Saturday, February 28, 2009

IF - Breezy

Sometimes you have to create your own breeze.

Here's hoping your week is light, refreshing, and blown free of troubles.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


He swam to me all the way from Georgia. I don't know how he did it, but he did. And when I found him, he said his arms were a little tired, but not too tired for an eight-layered hug.

This is my new friend, whom I have decided to name Odakota (which means friend in Sioux). Nancy Dorsner was gracious enough to relinquish him to me after I fell in love with him on her blog. You should check out her creativity-exploding blog, full of challenges and cooking ideas and craft inspirations. She also creates adorable robots and cephalopods, among other amazing art, and if you ask nicely, she may even create one especially for you.

Thank you, Nancy! He is absolutely beautiful!

Monday, February 23, 2009


Come fly with me....

Friday, February 20, 2009

IF - Instinct

pencil, colored in Illustrator

Once upon a time -- just a few months ago, in fact -- a farmer's trusty old sheepdog passed away. Not able to herd his sheep, and unable to afford a new one, the farmer was at a loss. Until one day, while visiting a wildlife park, he noticed that one of the keepers had hung a poster of a wolf in the sheep pen as a joke. Curiously, the sheep tended to avoid that poster. So the farmer had a brilliant idea. He carried a large poster of a snarling wolf to his flock, and lo and behold, the sheep began to move out of instinctual fear. So now, when the farmer needs to herd his sheep, he follows behind them with a large wolf poster, to his neighbors' delight and amusement.

Click to read the original story here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Photo Safari - Disney Sea

Just outside of Tokyo is Tokyo Disneyland. And right next to it is an equally magical theme park called Disney Sea. My kids have a couple of days off school, so we took advantage of a sunny Thursday and went to Disney Sea. What a beautiful park! Parts of it look like old Venice and turn-of-the-century New York City. Here are a few photos from our outing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Still Celebrating

When I read this week's Illustration Friday theme, Celebrate, the first thing I actually thought of was that sappy commercial for General Foods International Coffees. The one that ends with the jingle, "Celebrate the moments of your life." Know which one I'm talking about? Am I old? Do they still make that coffee?

So here is a doodle inspired by that commercial and a couple of dear friends. I hope they know who they are.

She regaled them with stories of odd hobbies and sprouts at the CuppaCuppa Tree.

If you don't know that commercial but are curious, here it is in its grainy glory.

Monday, February 16, 2009

IF - Celebrate

My dog loves to scatter birds. Slowly, slowly he creeps. Then BAM! He throws himself at them with a gutteral war cry, sending them flapping in all directions. Afterward, he has an extra kick to his step as he celebrates another job well done.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

On Valentine's Day here in Japan, it's the girls who give chocolates and sweets to the guys. Then exactly one month later, on March 14, they celebrate White Day when the guys return chocolates, jewelry and other gifts to the girls.

Some chocolatiers have recently begun making Reverse Chocolates for Valentine's Day, where the label is printed on backwards. These are for guys who want to give chocolates to their sweethearts today. I'm not sure that will let them off the hook for White Day, though.

Happy Valentine's Day!
Sending lots of love your way. Catch!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know

The wonderful and incredible Monica, half of the immensely talented team that is The Art of Puro, and the absolutely amazing Carmen Saldana so graciously gave me an award the other day. Arigato gozaimasu, Monica and Carmen! Please check out some of their amazing talents at their blogs.

In conjunction with this, I'm supposed to name 7 things that I love. Ok, here goes:
  1. My wacky and wonderful family
  2. Making my children laugh
  3. Coffee ice cream and green tea ice cream, but not together
  4. Seven layer cake
  5. Making things with my hands
  6. Decorative paper
  7. You, my friend

And then the gorgeous and color-rich wonder that is Linda Cardina tagged me with a photo challenge. Here is the 4th photo in the 4th file in my computer. Luckily, the files on my computer are not too old, so nothing too incriminating. Whew! This is our neurotic dog Oz when he was a wee pup. He's mostly loving and gentle, but certain sounds just drive him mad, like the rattle of aluminum foil or the clank of silverware. He starts spinning or running in counter-clockwise circles and barking like a madman. Drives me nuts.

And finally, Ellen of Ellifolks, the creater of uniquely fabulous bears and small critters, as well as Esque, who is a crafting whiz and maker of art prints, beautiful bags and the sweeeeeetest smelling lavender sachets, both tagged me to cough up random facts about myself. Ellen's tag was for 6 items, Esque's tag was for 8. So I averaged it and scrounged around for 7. Ok, drumroll, please.....

I never wear lipstick, because it makes me feel like a clown.

I only had one serious boyfriend in my life, and I married him.

I love all flowers, from the teeny tiny lily of the valley to the giant and thick magnolia. But I think my favorite is the peony, because when it begins to bloom, it looks like a bird all nestled in for a nap. Plus, you only need a few stems for a really grand and fragrant bouquet.

In college, we had to take two semesters of physical education. I took ice skating and archery, because rifle shooting was already filled. In archery, this 90-pound boy (who I swear could have been Prince's long lost brother) and I had the hardest time stringing up our bows.

I am a Tetris Queen. In grad school, my buddy Mark and I would have head-to-head Tetris tournaments. We played, literally, thousands of games and kept a tally. It was close, but I beat him, so no, I do not think my tuition dollars were wasted.

My tongue creeps out whenever I draw.

My all-time favorite movie is Raising Arizona. Kinda light on the cerebral scale, but genius in its own right.

A close second would be Howl's Moving Castle by Hayao Miyazaki. Romance, fantasy, and an underdog heroine who gets the guy in the end. What more could you ask for.

If you've read this far, you should be congratulated. Sign below for the "I survived the extra-long post" bragging rights. And thank you!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

IF - Time

*Pencil, color added with Illustrator

I woke up with the Jim Croce tune in my head:

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that Id like to do
Is to save every day
Till eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

How priceless that would be.
My thoughts are with those battling the blazes in Australia.
Have a wonderful and safe week, everyone.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

It's Snowing!

Wooohooooo! It snowed today in my mailbox! I received this gorgeous hand-tatted lace from incredibly talented and nimble-fingered TattingChic. I was completely blown away when I first learned that these intricate beauties were made by hand, comprised of tiny, tiny stitches of fine thread. It requires a healthy dose of time and patience and skill to make one of these, and I'm grateful that this kind of artistry still lives on.

I am in such admiration of her work that when she offered to do an exchange, I jumped at the opportunity. And look! She not only gave me a snowflake, she also added an amazing heart. Just look at all that intricate detail! Wow! I wish you could see and feel one of these for yourself. They look delicate, but the stitches are quite strong and firm.

Thank you, TattingChic. You are incredibly sweet and amazingly talented and always keep me laughing. I shall cherish these forever.

Now go check out her other works. You will be blown away, too! Shoo, away with you.

Monday, February 2, 2009

IF - Flawed

She didn't have the heart to tell him.

Inspired by this photo:

I'm feeling a bit flawed this week. Mired in mediocrity. It's times like this when I'm thankful for photos like this one. Yes, it's a little mean spirited, I know. But a little downward comparison can work wonders.

EDIT: Another fresh one, just in. Are you jealous?