Category Archives: Playing

Sandy Adventures


A few weekends ago my hubby and I took a spontaneous overnight – to a five star location. No — not a fancy hotel room, but a room with a view at an absolutely magical location.


We live about a one and a half hour drive from Great Sand Dunes National Park and we try to make a visit there each year in late winter or early spring. We have a wonderful room in our trusty camper van, Gandalf,  which almost ensures a five star view.

Footprints-inSand1_smOur spontaneous visit this year happened to fall on opening weekend of the park’s campground (which, due to budget, is closed in the winter until April 1) so our room with a view was extra fantastic (image above)…and access to our adventures just steps away.

Always about wondering aimlessly in the dunes, our adventures lead us to treasures that nature has left behind at that particular moment in time.





Or what man may have added



A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.
~ Wilderness Act 1964


As the sun set on our weekend adventure I reflected on the beauty of our great earth and how fortunate I am to be able to behold and enjoy her magic.

How do you behold and enjoy the magic of our great earth? Please do share in the comments – I always love to hear from you!






P.S. To remind me of our sandy adventures I created this musing in my Daily Musings Journal. I love playing with the sensual lines that appear in the dunes!

You can still get your printable version of the 2016 Daily Musings Journal here. And the Musings Adventure Journal – an undated version of this fun format will be available in mid May. Click here to sign-up to receive updates.



Filed under Creative Play, Creativity, Journaling, Musings Adventure, Nature, Outdoor Adventure, Playing

Water is a Precious Resource


The March theme for the Journey Within Art Journaling class I’m participating in (and teaching in later) this year was nature and natural living. For the spread I created above I took inspiration from Cindy Gilstrap of Junque Art’s lesson about taking cues from nature around you.

Of course this is not too hard for me – because I live in the Rocky Mountains surrounded by natural beauty. But in March the mountains are still covered in snow and there is not much color popping up from the ground yet, or budding from the trees.

LowPlayholeImage_500I was thinking about Cindy’s lesson as I was taking one of my daily mid-day pedals along the river…I thought “I want to take inspiration from the water that flows through the valley.”

I stopped to stand by the playhole to soak in the sounds and the site of the river flowing through town. And I snapped this photo to the left.

I didn’t immediately do anything with this, and a little later in the month my hubby and I were hiking up Cottonwood Canyon and I was in awe of the water still flowing there (until late last spring this canyon had always been, for the most part, dry).

CottonwoodIceCrystals_500The patterns in ice crystals that had formed along the now small creek caught my eye. I became intrigued by the thought of playing with the these patterns, and so I took a photo with that in mind.


Some days later I began to play with paint & pencils & stencils & stamps.


RiverPlayholeDetail_500As I was doing this I was thinking about how important water is in our lives – and how precious it is.

This reminded me of a poem I had written and calligraphed many years ago – after returning from travels where potable water was not readily available and there was a severe drought (and wildfires) beginning to take hold in Colorado.


I wrote the poem, in white, in the top left corner of the spread, but did not like how it looked.

Especially after watching Cindy’s lesson videos, I knew this was OK – she had encouraged us to use my intuition and that nothing is a mistake because with mixed media it can always be covered over with more layers.

This is exactly what I did – knowing that it was still part of the spread! I did add the first line of the poem back onto the spread, too.

I’ve written out the text of my short poem below.


water is a precious resource.

drink it to hydrate, or perish.

appreciate it, for everywhere it is not so easily accessible.

bathe in it, warm water soothes your muscles and your soul.

conserve it, otherwise soon you will not have it.

I love living so close to the beautiful Arkansas River.  I really do try to visit the river’s edge each day – if only to pedal along the path through town and back home again.

I feel truly fortunate to live where drinking water is good coming from my kitchen sink, and that without much thought I can stand under warm, soothing water in my shower.

I know I am not perfect about conserving water, but I always try to keep in mind that my easy access to water is a luxury really and I am fortunate to have such ready access to this life sustaining resource. I hope this musing will inspire you to feel the same.

Thank you dear Cindy for providing the inspiration for my journal spread, and this reminder about water – that flowed through me as I created.





P.S. If The Journey Within – A Year of Handmade Journals sounds intriguing, it’s not too late to join in the fun!! Click here to learn more. (full disclosure — this is an affiliate link:)


Here’s a little sneak peak about my new offering – coming later this spring.


The Musings Adventure Journal is a new undated version of the Daily Musings Journal! Stay tuned for more details coming soon – Sign-up here!

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Filed under Book Binding, Creative Play, Creativity, Inspiration, Journaling, mixed media, My Salida Backyard, Nature, Playing

Happy Spring!


Where I live in the Rocky Mountains spring does not arrive with an abundance of color. The signs of spring are much more subtle here at 7,000 feet – like the tiny dot of brilliant gold from the one lonely crocus in my front yard.

Although some yards have many colorful crocuses, the real signs of spring are more like

warm big blue days on the slopes where the snow is till abundant (fortunately)…


temperatures warm enough to stop and create ephemeral art while out on a hike…


beautiful ice crystal patterns along Cottonwood…


the sun not dipping behind the 14,000 + ft peaks until nearly 7:30 pm…


And if we’re lucky a spring blizzard that dumps a few more feet of snow in the mountains before the real melting begins…

A strong spring run-off is vitally important to feed the rivers and farmlands and to help to keep the dust at bay (at least for a little while).
And it is then that the leaves will begin to bud and the flowers will begin to unfurl their color, in earnest, in my Rocky Mountain valley.

How does spring unfurl where you live? I’d love to hear about it!

Wishing you the happiest of springs!





P.S. Unfurl is the word that I will be using as I create the color-in play sheet for the April Mermaid Tales ezine. I’d love to have you join me there. Click here to learn more and sign-up.

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Filed under Creativity, Everyday Adventure, Friends, Joy, My Salida Backyard, Nature, Playing, Playing at Altitude

Fun Convergence of Create, Play & Thrive


We arrived at the hut – after about a 5.8 mile ski – on this gorgeous big blue afternoon. There were ten of us in this group, and I was honored to be part of it. This crew – who call themselves “Hicks on Sticks” have been hut tripping together for years, and it was Tim & my first adventure with them.


Selfie on New York Peak ridge (Elevation: ~ 12,400 ft)

I’m in my element when I get to play outside in the wilderness – especially when mother nature bestows beautiful weather (new powder is also included in the beautiful weather category for winter hut trips, but the sunshine works, too)

I like knowing my body enjoys taking me to these remote places (even if she does whine sometimes).

I love being in community with friends – new and old.

When I head into the back country there is little space for creative play tools in my backpack, but I always try to bring something to write with and on. At the huts there will generally be a big sketchbook that is the log book/guest book.

At Polar Star I found a brand new sketchbook that no one had yet written in. There were several others – and in the most recent I found entries from the end of December 2015 at the very back of the book.

Wow – no one had made an entry in the new book or in the new year.

I was glad I came prepared with a handful of colored pencils and markers – and got to christen the new log book.


HutSignSince we spent the better part of the middle day of our visit skiing, I didn’t have a lot of time or energy to create anything too elaborate.

I loved the wooden hut sign that is above the entrance of the hut, so I decided to create that star in the log book.

After I was done I asked my friends if they’d be willing to sign the page. (I had done this with friends at a hut another time.) This is when I learned that they called themselves Hicks on Sticks – and that they each have nick names for themselves, which is how they signed. I became Lisa Marie.

Creating & playing allows me to thrive.



heading towards New York Mountain ridge


watching the sun set

and about a bizillion stars join the crescent moon in the sky


making and eating yummy food

and laughing – A LOT!


And for me this was a perfect convergence of create, play & thrive.

How about you? What is your perfect convergence?




GiveGirlJrnlLogoP.S. If you have not yet seen Jamie Ridler Studio’s Give a Girl a Journal project, please check it out!

I’ve already sponsored a girl to receive a journal, and plan to share some of my thoughts on how journaling has affected me in an upcoming post.

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Filed under Creative Play, Everyday Adventure, Journaling, Outdoor Adventure, Playing, Playing at Altitude

along the winding paths of daily life…



This is the line that emerged at the top of my “Tiny Gallery” piece (from a lesson in The Journey Within)

Yep – I think that it about sums it up 🙂


along the winding paths of daily life she contemplates This and That unendingly

long walks

the beauty of The Moment

What This and That do you contemplate?





P.S. In case you’re wondering The Journey Within is a year long class of creative exploration through art journaling and handmade books hosted by Kiala Givehand. I’ve really enjoyed how this class is helping me show up for my creative practice, and I’m looking forward to being a guest artist teacher later in the year. If you want to find out more click here (or the widget on the right:)

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Filed under Book Binding, Creative Play, Creativity, Journaling, mixed media, Nature, Playing, Self Discovery