Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Flights of Fancy, Flights of Fantasy

Forgive me, for duplicating a post, but it's short:

I've put a few more maps up at The Interimaginational Institute for Fantastical Exploration & Cartography, including this one:

Kingdom of Whimsy_main

because some people might wish to visit new kingdoms after they go treasure-hunting. All that treasure -- gold, I assume, although the maps don't specify -- could be useful at fairy markets and the like.

As more lands are discovered and mapped, or as more lands are mapped, and the maps then discovered, the Institute will offer those for your exploring pleasure, as well.

How I Spent Memorial Day Weekend.

For the first time since I can remember, I spent it at memorials. Well, actually, not Memorial Day, but part of the weekend.

My husband's best friend and his girlfriend came into town -- well, to Washington, D.C., where they grew up -- this weekend, and we went to visit them to celebrate birthdays and to see the goings-on in the big city.

We started with a party at a bowling alley:


which was far more fun than I even dreamed, because I-of-the-perpetually-aching-wrists actually bowled and got as many strikes in one night as I have in my entire life, I believe (three). I still didn't score very high, but I have proof that for one entire frame, I was winning:


(That's my "A" there at the bottom.)

On Sunday, we took the Metro into D.C. to see the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally and watched more motorcycles go by than there are people living in my hometown. Or so I was told. I didn't actually count.


That's the State Department behind these bikes.

Here the participating bikers wait to begin the ride:


They rode fairly well spaced apart, but it was a constant stream:


There were other spectators, too:


After the rally, we walked down the Mall past the Washington Monument


to the World War II Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial. I had never seen either one before. The difference was intriguing. I don't have any good pictures of the WWII Memorial without strangers in them, because it was packed, and quite a few of the people were sitting around the fountain in the middle, soaking their feet and talking. It didn't feel disrespectful, but it did feel very summery. The Vietnam Memorial, in stark contrast, was solemn and quiet -- except for a brief moment when a man in a tank top put up his trumpet and played "Taps." I took one picture only:


My kind of tribute. I don't know which name on the wall is yours, but here's to you, man, whoever you are. Cheers.

Flights of Fancy, Flights of Fantasy

I've put a few more maps up at The Interimaginational Institute for Fantastical Exploration & Cartography, including this one:

Kingdom of Whimsy_main

because some people might wish to visit new kingdoms after they go treasure-hunting. All that treasure -- gold, I assume, although the maps don't specify -- could be useful at fairy markets and the like.

As more lands are discovered and mapped, or as more lands are mapped, and the maps then discovered, the Institute will offer those for your exploring pleasure, as well. And remember, your purchases support future mapping expeditions!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Won't you join me?

On an incredible and unforgettable voyage in search of new lands, hidden treasure, terrific tales and fantastic adventures?


And in celebration. Because today is the first anniversary of my Etsy shop, and although I have not spent much time tending my shop in recent months, I am back - with something that came out of the blue and wraps up so many of my long-tucked-away childhood dreams in one.

I am pleased to announce the opening of:

located at

All I wanted to do when I was a child was go places. I pored over maps for hours, sent away for travel brochures from places I'd never heard of, read National Geographic and Condé Nast Traveler from front to back, spent hours dreaming of becoming an explorer and a cartographer. What better way to live a life than to go all over the world, find new places and then make maps to tell everyone else?


But I grew older, and most people do, I deemed some dreams unreasonable and shelved them away in my mental attic while I went on to other activities. I got the impression at some point that there was nothing left to discover, really (something I realize now is somewhat untrue, even in the age of the amazing Google Earth, but I was convinced I was too late back then). Yet, I never lost my love for stories of explorers, discoverers, adventurers, pirates -- and for the maps they used in their exploits.


As I've grown older, I've realized that the most uncharted land of all is that of imagination. There will always be room for adventurers, explorers and dreamers to roam and discover freely. And there will always be a use for new maps.


So I put dip pen in ink and brush in watercolor these past weeks, and I present you with my maps of imaginary places. Treasure maps, journeying maps and maps of kingdoms filled with magic.


I have been so lucky that even as I changed my plans, my life has still been filled with incredible experiences, expeditions and countless journeys to amazing places. And of all the things I've done with my time, this cartographic project has been one of the most fulfilling, the most fun, the most joyous.

A few of my maps are already available on Etsy, and more, including a map of the Kingdom of Whimsy, will be up over the next few days. Please pass the word to those you know who might like to visit me at The Interimaginational Institute of Fantastical Exploration and Cartography. You'll need no luggage for this journey; just a good sense of adventure and a bit of spontaneity.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Listening Pleasure

I've had the great pleasure of sitting at my new table and desk, working away this week at artwork that just makes me happy. Oh so happy. It's coming together beautifully, and I will soon be ready to share it (most likely on Tuesday, after the holiday weekend).

In the meantime, you might find a theme, or themes, in the music I've been listening to. A sampling from this week's soundtrack:

"Sunny Sailor Boy" * Luka Bloom
"Under the Sea" * The Little Mermaid Soundtrack
"Come All You Sailors" * The Wailin' Jennys
"A Cloak of Elvenkind" * Marcy Playground
"The Bad Squire" * Chumbawamba
"Yellow Submarine" * Beatles
"Fabulous Places" * Kevin Spacey (from the Beyond the Sea soundtrack)
"The Gypsy Laddie" * Benji Kirkpatrick
"Mexican Moon" * Concrete Blonde
"Bird From the Mountain" * Fairport Convention
"Tall Ships" * Show of Hands
"Mary Mac" * Carbon Leaf
"Ship" * North Mississippi Allstars
"Immigrant Song" * Led Zeppelin

If you're interested in legitimately free downloads, you'll find an incredible selection (particularly of folk and traditional music) at Alison Scott's Macademia (which I found through Making Light, a wonderful, thoughtful blog, one of the first I ever read regularly). Many props to Alison for creating such a great resource. also has a terrific selection of free music downloads; it seems they don't have a good central page anymore, so you have to search by artist, but the tracks are still there, as far as I can tell.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hello, Hello!

I'm still hard at work at my latest, greatest project (and I am so, so excited!) but I thought I'd poke my head in, and share some journal spreads. These are a few months apart. I don't do these on a regular basis, but when I do, they help me work up motivation and energy to go work on other things. They're almost always a reflection of my mindset -- or what I wish it were -- at the moment. And I figure they'll give my great-great grandchildren something fun to look at.




And in other news, this was in our classified section this Sunday. I was this close to calling them, but really, where would I put it?


Friday, May 04, 2007

Spring Stew

I had hoped to write a longer post sooner than this one, but life has been a fast-paced blend of flavors and activities the past week, so quickly:

I went rowing (twice) and learned the first day (sculling) that I am in better shape than I thought and the second day (five days later and sweep rowing) that I am in far worse shape than I thought. And we joined the Y this week, too, but I have yet to go back, primarily because Monday's rowing session left me nearly unable to move.


I'm working on a new art project that excites me to no end. I'm not ready to share details just yet but it might be the most fun thing I've worked on yet. Not original exactly, but unique in its own way, and packed with adventure and fun!


We've adopted a new member of the family - a sleek gray cat two months younger and half the size of Gus. Our hope was that Gus would have a new playmate. And he does. I think. At first he was viciously unwelcoming toward the gray cat, but slowly they started making each other's acquaintance. Now, I can't always tell if they're playing or fighting. But it's only been a week, so I'm watching and waiting and only breaking up the fights when it looks like blood might be spilled or one of them is in extreme pain. And sometimes, they do look like the best of friends.

Now the trick is to figure out how to feed them so that the smaller, scrawny one gains weight and Gus slims down a bit.


Yesterday we went to Unfinished Furniture Mart to finally order a corner desk and hutch I set my eye months ago (I wanted to wait for our tax refund, and the waiting was very difficult), to find that they were on sale for almost 40 percent off. For no reason. No clearance, or holiday, or anything. Just because. Not only that, but they're expecting one to come today and we should get it by the beginning of next week (orders usually take three to four weeks, we were told back when we first found it). So we're buying a solid wood desk set for about the same as the particle board equivalent would be in most stores. Sometimes you get the good cards.

(Now maybe we can go back and get more of the same set but we've got to see how the desk and hutch fit in this tiny room, first.)


And finally, the stew I mentioned? Al and I made a Mexican chicken-black-bean-vegetable naked burrito style dinner the other night that was so delicious I can't stop thinking about it. And that is a feat, considering that the only food that usually won't let go of my brain is chocolate mousse cheesecake. I wouldn't say it's my favorite food, because I have many of those, but it's the only one I really obsess about on a regular basis. What's yours?