A Quick London Adventure… Our European Finale

We took a train to London. It was a quick trip. What to do?  We stayed near the London Eye, across the river from Big Ben and Parliament buildings. You can feel the power of London. We felt small. It helped to stay near a central location, close to the tube. We took it everywhere we went, or walked. I especially wanted to see the Westminster Abbey. We got there just in time for the last tour. So much history. I especially wanted to see the memorial to Wilberforce.  After we left, we walked around the city a bit. In… Read More

Meeting Online Friends in England

We flew from Dublin to Birmingham, UK. Roger and Bernice picked us up from the airport. So kind! What a gift they gave us! Amazing really. Bernice and Roger took us to places we would’ve never even known about without them. Bernice and I met online. I got involved in Bernice’s art journaling group challenges: The Gratitude Journal, The A to Z of Me, and the Identity Journal. Roger and Bernice are walkers, and they walk along the canals. I had no idea Britain has more canals than Venice and they were the major source of transportation at one time.… Read More

Art Mapping & Exploring Ireland’s Southeast Coast

We had done the tourist thing, and now we wanted to see beyond. So with Sean at the wheel, we set out with just an idea of where we wanted to go for a couple of days along the southeast coast of Ireland. In the car, I noted where we went and what we did. Then after our outings, when I had time, I made a little map of the highlights. Our first stop, thanks to the tip from Francesca, was Cobh (pronounced Cove). On the way there, Keith and Sean got to explore a very un-tourist Belvelly Castle. There… Read More

Art Journaling and a lot of Blarney

As we planned our trip, it was important each person got to do and see their top two things. Keith’s top one was castles. As you can imagine, the rest of us Americans were pretty happy about that. We did see a number of castles, and even stayed in a place with a view of one in Cork County – Blarney. Before we arrived at Blarney, we took the train from Dublin to Cork. I love the train! From there we were to rent a car. Yikes! Driving on the other side of the road. Not me. Sean and Keith… Read More

Travel Journaling – Oh the Places We Would Go…

It’s been over a month since we’ve come home from our trip to the UK and Ireland. Time flies when life is happening fast! It is good to stop for a moment, remember, and be grateful. So as I think of going from Iona, to Edinburgh, and on to Dublin, I smile, thankful for the memories. We rode the train from Iona to Edinburgh, small island town to Scottish city,  with amazing Architecture and dinner with our high school friend.  We flew to Dublin. Took a taxi to our rented apartment. Sean and Merri arrived in the wee hours the… Read More

We Played Like Children…

Our last full day in Iona, Keith and I hiked to Columba’s Bay, along a winding street with cottages, walking by pastoral farms with the prettiest livestock I’ve ever seen. Sheep seemed to be almost free range. Just close the gate, the sign said. By the golf course on a trail not clearly marked, along the rugged, beautiful shore of the island. Up and down hills, through rocky terrain and heather sprinkled purple midst the green and grey. When we reached the bay, there were signs of previous play, a makeshift labyrinth and celtic cross. But the most amazing thing… Read More

Iona: Dream Realized in a Thin Place

I’ve dreamt about going to Iona. It’s known as a thin place, where heaven and earth meet, where people focus on unity and peace. Also, the birthplace of the Book of Kells which has fascinated me for years. It is a pilgrimage to get there from where we live: two long plane rides, bus shuttle, train, ferry, bus, and ferry. “Iona” Photograph Valerie Sjodin© Fuschia bushes were in abundance on Iona, even outside our hotel “Iona” Photograph Valerie Sjodin© Here is the view outside our room: “Iona” Photograph Valerie Sjodin© We walked during the day and evening to the Abbey:… Read More

Beginning our Travel Journal: Scotland

Because it was a trip of many transitions with many places to go to, I needed to pare down my art journaling supplies. Here is what I ended up using on the go. I kept a written record of nearly each day in my Documented Life journal. The calendar base was made before the trip. I also used a small Moleskine watercolor journal to document the cities we visited and some of my most meaningful places. The little Celtic reference journal was used as a reference for lettering and Celtic knots drawn along the way. My trusty old travel watercolor… Read More

Beginning My Celtic Travel Journal

Last month I mentioned that I would be taking a break from my virtual life and going on a pilgrimage and anniversary celebration. So it seemed fitting to share a bit about the journal preparation for the trip. From my last post, I bet you can guess where it is: Scotland and Ireland, and a quick visit to England. In preparation for this trip I looked over my Celtic art books, reviewed relevant lettering styles, researching and drawing Celtic knots, and have been looking at historical reference such as the Book of Kells. I love historical ornament! It’s one of… Read More

Art and Friendship in the Granada Garden

Life’s important moments is still all about relationships. My fondest memories of my time in Granada are the interaction with people, especially in the garden of the place we stayed. Isabela and Don live in the big house and we rented the little casita. The garden was a place to relax, eat, read, pray, and meet, talking about the stuff of life. What an amazing thing it is to meet a kindred spirit across the world. It didn’t take long to find out that Isabela and I had much in common – our art and cosmic themes, personalities, interests, even… Read More