Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Paperback of Twinkle and Luna

They say a picture is worth a thousand words--man, I hope so!  
At any rate, this adorable photo of a little one looking at the paperback edition of 
Twinkle and Luna makes me so happy.  According
to her mum, it's a favorite and she pulls it out 
frequently to have it read to her.
So, it's official: Createspace has the best 8.5" X 11" paperback version 
of Twinkle and Luna. The link to it is as follows:

Lulu has the eBook, which comes in handy for sitting in church or long car trips.
I'm always amazed at how mesmerized little ones are by 
anything they can pull up on an iPhone or iPad.
The eBook also provides the most vivid colors, 
and can by found here:

 Before I can get to the recording studio to make the music CD that goes
with Twinkle and Luna, Girls' Camp awaits.
Next week we'll pack up and spend 4 days at
Cinnamon Creek, which looks quite lovely!
Hoping to find a way to sleep, however, in tents
surrounded by giggling teens.  Fun fun.
The first week of July will take me to Los Angeles to spend the 4th of July and my birthday
with my favorite couple, Jordan and Karli.  
They've just returned from a glorious week in Cabo with friends,
and are back in LA, carving out a new life together.
  And what's new with you?  How is the beginning of summer playing out?
So much to do in these warm, slightly less hectic months.
Was there really ever a time when the word "boredom" had meaning?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Twinkle and Luna are On Their Way to Print this Summer!

Under the pin name is J. E. Sakura, having lived in and loved both Japan and Korea, my dream has always been to publish and promote children's books in Asia as well as the USA.  
Twinkle and Luna will be the first in a series of children's books with DVDs 
(since the words are sung), 
coloring books, poetry, and much more.
These days, finding a publisher as a new author is nigh unto impossible.  
There ARE those who accomplish just that; 
but I have this idea: 
 having run my own company as Artwork by Joanna since 1976,
Why not continue that tradition and self-publish, 
retaining complete autonomy of content and ideals?  
Amazon's printing of my book was of unprofessionally poor quality,
which no amount of communication could resolve.
 So, I've stopped promoting it, and will pull it off of CreateSpace 
as soon as I have time to call them.

Instead, I'm giving Lulu Publishing a try.
 So far, they've been very professional 
but the bottom line will be what the final product looks like.  
I'm picky, so we'll see.  
There's no such thing as a half-rate Artwork by Joanna product,
so the books have to match a forty year standard.
As the past year and a half of working two jobs winds to a close, 
Twinkle, along with her friends, Sparkle, Shimmer, Glimmer, Glow
and most recently, Luna, look forward to 
adding you to their circle of friends!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Princess Party Face Painting

Anything would look good on this child!  What a fun day!!
Of course, not everyone wants to be a Princess...
We feel Pretty!
Love My Face....
Flower Power on My Arms,
...and a Tiara to match my Eyelashes!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Finishing Laundry Room Mural and Home Again

Once everything is sketched in, the next step, for this type of whimsical mural,
is to "white shadow" everything, filling in sky from the ceiling down, 
all around the main elements drawn in the day before.
It's time consuming, but facilitates the young, playful feeling we're after. 
I connected the painted clothes line between tree branches, instead of poles, and then glued on and white-washed the clothes pins for hanging whatever the family chooses!
Also, since the hallway molding is painted black, continuing that into the laundry room
not only creates continuity, it also completes and finishes the scene, 
lending something of a framed look.
All in all, this was a super fun project, and one I hope to repeat!  

Then it was time to leave.  After spending priceless time with family and friends, 
I drove away and paused to gaze back on Eden 
from Sideling Hill in Western Maryland.
Mile after mile of an undulating sea of green trees and pastures, 
it always takes my breath away.  It's ALWAYS difficult to leave.
However, having traveled this journey so often, and knowing a return trip will inevitably
follow, I focus on what's ahead.  
The "I" states (Indiana, Illinois, Iowa) are peacefully pretty; 
and green scenery tapers off gradually from state to state.  
The only places I can't imagine living are--
in large sections of Idaho, Nebraska and Wyoming.  I know, one person's hell
is another's heaven.  But geez!  In some sections,
not a single tree or hill can be seen from horizon to horizon.
Cheyenne, Wyoming assaults the senses with this:
Hurrying past it and closing my vents, I gaze ahead.  Industry is far from evil, BUT, 
seriously, can't something be done to mask this monstrosity?  
Utah and Houston, TX--that goes for you, too!!
Windmills look more picturesque in the "I" states, but they make a 
heck of a lot of sense in this area!  Trains are fun to watch from a distance, too, especially in 
and out of the formations of rock which replace greener mountains of the East.
Lincoln's statue has inspired me since I first saw it, over a decade ago.  
This time the sun was setting as I gazed on those powerful features,
seeming to breath life into the rock edifice.
 For awhile, all greenery seems to vanish before your eyes;
leaving one feeling stranded on a distant planet somewhere.  
It's rather mesmerizing, but not "homey."

By the time I reach Echo, Utah, however, those amazing rocks are 
highlighted with some shrubs and trees.
This time, I got out at a rest stop and took photos.
Continuing on I-80, forestation increases.  Park City has an incomparable rugged beauty which I've never successfully photographed as I see it.  There's no safe place to pull over, but, it's Gorgeous!  Wasatch Mountain peaks, as seen here from the 215, 
hold some of the most awe inspiring scenes in the USA.  
When snow-capped, they're positively magical.
It's been almost 10 years since I got my place here, 
and the neighborhood continues to greet me with both cozy 
and sublime beauty.
Today, a friend asked, "In your perfect world, where would you live?"
I had to answer, I honestly do not know.  In my perfect world,
travel would be less arduous and imposing.  
I'd probably choose a home in a place like Maryland,
where everything is lush, lovely and beautiful.
I lived at the bottom of this lane when I was a child...
Maryland holds one spell bound all the way to her border.
But, I could drive for an hour or so, and be here, too.
It seems plausible, don't you think?  
Just beyond the green of Maryland (or Seattle--even prettier!)
there are those amazing mountains. 
 More importantly, everyone I love would be just as easy to visit, 
in the home where they've lived for decades.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Trouble with Tape

We've all done it: stuck pictures our kids created or some other, "let's display this temporarily" thing up on the wall with masking, packaging, or Scotch tape (I wonder if Scotts invented that tape?).
Then we forget about it and it stays taped to the wall indefinitely.  Here's what happens.
It isn't pretty.  In some ways, it's worse than nail pops, holes, or anything else which can happen to  walls because some of these patches you see here are sticky and will repel paint that goes over it.  So, for a day and a half I scrubbed those sticky spots alternately with Goo Be Gone, paint de-glosser, and then acetone.   The first did very little; the 2nd worked better, but mostly started eating into the paint (not a problem, since I was going back over that, but...).  Acetone worked best, but since the tape residue had worked its way into the paint, it was hard going.  Further, wherever you see spots that have ripped off the paint and the surface of the underlying drywall, the tape's adhesives had leached through the paint and directly into the drywall.  All 4 walls were covered with this type of thing--the girls' projects having been displayed lovingly in the laundry room by the kitchen for a decade. After and along with removing stubborn old adhesives, I patched and sanded, 
spreading it on thick to help dry out what I couldn't remove.
Finally, I've primed the entire laundry room, ceiling down to the molding 
(which I'll prime too, at the end).
Now the room is finally ready to have something wonderful added!!  I'm going to complement the adjacent hallway theme, only with more color.  After doing faux finishes through out the rest of the first level, we went with something the movie "Three Men and a Baby" inspired.  Remember the caricature mural outside their apartment?  I painted all the molding black and the door panels, to create a cartoon feel, and then added family member caricatures in, and extending out of, rectangular boxes (including each of their cats--my client rescues them and we've added one every other year or so.  The portraits of the deceased cats remain with the family to cherish).
 Stay tuned for how the room develops, with a fun alternative to tape, for the next time something 
is worth putting up on the wall.  Also, the likeness of Lulu, the newest kitty, 
will go in the laundry room!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Love Letter Finishing Touches

Jean Marie Stangert Bovello is an exceptionally talented photographer and has filled her home with family photos, both current and from long ago.  Photos of other rooms we've designed together are already on my website, including her Tuscan kitchen with its pergola ceiling, and photo gallery family room, with faux finished pillars and textured walls.
Her vision for the master bedroom is the theme "Make Love Last," weaving together all her beloved family and romantic photos.  Here's what we came up with.
First, Jeannie created Italian love letters, using real names from her ancestry.  I burned the edges of a few, both for effect and imagining an angry lover's reaction to receiving such a letter, while still incensed with the sender.  Sometimes, I actually let them catch fire and then blew them out! 
 SO FUN!  I also tore some of them around the edges and even right through the letter...
or crumpled them up, as though they'd been thrown away in a fit of temper,
only to be rescued, reopened and smoothed out to be read over again and again.
The finish I chose to connect everything together was simply some mahogany water-based stain mixed with water and glaze to add a "smoked effect" to all the edges of the walls, doorways, windows, under shelves and around the letters after applying them to the walls.
Brushing on glaze, then smoothing the tracing paper letter on top of that, 
and pushing out air bubbles with a dry brush, and sponging off residual glaze.
The letters went on crinkled and irregular, the ink sometimes smudging, as with tears.
All of which endowed them with an aged, endearing and enduring look.
There were exchanges to and from 4 couples, so a total of 8 letters, and I placed them so the replies were in the same area, with Jeannie's grandmother and grandfather on either side of the bedposts.  Sometimes I was able to place the sender near their photo.
This is a cable from the bride-to-be to her husband-to-be, promising to follow 
him anywhere during World War II.  When fragments of the burnt letters broke off, 
and clung to the glaze, we were tickled, because it added a sense of 
the fragments of passing time and memories.
Whether love hurts 
or feels like a dance,
I think all of us, like my friend and client, want to Make Love Last.