Category Archives for "Love to Read"

Jul 03

Happy Independence Day!


I’ve been watching the HBO mini-series “John Adams” for the 2nd time recently.  It is a masterpiece and incredibly eye opening to the hardships, risks, hurdles, and pioneering efforts our Founding Fathers endured in order for you and I to realize the freedoms we have today. I think that I’m like a lot of Americans who over the years of celebrating the 4th of July with fun, food, and fireworks, have forgotten the true dangers the brave souls who came up with the crazy idea of breaking away from Great Britain had to realize.  Signing this parchment was an immediate death sentence if things hadn’t turned out the way they did. It’s humbling.  

If you’re a history-geek like me, you will love my latest obsession:  The US Government Archives website HERE.  You can download your own high resolution copy of the original Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Charters, etc…  And below is the clip from my favorite scene in “John Adams”. 

Happy Independence Day! 

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Apr 30

My New FAVORITE Book: “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book”



My husband found this book for me at the library and it is now one of my new favorites:  Everything I Need to Know I learned from a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow.  SO true, words to live by … at least in my world. This book is like candy for the soul (especially for all you Little Golden Book fans out there). I had so much fun flipping through this collection of wonderful illustrations from Golden Books past that I am ordering myself a copy because I know I’m not going to want to return this one to the library.

This little book, with its signature gold foiled binding, like all Golden Books expresses wisdom and love through the gorgeous art of some of the most talented illustrators around.  Whether you’re a children’s book enthusiast or just want to get it to read with your child, you can’t go wrong with this pick. 


Creative Credits:
“Cultivate Contentment”:  Image – From “Tawny Scrawny Lion” by Kathryn Jackson, illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren, 1952
“Take a mental health day now and then”:  From “The Little Red Hen, illustrated by J.P. Miller, 1954
“Express yourself”:  From “Daddies” by Janet Frank, illustrated by Tibor Gergely, 1953
“Try a new look!”:  From “Pantaloon” by Kathryn Jackson, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard, 1951
Mar 06

A Shout Out to the AMAZING Sharon Steuer!

I have a love/hate relationship with vector paths.  I’ve adopted a snobbish view of their ‘vector-y-ness’ that over the years has given me permission to not advance in my skill of working with them.  But NO MORE!  2014 is the year of the path for me and I’ve been diving deep into ways I can create the painterly look I’m striving for in my art, but with all the benefits of easy editability and scale adjustments that working in paths allows.  I have a long journey ahead of me but I’m making great strides already and the person I found to lead me on my quest is Sharon Steuer.  

Her latest book, The Adobe Illustrator WOW, is opening my eyes to all that is possible in working in Adobe Ilustrator. She also has a fantastic way of taking out the fear and insecurity many of us pixel lovers have when it comes to those pesky path behaviors. Her style and approach is unassuming and I can’t say enough about the quality of her instruction and how this book is really teaching me to push through my fear barrier and embrace this technology. In addition, Sharon has some amazing courses on – both for illustrator and photoshop. She is a triple threat because she also is an established traditional artist as well and she approaches her instruction from that perspective.  It’s a win/win all the way around and I wanted to be sure to not only give her a shout out (I want to encourage her to keep writing her fantastic books), but also to encourage those of you who are like me and prefer pencils, brushes, pens, and pixels over paths, to go and seek out Sharon’s book and courses.  


Jun 18

What’s going on …


Phewwwww – life is awesome and busy right now!

Here’s what’s inspiring, motivating, and keeping me busy these days:  




The last of my family’s graduations took place this past weekend at UC Davis. My sister made this banner commemorating all the 2013 graduates in our family, but it only reflects the High School and College Graduates. There were two Junior High promotion-ees as well. What a year! Sadly all these amazing young people listed here will be heading off to different corners of the U.S. for college, graduate school, or work! I’m so excited for them all, but will miss them a lot.




I’ve been working really hard on the picture book illustrations, all the while creating a lot of new licensing art. It’s been busy, but fun. So far so good with my progress, with more than 1/2  the illustrations done I’m ahead of schedule for my deadline.  I’m feeling good about all that but I’m realizing more and more that I need to take little breaks throughout the day to rest my weary eyes. Does that mean I’m getting old? 



 B-DAY BOYThis year my amazing and fabulous husband turns 50 and I’m busy planning something fun to celebrate it. I would love to share the details but he reads my blog and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.  :0)





SarahMy niece, Sarah – who is insanely creative and talented at art and music, has taken up the banjo. I had the chance to listen to her play over the weekend and she has totally inspired me! I’m still working on my ukulele mad-skills, but once I feel like I’m in a good place there I’m going to get myself a banjo. My goal – to play “Dueling Banjos” with Sarah!

BTW – did you know that Steve Martin is an expert banjo player?! How much talent can one person have?

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Vampire DiariesI realize I’m a little late to the party on this one, especially since my friend works on the show, but it’s never too late to find a new obsession and lately I’ve been pouring through my netflix queue catching up on the past seasons. I can play them while I work, so at least I don’t feel like a total couch potato.





Thieves of Baghdad

My son received his summer reading homework from Linfield College – THE THIEVES OF BAGHDAD by Matthew Bogdanos. We all decided to read it too, and I just picked up my copy from the library. So far it looks to be a really good book.  I’ll keep you posted!








They’re gluten free, which means that they won’t taste exactly like the regular Joe Joe’s, but they’re still pretty amazing. I’m used to gluten free food so the crumbles don’t bother me. My only challenge is to remember that even though they’re gluten free that doesn’t mean they’re calorie free.  Darn it all! Trader Joe’s needs to make that one next!
Yup – they’re awesome!
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Happy Summer!




Jun 07


If you know my artwork you know that I love owls and that I have created a lot of them over the years.  It’s no secret that owls are on trend, and surprisingly keep being on trend – with the next two years still showing owls going strong. The LA Times posted this great article showing the progression of our insatiable love for owls over the years.  It’s really interesting to see how artists and designers have taken the owls through the past few decades into super stardom, though the article’s statement of the “end” of the Owl trend was just plain hilarious!


Click on the image below to read full article:

Owls Owls Owls

Feb 23

Inspiration: What I’m loving at the moment …

I haven’t been very good at blogging this past week but I’m happy to say it’s because I’ve been really busy ~ and busy is always good. My picture book illustrations are coming along nicely and I’ve got some fun new projects in the works for licensing (getting art ready for my agent to show at Surtex in May). Add on the busy-ness of daily life, track starting for my younger son, and the hustle and bustle of final decisions and trips to colleges for my older son (he needs to commit for football in the next month and it’s going to be a hard decision). Phewww – it’s crazy around here, but I’m enjoying the ride.

To keep my mind clear, my creativity flowing, and my sanity in place, I’ve been finding a lot of joy and inspiration from various places.  Here is a peek at what’s been in my world and on my mind lately:


1.  TRAVEL (vicariously through my niece’s blog):  _Sam

My husband and I are dreaming of travel these days.  We can’t seem to get enough of our favorite shows (lately it’s Anthony Bourdain’s NO RESERVATIONS and THE LAYOVER , on the Travel Channel). Another place I love to go to get my ‘travel-fix’ is my niece, Sam’s, travel blog called THE WANDERLUST ADVOCATE. If I could redo my early years of my life I’d follow in her footsteps.  Sam is amazing and she’s traveled all over the world already (in her 22 years) studying and experiencing all that this amazing planet has to offer.  Currently she’s in Laos teaching english to novice buddhist monks. She posts stories, pictures, and fun short videos about her travels and experiences. Check it out – my travel bucket-list is growing every time I read her blog!


2.  OUTER SPACE – The Hubble:



3.  GOOD READ:  THE FOUR AGREEMENTS by Don Miguel Ruiz _4-agreements*


Academy Awards Day is a major holiday for me!  It means my husband cooks for me (love that) while I park it in my favorite chair at 3:00-ish and watch the Red Carpet coverage while giving myself a luxurious pedi-mani! I can’t wait!  I must confess I haven’t seen all the nominated films, but I have some faves:  I’m partial to Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook (especially Sally Field, Jennifer Lawrence, Daniel Day Lewis).  I wanted desperately to see Argo but never made it to the theater for that one, however everyone is raving about it and I’m guessing it’ll be a big winner. Others I’m rooting for are:  Life of Pi and Beasts of the Southern Wild.  Should be a great show ~ I can’t wait to see Seth MacFarlane as host, too!


5.  Neck Scarves  _Neck-Scarf


Oh my GOSH – how did I not know about these before?!  My amazing and talented friend, Janice, stopped by the other night and delivered this gorgeous and oh-so-warm and snuggly neck scarf she crocheted for me!  I am LOVING it so much.  My house is super cold in the winter, especially in my studio, and I seem to never be able to get warm. Now that I have my new neck scarf I am a happy camper!  If you are talented like Janice, and can crochet or knit, click HERE for some fun neck scarf pattern ideas! Seriously – these things are the BEST!


6.  My absolute favorite TEA


Every afternoon around 3:00 I have “tea time” and I make myself a huge mug of this awesome herbal tea! There’s nothing better on these cold late winter days!


7.  Daily walks with my dog

(this particular morning the sun was shining just right and I had to take a picture to lock in the image!)


8.  YOGA Move of the week:  DOLPHIN POSE


I love this yoga pose.  It’s a wonderful exercise for an aching artist (or anyone who sits for long periods of time). Click HERE to learn more about it.

Oh, side note – re:  MUSIC – for a while every day I tune into my “The Buddhist Monks” Channel on Pandora. It’s wonderful music to work to and/or to do yoga to and I find it really clears my “monkey mind” (as Eckhart Tolle calls it). 




Jan 25

LOVING Lilla Roger’s new book!


For all my creative friends who may not have purchased this book yet – please go and do it now! It doesn’t matter if you create art for fun or for work, Lilla Roger’s new book I JUST LIKE TO MAKE THINGS is simply wonderful! On page 36 she talks about creating inspirational rituals for yourself.  For me, my daily ‘pre-creating’ ritual is to pour a good strong cup of coffee and sit for 20 minutes with one of my favorite Somerset Magazines, Art books, and – now – Lilla’s book.  She has great wisdom to share and the book has some fun exercises for sparking up the creative juices too. You’ll LOVE it, I promise!  



Oct 17

What’s inspiring me at the moment …

A little eye-candy reading:

If you’re a licensing artist you know that there are a few image motifs that you will need to have AMPLE of in your portfolio – a couple of the main ones are all things Christmas (especially Santas and Snowmen), and Birds (particularly cardinals and chickadees). I’ve got a long way to go in these categories so with this in mind I just picked up the latest issues of Romantic Homes and Birds and Blooms magazines.  I’ll be honest with you, I have purchased Romantic Homes for various issues in the past, but Birds and Blooms is a magazine I seek out.  The bird images are gorgeous and I’m always finding inspiration in its pages.  I was excited to see this latest issue had a gorgeous cardinal on the cover.  Don’t be surprised if you see some cardinal images by me soon.


 Design and creative reading:

I recently subscribed to UPPERCASE Magazine (thank you Monica Lee), and I just received the latest issue.  Oh, how sweet this magazine is.  I am savoring it!  How did I not know about it before now? 

Reading for the soul:

My friend gave me Brene Brown’s new book, Daring Greatly.  This is a book everyone must read at one point in their life.  I’m truly inspired by Brene’s words (though the topic can be a little hard to digest at times).  

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

 Once Upon A Time:

Yes, I admit it – I’m totally hooked on this show!  I am SO happy it’s back for the Season!

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I am working on embracing my new CS6 (especially Illustrator).  I’ve been taking a lot of online tutorials through and I can safely say that website is my lifesaver. Another awesome learning tool has been a couple of online courses I recently purchased by Michelle Fifis (from Pattern Observer).  She is one of the best online instructors I’ve run across and I love her easy and clear way of instructing and educating!  Even more, she gears her courses for the latest in technology so it is even more simple to keep up with this changing world, or in my case – catch up.

Tim Burton:

I love Tim Burton. He is a creative genius and last October when I visited the Tim Burton Exhibit at LACMA I was so excited to see that Frankenweenie would be out this Halloween! Any new Tim Burton project is a reason to celebrate!

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Last …  I would be remiss if I didn’t mention “Gangnam Style”:

I am thankful everyday for my boys, but lately I’m thankful for them keeping me up to speed on pop culture.  A couple of  months ago my younger son showed me the original Gangnam Style video and a few of the parodies. Now there are parodies everywhere and the song is such a viral hit I don’t think it will be going away anytime soon.  Recently my older son  showed me this latest version Ohio University Marching band did … no doubt you can’t help but have fun with this song.

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