Art, sketching… new Dual Brush pens

Recently, I walked by an art store. It was actually open, so I went in. I’ve always  loved colorful markers. I immediately went to the marker and sketch pad section. After being quarantined for a few months, it was refreshing to be in a store and see all the beautiful marker colors.

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These Tombow markers caught my attention, because they were dual brush pens, which seemed like fun. Also, they came in different packs of colors. I liked that idea too, rather than buying individually.

This was going to be an investment toward COVID creativity.  The markers are expensive, but testing one out made me feel HAPPY, so why not give it a try.  If we need to be at home, why not touch on our creative side, right. Also, I smiled to myself, now that we have to wear masks, women can’t wear lipstick, so money saved on lipstick, goes toward markers. An even exchange!

I did a quick YouTube search and found a great video of an “experienced artist” showing the versatility of these markers. I didn’t realize they could be used with water, so they become like a water color pen. I’ve always wanted to try and paint with water colors, so I’m getting my feet wet, starting out with the markers.

It’s been FUN, I have to say.

BUT, now I need MORE colors. We KNEW that would happen!

On to the next drawing. One day soon, real water colors.

Floating boat cinema coming to America

Floating CinemaHave you heard about, Beyond Cinema, an Australian entertainment company that is bringing Floating Boat Cinema to major cities in America (St. Louis, Houston, Chicago, Miami, Orlando, New York, Austin, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Florida, Los Angeles, San Diego, Columbus, and Cincinnati) as well as three cities in Canada?

These cinemas will be made up of 12 – 24 mini boats that hold 8 people. Tickets for each boat much be purchased at once to ensure that a group of family/friends can sit together. This also allows for social distancing between family/friends instead of strangers.

If you are interested, Google your city, you’d have to buy tickets ASAP. I’m sure they will go fast. Sounds like a lot of fun.

VENICE — I see this photo of boats on the water and I think of Venice.

What a wonderful idea.

A shame there is not more information about this Australian company and how they came up with this idea, etc. Soon the story will unfold… right!

Baking/cooking – BEST mixing bowls

Years ago, I had white mixing bowls like these in the photo. They were wonderful. They came in three sizes and were very durable. Having small children, I didn’t have to worry that the bowls would break. I mixed everything in these bowls from pancake/cake/ brownie/cookie batter to meat balls, mac ‘n cheese to… you get the idea. These were my “go to” mixing bowls.

Tragedy struck. I lost my bowls. One day I went to get a bowl and couldn’t find them. I searched HIGH and LOW, they were no where to be found. I felt like a little kid who had lost the favorite pair of shoes. So, I thought — HOW could this have happened. Then I remembered, I had moved. Somehow in the move, bowls were gone.

Those bowls had been old, true, but they still worked. Now, I was forced to use other bowls. I tried using glass bowls, metal bowls, ceramic bowls… ahh, it just wasn’t the same. I longed for my white bowls. When shopping, I looked for these plastic bowls, they weren’t the same.

UNTIL, I walked into Crate & Barrel the other day, looking for a loaf pan.

Suddenly, my eye caught this pretty green moss color. Walking over I couldn’t believe it!  MY bowls — my bowls — I found them! Prettier in pale green, shinnier than my old worn out bowls.

My gosh, COVID worked a miracle! Without COVID I would not have shopped for a loaf pan, which brought me to my mixing bowls.

MORE GOOD NEWS!

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The reason I liked these bowls so much was because they were named after Danish Princess Margrethe. Now, I understood why I felt like a Princess using these bowls all these years…

SURPRISES — MIRACLES — THEY DO HAPPEN!

Travel -> Visiting Claybanks Pottery in Michigan

Traveling in Michigan, I saw this really fun Fish fountain at Claybanks Pottery.  They opened in January 1980. Before that they had done art fairs. While I don’t buy a lot of pottery, I enjoy seeing what they are making.

Fish Fountain Michigan 2I fell in love with this fish fountain, so clever. They had some lovely fish platters, I was tempted, but where would I store it. Unfortunately, my phone was low on battery, so that ended my photo spree.

Look at their website. If you are a pottery fan and happen to be in Michigan, pay them a visit. My friend said her brother had some wine cups made by them. I’m sure you could even specify the color you would like. They had some lovely bird houses; however, they were very heavy, not sure how you would hang them.

Michigan is beautiful, I have to do more exploring there…

Street Art… A cute squirrel.

Squirrel - street artHappy Monday!

I walked past this street art yesterday. I loved it.

The squirrel on the red brick, the acorn resting on the top of the window, the flowers blooming — it’s WONDERFUL, such a clever idea.

Here is a close up of the squirrel.

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In life, it takes something small like this to LIFT our SPIRITS.

I could not stop smiling, it’s SO PERFECT. I hope YOU smile too!

Have a great day.

Travel – Where will you go?

A few years ago… 10 to be exact, I went to Egypt on a River Cruise. My mother wanted to go on a trip. I was busy with work, so half listening as she talked. I love my mother, but Italian mothers can go on and on sometimes. You have to tell them to “get to the point.”

Suddenly, my ears perked up. She said, “I found a good deal for a River Cruise in Egypt.” My life long dream had been to go to Egypt to see the pyramids, ride a camel, be in the desert. Now, I was listening.

Today, I was reminded of our Egyptian trip when I saw an email from Sunny Land Tours, Inc saying, “Where will you go when this is all over?” They attached a $200 coupon.

This is the tour company we used. They were very good and reasonably priced. While an International trip is impossible at this time, I still went to their site to see what tours they have. I’ve always wanted to go to Morocco. Ah, Morocco, is that even a possibility? Hard to imagine.

For now, we are all investigating smaller trips close to home. This is a year for self-reflection and time spent with family. I’m reminded of when I was a child. No cell phones, no big trips, riding our bikes, reading books, pulling weeds (LOL), swimming in the Lake, blueberry picking, and picnics. It’s been good to “slow down” a little bit!

However, back to the BIG question —

WHERE WILL YOU GO WHEN THIS IS ALL OVER?

July 4th, no fireworks… Brewery, drive-in movie theatre?

In the old days, we used to go to the outdoor drive in movie theatre. Who can forget the Grease Lightening song?!  Grease was a great one to see on the big screen.

Basically, a green grassy field for cars to park and a big screen to watch a movie. There was a small restaurant to buy some food and go to the restroom. If we were bored with the movie or trying to get away from our “hands on date,” we’d head to the restaurant. Back then, no cell phones, so you couldn’t text your friend to “meet you” somewhere or find out where they parked.

Then… suddenly… drive in movie theaters went away. Not sure why that happened.

BUT NOW, they are making a comeback.

Colorado — I just read an article in The Gazette about a Colorado Springs Brewery (FH Beerwork East) that got creative during COVID. To stay in business, they opened their parking lot to drive in shows calling it CAR SEAT CINEMA. Sounds like they are doing this once a week, it’s been going well. Now, they are back open to customers, social distancing, of course. Sounds like a fun place.

July 4th Fireworks Cancelled — I say we go to an outdoor movie!

HAPPY 4TH of JULY!

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Road Trip – Lavender Farm in Michigan

FFEDB355-5406-4D0E-AA1D-C99E01543143When I lived in Seattle, I tried to explore as much as I could. One thing I didn’t make it to was a Lavender Farm. It’s not that I buy lavender all the time, I just wanted to see the beautiful field of purple flowers blowing in the wind.

Good news, I have a chance to see lavender in Michigan. I grew up in Indiana, I know about corn, lettuce and sunflowers, but I didn’t realize across the border there were lavender farms. As a child, we did go blueberry picking in Michigan. We ATE a lot as we picked!! Luckily, the farmers never weighed us before and after, who knows what our bill would have been.

Here is where I am going in a few weeks. The Cherry Point Farm & Market, click on the link. They created a special lavender labyrinth. Now, their website says they lost a lot of lavender in early 2019 due to the Polar Vortex we had. They started re-planting Spring 2019, so it might not be as beautiful as in the website photos, but I will ENJOY walking through a labyrinth. I’ve never done that before.

My mother read many stories from Greek Mythology. King Minos and the labyrinth he had built was one of them. I will be thinking of this as I walk through the maze.

Europe has said borders are closed to American travelers. They are worried about a second wave of COVID. No traveling to Italy this year. So, that means we start explorations near our own home towns. 2020 – the year for change.

Toy Collection — Do you remember Raggedy Ann?

Dolls, how many people are familiar with “Raggedy Ann?” When my mother grew up as a child in Italy, she didn’t have a doll. She must have longed for one, because when we were young she was ALWAYS looking for Raggedy Ann dolls.

When we walked through antique shops, she always found one. There were different sizes and styles as the doll kept evolving over the years. You can see in the YouTube video, this woman has quite a collection. I noticed the original dolls had orangey hair, not bright red and the doll is known for her triangular nose.

As I researched, I found that Johnny Gruelle (illustrator from Illinois) was the creator of Raggedy Ann. His daughter Marcella brought him a old rag doll, he drew a face on the doll and named it Raggedy Ann. His daughter loved her doll, so he created a book/doll combo (got a patent in 1915) and started selling in 1918. First dolls were delivered to Chicago! Many books followed.

Finally, Chicago is known for more than Al Capone / gangsters. I had no idea!

This is interesting, 75,000 handmade dolls were made between 1918-1926 by a toy company in Michigan called, “Unbreakabale Toy Company.” In 2018, the town of Muskegon celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Raggedy Ann and Andy. Yes, Raggedy Ann eventually had a brother, Raggedy Andy.

In 2002 Raggedy Ann was voted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. In 2007, Raggedy Andy, her brother, joined her.

My Mom will be so surprised to hear that her beloved Raggedy Ann was the creation of a man from Chicago.

And as Paul Harvey would say, “And now you now… the rest of the story.”