Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I have been out of the classroom for a month now and it is amazing how absolutely not bored I am.
My days have been filled with family, friends, cooking, art supplies, classes, workshops, trips into the city...  I am really trying, and actually getting better at, being in the moment and not looking to the time when this year off will come to an end. Thank you, thank you, thank you (to the universe, to my husband, and to all the wonderful people who support me) for this time. 

Playing with acrylics, copic markers, pencil, flare pen, and sharpie on sketch book paper. Oh, and my
iphone; which is a fossil by today's standards, but I am grateful for it especially since I got it for free!

Monday, September 29, 2014

a.l.o.e. in nyc: The City Quilter

The City Quilter

I made a quick trip to The City Quilter with mom to purchase fabric for some stuffed owls she's making as per her grandchildren's request. The little things that make grandma happy :)

Wall of color coded fabrics.

Holiday crafts ready to go.

Art quilts at The Art Quilt Gallery next door. 

Go here if you are interested in taking classes in sewing, quilting, doll-making, or other fiber crafts.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Doodling with Joanne Sharpe

Doodle Lesson

I decided to map out a plan though the lesson did not call for it. 

Inspired by doodles, prints and quilts. 

To take an online class with Joanne Sharpe go here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Making a Reading Life

Currently reading...

Add caption
So clearly I have not finished all of these (except for one Kate DiCamillo book and the Artful Blogging magazine). Some, like the magazines, are to inspire. Others, to learn or for professional development. Most for pure enjoyment. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Choice Time Doodles

Last Friday, I was invited into my former 3rd grade classroom to run a choice time center. Normally, thirty to forty minutes of choice time could feel like an eternity on a Friday afternoon right before dismissal. But, time flashed by so quickly we only got to start some doodle samplers. At the end of our time together, the kiddos asked if I would be back next Friday :). Too, cute!

Little hands doodling.

Green doodle sampler.

I couldn't help but take a picture of the current picture book read alouds. Not a great picture so I listed the titles below.

From left to right:
Amelia Hits the Road by Marissa Moss
Amelia Writes Again by Marissa Moss
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
Ish by Peter H. Reynolds
Here Comes the Strikeout by Leonard Kessler
The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Friday, September 19, 2014


I am so excited! I started my Drawing II class this week and it was so wonderful to be in a classroom again. I couldn't help but notice all of the young college kids walking around the city, filling it with such energy and possibility. For a moment I felt like I was 18 again (even though I was the oldest person in my class, lol).  I was initially a tiny bit worried about how intense the class would be and the amount of work we would have to do, but the instructor was so laid back and the other students were so very nice, that I instantly felt at home.

There was a live model for the first class and we got right to drawing the figure. First a try it, then 1 and 2 minute drawings, and last a few 5 minute drawings. We each made about 35 gesture drawings. You have to draw a lot of crap to get to a few good ones. ;)

First try it (we had about 10 minutes for this one).

I can't remember if these were 1 or 2 minute gesture drawings?

Five minute drawings.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hudson, New York

This past weekend my husband, Lim, and I drove 2 hours north of NYC to the city of Hudson in Columbia County, NY. I had gone up for the first time in August of last year and fell in love with it. I had been wanting to explore more of upstate for a while, partly because I taught fourth grade New York State history for four years, and partly because I felt a growing need and passion to learn more about my home state.

So when Lim asked me what I wanted for my 40th birthday this year I knew I wanted him to visit Hudson and fall in love with it too (I have dreamy notions of buying a little cottage in the mountains). We spent 2 nights near all of the antique shops and restaurants on Warren Street, and we were only 15-20 minutes away from Olana NYS Historic Site, Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Omi International Arts Center, Kaaterskill Falls, Chatham Winery, I can go on and on. There's so much to see and do which means we will have to return... a few more times :).

Thomas Cole, father of the Hudson River School Painters.

The porch of Thomas Cole's home at Cedar Grove.

Cedar Grove

Pic of 200 year old tree taken from the porch.

 I love this tree and the way that bench looks so small beside it.

Pretty paper cut-out in our room.

View of the Hudson River from Olana.

My only complaint about the weekend was that I was completely unprepared for the chilly weather.

Thinking about planning a trip to Hudson? Go here and here for more info on where to eat, stay and play.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Delaware II

Goodies from Michaels. Those pretty rolls of paper on the left were only 87cents a piece! 

Art Journal page inspired by mom’s garden, Too Many Pumpkins and Zenspirations (my mom did have the book at home).

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


A quick overnight trip to Delaware last week (to pick up my mom who was traveling to Ecuador via JFK) went something like this…

·      Walk into house to the smell of zucchini pie baking in the oven and meat sauce on the stove (my mom always cooks for an army and always prepares food for dad before any extended trip).
·      Take mom to T.J. Maxx to buy a travel handbag (hers has seen better days).
·      Go home and have lunch; arroz con gandules (yellow rice with pigeon peas),  fried chicken and salad.
·      Visit mom’s garden. The squash has completely taken over and this reminds me of the book Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White.

·       Back in the car for a quick trip to Michaels to use birthday gift card. Found a “new” doodle book called Zenspirations: Letters and Patterns by Joanne Fink. Mom reminds me that I bought her this book. Continued shopping and bought a bunch of goodies for upcoming projects. Too many ideas in my head!!!
·       Back to the house for some art journaling.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Picture Books

ISH, by Peter H. Reynolds, is a lovely picture book about a boy named Ramon who loves to draw. This book is filled with beautifully simple words and illustrations, and is brimming with heart and meaning. I use this book in September to introduce story elements in reading; and over and over again throughout the year in our studies of biography, social issues, personal narrative, ... I used this book with third graders, but it can definitely be used in the younger grades and at home to encourage book talks with your children.   

Story Elements:
Title & Author
Star: Who is the main character?
Setting: What is the time and place of the story?
Wish: What does the main character want?
Blocking force: What prevents the star from getting their wish?
Action: This is the struggle between the wish and the blocking force. What are the actions/events in the story?
Turning point: When does the struggle stop?
Message about life: What lessons do we learn from the story?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Doodles as Warm-Up

My drawing class at Parsons starts in a week and I haven’t kept up with drawing from life. I thought doodling would be a good way to warm-up before pushing through my resistance to start drawing again. I love to draw but it can be intimidating and hard work, especially when you haven’t exercised those muscles in a while. 

More exercises from Joanne Sharpe's online class "Doodle Arts & Letters".

What Goes in a Writing Notebook?

Now that we’ve decorated our notebooks, what will we put in them? Here are some suggestions students have made over the years:

·      our thoughts
·      memories
·      feelings
·      lists
·      favorites
·      observations and descriptions
·      wonderings
·      quotes/words/examples of beautiful language
·      poems
·      comics
·      stories
·      prayers
·      adventures
·      sketches and labels
·      reviews
·      people, places & things we care about 

5 things I love

Another way to get your writing practice going is to keep a daily list of 5 things you love. If you do this often enough you will notice that you repeat certain things over and over again, and you’ll get to know yourself a little better. Try it!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

a.l.o.e. in nyc: MAD

Sometimes I like to get out there and explore the happenings in NYC. 

The Museum of Art and Design Biennial entitled NYC Makers is open until October 12, 2014. 

Confetti System

Let There Be Neon 3D Chair

Jason Polan
A Portion of Every Person in New York

Harriett Rosebud


Large Chiffon Hat

FPOAFM (pronounced "poem") Studios

Flavor Paper

Rafael de Cardenas
Architecture at Large

What wonderful diversity in medium and content.  MAD will have their Educator Open House on Wednesday, September 24th at 4pm. Check out more MAD happenings here