In the Woods

There’s nothing like a hike in the woods to kick off the Fall season.

at Indian Lake trail at Indian Lake trail

goldenrod at Indian Lake trailThese woods were full of lichen, moss, mushrooms and all sorts of other hidden treasures.
lichen at Indian Lake trail lichen at Indian Lake trail lichen at Indian Lake trail

acorn in the woods

mushrooms at Indian Lake trail ferns at Indian Lake trail

wild asters at Indian Lake trailWhen we started out on this trail, I was complaining that I never see an owl in the wild. A few minutes later we heard an owl hoot really loud! We looked for it the rest of the day, but the only wildlife we saw were blue jays and woodpeckers.

I’m looking forward to hitting this trail again soon to see some of the fall color that seems to be popping up overnight. Hope you’re enjoying some fresh air this Fall season.


Autumn Bucket List

Since the official start of Autumn was this week, I wanted to share my Autumn Bucket List:

fall tree

• Hit the beach! We didn’t make it to the beach on Lake Michigan in the summer months, but we did make it last weekend. It was an awesome adventure, so maybe we’ll be lucky enough to go again.

• Lots of hiking. We went to one of my favorite trails a couple weekends ago, so there are two more trails I want to go to this fall.


• Keep fresh–cut flowers in Autumn colors in my home office each week

fresh cut flowers

• Go to Oktoberfest which is tonight!

• Go to my parent’s cottage for some hiking and kayaking.

• Plant mums – yay, already done and they’re in full bloom!

• Plant spring bulbs

• Go to a pumpkin patch, and carve pumpkins for Halloween

• Go to an apple orchard, and make apple crisp, my all-time favorite dessert.

• Make homemade pumpkin spice creamer

Draw more and fill up another sketchbook

• Have some campfires in our backyard

• Clean out the garage – yay, already done!

• Clean out the basement – mostly general junk and old craft supplies I’m not going to use

• Go to farmers market before it ends in early November

• Go to the botanical gardens – I’m planning to make this a monthly trip to see what’s new as the seasons change

Olbrich Gardens

What’s on your bucket list for the Autumn season? Don’t let it slip by!


New Greeting Cards

I’ve added a few sets of new greeting cards to my Etsy shop for the upcoming holidays. All these new sets have fun, simple greetings on the front.

autumn pumpkin greeting cards

christmas greeting cards

Autumn theme

autumn greeting cards

Pumpkin theme

pumpkin greeting cards

Thanksgiving theme

give thanks greeting cards

Christmas themes

christmas  greeting cardschristmas greeting cards

Of course, any of these sets can be mixed and matched if you prefer a different combination.

For now, I print all my notecards and greeting cards at home on white cardstock. They measure 5-1/4″ wide by 4-1/4″ high, and come with invitation-size envelopes to match. Making stationery is a fun way to use my nature illustrations, so I’ve been working on adding fun, simple greetings to the designs.

I’m also working on some new hand-lettered designs so check back for more updates.


The Beach

When I was a kid, my family used to go to the sandy beaches on Lake Michigan for the day to picnic, swim and play in the sand and waves.

the beach at Lake Michigan the beach at Lake Michigan

I thought it would be great fun to show this beautiful area to my husband so we made the two-hour drive this weekend to one of these beaches called Kohler-Andrae State Park.

the beach at Lake Michigan the beach at Lake Michigan

the beach at Lake Michigan

It turned out to be a nice windy day with lots of puffy clouds in the sky and big waves that crashed onto the beach. We walked and walked and walked, soaking up the fresh air, watching the waves and looking for beach artifacts.

the beach at Lake Michigan

the beach at Lake Michigan the beach at Lake Michigan

This beach has some really cool dunes and lots of beach grass to help keep the shoreline intact.dunes at the beach at Lake Michigan

It also has really fine, soft, powdery sand so it was fun to walk barefoot on the beach and try to avoid getting soaked by the crashing waves.
feather on the beach at Lake Michigan

the beach at Lake MichiganI wish we lived closer to these sandy beaches along Lake Michigan so we could go there more often. It’s a great place to escape the rat-race and get some R&R.

Hope you’re making time for fresh air, field trips and adventures these days as summer transitions to fall.


Inspiration Wednesday: From My Sketchbook

I’m continuing my quest to manage my time so I can keep sketching and drawing ideas in my sketchbook while keeping up with my licensed art projects and graphic design clients. I have quite a collection of sketches, so I’ve been busy inking and digitizing them to further turn them into marketable work. Here are a few recent illustrations from my sketchbook pages, along with some reference photos that inspired me.

sketchbook secret garden gate

sketchbook page wood nymph butterfly

I love the eyespots on Common Wood Nymph butterflies and on some birch trees!

olbrich birch forestbirch eye

sketchbook page birch eyes

I’m continuing my quest to Make More Work on advice from established designers and illustrators. Make so much work that you can’t be ignored. I love to draw so it’s a great challenge to draw more, to draw all the time, to continue to develop my unique illustration style.

Hope you’re on the look–out for things that inspire you.


It’s Fall At the Market

There’s always lots of cheese and bakery at the farmers market from spring to fall, but I love seeing the variety of flowers and produce, especially as the crops change through the seasons. This time of year, the flowers and bouquets are so vibrant! And the harvest crops produce fun shapes, colors and textures.

sunflowers at the market flowers at the market

bouquets at the market bouquets at the market bouquets at the market cockscomb flowers at the market

celosia intenz at the market tomatoes at the market

mini pumpkins at the market indian corn at the market gourds at the marketHope you enjoyed some adventures this weekend.



Speaking of Sketchbooks

I have a collection of really nice sketchbooks. But I don’t use them. I have this phobia of the first page of any sketchbook, but especially a nice sketchbook. I don’t want that first page to suck. So I often skip the first page and start drawing on the second page.

nicer sketchbooks

I also don’t want to use my really nice sketchbooks in case my drawings suck. So I started using Moleskin sketchbooks more lately, since the paper isn’t that great, especially for pencil drawing and inking. The paper is thin and smooth, not the best for either graphite pencils or black ink markers.

moleskin sketchbooks

But you know what? These very basic sketchbooks seem to be doing the trick because I’ve been drawing a lot lately. I filled up one sketchbook this summer, chock full of sketches that I really like. These clovers are the last drawing in that now-full sketchbook (actually on the second-to-last page – the last page has notes written on it).

sketchbook clover

And then I picked up a second sketchbook right away and did a drawing on the first page! Yay!

sketchbook eyes

I know it may sound silly, but I think a lot of artists have issues like this with their sketchbooks. Some artists draw on loose sheets of paper because of the fear of messing up their nice sketchbooks. I fully support doing whatever works, if that means drawing on not-very-nice paper, as long as it keeps me drawing and illustrating, experimenting and creating.


« Older Entries