Happy Thanksgiving!!

2016-thankyou

Hello! I’m wrapping up the week with this quick little post. I have much to be thankful for and as 2016 is coming to a close, I also have much to reflect upon. This has been what M and I are calling a “life-changing” year and I’ve had to relearn a lot of lessons…we’re dealing with unexpected health issues in our family that I won’t go into and it’s been topsy turvy all around. Right now, at this very moment, however, we are all well.

Thank YOU for continuing to visit my little space, as sporadic as my postings have been. Sometimes I was so dizzy and overwhelmed by the sheer force of life, I considered giving up the blog, the Furoku, everything. I’m so grateful that I didn’t. As a general rule, I don’t post or talk about gifts I’ve received over the years since I started this blog, mainly because they feel sacred and private and I know that I’ll end up sounding braggy. The gifts have been from extraordinarily generous souls I’ve somehow connected through this virtual notebook of mine — many whom I’ve not yet met but feel, without a doubt, a kinship. And every comment, every glance at a post I’ve written are gifts as well. In the midst of so much tumult on a macro level, my own problems feel small and insignificant, but being part of this online community has been a balm, a source of joy.

K is sitting next to me, organizing her UNO cards in preparation for a fierce game we’ll engage in a little later. I have grocery shopping for turkey day dinner on my mind (this year, instead of our usual slacker T-Day at a Chinese restaurant, we’re celebrating with our neighbors). M is puttering about downstairs. The sun is out, the air is a touch icy, I am wearing sweats and feel at ease in our cozy home.

K just expressed some worry about a future event as she shuffled the cards. I listened, thought about her concern and said, “Honey, let’s focus on doing small things with mucho mucho love.” As always, she rolled her eyes. Or maybe it’s supposed to be muy muy love? My Spanish is rusty.

At any rate, that is what I hope for you this holiday season and beyond: mucho mucho love.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!

Happy Friday + Randomness

peach

M used to have this phrase he would toss out whenever he wanted me to do something that he could easily do himself but was feeling less than motivated to execute. “Would you be a peach?” he’d say. Usually it was followed by a request to get him a glass of water, or roll up the sleeves of his shirt, or you know, something mildly inconvenient for me. But he’d say it in this jokey cute way, and of course I would do it.

Lately I feel like my days are an endless litany of these kinds of mildly inconvenient requests from myself to myself, except I’m not very jokey or cute about it. Would you be a peach and stop droning on about how little time you have? Would you be a peach and update your blog already? You get the picture.

Blog updating is actually still very enjoyable for me, but it’s amazing how quickly I can get out of the habit when I let a few weeks go without regular posts. Ugh. I’m still not done with my deadlines (a few new ones suddenly cropped up) and I’ve been feeling behind in everything. I have to keep reminding myself that I belong to Team Tortoise and not Team Hare. I plod along, one ponderous step at a time, craning my neck in curiosity and befuddlement as I sloooooooooooooooowly make progress.

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What helps is that I’m hugely enjoying this tea that my neighbor brought back for me from Guatemala. It’s Mayan cacao tea with all sorts of purported health benefits. Better blood circulation and improved heart health and all that good stuff. You just soak cacao husks and nibs in hot water for about 10 minutes and the traditional way is to drink it with a little honey, my neighbor told me.

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I add unsweetened almond milk and a touch of raw honey and mmmmmmmmmmmm. It’s not fully chocolate-y, but it hits the spot for me and it’s become a daily ritual. I’m almost running out, so I better get more! I can’t seem to find this brand online, but maybe this one or this one will do the trick…

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Be back soon. With giveaways, I hope. Or maybe even a sewing project of some sort. Gotta get started on that unicorn costume.

I’m wishing you a wonderful weekend, my friends!

Would you be a peach?
And forget that I complained?
Thank you very much

 

Happy Friday + Randomness

seattle-japanese-garden-map

Happy Friday! Keeping it super duper short today since we’re attempting to get out of town this weekend. Above is one of the projects I worked on recently for the Seattle Japanese Garden that I believe is already printed by now. I had a wonderful time painting this, and it will be part of their self walking tour brochure. Fun! I hope to work on more maps in the future. I recently saw this book and this book in a store, and deliberated long and hard about purchasing them, but in the end, I left them on the shelf. I heart maps.

What are you up to,
this fine August end o’ week?
Hope it’s full of joy!

P.S. The winner of the embroidery book giveaway is Janice, congrats!

Procrastinating

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I’m one of those super productive procrastinators. At the moment, I have a load of laundry going, dinner is prepped, I’ve cleaned off my desk, unpacked the luggage meant for the canceled teepee camping, paid bills, and have polished off a satisfying meal consisting of an avocado-tomato-egg sandwich. I even almost started to bake bread from scratch.

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In short, I’ve done everything except what I’m supposed to be doing: working on the illustrations for book #3. But look! I’ve taken a small sampling of my many, many watercolor sets and spent an unconscionable number of minutes arranging them for a photo and I’ve also been painting color charts because those are undeniably useful though admittedly not necessary.

The surest way for me to get motivated to take care of domestic duties and superfluous tasks is to dangle a work-related deadline in my direction. It doesn’t matter how much I enjoy the actual work for said deadline, I seem to find ways to avoid doing it until push comes to shove. Sigh.

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Alright, enough procrastinating. I will be back on Friday with a lovely giveaway!

P.S. The photos show my favorite watercolors that I use the most these days:

Schmincke

Maimeri Blu

Angora

Greenleaf & Blueberry

Kuretake Gansai Tambi (I have the 18- and 36-color set — these may actually be my very very favorite)

P.P.S. The giveaway bundle winner is Audie, congrats!!

I am now a minimalist traveler

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We made it back in one piece! After a soul-nourishing and relaxing week in Michigan, our flight back to Seattle was mysteriously canceled so we had to scramble to Chicago via rental car to make our connecting flight because all the airlines were booked solid (or so I was told). We cut it super close, but cruised through Illinois toll booths, security checks and grumpy child syndrome with surprising ease. Actually, the grumpy child syndrome was non-existent because K was a champ. She hardly complained and tolerated the almost 5 hours it took from Traverse City to Chicago, and then happily watched her movie on the flight.

What made everything so much easier is that contrary to my natural tendencies, I packed significantly less than I normally do. I’ve mentioned before that I’m the type of person that will boldly toss in a rice cooker and electric kettle to go camping — I don’t believe there is such a thing as overpacking or over-preparation. M and K are light travelers to begin with, so I’ve always been the one to weigh us down.

However, just for kicks, I did my very best to edit down my travel gear this time. I forced myself to limit my baggage to two very small carry-ons for a six-day trip: one for clothes, the other for tools (i.e. laptop, camera, watercolor supplies, etc.). I’m proud to report that I was successful. In fact, this trip taught me that I could have easily cut down on the clothes because I deludedly thought I would be running along the lake on a daily basis and included many pairs of yoga pants and a slew of tank tops that never saw the light of day. I ran once. Okay, I jogged for 10 minutes once and walked for about a mile. Mostly, I slept and read and ate a shocking number of burgers and ham sandwiches. It was heaven.

For future reference, I thought I would record what I actually took on the trip and what I could have done away with. I guess the extra stuff didn’t take up that much room, so it was okay that I had included them and who knows? Had circumstances been different, I might have needed them. All I know is that instead of frantically sewing something for the trip to impress relatives that I see only once a year (which is what I usually do), I selected items from what I already had on hand. Preparations were way, way, way less stressful. Did anyone notice or comment that my wardrobe was very limited? Not that I know of. Would I have cared if anyone did? No.

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Anyway, here’s what I wore (link provided for handmades):

I could have managed without the following, but they were good to have on hand:

  • Black Simplicity top
  • Extra tank tops (5 didn’t get worn)
  • Extra yoga pants (1 would have been sufficient)
  • Swimsuit

Normally I swim, but there was a widespread case of the “ick” (a parasite spread through duck feces – I have no idea what the proper name is, but everyone calls it the ick) near the dock and in parts of the lake so I opted not to touch the water at all. Luckily, K wasn’t affected and M only got a tiny bit that went away in a day.

All in all, it was a lovely trip. Next year, I’m going to go even more minimal!

P.S. The winner of the giveaway is Meris, congrats!