Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Holidays!

We are about to embark on two weeks of madcap craziness and festivities around here, so I'm cutting out a little early.  But before I do, I want to wish you all a very happy holiday season.  I hope you find time to squeeze the people you love and to be squeezed lovingly in return.  Thank you, truly, for your visits and words of encouragement.  You've made me smile and giggle and dream.  Here's to a better and brighter 2012.

With love,

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Brigade that Arrived Too Late

This was supposed to be for last week's Illustration Friday prompt.....uh...yeah.....

When Emma and I walk to school in the morning, we each get into our imaginary pods, strap on layer upon layer of imaginary protective gear, and then engage in fierce candy war.  We try to think of the stickiest, goopiest, most creative way to pummel each other with sugar.

"Candy apple mace!"

"Argh!  Marshmallow absorption shield.  Spun-sugar web!"



"Yes, Fredward.  He's my giant jellybean who eats your sugar web."

"Ugh.  Sour Patch Kids, attack Fredward!"

"Fredward womps them flat.  Poprock cannon with lemonade sprayer!"

"Arrgghghghgh, ow ow ow!  "

By the time we get to school, we are both a gloppy, battered mess.  Luckily, we have the gummy bear brigade to lick us clean so the teacher will never suspect a thing.

Have a spectacular weekend!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Illustration Friday: Round

Row, row, row your boat.....
                         Row, row, row your boat.....
                                                  Row, row, row your boat....

I love singing in rounds, don't you?  What did you say?  Sorry, I had my fingers stuck in my ears.

Jeepers, where have I been?  In a food coma, apparently.  And then battling the cyber-crowds while cyber-shopping in the cyber-malls.   I didn't get to finish my drawing for this week's word, and I can practically hear tomorrow's IF word knocking on the door.   Ah well.    Snagged some pretty good deals, though.

In other news, I received a great surprise in the mail yesterday.  A while ago, I worked with the fabulous Caren Krupinski of Kdottie Designs on a personal project.  Caren had written a heartwarming and enchanting poem and asked me to help her illustrate it.  She put everything together into a little book and sent me my very own copy.  How wonderful!  Thank you, Caren!!!!

And finally, the book I've been working on with Donna Shepherd is still in production, but a coloring page is available here for any crayon-wielding kiddies out there.   Doh!  Don't color your computer screen.  Print it out first.  Gah.

Wishing you a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Illustration Friday: Silent

And then Walter did the only thing he could think of to make her silent.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Illustration Friday: Stripes

Round and round the narwhal tusk
Stripes of green in shades of dusk
Take my hand, come round with me
Let your heart and joy swim free

Mr. (albino) Narwhal, who was inspired by my sweet sisterfriend Ces's drawing of a sweatered narwhal,
is sporting a mustache in support of Movember.  Grow a mo!

❈ ❈ ❈

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the amazing, fanciful, and tremendously entertaining stories conjured up by the above drawing!  I was tickled by all the stories.  You made me eat all my kettle corn!  Here are just a few highlight:

•  A roving reporter gets caught in a gust of wind that blows away her tiny interviewees as well as her earpiece

•  Magical butterflies are carrying away the seeds of spring

•  Pixies scatter to find her lost younger sisters to guide them back home

•  Her car broke down and started smoking.  Really badly.

•   She scratched her head trying to think of a solution to her brother's potential dating disaster and unleashed a great storm of dandruff

•  She is about to eat the magical seed of a wishflower, which can only grow and release its seeds during a fog

•  Lightning bugs are carrying away every drop of snowflake so that spring can finally arrive

There are many more, and I loved them all!  Thanks so much for playing with me.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Illustration Friday: Scary

Yay for carnivals!  A couple of weekends ago, the carnival came back to town, so of course, we had to go.  The kids love the rides, and I love watching them being spun and dropped and scared out of their wits.  Is that sadistic of me?

There's this one ride called The Zipper.  You have to be yea-tall to ride, and it costs five whole tickets, so you know it's a good one.  Plus, they don't accept single riders.   Basically, you sit inside a swinging metal cage with a little bit of padding, and it sends you looping round and round.  The number of flips you do is totally unpredictable.  Here's what it looks like:


My older daughter LOVES this ride, but my younger daughter chickened out.  Not that it mattered, because she was too short anyway.  I was hoping to find another single rider to partner with my daughter.  I even accosted a young boy, but he got this frightened look in his eye and pointed to a random girl and said she was going to ride with him.  Hehehe.  He probably went home to his mom and told her about a crazy lady going around saying, "You need a partner?  You need a partner?"

Anyhoo.  Now, I hate rides with big drops and flips.  Something about getting older and internal organs being all jiggly and loose makes the whole thing nauseating.  But the look of disappointment on my daughter's face... well, that just would not do.  So I had to suck it up.

"I'll ride with you.  See, Nona?  This is how much I love you." 

My goodness.

It felt like an eternity of sheer torture.  To be honest, I don't remember much because I had my eyes squeezed shut the whole time.  And for the life of me, I could not stop screaming no matter how hard I tried.  At one point, I felt my cell phone slip out of my pocket and I watched it banging around our cage, up and down, like an angry, rabid honey badger in a trap.  

"Just close your eyes, Mom, close your eyes!  It'll be less scary that way!"  

Do you know what it's like to be coaxed off the edge of a nervous breakdown by your young child?  Not my proudest moment.

I'm happy to say that I survived the ride.  My cell phone lost a button, but at least I did not lose my lunch.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Illustration Friday: Scattered

What do you think is going on here?  I'm just going to sit back with my bag of kettle corn and read your stories.  Entertain me.  :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Illustration Friday - Contraption


This is what my daughter  Emma wants from Santa this year:  a soda drinking hat.  I'm always amused by the items on her list.  Once, she asked for an engine to make her bed fly.  Or a fireplace for her bedroom.  Or even a two-story clubhouse, complete with mini fridge and lights that clap-on-clap-off.  At least this year, she has scaled down her request to something that would actually fit on his sleigh.  Emma  designed everything on her hat, from the pinwheels to the dangling choco cornets filled with treats.  And even though I put tea mugs in the holders, she wants you to know that there's soda in there.

Ack!  Another Friday is upon us.  I hope I get next week's word done a little earlier next time.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Swinging by to say hello!

Hello, hello!  I hope you had a marvelous and memorable summer.  Autumn is now upon us.  Goodness, is it really October already?  

I've been slow to get back into the swing of things.  And it didn't help that pressure was on to make a splashy return (haha, thanks, Ted!).  Hopefully, this will be a decent start as I get my gears rolling again.

Over the summer, I saw an opportunity to make a customized lamp and thought, 'Hmmm, this might be fun.'  So I created two drawings of frolicking youngsters, stitched them together, and sent it in for printing.  And viola!  I received the lamp a few days ago, and I must say, I'm quite impressed with the quality of printing and the lamp itself.  

This is something else I worked on last week.  One of my favorite things is a music box.  The kind that you crank the little handle, and a drum with little bumps turns while plinking tiny metal keys.  I love those.  When I was a little girl, I had a donkey plushie named Eeyore with a music box sewn in.  When he got very old and ratty I retired him for good, but not before performing a little surgery and removing that precious box.  I don't even remember now what tune it played, but I do remember the joy of finally holding the magic in my hands.  And then I promptly dismantled it to find out how it worked.   I think I broke it.  

So this is for Eeyore.  Sorry, buddy.

I'll be by to say hello and catch up with you.  You have been warned.  :)

EDIT:  Oh!  I do remember the tune!  It played Happy Days are Here Again.  Ahhh, sadly, not for you, Eeyore, not for you.

Friday, July 22, 2011



I'm so sorry I've been silent and haven't visited in a while.  Summers are usually busy with the girls home from school and travels and visitors and general idleness.  But this summer is especially busy in the very best way.  I am working on illustrating a book for Donna Shepherd, and I'm very excited about it (yes! I'm jumping up and down!).  Not only is Donna a pure treasure to work with, but the story she has created is so full of charm it makes my toes tingle.  I can't spill too many beans on it just yet.  So here's just a little sneak peek at what's been swimming in my head.

Also, the very lovely and inspirational Deepa gave me such an honor recently when she asked to interview me.  Please visit her gorgeously colorful world of Hues 'n' Shades.  Thank you, Deepa!

Have a fun filled and joyous summer (or winter for our friends down under).  See you on the flip side. I'm eager to catch up with you again!


Monday, June 6, 2011

Illustration Friday - Shadow

Theodore sat and rested in the shadow of a nearby tree,
lest he dry out from the hot midday sun.

Sssssshhhh, this was supposed to be for last week's Asleep, but I fell asleep and didn't get it done on time.  Don't tell the IF Police, okay?

About a month ago, an extremely rare all-white kiwi was born in New Zealand.  Isn't he adorable?  When I saw him, I knew I had to have him.  On paper, anyway.  

Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A letter to Ces

Dear Ces,

How can it be that I have known you for less than three years, yet I feel like we have known each other for a lifetime?  At least one lifetime, anyway, perhaps more.  I suspect someone had mercy and sent you to me, knowing I'd soon need a friend to get through some difficult times.  And what a friend you turned out to be.  There is so much that we share, so much we have been through together, and so much that intrigues me about you still.   You can reduce me to tearful laughter with your playful antics  (remember what you did with your kneadable eraser one night?  and our comment-race to 1000?).  And the way you can charm a Micron pen across a piece of paper to make the most magical pictures out of mere ink squiggles still wows me, even hundreds of illustrations later.   Your vibrant paintings grace my walls and keep me company though you are far.  You make me strive to be a better artist, so that I can feel worthy of your attention.   You give me the confidence I need to do more, not just in art but in life.

I started to make something for you, intending to have it finished in time for your very special day, the second day of June.  But I failed.  I am still working on it and will send it to you when it is finished.  You are too grand, too wonderful, and too amazing to be celebrated in just one day, after all.

Happy birthday to my dearest Sisterfriend.  May the angels smile upon you and grant you your most desired wishes.



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Illustration Friday - Safari

Let's go surfin' now
Everybody's learning how
Come on and safari with me!

(Beach Boys, 1962)

*WIP from an even larger WIP.  Have a great week!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Nothing to see here, keep moving.

Just a bit of silliness, that's all.  

Godzilla enjoys a bit of fairy floss.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Illustration Friday - Journey

Charlotte and Roland take a journey through Europe

Have you ever played with a roly poly pillbug? They are so cute!

Thank you, my dear friends, for your outpouring of support for our Japan disaster relief fundraiser! Thank you for your generosity, not only with your funds but with your kind words and cheers as well. Ces and I were overwhelmed and deeply touched by the show of solidarity and encouragement. I knew many of you had already donated or contributed in another way, and I honestly did not expect much given it was already a few weeks past the disaster. But to date, Ces and I have received direct donation receipts to the Red Cross Japan disaster relief fund totaling $925! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Without question, the people there will need help for a long time, and we will continue to send out thank you packages to anyone who emails a donation receipt (please click here for further details) to either Ces or myself.

And Jack Foster! Come on down! You are the lucky winner of Ces's beautiful pen and ink Quercus Glauca. We will get that off to you very soon. You will absolutely love it, guaranteed. Congratulations!

In other news, my computer has been acting wonky again. First the video card and cable went kaput. Then the internal mic cable came loose. And yesterday, I swore my internal hard drive disintegrated. I tried everything to repair it, to no avail. I was fed up and ready to take the computer back to the shop where, by now, we are all on a first name basis. I tell you, I feel like Norm from Cheers when I go there.

Now here's where things get a little interesting.

See, when my husband passed away, I inherited his computer. He was a whiz with computers, absolutely loved them. So this morning, while doing the dishes, I silently scolded him for pranking me and futzing around inside the Mac. A little while later, I decided to turn it on one last time before taking it to the shop.

And lo and behold..... It's working perfectly!

"Hmmmmmm..... Very interesting," she said, stroking her Fu Manchu mustache. "Very interesting, indeed."

I hope you have a wonderful week full of small miracles.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

七転び八起き (Nana korobi Ya oki)


After weeks of head scratching and tinkering, I finally have my computer back home. The empty space on my desk looks like it should once more. Yes, my ability to create art was hindered and my pocketbook is considerably lighter, but those are minor inconveniences compared to what others are going through across the world. I can only be grateful for what I have and for the safety and health of my family.

For the past few weeks, I've been following the disaster in Japan with great sadness. Like most of you, I've watched the waters smashing houses and large boats and cars like toys. I've seen photos of people surveying the damage, their town and their lives unrecognizable. One particular photo that burned in my mind was that of a woman calling out the names of her loved ones, desperate to hear a familiar voice. I imagined myself in her place, calling out the names of my daughters. I could feel her panic, and I couldn't stop the tears from falling.

But along with the destruction, I have seen videos of children singing at school graduations held in shelters. I've seen them laughing and playing and blowing bubbles. The children offer hope. The Japanese, I believe, are a resilient people. I am not Japanese, but after living there for two years, I feel akin to these people and their culture. This tragedy feels personal to me, and I feel a need to help as much as I can.

To that end, Ces has most generously and graciously teamed up with me to raise funds for Japan. For everyone who makes a $25 donation to the American Red Cross for the Japanese disaster relief fund, we will send the following.

An 8" x 10" print signed by yours truly. This is an image of two young Japanese children painting in one eye of a Daruma Doll. In Japan, the Daruma is a symbol of good luck and perseverance and is inspired by Bodhidharma, the Buddhist monk often credited for his Zen teachings. The doll is weighted on the bottom so that it always rights itself rather than toppling over. Because of this, it is often associated with the saying Nana korobi Ya oki, which means, 'Seven times fall down, eight times get up.' Upon acquiring a Daruma Doll, a person will set a goal and paint in one eye. When the goal is achieved, he or she will paint in the other eye. In this image, the young children are setting their goal, and that is to get up once more.

As a thank you, you will also receive an original ACEO (2.5" x 3.5") of a Japanese Blue Oak Acorn (Quercus glauca), exquisitely rendered in pen and ink and signed by Ces. It comes in a handcrafted envelope made of beautiful Japanese decorative paper, along with information about this majestic tree.

But that's not all, folks. Everyone who makes a donation will also be entered into a raffle to receive a larger original 9" x 12" pen and ink drawing of the Japanese Blue Oak on Bristol Board, illustrated and signed by Ces. Isn't it gorgeous?

If you would like to receive the above, please email your receipt for a $25 donation to the American Red Cross (earmarked for the Japanese Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami fund) to The print and ACEO will be shipped to you, free of charge. In addition Ces and I will match each donation received (up to $200 each).

And finally, a fun way to help efforts in Japan is to make origami cranes. For each crane received, the Bezos Family Foundation will donate $2 to the Architecture for Humanity's reconstruction efforts in Japan (up to $200,000). The cranes will be woven into an art installation as a gift to the Japanese youth. I've been happily making cranes, and these little guys will be making their way to the Students Rebuild organization soon. To find out more about this effort, please visit Students Rebuild.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read through this long post. I'm sorry for making my comeback post a plea for donations, but this was important to me. If you have already made a donation, thank you so very, very much. どうもありがとうございます。

Friday, March 18, 2011

Down for the Count

Well. It seems my computer has decided to go kaput this week. The repair technician is telling me to brace for the worst and may need up to two weeks to fix it. Fortunately, I still have a my laptop so I can feel connected to the outside world. Creating art on it, however, is slow and laborious, so I won't be posting for a while.

In the meantime, please continue sending prayers and support to the disaster victims in Japan.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Illustration Friday - Warning

I had a dream about Andrew Finnie's enormous nuts. I tell you, it was as if after I saw them, they crawled into the recesses of my brain when I wasn't looking and hid in there like stowaways, secretly controlling my thoughts and actions. Would you like to see them? I warn you, though, his art will make you giddy and will leave an indelible mark of excitement and amazement on your very soul. And I promise, you will burn calories guffawing and howling at the hilarious stories that often accompany his pictures. Bonus. Ready to see? Then click here.

Okay, back to me. So in my dream, I was stolen away in my sleep by wee creatures that turned out to be, oddly enough, gigantic nuts. They dragged me to the forest and had me...well... my therapist told me to draw it since it's too painful to talk about. So here it is.

Now when I go to bed, I make sure I wear my giant red squirrel costume. Just in case.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Illustration Friday - Swarm

Hanging out with a swarm of ninjas can sure make you hungry. Who knew that ninjas love churros?


Anyway, I've been kind of lost in my own little world for the past several days. I'm eager to head out and see what joys you all have been up to lately. See you soon. Up up and away!

Swarm of the Light Brigade

Monday, February 21, 2011

Illustration Friday - Layer

Hiding under thorny layers.

Do you remember Ding Dongs?

In Canada, they are called King Dons. Not to be confused, however, with Don King.

Don King

Maybe you've had one recently, but I haven't eaten one in decades. I loved those things. I could hear a choir of angels whenever I spied the shimmery, silver wrapper at the bottom of my lunchbox. I'd gingerly peel back the silver, careful to keep it intact so that I could later smooth out the square of foil with the back of my fingernail. Then, I'd nibble off the thin layer of chocolate before finally biting into the chocolate cake with creamy white filling. Mmmmmmm.

It appears that whatever is hiding within the artichoke loves Ding Dongs, too.

Oh! Guess what we are having for dinner tonight? No, not Ding Dongs, silly. Artichokes! Yum!

Have a fantastic week!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Illustration Friday - Sweater

What must I do to capture your heart?

Gosh darnit. When your mother tells you to put on your sweater, you put on your sweater or all sorts of body parts can go missing.

When I was playing around with patterns for Gumby's pigment-challenged cousin, the first thing I selected was polka dots which immediately made me jump in my seat. He looks like a giant Band-Aid, doesn't he?

Happy Valentine's Day!
Now go hug someone.
And give me candy.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Illustration Friday - Reverse

In hindsight, Swifty was probably not the best name for his new friend. If they went any slower, he swore they'd be going in reverse.

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Illustration Friday - Surrender

Stop! Or I'll... woof!
(groan. Yes, haul me off to bad joke jail.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ces in a nutshell. Literally.

"Will you please draw me drawing an acorn?"

"Sure! Will you please draw me drawing you drawing an acorn?"

This is my dearest friend Ces, painter and illustrator extraordinaire. She is, by far, the most prolific creator of astounding trees and acorns and elephants and bald babies and slender women in stylish clothing that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Her passion is unbridled. Her wit and intelligence and playful mischief are explosive. It is impossible to fit such an enormous personality into one tiny little nutshell. But I tried anyway.

Ces asked me to draw her drawing an acorn, so I did. She is drawing an acorn on an acorn in an acorn. I agreed to draw her on the condition that she draw me drawing her. And so she did. To see her incredible and mind-blowing rendition, please click here.

Now for the real challenge. Is anyone willing to draw Ces drawing me drawing her drawing an acorn on an acorn in an acorn? Hmmmmmm?

Ces, Tsup!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Illustration Friday - Chicken

Walking on eggshells.

They are eggsperts.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Illustration Friday - Deja Vu


I've been working on a few portraits lately, and a couple of personal projects. Here's a doodle of the very sweet and talented Yoon See who has a heart of gold. She is always thoughtful and sends me adorable handmade surprises in the mail. Thank you, Yoon See!

Happy 2011!