Video of the Week #90: Perfectionism

Video of the Week #90: Perfectionism

Guest Post: 4 Reasons To Keep An Idea Journal by Nicole Bianchi


Many thanks to Nicole Bianchi for her permission to post this excerpt:

Leonardo da Vinci. Marie Curie.


Leonardo da Vinci

Thomas Edison. Beatrix Potter.

What do all four of these people have in common?

Not only were they highly motivated and creative individuals, but they also all kept an idea journal.

An idea journal is quite different from a diary. You use an idea journal not to record all of the things that happened to you throughout the day, but to jot down daily goals, achievements, opinions, observations, or bits of inspiration. If you’re working on a project, you can fill the idea journal with updates on your progress, thoughts on how to improve the project, and anything else that motivates you.

A writer’s idea journal might be filled with ideas for stories or articles or blog posts (no need to fear writer’s block when you have an idea journal). An artist’s might contain sketches or inspirations for drawings. Ultimately, the idea journal exists as a private place to plant your ideas and watch them grow.

Here are four reasons why you should keep an idea journal.

  1. An Idea Journal Helps You Remember & Develop Ideas


Leo’s design for a flying machine

Among Leonardo da Vinci’s many achievements, he was a brilliant artist, mathematician, engineer, scientist, and inventor.

In his notebooks, he filled pages and pages with sketches, scientific diagrams, ideas for new inventions, and reflections on art.

Because da Vinci was left-handed, he found it easier to write from right to left. That means his notes can only be read in a mirror. To make his writings even more private, he often employed a kind of shorthand and didn’t worry about perfect penmanship or proper punctuation.

What he did care about was carefully recording his lab notes and his many ideas for new inventions: everything from a flying machine to a submarine prototype.

Da Vinci’s notebooks ensured that he never forgot any of his ideas.

If you write down every great idea that comes into your head right away like da Vinci did, you will not have to worry about forgetting an idea ever again.

Further, the action of writing down an idea forces you to think more deeply about it.

The idea journal helps you clarify your thoughts and express them more clearly.

Note from Andrea: Does reading this excerpt make you want read the other three reasons to keep an idea journal? Read the full article.

It’s Easy Being Green

It’s Easy Being Green

Participating in The Daily Post’s Photo Challenge:



I’m participating in the Tuesday Photo Challenge this week. When I saw the prompt yesterday, I knew that several of the plants I’ve been seeing on my morning dog walks would be perfect.

For me, spring is all about buds and blossoms.



Ocotillo with buds.


Prickly pear with buds. We should have blossoms next week.

Did you know that pomegranates bloom? My neighbors have had this tree for years, but I never noticed the blossoms before. (You have to have flowers before you make fruit. Duh.)




The circle of life: blossom juxtaposed with last year’s rotting fruit.

Aloes have the ugliest blossoms ever. But hummingbirds think they’re delightful.


Have you ever seen desert dandelions? They spring up whenever we have a few drops of rain.


They don’t stay pretty long, though; within days they’re seedy and three feet tall, like these in my back yard.


And they’re very tenacious. They have evolved to fight back if anyone tries to weed them out. Check out the thorny leaves. Ouch!


Wordless Wednesday: Oleander

Wordless Wednesday: Oleander

Doing double duty today–this is also my offering for Cee’s Flower of the Day challenge.





My offerings for the Tuesdays of Texture Challenge:IMG_0055



The Quintessential Portrait Painter

The Quintessential Portrait Painter

John Singer Sargent (January 12, 1856 – April 14, 1925) was born in Florence, Italy to American parents. He had little formal schooling; instead, he learned geography, arithmetic, and reading from his father. He became an accomplished pianist. His mother, an amateur artist, encouraged him to draw, and the family’s travels exposed him to many subjects for his artwork, and also facilitated fluency in Italian, French, and German.

He began his formal art training during the winter of 1873–74 at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. In May, 1874, Sargent entered the teaching atelier of Carolus-Duran, a leading portraitist in Paris, who encouraged his students to paint immediately (rather than make preliminary drawings. Study of the works of Rembrandt, van Dyck and Velázquez also influenced Sargent. But at a time when the art world experimented with Impressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism, Sargent practiced his own form of Realism.


Madame X (Madame Pierre Gantreau)

He burst into the art scene in 1884 with his painting of Madame Pierre Gautreau. Exhibited as Madame X, people complained that the painting was provocatively erotic, producing scandal for Sargent rather than fame. He decided to flee Paris for London in 1886, living in England for most of the rest of his life, and becoming the “leading portrait painter of his generation” for his depictions of Edwardian era luxury.

Sargent had no assistants; he handled all tasks himself, such as preparing his canvases, varnishing the painting, arranging for photography, shipping, and documentation. He commanded about $5,000 per portrait, or about $130,000 in today’s currency.

After the turn of the century, Sargent grew tired of portrait painting (although he consented to painting portraits of United States Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson). He acquired commissions for other kinds of work, such as murals for the Boston Public Library, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and the Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library at Harvard University. He also established a solid reputation as a watercolorist.


Portrait of Mrs. Cecil Wade


Portrait of Lady Agnew


Portrait of John D. Rockefeller


Portrait of Nancy Viscountess Astor


Portrait of Lady Helen Vincent


The Garden Wall




The Fountain, Villa Torlonia, Frascati, Italy


Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose



Dans Les Oliviers


Street in Venice


Claude Monet Painting by the Edge of a Wood


Muddy Alligators


An Out-of-Doors Study


The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit

Click here to hear artist Kehinde Wiley’s thoughts on John Singer Sargent.

Information for this article was gathered from:


Share Your World

Share Your World

I’m participating in Cee’s Share Your World challenge today.

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? 

My “go to” age used to be 29. Then, one birthday, I realized I was celebrating the 29th anniversary of my 29th birthday…

So, you’re on your way out and it’s raining. Do you know where your umbrella is or do you frantically search for it all over your apartment/house?

We live in Arizona and we don’t often have need of an umbrella, but I keep a few in the front hall right next to the door.


Do you recharge your energy by going out with friends for a good time or by spending with quiet time alone?

I prefer to be alone. I like to stay home holed up in my study, writing. But if I need a recharge, I’ll drive someplace beautiful where I can take a walk in the fresh air.

And a few times a year, I go on a writing retreat or to a writer’s conference with some of my friends.

Name three things you and your spouse, partner or best friend  to have in common.

We grew up in the same town, six blocks from each other, and went to the same church, and attended the same high school (but not at the same time; my husband is six years older than me.)

We were both teachers. He taught second, third, and fourth grades (and junior high science for one year); I taught elementary general music.

We both attended colleges in Pennsylvania. He has a B.A. in Geology from Lafayette College in Easton; my first school was Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

Greg and Andrea

My husband, Greg, and I

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I had a wonderful time with the Phoenix International Folk Dancers last Tuesday. Karen and Bill Faust came up from Tucson to teach us some new dances.

I look forward to every day. I have a wonderful life.

Monday Morning Wisdom #94

Monday Morning Wisdom #94

Found on Twitter:

King quote

From the Creator’s Heart #90

From the Creator’s Heart #90

Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth (Genesis 9: 16 NIV).