but never get around to reading them.

7 Things I can't do:

1. Paint
2. Accompany my husband to karaoke
3. Drink
4. Iron clothes well
5. Watch a scary movie
6. Accounting
7. Drive to a new place without getting lost

7 Things that attract me to the Opposite Sex:

1. Humor, humor, humor
2. Love for kids and family
3. Intelligence
4. A passion or talent for something, anything
5. Compassion
6. Sensitivity
7. Humility

7 Things that I say most often:

1. No way!
2. Oh, honestly.
3. Sure, no problem.
4. How high?
5. Go. To. Bed.
6. You drive me NUTS.
7. I’m sorry.

7 Celebrities that I admire:

1. Hayao Miyazaki
2. Al Gore
3. Tina Fey
4. Angelina Jolie
5. Paul Newman
6. Condoleeza Rice
7. Berkeley Breathed

7 Favorite Foods:

1. Lots of Korean
2. Lots of Mexican
3. Lots of Italian
4. Doughnuts
5. Ice cream
6. Cream puffs
7. Corned beef hash

7 People who need to do this:
You, if you want to. Please let me know if you do. They were fun, and I'd love to know more about you.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

IF - Strings

Sometimes I feel tied down and constrained by motherhood.
Yet I realize that without my children, I could not soar.

I read an inspiring post this morning by Aimee at Artsyville about the challenges of being a parent and an artist. About the tears and frustration and hair-pulling moments when time is not your own. And about the joys and wonder and curiosity and seeing life anew. After I read her words, I finally understood why I've become so attracted to children's art. It's because my kids inspire me and make me see the world through their eyes.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To promote awareness, Cookie Sunshine is giving away one of her marvelous drawings, signed, matted, and framed. And it's pink! You, too, can enter to win one of her delightful pen and ink confections. The deadline is October 31. Please visit her site by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

IF - Sugary

October is a wahoooooo-wonderful month, as evidenced by all the fantastic people celebrating birthdays (wahoooos to Random York, and Vanessa Brantley Newton and Christer, to name a few). Tomorrow is my daughter Nona's birthday, too. She will be turning the big double-digit of 10. So, today was spent baking giant, warm, gooey, and sweet chocolate chip cookies for her to share with her class. These cookies are absolutely decadent and to-die-for. And I was sure to add in a little extra sugar and chocolate for Eric Barclay who always appreciates a little added goodness. For anyone interested, I found the recipe here.

Whew! Speaking of sugary sweet, look at this gorgeous gem of an award created by Yoon See!

Yoon See is an incredibly thoughtful and sweet artist, and her work is tender and brilliant and fun. I do so enjoy seeing what she's up to. She has so many different and wonderful styles! Thank you, Yoon See, for this beautiful award, and for your many words of encouragement and friendship. I am going to take this opportunity to pass this award on to several artists I deeply respect and admire. Please visit each of their sites and be prepared to be awestruck:

1. Nancy Lefko
2. Valerie Walsh
3. Studio Lolo
4. Bobo's Slave
5. Indigene
6. Roberta Baird
7. Chris Leavens

Yoon See has several different "models" of this award. Please visit her site and select which one you'd like to display.
1. Put the logo on your blog.2. Link to the person who gave you the award.3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.4. Put links to those on your blog.5. Leave a message on those blogs.

Ok, well, it's late and my sugar high is leaving me. Off to dream of sugar plum fairies and visit other Sugary posts tomorrow. Have a wonderful week, everyone, and if it's your birthday this month, then a warm wahoooooo to you too!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

IF - Packed

On Friday, there was a potluck social at my daughters' school. I made about 100 fried dumplings (aka potstickers, gyoza, mandu). My girls love to eat friend dumplings. Luckily, I don't mind making them. Occasionally, I'll hide a little cod or wheat germ or extra veggie in them, something my kids hate eating but that's good for them. Mmmmm, packed with goodness. What's that you say? Tastes a little funny? Here, dip it in more soy sauce.

Thank you, Connie, for this wonderful bit of sweetness! Connie has such a big heart and a funny -- and sometimes deliciously twisted -- way of enjoying life. She makes me laugh with every post. Thank you, friend!

I, in turn, would like to pass this award to several people whom I feel blessed to have become better friends with recently: Connie, Soulbrush, Aimee, Lisa (my guzzling partner), Ces, Luci, Atomic Velvet Sigh, and Yoon See. You pack my world with love (see what I did there?).

If you would like to participate:

1. Put the logo on your blog.
2.Link to the person who gave you the award.
3.Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4.Put links to those on your blog.
5. Leave a message on those blogs.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One Dazzling Award!

I am completely mesmerized by the beautiful colors and shapes on this award created by Atomic Velvet Sigh (isn't that such a cool name?). It was created to show appreciation for the wonderful friendships forged through blogging. In her generosity, she has made this award open to anyone who wishes to display it. So, following in her spirit, I'd like to award this to YOU. Yes, you, the one at the computer. Thank you for visiting. Thank you for leaving such marvelous comments. And thank you for inspiring me with your wonderful creations. Your kind words and beautiful pictures have at times made me laugh and blush and feel lighter than air.

Although this award is meant for everyone who has ever inspired me, I'm going to name just a few particular individuals to start....

Faruffa -- her tiny flowerpot worlds and animations have made me gasp with joy
Cata -- she has the cutest characters and the most vibrant colors
Emily -- I love her incredibly detailed world of bunnies, built with architectural precision
Shugar -- she always has incredible patterns that make my eyes dance and sing
Nancy -- she has amazing pencilwork with such easy and gentle lines

Enjoy this colorful gift. Have a wonderful, wonderful Thursday. Hmmmm, Friday's just around the corner....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

IF - Clique

In high school, I didn't belong to any of the cool cliques. I always had my nose buried in a book and was voted Most Studious as a result. And now as a grown-up, when I wait outside the school to pick up my daughters, I see that the other parents have formed little cliques of their own. I don't really feel comfortable in any of these cliques. I usually hang back by myself or sometimes glom onto another solitary mom. Sometimes I look at the cliques with envy. But then I remember that I'm a part of a wonderful international clique of artists and illustrators who are warm and welcoming. And that's the best clique of all.

I was inspired by Emily and Ces to put more detail into my work. Good golly, I don't have the patience or skill to put in as much amazing detail as they do, but I tried.

Friday, September 19, 2008


My, oh my, just look at this beauty! What an honor to be nominated for this scrumptious award by the ever sweet and talented Edrian Thomidis. Thank you so much, Edrian, for your unwavering support and inspiration. The great Diana Evans created this award. As she says,

"I am giving this award to all the wonderful people that I visit almost every day....they have inspired me and shared their wonderful lives with all of us....
I only ask that you nominate some of the wonderful people you visit each and every day...."

So I, in turn, would like to give this award to the following bloggers who have warmed my heart with their wonderful stories and creations, and who I am happy to consider as friends. Spread the love, baby, spread the love.

Edrian Thomidis (right back atcha!)
Aimee at quirky but beautiful Artsyville
May Chan
Linda Sarah who likes to Travel and Sing
Lisa Rivas with her amazing Flying Colors
Eric Barclay
Ms. Froggie
Luci who blogs about Everything & Nothing
Vanessa at Oooh La La Design Studio
Ces and Her Dishes
and of course, cupcake queen herself, Julie at RockerJewlz

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

IF - Island

This week's theme made me think of the reclaimed islands being constructed off the coast of Dubai, and all the wacky and wonderful shapes they're making (I'll be silent about the ecological ramifications here). So, if I were to make my own island, I'd make it in the shape of a bunny-head. There'd be a house big enough for a constant flow of guests and gardens galore! So row on in. You're welcome any time.

I was incredibly blessed this week!

I received the I-Heart-Your-Blog award from super-talented and super-sweet May Chan. Her illustrations are always full of charm and happiness and beauty and playfulness. I love to see them, especially when I'm feeling a little blue and need a pick-me-up.

And then...what a wonderful surprise, I received it again from Creative Carli, whose delightful creations make me drool with envy. I LOVE paper, and she can create such wonders with it.

And I also received the Brillante Weblog award from the very kind Julie at RockerJewlz. She has the most amazing lampwork beads and cupcake jewelry! I'm constantly oooh-ing and aaah-ing over her beautiful designs.

Thank you so much, May and Julie and Carli! I was truly touched and honored, and these awards meant so much coming from you. In turn, I would like to pass along to YOU a wonderful little gift that was given to me a little while ago by the jaw-droppingly talented Ces, whose amazingly detailed drawings are wonderful for getting lost in and whose love for clouds is shared with my own:

Sunday, August 31, 2008

IF - Memories

I keep all my precious childhood memories in a blond wooden box, tied securely with chocolate grosgrain ribbon. Every few years I open the lid and let them fly freely.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's a Goat Tower, of course.

A while ago, I saw this picture on Neatorama (one of my daily excursion sites), and I saw THIS in South Africa:

How awesome is THAT! Well, of course, I just had to have one of my own. For my imaginary goats, of course. Anyone care to join me for a party in the Goat Tower?

Friday, August 22, 2008

IF - Routine

Next week, it's back to the old routine -- waking extra early to walk the dog, getting the kids to school, music lessons, homework....sigh. I shouldn't complain, though. We live a pretty privileged life compared to the kids in one Colombian village. They live in an area so remote that the children have to travel to school on a zip line over a deep chasm. It's a harrowing routine, but even the young children are accustomed to it.

That is only one remote jungle village, however. Much of Colombia is breathtakingly gorgeous and full of history, festivities, and culture. Thanks, Edrian, for the following video:

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tears of Joy

I've been incredibly blessed this week. I think my heart has grown ten sizes. I received a wonderful award from four people whose blogs I absolutely adore and whose art I constantly ooooh and aaaaah over: Edrian Thomidis, Kathy Hare, Linda Sarah, and Erin. Thank you, from the bottom of my now overgrown heart. I honestly just feel like a girl with a pencil and a lot to learn, but you've made me feel extra special and inspired. I'm deeply honored.

I also have a special update. I told my friend Arlene about the picture I drew of her and all the wonderfully thoughtful wishes she has received from around the world. My voice was shaking with emotion as I told her, and she was so touched by the response that she shed a few tears. She would like me to thank everyone who has offered words of encouragement and support. So, Thank You!

* * * * *

Quick sketch: We're still in Arizona for a few more days, enjoying the dry heat. We've been frequently visited by large yellow paper wasps that come down to take a sip from the pool. They're perfectly harmless, but my girls get a little freaked out. Man, they're big! This is a wonderful photo of a paper wasp taken from this site.

Have a wonderful day, and thank you for visiting!

Friday, August 15, 2008

IF - Detach

This is my wish for my beautiful friend Arlene.

Arlene is an amazing and generous person. She put herself through college while raising a young child as a single parent. Later, she remarried and had two more children. Several years ago, Arlene was diagnosed with scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disease of the connective tissue. Although disheartened to learn that she would eventually be disfigured and in constant pain, she was grateful that she would at least live long enough to see her two youngest children grow up.

Two years ago, Arlene's mother was diagnosed with an acute case of leukemia. Within three months, she passed away, and Arlene was there at her side.

Last year, Arlene decided to run a marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. But during training, she fractured both her shins and experienced extreme fatigue. So she went to the doctor. As it turns out, she has pre-leukemia, which may eventually develop into acute leukemia. We pray that it doesn't.

So. My wish for my dear friend Arlene is that one day, she will be able to detach herself from the fatigue, from the pain, from the worry, and play and laugh and love with her family.

Cherish the time you have with the ones you love.

pencil and paper, then poorly photographed and futzed with on Illustrator

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I don't deserve it, but I'll take it!

The wonderfully gifted and kind Edrian Thomidis and the incredibly talented Kathy Hare have just given me a fantastic and touching surprise! They have nominated me for this incredibly sweet "I heart your blog" award. Oh, Edrian and Kathy, you are much too kind!

Now, according to the rules, I am to nominate seven other blogs for this award. My mind is spinning with all the new wonderful blogging friends I have made over the past several months and all their truly inspirational blogs. So many I wish I could nominate, some I have nominated before. This time, I'd like to nominate seven more remarkable people who always seem to have something witty or crafty or inspirational to say. I heart you all!

1. Luci at Everything & Nothing
2. Donna at The Cookie Sheet
3. Krisztina at SketchPause
4. Cata at Cata's Craft
5. Aimee at Artsyville
6. Vanessa at Ooh La La Design Studio
7. Esque at Inkihandmade

The rules are:

1. The winner can put the logo on their blog
2. Link the person you received your award from
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of the girls or boys you’ve nominated

Spread the love, baby. Spread the love!