Friday, December 22, 2017

Photos and Poetry

Yesterday as I was blogging over at Your Creative Connection for my latest installment in our Thankful Thursday series, I promised to tell the back story of the photos I used in my post.  I also mentioned that I have a habit of finding words to accompany many of my photographic images -- it's a fun way to expand my love of poetry, and an interesting way to honor my own creative efforts.  I have included below the poems that capture, for me, the mood of these images.

The Man and I received this Bradford Pear as gift from my grandparents when his mother died.  It has been a source of endless enjoyment throughout the intervening 18 years *I didn't even know that these trees lasted that long (?)*.  It's an expressive barometer of the changing seasons:  resembling a snow laden tree in early Spring, when loaded with tiny white blossoms; lush and green throughout the Summer; ablaze in it's finery in late Autumn; and both majestic and bleak against Winter's sky.  

The photo on the left was taken late in the day on December 3rd.  I headed out to the back yard after being consistently distracted by this gorgeous tree all day   The one on the right was taken on Wednesday of this week (December 21st).  The day before had been grey and dreary, and I was very 'aware' of how bare it had become -- and so quickly!  I can only imagine that my awareness was heightened by the slow and steady rain that fell for the better part of the day.  They were both then 'arted up' by using the Prisma app.  It is currently my favorite tool for enhancing images captured with my cell phone (I recently upgraded to a Samsung Galaxy s7 from an s4).

How about you?  Do you have favorite poets you'd like to share?  ...perhaps favorite poems for certain times of year?  I'd love to check them out -- leave me a comment, and I'll see you here again soon!

Onward and upward,

Words of wisdom for today:
Autumn is a second spring
when every leaf is a flower.

                           ~ Albert Camus

Sunday, November 19, 2017

How YOU Doin'?

Hey!  Hi-ho! Hellooo!

So...  It's been a little while since I joined you here in Blog-Land (?)  SO much has happened in the intervening months (!)  It would appear that any sharing that took place during my absence here was done on Facebook -- and there wasn't that much shared or posted there, either!  

After the hustle of May, I opted to turn my focus toward getting a better handle on the homestead, and being more conscious of my health.  The Summer found me wandering the wilds with Ollie as often as possible, and spending more time moving than in the past couple of years.  I made a vow on my 49th birthday to pursue walking more diligently, and committed to at least one organized 5K a month.  To date, I have walked over 150 miles since mid-April and have completed twelve 5Ks *so far;* I've begun stretching my walks to prepare for 10Ks, from here on out.  The ultimate goal?  I want to embrace the big 5-0 by walking my 1st Half Marathon in the Spring (!)  

Let's take a pictorial look back as we catch up a bit, eh?

Scenes from a boat...
Time spent with
Ollie is never wasted!
Water flora
Water flora (pt. deux)

Just a couple of my "lake buddies"...
..and if that isn't a capital A in the clouds, I'll kiss your foot!
That, plus working was about all there was to June -- July entered and proceeded in much the same way, with a few notable differences:  on the momentous date of 7-17-17, I gave up smoking (!) -- long overdue, and far from easy -- so far, so good; I finally returned to creative work (!!!) -- it felt amazing to MAKE things again (things that had been rolling around in my noggin at night for far too long) -- and I am giddy to report that more is coming (both in this series, and outside of it)!

A new series of work (The Dream Keepers) -- begun in late June,
and the first piece hung in a show in July

Good friends, good food, and good memories:
The best things for what ails ya!
*...and "good bye" to the butts*

August brought the return to travel teaching and a 2nd engagement with The International Paper Doll Convention.  It was wonderful see so many familiar faces, and meet new ones.  I taught a packed workshop, and enjoyed participating in various aspects of "The Swinging 60s" inspired event.  A quick stop to see other pals (and make a new feline friend) on the way home, and then the much anticipated eclipse *which I celebrated by taking part in a Virtual 5K, replete with "Eclipse of the Sun 2017" medal!*  The month wrapped up with another momentous occasion:  The Girl graduated with her Master's Degree in Korean Studies from Korea University (a degree earned with straight As, I might add!).

August moments from August
More natural wonderments with Ollie,
visits with my sweet ones, and a crash course
in DIY home repairs rounded out August of '17

September found me hitting the road again, this time for The Rock n' Roll Marathon Series 5K in Virginia Beach.  The event takes place alongside the American Music Festival over the course of Labor Day Weekend.  My new walking buddy (and long time BFF) and I went all out, and got the 3-Day Pass for the Music Festival -- and the tales we can tell from that weekend would warrant a whole SERIES of blog posts -- it was QUITE memorable, to say the least!  ...and, in truth, it felt amazing to be making new laugh-until-your-cheeks-hurt memories.

Road trip:  VA Beach, here we come!
Medals, fireworks, odd street signs, amazing sushi,
and a visit from a lady bug

The Chihuly at the Museum of Contemporary Art was incredible
The full moon over the ocean on our last night was an added bonus
From just before the middle of September to the present, my attention has been split between getting serious yard work done here on the Acre, and establishing a new business in partnership with a dear and admired fellow artist.  *much more to come on the details of that venture -- I promise!*  October brought the opportunity for some hard-core adulting; you can bet your bippy that it was accompanied by some rather colorful language -- HA!  *kidding not kidding*  Suffice to say:  I now know a great deal more about the workings of homeowners insurance than I can ever imagine needing to have learned (?)  ANYway...  Live and learn, right?  I just keep on learnin'!

Stolen moments in October:  New frontiers (aka lakes) with Ollie,
realizing how old Ms Wito is getting,
and testing my new motto in wearable form

Pieces of November -- so far
A stem full of wishes, the bucket brigade headed for storage,
and laughter really
is the best medicine

Which brings us to today!  Just last weekend marked the 10th anniversary of the CMMAG's role as Workshop Fairies at Art of the Carolinas, in addition to my role as Co-Chair of the Committee that organizes our efforts there.  The yard work of October revisited me in the form of tendinitis, and for the 1st time in 10 years, I moved no water on Saturday or Sunday of that fabled weekend.  Perhaps it is time for a changing of the guard?  Other developments of the weekend might hold sway over that decision...  More to come, as details emerge, gentle reader!  Intrigued?  Me, TOO!  I promise to spill the beans as soon as I have them all in one pot!

As always:  
Onward & upward!

Words of wisdom for today:
A healthy human environment is one in which we
try to make sense of our limits, of the accidents
that can always befall us, and the passage of time
which inexorably changes us.

                           ~ Rowan Williams

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Merry Month of Marbling - Week 4 Wrap Up

Wherein we *nearly* seamlessly recover from the bizarre, cosmic disturbance that was the actual Week #4...  

Here we have the last grouping of Marvelous Marbled Mini-Canvases for the week of May 22-26 -- #s 36 through 50!  These are now officially up for grabs both here and in the MMM - #50for50no1 Album at Arrowood Paper Arts on Facebook.  Updates will be posted everywhere as quickly as possible. 

I mentioned elsewhere last week how much I was enjoying the creation/composition of these trios...  Given that each piece was created individually, I find it intriguing that they can be arranged as if in series (!)  It was great fun to lay them out for the past two weeks with an eye toward continuing the lines, without regard for color *within reason*  ...well, not so much without regard, as with a link -- but not wholly from the same palette *knowwhatimean?*  

To claim any of these lovelies as your own, please leave a comment with the number (s) corresponding to your choice(s).  I'll be in touch to wrap things up.  As always, thanks for visiting!

Next up:  The Grande Finale -- wherein we blatantly ignore the previously posted dates in righteous favor of "winging it!"  Because of the sheer number of little pieces of paper involved in having Wito the Wonder Dog perform the drawing of the winners, Management has opted for the use of a Random Number Generator to finalize the Winners.  All interested parties *that would be you, gentle reader -- nudge, nudge - wink, wink* have until 3pm (EDT -- Noon, PDT), Wednesday, May 31st, 2017 to complete their final entries (via purchase, share, like, pin, and follow) -- full details in the original post (May 1, 2017) *minus the previously mentioned Finale dates -- we're winging it, here!*

Onward & Upward,

Words of wisdom for today:
"You need not fear it, but you must always bear in mind
that the past is never quite as finished with you
as you think you are with it."
                             - Kathryn Kennish

Monday, May 22, 2017

Merry Month of Marbling - Week 3 Wrap Up


Here we have the available Marvelous Marbled Mini-Canvases for the week of May 15-19.  These are now officially up for grabs both here and in the MMM - #50for50no1 Album at Arrowood Paper Arts on Facebook.  I will keep you updated on changes as quickly as possible.  Tomorrow begins a brand new week, and we have more colorful canvases in store!

To claim any of these lovelies as your own, please leave a comment with the number (s) corresponding to your choice(s).  I'll be in touch to wrap things up.  As always, thanks for visiting!  

Onward & upward,

Words of wisdom for today:
"Life is a great big canvas;
throw all the paint at it you can."
                             - Danny Kaye

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Merry Month of Marbling - Week 2 Wrap Up

Hello again!  

Herein we have the remaining Marvelous Marbled Mini-Canvases for the week of May 8-12.  These are now officially available both here and in the MMM - #50for50no1 Album at Arrowood Paper Arts on Facebook.  I will keep you updated on changes as quickly as possible.  Tomorrow begins a brand new week, more visual merriments, and a new approach to this Event!

To claim any of these lovelies, leave a comment with the number corresponding to your choice.  I'll be in touch to wrap things up.  Thanks for visiting!  

Onward & upward,

Words of wisdom for today:
"The colors live a remarkable life of their own
after they have been applied to the canvas."
                             - Edvard Munch

Monday, May 8, 2017

Merry Month of Marbling - Week 1 Wrap Up

Greetings, Blogland!  

Herein we have the remaining Marvelous Marbled Mini-Canvases for the week of May 1 - 5.  These are now officially available both here and in the MMM - #50for50no1 Album at Arrowood Paper Arts on Facebook.  I will keep you updated on changes as quickly as possible.  Tomorrow begins a brand new week, more visual merriments, and my best wishes for one and all as you embrace what the week has to offer!

To claim any of these lovelies, leave a comment with the number corresponding to your choice.  I'll be in touch to wrap things up.  Thanks for visiting!  

Onward & upward,

Words of wisdom for today:
"Mere color, unspoiled by meaning,
and unallied with definite form,
can speak to the soul
in a thousand different ways
                             - Oscar Wilde

Monday, May 1, 2017

It's here! It's HERE! #50for50no1

Hey, howdy, hi, hello -- welcome to the Merry Month of Marbling!  Henceforth to be forever known as my first #50for50 event.  "But what does it meeean?!"  -- inquiring minds want to know!  Fear not, gentle reader -- forge onward, and all of the particulars are yours for the reading.

For the month of May, I will be posting (on the Arrowood Paper Arts Facebook Page) a series of 50 Marvelous Mini-Marbled canvases.  "But, Penny" I hear you wondering, "how does that work?  There aren't 50 days in May!"  Very astute, grasshoppah!  There certainly are not.  It is for that simple fact (in addition to the heretofore unknown inner workings of Facebook Events), that there will be more than one, one-of-a-kind canvas posted each day.  Furthermore, that is also why there will be three 'events' that make up the whole of this artful happening!

Here's the run down:
     1st two weeks of May:  (05/01-05/05 and 05/08-05/12) I will post two (2) Marvelous Mini-Marbled Canvases each day, Monday - Friday on the Arrowood Paper Arts page at Facebook.
     2nd two weeks of May:  (05/15-05/19 and 05/22-05/26) I will post three (3) Marvelous Mini-Marbled Canvases each day, Monday - Friday on the Arrowood Paper Arts page at Facebook.
     Last three days of May:  (05/29-05/31) we will have The Grande Finale!  Three days of Marvelous Marbled Give-Aways.  *as of today, these remain super-top-secret! a.k.a. not yet finished {shhh...}*

To claim one as your own, simply write "Sold" in the comments section -- first come, first served.  At the end of each week, any unclaimed canvases will be re-listed by Sunday evening at the latest (depending on my teaching schedule) here on the blog.  To claim one of those as your own, simply comment, on the blog post, with the canvas number you wish to claim -- again, first come, first served.  Because of the nature of this process, no two canvases are alike. However, if you miss out on one you love, another can be made with the same colors -- just know it will not look exactly like the one that first caught your eye.

Additional info:
    - Each, unique Marvelous Mini-Marbled Canvas (2x2 in.) includes its own lovely, wooden easel for artful display.
    - These lovely, diminutive works of art are affordably priced at $12.00 each (plus Priority Mail, insured shipping w/ tracking).
    - Optional monogramming in silver or gold is available for an additional $3.00 -- see lettering styles available, and samples in the MMM - #50for50no1 Album at Arrowood Paper Arts on Facebook.
    - Multiple purchases can be bundled together for reduced shipping -- please email or PM me for additional details.
    - Payment by PayPal invoice at conclusion of transaction (I will PM you for your PayPal address and mailing info.). 
    - Every purchase earns the buyer two (2) entries into the Grande Finale:  the Merry Month of Marbling Give-Away drawings that will take place, one per day, on May 29, 30, and 31.
    - To earn additional entries, participants can do any or all of the following:  Share the Event(s) on Facebook (1 entry); Follow the Arrowood Paper Arts and #50for50no1 Boards on Pinterest (1 entry each); "Like" Arrowood Paper Arts on Facebook (1 entry); and/or Follow this Blog (use the blue "Follow" button in the right hand column)  (1 entry).  Please leave me a comment, here on the blog, so I know where you shared/liked/joined.  The more the merrier -- please share liberally!

These were a BIG hit for me at the Holiday Shows I took part in, last year -- but they are hardly strictly Holiday fare.  Custom color-ways are available upon request:  drop me a line at for additional information!  Have a family member graduating this spring, or headed for college in the fall?  Why not a unique gift of a Marvelous Mini-Marbled Canvas in their school colors?  How about a special gift for that favorite teacher?  ...a grouping to represent each member of the family on the mantle?  ...a spot of color for your office or cubicle?  The possibilities truly are endless!  Please contact me with any questions or possibilities you wish to consider.

Until next time...

Onward and upward,

Words of wisdom for today:
"And after winter
folweth grene May."
                             - Geoffrey Chaucer

Friday, April 21, 2017

Cool News

Hi, neighbor! 

I am ever so happy to have some super neat news to share with you:  I have a new teaching home *w00t!*  Beginning in May, I am presenting a series of Bookmaking Workshops at Sertoma Arts Center in Raleigh. I am both grateful and excited for this latest adventure in my creative Journey.   I hope to see you, there!  

I will be adding a Workshops tab to the blog to make it easier to find all the details.  For now, here is the Summer Schedule.  Registration is available Online, via the mail with the Downloadable Form., or in person at Sertoma
[Course #208268]

The first offering in the series is a classic -- but don't be fooled by the simple appearance!  This book form is a powerhouse:  loaded with design possibilities, and well-suited to any number of tasks.  We will explore many ways to construct an accordion (or concertina) book--including, but not limited to:  enhanced folding techniques, adding length to paper, covering book boards (with cloth and paper), adding depth and dimension, and closure options. Suitable for all skill levels, our look at this form will have your mind racing with all sorts of ways to create beyond our time together!

Should you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment here, or email me (, and I will happily answer them.   

And with that, I will bid you adieu *for now* and happy Friday!

Onward & upward,

p.s. -- even more cool news is coming...  *soon!*

Words of Wisdom for today:
The artist must train not only his eye
but also his soul.
                                - Wassily Kandinsky

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Forty two years ago, I received a book for my birthday:  Now You Are Seven.  I still have it *no one who knows me can even pretend to be surprised by this* (!)  It is a lovely anthology of pieces selected for the young reader -- a mixture of cultural folklore, short fiction, arts & crafts projects, and poetry accompanied by vivid illustrations.  To this day, I can (and do) fondly recall a line from a poem about Bert (an amorous kangaroo, in a zoo, in love with Betsy Lou, who happened to be a kangaroo too):  "So they lived in one cage/till a very old age/and died at ninety two."  Why this is the line that has managed to stay with me for 42 years, I cannot say (especially since this book was also my introduction to Tennyson & Longfellow) -- but, there you have it. 

Home of Bert and Betsy Lou
Recently, I mentioned this book to my mom (the giver of this formational tome) -- wondering aloud if it were part of a series.  She did not recall seeing any for other ages at the time. I have never seen another of this particular book, or any others like it.  But it got me to thinking:  Why not?  Wouldn't it be neat if there were an ongoing series of books designed to provide insight/comfort/encouragement as we cross the threshold into each new year and all that it holds? 

SO...  As a lover and collector of words that speak to me, I have merged words with images to create a collection to mark the occasion of turning 49.  Actually, it may be more accurate to say that these are verbal talismans to carry into my 50th year.  Thoughts, inspirations, and reminders to carry with me on the Journey.  This was a great deal of fun, although I must admit:  it took way longer to do than I imagined (!)  Reminding me, yet again, of my mother's supreme wisdom:  "It always takes longer than you think!"  

Rope bridge photo*
Paper Factory Hotel, Long Island City, NY
Book tower and cash register detail
Paper Factory Hotel, Long Island City, NY

Suitcases and cash register detail
Paper Factory Hotel, Long Island City, NY
Bedroom window - Paper Factory Hotel, Long Island City, NY
Zodiac Mosaic - Subway Station, NYC
Stairwell window and painted man
Paper Factory Hotel, Long Island City, NY

I have never been one to worry and fret over birthdays...  I see much truth in the old saw:  "Age is just a number."  Twenty + years spent in the company of an incredible human who lived large by this adage only served to galvanize that truth, for me.  I understand the 'why' behind certain ages being of some significance:  16 and driving; 18 and voting; 21 and drinking; etc., etc...  I suppose I understand marking the milestones of entering a new decade, too (?)  Having said all of that, I have a tendency to celebrate the odd; for example, prior to our marriage, I threw The Man a surprise party for his 45th *hey, any excuse for a good party - right?*  But I have never approached a birthday with any sense of dread.  I have several friends who bemoan the pending birthday, and it always leaves me scratching my head...  Another birthday?  WINNING!  I mean aging isn't always pretty, but it beats the hell out of the alternative!

Memorial Tree - Arlington Cemetery

I must acknowledge that I have entered my latest year from an entirely new angle.  After two years that contained profound personal and professional losses, I finally feel like I have reclaimed some sort of equilibrium.  I am eternally grateful for the folks who stuck it out with me, and remain a part of my life.  In truth, there are still dark, difficult days -- but these are no longer the bulk of the days...  I feel stronger in mind, body, and spirit than I have in quite some time.  I am thrilled to have a renewed sense of discovery and optimism!  

Be prepared, gentle reader!  I will be exercising #50for50 well and often in the coming year!  I look forward to having loads of fun, and I hope you will join me!

The Brother in Little Italy, NYC

Onward & upward!

Since todays post is loaded with Words of Wisdom, I am leaving you with a song. *nay, an anthem!*  I first fell in love with this tune when I discovered the album Planet Waves in my teens.  In the intervening years, I have heard covers from a variety of artists:  Johnny Cash, Jerry Garcia BandThe Pretenders, and Pearl Jam.  The version that I am sharing here is *hands down* my favorite, after the original.  The Soweto Gospel Choir brings a power to this song that I have not felt in other renditions -- it gives me chills every time!  It is offered here as both a wish and a blessing!  

*Rope Bridge Photo -- This is actually a photo of a photo -- I would gladly credit the original photographer, had there been a sign (?)  This print was HUGE -- I encountered it turning a corner on the floor below where I was staying, and was awestruck.  It felt like you could just keep walking and go right on over that bridge (!)