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Presidential Portraits

Posted by on Feb 19, 2018 in Craft, Travel | 3 comments

A new portrait of President Obama was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery last week. It was met with mixed reviews.

Obama portrait unveiled

Critics compared the unconventional painting by Kehinde Wiley to portraits from the White House collection, implying that the new work – and, by extension, Obama himself – was less dignified or presidential than those that came before.

Washington portrait by Stuart

But it’s a flawed comparison. This is not his White House portrait. (Also? Judge presidents by their actions, not by artwork created of them.)

Nixon by Rockwell

There are two collections of portraits that include all (except the most recent) former U.S. Presidents: the 43 paintings in the White House and the more varied collection in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery (NPG), which also includes sculptures and photographs.

Gerald Ford by Oliphant

The portraits in the White House are often more formal and official-looking than their NPG counterparts, especially in recent decades, when artwork has been veering away from tradition, widening the gap between the two collections.

Truman, Kennedy, Bush portraits from White House and NPG

Wiley’s painting has been installed in the National Portrait Gallery, where I’m sure it stands out as unique, but not out of place.

President Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley

PS Obama’s portrait has been re-created on a cookie.  

Photos via the White House and National Portrait Gallery.


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Black + White Love #ColorStory

Posted by on Feb 14, 2018 in Craft, Travel | 0 comments

Red isn’t the only color of love.

The classic combination of black and white can also have a romantic feel.

You can see it in this month’s color story with elegant DIYs, destinations, art, interiors, and objects in black and white.

Mailboxes Venice



1. Venice mailboxes 2. L’amour print 3. Printable geometric heart gift wrap 4. Boyce Thompson Arboretum 5. Black steps


Sandnes Norway Tote Bag

Black sesame cappuccino

inger sodergren ceramics

Bridge of Sighs Venice

Stay true

6. Sandnes, Norway manhole cover tote 7. Black sesame cappuccino 8. Ceramics by Inger Södergren 9. Bridge of Sighs, Venice 10. Stay True poster


Black Cloud by Carlos Amorales

DIY heart card


DIY wardrobe

Bee mine

11. Black Cloud (Nube Negra) detail by Carlos Amorales at Phoenix Art Museum 12. DIY eraser heart stamp 13. Windmill Winery, Florence, Arizona 14. Traditional bookbinding patterns 15. Minimal open wardrobe DIY 16. Bee Mine card


Peggy Guggenheim museum cafe in Venice Italy

Hand carved stamp


Thank you

17. Peggy Guggenheim Museum Café, Venice 18. Hand carved block printing stamp 19. Farmhouse in Woodend, Victoria (Australia) + rental cottage  20. Punkpost thank you card


Bear hugs to all of you! (Illustration by Daryl Hochi)

Amor bear hugs


Images via respective sites.

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Getting a Taxi in Rome

Posted by on Feb 8, 2018 in Travel | 0 comments

Groggily standing outside Rome Ciampino Airport our very first hour in Italy, I suddenly felt unsure how to get into a cab. Even though I had read up on the do’s and dont’s of taking Italian taxis. Even though I was actually at the taxi stand and staring at a couple dozen of them.

I guess I had expected to see available taxis all lined up or at least a designated spot to wait for one.

Vatican taxi

Instead, cabs were parked haphazardly around different curbs and corners of the parking lot. Some were idling with their green (available) lights on, others had drivers (without passengers) just sitting there with their lights off, and still others were just empty with no driver in sight.

They were all mixed together, and I couldn’t make any sense of it. Ambiguity is rough when you’re sleep deprived.

Rome street corner

After deliberating way too long, I just picked one with a green light and a good vibe. We walked over to it, and I leaned towards the passenger window.

While I intended to say buona sera (“good evening” in Italian), I may have actually said buena suerte (“good luck” in Spanish).

The driver, understandably, looked confused.

Rome hotel Address

So I gave up on attempting any non-essential Italian and cut to the chase, saying the name of square we were headed to as if it were a question.

“Piazza Salerno?”



“No problem!”

I still am not sure if that’s how it’s supposed to be done, but it worked for us!

Rome Taxi

– More Italy Taxi info –

Our Tips:

Write it down! I stuck a post-it note in my wallet before we left with the name of the first hotel we’d be going to, the address, and the piazza it was in. I had practiced saying the address, but the driver didn’t understand me, so it was good I could just hand him a piece of paper with the information.

MyTaxi – One of our Airbnb hosts told us about this app, and it worked great for our trip back to the airport! We scheduled a pick up the night before and paid via the app.

Florence taxi in traffic

Taking a taxi…

Throughout Italy.

  • Only use registered taxis.
  • Don’t trust a driver who approaches you or wants to haggle.

In Rome.

  • Official taxis are white with a green light on the top.
  • Prices are fixed by the city. Certain destinations (airport to the city center, for example) have a set price. Otherwise, they go by the meter.
  • Uber has been basically shut out of Rome. (Good for Rome!)

From Ciampino airport – There’s a taxi stand right outside the airport, and you shouldn’t go elsewhere to get a cab.

From Fiumicino airport – Terminals 1 and 3 have taxi service.

Taxi app

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December’s Last Sunset and 2017 Photos

Posted by on Feb 5, 2018 in Life, Travel | 2 comments

The sunset the last evening of 2017 was gorgeous – nature’s fireworks to celebrate the New Year.

A couple of the year’s other beautiful sunsets showed up on my Instagram Best Nine, fitting neatly into its unintentional bright pink/purple/royal blue color scheme. All of my most-liked photos were taken in Arizona, so, of course, they include some desert scenery.

Only a few coincided with my monthly photo picks.

1. #LOVE sign at airport protest 2. Star Wars Capacitance Electronic Disc (CED) 3. Sunset behind palms 4. Tovrea Castle, Phoenix 5. Buildings in Old Town Peoria 6. Hotel Congress sign, Tucson – July 7. High Desert Trail, Black Canyon City – August 8. “Let’s Be Better Humans” campaign bus – March 9. View from Picacho Peak – en route from Tucson

I thought the photos I’d picked for 2017 were more varied than the automatically-generated Best Nine list. But, looking back, almost all are plant- or architecture-related. I guess it was a good year for both those categories.

I wonder what 2018 will bring.

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Make a Difference with Things You Make

Posted by on Feb 1, 2018 in Craft | 2 comments

Heart cards

There are lots of ways to get crafty to do some good – regardless of your skill level!

Here are some DIY projects to make a difference.



Build a Little Free Library.

Make a place for a neighborhood book exchange! You can build it or repurpose a phone booth, mailbox, vintage bread warmer or other weatherproof container to house books in.

Little Free Library

Good to know:



Crochet/knit a chemo cap.

Help someone with hair loss due to cancer treatment feel more comfortable.


Good to know:
Before making a cap to donate, check the charity’s guidelines on best yarns and patterns to use. Many of them offer free patterns on their sites!


Make a composting unit.

You can reduce trash by composting food waste and turning it into something that’s good for your garden.

Good to know:



Make a card…

…for a child in the hospital.

Caitlin’s Smiles distributes handmade cards and “bags of smiles” with arts and craft supplies to kids in hospitals. You can make cards, tote bags, or donate art supplies.

Caitlin’s Smiles

…for a cancer patient.

Make blank cards that will be personalized and sent to people with a cancer diagnosis.

Card Care Connection

…for a housebound senior citizen.

While there won’t be an official Meals on Wheels campaign like last year’s “Love Letters,” you can contact your local Meals on Wheels program to find out about creating cards.

Meals on Wheels

…for your congressional representatives.

Postcards may currently be the most effective way to let Congress know what issues matter to you.

Good to know:


Make a blanket…

…for animal shelters (knit, crochet, sew, or tie).

You can knit, crochet, sew, or tie blankets for dogs and cats in shelters.

Comfort for Critters

Good to know:

  • 20-inch square is the preferred size.
  • They have free patterns and blanket ideas!
  • You can drop blankets off at a local animal shelter or ship them to their Illinois headquarters.


…for NICU babies.

Knit or crochet neonatal baby blankets.

Knots of Love

…for veterans.


  • Operation Gratitude gives care packages to veterans, as well as currently deployed U.S. Troops, first responders, and military families. You can make blankets, cards, caps, cool ties, drawstring bags, and/or scarves.
  • Quilts of Valor awards patriotic quilts to thank veterans.


Hummingbird Feeder

For pollinators, make…

…a mason bee nesting spot.

Help save the bees! Solitary bees are great pollinators and don’t have painful stings.

Good to know:


…a bat house.

Bats not only help pollinate plants, they eat mosquitos and other pests. As forests are cut down, they have fewer safe places to raise their young.

Bat Conservation International

…a hummingbird feeder.

Hummingbirds need a lot of calories every day! They can fuel up on nectar at feeders or flowers like honeysuckle.

Good to know:


Craft for a Fundraiser

If you sell items you’ve made, you can give the proceeds to whichever charity is meaningful to you. Cash is the most versatile donation.

Stamp metal bracelets.

One fundraiser craft idea is hand stamped bracelets. MyIntent (who I received a necklace from) now sells a Maker Kit, so you can make your own custom jewelry. One fundraiser selling hand-stamped bracelets brought in over $4,000 in 3 weeks!

UPDATE: Found a discount code, so I wanted to share! VDAY25 will get you 25% off a MyIntent Maker Kit.



What else can we make to make a difference?


PS While some of these projects are U.S.-specific, hopefully, they’ll spark ideas for anywhere you are!

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This February Share Your #LocalArtLoves!

Posted by on Jan 29, 2018 in Craft, Travel | 0 comments

Let’s celebrate local art and artists!

BTA art by Bud Heiss

Since we had fun sharing Local Art Loves last year, I thought we could keep the challenge going throughout the month of February this time!

Local Art Loves

Just look for art in your community and share photos using the hashtag #LocalArtLoves on Twitter or Instagram. I’ll post some of your finds here on the site.

Keep an eye out for public art, local galleries, neighborhood art walks, and rotating art displays at coffee shops or libraries. You can also share favorite art spaces, street art, or your own work.

Round sculptures by Peter Skidd at Renee Taylor Gallery

Can’t wait to see some art from where you live!

First photo: Paintings by Bud Heiss on display at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

Last photo: Round sculptures by Hidden in the Hills artist Peter Skidd at Renee Taylor Gallery, Sedona.

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The Pinball Hall of Fame

Posted by on Jan 18, 2018 in Travel | 2 comments


Growing up, I thought it’d be awesome to have an arcade game in my house.

Even though I wasn’t nearly as into video games as my brother, I enjoyed an occasional game of Ms. Pac-Man or Tetris or pinball. When we were waiting for our pizza at my family’s favorite spot, we’d both be bugging our parents for quarters.

I’m not sure where the idea came from that I needed one in my house, but, apparently, I’m not the only one who thought about that.

The majority of people who responded to my Twitter poll also thought that would be cool. I think it was a 70s/80s kid thing. A few people responded they just wanted console games, so I assume they’re a bit younger, growing up when that was a viable alternative.


Playing pinball

The Dream of the ’80s is Alive in Vegas

And then there’s Tim Arnold. He took that dream to a whole new level, collecting and repairing pinball machines and vintage arcade games until there were too many to fit into his house.

As his collection grew, his dream became to find a place to fit his hundreds of machines under one roof.

He created the Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas – now located about half a mile from The Strip and across from UNLV. Not only can you visit and see the games, you can play them!

Pinball machine

Fat Stacks (of Quarters)

Phillip and I checked it out when we were in Las Vegas last year. We weren’t sure if they had change machines there (they do), so we showed up ready to go with like $20 in quarters. I’m sure Kid Me would have been jealous of Grown-up Me walking around with all that change in my pocket. There have to be some perks to being adult.

All the Games

There were games we remembered from childhood, newer ones with elaborate digital displays, and older analog ones.

In fact, there were all kinds of quirky old mechanical games that weren’t like anything I’d seen before. Some of them had handwritten signs taped on that told their story or had warnings of how not to break the game.

One looked like a miniature bowling lane, complete with little wooden pins. There was a two-person hockey game. Phillip played “Space Pilot,” which had a little metal spaceship you move up and down with a joystick, as well as one where you make a clown dance. And it appeared to be called “Hey kids, play with Peppy!” Yeah, that’s not creepy at all.

Of course, we played pinball. Lord of the Rings pinball and Indiana Jones pinball and Gilligan’s Island and Atlantis and probably others I’m forgetting. There was this Corvette one that I think my brother used to play at the pizza place.


One game I didn’t get to play was Tetris.

When I told a volunteer it wasn’t working, she opened it up and tinkered with it a bit. When it became clear it wouldn’t be a quick fix, she refunded the quarters I had put in the machine and hung an “out of order” sign on it. Oh well.

While the majority of games are in working condition, vintage machines do break down, and it’s getting harder to find replacement parts. Tim Arnold and his team of volunteers get creative, buying busted machines for replacement parts and figuring out ways to make their own when they can’t order them.


– More info –

The Pinball Hall of Fame is a not-for-profit, volunteer-run arcade of working (mostly) vintage pinball machines and games like Pac-man, Tetris, and Star Wars.

Where: 1610 E. Tropicana, Las Vegas (North side of Tropicana between Maryland Parkway and Eastern Avenue, about 1.5 mi from The Strip.)

Parking: Free lot on-site.


Sunday – Thursday: 11am to 11pm
Friday – Saturday: 11am to 12am

Cost: Free entrance. Games are 25 cents to $1.

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Posted by on Jan 15, 2018 in Craft, Travel | 6 comments

Berries near piobocco

Since it’s the beginning of a new year, I thought I’d share some art, food, destination, and DIY ideas inspired by Pantone’s color of the year, Ultra Violet!

1. Berries, Le Marche, Italy. 2. Pantone Ultra Violet. 3. Chocolade Van Brugge, Scottsdale (photo: Stephanie Haworth). 4. Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix.


Mari Orr art

5. “Victoria” painting by Mari Orr. 6. Photo transfer tutorial. 7. Ed Mell art for Riders of the Purple Sage. (Photo: Tim Trumble).


8. Yuma Garden Company’s colorful carrots. 9. Making Chive Flower Vinegar. 10. Lo & Sons O.G. Overnight Bag.


Resolution ornament

11. Chaparral sage, Tucson. 12. New Year’s time capsule DIY. 13. Let’s Be Better Humans campaign bus. 14. View from Sunset Point rest area near Black Canyon City, Arizona.


Finally, a cake decorated with actual fresh violets….



Photos via respective sites, except as noted.



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MLK Day: Where to Volunteer in Phoenix

Posted by on Jan 10, 2018 in Travel | 0 comments

I was looking to see what kind of service projects were planned in my community for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and I found a bunch at! I’ll share a few you might be interested in below.


Step Up


You can sign up on the site to volunteer if you’re over 18. Check the individual project for age restrictions and waivers required for younger teens and kids.

If you live outside of the Phoenix area, you can search for opportunities in other states.



Sort and Pack at St. Mary’s Food Bank

Jan 13, 8-10am
St. Mary’s Food Bank, Phoenix
Sort, pack, and distribute food for other nonprofits and families in crisis at St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance.

  • Feel free to bring donations of cereal, canned goods, bottled water, and/or pet food with you to the project.
  • Due to health codes and safety reasons, a volunteer dress code is in effect. (Closed Toe Shoes, shirts with sleeves, pants, etc.)


Garden Volunteers at the Japanese Friendship Garden

Jan 13, 8-11am
Japanese Friendship Garden, Phoenix
Help with either non-technical duties (like cleaning up trash) or technical garden maintenance (like precise pruning of plants).


Puppy Pals at Animal Care West Valley Shelter

Jan 13, 9-11am
Maricopa County Animal Care Services, West Valley Shelter, Phoenix
Spend time with adoptable pets. Walk dogs or brush and pet cats.


Project Vitamin C with City of Glendale

Jan 13, 9am-12pm
Sahuaro Ranch Park, Glendale
Help pick citrus from the park’s trees to donate to local food banks.


MLK 2018: Trailblazing at South Mountain Park

Jan 14, 10:30am-12:30pm
South Mountain Park, Phoenix
Assist with projects, such as tree trimming, maintenance, graffiti removal, trash pick-up, and painting. Details will be emailed to volunteers after sign up. Ages 18+.


Vets in Need Outdoor Refresh

Jan 15, 8am-12pm
Join volunteers in painting the exterior of the home of a Veteran in need. Training, project supplies, light snacks and water will be provided.


Be a good person

MLK Jr. Celebration Parade

Jan 15, 8:30am-12:30pm
Mesa Convention Center (outside) / Downtown Mesa
Help with parade contestant check-in and parade route guidance.


Dog photo is of Mulder (ID#A4027230), who’s available for adoption at Maricopa County Animal Care + Control – East Valley Animal Care Center. Copyright ©HLP Inc.

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Love Lock Update

Posted by on Jan 4, 2018 in Travel | 0 comments

After researching how the love lock trend has gone out of control in many European tourist areas, I’m happy to report that we barely saw any locks weighing down bridges or monuments when we were in Italy.


I was honestly a little worried that the Venice bridges Mark and Dawn Hawk cleared last spring might be covered again. Thankfully, that was not the case.

We only spotted a cluster (or two) of rusty locks near Piazza San Marco (the eye of the Venice tourism hurricane) and a few stray locks on railings here and there.



It was similar in Rome. There would be up to maybe half a dozen on a random piece of a bridge railing or a lamppost.

Locks on bridge in Rome

Maybe it helped that peak tourist season was over. Maybe word is getting out.



On the other hand, they’re still happily accepting love locks in the Plaza de la Fuente at Sedona’s Tlaquepaque.

We checked it out when we were there in October, and Phillip was impressed with just how heavy a mass of locks can be.

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The Way Trees Grow

Posted by on Jan 1, 2018 in Life, Travel | 3 comments


My elementary school art teacher didn’t like my trees.

Tree branches at boyce thompson arboretum

The drawing I had been working on was of a whole forest of them – with trunks that were bent and twisted all different directions.

Palo verdes at arboretum

“Trees grow straight up and down,” she criticized. “Not like that.” She made me start my drawing over.

I remembered this while I was hiking recently.

Bent palm tree

And I wanted to laugh every time I passed yet another example of nature showing that I had been correct all along.

BTA tree


Microblog Mondays: Write in your own space

Find more trees over at Happiness and Food’s Tree Love Thursdays!

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Happenings List: Winter 2018 (Jan/Feb)

Posted by on Dec 27, 2017 in Happenings List | 0 comments

Happy New Year! Here’s our handpicked list of goings on! Scroll down to find maker/artist/explorer events in Italy, France, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Tahiti, and the U.S. (Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, and Washington).


Date palms in Yuma


Raptor Free Flight!

Now – March 2018
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson
Watch hawks, falcons, and owls fly completely untethered in the open desert, while a narrator explains the characteristics of each species. Two presentations daily (at 10am and 2pm) with different birds of prey native to the Sonoran Desert region each time. Included with admission.


Autumn into Spring Art Show

Now – May 11
Cornerstone Hospital, Tucson

Art on display (and for sale) by 25 local artists throughout the facility. Sponsorsed by Southern Arizona Arts Guild.


Pompeii: The Exhibition

Now — May 28
Arizona Science Center, Phoenix
Exhibition of artifacts from the ancient city of Pompeii, destroyed by the 79 A.D. eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Over 200 items are on loan from the Naples National Archaeological Museum in Italy, including wall-sized frescoes, mosaics, marble and bronze sculptures, jewelry, statues, Roman coins, and body casts of the volcano victims. Timed-entry ticket required. Tickets $12 (adults) / $10 (ages 3-17) + science center admission.


Basic Printmaking

Jan 4-25, Thursdays at 2pm
Prescott Valley Public Library
(Glassford Hill Room), Prescott Valley
4-week course on basic printmaking skills. Use hand printing methods and a small flatbed printing press to make a series of personalized, handmade cards. Ages 21+. Registration required. Free.


Make + Take Art Classes

Practical Art, Phoenix

Every Saturday Practical Art offers two-hour classes with local artists. Learn a new craft and make something to take home with you.


Prescott Origami Fanatics: Envelopes and Letterfolds

Jan 7, 1:30-4:30pm
Prescott Public Library (Founders Suite B), Prescott
Easy-to-medium-level paper folding class for adults and teens. Paper is provided.


Savor Yuma

Jan 10, Feb 21, Mar 7
Old City Hall, Yuma

Progressive dining experience with a tour bus that takes you to sample food at several Yuma eateries. Tickets $55.


The (Fountain) Hills

Fountain Hills Artists’ Gallery Workshops

Fountain Hills Artists’ Gallery, Fountain Hills
Artist-led workshops at a cooperatively-owned fine art gallery. To reserve a spot in a workshop, you must pre-register and pay the workshop fee.

  • Jan 11, 5pm + Jan 25, 5pm: Paint Your Pet. Acrylic artist Kelly Bowman will sketch your pet onto a canvas that you can paint when you arrive. Maximum 6 participants. No experience necessary, and all supplies are included. $56 fee.
  • Jan 21, 4pm: Red Flower 3-D Wool Painting. Rita Chester will show you how to use needle felting and wet felting to create an 11″ x 14″ painting. No experience necessary, and all supplies are included. $75 fee.
  • Jan 22, 5pm: Soul Script with Colleen Brown. Mixed media workshop using acrylic paints, a variety of art papers, and a 10″ x 10″ birchwood canvas to make a unique collage centered on a word of your choice. Maximum 8 participants. No experience necessary, and all supplies are included. $55 fee.


Field to Feast Tour

Jan 11, 17, 18, 24, 25, 27, 31
Feb 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 28
March 1, 7
Visitor Information Center, Yuma
(201 N. 4th Ave.)
Half-day farm tour. Hands-on harvesting instruction from a local grower followed by lunch made from the produce you picked. Includes transportation, some veggies to take home, and the field-fresh lunch. Tickets $55.

Yuma Favorites: Part 2

Date Night Dinners

Jan 12, Feb 2 + 16, Mar 9
Imperial Date Gardens (near Yuma)
Gourmet dinner served outdoors in a date grove with dates in every course. Presented by Yuma Visitors Bureau in cooperation with the Bard Valley Date Growers Association. Tickets $75.

  • 5:30pm: On-site walking tour.
  • 6pm: Dinner.


Art in the Park

Jan 13, 12-5pm
Gateway Park, Yuma

Fine arts festival alongside the banks of the Colorado River, a la A Sunday on La Grande Jatte. Wander through art displays with a glass of wine or a mimosa. Free admission.


Spring Out to Lunch Concert Series

Jan 18 – Mar 22, Thursdays at 12:30pm.
Wells Fargo Garden performance area at Mesa Arts Center
Free outdoor concerts at lunchtime. Pack a picnic or purchase food on-site.

Quilt, Craft & Sewing Festival Wrap Up

Quilt, Craft + Sewing Festival

Jan 25-27
Arizona Fairgrounds
Expo with sewing, quilting, needlework, and craft supply vendors (both local and national), as well as workshops and presentations. Admission $10. $1 off with online coupon (printable PDF).


Heard Museum

Harp Guitar Virtuoso Muriel Anderson in Concert

Feb 2, 8pm
Firecreek Coffee Company, Flagstaff
Performance by Muriel Anderson, one of the world’s foremost fingerstyle guitarists and harp-guitarists. Tickets $25.


Arizona Game Fair

Feb 9-11
Mesa Convention Center

Tabletop gaming convention. Open gaming (with a library of board and card games available), vendors, events, and game industry guests. Full event badge $40+.


33rd Annual Historic Florence Home Tour

Feb 10, 10am – 4pm
Downtown Florence
Tour of 20 homes and historical structures. Tickets $10 advance/$15 day of.


World Championship Hoop Dance Contest

Feb 10-11
Heard Museum, Phoenix

2-day competition of intricate dances with up to 50 hoops, based on traditional intertribal hoop dance. Tickets $18 (includes museum admission).


Southwest Maker Fest

Feb 17, 10am – 4pm
Downtown Mesa

Collaborative, one-day festival of makers seeking to achieve the vision of a connected community, empowered by creativity. Free admission.

Open to creativity


Arizona Cocktail Weekend

Feb 17-22
Downtown Phoenix
Celebration of the craft of the cocktail, including parties, spirit tastings, educational seminars, cocktail competitions, and drink specials. Passes TBA. Last year: $25-550.


Cartoon Tunes

Feb 18, 3pm
Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, Prescott

Prescott Pops Symphony presents a concert of classical music from cartoons. Tickets $25.


24th Annual Sedona International Film Festival

February 24 – March 4, 2018

Festival with over 160 independent films from around the world, including features, shorts, documentaries, animation, foreign films, and student films. 10-ticket pack $130.

October 2017 Photo: Sedona


Art Detour 30

Mar 15-20
Downtown Phoenix

  • March 15. Art D’Core Gala.
  • March 16, 6-10pm. Pre-Detour Third Friday.
  • March 17-18. Art Detour! Studio and art space tours.


27th Arizona International Film Festival

April 18-29
Exhibition venues throughout Tucson
Film festival with a focus on independent cinema and diverse cultures.

  • Submissions of features (narrative and documentary) and shorts (documentary, dramatic, comedy, experimental, and animation) accepted through January 31, 2018.


ARTbeat 11

Apr 22, 4-9pm
Historic Downtown Yuma
Award-winning juried fine arts festival with local and regional artists and live music.

  • Application Deadline: March 2, 2018


5 Telltale Signs You Went to Phoenix Comicon 2016

Phoenix Comicon

May 24-27
Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix 
Pop culture convention featuring actors, top comic book writers and artists, programming, and vendors. Full event passes $65 through April 30.




Found in Translation: Design in California and Mexico, 1915–1985

Now – Apr 1, 2018
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

Exhibition about how four design movements — Spanish Colonial Inspiration, Pre-Hispanic Revivals, Folk Art and Craft Traditions, and Modernism — defined California and Mexico throughout the twentieth century.


Book Show (Store + Event Space)

Highland Park, Los Angeles

  • Jan 2, 7pm. Collage + Cry: Monthly community collage art night. Materials and light snacks provided. Crying optional. $5 donation.
  • Jan 5 + Feb 2, 8pm. EAT ART Open Mic: Monthly storytelling open mic. 5-minute performances of poetry, short stories, spoken word, songs.


SPAWN Creek Walk

Jan 6, 13, + 20
Samuel P. Taylor State Park, Lagunitas
The Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN) leads a leisurely guided tour through multiple creek sites in the Lagunitas Watershed to look for endangered coho salmon that have returned to spawn. Open to all ages and abilities. Pre-registration required. $15 donation requested.


Pacific Standard Time Festival: Live Art LA/LA

Jan 11-21
Los Angeles
International celebration of art and performance at indoor and outdoor locations throughout greater Los Angeles. Latin American and Latino artists from more than a dozen countries will perform in parks, plazas, galleries, and theaters.

  • Jan 11 + 12, 8pm: Tijuana. Multimedia solo show written and performed by Gabino Rodríguez about the actor’s move to Tijuana to become a minimum-wage factory worker for six months. In Spanish with English supertitles. Tickets $15.
  • Jan 16-18, 8:30pmTeatro Línea de Sombra: Durango 66. Installation/performance using construction vehicles, tons of soil, and giant projections in an underground urban space. In Spanish and English with English surtitles. Tickets $15.
  • Jan 21, 3pm“cumbre: look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west.” Rafa Esparza’s three-part performance about familial histories of immigration into the United States and the deeply complex history of downtown Los Angeles. The final segment includes a collaboration with artist Sebastian Hernandez.


An Evening of Lights: Astronomy and Bioluminescence

Jan 12, 8pm
Drakes Beach, Marin County

Learn about identifying stars, nebulae, and constellations. If it is cloudy, the focus will turn to bioluminescence and nocturnal wildlife sounds. Ages 12+. Fee $50.


Jewish Meditation

Jan 16, Feb 20, + Mar 20 at 2pm
Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles
Instruction and exercises on meditation techniques that draw from Jewish contemplative practice, texts, and traditions. Lead by meditation teacher Alison Laichter, founder of the Jewish Meditation Center in New York City. Free.


San Francisco is for makers


Pacific Coast Pop-up

A Little Lodge, San Francisco
Jan 17-31
Outdoor themed pop-up shop featuring clothes from the new Blood and Bolts collection.

  • Jan 17, 4-9pm: Opening party. Music, free drinks, photography, and shopping.


Museums Free-for-All

Southern California
Jan 28
Free general admission at museums throughout Los Angeles and Southern California.


Craftcation: Business + Makers Conference

Apr 4-8
Ventura Beach Marriott, Ventura
Four days of creative business classes and craft workshops. $450 registration through Feb 1. Then $470.



Hung Liu: Transformation

Now – Feb 18
Loveland Museum/Gallery, Loveland
Exhibition featuring 15 large-scale paintings and a room-size installation by artist Hung Liu, whose work explores movement and migration, as well as the complex interactions between individual memory and history. $5 exhibit admission.

  • Jan 12 + Feb 9, 5-9pm: Night on the Town. Museum stays open late with free admission and activities.
  • Jan 23: Free day. Donations accepted.


Colorado Environmental Film Festival (CEFF)

Feb 22-24
The American Mountaineering Center (AMC), Golden
Screenings of 48 films that aim to motivate audiences to awareness and action on environmental issues.



Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Exhibitions

  • Now – Feb 25, 2018. The Andes Inverted: Immersive installation by Daniela Rivera with materials, images, and sounds gathered from Chile’s Chuquicamata copper mine.
  • Now – Sep 3, 2018. Mark Rothko: Reflection: Exhibition of 11 Rothko pieces on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. that show the continuity of the artist’s work within western artistic tradition.
  • Now – Jun 3, 2018. Black and White Japanese Modern Art: Display of a newly acquired, large-scale calligraphy by Inoue Yūichi, along with a selection of other monochrome avant-garde works from postwar Japan.
  • Jan 3 + 21. Canaletto and the Art of Venice: On-screen tour of the Canaletto and the Art of Venice exhibition at Buckingham Palace. The film also explores the life of Giovanni Antonio Canal (“Canaletto”) and Venice places he painted, such as Rialto Bridge, Piazza San Marco, Palazzo Ducale, and the Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo. (Screening at the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown on Jan 6.)


New York airport

+New York

World Amigurumi Exhibition vol. 4: Dolls for Daily Life!

Now – Mar 31
RESOBOX LIC, Long Island City
Exhibition of innovative uses of the Japanese crochet art amigurumi. Free.


Canaletto and the Art of Venice

On-screen tour of the Canaletto and the Art of Venice exhibition at Buckingham Palace. The film also explores the life of Giovanni Antonio Canal (“Canaletto”) and Venice places he painted, such as Rialto Bridge, Piazza San Marco, Palazzo Ducale, and the Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo.

A Glimpse of Venice


Embroidery for Beginners!

Jan 14, 12-2pm
QED, Astoria
Learn the fundamentals of hand embroidery, basic stitches, and how to transfer patterns. Start embroidering an apple pattern on a tea towel during class and then take it home with you to finish. Materials – including an embroidery hoop, floss, and a needle – will be provided. Advance registration required, as space is limited. Fee $25.


Rick Prelinger Presents: Lost Landscapes of New York

Feb 10 + 11, 2pm
Museum of the Moving Image – Redstone Theater, Astoria

Screening of a film that combines home movies by New Yorkers, tourists, and semi-professional cinematographers, outtakes from feature films, and other footage – most of which had never been seen before the film – of New York’s cityscape to show how the city has changed over time. Tickets $20.


IndieCade East 2018

Feb 16–18
Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria

Celebration of independent video games, independent game makers and players with panels and workshops plus dozens of new and unreleased games. Early Bird Full Festival Pass $100 through January 1, 2018.




Seattle Art Museum


Chalk Robots


Grand opening for Robot vs Sloth

Feb 10, 2-8pm
Pike Place Market, 1535 1st Ave (corner of 1st and Pine), Seattle
Artist Lauren Rudeck (“LaRu”) is moving from the shop we found by following her chalk robots (Ugly Baby and La Ru). She’s opening up her own shop called Robot vs Sloth on the other side of Pike Place Market, right on the corner of 1st and Pine.


National Museum of Women in the Arts

+Washington D.C.

Narwhal: Revealing an Arctic Legend

Now – 2019
Natural History Museum

Understanding this unique tusked whale through traditional Inuit knowledge and scientific research. Free.


Women in the Arts and a Pop-up Makerspace


Hung Liu In Print

Jan 19–Jul 8
National Museum of Women in the Arts
Best known as a painter whose work explores themes such as movement and migration, artist Hung Liu also creates pieces using an array of printing and collage techniques. She describes printmaking as “poetry,” layering images with highly textured surfaces and  screens of drip marks. Museum admission $10.

  • Jan 7 + Feb 4, 1pm: Tour: Fierce Women. Fast-paced, drop-in tour highlighting the work of women who blazed trails as artists, activists, and innovators. No advance registration – sign up at the Information Desk upon arrival to reserve your spot. Free (as part of the monthly Community Day).
  • Feb 21, 12pm: Gallery Talk: Hung Liu In Print.





Expo Orchidées de Colombie (Colombian Orchid Expo)

Now – March
Galerie de Botanique, Jardin des Plantes, MNHN, Paris

Project to highlight the historical collections at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, as well as the biodiversity of Colombian flora. There will also be light and sound installations by Claudia Isabel Navas.

Make a Euro-Inspired Mini Lamp Garland

Paris Déco Off

Jan 18-22
Home decor companies open up their Paris showrooms to the public and interior designers to debut new collections. There are also displays, such as the Linen Lux lamps. Free.


Chinese new year in hong kong

+Hong Kong

Chinese New Year Celebrations

Feb 16-18
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
The city’s biggest festival includes a parade, food and flower markets, performances, and a fireworks show over the harbor.

  • Feb 16, 6-9:45pm: International Chinese New Year Night Parade. A variety of street performances followed by floats and entertainment by local and international performers. Free street viewing. Spectator stand tickets HK$300-480.
  • Mar 2: Spring Lantern Festival. The last day of Chinese New Year (a.k.a. “Chinese Valentine’s Day”) is focused on couples with colorful lanterns hung in parks, flower markets, and restaurants.



The Cinquecento

Now – Jan 21, 2018
Palazzo Strozzi, Florence
Exhibition of 16th century art in Florence with works of art by such artists as Michelangelo, Bronzino, Giorgio Vasari, Rosso Fiorentino, Pontormo, Santi di Tito, Giambologna and Bartolomeo Ammannati. Combo ticket to the exhibition, Baptistery of St. John, and Opera del Duomo Museum: €8.


Italy: a 30,000-Foot View

Carnival of Venice

Jan 27 – Mar 13
St. Mark’s Square, Venice
Pre-Lenten celebrations with revelers in elaborate masks and costumes.


Cuba Dupa festival


Gardens Magic

Jan 9-28
Wellington Botanic Garden – Soundshell stage, Wellington
Nightly outdoor concerts and lighting installation at the Botanic Gardens. Picnic while you watch local Wellington musicians perform. Free.



Mar 24-25
Cuba Quarter, Wellington
Festival with a wide range of street performances, including theater, bands, and opera, as well as a parade and interactive art installations. Free.



Festival International du Film documentaire Océanien de Tahiti (FIFO)

Feb 3-11
Maison de la Culture, Pape’ete
Festival of documentaries about the culture, history, and issues of Oceania.

Art Inspires Expeditions in “Headhunt Revisited” Documentary


As always, if you go to anything on the list, let me know how it goes!

FYI, I try to make sure all this information is correct, but there could be errors or changes. Also, I don’t necessarily endorse (or know) every single thing about each event, the venue, or organizations connected with it. 

Top and Hong Kong photo via Discover Hong Kong.

Massachusetts photo via Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Paris photo via European Flax.

New Zealand photo via  Amandala Photography.

Tahiti video via Headhunt Revisited: With Brush, Canvas and Camera.

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Winter Celebrations of Light

Posted by on Dec 18, 2017 in Travel | 10 comments

When the nights get longer, so many traditions celebrate light.

Elements like candles, lanterns, and bonfires – as well as the sun, moon, or stars – often play an important part in autumn/winter holidays. Think of Christmas (and Advent), Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Lucia, Moon Festival, and Yule.

In the Southern Hemisphere, this season happens around their winter solstice in June with traditions like the Andean Inti Raymi (“Sun Celebration”) and the Maōri New Year, Matariki (“Pleiades constellation”).

Whatever your source, may you find the light and warmth in your life to guide you through every season of darkness.

Microblog Mondays: Write in your own space

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Antique Gold and Forest

Posted by on Dec 14, 2017 in Craft, Travel | 0 comments

Since I got some great feedback from my autumn and indigo color palette, I thought I’d make color-themed posts a regular thing.

Sunlight through pines at campground

Currently on my mind is the combination of vibrant greens (from kelly to forest) paired with softer golds – think mercury glass, champagne, tarnished jewelry, candlelight.


Cake table via Elizabeth Anne Designs (photo: Jacque Lynn Photo)

While this combination could go modern, I particularly love it as a complement to rustic decor. It looks fabulous with natural materials like birch bark, adding just enough sheen to make it all feel chic and festive.

Gold leaf on pinecone

For a woodsy vibe, you can bring in the classic evergreen boughs and pinecones or whatever’s growing outside your door. Twigs, olive branches, rosemary sprigs, eucalyptus leaves, berries, potted cacti, or mossy driftwood can all work great.

Rustic table

1. Campground in Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona. 2. Woodland cakes with sled. 3. DIY gold pinecone garland. 4. Rustic elegant table.


Here are more ideas for places to visit, projects, products, and recipes in this palette.

Mercury glass ornaments

Gingerbread terrariums

Pinecone garland

Grönkålsallad with kale, oranges, and chèvre via My Lovely Things (photo: Jonas Lundberg).

5. Mercury glass ornaments. 6. Make gingerbread terrariums!. 7. DIY gold leaf pinecone garland. 8. Grönkålsallad – kale, orange, and chèvre salad.


Christmas cookies via Fork and Flower

9. Christmas cookie recipes. 10. Decorate wine glasses. (New Year’s Eve crafts.) 11. Sequin table runner. (Shop) 12. Homemade olive branch wreath.


Woodsy tablescape

Rainy window

Hanukkah gelt

Luminarias at Tucson Botanical Garden.

13. Woodland tablescape. 14. Rain drops. 15. DIY Hanukkah Gelt (chocolate coins). 16. Luminarias at Tucson Botanical Garden. (in Phoenix


DIY Branch Menorah

Ring wreath by Paper n Stitch blog

Gold circle garland by robayre
17. DIY Natural Branch Menorah. 18. How to make asymmetrical wreaths. 19. Gold circle garland. (Tutorial)


Spinach mushroom polenta.

Decorated cactus

20. Spinach mushroom polenta. 21. Holiday bar set-up. 22. Decorated cactus


I hope you enjoyed this taste of the holidays!


Each photo links to its source, except for 1. + 14., which were taken by me.

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10 Crafted Coffee Sleeves

Posted by on Dec 7, 2017 in Craft | 0 comments

Coffee sleeve

A Zarf

I learned the word zarf when I was writing about a coffee travel kit with a list of accessories that included “Two Felt Zarfs.”

Looking it up, I found out it’s another word for something that goes around a coffee cup to keep you from burning your hands on it. Like a scarf for your coffee.

Coffee sleeve

They definitely could have said “coffee sleeve” or “cozy” instead. But zarf is kind of a cool word. Originally, it was a fancy metal thing used with glass tumblers. Now it’s a cardboard ring around a disposable cup.

***insert pithy observation about the decay of civilization here***

The good news is there are several ways to make a zarf/coffee sleeve/cozy that you can use over and over.

(My sister-in-law Liz made me the cool fabric one above. I love the colors!)

Coffee sleeve


1. Reusable Coffee Sleeve: First, a coffee sleeve in the most literal sense – made by upcycling the cuff of an old shirt.


Leather koozie
2. Leather Cup Jacket: Make a leather jacket for jars or other cups without handles.


DIY Coffee sleeve
3. Fabric Coffee Sleeve: Inspired by projects she had pinned, Sarah from One Crafty Home sewed up a reusable sleeve and a put together a tutorial with a template, so you can make your own, as well!


mug cozy
4. Crochet Cup Cozy: Julie Tarsha of Simply Notable created this cute pattern for a cable-knit cozy that you wrap around a mug and secure with a button.


Coffee sleeve Pattern

5. Felt Coffee Cozies: Tutorial for making 16 felt coffee cozies at once, so you can give them as gifts or set them out next to cups for hot chocolate at your holiday party.


R2D2 Coffee sleeve
6. R2D2 Coffee Cup Cozy: Twinkie Chan created this clever crochet pattern that uses acrylic yarn, a red button, a silver eyelet, and a safety eye with the post snapped off to make exactly the droid you’re looking for.


And, of course, if you’re not up for DIYing this time, there’s always Etsy!

Caffeinating Please Wait Cup Cozy by Sew Tara ($14).

Happy Fox Cup Cozy

Happy Fox Cup Cozy by Tiny Bubbles Crafts ($12).

Reusable Leather Coffee Sleeve by Wilhelm and Frienda

“You Got This” Leather Coffee Cozy by Wilhelm and Friends ($18).


If you do end up with a cardboard sleeve around your cup, you can still re-purpose it as a travel flower press or work it into collage and other paper craft projects.

Photos via:

DIYs –

1+2. Me

3. Modcloth

4. Matt Pierce / Design*Sponge

5. Emily Abbate / CafeMom

6. Julie Tarsha / Simply Notable

7. Purl Soho

8. Twinkie Chan


Etsy sellers –

1. Sew Tara

2. Tiny Bubbles Crafts

3. Wilhelm and Friends

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How to Get a Melted Candle Out of a Jar

Posted by on Dec 4, 2017 in Craft | 3 comments


I love the look of candles in glass jars – until they’re all melted and stuck to the sides. I’d read a tip about freezing them to make the melted candle stub easier to remove, but that only works some of the time.

Phillip came up with an ingenious improvement: give the candle a handle!

Here’s what to do to unstick melted candles from jars and other glass containers:

  1. Pour some water into the jar on top of the candle stub.
  2. Partly submerge an S-hook or something else sturdy enough to use as a handle.*
  3. Freeze.
  4. Once frozen, you can use the hook/handle to just pull the candles right out.
  5. To retrieve the handle, allow ice on top of the candles to melt.

*Phillip used IKEA S-hooks, because we had those around. Large paper clips weren’t strong enough, but a Popsicle stick or butter knife might work.

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October 2017 Photo: Sedona

Posted by on Nov 27, 2017 in Travel | 9 comments


During a mid-October camping trip in Sedona, I took this photo from the terrace of a coffee shop that closed just before we got there. At least we still got to enjoy the view!

Speaking of which, I was trying to take a panoramic photo of the same view and this (I’m sure perfectly nice but totally oblivious) couple just stepped right into the frame when I was mid-pan. Oh well. Bob and Doris, you’re part of this now.

Finally, I also messed around with time lapse shots a bit on the same trip. I propped my phone on the hood of our car to capture the sun setting over our campground.


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Autumn and Indigo: A Color Story

Posted by on Nov 20, 2017 in Craft | 10 comments

We tend to think of fall colors in the family of rusts and browns, pumpkins and mustards. But you can also reach across the color wheel and pull in some cooler hues. Shades of indigo and slate are a perfect match for warm harvest tones, complementing them beautifully without taking away their autumn feeling.

So here is some fall color palette inspiration – with a few projects and recipes along the way.

Roasted carrots

Ceramics by Easy to Breathe

California dreamin' by @rockswell_

DIY orange garland by A Daily Something

Venice door

1. Roasted Carrot Salad via Brooklyn Supper. 2. Easy to Breathe plates via Jungalow. 3. Cheery vintage design for when all the leaves are brown and the sky is gray via Aaron von Freter (@rockswell_). 4. DIY Dried Orange Garland via A Daily Something. 5. Door in Venice, Italy.

Roasted beets and wild rice


Thanksgiving cheeseboard by what's gaby cooking

Willcox AZ

Tablescape by Casa de Perrin

6. Roasted Beets with Creamy Romesco + Wild Rice via Snixy Kitchen. 7. Marigolds via Viewed from Another Angle. 8. Beeline Cafe, Payson, Arizona. 9. Thanksgiving cheeseboard via What’s Gaby Cooking. 10. Near Apple Annie’s in Willcox, Arizona. 11. Casa de Perrin Tablescape via Poppytalk.

What colors spring to mind when you think of autumn?

Microblog Mondays: Write in your own space

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DIY Pumpkins and Pie!

Posted by on Nov 15, 2017 in Craft | 0 comments

Here are 11 pumpkin-pie-inspired ideas you can bake or make!


Pumpkin Pie – First, a classic. You can make pumpkin puree for pies and other recipes from a sugar pumpkin or even a regular carving pumpkin. (Really! I did it!)


Holiday Spice Mix – Blend these ingredients for a versatile, cinnamony spice you can use as pumpkin pie spice or sprinkle into hot chocolate.


Spiced pumpkin martini

Spiced Pumpkin Pie Martini – A pumpkin pie garnish on your cocktail?! Why not? After all, it is the holidays.


Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread – You can use canned pumpkin or your own pumpkin puree for this addictively good quick bread.


Pumpkin Pie Smoothie – This is a great breakfast on-the-go – especially during the holiday season when you have a lot of pumpkin around and not a lot of time. I added pecans and an extra cup of plain Greek yogurt to Jamie’s recipe.


Pie Slice Cookies – I haven’t made these, but they were so adorable that I had to include them! (If you’re looking for cookie decorating ideas and tips, there are TONS on the Sweet Sugarbelle blog!)


Pumpkin pie garland by martha stewart


Thanksgiving Pie Garland – Turns out paper pie slices make perfect pennants! #TeamPie


Fall Succulent Planter – Rachel of Maison de Pax planted succulents directly into ceramic pumpkins. Another option would be to place potted succulents inside a real (or ceramic or foam) pumpkin and take them out when you take down the autumn decor.


Pie necklace

Pumpkin Pie Friendship Necklaces – StudioDIY shared a tutorial for this making polymer clay pumpkin pie necklaces as part of a Friendsgiving post!


Mini Pumpkin Candles  – A simple project from Faith Durant at The Kichn that turns a pumpkin into a candle.


Botanical Pumpkins – Fall leaves and Modge Podge are a striking way to decorate pumpkins!

Photos via:
1, 2, 4. Me.
3. A Beautiful Mess
5. Love Bakes Good Cakes
6. Sweet Sugarbelle
7. Martha Stewart
8. Maison de Pax

9. Studio DIY
10. The Kichn
11. Country Living

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