Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wed Letter Day

Hard to believe this is the 26th week of this project. 26 letters down. 26 to go. Watercolor pencil, Schiminke gold watercolor and pigma pen.

Where are you in your current project?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Offhand Flourishing

An attempt at offhand flourishing. Offhand flourishing was how master penmen amused and one-upped each other. They would show off their skill. No planning ahead of time. No rough pencil. Just pen and ink, a wave of their hand and from their pens would fall graceful birds and swans with lavish and delicate swirls.

My bird was copied from a bird flourished by master penman, L.H. Hausam found in the penman archives of I penciled my drawing before I inked using ultramarine gouache and a Gillotte 1068A nib. I need to loosen up and need work on shading, but I'm pleased with my attempt. So pleased I'm using this drawing in my sidebar to my Twitter account.

If you have some time, scroll through the penman archives. Some of the offhand flourishing is quite intricate.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Wed Letter Day

Catching up. From the WPI schwag The Young One got from the Great Beginnings seminar. The school colors are crimson and grey. Cardinal Red Ziller ink on suminigashi paper (a scrap of Arches text wove)

What are you working on today?

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Friday Five

Yesterday's Tweet Cloud reminded me how much I love words and reading. I love to read. On Saturdays, my dad would take me to the Children's library to wait while my brother took accordion lessons. Five things I read and re-read as a kid.

1. The dictionary. We had a giant tome of a dictionary. It was so heavy, I could barely lift it. I loved lying on the floor in the attic (later my dad's office) and randomly reading pages.

2. Encyclopedia. We had The Golden Book Encyclopedia, Funk and Wagnall's, and The Children's Illustrated Encyclopedia of General Knowledge. Always some entertaining article to read.

When I was 11 or 12, I discovered the adult library. I loved to wander through the stacks breathing in the scent of the old books.

3. The Saint, series by Leslie Charteris. A modern Robin Hood sort of story. He robbed from the rich and gave to himself while giving Scotland Yard a run for their money. Loved watching Roger Moore in the television show so had to read the books.

4. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy an English aristocrat uses a secret identity to rescue French aristocrats during the French Revolution.

5. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. (Can't help it just couldn't get enough of the swashbuckles) A young man accused of a crime he didn't commit embarks on a journey for revenge.

What books did you read when you were a kid? What are you reading now? I'm reading Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon and Tuck by Stephen Lawhead

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tweet Cloud

I found a fun Twitter app that generates a list of your most used words from your tweets. It's called Tweet Cloud. You can generate a list by day, week, month, 3 months, 6 months or a year. Here's my list for this week.

Do you tweet? You can make your own Tweet Cloud here.  What word did you use most often?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wed Letter Day

For a change up, white on black. Ziller Winter White on black Canson Mi Tientes.

Where are you on the daisy chain?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Andy Fish over at Fishwrap has posted a page from his upcoming graphic novel, Dracula. Andy's post reminded me of something that happened shortly after I was married.

During the late 70's, the vampire myth enjoyed a resurgence in pop culture with a remake of Dracula starring Frank Langella. Stephen King's novel Salem's Lot spun off a made for tv movie. I had seen both movies and thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Flash forward to the mid-80's. When I glanced through the TV Guide (yes, we actually had a small book to look through to choose our viewing pleasures back in the olden days) and saw Nosferatu was going to be on. I couldn't resist. I was home alone one night as Himself was teaching. Had nothing better to do, so I settled in. I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast the Hollywood version with this different looking version of the myth. (I love horror films. Not the gratuitous slasher junk of today's features. But thrillers. The movies that give you the heebie-jeebies because you don't really see any gore or violence, but fill in the details from your own overactive, fertile imagination. I digress..)

In a dream, I told Nosferatu I thought he was incredibly ugly. I told him though Bela Lugosi as Dracula was charming and elegant, Frank Langella as Dracula was stunningly handsome. As you can imagine, Nosferatu took exception to my audacity and as dreams sometimes deteriorate into nightmares, Nosferatu began to chase me. My arms were pumping like steam engine pistons, and my chubby little legs were churning up the ground as fast as I could go. I glanced over my shoulder and could see Nosferatu gaining on me. I turned and ran full steam. Nosferatu reached his bony hand with its horrendously long fingernails and grazed my thigh. I squeezed my eyes shut and let out a high-pitched, blood curdling scream.

Then there was laughter. Gales and guffaws of someone busting a gut a with laughter. My legs were still churning. I was breathing heavily. Great gasps as I tried to fill my aching lungs with oxygen. My mouth, a gaping maw. I felt the blood pounding through my ears in time to my heart pounding in my chest. I felt my eyes, huge and round ballooning out of their sockets. I came to a dead stop on top of the bed. Himself sat on the edge of the bed. He was the source of the laughter.

"Ha.." he tried to speak, but words failed him as he was laughing so hard. "Ha, that..that the funniest thing I've ever seen. You were dancing on the bed!" Another wave of laughter shook him.

At first, I was a little put out. To think my husband who was supposed to be my protector, my shield, my knight in shining armor was an unsympathetic clod! But no matter how fetching one looks standing in the middle of the bed and wearing a pale blue, Christian Dior nightshirt, the reality is one looks ridiculous running in place on the bed. And never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut. I sat on the bed and laughed with Himself.

I still think Nosferatu is one fugly dude. I'd take Bela Lugosi's charm and Frank Langella's dark looks any day and twice on Sunday over Nosferatu. I'd even gravitate towards the sparkly vampires of Twilight though I could do without the teen angst. On another tangent, I'm grateful that Stephenie Myer's vampire romance caught the imagination of The Young One. The Young One is not much of a reader. She burned through the pages of the series and is reading the entire series again.

Do horror movies make you dance on the bed?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Wed Letter Day

Before calligraphy took over, I used to cross-stitch, needlepoint, and a bit of crewel work. Thought it might be fun to include a needlework letter. Found the pattern at Tiny Bird Organics Colors were changed as I didn't have the suggested colors. Stitched on 14 count Aida using DMC Floss.

The pattern worked up quickly, in an hour and a half. I had forgotten how relaxing needlework could be. I used to stitch lots of gifts and for a time, stitched up samples for a woman who owned a needle shop in town. I'd get to choose the pattern and she'd supply the materials. Might have to dig out some of the old pattern books and work another small project. Have you gone back to an old past time?

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Friday Five

The other night I went to the sink to get a cup of water to nuke for tea. Except the portable dishwasher was connected to the sink so I had to get my water from the bathroom. Five things I believed as a kid:

1. Since the bathroom sink and the toilet were on the same wall, I was convinced the sink drew the water from the toilet. To this day, I don't like getting a glass of water to drink from the bathroom.

2. Having attended parochial school, the nuns and their mysterious lives were a good source of fascination. The nuns still wore a wimple and veil when I was in grade school. We were convinced they were bald.

3. The nuns also wore floor length habits. This was because they had no feet. They just seemed to glide across the floor. Though they fairly flew if they were coming at you with a ruler.

4. I thought I would be dead by the time I was 30. 30 just seemed so old.

5. When I was 5, I was convinced an alligator lived under my bed. I wouldn't sleep with my arm hanging over the side or I'd be grabbed and pulled underneath the bed. This also meant I couldn't walk into the room if the light wasn't on. I'd have to run down the hall and take a leap for the bed from the doorway. This would cause my bed to bash into the wall. Then my dad would yell, "What the hell are you doing?!"

What were some of the things you believed when you were a kid?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Knot Working

I'm knot working. That is, I'm trying to weave Celtic knots. This is a 4 x 4 King Solomon's knot made up of 4 strands. This one actually turned out. Usually I get lost in the weave and have problems with left/right. Looks a little like a quilt square. I can barely sew on buttons so this will be as close to quilting as I can get.

Have you worked at something that isn't your strength?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Amazing Feat

On our walk along the Blackstone Valley bike path, we were able to be in two places at the same time. (Psss, it's pronounced Wistah)

How's that for an amazing feat? (-;

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Friday Five

This week I had a routine dental check-up. Got me thinking how different dental visits are now. When I was a kid:

1. The dentist had only one operatory/exam room. It was tiled a lovely shade of puke green.

2. You sat in a barber chair and had to spit into a small, white porcelain sink. It was gross! Mr. Thirsty was unheard of. ( I always feel dorky with Mr. Thirsty hanging out of my mouth.)

3. The dentist didn't use Novocaine or any kind of pain killer to fill a cavity. Just used the drill powered by his foot like the treadle on a sewing machine. As I recall, it didn't hurt much either. Maybe we were tougher back then.

4. The dentist didn't have a technician to help him out. He had to get his own tools and prepare the fillings himself.

5. As a special treat after getting a silver filling. I'd be given the left over mercury to play with. Yup, he'd pour the tiny BB size  mercury into my hand and I'd roll it around. Then he'd give me a cigar box so I could take it home. I'd tilt the box till the bead smashed into a wall and scattered into tiny balls. Then I'd tilt the box and collect all the little balls into one bead. Who knew it was toxic?!

Has going to the dentist changed much since you were a kid?

Monday, June 7, 2010


I finally got the invites for the Young One's graduation party finished. Found the poem To A Red Kite by Lilian Moore. Wrote that out using the old Palm Pilot alphabet called Graffiti. Wanted a playful look to the invitation. Scanned in the calligraphy and turned the cards around using Publisher. The cards were printed on a white linen finish paper I had hanging around. The cards are a French fold, that is a standard sheet of paper folded into quarters. The outside of the card was embellished with string and a scrap of red paste paper to make the kite. Some small butterfly stickers were used for the kite tail. The kite theme was carried through for her name on the inside of the invitation.

Names on the envelopes were written out with a red kite, too. (Just in case you're wondering, red is The Young One's favorite color). I was hoping to find cloud stamps, flags with clouds behind them stamps, or just plain old flag stamps on a trip to the post office to complete the theme of a kite flying in the sky. My post office had no flags! Imagine that! No flags! Liberty bells, puppies and kitties, and the new pansy stamps which are quite beautiful, but didn't fit my theme either. Deep sigh. Forlorn look. My fault, I should have planned ahead of time where I could have had custom stamps made. And in the scope of things, this art is ephemeral. No one will really care. I chose the puppy and kitty stamps because The Young One loves animals and the black kitty looks a little like Ink.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Friday Five

Once a month, usually around the 15th of the month, my PC bogs down when trying to boot up. It's as if the machine is performing a disk defrag. I can't for the life of me find out what update it's magically doing. I've turned off all auto updates and perform them manually overnight instead of updating when the machine boots. Yesterday, a few days into the beginning of a new month, the computer just decided to take it's sweet time to boot. I'm talking over 30 minutes. It's frustrating to say the least. So, five things I do while waiting for the machine to boot up:

1. Cuss, swear, or speak in tongues.

2. Doodle

3. Read a chapter or two of a calligraphy or web design reference book

4. Make a cup of tea (sometimes done in conjunction with #3)

5. Perform some percussive maintenance. This technique used to work great on televisions in the olden days. Doesn't seem to do much now except it makes me feel better.

What do you do to keep your blood pressure from soaring while you're waiting?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wed Letter Day

The Young One's graduation hoopla had me a little behind. This week 2 letters to catch up to finish the month of May.

Wondering what letter to make while looking at the bathroom tile. Gee, great idea! (-;

And a "P" a la Sherrie Kiesel.