Wednesday, September 1, 2021


 How interesting, suddenly I'm getting spammed on my blog, two spam comments today!  Anyone know what's up? 

I reset comments to moderated, so if you answer I'll need to go looking for you!

Ooops. Life has its own agenda...

 Well, sorry all!  That definitely did NOT go as planned.  

August fell apart on me, between a death in the family and all the attendant issues, family visiting, BOTH our cars in the shop for an indeterminate amount of time, having to buy a NEW (for us) car, my own health issues plus the normal stuff of bloodwork and annual physical, finding three close family members are dealing with Covid 19, and not only did I not manage to really delve into my own class as I meant to, to get back on track (though I DID reread and update everything before we started), my beloved raccoon family was poisoned and put right outside my back fence, an issue with updating all the other classes as quickly as possible, and then just "normal" life, and as they say, "it's a sign."  Or a whole encycopedia!  

Not meant to be.  I get it, Universe, no more 2 x 4s needed, please!

So...I AM sorry, but it just didn't work.  I hope you enjoyed your explorations though!

This month is my personal retreat month, and after August I NEED it. 

Friday, July 30, 2021

Quick Sketching 1 Adventure starts August 1

Almost time to jump into this adventure--August 1 is our official start date!  Since that's Sunday, we may ease into it, and see how it goes getting everyone and everything up and running.  (It's a LOT more complicated than I'd originally imagined it, ain't that the way things go??  😵)

If you've taken the class before, dig it out of your computer and join us, week by week--no extra charge!  If you want to enroll, it's here: --there IS a charge for the lessons, it's my original self-directed mini-class online.

There's also a Facebook group for enrolled students, so we all have access to the class materials to work's here:  (No charge for our Facebook group or discussions, either...)

 Just a heads up!  There are 3 membership questions that must be answered before you can join the group; thanks!

And see you Sunday!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Getting ready to roll with Quicksketch-1


So, as I mentioned, I'm needing a reset, just emerging from a bit of a dry spell with journaling (if not with other creative endeavors!) and decided I'd go through my own Quick Sketching 1 class and see if that helps.  A refresher course is always a good idea! 
It'll be more fun with people to share the journey with--it's not a class, I'm not teaching, I'm not going to charge extra, I won't try to be here 24/7, we're just exploring together. Having fun, I hope. Polishing those rusty skills. Considering what materials feel best to us, which ones are the most fun, which are suited to quick sketching.
When I first mentioned the possibility, someone let me know that some of the links in the self-directed classes didn't work any more, so I've dug out the original class documents, deleted dead or abandoned links, updated others, updated information, and did away with things that no longer apply (like my Amazon A-store, which they deleted for sellers in Missouri a few years back!).  I also did away with passwords, which were a pain, but if you enrolled before 7/22/2021, you'll probably still need the old password; I've left it up in the emails you'll get.
If you already own my Quick Sketching 1 self-directed mini-class, which has been out for some time, you're welcome to dig it out and join us! No charge.  (I imagine you will still need the passwords for the old documents, sorry!)
If you don't have it already, the mini-class is available here:
I've made a Facebook group for discussions and sharing; if you're a student, past or present, feel free to join us there--I know some people aren't fond of Facebook, but it seemed to be the easiest and most convenient place to share what we're up to!  Unfortunately I don't think you can add graphics to blog comments any more, like we used to.
Again, we will start August 4--just kick back and have fun.  I plan to!

Saturday, July 17, 2021

More Quick Sketch 1 info... one of the people who has signed up for the Quick Sketch 1 adventure alerted me to the fact that a couple of the links aren't working in the first mini-class lesson.  One is my old Amazon store, which I no longer have since Amazon closed all the stores in Missouri, and the other is a friend's blog, which no longer is at that address.

I'm working to find the original documents (which have gone into hiding and probably under the Witness Protection plan!), with the idea in mind of updating, but if I can't find them, that's the deal, sorry!

This is supposed to be fun for me, as well, not frustrating...  😓

And hooray, I DID find them, and edited them, and made new PDFs...will get my webmistress to put them up in the next few days...

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Further Thoughts on a Quicksketch 1 Adventure!


 Okay, so doing some further thinking on how this will work, since several of you have expressed an interest--

I need a reset, I think.  I need to work through why my recent sketches are often not as satisfying, and some are downright bad, by my lights.  I LIKE quick sketches, mind you, but some of these are just...ick.  Tentative or inaccurate in ways that make me unhappy.  So since I thought I'd go through my own class to see if I could isolate the issue (or issues!), I thought I'd invite you to join me--I learn from you, as well.

It's not really a class, other than the mini-class itself, above--I won't be teaching, per se--it's just a chance to discuss, share, ask questions, help eachother...

We'll start August 1, because why not?

You'll need the Quicksketch One mini-class, linked above...but if you already own it, dig it out, no need to buy again, you're welcome to go through this exercise with us!  If you can't find it on your computer (we always recommend saving classes to your hard drive), we'll work that out.

The QS classes are delivered automatically, week by week, by aWeber, as soon as you enroll--so if you start now, you'll have several ahead of us.  Start if you wish, of course, but we won't be discussing till August 1...I need time. 

We will likely share and discuss here, but I will probably make a Facebook group for our discussions, as well, since it's not easy (or even possible anymore?) for you to share your images here in the comments.

The mini-class is one of several I offer on my class page, and as always, they're self-directed.  I won't be doing this with all of them...I don't think!  I just need a booster shot. 😜

Monday, July 12, 2021

Considering something...

...and I wanted to run it by you, here and on Facebook.

I've been in a bit of a dry spell with my sketching, though I have indeed done more than I've shared online.  I've been involved with other creative endeavors, of course, eco-dyeing, sewing, creating my little fae poppets, but art journaling, not so much, and it shows.  Some of my sketches are downright bad!

Lavender and Rose Mary

The girls...polymer and fabric

Studious and Joyful

Faena Fawkes, who started me on this road...

And then there's sewing and eco-dyeing...

And MORE eco-dying, of papers and cloth, for small journals...

There are a number of contributing factors when we lose our mojo...materials, time, circumstances, practice, tools...but June 2, as I did yet another sketch I didn't like much, I wrote in my journal "I think I need to take my own Quicksketch 1 class!" 

I think I want to revisit those factors and try to sort it out a bit.

So.  The idea kind of took hold.  What if I DID, what if I went through the class week by week as it is delivered to those who sign up for it.  What if some of you wanted to take it WITH me?  What if we discussed it here, and on Facebook?

 Any interest?

 Let me know...I was thinking I might start August 1.  Anybody wanna join me?


I'd love to see your comments and questions, below.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Taking Care of Fountain Pens

 I love to work with a good fountain pen--either a vintage one with a springy nib or a newer one that writes dependably and smoothly.  I also like not adding too much more to the landfill with disposable pens that appear to dry up way too rapidly, but more importantly I like having a relationship with my tools.

Two of the most important ways to keep that relationship a happy one are to clean your pen when needed (probably frequently, depending on the kind of ink you use!), and to match the ink to the pen. Also if you switch inks/brands/types, it's best to clean your pen between fillings, as some formulas may not play well with the residue left behind.

We've all been told that water-resistant inks are not good for vintage pens, and I believe that's sadly true. (Not so great in new ones, either, but for some unknown reason my TWSBI pens seem able to cope.) So it's necessary to be extra vigilant if you insist on using them anyway, which I often do!

Unfortunately one of my favorite techniques is ink and watercolor, so I stubbornly keep trying...



Of course it's fun to use water-soluble ink too, but it's less controllable and often makes your wash colors muddy. 

It can be fun to use a pen with water-soluble ink...makes shading a breeze!  But as you can see the color is a big muddy.

So when my pens need a good spa day, I use Goulet's pen cleaner solution, a soft ear syringe, and finally, an electronic sonic cleaner, if necessary.  Sometimes it's enough to soak and flush, but sometimes you need to take the pen apart, if you're feeling brave (or frustrated enough!)

Sometimes this is enough, if you can unscrew the nib section and flush it with warm water.  You may need to soak it first in pen cleaning solution or water with a bit of ammonia (for anywhere from a few hours to a few days), and use a bristle brush on the nib and feed.  

Surprisingly even after restarting the cleaning several times I may still get ink coming free from the nib.

Water-resistant inks often have some sort of varnish in them...that's why they say never to use India Ink in a fountain pen, but even some of the other inks like Platinum Carbon Black or the DeAtramentis Document inks can cause issues.  The latter was what was in this pen, from Fountain Pen Revolution--happily NOT an expensive vintage pen.

This is what the feed looked like after I pulled the nib...those grooves or vanes are supposed to be clean and open.  The feed section is stuck tight or I would have pulled it, too...I'm sure there's still gunk back in there.  If it acts up too soon, I'll soak this section in pen cleaner for a few days and try again.

The inside of the nib was just gross!  Gritty ink particles where it should be smooth and shiny.

This is the topside of the nib, with the heavy buildup of ink where it fitted the pen body.

After rinsing with hot water...still pretty stuck...

I had to scrape the dried ink off with my thumbnail, then gave the nib and the feed a good brushing with a bristle brush under running water.

This was DeAtramentis Document had dried almost up in the bottom of the closed jar, so just out of curiosity I added warm water and shook it up.  Bits!  No wonder my pens get cranky.  (You don't thin DeAtramentis inks with water, though, but with their dedicated dilution liquid.)

I'm taking a chance and refilling the pens with Noodler's Lexington Grey, which never seemed to give me a problem...I really love a bold black, but I'm not all that fond of needing to clean so often!

I'd be delighted to read your feedback and any thoughts or advice you have to offer! 


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