Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tweet Cloud

Here's a happy little time waster. You can generate a tweet cloud that analyzes the words you use most in your tweets. Hmm, house and cleaning are figuring too prominently. I'll have to work on that this month.

You can generate your own Tweet Cloud

What word do you use the most in your tweets?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wed Letter Day

H is für den Herbst. Frauee, did I get the grammar correct? Herbst is Autumn in German. Yesterday, most of the leaves on the trees were still green. Today, lots of trees popped with color.  Watercolor pencil on mongrel paper from the scrap box.

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere have your trees turned color?

If you live in the Southern Hemisphere are there leaves on the trees?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Counting Blessings

This Summer The Eldest was to complete an internship as part of her biology degree requirement.  Nothing panned out. Before she left school for the Summer, she contacted her professor to tell her. The professor said it was a common problem and The Eldest could work on a research project  and write a paper. Except her professor went on sabbatical this Fall. No internship/paper, no graduate.  Fortunately, another professor was conducting a research project. She contacted him, and he took her on along with some other students. So God willin' and the crik don't rise, and the paper gets written, The Eldest will graduate this Spring.

Watercolor pencils, Ziller Glossy Black, Nikkon G nib, Pigma pen

What are you thankful for?

Monday, September 27, 2010


The rose bushes didn't do so hot this year. What the hail storm didn't destroy, the beetles did. I was thinking of digging the bush up. Roses are so fussy. No amount of dusting/soaping/spraying keeps the beetles and bugs away.The year we put out a beetle trap, we must have attracted every beetle from three counties. I was very surprised to find a rose and a rosebud on the bush. Clipped the rose and put it in a glass vase. This drawing done with watercolor pencils.

Any late roses blooming in your garden?

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Friday Five

Five things I did on Thursday.

1. Everyday we pass this corner and I keep saying I should take a picture for Laura. Laura, I couldn't find Sam St and Winchester Ave is on the other side of Webster Square.  So this will have to do. There's a frat house on the corner. The Young One pointed out the stone has his favorite dessert. The sigma should be changed to Gimmesome.

2. I drove West, 60.81 miles to Longmeadow to pick The Eldest up at college because she had an orthodontist appointment in

3. Westboro. 70.43 miles East. After her appointment, I drove her back to

4. Longmeadow. Yup, 70.43 miles West.

5. Was on my way home, happily listening to Real Oldies 1250 MHz on the am dial out of Ware (the radio station plays Do-Wop!) when I heard an email ping on Chip. Pulled into the McD's parking lot in Ludlow and saw The Young One needed a ride home early because chorus was cancelled. At the same time, Himself called to say he was leaving work, got the same email from the Young One, but I would get there sooner than he could so. Another 56.87 miles East before turning South 12.78 miles and home. A total of 5 hrs and 15 minutes in the car and 271.32 miles. I haven't spent that much time in the car or that many miles in one day since I was a Road Warrior.

Today, I'm having the car surgically removed from my butt.

What are you doing today?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wed Letter Day

More like Wed Letter. Spent Sat. afternoon in the sun room catching up.

Played with a few ideas. The V and U are traditional designs. The candle I usds the gold leafing pen flame as a resist. The S in the lower left doesn't show up well. It's a Copperplate S written with a candle which acts as a resist to the watercolor wash. The C was inspired from a Dover book of Art Nouveau initials. The idea for the Y came from friend, Bev. Doodling fun. Reminds me of playing cards.
I have enough letters to assemble another block.

Are you behind on any projects? Are you catching up?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Counting Blessings

Red invited me for tea. I haven't seen Red since June when we were in two places at once. We've talked over the summer, tried to get together, but between the new roof, caring for elderly folks, her vacation, and college prep, we were in a different space-time continuum.

Red had the table set with her fine china tea cups. There were bagels and flavored cream cheese (blueberry and honey walnut), zucchini bread and an assorted choice of tea: Earl Grey, Lady Grey, English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, as well as plain old Red Rose. Usually, I'd choose Early Grey, but decided I wanted a robust cup of tea so had the Irish Breakfast.

Was so good to catch up, share a cup of tea along with a heaping side of whine and cheeze. I'm blessed. What small blessing are you thankful for?

This page done with Ziller Glossy Black and a Nikko G nib, stickers, and string because I was too lazy to draw a teacup.

Monday, September 20, 2010


The school the Young One attends is a tech school, and the techies do love their acronyms. I was surprised to find acronyms had evaded her art class when she told me she had to work on her M.A.H.O.D. Make A Habit of Drawing. The instructor compared art to sports or music. Athletes and musicians practice every day to improve their skill. She told her students artists should do the same.

The instructor gave the students a list of things she wanted them to draw: a comic panel, tree, their foot, hands in various positions. I decided to play along too as I can use the practice, especially when it comes to drawing hands (I make mittens)

This exercise is an example of Ukiyo-e. Japanese wood block prints. The illustration was taken from Kendo master, Miyamoto Musashi's (c. 1584 - 1645) philosophical text and life's work, The Book of Five Rings.

My samurai looks tipsy. Perhaps, he's a master in the Drunken Master technique, a style comprised of unpredictable movements and surprise attacks. That's my story, and I'm sticking with it. Rent the movie The Legend of the Drunken Master starring Jackie Chan to see a master in action. Good movie.

If you're involved in an artistic or athletic pursuit, do you practice every day?

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Friday Five

Five things I like about this time of year.

1.  I love blue. It's my favorite color and the sky always seems to be an impossible shade of blue.

2. It's apple season. Apple pie. Mulled cider. When my girlies were little we had an annual trek to the local apple orchard. We'd spend an afternoon picking and eating tart, crisp apples in the orchard. Afterward, we'd get a handful of corn to feed the animals in the petting zoo. The Young One would patiently stand in line for a ride on Peanut Butter, a very patient and very large gelding. No little pony for the Young One.

3. It's jacket season. My jacket has inside and outside pockets so I don't have to carry a purse. I'm not big on pockabooks. Don't carry that much with me to warrant lugging around the steamer trunk my ma carries. Wallet, phone, keys fit nicely in my pockets.

4. There's still time to enjoy the sun room. And if it's a little chilly in the evening, the little space heater and my down throw are just right.

5. Samhain. Halloween, my favorite holiday is just around the corner.

What do you like about this time of year?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Counting Blessings

Several blogs I've stumbled across have all had the theme of counting your blessings. Not just the big ones of family, home, etc. but the small things that happen along the way. The little things that don't necessarily add up to fortune and fame. It's easy to forget the little percs while gazing over the fence at the neighbor's lush, green lawn.I don't need my muse to hit me upside the head twice.

The small Strathmore Visual Journal will make the perfect canvas. The pages have been painted with splashes of color so I can flip through the book to find the perfect page to go with each blessing. The paper is delicious to work on and 120 colored pencils, I've done died and gone to heaven.

This is the title page. Ziller Glossy Black with a Nikko G nib, Prismacolor colored pencils, Pigma pen.

What small blessing are you thankful for?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wed Letter Day

I'm really behind on this project. One down and five letters to go to catch up.  This done on Canson Mi Tientes (I think) with Schminke Gold watercolor.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Product Review - SnapIt Screen Capture

I've been asked by Digeus Software to give a product review of their screen capture software, SnapIt for Windows

At first my thought was why do I need special software to do this? All I have to do is push the Print Screen button on my keyboard. The image is copied to the clipboard and then I can import the image to Word or crop the image in a photo editing program (Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, etc.). Most of the time, I edit the image first because the image is huge and I just want a small section of what is on the screen. (An error message I can send to Tech Support)

What's so special about SnapIt? I don't have to go through the image editing step! After clicking the Print Screen button on the keyboard, SnapIt allows me to select only the portion of the screen I want to copy. And with a right-click on the SnapIt camera icon in the toolbar, I can automatically save as a Jpg, Png, Gif, or Bmp format. I can set a properties feature in the program to always save the screen capture as a specified image format (i.e. Jpg) and in a specified folder (i.e. My Pictures) This is a very nice time saver. I copied the SnapIt image using the program.

Digeus Software allows the user a 14 day trial of the program before making a purchase. I always appreciate when a company allows a full working version of the program to be used before I make a purchase. SnapIt was easy to install, and easy to use. The how to use instructions were clearly written on the product description screen.

If you do a lot of screen capturing, I'd highly recommend this program. The program has been marked down from $25.00 to $17.99. The price includes a lifetime license, lifetime technical support and free upgrades. That's a real bargain.

In exchange for my review, Digeus has given me a free copy of the program.

And Digeus is offering readers of this blog a chance for a free giveaway too:

All you have to do is create a review in any blog/forum/twitter/facebook, etc, and contact Julia at Digeus with the link to your review. Tell her you saw the offer here , she will issue you a reg code and name for the program license. How cool is that?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Open House

Friday night the Worcester Art Museum held the annual Fall Open House. It's a chance for prospective students to meet the faculty, watch demonstrations, nosh on light refreshments, and sign up for classes.

I worked on a couple of exemplars (this is the better of the 2 I did). Done with walnut ink, a Speedball C-1 nib (what beginning students in class will use) and for fun, I dropped in some Schminke Gold watercolor.  The scan doesn't show  the shine of the gold very well. Looks awesome, if I do say so myself.

I had fun chatting to people while I worked. Makes me laugh when I hear "Oh, I couldn't do calligraphy."  "I'm left-handed so if I can do this, you'll have no problem." LOL

During the lull, I ran up to the lobby to chat and check out the new Strathmore Visual Journal, Andy Fish and his fiancee, Veronica were demonstrating. Was fun looking at Andy's illustrations. The journals are wire bound so they lie flat when opened. The paper is 90 lb vellum. and the journals come in a range of sizes.

C. C. Lowell kindly supplied the faculty with a goody bag of art supplies and a small (3.5" x 5") Strathmore Visual Journal was included. I have an idea for a small journal so spent the weekend happily preparing pages so when the urge to journal happens, I'll be ready to go. The paper is really nice. Takes wet media well and doesn't buckle.

If you're interested in keeping an art journal, but not sure where to begin or want to learn different techniques, Strathmore is offering a series of FREE online workshops! Visual Journal Online Workshop Series Check it out!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Friday Five

Labor Day has come and gone marking the end of Summer. Five things I don't like about this time of year.

1. No more hot and humid days. I was in 7th heaven with the 7th hottest summer on record.

2. No more slow paced lazy days.

3. No more wearing fugly shoes without socks or going barefoot. (Though I don't really like going barefoot.)

4. Ragweed and Goldenrod become the bane of my existence at this time of year.

5. Ink and I are going to miss hanging out in the sun room, making art, watching tv, eating, and napping in our favorite chairs. Only another month or so left to living in the sun room. Soon, I'll be pressing my nose to the glass slider  looking into the sun room and making whimpering noises until April.

Anybody want to add to my list?

Next week: Five things I like about this time of year.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Another day of dealing with an unresponsive and slow computer. How's your day going?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Today marks the official back to me day. Lately, I've felt like I've either found a rope or I lost my horse as the old saying goes.Today, I have the house to myself as everyone else is at school, and I  can get back to my own routines. For some reason, I can't seem to get things done when the family is around. I've put my desktop to do widgets back in place to help me juggle home, work, and my elderly parents' schedule. Somewhere in there, I need to find time to get back to walking on the treadmill, but right now that's at the end of the daisy chain.

With the Do List in place, I've already crossed 4 things off. How do you keep yourself organized?  Do you use lists to prioritize your schedule? Do you feel insufferably pleased with yourself when you cross items off the list?

Monday, September 6, 2010


When I come across a quote or poem that moves or amuses me, I jot it down in an old composition notebook. Sometimes, I make notes with the quote about a design element I'd like to use.

Do you write your ideas down?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hurricane Warning

It's been a hectic week so I haven't listened to the news or paid too much attention to the weather. Last weekend, there was talk of hurricane Earl. According to the weather dudes, a huge high bubble was in place that would act as a cushion and push Earl far out to sea. The only effect Earl would have on New England beaches would be high swells.

Apparently last night, the governor activated MEMA the state emergency management agency. Earl is coming up the East coast and will pass 30 miles east of Nantucket as a category 2 hurricane with sustained winds around 100 miles per hour and heavy rains.

What happened to heavy swells? Heavy rains means we'll be manning the pumps in the basement. Heavy rains and winds means the potential for losing electricity which means the basement floods. (On the other hand that would provide the impetus for cleaning out the basement.)

So Weather Dudes, the constant weather updates announcing how close Earl will pass to the Cape and the Islands, how high the surf will be, and how heavy the rains. Is this for real? Or is this a ploy to get people to panic to run out for bread and milk? Do ya'll get a kick back from the grocery stores? (-;

Ma's birthday is today. I was going to stop at the store to pick up a bunch of flowers, a little cake, and lunch items. I hate going to the grocery store to begin with. So today, I'll have to fight my way to the deli counter and hope I can find a pound of bologna?

Guess I should tell Himself to pick up another shop vac as I burned out the big shop vac during the last Nor'easter in March. Bread and milk is the least of my worries.

Do you think the weather hype is necessary or is it a ploy to turn us into Chicken Littles and wipe out the grocery shelves of bread and milk? Oooh, reminds me will have to pick up storm provisions: chips, cookies, M&Ms, Hershey Kisses...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Toy

I decided to update Corel's Paint Shop Pro X2 to X3. This program is what I call a poor man's version of Photoshop. For me PSP is more intuitive and at 1/6th the price, a bargain. Bundle it with Video Studio Pro X3 and it was too good to let go. Corel was also offering a program called Paint It! Takes photographs and instantly transforms them into paintings. You select your photograph, a drawing/painting style: watercolor, pen & ink, pastels (and a bunch more), click start and watch the program transform your photograph. For an extra $10 bucks and free shipping, I had to go to the dark side. Some women lust after shoes, for me it's software, electronics, DVDs...

I used one of the sample photos that came with Windows 7 and applied the pastel style. Ta da! I could even use a pen feature to sign my work. Too fun! Looks like it will be a happy little time waster.

What new toys have you purchased lately?