Monthly Archives: February 2023

Introducing: Our New Granddaughters

Robin on the left, Etta on the right

On Valentine’s Day, our daughter Erin and her husband Dave magically turned Greg and me into grandparents with the births of their identical twins. Robin Magdalena (named for Dave’s mother and my mother) was born first at 4 lbs 8 oz. Two minutes later, Etta Lyn (actually Henrietta, because Dave’s recently deceased “uncle’s” middle name was Henry, and he was born on Valentine’s Day; Lyn was Dave’s grandmother) emerged, weighing in at 3 lbs 14 oz.

Though Mom was released four days after delivery, the babes are still in the Special Care Nursery (NICU), although they may be home by the time you read this. They are all doing well.

Before they were born, Erin thought she might paint the babies’ toenails different colors to tell them apart. I suggested that an unobtrusive tattoo might be wise. She nixed that idea, even though she has at least one tat that I know of (a Fibonacci spiral on her shoulder–she has a degree in mathematics). Last week I asked her if nail polish was still the plan, and she told me no, because she knows who’s who. I can’t tell. Robin’s 11 ounces heavier, but that will change.

As you can imagine, we are over the moon with joy.

Monday Morning Wisdom #402

Monday Morning Wisdom #402

Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible. ~St. Francis of Assisi

From the Creator’s Heart #391


Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Ephesians 4:32 NIV).

How Do You Promote Your Blog?


Just for kicks, on Wednesday I studied my blog stats to find out where my hits come from. (If you have a WordPress platform blog, as I do, a good place to look is on your stats page. Under referrers, click View Details and then the All Time tab.) Here’s what I learned. Other than the people who come directly to my blog because they are subscribers, readers find ARHtistic License through:

  1. Search engines. Most readers come to my blog because they searched for topics that I happen to cover. That is why SEO (search engine optimization) is so important. You want to make it easy for search engines to discover your site. It’s funny—every so often, I notice that one of my old posts is getting a lot of attention. Right now it’s my review of Mary Oliver’s poetry collection, Devotions, which I posted in 2018. It’s been viewed over a hundred times this month, more than in 2018 and 2019 combined. (The most annual views it’s ever had before now was 92 in 2021.) I categorized it under book reviews and poetry, and tagged it Mary Oliver and Devotions. When I categorize and tag, I always ask myself, if I wanted to read an article like this, what would I Google?
  2. Facebook. This surprised me, because I have a personal Fb page and one for AL, and I used to post a link to every article on both Fb pages, and they seldom got much attention on Facebook. So, many of the referrals from Facebook must be from other readers sharing my posts on their own Fb pages. Thank you, everybody who does that! How do I keep that happening? I think the strategy would be to share other bloggers’ posts on Facebook and earn myself some good karma.
  3. Pinterest. I used to pin all my posts on my Pinterest boards, but I stopped years ago. I should probably start again, since Pinterest is my third largest referrer. Thanks to all my readers who pin my posts!
  4. Blogs where I comment or where the author has linked to my blog. Bloggers, we don’t have competitors, we have a community. When you write a nice comment on someone else’s blog post, readers take notice and want to get to know you better, so they click on your Gravatar (if you’re commenting on a WordPress blog; on other platforms you have an option to sign in with your blog’s web address). And if you notice good content on someone else’s blog and link to it in your post, you’re being supportive. (Good things happen to people who are supportive.)
  5. Twitter. I don’t see a lot of interest on many of my own tweets, so it must be the readers who share my posts on Twitter who are driving the hits on my blog. Again, thank you! How do I keep that coming? I suspect retweeting other people’s tweets helps.
  6. My Medium site. I have a site on Every week I import my three best posts from ARHtistic License there, and yes, people want to see more, so they check out my main blog.
  7. Sites where I guest blog. I sometimes contribute articles to other blogs. These are freebies; I don’t get paid for them. But they do give me exposure, and I can put a link to ARHtistic License in my bio. Interested people will click.
  8. Instagram. I occasionally post some artwork or a quilt or a picture of my dog on Instagram. I could be more intentional about it, try to post something every day.
  9. Flipboard. I discovered Flipboard years ago, and created a few “publications” into which I linked interesting articles I found, in addition to ARHtistic License posts. Readers search topics and read content that others have selected as worthwhile. At the time, I was using Safari as my browser, but Safari was not doing a good job of remaining compatible with online software. I had difficulty getting into Flipboard, so I stopped linking there. Eventually, Safari became less compatible with WordPress, and I discovered that Google Chrome worked a whole lot better. By that time I’d kind of lost interest in Flipboard; I haven’t contributed anything in years. Nevertheless, I am still getting a couple hits a month from Flipboard. On Wednesday I tried logging in to Flipboard, but I kept getting an error message saying there was a server error and to try again later. I don’t know if I want to get active there again or just let that avenue go.
  10. Challenges. I participate in a lot of blogging challenges, like the A-to-Z Challenge in April, and Cee’s photography challenges. Participants usually check out other people’s offerings, and I get a substantial number of clicks as a result.

Checking out my stats gave me insights on where my audience comes from and what I might do to draw more people to my blog. I hope I’ve given you some helpful advice as well.

One more thing—I recently read in AARP magazine that to increase your odds of becoming famous, you should post videos online. Did you know that 81% of Americans use YouTube, and TikTok has more than a billion users worldwide? I don’t have a TikTok account (and don’t want one), and I don’t want to be famous, but I’d love to have enough followers on ARHtistic License that when I finish a book, a publisher will see that I have a built-in readership to market toward. How many followers would that be? Maybe 50,000? I already have almost 1400 subscribers. I have a YouTube channel, but I use it mostly for compiling playlists. The only original content I’ve put up have been a couple of recorder videos where I play one part of a duet so another recorder player can play along with me, plus some folk dance videos of the Phoenix International Folk Dancers and our annual Folk Dance Festivals. But I’ve been meaning to do some video blogging—just short, maybe five-minute videos relating to the arts or the creative process. Maybe that should be one of my goals for this year.

Now it’s your turn. Bloggers, how do you promote your blog? Is there something you want to do to spread the word about your content? Share in the comments below.

Creative Juice #332

Creative Juice #332

Lots of quilts and other creative stuff.

Video of the Week: Red and White Quilt Show


This is a long video–19 minutes! But if you’re a quilt nerd, you’ll want to watch every second.

Wordless Wednesday: Little Free Library

Little Free Library B
Little Free Library

Flower of the Day


I think this is a creosote bush. More FOTD.

Some Selections from my Art Book Shelf


You might know that I’m a bookaholic. So is my husband, Greg. We love books. We have many bookshelves scattered throughout the house. We have closets stuffed with books we haven’t read yet. We’ve given away hundreds of books. We have books we can’t bear to give away because we have reread them multiple times and plan to reread them again.

My art book shelf

These are the books currently on the art book shelf in my writing/quilting room. I have more art books in the bookcase in our foyer.  

I’ve pulled out five books that I especially like.

I’ve posted about first book, Samantha Dion Baker’s Draw Your Day: An inspiring guide to keeping a sketch journal, before, and you may want to check out my review.

My son Andrew gave me The Complete Book of Drawing Peopleby Barrington Barber (and two others) for Christmas one year. I especially like it because Barber breaks down the parts of the body and draws them at different angles. Barber also breaks drawings into steps so you can see how to plan and construct them. A few years ago I worked from this book for the Index-Card-a-Day challenge.

The Complete Book of Drawing People

A couple of years ago I saw the sketchbook 300 Drawing Prompts by at Target and grabbed it. It has pages with prompts and ample room to draw. I have not yet used it but I intend to start this year—it’s one of my unofficial artistic goals.

300 Drawing Prompts

I love watercolor, and I want to get serious about it. I bought 15-Minute Watercolor Masterpieces by Anna Koliadych because I’ve seen some of her tutorials on YouTube. I’ve used some of her designs for World Watercolor Month, and I think I’ll use this book again this year. She has a section on mixing colors and watercolor techniques, and she breaks her masterpieces down to doable steps.

15-Minute Watercolor Masterpieces

The final book I have read many, many times: A Walk Through the Cloisters by Bonnie Young, about the medieval branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, located in Fort Tryon Park in Manhattan. If you’ve followed ARHtistic License for any length of time, you know I’m obsessed with the Cloisters, and especially with the unicorn tapestries that are housed there. Unfortunately, this wonderful book filled with history and gorgeous photographs is out of print, but you might be lucky enough to find it in a library or used book store.

A Walk Through the Cloisters

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite art books? Share in the comments below.

Monday Morning Wisdom #401

Monday Morning Wisdom #401

Our future cannot depend on the government alone. The ultimate solutions lie in the attitudes and the actions of the American people. ~Joe Biden