Sunday, April 13, 2014

Returning & Reflecting

Walltown Crags, Hadrian's Wall, Northumberland, England

Loch Garten, Cairngorms, Scotland

Glencoe, Scotland

Near Doune Castle, Perthshire, Scotland

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Traveling On

As my departure to the Scottish Highlands nears I offer up some small bits of travel inspiration. There are many forms of travel and wandering and they are all good for the mind and soul. Even on a daily basis, I like to take the back roads rather than the quick roads. For this exchange I am rewarded with a landscape of farms, livestock, fencerows, a myriad collection of birds, and seldom another vehicle. The quotidian task of driving from point A to point B morphs into a lovely/lively amble. Wander when you can, where you can.

Print from Champion Awards on Etsy

- Brian Andreas Story People


Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone. I hope you have a wonderful day and get a chance to participate in some Irish tradition, even if it's just a pint of the black stuff. I've long been enchanted with Ireland and several trips to the Emerald Isle have only reinforced this. The small country has a lot to offer and the landscape there was surprisingly diverse, changing constantly as we drove up and down and around. Below is a collection of photos that embody this diversity and offer a look into Ireland's breathtaking geology, landscape, history, and ambience.

Grazing sheep near Charleville Castle
Craggy coast in County Clare

The enchanting Giant's Causeway (volcanic rock formations) on the north coast of County Antrim

View of Little Skellig from Skellig Michael, home to 6-7th century monastic settlement - one of the most unique experiences Ireland has to offer. The 45 minute choppy boat ride to get there and the hundreds of ancient steps to the isolated top are well worth the visit. 
Lake near Killarney, County Kerry

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sun Setting on Winter

Only a few more days until the official start of Spring for which we are all eager. Enjoy the stark skeletal trees for a few more weeks before they beef up with leaves. Enjoy the absence of humidity and blood sucking insects, too, for they will return in the blink of an eye. Winter's been long and cold, so let us welcome Spring with appreciation and gratitude.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Springing Up


Monday, March 3, 2014

Wild Green Will Come

Ink and watercolor on watercolor paper.
wild adj. [[Old English wilde]] 1 living or growing in its original, natural state 2 not lived in or cultivated; waste 3 not civilized; savage 4 not easily controlled.
I offer some green today as my home is blanketed in snow. March has arrived; green bulbs are pushing up beneath the snow. Soon, all will be green, I must remind myself. The winter has kept me indoors too often. Even in the snow I venture into my wilderness but the cold limits the duration of these visits. Today it is 14 degrees with an ugly wind chill. But the sun is sharp and the snow is glowing blue white like a flame. It is a sure bet that when spring actually arrives I will be seeking the wild outdoors, the savage and untamed, as briars scrape my ankles and ticks feast on my flesh in secret. But one must pay the fare to enter Wilderness.   
Above is a page from my (upcoming) travel journal, I am readying it for treks through forests, close encounters with leaves. This quote is from the poem by John O'Donohue, "A Blessing of Angels." So intent on the lettering, however, I actually misquoted it. The end should read "...take you to the territories of true otherness." Let it be, I thought. Fixing it would surely ruin it. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

My Heart's in the Highlands

Soon, when spring begins to push up her green shoots and blooms, I will be making a voyage to Scotland after a few days in Northern England. In preparation, I have crafted the travel journal which will accompany me. I'll share a post-voyage look at the journal once the miles and oceans are behind me.
Distressed leather with elastic closure. [Can you spot the unfortunate stain left by a rogue goldfish cracker, that I mostly got out with sandal cleaner?!]
A long stitch of sorts with an antiqued metal embellishment

Endpapers of greens and golds with a vintage bookplate of a woodcut complete with traveling gnome.

Ink and watercolor painting of Scotland and Northern England with counties labeled.

An Album for Love and Matrimony

This is a custom order for a wedding album to hold photos and memories. The flower is not a part of the book but given to me for color inspiration.

Colorful endpapers provide a whimsical yet romantic touch.

Monogram for the bride and groom along with wedding date.

 A fun stitch with metal embellishment.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

 Wishing everyone a great day, whether you revel in the amorous festivities or are the kind who ignores today altogether. But here is some obligatory pink for these grey days.
Fuchsia on the roadsides of County Cork, Ireland
P.S. The winner of the Customer Appreciation Giveaway is Laura White. Thanks to all for supporting Traveling Chariot and leaving such warm, encouraging feedback.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Customer Appreciation Giveaway !!

Etsy is a great community in which to belong. I love interacting with my customers and other artisans and getting customers reviews from all over the wide world. It helps me gauge the quality of my wares and my customer service. I really appreciate your business and your reviews. If you've purchased something from me in 2013 or 2014  please leave me a review. The sooner the better. If you leave a review by Valentine's Day, February 14th, your name will be entered to win a pocket journal from Traveling Chariot. If you purchased something from me in person, leave a review in the comments section of this blog entry and you'll be entered, too. If you comment below be sure to include your email so I can get address info if you win. If you win, choose between Orient Express (red) and Silver Dreams. Thanks for supporting this teeny-tiny business.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Playful Trio

Recent murals I painted for a playroom: A Blossoming Tree, A Fun Alphabet, and a Dinosaur hopping out from behind a doorway.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Quills Return

After selling my stock during the holidays, I have restocked my shelves with hand-cut feather quill sets. The set comes with a classy, old time quill, a rustic stand made out of reclaimed cedar fence posts from this Missouri farm, 12 sheet of ivory laid paper, and a calligraphy grid to place behind paper as you write. There are six currently in my shop and I am working on some more. They would make a good Valentine gift for a loved one or a friend (pen pal). So, if you missed out before, get 'em while they're hot.

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Look Back: Summer Fairy Party

I must have been too busy canoeing, hiking, and generally enjoying the balmy summer to share a very fun project from back in July. In my little neck of the woods, I hosted a Fairy Party for a wee friend's 3rd Birthday Party.
Here is our whimsical table setting: Three picnic tables with fern table cloths. I actually cut a large table cloth into 3 for our small tables and hemmed up the edges. A metal canopy frame trimmed in tulle and ribbons. And a hand-painted sign on barn wood that says "Once upon a Time." An iron chandelier is hung in the middle wrapped with ivy and ribbons. Bunting made with green patterned fabric was hung about as well.
Hobby Lobby was my shop of choice for this party. Here is a wooden 3 covered in patterned felt, a ceramic mushroom for the garden, a tiny, ceramic owl planter all sitting on a table covered in a sheet of moss.
A fairy dwelling in the woods they made with found objects from the forest: walnuts, mosses, grasses, a cedar trunk with roots, butterfly wings, ivy, sticks, etc.
Another fairy threshold.
Glass fairy pebbles led the party on a woods walk. Each girl got a tiny vial of fairy dust to take on the walk and sprinkle around. We talked about where fairies like to live and we searched for evidence of the wee folk. The pebbles led us to this meadow where fairy wings were waiting for everyone.
The cake (made by the birthday girl's aunt) fit right in and was delicious.
All the guests got a small wooden fairy house to paint and decorate. They took them home to their yards to attract fairies.
The party was a major success and the girls and even a few boys had a blast. Several of the children spotted fairies in the shadowy woods and my forest will forever be a magical place. If you have any questions about the party, just leave me a comment.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Respite from Winter's Icy Grip

In an effort to warm my bones, warm my mind, I've searched my files for my warmest looking photos. I chose these blooms of the prickly pear cactus that seems to thrive around the sunny glades of my land. Here they are just soaking up the sun. May we all soak up sun sometime soon. Try to be optimistic under the skies of gray. Yesterday graced us with frozen pipes followed by a monumental water show in the well-house. After some soaking wet work and good help we have water today and sanity. Today is better than yesterday. Here's to surviving the winter.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Addressing Your Friends

If there is a season for sending mail, it is Christmas. I am one of a dying breed still sending out real Christmas Cards with holiday stamps and all. Is there anyone else out there who takes part in this thoughtful (and time consuming) tradition? The fact that it takes time, effort, and thought (during a very busy time of they year) are many reasons why I find Christmas Cards so special. It is also some of the only communication I receive from friends and family all year. I send out 60 or so and receive a handful. This year I received about 20, half coming to my mailbox. I am very appreciative of my handful and love hearing from my far flung friends and family at Christmas, and extra joyous to hear from them at other times throughout the year, which I do.
Every once in a while I have the chance to create a one of a kind Address Book in which I design and print the information pages and hand paint each lettered page and tab. Then I bind all the pages in hard back sturdy cover to keep all your information safe (Remember to use pencil - folks move a lot). A custom address book can be ordered here in my Etsy Shop.
In this new year, remember the charm and magic of a handwritten letter or even a short note, a thank you, or a thinking of you note. Remember your friends and family out there in the wide world. I'm very thankful for the friends who frequent my mailbox and find the letters from them one of life's lovely pleasures.