Tag Archives: art

Beautiful Florence

Looking back through my pictures and Florence is as beautiful as I remember.

We had what was probably the best Airbnb apartment of our whole trip. It was less than two blocks to the River Arno and the Ponte alla Carraia (the second bridge west of the Ponte Vecchio), and probably 15 minutes walk to the train station. Well, 15 minutes for us. If you ask an Italian how long a walk, they would probably say 5 minutes. They all seem to walk very briskly and everything is “just 5 minutes walk away.”

Just inside is the well-equipped kitchen and one bathroom, then up stone stairs to the two bedrooms and up another flight to another bathroom.

Right by the bridge was a gelataria, Gelataria Carraia. This was another fabulous gelato shop, also on several Top Ten lists.

We loved living in a neighborhood that offered laundromat, grocery store, bakery, brewery and gelataria all within a short walking distance.


S. Forno Panaficio, the bakery, was a beautiful shop with a vaulted ceiling. I asked a woman behind the counter how long they’d been open and she said they’d been there for four years, but there had been a bakery in that location for “at least 100 years.”  Everything we tried was delicious.

Rem was  happy to sample a flight of beer at Archea Brewery in our neighborhood, a small place, as well as at Beer House Club, which had more space, and more beers to taste.

Walking around there was so much to see.

From this huge wall, portal and door…

To a strange doorknocker, there were beautiful and unique things at every turn.

This poster turned out to be the first of several similar ones we saw later in the trip. Blub.

An open-air bus was a nice, relaxed way to see some of the city. Sitting in the sunshine with my husband, classical music playing on the headphones between the tour information, toodling around Florence wasn’t a bad way to spend the afternoon.

And David. Ah, David. There are two replicas displayed outdoors. We saw them both.  The bronze, below, is in Piazzale Michelangelo.

Rem was not interested in waiting in line to visit a museum, so I saw the original marble by myself (for the second time – my first visit was when I was there 18 years ago).  It was a long line but I’m glad I went back.

We didn’t go inside the Duomo, but the exterior is an extravagant wedding cake of a design in elaborately carved white, green and pink marble. The terra cotta dome is magnificent and I loved catching glimpses of it as we moved around the historic center of the city.

We enjoyed a classic dinner: bistecca alla fiorentina, or literally Steak Florentine: grilled Porterhouse steaks.

And of course we enjoyed shopping in the food stalls in the Mercado Centrale and cooking dinner in our own kitchen.  I also hit the stalls outside and bought a new purse and some scarves.

Soon enough, it was time for another train journey – off to Lucca.

Thanks for coming along.




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Day 18: 30 Day Journal Project


“It’s difficult to get your creative juices flowing if you’re always being practical, following rules, afraid to make mistakes, not looking into outside areas, or under the influence of any of the other mental locks.”  ~ Roger Von Oech


This page is really about the journaling and processing of the ideas and I just didn’t have the energy (or take the time) to make it more than that. Maybe because of the very topic of this quote and the prompts for the day, I decided to be ok with what I did, and call it done.


I needed to do a quick page and get to bed at a reasonable hour. I’ve been letting each day’s project flow into the next day, and Day 17 with two double-page collages and a cutout door in between took lots of time. I didn’t reach my goal of 10,000 steps on Friday, but I did on Saturday.

What rules would be on your list to ignore?

Thanks for the visit.

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Day 13: 30 Day Journal Project


“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.

And the world will not have it.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you.

Keep the channel open.”    ~ Martha Graham


What a wonderful quote for our 13th day with the #30DayJournal project!

I went with my creative flow and the first thing I put on the page was the Henry David Thoreau quote. I have it on a card from Rem. I love it and it fit perfectly for today. The green curlicues were my response to the “vitality, a life force…”


I created a collaged peach because that is Rem’s nickname for me: Peach, or Peaches. This one even has some soft, fuzzy paper on it.  The magazine picture in the background is a peach orchard.



I traced the Graham quote on vellum and my journaling for the day is written in white pen on the peach trees, under the vellum.


Thank you for checking out the post for today!


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Day 8: 30 Day Journal Project


Leaping into the unknown was the prompt I wrote about on Day 8, #30DayJournal.


“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water” ~  Rabindranath Tagore

The two biggest leaps in my life were in 1998 when I quit my job and traveled alone to Italy for four weeks, and last year when I jumped out of a plane.


Late Wednesday night when I was working on this page, I wanted to check a little detail so dug out the journal I took on the Italy trip, and ended up sitting and reading for the next 20 minutes. I started writing in the beautiful little book a few months before the trip. I wrote about being very sad and lonely and nervous about my plan to spend a month traveling alone.

I look back on the trip with complete delight.  The sadness is not what stayed with me, so it was very interesting to discover these emotions in my journal. I was very proud of myself for having made the decision to go – doing something that the friends and family members who were getting married and starting families could not do as easily.  I saved money for a year, quit a job that didn’t seem to have much future for me, packed my bags and went to Italy!


My journaling for this page covers both pages but the writing is underneath the collage.  I remember talking to the therapist I was seeing about a year before the trip. I was seeing friends marry and have kids and my prospects in that area seemed pretty dim.  His question to me “What can you do that your friends with their jobs, families and commitments can’t do?” and my immediate response was “Travel!” His next question, “Where?” was answered with “Italy.” I guess somewhere in my heart I was just waiting for someone to ask the right question!

Rem gives me envelopes from his ham radio mail – so I have stamps from around the world. I added the Italia stamp for some authentic flavor on the postcard.


Yes, I was scared and the trip wasn’t a perfectly blissful experience from start to finish but I felt strong and capable. I stayed in hostels and a few small hotels – albergos. I met other travelers and Italians, I saw incredible countryside, artwork, and architecture, and soaked up the history and colors that were all around me every day. The food was delicious and I was very happy. Venice was a particular favorite, so I chose Venice for my collage.


Three months after I got home, I met Rem.  A very seasoned traveler, he’d been in Africa for a year and had been home for two months when we met.  We’ve been together for 16 years now.

Thank you for coming by.


July 9, 2015 · 5:56 pm

Day 4: 30 Day Journal Project


A suggestion for today’s page was to use a favorite childhood art supply. After some deliberation, I decided to give fingerpainting another go. I pulled out a cookie sheet to contain the paint and used matte medium with some acrylic paint together.  After I completed a design, I pressed paper on the paint and carefully peeled it off. I really enjoyed it and did four pages, three of which were combined for today’s page.


“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke


I remember clothespins holding wet paintings to dry. Was that nursery school or maybe kindergarten?


Mine are made from paper and ink.



Thanks for following along.


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Day 3: 30 Day Journal Project


“Her whole life shifted the day she started to tell the truth about what made her happy. I never knew it could be that simple, she said.” ~ Brian Andreas

Journaling in pencil first, then added gel pen to highlight some words.


Almost all the journaling got covered with collaged images representing things that make me happy, along with colored paper scraps and washi tape (washi makes me happy). Some words are still visible through the washi tape.


White paint, colored ink, gel pens and lots of doodling.


Working on my 30 Day Journal Project makes me HAPPY! IMG_0040



A young saleswoman said “you’re happy!” to me today when I was doing errands. I thanked her and told her I was doing this project and she said “you’re a happy person.”  I agreed, because I think I am.

It made me happy.

I’m happy that you are reading my blog.




Filed under 30DayJournal, Art Journal Pages

Day 2: 30 Day Journal Project


“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” ~ Rumi

I started with different river pictures: an aerial photo, a drawing from a calendar of the River Thames, a magazine picture of a bridge over a peaceful river, another picture from a calendar of a section of the Merced River in the Yosemite valley in winter, and a section of map showing the Merced River. I pasted these on my page and added “Day 2” with the date.


Next I used some white acrylic paint to tone down some of the yellow and pink in these pictures. I layered on some tissue paper as well.


Then I really got into it and forgot to take any more in-progress photos.

I collaged on some beautiful marbleized paper, rich in blues, teals and purple with black and gold, and started adding paint: first some almost white that I added teal spray ink to bit by bit and made big swooping curves.  Then with a smaller brush and more teal ink I added darker edges to the swoops. Finally, I took a small paintbrush and some watercolor paint in shades of blue and green, I dripped paint on and tipped the book every which way to let the paint roll down the page.


Gold ink and music washi tape finished the page.  I added some journaling with a paint pen, and the quote with gel pen.




The lighting isn’t great and it is late, but I’m very pleased with this process and the result.

Edit: Here’s a picture taken in daylight. To my eye, the page is somewhere between the two – the gold shows up a bit more than in the photo below, but not as much as the pictures above.


About the #30DayJournal project here.  I appreciate your visit and comments.

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Day 1: 30 Day Journal Project


“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” ~ Louis L’Amour



More about this project here. Thank you for the visit.

#30DayJournal Day 1

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San Francisco Outing #1


A few weeks ago Rem and I had a play day in San Francisco.  The campus where I work is closed on Fridays for eight weeks every summer (LOVE) and I like to make the most of these special days. Here are some of our pictures.

First stop: Spire. An outdoor art installation by sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. It is quite near Inspiration Point in the Presidio, which is where we parked, and also worth a visit.



Not very far away, we visited WOOD LINE, which is also in the Presidio.



We searched for a labyrinth but didn’t find it on this visit.

Instead, we climbed this beautiful mosaic stairway.


It starts deep in the ocean and goes all the way up to the sun!



From the ocean to a flowing river with plants and animals along the side.



And then, above the earth to the sky, moon and stars.  The moon is pieced together from pieces of mirror.


The stairway has handcrafted shapes of animals, flowers, fish, birds and stars with names of local sponsors pressed into them. It is really an incredible work of art.


And finally, at the very top is the sun.


At the top, looking back down.


From the top, we crossed the street and started climbing a whole bunch more steps to Grand View Park. If it had been a clear day, I’m sure the views would have been quite grand.

Our final destination? The concrete slides at Seward Mini Park.


We both had a few runs on the slides and Rem said it was his favorite thing of the whole day.


Thanks for sliding by. Tomorrow I’m starting the 30 Day Journal Project, #30DayJournal!



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30 Day Journal Project for July

30 Day Journal Project badge - 500px

I’m doing this! Do you want to join me? It is 30 days of journaling, starting July 1, with artist Lisa Sonora posting daily prompts and inspiration. You can learn more about it here.  It’s also free – how cool is that?

A few years ago I signed up for a different month-long project: 30 Days of Creativity, and I did it for three years, with some variation in my participation. Here are some of my favorite creations:


Day 6: June 6, 2013, Mosaic Poppies Art Journal Page


Day 28: June 28, 2013, Collage Sand Gild Stamp Art Journal Page


Day 3, June 3, 2012, Icebox Cupcakes


Day 21: June 21, 2012, Bleach Pen T-Shirt


Day 2: June 2, 2011, Embossed Tins


Day 26: June 26, 2011, Fused Plastic Bags

You can look under the 30DOC tab up at the top of the blog to see all the projects I did over three years.

Last May when I couldn’t find 30DOC online, I just skipped it. I don’t know if it happened or not but I wasn’t part of it.  Of course I could have done it on my own, but there is something about doing it with lots of other people that I find compelling.

I’m excited and a little nervous to be starting this 30 Day Project, #30DayJournal, because I know it is a commitment. But I also know that when I push myself, I come up with some of my most creative work.  I purchased a new journal for the project and I cleaned off my craft desk.

Here is the before…


And after.





Ready to go! Care to join me? #30DayJournal

Thanks for stopping by.




Filed under Crafts