Monday, February 26, 2018

Final Week: 2018 Heart Art Challenge

26.) The final countdown! It's the last week for this year's Heart Art ChallengeToday, my contribution is a blackout poem inspired by a Fibonacci sequenceThe blackout poetry challenge this week was to create a poem with 6 lines and 20 words where each line is the sum of the two previous lines: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8

to explain.
Do you believe
he said, I love you?
It's probably true, but there's more to it.

27.) For last week's blackout poetry challenge of Where in the Word: Name Your Favorite Place, I chose Mount St. Helens.


Mount Saint Helens had a cramp.

28.) This morning, on the last day of Heart Month, I took my dogs for a walk and came across a rock. It was sad, thoughtful, and cute all at the same time. In memory of squirrel. R.I.P.

A Rock with Heart

February might be on the verge of done, but I'll still be putting love out there. I'm chapters away from finishing my third Young Adult Romance, I'm creating more BIG heart corner-bookmarks to put in my shop, ESPIALdesign, on Etsy, and I'm still donating to the American Heart Association. I agree with whoever wrote this on the steps of the cathedral in Aachen, Germany...


Monday, February 19, 2018

Week 4: 2018 Heart Art Challenge

19.) Happy President's Day! I decided to make a heart-healthy dessert today: crockpot applesauce with no sugar added...only apples, cinnamon, vanilla, a bit of lime juice (didn't have lemon) and some water. Tastes like yummy apple pie filling. Hmm, hmm good.

Easy Slow Cooker Applesauce

20.) Doxie love! I painted this several years ago and gave it to my mom in memory of a very special dog. Feeling nostalgic and grateful for pets today.

Zoey Over the Rainbow Bridge

21.) I was off the grid for the past several days--no wifi, no cable, no cell--while enjoying a rustic yet cozy cabin in Rhododendron, Oregon called Laughing Bear. I heart snow!

22.) While on winter break, we went skiing at Timberline on Mt. Hood and tubing at The Summit. Hearth healthy exercise, right? Felt like it.

23.) While off the grid, we watched old movies, ate popcorn, and played a marathon of Apples to Apples. When I had some "me" time, I worked on a blackout poem...something creative, something I love to do.

24.) While the rest of the family went tubing at The Summit, I sat in the car with the dogs and worked on some writing projects. Tango was beside me with the light hitting his hair just right. I love this crazy mutt.

Tango with his mutton chops.

25.) Saying goodbye to the snow is equally hard and easy to do. Putting chains on tires while in a white wonderland...chaffing ski boots while gliding down a mountain...popsicle toes while drinking hot chocolate and Fireball. It's been fun, Mt. Hood! Loves ya!

Cold Snow, Warm Heart

Monday, February 12, 2018

Week 3: 2018 Heart Art Challenge

The third week is upon us, and I'm still plodding along with my Heart Art Challenge where everyday in February I find something positive--with regards to hearts and love--to put out into the world. Today offered a nice way to wake a sunny reprieve in Seattle.

12.) The sun taunts me while I make winter break plans, which hopefully involve a lot of snow: skiing, sledding, and a cabin in the mountains.

Hearts and Lights

13.)  Yesterday, I received a gift from my hubby; he thought every writer should have a telescoping pen! #amwriting

Telescopic Key-Ring Pen
by True Utility

14.) Happy Valentine's Day! Today, I was at the elementary school teaching an art lesson about hues, tints, and shades. We mixed up some paint and had a go at making Valentine hearts with lights and shadows. A quick and fun lesson right before their class party.

Heart Art on the Drying Rack

Heart Art Wall

15.) Throw Back Thursday: A photo from last summer in Sinemorets, Bulgaria on the Black Sea. Morning coffee with a heart.

Beach Combing and Coffee

16.) Surprise! Asphalt heart.

Hearts Everywhere

17.) Need some inspiration on this fine Saturday? 

Put some happy in your heart.

18.) Where was I last night? At the Paramount theater in downtown Seattle, watching Hamilton. All I can say is...WOW! Way to rap out a fresh take on Alexander Hamilton in U.S. history...I loved it. I've seen plenty of musicals and plays, and this one is easily my new favorite.

Hamilton, a Broadway Musical

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Week 2: 2018 Heart Art Challenge

Oh, happy Monday, the Heart Art Challenge continues! Here is the second week of February, and my dedication to all things love and hearty:

5.) Made a list of things sold this year from ESPIALdesign's Etsy shop where 50% of the proceeds will be donated to the American Heart Association in November.

6.) Snapshot! Found a heart in nature.

"Some buggy loves you!"

7.) My heart feels sentimental right now. I hung my late grandma's cuckoo clock on my wall today and WOW... that thing is a beast. When it was handed down to me a couple months ago nothing on it worked. I took it to a clock shop, who at first quoted me a base price of $750, but then called to say there were no parts made for its age and size. I had them turn it into a battery-operated clock instead. The music no longer plays, the people no longer dance, and the cuckoo has been removed, but it still tells the time. Waiting for #happyhour

A BIG souvenir from Grandma's Travels
Germany, 1979

8.) This evening I cooked up some heart-shaped blueberry pancakes. Who doesn't love breakfast for dinner? Scrumptious! Recipe called Fluffy Pancakes (serves 8) at The only adjustment I made to the batter was to use less baking powder: 1-1/2 teaspoons instead of two.

I Heart Pancakes

9.) Fresh from the ESPIALdesign studio: Four big bookmarks that are all heart, inspired by these phrases: "Spread our wings" and "Live our dreams" and "Let's go be adventurers."

Heart Corner-Bookmarks: Front
"Live for Adventure"

These four gems are packaged together and are available on Etsy for book lovers, Valentines, or anyone who likes to leave love notes. Inexpensive, full of good vibes, and half the proceeds go to the American Heart Association. They're fun to make while I cogitate about writing.

Heart Corner-Bookmarks: Back
Love Notes

10.) Thought I'd share a few pictures from our K├Âln trip last summer where we walked along the bridge of love and locks.
"40,000 padlocks hang on the bridge to date – a shocking number considering that the tradition only started in 2008. That means 40,000 couples – 80,000 individuals in all – have participated in this fast-growing, spontaneous collection. The padlocks have added over 2 tons of weight to the bridge, causing local officials to question how long the practice can be sustained." ~
Hohenzollernbr├╝cke Bridge 2017
 Cologne, Germany

11.) Recycled an old Valentine card into a new one and am going to mail it tomorrow to friends in Colorado. Ending this week and starting the next with good vibes. Happy Valentines Week!

"Know what makes this Valentine sweet?"

Monday, February 05, 2018

2018 ESPIALdesign's Art for Heart Donations

Last year's donation (2017) to the American Heart Association from ESPIALdesign's Etsy shop was $26.00. Below is the running tally for the 2018 donation...gearing up for #GivingTuesday in November.


I'm spreading wonder
With one word.


1.) 4-Pack Heart Corner-bookmarks "I love coffee"
2.) 4-Pack Heart Corner-bookmarks "I love bees"
3.) Renew Blackout Poem
4.) Narwhal Blackout Poem
5.) 4-Pack Heart Corner-bookmarks "Love and Hearts"
6.) 4-Pack Heart Corner-bookmarks "I love bees"
7.) 4-Pack Heart Corner-bookmarks "Live for Adventure"


Total: $14.00

Week 1: 2018 Heart Art Challenge

1.) Made up a February reading challenge inspired by #WearRed and started reading Reign of Madness by Lynn Cullen:

Historical Women's Fiction

2.) Wore red shoes on February 2nd for the American Heart Association's 15th Annual National Wear Red Day.

3.) Crafted four BIG heart corner-bookmarks with a "love and hearts" theme and put them in my Etsy shop: ESPIALdesign.

4.) Created a blackout poem inspired by love and music:


They kissed and his music
Altered her heart.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Big Hearted Bookmarks at Etsy

Fresh from the ESPIALdesign studio: Four big bookmarks that are all heart, giving new meaning to the phrase "My weekend is all booked."

Heart Corner Bookmarks - Front
Love and Hearts Theme

These four gems are packaged together and are available at Etsy for book lovers, Valentines, or anyone who likes to leave love notes. Inexpensive, full of good vibes, and half the proceeds go to the American Heart Association. It's all about love!

Heart Corner Bookmarks - Back
Love Notes

"Reading is dreaming with open eyes." ~ Anonymous

Friday, February 02, 2018


I don't wear a lot of red, but after some serious digging into my wardrobe I found a faded t-shirt, ruby earrings, a garnet necklace, and an old pair of dusty heels I've only worn once.

Since I was helping a friend celebrate her birthday this morning, and I wanted to participate in the American Heart Association's 15th Annual National Wear Red Day today, I brushed the dust off my shoes and breezed out the door with birthday wishes and hot coffee on my mind.

Of course, I needed to take a picture and as it happens, just the other day I bought a portable table-top photography studio (another project, another day) and thought I'd try it out. Random...I know.

Studio in Use


The price wasn't bad at $40.00, and it came with the two LED lights shown, collapsible cloth frame, a miniature tripod and clamp for phone cameras (cheap and not the best for bigger, weightier phones),  and four backdrop cloths (red, white, blue, and black). The fabric box folds into a carrying case with three pockets that hold everything nicely. Love it!

I wish the tripod were better, but for the total price, I can't really complain. One thing I might add later are cloth bags to hold the backdrop cloths so they stay nice and clean while being toted around. Here's what it looks like folded and ready for storage or transport:


Thursday, February 01, 2018

February 2018: Heart Art Challenge Month

I love stressing myself out, and what better way to do it than to create a month long challenge while I'm trying to finish writing my latest book? But it's all in fun, right? Right! And all the love and hearts and being good to yourself and others can't really be stuffed into one twenty-four hour period, IMHO. Valentine's Day simply isn't enough time to put love out there and revel in it. Hence, the month long Heart Art Challenge.

Day One:

So I'll start February off with my favorite thing to do, which is sorting through my TBR piles. The15th Annual National Wear Red Day on February 2nd (#wearred) inspired my reading list below. Come join the fun!

February's Reading Challenge: Wear Red

1.) Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt (2014) - Historical Romance
2.) Reign of Madness by Lynn Cullen* (2011) - Historical Women's Fiction
3.) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes* (2012) - Contemporary Romance
4.) Love in Lowercase by Francesc Miralles (2010) - Contemporary Romance
6.) InkHeart by Cornelia Funke (2003) - Middle Grade

* A recommended read!

"When in doubt, wear red." ~ Bill Blass