Thursday, December 31, 2015

Let Us Begin, Again

I suspect I am not alone in saying that I'm very much looking forward to the new year and the 365 chances for new adventures that it brings. I find it odd that I am so hopeful and enthusiastic towards the new year when in truth, not much will change besides the flipping of the calendar page. 

There are no sudden, magical changes that herald the start of 2016. I don't expect to suddenly find myself in Paris or Belfast or Rome. I doubt I'll have millions in my checking account. I seriously doubt I'll be in fighting condition to run a 5K either. My house will still be cluttered, the tree will still be up and my studio will still look like a wreck. (Those darn elves haven't done a thing to clean it up!)

However, I do believe the beginning of the year gives us a mental "restart." And therein, lies magic!  January 1st gives us the opportunity to hit reset and begin again. We get to wipe away cobwebs, throw out the old, worn out year to pull out our dreams and blow the dust off from them. We begin to think about new steps we'll take to move closer to making those dreams a reality. At least, that's what I do. 

This year, my approach will be slightly different though. Instead of just sitting down and writing out a bunch of goals to get me closer to my dream, I'm taking the time to break down the goals into steps, I'm giving them timeframes in which to accomplish them and I'll be working with an "accountability partner" to make sure I stay on track with my tasks. 

As I looked over my 2015 goals, I realized I had about a 50/50 split on what I'd said I wanted to accomplish and what I didn't even think about doing. And I guess that's not bad, but I know I can do a whole lot better. With that in mind, I'm setting out to rock 2016—step-by-step, day-by-day. 

When I'm sitting here writing out my New Year's Eve post in 2016, I want to be able to look back at a year of accomplishments, fun, progress, great memories, making new friends, reconnecting with old friends and lots of good times. I want MORE out of myself. I want a year I can be proud of because I met and exceeded my goals.

Interested in joining me? 

If so, let me know. Together, we can make 2016 a year to remember!

Meanwhile,  I'd like to leave you with the thoughts of Neil Gaiman from I think his graphic sums up my wishes for all of us in the new year:

Wishing each of you, a safe, prosperous, exciting,
challenging, creative, and Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Wish For Each Of You...

Painted in 2011

I hope each of you find yourself with family, friends and love ones for the holidays, no matter what or how you celebrate.

I also wish for you some downtime so that you might savor the season's special moments without stress or worry.

I pray for safety for our troops and first responders scattered about the world, keeping us secure, and for their families as they celebrate alone. 

And I add a special pray for those who have recently suffered the lost of someone close and hope you find peace. 

Merry Christmas, y'all!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Honey, There's A Cat In The Christmas Tree!

Yeah, it's definitely that time of year...there's a cat in the christmas tree!
A tree? For me!?!

Moby went to full alert as soon as the box appeared in the living room and when the first part of the tree came out the box, she was in, on, under, and beside it! She's a tree-climb, limb-chewing, ornament-bopping, play machine.

It's both hysterical and exasperating as there's no slowing her down. She's a blur as she runs around the room and tackles anything that moves including the other two cats. Speaking of Willis and Joey, they retired to the relative safety of being under the bed so as to make sure they were not snatched by evil elves or run over by a manic-Moby. 
It's so shiny!
I kid not when I tell you the tree was not completely assembled for more than 10 SECONDS before she was climbing her way towards the top! It probably wasn't five. And ,of course, she thought it was great fun to try and bop our hands as we were attempting to fluff the branches. 
There's something on my head. It tickles.
She burrows nearly to the top, but can't go any further. She can look me in the eyes from that height, so it's plenty high! And she doesn't have any trouble getting out or climbing down. What is odd (to us) about this whole cat-climbing nonsense is that Chris and I have had cats the whole time we've been married (23 years) and we've never had a climbing cat—until now. First time for everything, I guess. 
Wonder if I can reach the shiny ball swinging down there, hmmmm....
We knew from last year's experience that we would not be putting any glass ornaments on the tree because she thinks they're for target practice and the whole point of them being on the tree is for her to get. them. off. And it's soooooo much fun! Thank goodness someone invented "shatter-proof" ornaments or we'd have a naked tree again this year (well, naked if you don't count the wad of cat in the middle of the tree). They're also wired on so that we don't hear them hitting the floor in the middle of the night.
I'm invisible and the humans can't see me!
Sometimes, she just lays in the tree and watches the world go by (we have a spinning base) and other times, she's busy plotting world domination. When she gets too quiet, I go looking for her to see if she's begun to implement her plans. 

And then there are times when Moby is NOT in the tree and she finds other ways to occupy herself...
Puncture marks on watercolor paper, copper foil and a custom card
Moby's other favorite hobby is chewing...paper, plastic, tape, ANYTHING with adhesive...basically anything she shouldn't have or we don't want her to have. 

The holidays have definitely arrived at our house. How about you? Are you ready or does the grinch have your intentions held hostage?!

Friday, December 11, 2015

An Added Sparkle!

I don't know about you, but I needed a little extra sparkle in my life run your mouse around on the page and watch the faerie dust fall from your mouse!

Sooooo much fun and a totally time drain, but it still brings a smile to my face! Happy day to you!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Saturday's Class and A Festive, New Header!

Come and join me on Saturday, December 12th, from nine until noon, as we catch a little "Wave Action" in our sketchbooks!

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to take a break from all the decorating and shopping and head over to the beach.

The class will be held at Keeton's in Bradenton and you can find more info here.  We'll be working from photos and with regular watercolor brushes rather than waterbrushes.

Waves seem like a challenge until you break them down into shapes. Adding the foam and white spray at towards the end of the page are what makes the whole sketch sing!

I hope you can make it!

How do you like the new header?! I wanted something a little more mellow for the season and so I landed on the combination of muted green, blue and purple. 

It was a lot of fun to fill my sketchbook pages with these small vignettes. They started off a little looser than they finished up, but then, I guess I could say that just about every time I paint!

After finishing the pages, I scanned the work and imported it to Photoshop to build the banner. I enjoyed manipulating and arranging the images until I had a design I liked. (I can tell you this was a whole lot easier than decorating my house!)

The other fun thing is that I can take the pieces and print them out to make card tags for any gifts we're giving this year.
From my "Pineapple Journal" I made myself with Canson watercolor paper. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Savoring The Season

Savor The Season
Watercolor with ink (writing)
I'd love to tell you I created this recently, but it was actually last year and I never got around to posting it.

I find myself in the same headspace this year as last—wondering where the last 11 months went and how I'm going to get everything done between now and December 25th.

My plan is to take this advice to heart and
s. l. o. w.    w. a. y.    d. o. w. n.

I may get less done, but my hope is that I'll enjoy the season more instead of suddenly finding myself in January, thinking, "Huh, where did December go?"

The inspiration for the cup came from a very "plain Jane" cup I've had forever. It's totally ivory without any kind of holly border.

It was kinda fun to transform such a simple cup into something festive. With its age showing, it reminds me of an old friendship that is often renewed during the holidays. (Hello, my old friend, I don't see you often, but when I do, I am reminded of all our visits over a cup of tea...)

Regardless of how we got here, we're here—we might as well make the best of it and enjoy the last month of 2015!