sat 1 mar 2014... Amnesty International|
I joined Amnesty International in December 2011 with
their Write for Rights campaign, and shortly after that
I joined the Urgent Action letter writing campaign.
In 2012, I wrote letters for 40 cases. In 2013, I wrote
for 37 cases.
My tentative goal for 2014 was to write for an Urgent
Action case every weekend. Except, I've not been very
dedicated: I've only written for 5 cases so far and this
is the 9th weekend of the year!
Well, it doesn't help that I've not been receiving the
emails... I'm signed up for a weekly message, where they
send one current but random case. Since I've not been
getting the emails, I've been going to the site to pick
out a case.
And there are just so many to choose from.
I like the fact
that I can choose a case that I'm interested in and
passionate about. But
the whole process takes longer: sifting through all the
current cases, then writing longer letters because of my
interest, and really hemming and hawing over the words
and language I use because I want to get it right. ha!
I print my letters on coloured paper... today it was
I always decorate my Urgent Action envelopes. I hope
it catches their attention. But I sometimes wonder
what they actually think about it. :)
I'm hoping to get 2 cases written this weekend. Today
I am writing for a Syria case... a Kurd postal worker
was disappeared by the government in March 2012 and
has not been heard from since. Unfortunately, the postal
system in Syria is so unreliable the case sheet only
gives fax numbers. It's sad and ironic that the postman
they took is probably dead of torture.
It's hard, being confronted with these life and death
situations, and people really are being tortured to death
right now and every day. Sickening.
But I can't ignore it, and writing for Amnesty International
is my way of dealing with it.
And then I go for a walk.
Nature cleanses my mind and soul.
Fri, 28 Feb 2014 19:18:47 PST|
Weekly Mail Check-in
This Week: 26 mailings
Total LetterMo Mail: 150 mailings
Now the replies need to be written!
sun 23 feb 2014... the status of spring|
Yes. Spring is on the way...
And today, at the garden plot, I discovered
a couple of crocuses were hiding
underneath the aster bush that I never got around to
Also at the garden, there is a mystery bulb that's just
starting to grow... I had discovered it when we dug up
the plot last fall, and I replanted it in the front,
not knowing what it was or if it would live or not.
It's alive, and I can't wait to see what kind of flower it
Sat, 22 Feb 2014 17:51:53 PDT|
Weekly Mail Check-in
This Week: 50 mailings
Reply Mail: 1 LetterMo reply!
Total Mail: 124 mailings
Sat, 15 Feb 2014 18:24:56 PST|
Weekly Mail Check-in
This Week: 41 mailings
Reply Mail: zero!
Total Mail: 74 mailings
sat 8 feb 2014... Snow! and LetterMo!|
The 2nd snow storm of the season brought us 10 inches
of snow plus some rain that made the trees all icy. Pretty
big branches are coming down, I hope we get to keep our
I live in an area of very mild winters... we might get a
single dusting of snow, but it's supposed to be
50°F and raining.
Ten inches of snow and the ice, is crazy.
Climate change crazy!
The snow is distracting and scary
and beautiful and fun... And I
think I got a photo worth making into a postcard.
Which brings me to LetterMo.
is an annual challenge, to write and send mail every day
the post runs during the month of february. It's tons
of fun and this is my third year participating.
Last year I sent out 108 postcards and letters. I should
be able to beat that easily. And I want to make a
real effort to send replies. I always say that, but this
time I have a system.
ha. Having "a system" makes me feel organized, at the
Sat, 08 Feb 2014 18:56:42 PST|
Weekly Mail Check-in
Total Mail: 33 mailings (including last saturday)
This Week: 31 mailings
Reply Mail: several
I am having fun... and I've barely even started!
I have much catching up to do. At the beginning of the
year I was two months behind on my personal mailing
project... So I hope to mail out Nov, Dec, Jan and Feb
postcards to my friends and family. I don't even know how
I got that far behind!
sat 25 jan 2014... Clearing|
Yep, I continue to be busy with my various postcard
Yep, I am insane. But never mind about that!
I have also been working on my daily
class. It's so wonderfully easy, it
would kind of be a crime to skip a day. The daily lesson
is just a couple sentences long, or maybe a paragraph on
a serious day... I print it up, think about it and then
maybe add some journaling.
The most helpful thing about the class... is that I'm
thinking about "clearing" every single day.
When I go to lay something down, even when it's in it's
"proper pile", I have second thoughts! Do I actually
need to keep this? Maybe I should
put this in the recycling bin instead? Or Maybe I could
put it on top of my keyboard to remind myself to deal
with it quickly?
You can't actually tell yet, but my piles are getting
shorter. I am dealing with some small stuff every now and
then. And I am happy with my progress: the piles weren't
built in a single day, I don't expect to dismantle them
But today is a cause for celebration.
My goal for 2014 is to work on a 4x6 inch bit of art
about 5 days a week. But,
I've been so busy with the postcard stuff, I haven't
been able to work on this daily art project.
In my clearing for the past couple of weeks, I've been
organizing to get started on the art again. One night,
I got a little box to store some of my supplies in,
and I put my Nov 2013 art book in it. Then I bought and
new white pens. Another evening, I cut up some watercolour
paper and anticipated working with InkTense pencils on it.
Then I cut up some blue paper, thinking to add white
writing on it.
And then a big job. I decided I wanted a drawer for
my reference photos. I have three sets of Iris drawers
that I store paper and stationery in, and 2 of the
drawers (out of 18 total) are "junk" drawers. If I
cleaned one out, I could use it for my art project.
It took a lot of thinking. aka planning, preparing,
THINKING. A big issue I have is trying to figure out
where things go. Things need a permanent home once I've
moved them off their pile or out of their drawer, so that
I can easily find them again. I need to be able to find
things because I get upset when I'm looking for something
and it's not in it's place.
Today, I cleared out the drawer. Recycled some stuff.
Put other stuff in the second junk drawer. Put some
stuff on the "I'll deal with it later" pile.
The drawer was empty. And then I put a dent in one of
my piles: I put all my reference photos and some magazines
and my 20 Ways To Draw A Tree books -- into the empty
Ha! I feel so organized!
sat 18 jan 2014... begin|
Ha! At the beginning of the year I was completely
gung ho about typing up some blog posts! I had several
topics planned! And then I got distracted.
I decided my usual monthly postcard exchange that I
host at GoodReads was looking a bit paltry. So I sent
out a mass email to bump up participation.
And then, every spare minute of every day for two weeks
was spent on the very lovely results! I messaged new
comers, I sent out welcome postcards and then I sent out
the January postcards.
I've sent out well over 70 postcards. And while this
particular january project is done, I am ready to get
going on my other january postcard projects!
fri 3 jan 2014... 2 classes|
In the spirit of doing something new and different
for the new year,
I have signed up for two, year-long classes.
Draw Your Awesome Year by Joanne Sharpe
This is a journaling class which starts out with a bunch
of video lessons during January, then adds prompts once
a month through the year. I signed up for this one because
I enjoy Joanne's classes and I really want to focus on
some art stuff this year.
A Year To Clear by Stephanie Bennett Vogt
This is a class about clearing out the clutter in your
home, and in your mind through meditation techniques.
I am interested in this class because there are some
tidying up issues that are starting to
cause me some anxiety.
I suppose I should mention that I have taken 1 or 2
month-long classes from each of these wonderful women...
and haven't finished any of them.
Ha! As long as I'm having fun, I don't worry about it too
much. I am more concerned about the journey, rather than
the destination. Which means sometimes stuff doesn't get
"completed". And I'm okay with that!
wed 1 jan 2014... Happy New Year|
Yay New Year!
In 2013, I read 36 Books!
My average book was 320 pages and I read about 221 pages
In 2013, I sent 945 Postcards, Notecards, Letters and
Packages! That's an average of 78 mailings a month.
My biggest mailing month was august, when I sent 121
bits of mail because I was so happy to get a new printer
after the old one died.
In 2013, I took on 37 Urgent Action cases and Write
for Rights cases for Amnesty International.
In 2013, I took 6670 Photos! Averaging 555 per month.
In 2013, Rhino the guinea pig died in January. We
adopted Lucy and Ethel in June. I took a trip to Colorado
for my 40th birthday in May, and a trip to see family
in Colorado and Iowa in December. Our community garden
plot seemed to be the most organized and productive yet in
I had taken on a daily drawing challenge in Nov 2013, and
I remained enthusiastic about it to the end. I think I
might be interested in continuing that challenge throughout
2014. I will start with a goal of 5 small drawings a week,
and adjust as needed!
My theme for 2014 is "Take Care". There are some home
and self projects that I have procrastinated and need
to take care of.
Most important is to continue being the best vegan I
sat 14 dec 2013... weekend|
I have no drawings to show you this week, mostly due to
which made both my work day and my commute time longer.
I did not have as much time in the evenings for play.
That's okay. I am very excited to share a photo from
my walk today...
I was walking along the bike path, which runs next to
the creek, when I saw a group of ducks paddling towards
something like there was a human giving out bread...
I was the only human, and they weren't paddling towards me.
And then I saw what they were interested in...
Who is that?! He looks like a ferret. And I think he was
about that size. He did swim in the creek.
The ducks were very interested in him. And he did not bother
them. He is definitely a carnivore, but too small to
take on a mallard, especially with the whole flock staring
I think he might be a Mink? How awesome is that!
sat 7 dec 2013... update|
Last weekend I was getting a head start
on Amnesty International's
Write for Rights.
I wrote letters of protest and notecards of solidarity
for 7½ of the ten cases! The letter writing
campaign goes through
to the 17th of December, and I think I'll have time to
finish up the rest before then.
I hope you'll join me in writing letters!
provides sample letters that you can just print up and
sign, stick it in an envelope and send it on it's way...
and you've made a difference in the world!
Write for Rights, Scotland 2012: How Letters Change the World
This week, I decided to keep going with my drawing
project. I won't be able to continue the "daily" part
for much longer, since I get distracted with family stuff
at the end of december. But until that moment arrives,
I am going to go where the inspiration takes me...
I wanted to give the
Peaceful Prairie turkey some colour...
And then I had to search for some pics that interested me.
I found a spoonbill and a dolphin:
And then, moving some of my piles around, I rediscovered
my Charley Harper book. He is one of my favorite artists.
I thought copic markers would lend themselves wonderfully to
the flat colours that Harper uses!
Yeah! Oh my gosh! I had so much fun doing these!!
sun 1 dec 2013... drawings|
For the last week of my daily drawing project I drew a
goat, and then several different turkeys...
Here is a drawing of Daphne, who is on the cover of the
fall/winter Farm Sanctuary newsletter:
This is an unnamed turkey, who is on the cover of the
nov/dec Audubon magazine:
And this is a drawing I did from one of my own photos I
Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary, an awesome vegan
sanctuary that I ♥love♥:
I love turkeys! They are such lovely creatures.
Plus they have the
most beautiful eyes. I wish I could look into their
eyes for a long time. That sounds funny, doesn't it. But
trust me... find a really good, close up photo of
a turkey's face and you will see their eyes are amazing!
(and please don't base your judgement on my crappy drawings!!)
Also, I love birds in general because they are so
accessible... and turkeys are the
biggest bird I'm going to see in the urban wild. Yep,
there's a small group of turkeys who live in a forest
park a few miles from my home. They occasionally
travel! I've seen them stopping traffic on my street and
I've seen them wander thru the front yard.
How cool is that?!
sat 30 nov 2013... 3 Piles of Projects|
The pile on the left is the art pile.
My project for november is Art Everyday. The pile includes
the magazines I have drawn from, the photos I've printed
up, different kinds of paper
(that I've not actually used),
my 4x6 index cards along with my
trusty mechanical pencil and white vinyl eraser.
The pile on the right is the Amnesty International
This is my project for this long weekend. So far I have
written letters of protest and notecards of support for
6 of the 10 cases!
The pile includes all the letters, since I decided not
to mail them until the Write for Rights campaign
"officially" begins on 2 december. Also in the pile
are my stamps: the round global forever stamps and the
US stamps are the Modern Art forever stamps (I bought
a bajillion sheets of these, because I love art,
and now I so tired of them!) (ha).
And my little set of Hallmark cards, there in the
middle... I usually make my
own notecards, but I am glad I decided to use up some
of my "bought" stash. When you're writing so many
letters in a single weekend, it's good to make things as
easy as possible! Making my own: I have to choose a
design, print it, cut and fold it, and then dig out an
envelope for it. These bought notecards have a design of
leaves on a teal background. They are beautiful,
gender non-specific, and small so I don't feel like I have
to write too much! Easy.
The pile at the top of the pic is my journal binding
This year I've been journalling on loose leaf paper...
not just writing by hand,
but also printing up some digital
journal pages. It really works well for me, except I
don't take the time to bind up the papers very often.
Which is fine. It's nice to get a little perspective --
aka let months pass -- before looking through journal
thurs 28 nov 2013... Happy Long Weekend|
My project for this weekend is to write letters for
Amnesty International. I've joined
Write for Rights. I have been participating
in this campaign since 2011 and this is my third year!
The great thing about Write for Rights
is that they provide sample letters.
It's so easy to participate! Just print up the sample
letter, sign it and put it in an envelope!
In addition to sending letters of protest,
you can also send letters of solidarity.
There are 10 cases highlighted this year... and my goal
for this long weekend is to write letters for ALL of them!!
sat 23 nov 2013... Squirrel Week!|
I printed up one of my photos of a pine squirrel on
Monday and spent the rest of the week drawing him!
He is just so cute!
Unfortunately, when doing my drawings in copics, I discovered
I don't have the right colours. Orange is my least favorite
colour, and also I don't have any pale colours... and I
need a pale orange for this project!
I tried twice, and then went for something completely
I was annoyed that I had so much trouble with his
fingers. Hands are hard to draw!
I also got to do some experiments with alcohol ink
painting. Here's an example of some real art with a
cute baby sea turtle:
Painting with Copic Various Ink.
And another one
by Lin Frye, who contributes regularly to the exclusive
Sketching in Nature blog.
sat 16 nov 2013... and feathery|
A scrub jay, today.
I had taken a few photos of this scrub jay in september,
and wished I could have turned one of them into a postcard.
Unfortunately, they were all blurry... the day was cloudy
and the jay only sat for mere seconds. arg.
But even blurry photos are useful!
I printed up the best of the blurry pics and got out my
field guide and attempted a drawing.
And then I took some pics of my work area...
This is my usual set up. The end of my bed is
where I do my computing (thus the keyboard and track ball!).
I draw on my lap desk, my photo refs in front of me, and
all my copic sketch markers.
sat 16 nov 2013... furry animals|
I worked in pencil, and pencil + copics,
on a few furry animals this week.
But my beginner's luck is over and I had to crumple
up a lot of ugly index cards! ha. oh well, I kept
trying until I could almost recognize the critters
I was drawing!
I drew Lucy and Ethel several days in a row... at first
attempting some live sketches. Much frustration and
crumpling ensued. Then I printed out their photo and
drew from that.
think I might have to practice for years instead of
just one month a year.
I need to remind myself that my drawing "goal" is not
photo realism. I have a camera for photos!!
My goal here is along the lines of my paper journal...
to record the things important to me. To have fun.
Drawing is a skill that, with practice, can be
improved. And I am here to practice!
sun 10 nov 2013... weekend roundup|
I think it's decided. Drawing furry animals is difficult!
Good thing I still have 20 days to practice!
I am also playing catch up with my postcard and mailing
projects. I love sending mail! My ongoing goal is to send
a monthly postcard to the two mailing groups I belong to,
and a few friends and family. The mailing list is currently
between 60 and 70 postcards.
But then I pick up random
projects that look fun. And then I want to send something
special to someone. And then there are a few replies
to be made... yeah: there's a pile.
This weekend, I cleared out the Swap-Bot projects.
And I wrote a couple replies. And I really organized that
pile, so that I can pick up the top project and get going
with it quickly and easily!
Also worked on an Amnesty International case.
When I read
I Am Malala,
I was reminded that my Amnesty International work
was important. Having recently finished E.O. Wilson's
Biophilia (the fire ant!), I was reminded again...
He writes about the terrible changes that come to
Surinam, in South America,
after a dictator comes into power in 1980. Wilson was
concerned about the human rights violations as well as
the environmental destruction. He mentions Amnesty International's
Urgent Action cases in the footnotes.
As a member of the
Urgent Action Network, I must continue my activism!
It is so important!
I've signed up for the
USA Write for Rights, which happens in December.
UK Write for Rights
is already under way!
sat 9 nov 2013... catching up|
... With my daily drawings...
I love how this one turned out! I drew it directly with
copics, from a photo of the coreopsis flowers that I grew
in our community garden plot this year. I did the black
outline last, with a brush tip multiliner.
This drawing came from the same garden photo, an aster plant
was growing behind the coreopsis. I experimented with
my set of Inktense pencils. I think this is the first
time I've used them in a drawing. Inktense is water
activated... so you put your drawing down with the pencils
and then you hit them with a water brush.
Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? Except I suck pretty
bad with paint brushes.
But I tried it out! Only the flower has a very careful
wash over it, although I did swipe the background with
my water brush as well. If I try it again, I will definitely
use some actual watercolour paper... my index card warped
quite a bit and I could tell the colours were going to
blob all over the place if I got carried away with the
water. And it might be nice to get carried away with the
water, you know?! :)
I had just finished reading
Biophilia by E.O. Wilson and decided to draw a fire
ant in his honor. ha. I grew up with fire ants when I
lived in Louisiana... I ran around outside with
bare feet, as all good
children should, and stepped in my fair share of fire
I wanted to draw a rat today, in honour of the Mutts
comic of friday:
"Rats need love too"!
Yes! I searched for an ancient pic of my friend
Freefall, who I cared for when I was a teenager.
It's a tiny pic, but it's the only one I have and
I wanted to draw her
and not some stranger I found on the internet!
But my drawing did not come out well. I tried again.
and again. I erased a lot. And then I tried drawing with
copics. And then I just traced my photo. And even that
looked not-normal! humph.
So, I'm going to show you my photo, instead of my
Isn't she precious?! If the opportunity presented itself,
I would jump at the chance to adopt another rat!
fri 8 nov 2013... update|
So I meant to post some of my daily drawings during the
week. But random projects got in the way. And sometimes
craziness got in the way. And now I have to play
who lives at
Elephant Sanctuary, a cool place that's important to me.
Shirley turned 65 this year, and I drew her from the cover
of the Summer newsletter. Her leg juts out like that
because it was broken and never set. She came to the
sanctuary in 1999 and she is living happily ever after.
Be sure to check out the
More catching up tomorrow...
sat 2 nov 2013... sketches|
Today I did some sketching from life...
Unfortunately, the life was moving around too much.
So I'm not very happy with my drawings.
I should catch them while they are sleeping!
But I am happy with the fact that it's november 2nd and
I already have four drawings done!
fri 1 nov 2013... start the art|
My goal for November is to make art every day!
It doesn't have to be good art. And if I don't want to
show it, I don't have to!
But I am going to work on a 4x6 index card or paper
every day this month.
I actually did a test run on tuesday...
I drew this picture from a Dover book in pencil. Inked it
with a brush tip Multiliner SP, erased the pencil then
coloured the background with copic wides and sketch markers.
I am happy with my fish and it took about half an hour.
Today is the first official day of the Art Month:
This is the back side of a California Poppy, inspired by
a photo in the Fall edition of National Parks magazine.
No pencil work on this one, I drew straight up with my
copics. This drawing was less about the actual drawing
and more about the blending of the colours. I feel like
I need some practice!
And practice is exactly the point of this month of art!!
sat 26 oct 2013... Amnesty International|
Another important project that I've abandoned but want
to get back to is
Urgent Action Network.
I've been an active member of the UAN since December 2011.
I had written a few letters for their annual
Write for Rights campaign that December and got hooked.
I had been taking on one case -- sending three or four letters
of protest -- almost every weekend. In 2012, I wrote letters
for 40 cases. And this year I wanted to do more!
I started out very strong, in January and February I
would sometimes write two cases in a weekend! After that,
my letter writing kind of fizzled, only writing once or
twice in a month.
The last case I wrote for was Urgent Action #205-2013.
I sent four letters to Cuba at the end of August.
Nothing since then.
This week, I read
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.
And I am sadly reminded of all the violence in the
world. Writing for Amnesty International was my form
of peace activism. Why have I stopped? Why in the world
have I quit?
So far this year, I've worked on 24 UAN cases...
I am not sure I'll be able to match the 40 cases I
completed in 2012. But I'm going to try!
fri 25 oct 2013... plans|
I've been a terrible blogger! I kept thinking I would
type about something brilliantly spectacular and then
I could come back to the Internet with style. haha:
every time something spectacularly brilliant actually
does happen, I procrastinate writing about it. I think
the writing needs to be perfect. And then it starts
sounding like a lot of work. And who wants their hobby
to be work??
So, I'm just going to type about day-to-day stuff.
Maybe eventually I'll get to the brilliant and spectacular
stuff. But right now, I'm just going to update.
National Novel Writing Month.
I don't have a novel in me, but in that spirit,
Art Every Day Month.
My plan is to draw or colour a 4x6 index card every day.
But I need to do some prep: gather some magazines with some
good animal photos I can draw, print up some of my own
pictures to draw, and make a list of stuff I can do
when I am not feeling inspired, or when I don't have a lot
And before november rolls around, I have some other projects
that I need to get back to. Will be typing about them
sat 28 sept 2013... Banned Books Week!|
I spent a couple hours this morning writing about banned
books on a ton of postcards for my GoodReads group!
Yay, I love it when I can
combine my favorite things to do!!
reading and talking about books... not to mention the photography
I'm sharing on the front of the postcards.
Today is the last day of
Banned Books Week
and I'm celebrating by talking about the challenged books I've
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
9. 1984, by George Orwell
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
And from the
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
88. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle
And Currently reading:
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky.
And will soon read:
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
I really enjoyed this article in our local paper, the other day:
Books can lead to enlightenment. Haha, the comments made
me laugh even tho the people seem to be completely serious!!
I wonder if they actually read the article!
Banned Books Week is important to me because I love to expand my
mind by reading books I wouldn't ordinarily pick. The books on
the Challenged Books lists are so diverse and wonderful! And
even when I read one that I don't like... I still love the fact
that I am able to read that book!
I am rift vegan!|
(Also known as cheri.)
I live in the Pacific Northwest of the USA,
with my Significant Other (SO), and guinea pigs
Lucy and Ethel.
I am vegan for ethical and environmental reasons,
my love for animals and nature is
a very important part of my life.
This blog is occasionally about...
∞ Vegan Life
∞ Handmade Postcards
∞ Books, Reading & eBooks
∞ the Paper Journal
∞ Drawing & Art Projects
∞ Randomness :)