Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tomato Heaven

Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes.  ~Author Unknown


Last year we barely had a handful of tomatoes. This year we've had a luxurious abundance. Some have gone into salads, others into pizza and pasta sauce. The little yellow ones get eaten right off the vine. So sweet!

There are all types, cherry tomatoes, heirlooms, beefsteak...  I like them in a  good  sauce with fresh basil, or baked in lemons with basil and fresh mozzarella.

We did brochettes on the BBQ last night. Home grown zucchini with mini peppers, onion and cherry tomatoes. 

Coffee.  Garden.  Coffee.  Does a good morning need anything else?  ~Betsy CaƱas Garmon

So far it's been a beautiful summer. 



The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.  ~Hanna Rion

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Toymaker's Sketchbook

I have piles of sketchbooks for all kinds of things. One is just quotes, another is strange words and phrases that amuse me. I have a little one of paper toy ideas Here's some photos of ink and cut paper practice. 

A couple of flower motifs

A griffin boat and some ink studies.

 Some cut paper doodles.
Some sketches of the Zodiac statues at the LA County Museum of Art.
Ink and watercolor doodles and cut paper leaves.

What's in your sketchbook, photo album, journal?



 The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.

 ~ Chaucer

Monday, July 23, 2012

Haunted Histories has a Soundtrack!

I can't stop listening to this.

Just wow. So excited! Insert evil laugh here. :-)

The new Haunted Histories soundtrack by film composer Ciaran Foley. A great, suspenseful walk on the dark side with a cool piece of orchestration! The folks at EverWitt Productions ( are proud to work with J.H. Everett and Marilyn Scott-Waters on bringing Virgil Dante and his world to life! MacMillan, Holt, Ottaviano books. All music copyright Ciaran Foley, 2012. Used with Permission of writer.

For more spooky goodness go to

Saturday, July 21, 2012

In the Good Old Summertime...

Don't you just love learning something new? My friend Celia, the writer of the world's most delicious blog, "Fig Jam and Lime Cordial" got me turned on to an iPhone app called Hipstamatic. She explains it much better than I ever could, so read her post here.. that's okay, I'll wait...

So since I downloaded this app I have been wandering around taking pictures of everything in sight.

Here's one of the dragonflies that live in the cattails in our pond. And speaking of cat tails... lots of cat pictures have been taken.

  Cats and Small Dogs.

 Feed me pudding... look into my eyes... puddddiiinnnnngggggg.......


 My friend Michele is studying Chinese Therapeutic Massage and came over yesterday to turn us all into puddles of relaxed goo. There are not many things finer than lying in the backyard with a cool breeze blowing off the ocean and having all your knotted muscles unraveled one by one.

The wonderhub has been building guitars and ukeleles this summer. He and his friend Jeff bottled beer and with the spent grain he made bread, pasta and a crusted pork loin. He also made a large batch of mozzarella.

The boy has been busy working the lights at the local community theater and practicing for the golf team. The highlight of the summer is the San Diego Comic Con. I made this costume for him. He went as Xemnas from Kingdom Hearts. It was a good day.

He also makes extra pocket money painting these tiny Warhammer figurines. He has an army of them and plays in tournaments.

 This is my little neighbor that helps me test paper toys. I have been busy working on "The Toymaker's Mysterious Math Carnival."

I also got to go to the ALA, the America Library Association.


 At the ALA hanging out with my friend Sari and the lovely people at the Sterling booth.

My new book "Haunted Histories" that I cowrote and illustrated with J. H. Everett was right there in the Henry Holt/Macmillan booth. If you would like to read more about it go here...

Macmillan had a party afterwards and there were mountains of cupcakes and cookies. My only regret was that I was so busy talking to people that I didn't get a chance to eat any of them.

So far, our summer has been  relaxing and filled with lots of creative things. How about you? What have you been learning? What are you working on?

Best thoughts,



Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's

clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered

spirit.  A few of those days and you can become drunk with the

belief that all's right with the world.

-    Ada Louise Huxtable

Friday, July 6, 2012

Mysterious Math Carnival

The response to the Toymaker's Mysterious Math Carnival Kickstarter Campaign has been amazing. Thanks five million times to everyone that donated. Only a week to go. It ends on July 15th, 2012 so if you would like a download of the PDF pledge here...

There are some pretty nifty rewards in there that I hope that you will like. And if you think of any last minute rewards that would be fun to add let me know!

And thanks for spreading the word. Tell all your friends that have school age kids, grandkids, homeschool, afterschool, love math, hate math or just like to have fun. 



"Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children." ~ Walt Disney

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It's a BOOK!

A mysterious package was just delivered to my house. What could it be? Give me the scissors and let's see what's inside.....

Advance copies of Haunted Histories, Creepy Castles, Dark Dungeons and Powerful Palaces, by J.H. Everett and Marilyn Scott-Waters. In stores on July 17th. Hee hee hee!

 Fortunately I had some neighbors on hand to be test readers. 

This is a cookie that I got at the ALA, the American Library Association. It's too pretty to eat. Today is a good day.


“Books. People have no idea how beautiful books are. How they taste on your fingers. How bright everything is when you light it with words.” ~ Rachel Kadish