Venerdi in Venice: Slice of Piazzetta


ink & watercolour weensy meep miniature, 3.5" x 2.5" [9 x 6.5cm] ACQUIRE A MEEP

If this was a night painting, these lamps would shed some light on the Piazzetta as we head past the Doge's Palace towards St Mark's Basilica in Venice.  During daytime hours, though, we can simply allow them to look pretty.  {Grazie mille to Pierre of Venice Daily Photo for the always-beautiful inspiration!} Judging by this scenery, if you hear anyone in Venice say, "I'm in the Doge house," there's no need to feel sorry for them or shout them a consolatory vino {unless you're in the mood for something medicinal yourself}.  And on that note...

Happy Venerdi in Venice to you!

Bathing Belles


pencil and watercolour illustration on cold-pressed cotton paper

Lately, I've seen a number of these riotous floral swimming caps, both vintage and new.  I'm not sure if I'd have the derring-do to wear one in public, but they delight me.  They'd fit in nicely with this old bathing pavilion, and I seem to recall Katie making that very same observation at the time. 

I briefly considered offering a handmade upcycling tutorial to Etsy, using fishing line, a crochet hook, old hot water bottles and a couple of shower curtains ~ but I had problems with my flour-and-water glue mix not holding up under water so it was back to the drawing board, where I sensibly made this instead.  If you'd like a copy of the tutorial, you know where to find me.  Over at Etsy buying one ...

Francophile Friday: L'Escargot Slow Show


 ink & watercolour illustration, 8.75" x 7" [22.5 x 18cm]

Does focusing on snails on Friday help the weekend slide along more slowly?  Perhaps a notion worth exploring at a leisurely pace...

L'Escargot Montorgueil takes the Slow Food movement literally. This popular restaurant in Paris decorates its signage with a trail of regal-looking golden snails {perhaps paying a side homage to garlic butter}, leaving us in no doubt as to its primary fare.  As for the principle of "waste not, want not", there's an interesting story about the establishment here.

Thank you so very much to Cali, who sent me a photo of these charming snails and their abode quite some time ago.  With due deference to the subject matter, I took my time illustrating them.  So likewise, please take your time gazing at them.  They aren't going anywhere in a hurry.  And on that note...

Happy  Francophile Friday to you!

J.Lo Down on Madre's


ink & watercolour illustration, 7" x 8.75" [18 x 22.5cm]

It's been a long time coming, but we're visiting Pasadena today.  Madre's was Jennifer Lopez's Cuban restaurant in the Southern Lake district of Pasadena.  If its quaint, shabby chic appearance and mojitos or arroz con pollo appeal to you, you can make your way there with no haste and even less speed, as it's closed.  And I mean Closed of the Permanent Variety.  I feel for the in-house Cuban cigar maker who may not have found a new job very easily. 

Closed it may be, but when I saw Petrea's photo of this recently, I knew I had to draw it and she kindly obliged.  Thank you for the inspiration, Petrea!  If you need to know more about Madre's for the sake of posterity or because you're a J.Lo stalker ~ err, fan ~ there are plenty of great links at Petrea's place.  And if you feel like unscrewing that exterior light fitting and sending it on a slow boat to Australia, the Cuban cigar maker and I know nothing...

Venerdi in Venice: A Weensy Stroll


ink & watercolour ACEO weensy, 3.5" x 2.5" [9 x 6.5cm]

Let's stroll into the weekend, dropping our cares into this canal in Venice, in a serene and quiet location near San Martino Vescova, away from the madding crowds.  Grazie mille to Pierre of Venice Daily Photo for his constant inspiration.  {Happy holidays, Pierre!} 

We can vote on where we'll stay based on the colour of our favourite gelato.  If no pets are allowed, someone may need to take a trip to the local Hotel for Dogs.  But this puppy only barks "Meep, meep," so I'm thinking we can smuggle him in and no-one will be the wiser. And on that note...

Happy Venerdi in Venice to you!

Bastille Day Weather Forecast: Macaron Showers


ink & watercolour illustration, 7" x 8.25" [18 x 21cm]

Today I was going to take us to a location somewhere not in France, given that it's been very French here lately, but with Bastille Day nearly upon us ~ well, how remiss would I be!

Instead, I'll do a weather forecast for tomorrow and predict that it will be raining macarons.  Take your largest umbrella, and some bubble wrap wouldn't go astray.  There's also a chance of éclairs and croissants, but it's recommended to head indoors if that's the case.  They pack more of a punch when bouncing off one's scone.   However you're celebrating, and wherever that may be, here's to a happy 14th July!

Francophile Friday Fleurish: Eva's Paris Peonies


ink & watercolour ACEO weensies, each one 3.5" x 2.5" [9 x 6.5cm]

I don't think it's peony season anywhere on the globe at the moment, except perhaps in some mad biologist's greenhouse where this spectacular bloom is in the process of being hybridised for world domination of the most gloriously forgiveable kind...

In the meantime, we can console ourselves with a pretend bunch for the weekend ~ like this armful carried by Virginia's granddaughter Eva in Paris and almost half her size. {Thanks yet again to dear Virginia!}  And on that note...

Happy Francophile Friday Fleurish to you!

The Versatile Blogger Goes Meep For Winter


ink & watercolour meep miniature, 3.5" x 2.5" [9 x 6.5cm] ACQUIRE

There's something about beach stripes that says "Summer".  {Hands up if you just read that as "beach strips..."  If you look closely, you'll see our kitty is wearing no clothes.  Shameful.}   As it's winter here, it's kind of nice to imagine making off with that towel and deck chair and finding a sunny spot, but that would force one to disregard the seductively half-open door.  Decisions, decisions.  And while we ponder our conundrum, please allow me to pose for a brief interlude...

I'm honoured to receive The Versatile Blogger Award from leOpard13, whose Lazy Thoughts from a Boomer is an intelligent and far-from-lazy blog that I thoroughly recommend to you.  We met at PopCultureNerd's place, and I'm very chuffed to be included amongst his awardees.  Thank you, leOpard13!  In addition to thanking leOpard13 for demonstrating his discerning taste, I need to let you know seven things about me, as well as passing the award on.  Here goes:
  • I have a sack of almond meal in the pantry and several macaron recipes but have not yet attempted any.  I find myself sadly lacking in patience and candy thermometers. 
  • I once played the harpsichord for half of Handel's Messiah from Scratch and it takes a lot of pluck to do that.
  • I have 29 rolls of ribbon at the ready for any kind of gift-wrapping emergency.
  • Yoga is my sport of choice {though my Olympic dream fades with every passing four years}.
  • I'm tempted to migrate north for the winter but I'd miss home too much {and a number of ducks I know don't recommend it}.
  • I'll happily sign a petition to have chocolate officially recognised as a food group.
  • I think I'm indecisive but I'm not quite sure...
So rather than trying to choose from all of the outstanding blogs I love: if I follow your blog, you're welcome to take this award and do a happy dance.  Yes, I just ducked out of that one.  Call me "chicken" and I'll be plucked {just prior to making the shortest recorded attempt at flying north}, but don't worry, I'll be back by Friday.

Francophile Friday: Tour de Tour d'Argent


ink & watercolour illustration, 7" x 8.75" [18 x 22.5cm]

Today, with abundant warm fuzzy thanks to Virginia of Paris Through My Lens, we visit La Tour d'ArgentRoughly translated in duck language as, "Run away!  Run away!"

This prestigious establishment {precisely translated in English language as "The Tower of Silver"} is not actually made of silver, causing somewhat of a disappointment to those who love polishing and arrive there appropriately equipped.  Opened in 1582, it was built of Champagne stone which gave off silvery reflections and therefore, the name.  La Tour d'Argent has been especially been revered for its fine duck dining experience for well over a century.  The ducks are so famous that each one is numbered and the diner receives a postcard to verify the same ~ thus giving the ducks a very real appreciation of the expression, "Your days are numbered."

Virginia's photo dressed itself in black tie for this esteemed restaurant, so my illustration chose to do the same.  There's quite an interesting story of the history of La Tour d'Argent at its website.  I'm glad we don't have to duel for dinner reservations nowadays, much as it would bring the awaiting ducks much pleasure to watch.  And on that note... no, wait for it...

Do you remember our Date With a Stack of Light Reading?  

 Recently, I was contacted by the delightful Jamie from, an inspiring online resource for Literacyheads ~ those who "may have expertise in different areas of literacy, but all are committed to children's literacy, passionate about the arts, incessant thinkers, and display a propensity for having fun." I'm beyond chuffed that this illo is one of those chosen for the current issue, Reading Habits, to help give writers ideas in the Write StARTs section.  If you love reading and the arts {and if you're here, that's most likely You}, please do pop over and have a browse.  It's a wonderful concept.

Oh, and Tuesday posts resume next week.  Hooray! And on that note...

Happy Francophile Friday to you!
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