Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Friday #41 : Inspiration Oliver Jeffers

Spent a lovely morning inspired by a fab artist / writer name Oliver Jeffers. Our family has always loved his picture books. The fun story lines and great illustrations always caught our eyes in any crowded book store. Miss A was very particular about her books when she was little. She could smell a hole in a story or a patronizing tone a mile away and would promptly tell if that story was just not satisfying.

Of the authors who met her high standards, Oliver Jeffers came out high on her list. I have been following his blog for some time, but never really checked out his interviews, or background story. So... one morning I happened upon one and decided to watch a few. These are the little tidbits I tucked away in my common place book, regarding the books that inspired him, his favorite tools, and his philosophy regarding his approach to his art work.

He has a quirky sense of humor and is also a very interesting fine artist to boot. Hope you will be inspired as well... to look beyond the obvious and play.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Persephone Books

My Persephone books came in over the weekend. I had received an email the day after I ordered my books confirming they had been sent. The whole process from order to delivery was roughly 3-4 days. They packaged each book in separate envelopes and they arrived in the general post box.

The size of the books and the notebooks are roughly similar to a large Moleskine notebook, but about an inch shorter in height. The paper inside the notebooks are a lovely cream color and very smooth. The covers feel roughly like that of slick book jackets. The patterned bit of paper you see on top of each book are book marks in the same pattern on the inside flaps of the books. Oh and the postcard you see on top belongs to the, 'The Victorian Chaise-Longue' book with the yellow patterned paper. It was a commissioned painting by Persephone Books for Fife Terrace, Islington, the setting for the book.

I generally like the feeling of the books and the premise behind them, but for some reason I have to admit the slick covers threw me off. Eh... just a little personal thing, but I thought having an unfinished rough surface would have lend itself to the experience. That being said, the simplicity of the gray cover is quite nice.

Music of the Day:
Sinade O'Connor : You Do Something To Me (start 33 secs. in)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Happy Friday #40 : Literary Inspiration

It's raining here today in Northern California. Not a common occurrence, but I have to say I do not mind the steady beating of the rain on our skylight. Unfortunately, I've been under the weather for the past few days so I will keep this post short and sweet.

Image from Brainpickings

I adore interesting tidbits from both the art realm and of the literary variety. I find inspiration in biographies, autobiographies, documentaries, and the odd facts here and there about famous artists and writers both past and present. Today I thought I'd share a few literary bits of inspiration that tickled my fancy this week.

The first is a fantastic little post I found on Brainpickings, about Dinah Fried and her book titled, 'Fictitious Dishes'.  The book covers beautifully photographed dishes from literature's most memorable meals. From Sylvia Plath's, 'The Bell Jar' to 'The Secret Garden', by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

How imaginative and creative this author is to find inspiration from the little passages most of us just skim over. I love Dinah's quote, "Thank you and love to my father, for teaching me to read carefully, and to my mother, for teaching me to look closely."  We can definitely learn from this and take a little more to pour over those delectable details that make our favorite stories come to life.

Image found on Lucky
Now for the other literary tidbit, Persephone Books.  It is a unique little bookstore that reprints neglected fiction and non-fiction by mid-twentieth century writers. They sell their Persehpone Classics across the UK and US in other book stores. These usually have a beautifully illustrated image across it's cover, but the ones that are offered from their store or mail-order are simply covered in grey with beautiful decorative paper.

I was first introduced to their lovely concept back when I lived in London many years ago. I loved pouring over their little catalogues and the different tone and lives illustrated by writers of a bygone era. It has been a while, but I decided it was time to order another lovely piece of work from their catalogue and of course throw in a couple of their beautiful notebooks to boot. They will be coming in sometime this week, so I will post for your eye candy pleasure when they come in.

Music of the Day:
Becoming Jane Soundtrack : First Impressions

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Brain Byte : Bored and Brilliant Project

The Lost Art of Spacing Out is a topic that is going to be covered by New Tech City a podcast program that covers stories on how technology affects our lives. Beginning tomorrow Feb. 2nd, they will be kicking off one week of challenges to help us rethink our relationship with technology.

The gist of the program talks about how we rarely get a chance to be bored since the proliferation of the Smart phone. Whether you are in line, waiting for your kid's, etc. most of us are perusing our phones to fill up our time. With researched backed experts and interviews of everyday experiences, this program has us thinking about how not having our moments of boredom is ultimately affecting us and more to the point, our creativity.

Although I believe it is more than just the smart phone, but all forms of technology that is adding to this culture of 'no boredom allowed', I thought this was a valid point, since the phone is the most portable form of technology we have on hand.

So I decided I would download the app they are in partnership with, 'Moment' for iPhone' and 'BreakFree' for Android, to see how it is affecting my life. Also, I will begin participating in the challenges they will put forth every day.

I think this will be an interesting social experiment, because yes I too remember those days where I would stare out the window in boredom, and the moments of creative outlets in which I wrote poems, doodled, played the piano, etc.

Personally as a parent of two children, I thought about this topic. Having experienced parents who allow non-stop gaming time, to parents who schedule their kids week in a never ending stream of activities... I wondered if I was too strict sometimes when I only allowed 'game' time on the weekends and only 1 hr. a day at that, plus 1-2 hr. of watching a movie or cartoon or too lax because I try to limit the amount of activities they are involved in during a given season.

As you can imagine, when there are no activities planned for the children, practice, or homework is finished... there is plenty of time to be bored. My daughter fills this void quite well with all of her creative endeavors, but I will have to say it is a struggle with my son. I do hear a lot of hyming and hawing and the occasional... ok rather frequent mutterings of how his friend get to play all day.

However, most recently I have allowed more computer time for my son in order to allow him time to learn programming. I have been on the fence about this as it has only been a few weeks since I increased his computer time. I mean on one hand his programming skills have increased 10 fold, but... he is hardly ever bored...

Any who... we shall see how this will affect me this coming week and I thought I would share. If you would like to join me or just take a gander and listen all the stories and expert opinions pop over to, New Tech City and their Bored and Brilliant Project.

Here is a little video on how to set the tracking app 'Moment' for your iPhone.

Here is a little video on how to set 'BreakFree' app for your Android phone.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Journals, Paper, Pens, and Pencils Oh My

Decided to head out to a cafe today. It was a little out of the way, but I love the urban loft setting of this particular location. It is just so wonderful if you can find a place to inspire you to have an all around lovely day. I was able to do some journaling, sketch, write letters to my pen pals, and enjoy delicious coffee as well as have a yummy lunch.

As I mentioned before, I am more of a hermit than a social butterfly, so for some reason the act of going out is an ordeal... well the initial dragging of my feet out of doors that is. However, once I'm out its a completely different story.

Today was a prime example of how shaking things up and doing something out of the ordinary for yourself is so important. Personally I'm not very comfortable drawing in public as I'm terribly self conscious about how poor my urban sketching skills are haha, but I've been trying it on and off last year to get over the silly fear.

I began with sitting in the back and occasionally drawing during my children's dance classes. Other times, like today, I take my journal with when I decide to go to a cafe. Now the experience of sitting in public and drawing or writing will elicit some stares and the hesitation as they pass your table, but for the most part people seem nice. Also, after the first few times, you learn to ignore it ^_^.  Ha... that being said, I thought it was funny when I pulled out my paper and began to write letters.

Everyone around me had their smart phones and laptops in hand and here I was this luddite with paper, Midori Traveler's Notebook, Gillio, pens, and pencils in hand. Although this seem to surprise some the digitally hip crowd, they seemed to really dig the phenomenon haha. I sure did back when I rediscovered my love for the old school. Yes... I too worked in the internet field for more years than I'd like to let on any more haha. 

Now... in the spirit of old school, here is a silly little comedy sketch I enjoyed back in my Middle School days haha. Enjoy!

Video of the Day:
Kids In The Hall : I Crush Your Head

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Happy Friday Vlog #39 : Book Review : Jane Davenport Beautiful Faces

Looks like my Friday posts are coming a little early lately, but here it is. I suppose I will be hitting the Friday for my friends across the globe ^_*. Any who today's post is a little vlog about Jane Davenport's lovely book, 'Beautiful Faces'. You can also find information and classes for Jane on :

Music of the Day:
Indila : Love Story

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mixed Media : Embracing the Mess

This weeks mixed media gal. It is actually a bit of a struggle for me to do many layers as some mixed media artist tend to do. I'm not quite used to the idea of being messy actually. Coming from my very Swiss graphic design training and my love for the monochromatic, the world of mixed media was so new and freeing to me.

That being said, I am still hesitant to add that extra bit of color or texture, simply because I have no idea if that one extra step will cause a gosh awful mess haha. Its strange... I still love doing simple pieces especially when it comes to doing watercolors or gouache, but my oil pastels have been such a blast to play with as of late.

I definitely do not feel as if I have to plan things out as I do with certain supplies. With these I just go with the flow and I'm liking my playtime results ^_^. Here is to embracing the mess!

Music of the Day:

Indila - Dernière Danse