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What I Learned This Week – 1/31/16

Adult coloring books are all the rage right now. Tiny little lines for intricate coloring. Seems more stressful than relaxing to me. I prefer my Hello Kitty coloring book any day.

This week I learned a new meaning to “adult coloring.”

Get your mind out of the gutter.

My asbestos friend the soon-to-be famous author bought a pair of white tennis shoes and decorated them with words using Sharpies.

Now, I instantly thought:

  1. What a great idea!
  2. What a waste of (a) canvas.

I love to write, but I also love to draw. When presented with a blank canvas and a rainbow of markers, my mind automatically goes to all the cool pictures and designs that I could create.

So, I totally stole her idea and decorated up a pair of shoes for myself. My son urged me to leave some white space, but I just couldn’t do that. I covered them in colorful doodles of whatever fell into my brain. Which, of course included Punky Brewster, the Wienermobile, and the logos for my website and book series.

My decorated shows-the front!

My decorated shows-the front!

My decorated shoes-the back!

My decorated shoes-the back!

I have been daydreaming about living in a little pink shack in Hawaii lately. There is a picture I love by Hawaiian artist Holly Kitaura. I did my own representation on my shoes. (Don’t worry. They are just for me. I won’t sell them or make any money off of them.) I wanted to put Stitch on (as in Lilo &), but I forgot to.

Rainbow Hale by Holly Kitaura

Rainbow Hale by Holly Kitaura

I had many more important adult responsibilities to attend to on a gloomy Sunday, but I was drawn to work on the shoes until they were done. It is very possible that the Universe was sending me a message that I needed to take a breather. I’m glad I did.

My decorated shoes-the insides

My decorated shoes-the insides!

My decorated shoes-the outsides

My decorated shoes-the outsides!

I wonder if anyone would notice if I wore them to work. And would I rather no one noticed so that I wouldn’t get into trouble, or that they did notice because they are that awesome?

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a BugAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!
Be Careful What You Wish ForANNOUNCEMENT TOMORROW!

What I Learned This Week – 9/14/14

The weather has turned cold this week in Michigan.

As usual, we have gone straight from summer to winter. Mother Nature skipped all altogether.

This had me thinking of Hawaii. I have never been, but have always wanted to.

In an alternate universe somewhere, instead of meeting and dating my future husband, after college I moved to a little shack in Hawaii. I lived cheap and rode a bicycle.

I didn’t even know if such shacks actually existed there. The other night, on a whim, I searched for Hawaii real estate. The first property I found was only $19,000. And pink!

Hawaii shack

Hawaii shack

I know, very rustic. Definitely not suitable for a husband, wife, toddler, and a lab mix. But, when I was 22, I could have managed with it.

On Saturday, my family set out to check out a cute little camper. We fell in love with it. While we daydreamed about having the means to tow it home, we garage-saled. We ended up at a local consignment store where we often find treasures.

I found a box of old vintage photographs, marked at one dollar a piece.

This made me very sad. All these images of people. These aren’t models paid to be in advertisements. These were real people, captured living their lives. Pawing through the box, I could tell that sometimes there were several pictures of the same person, throughout their lives.

The box of vintage photos

The box of vintage photos

How did they end up here? Did their families clean out a house when there was a death and they were just dumped here? Even if you didn’t know who they were, isn’t it someone’s duty to hold on to them? How can people just cast away their family members?  Maybe i just have that mindset because I have so little family, and know so little about the rest.

It instantly made me sad. I don’t want my picture cast aside in a box marked at a dollar for some stranger to snicker at when I am gone. I want my life to add up to more than that. I want to be remembered.

I felt like I had to give at least one of these people in the vintage pictures a new home. I ended up bringing home two.

Mrs. Nora Hamilton, Jennie Wade, and unknown woman

Mrs. Nora Hamilton, Jennie Wade (Gettysburg souvenir), and unknown woman

The first picture I chose was a woman standing with a hat on outdoors. There is no identification of any kind on the picture. She has on glasses. If you look quickly, she is smiling. If you look closer, you realize that maybe she isn’t. At first I thought she was a teenager. But, the styles of the time make it difficult to tell. She could be in her 20’s, or a youthful 30.

She could be me.

The second picture looks to be of a young woman. On the back is scrawled the name Mrs. Nora Hamilton. She looks sooo young. How can she already be married? The photo was taken by Gibson and Robbins studio in Ypsilanti, Michigan. What was going on in her life that day when the photo was taken? She probably had no children, or they would have been in the picture with her. Where is her husband? Maybe he is away at war, or died on the Titanic, or of the Spanish influenza.

She is too beautiful to be me.

I have no idea when either picture was taken.

I seem to be starting a new collection of old pictures.

I don’t know what I will do with these pictures, but I like looking at them. I am sure parts of their lives were very different than mine. No cell phones, no dishwashers, no television.  Maybe no cars.  But disagreeing with their husbands, trying to balance the responsibilities of a household, feeling passionately happy and deeply depressed–these must be all things that we do have in common.

Right above the bin of vintage pictures, was a little watercolor that caught my eye. I didn’t need it, but it spoke to me. It featured a cat, and I don’t even like cats. I peeked at the back of the frame, where there was a mini biography of the artist.

I bought it.

The artist lives and paints in Hawaii. It seemed like some sort of sign.

Holly Kitaura painting

Holly Kitaura painting

I really like the trees. And the grass. The quilt I started years ago has a similar curly cue pattern.

I looked up the artist, Holly Kitaura’s, website. Look at what else I found…

Rainbow Hale by Holly Kitaura

Rainbow Hale by Holly Kitaura

Maybe I can retire there someday.

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