Showing posts from 2015

100 Peace For Paris Buttons

When I saw Jean Jullien's eloquent, artistic response to what happened in Paris on November 13, I immediately wanted to share the image with everyone I knew. I put it on Facebook and Instagram, but that wasn't enough of a reach for me. Then I remembered the old button maker I had stashed in storage.

As I've pared away possessions that I have little use or space for, I've considered getting rid of it countless times. It's silly. It's a toy. I rarely use it for anything. It's never made me a dime. And frankly, it's a little embarrassing to own such a thing. On the other hand, it doesn't take up much space, every so often it's really quite useful, and honestly, at this point, embarrassment is not something I shy away from.

I ordered a box of button parts and waited a few days for them to arrive. My master plan was/is to make 100 buttons with this beautiful bit of art, and give them away. That's it. I've seen them online already, being sold…

Where Women Really Create

I was wandering through one of the Very Large Corporate Bookstores the other day, because I needed something to do for an hour, and because they happen to have a really wonderful magazine section. I hardly ever get to the actual books when I go there. There are too many. I get confused. I went in for a new notebook (I bought four), and I spent some time with the fancy magazines too. I like to flip through the expensive $15 "collectible" Somerset publications from Stampington and Company, like Artful Blogger, Willow and Sage, and Where Women Cook. They're more like books than magazines, and I usually find them beautiful and inspiring, and worth a visit to that particular store.

Are you sensing a But here? Yes. But, when I picked up a copy of Where Women Create, instead of feeling inspired and happy, I felt... really pissed off. Page after glowing page showed happy, prolifically creative women, with perfect hair and makeup, in their perfectly chaotic sanctuaries of art, as…

I Finally Wrote a Book

I've been saying it for years - I'm going to write a book. I've started and stalled many times, but I always knew I'd get one done eventually. Now I've done it! OK, technically I sort of drew a book rather than wrote a book. But there are words in it too. Two full pages! And the back cover! And a couple of well thought out paragraphs. Yes indeed, I wrote a book. With pictures. And here it is!

That's right - it's a coloring book! And it's beautiful! And it gets even more beautiful when you color it! Inside are 19 of my hand drawn mandalas, a page of bookmarks, and even a draw-your-own-mandala in the back. I had it printed single-side, so the pages can be removed from the book and framed once you've added your coloring magic to them.

Coloring is hot right now, especially for adults. It takes zero art skill, it's portable, fun, relaxing, even meditative, and all you need is a handful of colored pencils or markers. You can order the Mostly Mandalas …

One Year in Portland

It's official. We've been here in Portland for a year already. Our "date" with PDX (as the cool people refer to it) sees us walked safely back to our doorstep, and... signing another 13 month lease. It's still to be determined whether or not we marry Portland, but we do like her an awful lot. Living downtown suits us right now, and we haven't found another part of town we'd rather live in. We don't love the idea of our rent going up, up, up every year, which we hadn't really thought about when we started this. So if we stay, I suppose at some point we might want to buy again. But we like apartment life. It's so easy compared to all the maintenance we used to do on our adobe acre in Taos. We don't miss it. Not one bit. And aside from a few friends we'd love to see, there's nothing in New Mexico to lure us back. A year here seems to have made that pretty clear.

So what do we love about Portland? It's a long and growing list. Our …

Ready, Set, Color!

Is it wrong to use my own blog for shameless self promotion? Well, gee... I don't think so. What I do and make and present to the world is part of what makes my life my life. Separate business from not-business? Impossible in my world. And that's a good thing, because it means I'm making a life by doing things I love to do. I wish that for everyone I know, although most people don't even know it's possible.

With the help of SendOwl, I've sorted out how to put my drawings in PDF format, post them on my website, and have them instantly delivered to buyers all over the world, who then print them and color them. The technology is wonderful.

The first five Mandalas to color are listed on my website now. The plan is to leave them there for a week, then bump them down the page next week and add a few more. The following week, the first five will go away and make room for the next batch. Essentially, all of them will be up for a limited time of about two weeks. This wa…

Making Mandalas

I've been somewhat obsessively drawing mandalas lately. Thinking of myself as someone who doesn't draw, it surprises me to suddenly have a growing stash of fancy sketch books and pens. I take them along with me everywhere I go, and in any free moment, with Rick or a cappuccino or a glass of wine for company, I pull out my book and pen and start drawing in circles.

I have dozens of them already, and told myself at first to wait to see what they want to do until I have at least thirty of them. As I passed that number, and just kept going, the idea came to me to offer them as coloring pages, so that's what I'm about to do.
Have you noticed that coloring books for grown-ups are hot these days? I have no interest in a project like putting together a book. I'm more into draw, share, draw, share. That's enough. Besides, I'm kind of late to the adult coloring book party. There's a growing number of them out there, and what I like about that is that it confirms …

Ditching The Dye

I've been coloring my hair for years. Everyone does, right? It's what we've been taught we're supposed to do as soon as the first rogue grays become too many to pluck without creating a bald patch. My mother bleached her dark brown hair from the time I was a little girl. Her mother was my "crazy red-haired granny" until she died in her 80's. And my father's mother, who had unfortunate, wispy locks and lost a lot of hair as she aged, opted for a terrible brown wig that didn't suit her at all. Hair color seemed natural to me. Just something we do when we grow up.

I actually started dabbling in recreational color as a teenager. I went glowingly henna-red off and on, but I think henna is kind of a gateway hair color, that often leads to the harder stuff. The mess of plastering smelly green mud on one's head can become more trouble than it's worth. It did for me, and I eventually graduated to semi-permanent color from a box, to "brighten&q…

Why I Love (And Hate) My Fitbit

I got a Fitbit in January. Not because it was January and I was making all kinds of crazy resolutions, but because my kids were telling me how much they liked theirs. (What is a Fitbit? Basically it's a fancy, high-tech pedometer. Google it. I had to.) At first I thought, nah, I'm fine thanks. I walk all over Portland and I'm sure what I do is more than enough. Then I remembered that I've been gaining a bit of weight over the last few months, and well, maybe a little extra incentive to move my bones would be a good thing.

What convinced me to take the plunge was the social aspect of Fitbit. Friends can tag friends in chummy challenges, either to simply make your own personal step goal, or to compete for top stepper. I don't like gritty competition, but I do find that I'm more likely to make my own personal goal if someone else is paying attention. That part is working for me.

I've had my Fitbit for just over 2 weeks, and it really is getting me to move mor…


I was talking to my daughter, Lauren, the other day about clothes, and mentioned that I hate (and almost never wear) pants. What I really meant was I see no reason to wear clothes that hurt me. I didn't even remember at the time that when she was little, Miss Lauren absolutely refused to wear pants of any kind, no matter what the weather. She was all about dresses, soft, comfy dresses that moved with her, felt cool in the summer, and worked just fine with the addition of tights in the winter. That's exactly how I dress now, while the jeans lie folded in the closet.

It's about making my world softer, and I'm noticing that I'm doing it more and more, in other areas of my life too. Our home is filled with comfortable, soft furniture, tossed with pillows and draped with cuddly blankets. Cloth napkins often replace paper ones. A simple bowl of good food, held in my hand, is my favorite way to eat. A cup of tea is a near-constant companion. And classical music drifts fro…

Tribute to a Terrible Dog

Our dear old Lucy has died at the age of almost 13. Some of you have read and consoled and advised over the years as I bemoaned the difficulties of sharing life with a dog who loved us always, but was for the most part, socially unacceptable. Lucy was, by most standards, a terrible dog.

She didn't like most people. Especially little kids. And men. And most women. She liked us, Rick and me, and our big kids, and a few select insiders who somehow managed to connect with her in a way the rest who tried, and many did, could never find the key to. She was exasperating or affectionate, snarky or snuggly, wild or companionable, depending on her mood and who she was with. 
My relationship with Lucy was one of the most challenging of my life. But I learned a lot from her. Some would say you never know what you're getting with a shelter dog, but there are no guarantees no matter where our pets find us. I know of plenty of pure bred dogs who have been even more difficult that Lucy was. I …