Postcards from Spring Break

I splurged recently with a trip to visit my parents in Florida. My yard was still covered in snow when I left so it was wonderful to see green again.

I’ve always wanted to do the Sanibel stoop, so I was grateful to do some beachcoming on Sanibel Island.

I love watching the sanderlings chase the waves to find bugs left behind.

I also love watching all the shorebirds and waterbirds, like this Ibis poking around for something good to eat.
It doesn’t get much better than sunsets over the ocean.

Week 18 Animal Art Series: Flamingos

In order to continue my mission to draw all the time and fill up more sketchbooks in 2016, I’m working on a new weekly theme to do daily drawings, while experimenting with watercolor. At the end of each week, it’s nice to have lots of new drawings and a full page illustration.

The theme for my week 18 sketchbook page was Flamingos. I’m continuing to do a similar process with this illustration: light pencil sketch, base color, details with my beloved tiny paintbrushes and a watercolor wash for the background.

week 18 sketchbook page flamingos

Can’t wait to turn this playful sketchbook page into fun new digital art! Happy drawing!


Click here to see my Weeks 1-16 illustrations, ranging from bears to owls to whales to saltwater fish

Click here to see Week 17: Backyard Birds

Spring Break 2016

It’s a rare event when I get to take a trip, so I feel lucky to have traveled to the Sunshine State for Spring Break again this year.

beach views

Mornings and evenings at the pool are a wonderful way to start and end the day.mornings at the pool

Afternoons and sunsets at the beach are the best! Wish I could do that everyday.

seashell treasures white ibis on the beach

sunset at the beach

mom at sunset on the beach

sunset on the beach

The lush, tropical vegetation is always a treat to see in March when everything in my neighborhood is just waking up from being dormant all winter.

red hibiscus

I spent a beautiful day at the Naples Botanical Gardens.

palms at botanical gardens palm trees and ferns at botanical gardens arbor at botanical gardens arbor at botanical gardens

lego butterfly at botanical gardens tiger swallowtail at botanical gardens fritillary at botanical gardens julia butterfly at botanical gardens

Now I’m brainstorming ways I can arrange to visit the beach more often. Vacations are great, aren’t they?!


A Walk on the Beach

I grew up near Lake Michigan so we spent a lot of time at the beaches when we were kids. These days, I like to take advantage of any chance I can get to visit the beach. It was really foggy in the morning, so it was cool to watch the fog over the water. The water was still freezing cold, but it was so refreshing and relaxing to walk on the beach before the crowds got there for a sunny afternoon.

Bradford Beach Milwaukee

fog at Bradford Beach

waves at Bradford BeachBradford Beachfeather at Bradford Beach feather at Bradford Beach zebra mussel shells at Bradford Beach

Hope you’re out experiencing some adventures during these last days of summer!


From My Sketchbook: August Doodles

In order to fill up more sketchbooks, which is on my bucket list for 2015, I’m having fun coming up with new drawing prompts, so I’ve been trying to sketch A LOT more lately. One thing I’m doing is a monthly calendar, but instead of using it like a diary, I’m using it to do a daily doodle.

For the month of August, I went with a new theme centered around the beach since we made a couple trips to local beaches in August. I really love how this turned out!

sketchbook page of august doodles

I know, the month of August isn’t over yet. I think having a theme got me more excited to keep going, so I ended up finishing this page early. And I filled in each square on my grid, instead of limiting myself to just the days of August.

Stay tuned for the next month of doodles!


Click here to see my January doodles

Click here to see my February doodles

Click here to see my March doodles

Click here to see my April doodles

Click here to see my May doodles

Click here to see my June doodles

Click here to see my July doodles

From My Sketchbook: August Theme

In order to fill up more sketchbooks, which is on my bucket list for 2015, I’m having fun coming up with new drawing prompts, so I’ve been trying to sketch A LOT more lately. One thing I’m doing is a monthly calendar, but instead of using it like a diary, I’m using it to do a daily doodle.

For the month of August, I’m going with a new theme centered around the beach since we’re planning a couple trips to local beaches in August.

sketchbook page for August doodles

Stay tuned for progress!



Spring Break in the Sunshine State

We recently went on vacation for the first time in four years! It was as wonderful as I remembered.

palm trees on the beach

We spent a few days in Naples, Florida, soaking up lots of warm temps and sunshine.

sunset at Naples pier

It’s been eight years since we’ve seen the ocean. What a tragedy! The beach was as fabulous as I imagined.

We went for a boat ride to see the waterfront mansions.

Naples Princess boat ride

mansion on Gordon River, Naplesmansion on Gordon River

mansion on Gordon River, Naples mansion on Gordon River, Naples mansion on Gordon River, Naples

We saw lots and lots of flowers, especially a wide variety of hibiscus, which I’m looking forward to growing in containers in our yard this summer. We also went to a farmers market, which was a treat since it’s March!

yellow hibiscus red hibiscus pink hibiscus red hibiscus

We saw a variety of palm trees.

palm tree palm trees palm tree palm tree palm tree wrapped in lights

We were lucky to see dolphins and lots of birds.


pelicans and dolphins

white ibis bird on beach


seagull on beach

seagull on the beach

We enjoyed dinner on the beach, watched the tide go out, and saw some beautiful sunsets.

sunset in Naples

sunset in Naples

sunset in Naples

It’s always fun to spend idle time walking on the beach and splashing in the warm ocean waters, watching the waves and wildlife, people-watching and seeing the sights.

beautiful beach in Naples beautiful beach in Naples

One thing I noticed while going through the hundreds of pictures I took is that I love to take photos of my feet covered in the soft, powdery sand after being in the water.

feet on the beach

We did a lot of beachcombing and found a few handfuls of seashells, but I left them with my mom to bring back on her drive home in a few weeks so they wouldn’t break in my suitcase.

wine on the beach

Note to self: go on vacation more often! Cheers!


In Between

Ever have those moments when you are in between projects, in between vacations, in between adventures, in between progress? You spent a lot of time and energy working really hard to reach a goal, then that mission is accomplished. You’re feeling good about your efforts to make it to the next goal, yet you feel like you have so much to do, you don’t know where to start? I had one of those weeks.

We had a wonderful beach vacation last week.

Today I participated in the Jodi Lou Lung Cancer 5 mile run/8k walk benefit started for a young woman from my church who died recently. There were 300 people in the race – very uplifting and exhilarating. On Sunday, we are taking my aunt Madelon hiking on Sunday to celebrate her 70th birthday. Next weekend is her surprise birthday party when all the family will celebrate her wonderful life so far. And my brother will be here competing in his first triathlon, at which I will take pictures and cheer him on.

There’s a lot going with us these days, yet I’m having a hard time getting started again. I just finished my book for book club, which was so intense and good, but now I’m struggling to get into the next book on my pile. It seems interesting; I’m just not very motivated. My last completed craft project was the pillow covers, which I really love.

I have a list of projects I’m looking forward to making. I even wrote them out in my notebook with the fabric requirements in case I’m out and about and find the perfect match.

  • Kimono Robe from Amy Butler’s In Stitches (my dilema is which fabric to use – there are SO many)
  • Lounge Pants from the same book
  • The Birdie Sling Bag kit I got from ruralFabric’s etsy shop
  • The Laptop Cover kit I got from the same shop
  • Barcelona Skirt by Amy Butler
  • Cute Skirts by Favorite Things
  • Many more projects from Amy Karol’s Bend-the-Rules-Sewing like the Simple Tote, a Valance for my sewing room and the kitchen

I also have a list of fabrics I’m excited to work with, but some of them aren’t available yet:

I just can’t get myself started again.  I know, I know, too many choices can really paralyze a girl (or break her bank)!

We finally planted our vegetable garden – about two weeks late. But it’s done now, so that’s some progress!

Maybe I’m just in the creative-inspiration-gathering mode these days.

Nothing But the Beach

That’s how I spent my week, doing nothing but lounging on the beach.

We just got back from a week-long vacation to celebrate our seven-year wedding anniversary. We went to Destin, Florida, stayed at the Hampton Inn, and didn’t do much but sink our feet into the powdery white sand and soak up the warm sun.

Another cool thing we did, on a tip from my sister, was drive to the little coastal town of Seaside, which is where The Truman Show was filmed. The town is full of these cute and colorful cottages, painted in a wide range of tropical colors, like yellow, peach and purple.

I love these adorable mosaic window boxes hanging on either side of a residence’s front door.

I love how the multi-colored flowers and stars stand out among the yellow tiles on this windowbox.

I love my backyard patio, but this patio looked so inviting, like those decorated patios you might see in Coastal Living or Southern Living magazines.

We always love to check out the flora and fauna in other places. Of course, we loved the palm trees,

the palm shrubs (or whatever these are),

and these hedges, that were everywhere.

We ate on The Back Porch quite often, a cute restaurant right on the beach that allows you to come in your bathing suits. How cool is that! They also have a beach bar, which was quite convenient mid-afternoon. (wink wink)

We also ate at Cafe Grazie, a seafood Italian restaurant with great pizza and seafood pasta dishes. I loved the shrimp and penne pasta.

I hope we don’t wait another seven years to see the ocean and relax on the beach. I hope it happens again soon.

Now I should start thinking about getting back to reality. Ehr, maybe I’ll just sit on my backyard patio for one more minute.