Designing Dragon stamps & pop-up book… What could be more fun?

854649F9-213F-4961-B2E3-0D8142F26F93I went to buy some stamps at the Post Office. When I got to the counter, the clerk asked me what type of stamp I would like. I asked what she had. She opened her binder display and said, “Flowers, American flag, DRAGONS…”

Dragon stamps, at the post office?

Apparently, at the APS National Summer Convention Stamp Show last year, USPS unveiled these special mythological stamps. There were four designs for the FOREVER stamp.

Greg Breeding, Art Director for the U.S. Post Office designed the stamps. He worked with artist, Don Clark of Invisible Creature studio, who created the digital illustrations.

At first glance, some of the dragons appear hidden; however, as you look more closely, you can see the dragons. Here is a description for each stamp:

  • A purple dragon, orange wings, black armor on its back snaking around a white castle.
  • A green fire-breathing dragon towering over a medieval-inspired castle.
  • A wingless orange dragon weaving its way around a pagoda.
  • A black dragon, green wings/armor on its back swooping past a ship on the sea.

In addition to the stamps, Breeding and Clark also created a pop-up book to be sold at the U.S. Post Office. It’s interesting to read “how” they created the pop-up book.

Thanks to the Dragon stamps, I learned something about our U.S. Post Office. I didn’t realize we had an Art Director on staff. Most people are paying bills online now, so we don’t need many stamps or think about stamp designs anymore.

Glad I had to mail a package,

Dragon Stamps – what a surprise!

Brought me back to “Dungeons & Dragons” days…

Wedgewood looking for apprentices, keep “Made in England” alive

Wedgewood China

For years now, most companies, in all industries, have been going to Asia to produce their products. While I understand the need to cut costs, it’s also been sad to see Italian clothing/purses/table linens being made in China. Same with other products that used to be made in their original countries, everything is being outsourced to save money. In doing this, we’ve seen quality go down. There are pros/cons on each side.

It was with great interest that I read an article in Tableware International, “Wedgewood Investing New Apprentices.” Apparently, there is a demand for products with the “Made in England” label. They are recruiting apprentices and I wanted to pass this news on. The issue right now is an aging workforce and a lack of skilled laborers.

In America, the cost of College leaves students in great debt. We are taught that unless a person has a College degree, they cannot find a job. This means that trade jobs, apprenticeships, etc. are frowned upon. We need to change this mindset, so that young people can pursue jobs that they really enjoy without a stigma attached to it. Not everyone is cut out to be a student. Most students upon graduation end up working in jobs outside of their degree, unless they studied to be a lawyer, doctor, pilot, which is very degree specific.

Would love to see a revival of companies taking pride in their product, going back to the days where “quality” was critical to the brand. I am going to keep my eye on Wedgewood to see how this new apprenticeship program is working. In this tough economy and with College degrees becoming so expensive, young people need options on pursuing careers.

Art, drawing class – tapping into our inner artist

FEAF1040-3ADC-4C9C-AA23-31734AD893B6When I was young, drawing and painting were not encouraged. My parents didn’t go to College, they wanted “better” for their children. Anything to do with art was frivolous, would get us “no where.” Focus on studying to get a “real job,” they said. We had to support ourselves. It’s a tough world out there. Sound familiar?

Fast forward, zillions of years later…

I decided — it’s time to have fun! Treat myself to an illustration class, see what it is all about. Is it true that I have no artistic abilities? I needed to find out.

I was AFRAID, none of us want to embarrass ourselves with the worst drawing ever.

What have I learned? First, drawing can be done anywhere and it is fun! Artists practice, a lot. The more you practice, the better you become. I had no idea. This sounds silly, I know, but I thought being an artist was EASY. It’s actually hard work! Second, being an artist takes determination and dedication. To be good at anything, we need to be passionate and put the time in to practice.

I’m sharing some of my sketches with you.

Last year, I was on the train in Italy. I noticed a woman writing in her journal the entire hour. I thought how dedicated she was. When I got up to leave, I walked by her. Guess what, she wasn’t writing, she was sketching a portrait of a man on the train — unknown to him. It looked beautiful.

Yes, practice makes perfect. My instructor said, “Everyday, you must sketch. As you sketch, you become faster at sketching anything (draw the perfect circle, the perfectly straight line, arms, hands, cars, houses, etc.). Through practice and mistakes, a head that seems too large, might turn out to be your nutty professor.

That is the beauty of art, what seems like a mistake, might be your next masterpiece!

Next, painting with watercolors.

Art, any form of it, does make us HAPPY!

This is the just the beginning…

Comedy, as writing inspiration, get rid of writer’s block…

As a writer, we get “writer’s block.” Life becomes overwhelming, ideas are not flowing freely. We need to find a way to open the channels of our creativity.

Comedy – I decided I needed to laugh.

By chance, I found a TV show called, “Miracle Workers,” I gave the first episode a shot, it was SO FUNNY! It just came out 2019. I laughed, because they show God in a corporate office in Heaven, sitting on a sofa switching through TV Channels to see what is happening on Earth. He’s so disappointed with what he sees… like us, God is tired of his job and decides he will just blow up Earth and start a new project.

I laughed AGAIN, because in Heaven there is a department called, “Unanswered Prayers.” They show only two people in charge of that department with piles and piles of requests, they can’t possibly help everyone.

So, that explains it, my “unanswered prayer” has been sitting in God’s slush pile for 7 years collecting dust.

If you take a look at this Youtube trailer for the show, you’ll understand why this comedy is so hilarious. Silly sure, but just what a writer needs to laugh a little and be reminded that God gets tired too and that sometimes we just have to do it ourselves!

Basically, this is a humorous way of comparing Heaven to normal life in a corporation.

Show is based on the novel What’s in God’s Name by Simon Rich.

Coffee… Breakfast…Tradition… making blueberry scones at home

CB353366-48C2-4D65-9550-E232D8E8D880Have you noticed that going out for a coffee and a danish, which used to be a “treat,” has become so expensive that it is not enjoyable anymore?

When I was young, because we had four children in the family, we rarely went out to eat; it was too expensive. In those days, if we did go out, it was for pizza, once a quarter. When the waitress came to take our order, she would ask what the “children” were drinking. My father in a loud bellowing voice would say, “WATER for them, a beer for me.”

My mother did not believe in soda. Growing up in Italy, they did not drink soft drinks or fruit juices. As a treat, on Sunday, they went to the park and had a gelato she would say.

This will make you smile… when I started dating, and the waitress came to take our order, I was too afraid to order ice tea or a soda, I was conditioned to order water. It wasn’t until one date asked, “WHY are you only having water? You can order a drink. Please, have a soda or ice tea, whatever you’d like.”

FUNNY, I thought to myself, “Yeah, I’m on my own now, why am I still drinking water?!”

This past weekend I was in the mood for scones. A friend of mine sent me a recipe and it was time to try it out. Scones are usually triangular, I made hearts, see photo.

My goal was to entice my daughters, so they would say, “Mama, those are adorable, we want some!”

seattle tea potGood news — my hearts were a BIG HIT.  Just need to add tea.

HEART SCONES on Sunday.  A new tradition!

Once children grow up, we need to entice the “little birdies” back to the nest.

Digital technology + clothing = Jet Suit

7F567F57-2375-4FCA-84CF-7A9A13AA6EEBAnyone want to fly in the air? The time is coming. The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has a new exhibit called, “Wired to Wear™.”

If you go to the museum’s website there is a video that shows the gentleman in the photo “flying.” YES, he is “flying” in his Jet Suit. I’m grinning, when I was a child we always watched “The Jetsons,” an animated cartoon sitcom on TV. The Jetsons lived their life in an utopian future flying wherever they needed to go.

As a child, of course, I thought this was a great way to live, but I also knew this was “fantasty,” OR SO I THOUGHT. Fast forward to 2019, and if I go to this exhibit, I’ll be able to see that flying to work myself one day might not be too far off. Technology has really taken off.

It sounds like there is more to the exhibit than just the Jet Suit, they have other wearable clothing. For example, clothing that expresses your emotions. That sounds a bit robotic. I’m trying to imagine this.

First, I go into my closet and find my Jet Suit. Then I look and think, “TODAY, I am going to wear my jacket that expresses emotions.” I dress up and head to work.

Since flying was exhausting, I don’t have to talk to people, because I have my jacket on that expresses emotions. If someone comes by my office, do I just press a button and let my jacket do the talking. This sounds bizarre, I’m trying to visualize it. I guess this is why I have to go to the exhibit. I want to see first hand, what this is about.

I’m thinking, if this is our future life…

Do I want to be like Star Trek or Star Wars!

I’ll give you a hint, I like fast paced adventure!

Las Vegas Desert Art… Have you seen “Seven Magic Mountains”

2D667E2E-7BD6-46DB-9AC1-7C107452F32ESwiss Artist, Ugo Rondinone, created this colorful boulder display called, “Seven Magic Mountains” in the desert of Las Vegas. The exhibition started May 2016 and has been extended due to its popularity.

What do you think? If you went to Las Vegas, would you rent a car, drive out to the desert and see this exhibit OR would you stay in the casino and gamble?