My friend Lisa found this website that generates "word clouds" and posted it on her blog. I generated one too by putting my blog address into the Wordle field and above is what I got (click to enlarge). So cool!

From the Wordle website:

"Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends. "

Create your own.



You can learn how to draw objects, humans, trees and other things by learning how to sketch first. I love to sketch and hope to come home from our thanksgiving vacation with lots of new sketches to share. The movement and strokes seen in a sketch are beautiful. I like "seeing" the process, to me it shows the human element and gives the artwork authenticity. My sketch above was an exercise from the book The Creative License: Giving Yourself Permission to be the Artist you Truly Are by Danny Gregory.

I found this uber cool article on ehow about doing a sketchcrawl. What's that you say? The basic idea is wandering from place to place --with a sketchbook-- and with a single, constant goal to record everything around nonstop ... to observe, sketch and enjoy. I think I may need to take a day and do just that. How to do a SketchCrawl.


fountain hills art fest

Bert, the boys and I along with Bert's mom, Cindy and Tom went to the fountain hills festival of arts & crafts this weekend. We visited our friends Carla & Mark Mead who own black mountain jewelry company and were exhibitors at the festival. The are both equally wonderful people as they are talented. It was nice to see them as well as all the beautiful jewelry they create.Carla & Mark will be back in the phoenix area next weekend to exhibit at the artfest in scottsdale. If you live in the phoenix area this is a nice show to visit. It's at bit mellower then fountain hills and festivals with lots of creative eye candy!

Hudson loved all the music exhibitors "i like that" was his phrase of the day and he found some things to be just "beautiful". Ethan loved all the wooden toy exhibitors at the festival. I believe we stopped at each booth to admire the toys & puzzles and the boys came home with some cool low-tech wooden toys. We are all about simplifying and finding healthier toys these days so, Bert & I were happy to get Ethan the wooden helicopter (aptly named woody) and Hudson the little elephant. Unfortunately, Ethan broke the little wood piece above the propeller holding it in place this morning. I checked my bead box and found a wooden bead. I whittled away the bead hole with an extaco knife to make it large enough to fit over the helicopter dowel, glued it into place with non-toxic glue and it is as good as new (if not better! Bert & I agreed that the helicopter looks cuter now with the bead on top).


luna! hi luna!

"Luna! Hi Luna!" This is what little Hudson shouted out one night this week while looking at the moon. It was so precious. He sat on our outdoor swing and waved his hands up to the moon. "Hi Luna!" Both my kids have a random vocabulary of Spanish words thanks to the kid shows Dora and Diego. I love it! I enjoy learning the words too and we use them regularly.

The moon has been very bright and beautiful this week. I was wondering if it was a full moon because it was so bright. So, I looked online (got to love all this info at your fingertips) and viola! I found the U.S. Navy Astronomical Department website where you can type in the date and location and see Sun and Moon facts. Check it last night's moon.

Sun and Moon Data for One Day

The following information is provided for Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona:
13 November 2008      Mountain Standard Time

Begin civil twilight       6:31 a.m.      
Sunrise                    6:57 a.m.      
Sun transit               12:12 p.m.      
Sunset                     5:26 p.m.      
End civil twilight         5:52 p.m.      

Moonrise                   4:50 p.m. on preceding day
Moon transit              12:08 a.m.      
Moonset                    7:34 a.m.      
Moonrise                   5:41 p.m.      
Moonset                    8:48 a.m. on following day
Phase of the Moon on 13 November: waning gibbous with 99% of the Moon's visible disk illuminated. How cool is that! See the Sun and Moon data for your neck of the woods.


new painting: autumn leaves

I finished it! My autumn leaves painting is done. This painting spanned one of the longest time periods to date. I started it back in May and finally finished it this week - that's 6 months! Now, I haven't really been "working" on it for all that time. My studio is setup in my garage and being that I live in Arizona, come summer the conditions in my studio make it not very workable (aka it's HOT) . I started the sketch back in May and really waited June-October to begin working on it again. But, boy it seems like I have been "working" on this piece forever.

I created this piece for my aunt, she is also my godmother and very special to me. My relationship with her is one of my most cherished as a child and still today. My aunt requested a painting of any subject matter - her only request was that is used oranges and reds. I just love autumn and so I wanted to used those colors as autumn leaves. My fabulous husband says this is my best one yet (bless his heart - he says that after every painting I finish, thank you honey!). I am really happy with it - I hope my aunt and her family love it too!


take a hike

This weekend we went to Usery Mountain Regional Park. Usery Mountain Regional Park offers over 29 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Park trails range in length from 0.2 miles to over 7 miles, and range in difficulty from easy to difficult. We love taking the kids for a hike on the Merkle Trail.

If you are looking for an easy, relatively short hike, the Merkle Trail is barrier-free and stroller friendly. Plus, there is a playground located right off the trail. So, we can hike 1/2 way then stop and play for awhile and then continue the hike. It's wonderful! Our friend Craig (and Hudson's godfather) is visiting from Florida this weekend, here they both are riding the slide at the trails playground.

This picture shows a gorgeous view of the Superstition Mountains seen while hiking. The trails within the Usery Mountain Regional Park have enough elevation to offer spectacular vistas of surrounding plains. ahhh ... heavenly. I just love the Arizona desert.


weekly reflection

Drawing is a visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. For this drawing i used colored pencils. The word 'drawing' is used as both a verb and a noun:
  • Drawing (verb) is the act of making marks on a surface so as to create an image, form or shape.
  • The produced image is also called a drawing (noun). A quick, unrefined drawing may be defined as a sketch.
The term drawing suggests a process and intent that is distinct from the traditional act of painting. While there are drawings that are finished artworks, drawing is often exploratory, with considerable emphasis on observation, problem solving and composition, often as a means of preparation for a painting. In contrast, traditional painting is often a means of execution or finishing an artwork. It is fair to note that modern painters often incorporate methods of drawing in their painting process, particularly in the early stages of a painting.

I was inspired to create this drawing by a pendant Rhianna was wearing in an ad. Of course her's was in all diamonds!


vote today and everyday

I VOTED. The energy surrounding this election is like nothing I have seen before, I have never been one for politics but, as I get older and have a family of my own I care more about what goes on in the world around me.

Everyday is voting day. We get to cast votes for many important issues on a daily basis. Everyday we vote with our hard earned cash. Are we we supporting conscious, safe, and sustainable companies and products? They way we shop, eat, live matters ... we are casting a vote in support of that product and that company ... are you voting for the people and things you want to be? I know I still have some work to do to truly vote they way I want to be. We have lots to consider every time we make a purchase ... we vote everyday for the world we want.

I just finished reading Above All, Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times by Zoe Weil in which the author speaks of how to strive to live with respect for our environment, all species and all people and make humane choices for ourselves, our children and our world.


never pull off the road

On Halloween night my 2 sisters along with 2 girlfriends were driving to meet my parents out at a local bar to celebrate. They were driving down a main road in the neighborhood we grew up in and were harassed by some guy in a white van with brown stripes. The guy screamed at them to "pull over" while stopped at a light. My sister continued to drive on and the guy began screaming psychotically at them to pull over. He drove was closer and closer to their car trying to push them off to the side. My sister had to jump the curb to get away and turned off the main road into an area of side streets. The guy continued to follow them at top speeds. One of their friends in car got the police on the phone who told them to immediately leave the side roads and get back onto the main road. After a few panic stricken minutes of chase my sister was able to lose the guy in the van at an intersection.

Luckily, everyone is OK. Unfortunately, they were unable to get a license plate #. Sadly, things like this happen. I am unsure if this was a very nasty Halloween prank or if some serious harm would have been done had he somehow cornered them. I shudder at the thought. This is why Halloween creeps me out.