Christmas Tidings

Wow! We're already upon the next holiday it seems. Christmas is right around the corner. (And I've finished my present shopping!) (I have yet to finish my cards though, which I started nice and early and then...hit the pause button. I have decided to write them after Christmas day [still during the 12 days of Christmas] when I am on vacation and embracing lazy mornings. For someone who makes cards as a business I am setting a terrible example...) I try to celebrate the season by giving where I can - donating the extra bit when I buy my groceries (or tonight it was six-pack, I'll admit) at Publix; Christmas shopping from the Greater Good site; donating a book through Anthropologie (and resisting the pretty pretty shoes calling my name); and giving to St Jude...and of course the Salvation Army Santas! I sound like some sort of commercial for these places, but my point is...there are so many ways to help someone less fortunate. In my quiet little life I feel quite fortunate. It's only little bits here and there, but I figure, every little bit counts, right? I hope you and yours have a joyful, beautiful, safe and warm Christmas and New Year! Here's to a lovely 2011!



How was your Thanksgiving-2010? Here is a "moment of zen" from my family and laughter-filled holiday weekend:


What a strange year, that I am so grateful for…

It is late November already – Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK! Somehow my head is still stuck somewhere back in early summertime…

The warm (again) weather certainly isn’t reinforcing the actual time of year for me. Tank top and shorts in mid-November.

But, reflecting back on all these months that have passed me by, I realize how grateful I am for this year that will leave me full of love.

I’ve seen the fury of love in my two-year-old niece (this is sometimes followed immediately by her fury of…fury), and the love of her parents, my sister and bro-in-law. And really my whole family – she just sort of draws love out of everyone…

I experienced the intense end-of-life love that built incredibly in the face of cancer.

And I’ve learned to appreciate that there’s an everyday love buried in the ups and downs, aggravations and conversations, phone calls and emails…

So this Thanksgiving I grateful for love in all of its forms, expected and not. Cheesy though that is, that’s where this year will leave me.


Holidays are Coming!!

I think my Holiday Craziness started early this year, way back in early September. But I’ve been able to sneak a couple hours in between my crazy-day-job to work on my artsy-job (Pen&Paperie), finally! I’ve had a hectic couple of months, though I’ve just logged my last hours for my architectural license! Woohoo. (Now…on to those exams…)

With ambitions of putting out two calendars this year, I am…half-way there. I’ve got one done! Check out my little 2011 Garden Calendar on Etsy. I’ve made the pictures tear-off note/post cards so you can use them when the month is done.

And, hey, I think some of these can count towards my 1,000,000 Leaves project too…double-duty crafts! How efficient.

Next up: zodiac calendar and Christmas cards!

Have your holiday crazies started yet??


Stormy Grey Etsy Treasury!

I've been neglecting my blog lately...I know... Busy, busy, busy what with work and a wonderful vacation in the Florida Keys. Inspired by some of the weather down South, check out these beautiful stormy pretties in my very first Etsy Treasury: Stormy Sea & Skies - Team FEST Such talent!! What are your favorites?


1,000,000 Leaves - 234-359

234-323 324-359
Some of these are real leaves, some of them are purely imaginary. Though with the crazy imagination Mother Nature has, I wouldn't put anything past her. I am fond of the frond that looks a bit like a peacock tail. What about you? If you have any cool photos of leaves, send them my way!! If I use your inspiration in my stationery, I'll send you a copy of the card!!


1,000,000 Leaves - 233 and Counting!

204-233! (slowly but surely) (soon to be turned into stationery)


Every Day Architecture and Imaginary Architecture

I am fully on my way towards being a registered architect. I have 90% of my hours completed and as soon as I can afford those study materials I am investing, cramming, and diving into those crazy exams. (It feels good to be getting close.)

I work on parking plans, calculate percentages of pervious surfaces, research building and zoning codes, calculate exiting capacities, determine required fire ratings, work out building programs, get caught up in the difference between the frame sizes in curtainwall versus storefront systems, respond to building permit comments, review shop drawings and answer RFIs.

The amount of time I spend actually drawing buildings takes up a surprisingly small percentage of my work day. So when I come home I like to draw imaginary buildings, or colorful houses, or fanciful gardens. It feels a little bit silly, and a little bit childish, but…then again…not really. It feels light and makes me feel a little bit fanciful myself.

I get a little break from the desk-ridden drudgery tomorrow. Early morning jobsite visit – I love buildings in the demo phase. It’s fun to see everything come apart before it comes together into a (sometimes fanciful, sometimes not so, but always very) real building.

(Cotton Candy Key West Houses)


1,000,000 Leaves - Nos. 100-203

I am not a very precise person. I have dreams of drawing those botanical illustrations that you see in thick-papered pretty coffee table books. I am thinking my hands just don't do that. But we'll see - I have 999,797 more leaves to practice!! (These I drew in my sister's garden.) -Cherry Tomatoes – Approx. 15 leaves -Blue Plumbago – 9 leaves -Roma Tomatoes – 6 leaves -Marigolds – 16 leaves -Spearmint – Approx. 48 leaves -Little Pink Weed Flower – 10 leaves


Dashing Through the Snow...

I have officially begun my Christmas shopping. I am a nut, I know, but the opportunity presented itself... So, in the holiday spirit - when you do you start buying Xmas Cards? And do you actually manage to mail them all out before the big day? I've got to get in the holiday frame of mind so I can be prepared when the holiday greetings flurry begins! Also - I need ideas for calendars. Last year I did "Sunny Days of 2010" which was well received. I may do another Sunny Days, but I want to have a couple themes for customers to choose from. What do you like to see handing on your wall?


Summer in Florida -

You live for that brief crispness after a storm when it feels almost-cool on the breeze. There are brief flashes in your mind of a leaves changing color and feeling chilly in your Halloween costume. Then you realize fall barely happens here and that summer should be enjoyed in all its lingering glory.

I love those storms that don’t quite clear the air, too though, and that leave the afternoon warm and muggy (as opposed to hot and muggy). Call me crazy but I do enjoy the humidity…I don’t think I’d do well in the desert.

Walking down the sidewalk, you pass an overripe mango that fell to the ground and is perfuming the air with a musky tropical sugar smell. And you take your flip-flops off to walk through the puddles because, who wants to walk in wet shoes?


What Do YOU Think?

So...I painted this ladder, and I thought it would make a fun card. And I still think so, having printed it. But...what occasion would beg for someone to give someone a card with a ladder on it?? I can only come up with "Climbing the Corporate Ladder" for someone who just got a promotion. What other occasions can you come up with??


Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme

So...I am working away on my million leaves, and trying to figure out how exactly to count the leaves. For example...the parsley below...I'd say seven. Pretty straight forward. The sage...one...simple. The rosemary...I've got 11 little twigs coming off of the bigger twig...so, 11? Or do I count each teeny little needley leaves? Hmmm. What do you think?


Now in Stores!

If you are in or near Sarasota, Florida be sure to stop in Everything But the Girl on Central Avenue! Shop owner Laura has a wonderful selection of vintage clothes and handmade wares from local artists...including Pen&Paperie cards!! Yay!!


Father's Day is a'coming!

Let your Pop know how much he means to you. I am not sure if "Daddy's Girl" is wholly the right term for me, but I certainly think I have some "Daddy's Girl" tendencies. Every time I see a bit of my father in me - my determined side, my creative side, my quiet side - I smile. Every time I see my car covered in lovebugs (aka now) I think of him...reminding me to wash it... :D I've got a couple of Father's Day cards up in my shop (Pen and Paperie), with more to come! What do you think of these?



After reading the very cool article from NPR about the bees who make the wonderful magical little nests to house single eggs (see my post "Bee Flower Architecture" below)...I've decided to try (TRY being the key word) to give bees the benefit of the doubt. So I got a little up close and personal with my camera and watched them drinking up the sugary yumminess of these sweet flowers. Until one buzzed a little too close to my ear and sent me scampering off...

Summer Colors

My parents' wonderful yard. I love wandering through with my camera when I visit.

Southern Comfort

Smell the Jasmine (these little tiny buds with a sweet mild perfume, which no one can remember the exact name of...)... ...and Magnolia (just about ready to bloom)......and these pretty Bay Rum buds... ...oh and the pretty green of banana leaves in there too! I love summer.


Bee Flower Architecture

Check this out: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126556246 Aren't they gorgeous? I have an irrational though, I feel, justified fear of bees. They sting me for no apparent reason. People tell me if I leave them along, they'll leave me alone but I do not find this to be the case. They'd lead much happier and longer lives if they left me alone, as, though I've never seen one drop to the ground immediately post-attack, they do die after they sting right? However, these guys seem pretty cool. Check out the nests. Insect architecture... I love these - I wonder if I could make something like this and make some sort of delicate mobile? Hmmm...


Any Occasion Flower Note Cards

More flowery cards in my Etsy Shop!! Apparently I am feeling very flowery and girly lately... What do you think? Any suggestions from you beautiful-blog creators out there? http://www.etsy.com/listing/45527162/six-any-occasion-flower-note-cards

Summery Sun Shining

The chirping of insect fills the air and I know it is summer. The calendar might not say so, but the whirring ceiling fans in my apartment confirm it. The soft breeze is so welcome on my bare shoulders, when it seems just yesterday I was piling on sweaters. Spring is a short-lived thing here in Florida; it is a mere stepping stone to get to summer. But it is still early enough that the sun doesn’t yet seem to bake and/or melt everything its rays fall on. Let the sun shine: ...off to the beach I go...


Ballerina Love Azaleas

When I was small and thought differently about things, azaleas were not amongst my favorite flowers. I didn’t like that if you plucked them from their stems they would quickly wilt while other flowers would last much longer.

My thoughts have shifted over the years…I love how delicate, fragile, and thin azaleas are, and that they begin to droop so quickly. It makes their brief beauty much more powerful.

I saw an azalea shrub in a front yard – with hundreds of these gorgeous orangey-coral colored flowers - and the sun was in just such a position that each flower seemed to glow. The petals are so thin that the light came right through. The image is resonant with me.

About a month later I saw the same shrub and all the blooms were gone. But across the street were these,

which are my favorite azaleas ever. They are little ballerina love azaleas. And they too, will quickly be gone but their beauty is that much more for it.


A Most Amazing Tree

A most amazing tree, I visited with a most amazing person.

I can’t tell you what a wonderful day it was.



And a tree that could house a whole city of fairies. And they could dance in the sun and the shadows.

Urban tree fairies…hmmm…I like that. There may be a story there.


Who lives in these windows?

I think there are stories behind everything and especially behind every window. Who do you think lives behind these windows? http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=42814273


More Silly Cards!

One more silly card on my Etsy shop (www.penandpaperie.etsy.com) ...I actually got a great photo of my little cousin in this quintessential boy-enjoying-summer vacation pose - my inspiration. Except it was at Thanksgiving, not summer... But this card makes me feel summery!! :D


Silly Birthday Cards!

I've been making birthday cards for my wee family members and having so much fun. Of course, I make them for everyone else to send out to them and then I don't send any out FROM me...that busy-busy-busy of the holiday season never seemed to subside... But alas, here is one of my favorites I just posted on my Etsy shop (www.penandpaperie.etsy.com):What do you think?


Another Chilly Day at the Beach!

Why do I keep gravitating towards the Gulf when it's so COLD out? By the time I walked to the end of the beach and back I couldn't feel my feet. I suppose I could've worn shoes, but that somehow did not occur to me... ...and by "COLD" I mean...45 degrees-ish...

Late Night Snacks

Whilst snacking in bed, I discovered I have an edamame-colored quilt!


Late Nights and Beheaded Cauliflower

Most of my waking hours lately have been spent at the dreaded office…dreaded…but I am grateful to be working so…no further complaint there… Alas, I have not seen daylight hours in so long though so I’ve been playing with my camera inside in the evenings…mostly taking snaps of my food.-Gorgeous-orange sweet potato oven fries.-Drop biscuits, as all I had in my house that day were basic staples - little box of Parmalat, oil, flour, and thankfully baking powder at least. I’ve since been grocery shopping…-Sautéing pearl onions. I got so wrapped up in taking photos and playing with the settings on my camera that I actually burned the onions in my neglect of them.-Cauliflower soup (a new favorite thanks to my fancy new immersion blender, gift from my aunt and uncle!)-and my favorite…the beheaded cauliflower. Hahaha.