Thursday, April 30, 2015

100th Post!

I'm excited to announce that as we approach the 2-year anniversary of my blog, I have reached my "2 Years & 100-Posts" ROW80 goal!

I started this blog on May 5th, 2013.  It's been fun experimenting and branching out further and further with the blog, and with social media in general.

Thank you for celebrating this milestone with me!


P.S. My "Little Hedgehog's ABC Adventure Sketch Series" will resume posting on Monday.  See you then!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


To start at the beginning of "Little Hedgehog's ABC Adventures," click here!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


To start at the beginning of "Little Hedgehog's ABC Adventures," click here!

Monday, April 27, 2015


To start at the beginning of "Little Hedgehog's ABC Adventures," click here!

Friday, April 24, 2015


To start at the beginning of "Little Hedgehog's ABC Adventures," click here!

Thursday, April 23, 2015


To start at the beginning of "Little Hedgehog's ABC Adventures," click here!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


To start at the beginning of "Little Hedgehog's ABC Adventures Sketch Series," click here!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


To start at the beginning of "Little Hedgehog's ABC Adventures Sketch Series," click here!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hedgehogs & Alphabets, Oh My!

Welcome to

This little hedgehog is going on an adventure through the alphabet.  Each day's sketch will feature the hedgehog meeting creatures and discovering objects that begin with a new letter.

Tomorrow: "A"

See you then...!

LA Festival of Books/Kate Mulgrew/ROW80

This weekend marked Los Angeles' 20th Festival of Books weekend.
It was a beautiful day in LA!

The jacarandas were in bloom all over the USC campus:

The Festival was full of book tents, and many authors spoke at panels and signed books.


Some of the fun interactive areas of the Festival included:

A collaborative Crossword Puzzle (we actually finished the whole thing!):

A Mad-Libs tent:

A reading tent, complete with comfy couches:

Other memorable spots:

An interactive festival Banner:

A booth offering Jane Austen tours around Europe:

Another highlight was the Library Store, a museum store on wheels.  Museum stores always have such fun, unique items!


All in all, it was a lovely, albeit exhausting, day.

Close-ups of my new buttons:
And as a final bonus...My friend pointed out that I was standing a yard from where Kate Mulgrew was signing her memoir!  She did a Q & A later in the afternoon.  She was as gracious with her fans as always, and answered questions about her roles at Captain Janeway and Red.  It was very exciting to see her in person!



I'll finish up with a quick ROW80 update:
[X] 1) Do something creative: 5x a week.
[X] 2) Stretch, exercise, or get outside: 5x a week.
[   ] 3) Do something towards a futuristic goal: 2x a week.
[91/100] 4) Hit 100th blog post for the blog's 2-year marker on May 3rd!
Creativity, exercise/outdoor time are mostly on track.  And I think I will make the 100 post goal! Futuristic goals are seeing less progress.  Work is picking up, and I am often quite tired.  We shall have to see.
My sketch series featuring a Little Hedgehog & the ABCs starts tonight!
Good luck with your own ROW80 goals!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Miss Matty's Turban (Book to Art Project: Cranford)

A "Book to Art" club is exactly what it sounds like: a group whose members adapt the themes from books they have read into art projects.  These clubs can be as casual or as organized as its members prefer.  You can find more information about the umbrella Book to Art organization here.

For my winter project, I based my piece on a passage from Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford.  This is a lovely, funny, and at times melancholy book that is made up of small stories and letters that give you a well-rounded understanding of the town of Cranford and the people who live there.  The stories were first published in serial form in 1851, and were then republished as a complete novel in 1853.

*WARNING: Many Spoilers Below!*

Miss Matilda Jenkyns, A Lady of Cranford

Through the eyes of the novel's narrator, Mary Smith, we meet two of the most respected ladies in Cranford: Deborah Jenkyns (known as "Miss Jenkyns," as she is the elder sister) and Matilda Jenkyns (known as "Miss Matilda" in front of her dignified sister, but called "Miss Matty" at all other times).  Miss Jenkyns and Miss Matty host Miss Smith on her visits, and are featured to some degree in most of the stories about Cranford.  The sisters are the children of the former rector, and Miss Jenkyns is seen as a moral compass for the town.  She has studied (some) theology and literature, and considers herself an expert on religion, morality, and frugality.  Her opinion is given a great deal of weight, in both her home and in Cranford at large. A woman of strong personality, Miss Jenkyns is often seen laying down the law in her household and shaping the moral landscape of the town itself.  When Deborah suddenly gets sick and dies, her sister, the softer, more pliable lady, attempts to fill Miss Jenkyns' shoes and uphold the same standards.  When encouraged to bend one of the late Miss Jenkyns' rules in favor of her own preferences, her reply is usually something to the effect of, "Deborah wouldn't like it."

Matilda Jenkyns is shown throughout the novel to be a sweet person whose ideas are constantly ignored or over-ruled.  As an example: Matilda loves to suck the juice out of oranges, a practice that her sister considers vulgar.  Even after Deborah Jenkyns has passed, the new Miss Jenkyns continues to eat her oranges in the shuttered privacy of her bedroom.  And when Matilda Jenkyns explains to Mary Smith that she wishes to be more dignified and called "Miss Matilda" after her sister has died, as a tribute to her sister's preferences and her own new position, the narrator and the entire town continue to call her and think of her as "Miss Matty" in spite of themselves (albeit in an entirely affectionate way).

Another example of Matilda Jenkyns' thwarted dreams is revealed when Mary Smith learns during one of her visits that Miss Matty had once been courted by a certain gentleman.  This relationship had ended rather abruptly, and there are several scattered hints that Deborah's strong opinions may have had something to do with the couple's falling out.  This youthful relationship is rekindled but unfortunately again lost over the course of the novel. But despite losing so many loved ones, Miss Matty continues to be look on the bright side, and to be excited by life's possibilities.

Miss Matty is shown to be a bit flighty and indecisive--she will worry about making the right choice to the point of inactivity.  But she is always kind-hearted.  When she opens a small tea shop to supplement her income during a time of financial crisis, she adds extra loose tea to the bags and gives extra candy and cookies out to the children who stop by--she would much rather be over-generous than stingy.  As a result, it is not completely clear if she is actually seeing any profit from her shop!  Her kindness to everyone is repaid by her maid, Martha, however--Martha and her husband Jem take over Miss Matty's house and let her remain as an esteemed tenant, and still treat her as the "Lady of the House."  Her friends also pitch in to help secretly support her--but they would never hurt her pride (or their own) by letting her know that she is living on charity.  Even this proof of their esteem (and direct impact on her life) is hidden from her.

My art project is based on one of these stories about Miss Matilda.  She is shown over and over again to be the kind of woman who puts others' opinions before her own.  Sometimes her fancies are shown to be unrealistic or changeable, but no matter the arena, she is rarely left to make her own choices or mistakes.  She lives her life reliant on others--first her parents, then her sister, then Martha and Jem and Mary Smith, and then finally her long-lost brother take care of her.

In the following passage, Miss Matty yearns for an exotic sea-green turban, but once again she will not get to fulfill her fanciful idea:
Late in November - when we had returned home again, and my father was once more in good health - I received a letter from Miss Matty; and a very mysterious letter it was. She began many sentences without ending them, running them one into another, in much the same confused sort of way in which written words run together on blotting-paper. All I could make out was that, if my father was better (which she hoped he was), and would take warning and wear a great-coat from Michaelmas to Lady-day, if turbans were in fashion, could I tell her? Such a piece of gaiety was going to happen as had not been seen or known of since Wombwell's lions came, when one of them ate a little child's arm; and she was, perhaps, too old to care about dress, but a new cap she must have; and, having heard that turbans were worn, and some of the county families likely to come, she would like to look tidy, if I would bring her a cap from the milliner I employed; and oh, dear! how careless of her to forget that she wrote to beg I would come and pay her a visit next Tuesday; when she hoped to have something to offer me in the way of amusement, which she would not now more particularly describe, only sea-green was her favourite colour. So she ended her letter; but in a P.S. she added, she thought she might as well tell me what was the peculiar attraction to Cranford just now; Signor Brunoni was going to exhibit his wonderful magic in the Cranford Assembly Rooms on Wednesday and Friday evening in the following week.
I was very glad to accept the invitation from my dear Miss Matty, independently of the conjuror, and most particularly anxious to prevent her from disfiguring her small, gentle, mousey face with a great Saracen's head turban; and accordingly, I bought her a pretty, neat, middle-aged cap, which, however, was rather a disappointment to her when, on my arrival, she followed me into my bedroom, ostensibly to poke the fire, but in reality, I do believe, to see if the sea-green turban was not inside the cap-box with which I had travelled. It was in vain that I twirled the cap round on my hand to exhibit back and side fronts: her heart had been set upon a turban, and all she could do was to say, with resignation in her look and voice - "I am sure you did your best, my dear. It is just like the caps all the ladies in Cranford are wearing, and they have had theirs for a year, I dare say. I should have liked something newer, I confess - something more like the turbans Miss Betty Barker tells me Queen Adelaide wears; but it is very pretty, my dear. And I dare say lavender will wear better than sea-green. Well, after all, what is dress, that we should care anything about it? You'll tell me if you want anything, my dear. Here is the bell. I suppose turbans have not got down to Drumble yet?"
So saying, the dear old lady gently bemoaned herself out of the room, leaving me to dress for the evening, when, as she informed me, she expected Miss Pole and Mrs Forrester, and she hoped I should not feel myself too much tired to join the party. Of course I should not; and I made some haste to unpack and arrange my dress; but, with all my speed, I heard the arrivals and the buzz of conversation in the next room before I was ready. Just as I opened the door, I caught the words, "I was foolish to expect anything very genteel out of the Drumble shops; poor girl! she did her best, I've no doubt." But, for all that, I had rather that she blamed Drumble and me than disfigured herself with a turban.
--Cranford, "Signor Brunoni"
Mary Smith is determined to protect Miss Matty from herself--she conveniently fails to find any green turbans so that Miss Matty will not embarrass herself amongst her peers.  Matilda Jenkyns' desired style is deemed inappropriate and unbecoming, and so the decision is once again taken out of her hands.

For my Book to Art project, I decided to give Miss Matty a symbol for all of her set-aside dreams--a sea-green turban.  I studied paintings of Regency turbans, and then I bought a blouse and a necklace from a thrift store and turned them into my interpretation of her dream turban.

From behind:

Side view:


The necklace was twisted and tacked down to turn it into a bejeweled brooch:

It was a lot of fun to make this turban!  And it was fun to work on something a little different.  I really enjoyed reading "Cranford," and this project helped me reflect on the characters a little more.

I encourage you to consider your own Book to Art projects!


Looking forward to seeing some of you at the Los Angeles Festival of Books this weekend!

And starting on Monday:  I will be posting one of my "HEDGEHOG ALPHABET ADVENTURES" Sketches every day!

Monday, April 13, 2015

ROW80: My April-June Goals

Welcome back to "A Round of Words in 80 Days!"
I've been reflecting on what I want to get out of this block's set of ROW80 goals.
During the last two ROW80 blocks, I tweaked and tweaked my goals with every update post, and added more and more goals (or chores), and never got to the ones I didn't really want to do (I never finished updating my photo galleries, for example--feel free to check out my initial November-December and January-March goals, if you want more details).  I reliably got to 2-3 goals a week, but rarely more.  And I was OK with that.  Just thinking about my goals had gotten me to make a few of them more frequent and/or constant in my life, which was still a win.  I was blogging more often, and I was being more creative and more physically active (ish).
I also found myself veering away from creative writing, and back towards doodling.  I'm currently working on an alphabetized series of doodles, and thinking about different ways I can use my blog to play around those kinds of ideas.
In thinking on goals and motivations, I've decided that I really want to keep my ROW80 goals devoted to things I actually enjoy and WANT to pursue, rather than things I think I OUGHT to be doing or feeling guilty about avoiding.
So for this Spring Quarter of ROW80 (my mind automatically called it "The Quarter Quell!"), I have decided to try paring my goals down to the absolute minimum of what I THINK I really want to get to, and trying for those:
1) Do something creative: 5x a week.
2) Stretch, exercise, or get outside: 5x a week.
3) Do something towards a futuristic goal: 2x a week.
4) Hit 100th blog post for the blog's 2-year marker on May 3rd!
Good luck with your own ROW80 goals!

Friday, April 3, 2015

04/04/15: Total Lunar Eclipse Incoming!

There will be a "Total Lunar Eclipse," or "Blood Moon," early tomorrow morning.  It will be the third in a sequence of four.

According to Dear Wikipedia, it should be visible from the Greater Pacific area, including Western North America, Eastern Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

The entire event will take about 6 hours, but the "total eclipse" will only be for about 5 minutes.

Check out more details, as well as the occurrence/viewing times for your area!