Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all of my readers out there a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I haven't done much in the way of new drawing this year, so I am posting an old pen and ink I did of a poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima). Still one of my favorites!

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A View In Color

Remember the pen and ink commission I posted a while back? It was originally done just in ink, but after consulting with the client, they decided that they preferred some color (this is for a gift and is a special place to the recipients, so they wanted to make sure it really resonates with them.)

Here is the final pen and ink:

Today, I added the colored pencil. Here is the final result:

I think it turned out beautifully! I particularly like the way the water turned out. It really makes it the focal point of the drawing.

I used my favorite Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils and layered five different colors for the water: cobalt turquoise, dark thalo green, cobalt green, ultramarine, and navy for the darkest area near the horizon.

Greens used included chrome oxide green, pine green and earth green yellowish.

Have you had any holiday commissions to complete? How are they coming along?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Holiday Greens & Gift Market in Kerrytown

I had a chance to have a booth at a local holiday market this past Friday, December 7. I was all set up at the Kerrytown Market & Shops here in Ann Arbor along with a number of other artisans and vendors to help celebrate Festive Fridays during this holiday season at the 1st annual Holiday Greens & Gift Market.

It was a cold and rainy evening, so crowds were not as busy as we'd hoped, but there were still a number of folks who came out to enjoy shopping, s'mores, caroling, riding the Jollie Train and seeing Santa!

I made a handful of sales, so that was fun. Here is a look at my booth:

A shot of my whole booth - fortunately, my friend Claudia of Artitlan (on the left) brought a tarp that hung behind both of our spaces and kept us fairly warm and dry!


My jotter journal sets in the middle, natural stone pendants in the back (with sliding stone necklaces in front of them) and bookmarks on the right.


A peek at the left side of the table with my necklace display.



And my bookmarks and bracelets along with my 'Stones of Michigan' display card.

I look forward to adding some new items to the shop this week. Have you ever had a booth at a holiday (or other) market? What was your experience?

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Gift Guide Giveaway from FOLK Magazine! Fossil Coral and Turtle Macrame Bookmark

The FOLK Magazine blog has been running great features this holiday season with do-it-yourself crafts and more. 

One thing they are also doing is hosting a wonderful Christmas Gift Guide Giveaway everyday and today, I am featured in the giveaway! My Fossil Coral and Turtle Macrame Bookmark will be sent to one lucky winner who comments on the FOLK Blog post.

Check it out for a chance to win! 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday Sequins: Shop In Your Pajamas!

Check out the online craft fair posted by Saturday Sequins! Great way to shop small this Small Business Saturday.

Saturday Sequins: Shop In Your Pajamas!: Shop In Your Pajamas!!! Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins! Today is a very special day. Why is that, you a...

Happy shopping!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Give the Gift of Nature! Shop Small this Season...

Natural stones all polished and strung, check out these gifts for some holiday fun!

15% off of everything in my Etsy Shop from now through this weekend


Knotted and beaded with stones to match, long enough for your favorite hard back, these handmade bookmarks are unique and personal so consider one or two for your favorite reader:

Yellow Botswana Agate and Golden Autumn Leaf Macrame Bookmark

Lapis Lazuli and Starfish Macrame Bookmark

Perhaps a pendant or necklace is what you seek? A single nugget of earth's beauty or some sliding stones, adjustable from large to small they are a great fit for one and all!


Crazy Lace Agate Adjustable Pendant

 Labradorite Sliding Stone Necklace

Bracelets and jotter sets I have as well. What you might like I cannot tell so take a peek and have a look-see, especially the jotters that have artwork done originally by me.

Practical art for your pocket or stones for your wrist, you might find a stocking stuffer or perfect hostess gift!


Mookaite Jasper Triple Leather Wrap Bracelet


Garlic Scapes Jotter Journal Set (3 mini-journals.)

Last, but not least, be sure to check back as I will continue to add to the shop, that's a fact. 
Happy shopping!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A different sort of commission for me...landscape in pen and ink

I just completed my most recent commission in pen and ink. This was a little different than my normal subjects, but still an enjoyable challenge to render. As usual, this was done with my 3X0 (.25) Rapidograph pen on smooth Bristol paper.

The scene is a special one for the recipient, so a different composition was not really an option. Because the final drawing is approximately 9X12 (fairly small), I tried to focus on using various pen and ink techniques to highlight the different textures present. I did some heavy cross-hatching on the metal railing in the foreground; squiggly line work to show the foliage behind the railing; stippling to indicate sand on the beach; and various straight, fanned-out line work to fill in the palm trees.

I think it turned out very nicely and hope the recipient enjoys it!

Have you done any challenging projects lately? How did you manage to work around any tough parts?

We have a winner!

Thank you to all who entered my 4th Blogiversary Giveaway. Using the random number generator, the winner is Lisa


Please visit my Etsy shop to see my current offerings - more sliding stone necklaces, natural stone leather wrap bracelets, pendants, bookmarks and more! Great gift ideas for the holidays.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Happy 4th Blogiversary Giveaway!

As a thank you for your continued support of my blog and my business, I am happy to announce a giveaway opportunity! This is the fourth year of my blog and I am giving away one of my new sliding stone necklaces to one lucky winner:

Mookaite Jasper Sliding Stone Necklace

This adjustable necklace features gorgeous Mookaite jasper nuggets in deep maroons, dusty purples, and some beautiful dark yellows and browns. The stones are highlighted by gold metallic and maroon Czech seed beads and glide gently along 1mm dark brown waxed cotton cord with two adjustable sliding knots. This allows the wearer to choose up to approximately a 32” cord length when fully extended. What a colorful and beautiful gift for yourself or someone else this holiday season!


  • Leave a comment on this blog post. Please remember to include a link or email so that I can contact you if you are the winner!
  • For two additional entries:
    • Post this giveaway on your Facebook page and leave a comment here for another entry (please leave a link to confirm the posting.)
    • Post this giveaway on your Twitter feed and leave a comment here (please leave your twitter handle to confirm the posting.)
Deadline: The giveaway ends on Friday, November 16th at midnight. I will choose a winner using the random number generator and announce it on Saturday, November 17th.
Thanks and good luck!

Friday, November 2, 2012

About Me!

Recently, Etsy created a new, more detailed section for each shop owner called the About page. It allows a shop owner to share the story of their shop and why they do what they do.

You can find the link to a shop owner's About page on the left-hand menu, towards the bottom of the page under Shop Info.

I finally have completed my About page profile, complete with photos. So, if you are curious to know how my shop came into being and what prompted my current migration to jewelry and bookbinding, check it out!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Golden Leaves Treasury

I created a new treasury in Etsy last night. This one is inspired by all of the GORGEOUS colors I have been seeing this fall, especially the brilliant golds, hence the title,  "Golden Leaves".

Take a peek at some of the beautiful creativity featuring this theme.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

A little slice of heaven...

So we are having what is probably the last warm-up in weather until spring here in Michigan. Temps are mid-70s, sun is shining and there is a beautiful breeze going through the house. With the threat of rain tomorrow and a high of 52, I wanted to take full advantage!

With my 3-year-old at home for a low-key day today, I was able to spend about 45 glorious minutes outside sketching some fall gourds while she played. Yay!! It has been f-o-r-e-v-e-r since I have had a chance to draw at all so I savored every minute of it.

I had my lawn chair, a huge pad of paper, my favorite mechanical pencil, kneaded eraser and two little gourds I bought from the grocery store a few weeks ago. They are both only about 3 inches long and wide in the body, with one having an extra long stem that stayed remarkably intact for a grocery-store gourd.

I sketched as fast as I could before I had to give up the one with the long stem for my daughter's "collection". :)

Long-stem is mostly green whereas the second one is a wonderful, bumpy-all-over bright orange with some dark green blotches. I didn't get a chance to add color, but I am sure you can imagine these since they are around pretty much everywhere at this time of year.

Even though these were fairly quick studies and not nearly complete, it felt wonderful to have a chance to actually put pencil to paper. It also felt terrific to be outside, squinting in the sun with a breeze swirling my hair as I drew!

Have you had a chance to do any autumn drawing lately? What is one of your favorite things to draw this time of year?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Discount! And Some New Pendants :)

Today is my birthday! To celebrate, I want to share some birthday fun by giving you a coupon code for 25% off of anything in my Etsy shop for the rest of this month (good through midnight, Sun. Sept. 30.)

Use Code:  happybday

I have already enjoyed some birthday bead shopping and am looking forward to a nice dinner out and some dessert from my favorite pizza place in town (Silvio's Organic Pizza, if you are ever in Ann Arbor. They do a fantastic dessert pizza with nutella and sweet marscapone cheese on their thin crust. It's addictive!!)

I also wanted to give you some details on the new pendants I have been creating. You may have seen these popping up in the shop as I add them. I created a number of new pendants for the BookFest and sold several of them (yeah!) I was really pleased at the response to my local stones - particularly the Kona Dolomite pendants.

I have some terrific stones on hand again and am looking forward to creating more!

Petoskey Stone

I received a shipment of some more beautiful, large Petoskey stone nuggets and have 3 pendants made so far. One of them is listed in the shop. The Hexagonaria fossil pattern is just gorgeous on these:


Dogtooth Amethyst

I found this fantastic variation of amethyst with angled bands of calcite, giving it a chevron pattern. It is, in fact, also known as chevron amethyst. I sold one pendant with this stone on a purple cord at BookFest. This pendant is on a black, waxed cotton cord and is currently listed in the shop. I have some more stones, so look for more of these soon!

Kona Dolomite (oval and rectangle)

I received a sample of these Michigan Kona dolomite ovals and rectangles with another package of beads from one of my favorite shops, Nawbin Beads, in Traverse City, MI. I created two pendants and sold both of them at my booth. I'll be creating more variations with this great, local stone soon!

These photos are not the best as I took them quickly the night before BookFest to have some record of what I made.

However, the rectangle Kona pendant is on the far left. There is an epidote pendant second from the right. That is another local stone. This particular pendant sold at BookFest, also.

The oval Kona pendant is on the far left of this photo and the two dogtooth amethyst are next to it. The dogtooth on the far right is on a medium purple waxed cotton cord, a nice combination.

It was really interesting to see what people responded to and were interested in. It definitely gives me some great feedback and ideas on what to do moving forward.

Brecciated Jasper

This fantastic deep red stone with some dark pink variations is perfect for fall. I made one of these for myself and wear it all the time! I added this one to the shop yesterday:

Which stone of these is your favorite? Why? I would love to hear your feedback. Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Giveaway Time!

Update, Sept. 27, 2012:
CONGRATULATIONS to Samantha A. who is the winner of the giveaway!
Your bracelet is on it's way. I hope you enjoy it! :)

Who doesn't love a good giveaway?!

And this one is a big one!

HorseFeathers Gifts is celebrating reaching 6,000 fans by hosting a huge giveaway! You will have a chance to win over $1,600 worth of fantastic items.

And guess what? One of my wrap bracelets is one of the prizes! I am giving away a new Kona dolomite triple wrap as a part of this great prize package:

You will have to head on over to HorseFeathers Gifts blog to see the fabulous items up for prizes and how to enter:! See what fun is in store - just could get all of your holiday shopping done in one fell swoop. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What was that you said about pricing?

Flower Jade and Mum Macrame Bookmark

Well, ahem, let me just get it out in the open. You may have noticed an increase in my pricing over the last few days. Are you seeing things? Nope. I did it. And it needed to be done. Why, you may ask? Your prices were so affordable!

Affordable for the customer, yes, but not sustainable as a business. And I want to run a business! A business that shares my creativity, attention to detail, and unique perspective on natural history, botanical and nature art, the book arts, and more.

Before I get into the why, I would like to cut to the chase and let you know that I take pricing very seriously. I want to assure you that you can still get any item in my shop for the original price through October 21st:

Use coupon code LOYALTY for 40% off in my Etsy shop

So, what made me rethink my pricing?

Wholesale inquiries. I have had a few people ask me over the last few months if I do wholesale. Expecting that they want great quantities, which I don't produce, I hadn't given it much thought. 

However, for gift shops and other similar venues, the quantity requested is often quite small to start out. Hmmm...maybe I should look into this. So I did. And I discovered that wholesale prices are typically 50% of retail. Whoa! If sold pieces at 50% off I would be losing money and essentially doing this for free! Who does that? Well, no one, if you are not pricing your goods the right way. Clearly, though, there are people who do wholesale and do it quite effectively as part of their business model.

This started me looking into pricing formulas, and I discovered that although I thought my prices were decently marked up from base costs, they still fell about 40% short of what they should be to get close to a sustainable business.

I found fantastic advice on pricing from a post on artist Jenny Hoople's blog. Check out Jenny's work on her site, Authentic Arts, by the way - absolutely gorgeous natural stone jewelry. Well worth your time!

Jenny pointed me towards business expert, Tara Gentile, who has been consulting on the Etsy Success Symposium as well as giving recent advice on her blog about how, "82.2% of Business Owners Should Double Their Prices."

The advice is terrific and Tara states is much more eloquently than I can, so do yourself a favor and pop over to her post to read the details. In addition to the post, there were comments (including some by Jenny) that led to the following pricing formula recommended by another business blogger, Megan Auman:

(Materials + Labor + Overhead + Profit = Wholesale) X 2 = Retail

Note that “labor” is calculated as the actual time it takes to make a piece of jewelry and you need to have an accurate hourly wage. This needs to include not just making the piece, but designing it, ordering supplies, photographing, writing descriptions, posting online (website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), packaging up and shipping orders, etc. Tara recommends charging at least $25/hr (and that $50/hr is actually a more accurate number) and when you think of all that goes into the work of a retail business, this is a very reasonable rate.

When I actually did my calculations, accounting for all of the above details, I came to the conclusion that I needed to put up a 40% increase to get into a more sustainable business model for my business. 

And so there you have it. If you are a small business owner, read up and make sure you are charging an accurate price for your time, talent, and business. You and your creativity are worth it!

If you are a customer, thank you for your support!  I hope this post can help everyone from business owners to customers better understand what goes into pricing the handmade, unique gifts and jewelry that we all enjoy.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Beauty of Bookmarks Treasury!

I have created a new treasury in Etsy! It's called Beauty of Bookmarks and features a range of gorgeous ways we can use to mark our favorite reading material.

Of course, I am a little partial to bookmarks since I make them (and I am a librarian and avid reader!), but I happily found a number of different styles on Etsy to include here. Check out the wonderful work of these various artists!

What are some of your favorite bookmarks? Do you make your own? I'd love to hear all about them.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Kerrytown BookFest!

Last Sunday (September 9) I had the opportunity to have my first, official, by-myself booth at an event. I had a table at the 10th Annual Kerrytown BookFest!

BookFest is a fantastic, local event focusing not just on authors and the literary arts, but also on the art and craft that goes into creating the physical books, including bookbinding, printing, and papermaking. As a librarian and artist, I couldn't resist the combination!

Held in the space where the weekly Kerrytown Farmer's Market occurs, my booth was in a great location just outside of Sweetwater's cafe, next to the information booths for BookFest. I was also right at the T-insersection of the first aisle of the market.

I had consistent foot traffic all day, so much so that when I took a couple of brief breaks, my volunteer relief (both BookFest volunteers and also my husband!) reported that I had folks stopping by and browsing and asking questions. Great to hear!


My offerings included the full range of items that I have in my Etsy shop, including wrap bracelets, jotter journal sets with prints of my original artwork on them, natural stone pendants, hand-knotted macrame gemstone bookmarks, and some handbound mini-journals.

<-- Jotter Journals with Prints of Original Art

Handbound journals, bookmarks and pendants -->

In addition to my products, I had a couple of other things that were incentives for folks to stop by and linger:

1) A giveaway! I thought it would be a nice sign of appreciation to the folks who came by to have a chance to win a gift card to my shop. I put a sign on the front of my booth and had a  sign-up sheet on the table for folks to win a $50.00 gift card to my Etsy shop. I had over 60 entries and picked the lucky winner (Ellery) during the week after BookFest.

2) Something informative! One other item I had on my table that seemed to be helpful in drawing folks to the booth and giving them something "no-pressure" to do was an informative display about Stones of Michigan. You can see the sheet in front of my jewelry stands:

It included samples of five different stones, all from Michigan, with descriptions of the origins of each.  Most Michiganders are familiar with the state stone - Petoskey Stone - which is a fossil coral, specifically Hexagonaria, found off of the shores of Lake Michigan. In the course of making wrap bracelets and researching the state's natural history, I have discovered a number of other stones that I have started to use in my creations. These include Leland Bluestone, which is actually a glass/stone mix that resulted as a by-product of smelting in the 1870s; epidote, a gorgeous, green stone; mid-mitten alabaster; and kona dolomite (a fossil algae.) People were drawn into the booth and it gave them something to look at, and learn from, while browsing around.

The content of the booth also includes the finishing touches, such as a nice table covering and display stands, professional signage (I printed pricing cards up and laminated them) as well as some decorative items to fill up the space so that the table doesn't look too sparse. All of this contributes to creating an attractive, inviting, and professional display that speaks to the quality of your products and your business as a whole.

I am thrilled to report that I had a nice number of sales at BookFest as well as some inquiries from folks about my presence at other local craft venues. I am very grateful for everyone who came out and who supported my first foray into craft booth selling!

What did I learn? While having a craft booth is invigorating and exciting, and potentially lucrative, it is exhausting! I spent a great deal of time preparing my booth materials, making extra product so that I had enough to offer my customers, and then spending the entire day on Sunday setting up, staffing, and cleaning up the booth. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk with my customers and potential customers directly, get my products in front of people, and make some sales, but when I started to tally up my time spent on the whole endeavor, I began thinking about my pricing. I will explain more about that in my next post...stay tuned!

Have you ever sold your wares at a craft booth? Do you do this frequently, or just at a select few shows per year? I would love to hear your perspective on the subject.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy September!

Welcome to September! It is starting to feel officially like fall, even if it is going to be 80+ degrees today. :)

I have been busy with end-of-summer activities and haven't posted in a month, so here's an update for you!

I have been creating like crazy lately, among other things, adding some new mini-journals to my Etsy shop:

 Natural Dragonfly Mini Journal with Bead and Button Closure

Approx. 5.75” x 3”, hand-sewn with walnut brown waxed linen thread in a chain stitch or Coptic style, and designed to lay flat for writing or drawing. Heavyweight, 100% cotton, acid-free, warm-white Wyndstone paper in three signatures included for 18 sheets (36 pages) total.

Thai traditional paper in a natural buff-white color was used to cover the book board and is finished with a flower-shaped, bone-white button and more waxed linen thread for easy closure. The thread has a beautiful dangle of beads that include a 6mm Jupiter jasper bead surrounded by two gold metallic beads. Inside, the end papers showcase gorgeous green and gold dragonflies on a buff background.

Sienna Mini Journal with Mookaite Jasper and Apple Blossom Button Closure

Approx. 6” x 4”, hand-sewn with dark orange waxed linen thread in a chain stitch or Coptic style, and designed to lay flat for writing or drawing. 70 lb, acid-free, Canson drawing paper in four signatures for 128 pages total.


Thai traditional paper in a beautiful sienna color was used to cover the book board and is finished with a delicate, antique gold apple blossom button and more waxed linen thread for easy closure. The thread has a beautiful dangle of gold metallic beads and a Mookaite jasper flat round.

And I am also preparing for next weekend's 10th annual Kerrytown BookFest. I am excited to be participating for the first time as an exhibitor. If you are local to the Ann Arbor area, stop by booth #138 and say hi!  Here is a sneak peek of some of my new items that will be available there:

New! Flower Jade and Mum Macrame Bookmark. Hand-knotted light green S-Lon thread and featuring beautiful flower jade beads and an antique silver-plated mum charm.

New! Lapis Lazuli and Starfish Macrame Bookmark. Hand-knotted medium blue S-Lon thread and featuring gorgeous lapis lazuli beads and an antique silver-plated starfish charm.

Petoskey Stone Triple Wrap Bracelet. A rare find, beautiful, authentic 6mm Petoskey stone rounds were used to create a stunning triple wrap bracelet. Petoskey stone is the official state stone of Michigan. It is a variety of calcite and was formed by the fossilization of ancient coral, Hexagonaria. Petoskey stones are found on many beaches of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, as well as in rock quarries from Traverse City to Alpena.

And more bracelets, bookmarks, and journals to come! Have a Happy Labor Day!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

FOLK Magazine, Issue VI - My First Ad!

The mail arrived yesterday, and as my 5-year-old always says, "is there anything for me?" Since all the mail is usually for me (and my husband), I usually rephrase a bit to, "is there anything FUN for me?" Well, there was!

My first issue of FOLK Magazine arrived. This is issue VI of the young magazine, which started up in September 2011. The magazine is, by their own description, "devoted to presenting a fresh and youthful interpretation of simple country lifestyles. We focus on the stories that make America our collective home sweet home. FOLK reaches across the many representations of American Country style to celebrate personal expression in our homes, businesses, and lives."

FOLK Magazine is put out bimonthly (one issue every two months) and each issue has a particular theme. Issue VI is Vintage. This is my actual copy - sitting on my bead mat :)

Not only is this my first issue, but it is the first issue in which I have put an advertisement for my Etsy shop! I was thrilled to see my little ad in the middle of the magazine:

I have yet to sit down and read through the articles, but it is gorgeously laid out, and I can't wait to take a peek. Maybe when the kids are out in the sandbox this afternoon...

Being a new publication, FOLK Magazine is also growing by leaps and bounds, so if you are interested, check out their subscription page for details on how to get your own issue. They are distributed via most Barnes & Noble stores and other independent retailers nationwide so check out their store listings page to find which retailers carry it. (NOTE: as of today, August 1, the store listings page is being updated, so check back later to see if the full list is up!)

The thing I love about this magazine, in addition to the content, is the fact that they put an emphasis on helping American, small businesses and artisans obtain affordable placement in a national magazine. The current list of advertisers for this issue, including myself, are listed on FOLK's Advertising page. Links to online shops are included.

And if you have a small business that fits the FOLK genre and you are looking to advertise, you can contact Hillary Lewis, Director of Sales and Marketing,


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cat Portrait Commission - Pen and Ink I love pen and ink! It has been some time since I have done a pet portrait, but I recently had a commission for a beautiful, Siamese cat. 

I worked from photos like I normally do, but the cat itself was difficult to photograph because of the dark markings on the face and there was some glare on the photos. It was a bit challenging to render, but even so, I think it turned out very well.

The final drawing was approximately 10" wide by 8" high and was done with my Rapidograph 3x0 (.25) pen on smooth Bristol paper. 

The fine pen was terrific for the face, but I started to question my sanity when I began to fill in the fur on the back half of the cat, most of which was dark brown to black. It went faster than I anticipated, though, and I think the fine pen lines worked really well to captured the subtle fur patterns, rather than just filling it in as a solid black.

This is an early photo of the pencil work as I blocked in the fur markings, etc. I always make sure my pencil areas are marked in before beginning any ink. If it doesn't look right in pencil, it won't look right in ink.

I did NOT fill in the fur on the back entirely with pencil (except for the tail), but rather just marked where there were changes in the direction of the fur as a sort of map to doing the pen work.

The final, finished drawing.

Once I finished with the pen work, I let it dry thoroughly overnight and then took my kneaded eraser to the whole thing to remove any stray pencil marks. I think the final turned out well and hope that the owner enjoys both the cat and the drawing for many years.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Trip to South Carolina!

I recently returned from a wonderful vacation to South Carolina. We spent a week in Myrtle Beach and had the opportunity to explore the area a bit.

Of course, we spent a good bit of time at the beach. I don't know who had more fun collecting seashells, my 5-year-old daughter or me! I was fascinated by the beautiful colors often found on the underside of of the big chunks of clamshells that wash up on the beach. I also found a few interesting shapes and sizes and even a bit of coral.

The whole lot.

Some coral in the center and although it isn't obvious in the photo, the shell on the left has beautiful pink and purple tones on it.

Loved the shape of this one in the center. Beautiful spiral.

Lots of interesting textures, patterns, and colors.

I didn't have much time to draw while there, but I did a few quick sketches. I can't wait to do more and in color!

In addition to the beach, we had a chance to visit the gorgeous Brookgreen Gardens. Located just south of Myrtle Beach, Brookgreen Gardens is "a National Historic Landmark with the most significant collection of figurative sculpture in an outdoor setting by American artists in the world and has the only zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums on the coast of the Carolinas." 

We took a Lowcountry boat tour through historic rice fields, saw a wonderful sculpture exhibit on the American West, had a fantastic lunch there, and while my husband, sister and brother took my girls to the zoo, I did a quick walk through some of the gardens near the main visitor center. 

I really enjoyed the magnolia trees everywhere and saw many trees with the fruits developing and flowers just starting to emerge.

One of my very favorite parts of the garden was Live Oak Allee. Here, huge Southern Live Oaks, approximately 250 years old, line the walkway. Spanish moss hangs down off of them and their majestic presence is just amazing.


Of course, I took more photos than I have room for here. I can't wait to go back for another visit. One nice thing about the gardens is that if you are down for a visit, your tickets are good for 7 consecutive days, so you can return to see more without additional cost. We only had time for one day, but next time, I'll be sure to plan some return trips!

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