Monthly Archives: November 2011

Sunday Morning Coffee #3

It is always wonderful, when, even in the midst of swirling chaos, you can escape to your studio and make art.

On this weekend of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for that.

I’ve long been fascinated by the concept of Dog Tags – wearing your identity or at least some part of it right there on your chest.

So, I ordered some aluminum dog tags to fool around with, and since they won’t get here for a bit, I made some of my own.

I often define myself in terms of my love of animals. One of my cats just had a major dental event and cancer scare to go with it, and seeing her scared and in pain brought home once more how much I adore these critters. (Pretty sure she is ok now and that is one more thing for which I am extremely thankful).

Love was on my mind, and these tags made themselves. They are currently at the gallery and are priced at $48. If you want one, let me know.

I love riveting, especially using my riveting tool. You may remember when I told you about it back in March . . .

Riveting System

Defining Yourself . . .

I recently found a blog, Hyperbole and a Half, by an amazingly creative person named Allie. She is a cartoonist with a very strange sense of humor and delivery. Some of you will find her very funny – if you appreciate an absurd take on life events. If you don’t, that’s ok too. What looks like a yellow sharks’ fin on her head is actually a ponytail.

In the link below, I will send you to one of my favorite stories about Allie making a move with her dogs. If you like that, you will find a lot of entertainment there.

I found Allie’s statement on her About page challenging and fun. Here it is . . .

If I had to explain myself in six words, those words would be “heroic, caring, alert and flammable.”  That’s only four words.  Oh well, I guess I should have thought of that before I started writing.  Too late now.

Can you describe yourself in four words that are not the usual ones? I am working on it. I have squishy as one of mine, and I am not thinking physically. Maybe vibrant as well. Certainly not sparkly or wispy.

What would your words be? It might be fun to create dog tags for them, and wear them on a necklace! Then, if found, people would know who you really are.

Here’s the link to Allie’s Blog:

Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving

Talk to Me!!! Don’t Make Me Beg!

When we get together for our Sunday coffee, we should pretend we are really at a get together – and chat! Last week, almost 800 readers at our gathering and only ONE person had anything to add?! (Thank you, Jane!)

We have talked about this before. If you enjoy reading a blog or the info shared, stick your two cents in. It makes the writer feel like the whole dang thing is worth it and they shouldn’t go open a hot dog stand instead.

When nobody says anything, I am not sure whether I am saying anything, and it does make me feel a bit wispy, actually. Just sayin.

The Almighty Pitt Artist Pens . . .

You know I love these, so I don’t have to say it again. They are moisture proof, they don’t bleed through paper, and they write on anything.

In my workshops, we use them to put in the “good” lines in our drawings once we find them. And, as you know, it takes practice to l;earn to make a good ink line – especially because you are spooked by its PERMANENCE. What if you make a mistake?!?

Well, this artist will amaze you.

Chan Hwee Chong is a Singapore based art director and designer who created this advertising for Faber-Castell (be sure to watch the video clip).

Spiral Portraits

Reheating Pizza . . .

LOVE this tip. I love pizza and we have an awesome, New York style pizza place right in our village. The pizzas are great and they are huge and there is always some left, and it is never awesome when reheated.

So check out this tip:

Reheating Pizza

I love this guy’s blog anyway. Find his recipe for no fail Onion Rings.

OK – this is not a diet post.

Can you say Flip-Flop?

Or, why I might describe myself as squishy.

Yes, I am still wearing my flip-flops, because it hasn’t snowed. No shoes until snow gets higher than my flip-flop soles, and then only for going outside.

But that is not the kind of flip-flopping I am talking about.

They say it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind. How many times, I wonder?

We have done it again. Last Monday, we were innocently walking through the courtyard of our market center, and we fell right down on the ground (figuratively). They had knocked out most of the wall of the “best space in the center” and replaced it with glass. OMG, the space was glowing – and was calling to us!!

“You MUST try me,” it said.

And so, we are moving the gallery and the consignment furniture/decor business in together in the new space. And we are adding a wild bird emporium, called It’s for the Birds – like a baby Wild Birds Unlimited. People out here love birds, and our gallery is already very bird-y, so it’s a “natural”, so to speak.

More about all this later.

Have a wonderful Sunday, and be filled with gratitude – even after this weekend is over.

Sunday Morning Coffee . . .

Good morning, everyone. I want you to know it is not my intention to only blog on Sundays, just that I plan to do this kind of post on Sundays. Hopefully, I can get back to a more frequent schedule for the rest of the days of the week..

My usually busy life has been much more nuts than usual. Mark and I finally decided not to move the retail businesses to a more expensive space. That means he has to close down the consignment store by the end of the month.

We have had to to a lot of talking and meeting and emailing and I don’t know where the days disappear to.

But at night, I am am still curling up with the iPad, so I do have some good things to share.

First, a trip down memory lane . . . how many of you remember this . . .

If you remember that this was the graphic for the Cre8it website back in 2005, you have a very good memory. The website was changed in 2006 to the peel-off slideshow version (photos peeled off in translucent sheets). And the next change did not happen until this year – the version with the bulletin board effect. If you haven’t visited the site lately, take a look . . .

I like the clean new look. In webdesign-eze, it is called a gallery style, because you can see the overview of what is on the site from one page.

What am I doing wallowing around in old files, you might wonder? Trying to figure out a way to republish a lot of the content that is now lost in archives, as new ebooks. There is so much good stuff back there!! I thought that updating and adding new content might be interesting. I will keep you posted.

Handwritten Fonts

I LOVE handwritten fonts, and often get email asking for the identity of those I have used here and there. I am always collecting.

I ran across this blog post which I thought you would find very valuable. The poster lists 25 of his Favorite Handwritten Fonts, with samples and the sources for downloading them. Most are free.

My Favorite Handwritten Fonts

Frank Lloyd Wright . . .

was another one of those Steve Jobs types – very hard to get along with, but a game changer nobody will ever forget. He ran two architecture apprenticeship “schools” called Taliesin, and Taliesin West (I have visited this one and it is fascinating). If you were lucky enough to get accepted, there was some very challenging stuff ahead for you – quickly making yourself a shelter to live in while you were there, for a starter.

Wright provided his apprentices with the following 10 “Fellowship Assets”, a manifesto of sorts:

1. An honest ego in a healthy body.
2. An eye to see nature
3. A heart to feel nature
4. Courage to follow nature
5. The sense of proportion (humor)
6. Appreciation of work as idea and idea as work
7. Fertility of imagination
8. Capacity for faith and rebellion
9. Disregard for commonplace (inorganic) elegance
10. Instinctive cooperation

Not only do I think a person could sit and think about these things all day, I also think he got just about everything in there for artists of any discipline. I certainly aspire to gain these attributes!

What do you think?

Google Street View . . .

Have you played with Google Street View? It is a feature of Google Maps with which you move a little cartoon man to a street on the map, and are then able to see a 360º view of that location.

The photos are taken by Street View cars (or tricycles or snowmobiles) which have been driving around the streets and pathways of the world since 2007 or so. Each vehicle is equipped with 9 directional cameras mounted at a height of about 8 feet, that collect a 360º view as the vehicle travels along.

The whole thing fascinates me, and I have even heard of folks offering virtual travel workshops where all the traveling is done via Google Street Views. There was a privacy snafu awhile back because a car in Miami caught a naked woman in her yard – although if she was stark naked in her front yard in broad daylight, who knows how much privacy she wanted!

Anyway, a fellow by the name of Aaron Hobson has chosen a collection of Google Street Views that are actually interesting and beautiful photographs in their own right. You will enjoy them – and perhaps be moved to hunt for a collection of your own.

And that should keep you entertained for awhile on this beautiful Sunday.

Sunday Morning Coffee

You have heard me say, several times now, that my iPad has changed my life in many ways. One of the most important ways is my access to stuff I did not know I wanted to know!

Although I have spent most of my work life using a computer, I have never had the computer be part of my downtime. When my workday was finally over, the last thing I wanted was a laptop on my lap, or to sit in my office chair staring at the big display on the desktop.

Therefore, as much as I may have wanted to, I have not visited and enjoyed all the blogs, websites, and other wonders of the digital world.

The iPad has changed all that. It is not a computer to me. It is the book I am reading, the artwork I am drawing or painting, the visual journal I am keeping, the movie I am watching – all in a package smaller than a magazine.

Now, the digital world is part of my downtime. And outside of the Kindle books and iBooks I read, I have found an amazing world of blogs and sites I never knew existed – which make up the most fascinating “magazine” I could ever imagine.

I am learning so much.

I read a lot about online entrepreneurship and marketing, and I read a lot about creating and maintaining a successful blog.

One piece of advice given by expert bloggers is that it is good to have repeating “features” on certain days of the week.

I like that idea, and that is what this post is about.

On Sundays, we will pretend we are having coffee together, and I will share some of what I have found interesting during the week – artists, articles, blogs, music – whatever.

I also may share a bit of what I am working on behind the scenes here at Cre8it.

Think of it as a mini magazine to read with your coffee.

So, without further ado, let me tell you about some things that have moved me lately . . .

Mona Simpson’s Eulogy for her brother, Steve Jobs

The New York Times published this moving eulogy in its entirety. It brought me to tears because I can identify with that level of love for a brother (or five). It also includes Steve’s last words – guaranteed to send shivers down your spine – and make you smile.

Mona Simpson’s Eulogy

A Really Great Product . . .

We all know how I am about travel kits, right? I just love this idea and am going to buy one as soon as I get done with this post.

These are called “Grid-It”, and they consist of a grid of rubberized elastic straps attached to a background, and you can configure it any way you want, determined by which straps you choose to use and in which direction. I can picture this full of brushes, markers, watercolor sets, palettes etc.

There are a variety of sizes and colors at the Grid-It website:

Grid-It Organizers

And some sizes are available discounted at Amazon:

Grid-it at Amazon

Wonderful Music . . .

We are so lucky to have an amazing music venue right here in Eldorado. It is small and intimate with excellent acoustics. And for some reason, it attracts nationally and internationally known talent.

A few weeks back, we were blessed to be able to enjoy Corrine West and Kelly Joe Phelps, and I fell in love.

Try this song to see why:

Audrey Turn the Moon

There are several other videos on on Tube, and you can purchase their CD from iTunes.

Here’s One of Those Art Things that Blows My Mind . . .

See how this chalk drawing seems to pop up from the sidewalk . . .

And what have I been up to?

Many of you will be happy to know I am working on a sequel to the Creative Drawing Workbook, one of the most popular things I have ever published.

Volume 2 is subtitled “A Play-Full Approach to Perspective”. Perspective scares the heck out of everybody, so I thought a creative, casual, fun approach might be just the thing to get folks over the hurdle.

I am also wondering whether a workshop or workbook on point and shoot digital photography is needed out there. This idea was suggested in a Comment on a former post.

From my point of view, these cameras are easy to use, but I am constantly surprised that so many folks are confused by all their bells and whistles, don’t know how to handle a memory card, or what buttons do what.

If you would find a “Kindergarten” for point and shoot digital photography useful, please speak up in a Comment or email.

And that is about it for today. I hope you enjoy some of these things as much as I have.

What Makes You So Great? What Makes Anyone Great?

It is in my plans to make this one of the most content-rich blogs on the internet. With that in mind, I may feature a guest blogger now and then when I am struck by what they have to say.

Many people, especially artist people, suffer from a quiet anxiety over legitimacy –  if they do not have letters after their name, a college degree, or the “correct” amount of formal education.

When I read the following in my sister’s newsletter, I asked if I could share it with you because it is truly wonderful.

So without further preamble, here’s Cassis . . .

What Makes You So Great?What Makes Anyone Great?

On the scales of judgment that rule so prevalently in this country, what makes the difference between greatness and being not so great?

Is it what you DO for a living that makes you great? Is it how you prepared for that DOING, i.e. number of years of formal education, degrees, certifications?
Or, is it who you ARE? Who you aspire to BE? Who you’ve BECOME?

I applied to college last night for the first time in my 53 years of learning. Some of the questions on the application ignited in me a familiar feeling of inadequacy. Not that I didn’t know the answers, but that the answers seemed so “less than great.”

After I hit the submit button, I closed my eyes and sat with that feeling; allowing it to go wherever it needed to go and tell me whatever it needed to say.

Suddenly, a wise and wonderful voice rose to the surface and said in a very authoritative manner, “Don’t be Ridiculous!” I recognized that voice immediately. It was an echo from the past. The voice of a highly educated and accomplished man who left this world too soon. “Thanks, Dad,” I said to myself.

And then I decided to indulge in the process of personal inquiry and brave the question, What makes me so great?

And here’s the first thing that came to mind. Like Steve Jobs, I didn’t get a college degree. And also like Steve (as written so eloquently by his sister in her heartfelt eulogy), “Love was his supreme virtue, his god of gods.”

Love…that’s what makes me go great. I believe in love in all it’s forms. I believe that love is the most powerful force in the Universe. Love can heal and evolve us from any state of not so great to pure greatness. Love of self. Love for one another. Love of the planet.

Because of love, I know who I am. I know what I’m made of and what I can and need to do to bring a message of hope, faith and healing to a world that tends to place love in the back seat and allow fear to take the wheel.

This powerful process of discovery served to melt those feelings of not being enough and reminded me of what is truly important in my life.

So, I am going to college! I’m happily expanding my mind and my horizons. I’m pursuing only the subjects that will help fortify my mission to teach mindfulness, movement and wellness in the world.

I’ve learned volumes in this first half of my life. Now I’m excited to see what lies in store for the second half!

I’m feeling pretty great right now. I hope you are too.


Founder, The Alternate Path

Can You Say CUTE?

Remember my trip up to Pueblo, Colorado a couple months back? We delivered my nephew to school at Colorado State. He got settled in and had three nice roommates.

Then he had four – because he fell in love with an adorable Siamese kitten who needed a home.

His landlord did not fall in love so much, and kitty again needed to find a home.

His Mom, his Grandmother, and his Godmother/Aunt (me) were all kitten-smitten just from hearing about her – and seeing a six second video Chris sent to his Mom’s phone.

To make a long story (and another trip to Pueblo) shorter, this is Missy and her best friend, the stuffed dog, in their favorite place on top of my mother’s sofa.

This is what she does when not taking apart my mother’s new, used-to-be-organized, house, or reducing her crystal collection to shards.

We really, really love her – and it’s a good thing.

My Mom thought she was queen of her domain. Now, not so much . . . there’s new royalty in town.

And speaking of pets . . .

I named the Hummingbird Helen . . .


I found out she is a Black-Chinned Hummingbird and is indeed a girl. The black spot on her chest helped identify her. They Winter on the Central Mexico coast or on the Gulf of Mexico. I do think she has left on her trip now, but one never knows. At Wild Birds Unlimited, they told me to leave the feeders out for two weeks without seeing her just to be sure. It has been two days if I am not hallucinating.

Friday, I spent a good deal of time rigging a heat zone. Interesting stuff that you might like to know about. Helen helped me the whole time – flying around my head and posing for more photos. I got it all done and she left town. I do think she liked it though.

Anyway, this will be handy in the Spring, when I always get Hummingbirds too early, and can’t put the feeders out because of freezing nights.

I used plumbers heat tape – which is a flat electric cord with a thermostat that is used to keep pipes from freezing. It goes on when the temp hits 38º and becomes warm enough to keep the feeders from freezing. I started with a 3 foot version. . .

Just a couple of wraps around the bottom of the feeder kept the water fine overnight. I was even able to remove the lights I was using.

I then bought a 15 ft version and wrapped the excess through the “branches” of the metal tree the other feeder was hanging on, creating a warm zone in case Helen needed it. That’s a ceramic birdhouse at the top that also hangs in that tree. I wrapped the cord around it a couple times too.

Here’s the Amazon Link for those Heat Tapes in case you’re interested:

Easy Heat

And while I was at Wild Birds Unlimited, I bought something I have wanted for years. Every Winter, I take my ceramic birdbaths in and set out cheesy plastic plant dishes instead (they won’t break when the water freezes). Every dawn, I go out in my PJs, dump the ice, and fill the bath with warm water. Good for them – too cold for me.

This year I had a little rock waterfall that the birds LOVE, and it would not work in the shallow plant dish, so I finally invested in a heated birdbath. Between the moving water and the low heat  in the bath when the thermostat detects freezing temperatures, the water doesn’t even think about freezing.

Amazon has heated Birdbaths too (for less than I paid!

Heated Birdbath

That’s the news from a Winter garden, where the birds are warm and happy, and I know more than I used to. Helen taught me a lot!