Around Here

We don’t have much blooming in our gardens these late summer days. But things are still green and thriving around here, with steady sunshine and summer rain storms.backyard in august

butterfly weed seed pods butterfly weed beetles

beetles ALL over the butterfly weed seed pods!

rain storm

rain storm
rain gauge on day 1

rain gauge – day 1

rain gauge on day 2

rain gauge – day 2

hydrangea tree in bloom

garden path

We still have some coneflowers, black-eyed susans, phlox, roses and our dwarf hydrangea trees blooming. I would like to pick up some asters and mums from the garden center to fill in the bare spots left behind from summer perennials that are done for the season.

specimens from my backyard

In the meantime, it’s fun to walk around the yard and look for treasures, which are always great inspiration for my sketchbook. New illustrations are always in the works!


Field Notes: Late Summer at the Farmers Market

Seen at our farmers market these days: Peppers, tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, and the most vibrant colors of flowersIMG_1514 tomatoes and peppers at farmers marketchili pepper strings at farmers market

fingerling potatoes

late August flowers at farmers market

stunning bouquet at farmers market

flowers at farmers market

Of course, there’s always a usual huge selection of cheese, popcorn, honey and bakery to drool over too. But I’m usually attracted to the flowers – I want all of them but I never buy any; just take lots of pictures. Hope you’re out enjoying these last couple weeks of summer!


Summer Bucket List

I’ve noticed a few people sharing their Summer Bucket Lists online lately, which inspired me to make my own list of things I want to do while the weather is nice around here.

sunset over lake michigan

• Go for more bike rides

• Go kayaking more

• Try stand-up paddle boarding – done!

• Go to one of the many beautiful beaches on Lake Michigan

• Roast marshmallows

• Make s’mores

• Stargazing and cloud watching

• Go to a couple local farmers markets

• Go to Art Fair on the Square

• See a play at American Players Theater, a classic outdoor theater

• Go to the butterfly exhibit at Olbrich Botanical Gardens

• Have corn on the cob

• Go to a concert

• Plant milkweed and butterfly weed in our gardens

• Pick berries

• Do more marketing for my new graphic design studio

• Draw more in my sketchbooks

• Read more books

• Start sewing again

• Keep a more routine exercise schedule

• Go through some of the Skillshare classes I signed up for

I’m sure I’ll think of more stuff I want to add to my bucket list right after I publish this post. What’s on your summer bucket list? Don’t let summer slip by!


First Weekend of Summer

Yippee for the official first weekend of summer! I was lucky enough to be able to spend the weekend at my parents’ cottage on the lake. The weather wasn’t very summery the first couple days but we managed to have fun anyway, with some kayaking, bird-watching and hiking in the woods.

kayaks in door county

gull on the dock

gull in the water

loons in Garrett Bay

tree stump terranium

tree roots

tree roots

poppy in Door County

The kick-off of summer meant the Fyr Bal Festival in Ephraim, where the city sets up a few bonfires on the beach to symbolize burning the winter witch and welcome summer. After the bonfires die down, they put on a great fireworks show over the water.

Fyr Ball bonfires

Fyr Ball fireworks

fireworks in ephraim

Hope you enjoyed your first weekend of summer!



Summer Has Arrived

Since we passed the unofficial marker for the beginning of summer with Memorial Day weekend, and beautiful warm weather is here to stay, I am switching gears from looking for signs of spring to soaking up all the inspiration I can find this summer.




inside a tulip


inside an anemone

It’s wonderful to find so much inspiration this time of year at the garden centers, farmers markets, and right in my own backyard. Hope you’re out finding inspiration too.


Garden Update – Late Summer Treasures

One thing I love about these mild late summer days is finding cool things happening in our gardens.

Some days turn into a treasure hunt in nature.

I like to think we have our own little eco-system going in throughout our yard.

We have been enjoying beautiful late summer days lately, with mild, dry, sunny and cooling temps.

I cherished a peaceful day off last week by spending an afternoon experimenting with the travel watercolor kit I received from my best buddy.

It was fun to mess around with the palette of colors that came in this little kit. At first, I thought it might too hard to paint an image with such a limited collection of colors. Once I got mixing and painting, I realized how fabulous this little kit is, with just the right about of paint colors, perfect little mixing trays, a water bottle, a mini brush just right for working on my art cards, and a cover that doubles as a water dish.

Hope you’re finding opportunities to relax and enjoy these late summer days too!

Garden Update

It seems like I haven’t shared a garden update in awhile.

Since my last post showing you our lily collection, we continue to have coneflowers, which last so much longer than many other flowers in our gardens.

The phlox have joined in the summer fun.

I always forget where these are planted in our gardens, so I have come close to pulling them, thinking they were weeds.

We had a super hot July around here, so I didn’t spend as much time hanging out in our yard as I would normally.

On those hot days, it was just refreshing to see so much green out there.

I never tire of looking outside, especially in summer!

Art Cards – Dog Days of Summer

Sometimes, Michelle and I have a hard time finding inspiration for our art cards, especially if we both had a routine week with nothing too terribly exciting to illustrate.

So last week, we agreed to take turns coming up with a word or phrase we could both use as a prompt, and then see the difference in our inspiration. I picked the phrase Dog Days of Summer, which are the hottest, most sultry days of summer between July and September.

We had a super duper hot streak of weather and no rain, so I illustrated side 1 with a hot sun and a blue sky. Side 2 has a gingham pattern in the background to represent a picnic tablecloth, with lots of little silhouettes of summer highlights.

I made a couple extra cards to reflect on my adventures over the weekend, including the shopping trip my niece and I made to the Mall of America.

Side 2 represents the fun we had visiting the farm where my brother works. Such a cool operation to see first-hand!

Part of my weekend adventures included a visit to see my cousin Linda who owns Blue Sky Alpacas, you know, the awesome yarn company. She used to have a herd of alpacas on her farmette, but now she just has three for pets. I have gotten so used to illustrating with my watercolor crayons, so I had fun using my colored pencils for this set.

She has the coolest wall of yarn in her offices, which looks just like this side. It was heavenly to see!

Be sure to check out what Michelle did to illustrate her dog days of summer. She is so clever!

I’m curious to see what prompt Michelle will choose for our next set.

Garden Update – Lilies

The lilies are here, the lilies are here! And they are everywhere!

My mom gave us an entire row of day lilies, which are blooming in several colors.

Plum colored lilies

I love these red ones with a radiating yellow center.

I also love these burgundy and cream lilies together. How stunning (and lucky) to have these contrasting colors planted next to each other.

Peach lilies

More peach lilies too

If I had to pick one favorite in the garden, I would choose this cream and purple lily as my favorite.

I love lilies, so I’m lucky my mom’s yard got too shady as the trees matured, and she had to transplant her lilies to a sunnier spot: my yard!Lilies needs sunshine, and our entire backyard faces south, so I guess our gardens were meant to have lilies. Thanks Mom!