Flashback 2006

I’ve come to a decision about my old Moleskine notebooks…I’m tearing them up for use in my new Moleskine and altered book.

There is too much stuff in my life, and I feel too precious about things. With all of the fires here and there, I’ve frequently found myself reflecting on what I would grab and what I would leave. I would leave a lot. Why do I live with a lot? We just accumulate things. I

also find the clutter more distracting than I used to. I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking that I need to get rid of things. I’m angry when I need to clean and there is stuff in the way.

I pulled a Moleskine from 2006-2007 off the shelf and ripped out the pages I like and the rest is gone. These particular pages are not that great, but for what I was creating at the time, they are not too bad.

2006 was 15 years ago—that’s really strange. It feels like it was yesterday.

In an odd twist, the first two spreads of my 2022 Moleskine calendar now feature a tree sketch.

Peace of mind & cohesion of thought.


New Year’s Eve of 2021 was spent celebrating with friends. The first celebration was with the loosely assembled membership and ancillary joiners-on of the WHDWC (Winthrop Harbor Dog Walking Club). Clover and I arrived early. While hanging out in the fading warmth of the car, I took out my new Moleskine and sketched the parking lot island in front of me.

I can declare conclusively that I prefer drawing trees in the summer…leaves can be amorphous blobs of greens in different shades. I ran out of time drawing the thousand little tiny branches, so the trees in my drawing look more spare and sickly than their living, yet dormant, models.

Time flew and soon our friends were arriving on scene to take a soggy walk through the woods. There wasn’t a hard rain, but there was a soaking mist. Still, there was good cheer along the trail, stories of two broken Christmas trees, speculation about expected snowfall, sticks thrown in the double digits (at least) to keep the youngest puppy in the group occupied, dog treats at the corners, 37 vertical jumps by the second youngest dog in the group, 428 butt sniffs, 32.5 sudden directional changes, 5 multi-dog ground sniffs for longer than 10 seconds. You know, the “usual” group dog walking activities. 

At one corner, Jack led us in the singing of Auld Lang Syne. He knew more of the words, so he performed a solo and we rejoined at the chorus. Later he posted a complete solo in front of a bonfire on Facebook…thanks Jack!

Happy New Year to you!

13 Wishes

I’m spending the last day of 2021 sitting on the floor of my living room making art.

The Woman Unleashed art project for the Winter Solstice was Rauhnachts-Magie the Magic of the 12 Nights of Solstice
with Andrea Gomoll.

The short version is you write 13 wishes for the upcoming year on slips of paper and put them in a jar. Over the 12 days of the solstice, you draw a wish a day in an intentional manner, do not look at it, but send it out into the universe for fulfillment by burning it.

The 13th wish you get to read and it becomes the main focus of the upcoming year. My 13th wish was actually the first one I wrote (yes, I did stir them up): “Peace of mind and cohesion of thought”. I see more meditation and less TV in my life for 2022.

Andrea led us through a painting and wish jar decoration exercise. Since I was doing this all in one day, I did not make the jar.

She led us through a second watercolor exercise so we could make a background upon which to feature our 13th wish for the upcoming year.

If you have a chance to watch a workshop of Andrea’s, I would recommend it.

Personal Project—2022 Planners

Inktober and other fun projects took a back seat this week because a personal project arrived!

Opening this box was like Christmas morning in October. I was so excited for these to arrive!

2022 calendars have been on my mind recently because I receive several wall calendars in the fall, and they are usually accompanied by donation requests.

Still, It occurred to me that a calendar would be a great piece of swag to send my clients as an end-of-the-year thanks. Instead of another wall calendar, though, I thought a planner might be more fun. My business is publishing, after all, and 2020-2021 have been far more digital than print. I’ve been itching for a box of fresh printing to arrive on my doorstep.

I wanted the planner to showcase my design tastes, and the artwork needed to be mine too. I crawled through datebooks and sketchbooks going back to 2006, and pulled some of my favorite pieces. There are a few below. Every month has one or two pieces of art, and there is room for making notes/doodles/to-do lists.

The planner contains my personal and professional brands because it is where my art and my design world meet. Twenty have already shipped with hand-written notes and, yes, a couple of business cards, to my clients from 2021. And some of these will be thank-you gifts to the people who have been so supportive to me as I’ve built Nan Mellem Publishing.