Posts made in April, 2016

April plan book

Posted by on Apr 5, 2016 in notebooks & calendars, spring | 0 comments

The goal: to make a tricked-out customized plan book for April.

I started with a blank Moleskin notebook full of unlined pages. I got it at the nearest Barnes & Noble.

blank moleskin Keetha

The first step: Add a thin layer of gesso to the cover. Gesso creates an opaque surface to paint on.

gesso moleskin cover Keetha

While it was drying, I decided which paint colors to use. I wanted a spring-madras feel for the design so I picked the colors I could imagine in a gorgeous Easter-colored madras shirt.

chose moleskin colors Keetha

I painted the colors on here and there without planning. Otherwise, I could have spent a lot of time over-thinking composition and the color wheel. Plus, next I would go over the top of the piece with a white glaze, so I knew it didn’t matter too much exactly how it looks at this point.

painted moleskin cover Keetha


I mixed plain white acrylic paint with glazing medium and brushed it over the painted cover. I wanted the colors to show here and there, a misty look.

white wash moleskin cover Keetha

I painted on the paint/glaze mixture and made lines and marks using a wooden skewer. I wiped off some of the glaze mixture with baby wipes and let it dry.


The pieces below are the look I was going for. I made them a while back and don’t remember how! Apparently, I didn’t use white paint and glaze. It was probably a thin layer of gesso.

painted pages Keetha


Oh, well; it didn’t turn out the way I had it pictured but it was a fun experiment. Now it’s my traveler’s notebook, ready to go.

plan book in tn Keetha

April plan book in tn Keetha

I may come back and embellish the front and/or back cover with a hand-lettered quote or some stamps or washi tape.

Now, onto the inside pages!

April Plan book list Keetha


(In the fall, I made a plan book for October. I made them in November and December, too; just forgot to post any photos!) 

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Coffee cups #5

Posted by on Apr 2, 2016 in birthday, coffee cup paintings | 0 comments

Keetha birthday mug

The mug stays at Mom and Dad’s. It’s been around for years and when we get together to celebrate a birthday, we get down the birthday mug for the birthday boy or girl to use. It’s the only time anyone drinks from it.

It’s a “magic” mug because it appears to have a cake with candles on it. Then! When it’s filled with hot coffee the candles light up!

I love how something as simple as a coffee mug (even a magical one) can become part of a tradition, how it adds a little something more – something personal, something familiar, something ours – to a birthday get-together.

Also. I realized at some point that I hadn’t finished painting the handle on the coffee mug. I didn’t notice that until after I’d taken the photos and downloaded them.

The coffee cup posts:


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Coffee cups #4

Posted by on Apr 1, 2016 in coffee cup paintings, watercolor | 0 comments

Keetha Dean & Deluca

I probably first heard about Dean & Deluca about the same time I picked up The Silver Palate Cookbook. It was the 90s and these two things were basically the last word in sophistication: in Manhattan and gourmet, which was all I needed to know.

Dean & Deluca carried exotic, fancy foods.  Things that the Sunflower Food Store in Belzoni, Mississippi had never even heard of. Even the big Kroger in Jackson didn’t carry these things, not in the 90s when I discovered the upscale food markets via the Internet.

I got the Dean & Deluca catalog and pored over it, just like I did the Williams-Sonoma catalog. It didn’t matter if half the stuff I didn’t know how to pronounce (charcuterie) or even what it was. I was captivated.

I could have been a profiler for the FBI, so detailed was my picture of the people who shopped at Dean & Deluca. They had fascinating careers and went to gallery openings. They picked up fresh flowers from the flower cart vendor on their way home from work. They lived in charming brownstones, just like the Cosbys did. There was nothing banal in their lives. They hosted dinner parties with ingredients purchased from the Dean & Deluca, which they carried home in cute string bags. At these dinner parties, there was sparkling conversation, witty repartee, and of course, sophisticated food.

Getting the catalog in my mailbox made me feel like I was a part of that. Sort of.


I’m 90% certain I ordered the coffee mug because I had just moved. I needed to order something – anything – to stay on the mailing list. The coffee mug was one of the least expensive items in the catalog and it had the logo so that was a win-win. For months afterward I displayed that coffee mug on the kitchen counter. I shop at Dean & Deluca! 

I’m glad I still have it. The mug has outlasted my need for validation from yuppie brands.

The rest of the coffee cup series:

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