Monday, November 30, 2009

Letter Play

Time to crank up the production of the annual Christmas card. The illustration is done. I wanted a playful lettering style to letter the sentiment. I started playing around with these round, spiral shapes. I was using a lovely, walnut ink to play with because it happened to be in the inkwell on the drafting table. The swirly brown reminded me of my friend, Lambie's, delicious cinnamon buns. So, that's what I called this lettering. Cinnamon Bun.I won't use the walnut ink for the card. Will debate between black or blue ink.

I've also been deciding on how to color the cards. I'm leaning towards the watercolor pencil as that showed up fairly true to color on the scan. I'll add a touch of hand coloring after I print the cards.

That's what I'm working on. What's on your drafting table or to do list?

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Friday Five

I have a project coming up in a few weeks. I'll be required to write on various materials. I have no idea what I'll be given. I've been running around the house finding different things to write on. Feels a bit naughty. Five things I've been practicing writing on:

1a. Glass. As expected feels like ice. Must make sure not to overload the pen and use a very light touch.
1b. Glass with a satin finish. Mmmm, very nice.
2. Wood. Treated worked fine. Untreated feathered and bled. May have to resort to a Sharpie marker and monoline on untreated wood.

3. Metal. Yup, like glass

4. Rubber like plastic. Had a nice tooth without causing the pen to catch

5. Leather, faux leather. Nice to work on.

The writing was done using Dr. P.H. Martin's Spectralite Gold, Silver and Ziller Glossy Black and a Nikko G nib. The gold ink was old and blobbed more than giving happy results. I've ordered a new bottle along with some other pens that may be more suitable to writing on surfaces that are too slick or will feather and bleed.

The most unusual item I've written on has been sand dollars. Very delicate items. Have you written on any unusual items?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

"Nick, would you say the blessing, please?"
"Yes, Mother. Good food, good meat, good God, let's eat."
"Oh yeah. Sorry. Amen."
Thank you all for stopping by and leaving comments. Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Last Name Game

This was a meme that was passed to me by a friend. It's not as easy as it looks. You're supposed to pass it on to 10 friends, but that's the hardest part of the game.

Rules: Use the First letter of your Last name to answer each of the following questions. They have to be real places, names, or things. Nothing made up! Try to use different answers is your last initial is the same as mine. You can't use your name for the boy/girl question.

1. Last Name: Kennedy
2. 4 letter word: kite
3. Boy's name: Kevin
4. Girl's name: Kathleen
5. Occupation: Kindergarten teacher
6. Color: Kelly Green
7. Something you wear: kilt
8. A beverage: Kalte Ente (Cold Duck, a German punch made with Moselle wine and champagne)
9. A food: Kielbasa (Polish sausage)
10. Something found in the bathroom: Keri Lotion
11. A place: Kansas
12. A reason for being late: Kidnapped
Want to play?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ann!

Red hair, tiny braid, free spirit, TX, calligraphed shoes and a chocolate oatmeal breakfast cookie recipe. "Hey! If it has oatmeal in it, it must be healthy."

May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest." Hamlet, Act V, Scene II

Monday, November 23, 2009

What's In A Name?

In trying to reinvent myself and expand what I do, I needed a new title to put on my business card. Calligrapher - Lettering Artist wouldn't cover the expansion into web design and computer graphics.

Princess Grace of Monaco had a cool title. She was to be addressed as Her Serene Highness. Very classy and very fitting for the former Grace Kelley. I don't think I could get people to address me as such.

Another title I always liked was Charge (accent acute) d'affaires, the person in charge of an embassy or consulate when the ambassador is not there. Though I'm in charge of lots of things, a diplomatic mission is not one of them.

During the marketing study, one of the teams came up with Interactive Graphic Media Specialist. Coming from a computer background and having a fondness for acronyms this one really appealed to me. Interactive Graphic Media Specialist. I.M.G.S. Images. Pretty neat. A friend recently asked if it stood for "I Make Good Stuff." That works too!

What's your title? If you could pick a title for yourself, what would it be?

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Friday Five

While at the dentist's office yesterday, the hygienist and I made small talk about the Thanksgiving holiday. She's baking 9 pies for her holiday table. We both agreed turkey is meh, but pie makes the celebration. My five favorite pies are:

1. Cherry, with the lattice crust and bright, red, cherries peeking through so pretty.

2. Apple, a can't go wrong classic especially with a side of vanilla ice cream.

3. Pecan Pie and a dollop of whipped cream

4. Lemon Meringue piled high with fluffy meringue

5. I couldn't decide so a tie between Blueberry and Coconut Custard.

What's your favorite pie?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Oh Fudge!

As part of her 3 Ingredient Thursday, Erica at On The Write Path, has posted a recipe I had given her, Raspberry Fudge. The recipe was given to me by a colleague from NC, but I've also seen the recipe in cookbooks and also at the Eagle Brand site.

I made batches of this fudge for a school fund raiser. The Raspberry Fudge was hugely popular. I earned an hour towards a 30 hr. (mandatory) volunteer commitment for each batch of fudge. The recipe is ridunculously easy to make, and I guarded this recipe so I could have a monopoly on the fudge table an easily wrack up my hours!

The beauty of this fudge recipe is there are so many variations. You are only limited by your imagination, and you don't have to stick to the 3 ingredient rule.

The Basic Recipe

2 bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips (you may also use milk chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips whichever you prefer)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk. Evaporated milk yields unhappy results)
2 T. flavoring. (You may want to use 1 T. vanilla and 1 T. other flavoring. The Eagle brand site uses a lot less flavoring usually 1 1/2 tsp. You may want to adjust the flavoring to suit your taste.)
Nuts (optional: walnut, pecan, hazelnut, peanut, etc.)

This recipe uses the microwave to melt the chocolate. Microwave intensity varies so you may have to adjust the time to suit your microwave.

1. Spray an 8 x 8" pan with cooking spray and set aside

2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the two bags of chocolate chips and the sweetened condensed milk for 1 minute.

2. Stir.

3. Melt for 1 minute more until thoroughly melted.

4. Add flavoring (and nuts, if desired.)

5. Spread in the prepared pan. Chill until set.

6. Bring to room temperature to cut. Cut into 1" x 1" pieces. Enjoy!

7. Refrigerate leftovers if there are any.


Raspberry Fudge
2 bags raspberry chocolate chips (these are sometimes difficult to find, but make all the difference)
2 T. raspberry extract or raspberry syrup
(optional: 1 cup walnuts for Raspberry Walnut Fudge)

Mint Chocolate
2 bags of mint chocolate chips
2 T. mint extract (I'm not a huge mint fan. If this is too minty, you can use 1 T. vanilla extract and 1 T. mint extract)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T. vanilla extract
1 c. peanut butter flavored chips

Grand Marnier Fudge
2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T. orange extract (or if not serving to children, 2 T. of Grand Marnier liqueur)

Heath Fudge
2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T. vanilla extract
1 c. crushed Heath bar candy or brickle chips

Rocky Road Fudge
2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T. vanilla extract
1/2 c. nuts
1/2 c. mini-marshmallows

Chocolate Almond Fudge
2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T. almond extract
(1 cup almonds)

Chocolate Cherry Fudge
2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T. vanilla extract
1 c. chopped candied cherry

Chunky Fudge
2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T. vanilla extract
1/2 c. chopped peanuts
1/2 c. raisins

M & M Fudge
2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T. vanilla extract
1 c. mini-M&M candies

Candy Bar Fudge
2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T. vanilla extract
1 c. favorite candy bar chopped (Milky Way, Snickers, Mounds)

Whew! That's enough fudge to make your dentist happy!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Friday Five

This week was filled with news, some good, some not so good. Five new things that happened this week:

1. I found some new software for creating blog templates and webpages. I just love new toys so I downloaded the trial software and played.

2. I bought the software and played for real

3. I gave my blog a make-over

4. The Young One invited me to play a new game with her on Facebook. Fishville. This morning, a whole bunch of my fish, which were perfectly fine last night before I shutdown and said they didn't need to be fed for 20 hrs, were floating belly up when I looked in on them this morning while having my first cup of tea. I'm a very poor fish farmer though it was nice to be asked to play.

5. The Eldest received news she was granted a fellowship to go on a trip to Rome in the Spring with her school. The fellowship will cover half of the cost of the trip. She'll just have to come up with money for meals, spending, and some new wardrobe items.

What's new with you this week?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


The Charlestown Navy Yard is home to the Navy's oldest commissioned warship, The USS Constitution. "Old Ironsides" is a living history museum and one of the stops on Boston's Freedom Trail, a 2 1/2 mile stretch of historical locations in Boston (like Paul Revere's house, the Old North Church).
This summer my family and I and a friend from Iowa spent a day in Boston walking the Freedom Trail and standing and waiting for hours in the hot July sun to tour the USS Constitution. It was an honor to be allowed to stand on her deck, to go below to see how our 18th c. sailors lived. It was a privilege to hear the sailor guides serving on the Constitution tell the history of their ship. These young people showed so much pride to duty and honor.

In a recent news story (see clip), seems some residents in Charlestown that live in condos across from the frigate are upset. As usual on a military installation, the colors (i.e. the flag of the US) are raised in the morning and lowered at sundown. The officers of "Old Ironsides" perform this time honored ritual. The ship's cannons are fired in salute and the National anthem is played. That's what has some of the residents up in arms, the firing of the cannon and the playing of the National anthem.

The Constitution has been berthed at this site since the 1790's, a lot longer than the condos have been there. Sure, the cannon fire must be deafening, but what did these people expect moving next door to a military installation? Posting and retiring the colors is an integral part of any military base. It's tradition. It's patriotic. The ceremony honors our country, our service men and women (past, present, and future), and our freedom.

In July 2010, the Constitution will be turned around on her annual Fourth of July voyage. The cannon will be facing out in the harbor (Though the following year the ship will be turned again and her cannon will be facing the same direction now). The Navy is looking into using less gun powder, but I'm pretty sure they won't give up their tradition entirely. Nor should they in my opinion.

What do you think? Should the Navy cease and desist or should residents who don't like living next to a historical Naval base move?

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Friday Five

I'm a minimalist when it comes to carrying purses (pockabooks in Bostonian). I like small almost tiny bags. My favorite is this saddlebag which attaches to a belt or belt loop. I don't always carry a purse, usually stuffing the things I need in my jacket pockets. I always get jackets with inside pockets. Five things I carry with me:

1. My phone. If I'm away from home longer than an hour, I transfer home calls to the cell phone.

2. Wallet. A very thin wallet.

3. Business card case. A very easy marketing tool to haul around.

4. Pack of tissues. I'm a mom it's a habit.

5. Eye drops for allergy eyes.

What do you carry in your purse or pockets?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Prep Work

It's that time of year again. The annual race to get the Christmas cards finished and mailed before the holiday.

I'll spend today doing the prep work before the actual card is made. Today, I'll decide what size the card will be. Do I want a large card made by folding a standard sheet of paper in half? Do I want a smaller card made by folding a standard sheet in quarters? If I go with a smaller card (4 1/4" x 5 1/2") I can get two cards out of one sheet of paper. If I cut the sheet to the size of a business size envelope (#10), I can get 3 cards out of one sheet of paper. With the price of postage, I can save stamp money if I cut the sheet in quarters and mail four postcards instead of a card with an envelope. I'm opting for the post cards.

I had cut a piece of cardstock (heavy weight) paper to size and brought it to the post office to check on size. Was told it could go as a postcard.

Another paper decision to be made is the color. I've had the illustration and greeting rolling around in my head since last year. Trying to decide whether to print the cards on a dark blue paper with white ink or go with white paper, black illustration and hand color. I'm leaning toward the dark blue just to be different.

I tried digitally drawing my illustration, but when printed out it printed white on a black square. Not pretty. I'll draw the illustration in white ink, scan it in and see how it prints on dark paper. If it looks ugly, I have the reliable standby of a black illustration on white paper with touches of hand color. And then there's always store bought, boxed cards to send.

What's on your drawing board today?

Monday, November 2, 2009

All About Me

This meme came from Facebook.

If you are reading this, whether we do or don't speak often, please post a comment of the first memory of you and me that pops into your head. When you've finished, post this paragraph on your own status; You will be surprised what people remember about you!