Category Archives: inner child

Another Look: Holidays!

Welcome to a new installment of Another Look!  This post is designed to share some goodies from my archive while I’m recovering from my surgeries.  I hope you enjoy these links, whether you’re seeing them for the first time or have seen them once before.  Today’s category is holidays!  Just click on a photo to link over to the original post…

Seven Suggestions for a Happier Holiday Season


DIY: Aluminum Star Ornaments – Frugal & Festive!


Magic Cookie Bar Recipe

My Festive Cubicle!

Fudge Recipe


My Visit with Santa Claus


Sugar Cookie Recipe

My Christmas-y Cubicle


Letting My Inner Child Out to Play: Hot Chocolate with Marshmallows


Vintage Snapshot Ornaments

I hope you have the happiest of holiday seasons!

Warm regards,

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Another Look: Autumn!

Welcome to a new installment of Another Look!  This post is designed to share a handful of goodies from my archive while I’m recovering from my surgeries.  I hope you enjoy these links, whether you’re seeing them for the first time or have seen them once before.  Today’s category is Autumn  – and could also be recipes!  Just click on the name of the post to link over to the original post…


Popcorn Ball Recipe


A Visit to the Pumpkin Patch


Pumpkin Bars Recipe!


Apple-Cranberry Cake Recipe

I hope you’re enjoying Autumn thus far, dear readers.  Will any of you be dressing up for Halloween this year?

Warm regards,

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Merit Badges for Grown Ups


Merit badges popped into my head recently. I know – random.  It’s especially random because I wasn’t ever a Brownie or a Girl Scout.  I did go to Girl Scout camp, and my Aunt Bobby – who was like a second mom to me – was a devoted Girl Scout, but I never earned a single merit badge as a child or teen.

And yet, there I was – inspired to create my own “merit badges” on a page in my art journal.  It was really an exercise in self-assessment, a chance to take stock.  What things do I devote time to?  What are some of my best qualities?  What do I have a particular affinity for?  This was my self-designated criteria as I determined what I’d theoretically earned merit badges in.  Here’s what I ended up with, and they were drawn in random order:
1. Nature Lover
2. Baking
3. Travel Bug (as in, I’ve been bitten by the Travel Bug)
4. Generous with Smiles
5. Helping Others
6. Creativity
7. Friend-Auntie-Family Member
8. Bibliophile
9. Significant Other/Wife.  Hubby and I have been a couple for over 16 years and are approaching our 14th wedding anniversary.  :]
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: drawing is not my strong suit, so my illustrations are pretty simple and crude. I had fun though, and it was a good exercise to help rebuild the dexterity in my right hand post-surgery.
The black pen I used on the page is one of my favorites for making art and for general writing: the Uniball Vision Elite.  The color was added primarily by coloring with watercolor pencils and then blending the color with a wet paintbrush, though I did use some Caran d’Ache water-soluble crayons as well.
Oh, and lest you think I’m all about self-congratulations, the page opposite from the merit badges includes a list of eight things I will work on improving about myself – and that’s by no means a complete list!  That list includes getting more consistent exercise, eating more fruits and veggies, and not getting wrapped up in fear and worry when it’s not going to help anything anyway.  I try to balance being proud of who I am with being humble, and always strive to keep an eye on ways to improve and grow.  The things I listed on the two pages (both “good” and “bad”) are not a complete catalog – just a few examples on one particular day…
If you were to wear a sash, a vest, or shirt with merit badges on them – or have a Merit Badge Collecting app on your smart phone (ha!), what would your Grown Up Merit Badges be?  Gardening?  Literacy Program Volunteer? Wine Lover? Please comment and share, dear readers…
Warm regards,
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Book Review & Giveaway: Doodle Sketchbook by Dawn DeVries Sokol


If you’ve been following my blog, you know I’m a big fan of art journaling.  In fact, I’m so enthusiastic about art journaling that I volunteer-teach it to at-risk public school children.  I believe art journaling – the unique combination of writing and visual art – can benefit everyone:  women, men, children, and adults.  It was a pleasure, then, to receive a copy of the Doodle Sketchbook, by Dawn DeVries Sokol, to review.  Not only will I share a bit about this wonderful book with you, I’ll be hosting a giveaway with my review copy!

Let me start off by saying that while this book somewhat slanted towards boys, isn’t just for boys.  (Dawn agrees, and actually addressed the book’s name in this blog post)  If I wasn’t sharing the wealth and hosting a giveaway with the copy I received, I’d happily work in this book’s pages.  The Doodle Sketchbook: Art Journaling for Boys is perfect for anyone who wants to start journaling – particularly those who might not know where to begin, and those a wee bit intimidated by a blank white page.

Intended for a younger audience (ages 8 and up), some pages might not apply to an adult that uses the book – like Favorite Class Subject or Ode to High Tops.  However, an adult can either indulge his/her inner child, or use a particular spread of pages for some other type of art journaling – like collage.


Creative Contents

160 pages long and filled with both color and substance, the doodle sketchbook includes several journaling prompts designed to get you busy art journaling.  Dawn begins with how to art journal, covers tools and attachment methods, and then moves on to prompts. Prompts include things like My Colors (your personal color palette), I Like to Eat… (journaling your favorite foods), and Globe Trotting (where in the world you’d like to travel).


Small, portable, and sturdy, this book is easy to carry around and makes a great gift.  Give the Doodle Sketchbook to someone on your gift list along with a glue stick, some pens, and a small pair of scissors, and you’ve got a sure-fire winner – a gift that will introduce (or re-introduce) the recipient to a fun form of self-expression.


Who Will Win?

One lucky person will win a copy of the Doodle Sketchbook, and it’s been signed by the fabulous Dawn DeVries Sokol! Simply leave a comment on this post to enter – one entry per person, please.  I’m also throwing in a 5 pack of Painters Opaque Paint Markers to add to the fun!

I will draw the winner a week from today, on October 25, 2011, and will announce the winner’s name in the comment section of this post – so please check back.  Not sure what to say in your comment?  Perhaps you can thank Dawn for sending me a copy of the Doodle Sketchbook!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this book review, dear readers.  Good luck and Happy Art Journaling!

Warm regards,

*Full Disclosure: I received one copy of The Doodle Sketchbook: Art Journaling for Boys for review purposes.


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Letting My Inner Child Out to Play: A Visit To the Pumpkin Patch


Fall is probably my favorite season, and I love Halloween.  I guess I’m still a kid at heart!  The company I work for allows employees to dress up, and in the past five years I’ve dressed up as Frida Kahlo, a butterfly, a beatnik, a cat, and a beauty queen.  This year?  I’m still undecided, but will likely indulge my inner child with some sort of costume.  I’m a big believer in having fun and breaking up the monotony of the daily grind, and dressing up for Halloween is a great way to do that.


While Halloween can be great fun for adults, it’s a particularly great holiday for kids.  Candy AND costumes?  What’s not to like?!  My favorite Halloween smell is still the smell of all the different types of Halloween candy combined, which you can enjoy when you stick your nose in a full trick-or-treat bag.  Yum!  When I was a child a favorite post trick-or-treating activity was dumping out all my candy, separating it according to type, and taking stock of my loot.  It was then that I’d trade candy with my older brother – swapping any licorice I’d gotten for something more palatable.


Another fun part of fall is going to the pumpkin patch.  We don’t have much of a change of season where I live, so I’m happy to embrace one of fall’s brightly colored symbols – pumpkins.  Hubby and I recently visited a local pumpkin patch, and had a great time tromping around.  We selected three small pumpkins, picked some veggies (including carrots for our bunnies!), and had fun being big kids.  I snapped some photos to share with you (hubby took the photo of me and my scarecrow friend), and hope you enjoy this peek at our Southern California autumn.




Do you still dress up for Halloween?  Do you decorate your home?  What is your favorite kind of Halloween candy?  Please leave a comment and fill me in.

Warm regards,

p.s. Here’s a link to a Pumpkin Bars recipe from last October, in case you missed it the first time!

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From the Archives: some blogtastic posts you may have missed the first time around…


I’ve been a very busy girl!  I’ve published over 135 posts in the last year, and since you may have missed a few – especially if you’re a newer reader – I thought I’d mention the ARCHIVES feature that resides along the right side of this page – just below RECENT POSTS.  Simply select a month and go!  You may start at the very beginning (August 2010) and read forward, or just skip around.

In addition, here’s a compilation of links, by category, to some of the more popular posts I’ve published in the last year.  I hope you’ll all find something interesting (and possibly “new to you”) to enjoy!*


Visual Nutrition

The Joys of iPhone Photography

Harvesting Bounty at the Farmers Market


Life in General

A Flower For Neva Lenora

Letting My Inner Child Out to Play: Roller Skating

Mad for Movies!



Making the Most of a Travel Journal

Collage Basics: Less is More!

Drawing a Blank? Prompts for Writers & Artists



Something Sweet: Triple Chocolate Cake Recipe

Something Sweet: Blueberry-Lemon Muffins Recipe

Something Sweet: Almond Brittle Recipe



Green Craft Project: Upcycled & Embellished Metal Cans

A Helpful Hint for My Fellow Paper Addicts: Making a Paper Swatch Ring

Paper, Glass & Wire Butterflies



A Photographic Tour: Peru

A Photographic Tour: Ireland

A Photographic Tour: New Orleans, Louisiana



Nature’s Lace

Often Overlooked

A Santa Barbara Morning


Ethnic Markets

Little India: So Near, Yet So Far Away


Shopping at a Korean Market


Friendly Giveaway Reminder

My blog birthday giveaway winners will be announced on August 30, 2011 so please enter today.  You could win a $15 iTunes gift card, a pack of my handmade photo notecards, or a $25 Visa gift card!  (Giveaway details/entry HERE) I hope you join the fun…

Warm regards,

Also posted in art, art journaling, art supplies, baking, crafts, ethnic food, ethnic markets, family, giveaway, haiku, inspiration, life in general, movies, nature, photography, poetry, recipes, restaurants, travel, vintage, writing | 6 Comments

Letting My Inner Child Out to Play: The County Fair


For some, a trip to county fair is a yearly family tradition.  Though I never attended the fair with my family, and have only been a handful of times over the years, I’ve embraced trips to the fair and indulge my inner child by going every so often.

Hubby and I attended the fair this year, and though we did more eating, photographing, and people watching than riding, drinking or game-playing, we still had a great time.  Good Lord – the things people wear!  The things we ate!  Oh, and the new rides are much more intense than the older rides.

Speaking of food, here’s what hubby and I shared: a churro, garlic butter fries with bacon, a funnel cake, a giant Western sausage with waffle-cut fries, and a deep fried Snickers with a side of soft serve vanilla ice cream. I know – ug.  I had a food hangover the day after our trip to the fair, and drank lots of water in a vain attempt to flush all the crud from my system.

I had a great time taking in the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the fair, and the photographer in me enjoyed capturing images that visualize some of my fair experience.  Here are some of the photos I took while at the Orange County fair.  I hope you enjoy them…










Please feel free to share some of your favorite fair foods, rides, or memories.  I really enjoy hearing from my readers!

Warm regards,

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Letting My Inner Child Out to Play: Dandelions


One of my life’s simple pleasures, dating back to childhood, is picking a dandelion, making a wish, and blowing its fuzzy seeds to the wind.  I don’t remember the wishes I made as a child, but I’m guessing I wished for things for myself.

Though I’ve matured into an adult, I’ve retained my childlike wonder where nature is concerned, and still enjoy scattering the pieces of a dandelion’s translucent globe with a gust of breath.  However, I no longer spend my wishes on myself.

These days, when I pause to pick a dandelion and make a wish, I tend to wish for something that would benefit others.  You know – things like world peace, and happiness and good health for those in need of one or both.

Age has brought (at least some) wisdom, and I know that I need to make my own wishes and dreams come true.  Luck certainly helps, but I’ve found that action and hard work are usually far more effective than wishes.

So I’ll continue to indulge the child in me by picking, wishing, and blowing dandelion seeds to the wind.  I’ll use this simple gesture to put my good intentions and love for others out into the universe.  I’ll also keep working hard – moving steadily towards my hopes and dreams…

Warm regards,

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Letting My Inner Child Out to Play: Roller Skating


A child of the 70’s and 80’s, I did a lot of roller skating in my younger years.  I started skating around the age of seven, and eagerly hit the pavement in my super cool Fireball roller skates.  You know, the white ones with red and blue stripes on the side.  (My brother had a pair that was blue with white and red stripes.)  It makes me smile to think of young, blonde-headed me excitedly lacing up my Fireballs and heading off for wheel-borne adventures.  The skating-related slips, falls, and scrapes didn’t deter me – similar to falling off a horse, I just got back up and tried again.

I eventually moved up to plain white skates, and then on to a pair of black speed skates, but those white Fireball skates are iconic – at least to me.  They may have been cheap, but those skates – and any other pair I later owned – were much better than wearing the dreaded rental skates found at virtually any skating rink. No matter where I’ve skated the rentals have been the same – light brown leather with dark brown laces, orange wheels and orange toe stops.  Rental skates were to be avoided at all costs.  They were never comfortable, and never seemed to want to go where I intended them to go.


I lived in a very small city during my prime skating years (ages 5 – 12), and going to the local skating rink was really all there was to do.  We didn’t have a mall, or even a movie theater – skating was it if you stayed within the city limits.  And though my family struggled financially and was almost always strapped for cash, my brother and I were able to go skating fairly regularly. It kept us entertained and active, and gave my parents time to themselves for less than the cost of a babysitter.

Most people my age have probably left skating in their past, but I still lace up my skates and head to the local rink from time to time.  This “new” rink is a bit different than the one I frequented as a child, but so many things are the same – though both rinks were in their heyday over twenty years ago.  This feeling is enhanced by the fact that I go for 80’s/flashback night and many of the tunes I listed to in grade school fill the cavernous space with sound.  It’s not just the music though; it’s the smell, the sights, the flavors, and the experiences too.


For example, skating rinks have a very distinct, universal smell.  I’m not sure what it is, but it’s soaked into my clothes by the end of a skating session.  As for the sights, going on 80’s night contributes to the déjà vu experience because groups of people (birthday parties, sororities, etc.), often go retro and attend 80’s night dressed in their finest neon clothing and Flashdance-style sweatshirts.  The snack bar still serves many of the same things, and a trip to the roller rink doesn’t seem complete without having a treat of some sort.  The lockers are also the same – quarter-fed metal cubes with bulky, orange plastic-topped keys.  And don’t forget the challenge of bathroom visits: trying to take care of one’s business while on eight wheels!

The music, the lights, the songs dedicated to backwards skating, and the damned switch from regular counter clockwise skating to the odd-feeling clockwise skating – they all take me back, as do the hokey-pokey and the dice game.  If you used to go skating and want a trip back in time, look no further – just pop on into your local roller rink!


All that said, I now see the skating rink through the eyes of an adult.  I take note of the interior, and when I find myself thinking they should upgrade (at least the paint job!) I remind myself that the rink probably isn’t making a ton of money and refurbishing is a luxury.  I enjoy skating to the music for the fun of it, but also appreciate that skating is good exercise.  I enjoy watching the young kids, the folks there for special parties, and the people around my age who are obviously rink rats from way back; still forming clicks and skating socially.

As for me, I’ve always been a bit of a loner – so I usually keep to myself and just skate.  I relish the feel of the wind on my face.  I laugh to myself at some of the ridiculous songs, and over the antics of some of the other skaters.  I wear my speed skates and appreciate that they take me in the direction I want to go, even if I’m just going round and round and round…

Warm regards,


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Lovely Links – my Guest Curator links compiled!


I was a Guest Curator at from December 27, 2010 – January 2, 2011 and it was a pleasure to share some of my favorite things with the crescendoh community.  In case you didn’t get the chance to click on my Guest Curator window daily to see the links I shared with Jenny Doh and her readers, I’m posting them here as well.

These links include things like community art projects, a favorite song and its charming video, artists I like, how-to art features, ways to share kindness with others, and a scrumptious cheesecake that can magically appear at your door!


Please take a peek at these Lovely Links:


Can these gorgeous beads really be made of paper?

Art with Heart – fabric-based art from Little Lion Designs

There’s lots to see and do at the Art House Co-op!

I love this song, Fireflies, and also love the video’s aesthetic and playful innocence…

I want to buy one of these crocheted hats (in an adult size) for my inner child.

Please lend a hand.  Organizations like this can help you help others…

Does collage confound you?  This tutorial will help.

SkyBluePink is a great resource for collage artists…

Banish dull travel journals with these helpful hints!

Diane Teske Harris‘ work is wonderful – whimsical…

Carnegie has mastered the art of making cheesecake. Thank goodness they ship!

“In the end only kindness matters.” (Jewel)
I imagine the folks at Kind Over Matter agree with those lyrics.

It’s playtime!  Pay a visit to The Toymaker.


I hope you enjoy these links.  I’ll be a Guest Curator at again in June, and am starting to compile another batch of lovely links.  It’s such fun to hunt and gather wonderful things to share…

Warm regards,

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