Happy Holidays to all – Art Break Wednesday is taking a holiday break this week.

Wishing you and yours a lovely rest of the holiday season, and much joy in the New Year.

Moon and village carving made by my hubby from a new pattern he found this year. :0)

Here’s to a Creative 2013!

Art Break Wednesday: Remembering Angels


Yay Images

Just a short post today, remembering those whose lives were lost or forever changed in last Friday’s tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

I had left the house Friday morning for a short school event for my high school senior, when news reports were sketchy, indicating there had been some kind of shooting and possibly one death. I recognized the name of the town as the place where my best friend from college had grown up.

On the way home, I passed one of our town’s elementary schools.  It happened to be the day our local public high school football team was heading to the Georgia Dome for the state championship (which they won).  The elementary kids were all lining the street with exuberant expressions on their painted faces – waving signs, cheering in anticipation of what I assumed was a forthcoming parade of the team.  My daughter was already home from college, and, as an elementary/early childhood major, she LOVES kids.  I couldn’t wait to tell her about how cute all those kids looked lining the road, decked out in red and white, herded by their watchful teachers.

When I walked into the house and looked at the TV, the horrific truth of the massacre at Sandy Hook was emerging.  I raced to the sink, needing to retch.  Needless to say, like the rest of the nation, my daughter and I cried through the unfolding story and many times since.  No words are adequate, of course.

I stumbled upon this feature story of some kids in Ohio making art to send to Sandy Hook.  During their Christmas program yesterday (Tuesday) morning, they also raised more than $600 in donations for victims and families.  These are children from St. Michael’s Catholic School in northeast Ohio. For their creative project, designed by art teacher Cathy Bravis, each student is lending a fingerprint to make up a bouquet of flowers on a poster.  The bouquet will be in a vase with the students’ signatures.  Plans are for a parent to deliver the poster and gifts when traveling to the area over Christmas break.

You can read more here.

And, if like me you like to send cards, the US Post Office has set up a special post office box to receive messages of condolence.  Here’s the link, and the address is:

P O Box 3700, Newtown, Connecticut 06470

I know I’ll be hugging my own family members a little tighter this year and will be thankful for the beauty and power of art to express emotion and help heal.

(If you know of other artistic projects benefitting Sandy Hook, please feel free to share a link below.)

Wishing you and yours peace this holiday.

Art Break Wednesday: Words – with Friends!


©Robyn Hood Black

(Apologies for late post – could not get my blog to post this earlier this morning, and I was out all day.) Since my art is all about reading, writing, and letters, I thought it would be fun to look at games involving words and letters.

Last night my writers’ critique group, Bookbound, met for our annual Christmas party hosted by the wonderful and talented Donna H. Bowman. We shared our usual yummy food and “white elephant” gifts, and she also had us play games:  holiday-themed activity sheets for kids.  We had to unscramble words (I was pretty good at that), do a word search, and find hidden pictures.

front: Tracy, K. D., Robyn, Heather
back: Janice, Donna, Lisa, Paula
(photo by Danny Bowman)

Great time had by all, including Paula B. Puckett, K. D. Bryant Graham, Lisa Sterling, Tracy Walker, and our regular-honorary-invited-guest, Janice Hardy.  Heather Kolich mentioned that she and her family loved playing a game called Bethump’d.  I’ll have to check out that one.

In my house growing up, we played lots of Scrabble, and plenty of hand-drawn Hangman games.  Watched Wheel of Fortune.  I was never too great at crossword puzzles, but pretty good at Jumble.  By the way, I learned from Dictionary.com‘s Word of the Day yesterday that a “cruciverbalist” is  a designer or aficionado of crossword puzzles.  I also heard in a piece on NPR later in the day that a crossword puzzle writer might get $1000 to construct a Sunday puzzle for the New York Times, several hundred less for a daily puzzle.  And that a vital aspect of creating an acceptable puzzle is coming up with a clever theme. (I don’t think I dreamed any of that, but I can’t seem to find a link!)

Now I play Words with Friends on my iPhone.  Mostly with my college-age daughter, Morgan, my sister-in-law, Patti, and my author buddy Susan Rosson Spain.  Took me weeks to be able to beat Susan, but now I get in the occasional win.  Somehow playing that game is not terribly unlike working on poetry –  having to fit letters/words into structured spaces, I suppose.

How about you?  Any favorite word-related games, or favorite games your family might enjoy during these holidays? Do tell!

Art Break Wednesday: Holiday Cards – How Do You Do?


Holiday cards – do you send them?

Every year for as long as I can remember, I’ve designed and/or handmade our Christmas cards.  One of these years I’ll put them all together in that little album I bought for that purpose a decade ago or so.  Maybe.

Here is this year’s, fresh off the Fed Ex truck from the printer:

©Robyn Hood Black. All Rights Reserved.


Last year I hand printed and hand tinted a couple hundred of these from a design I carved:


©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.


Do you send out cards this time of year?  Purchased or handmade?  Or maybe you gather up the family for a photo card, so folks can keep up with how the children are growing?  Do you include a yearly letter?

I typically tuck in a photo of the four of us and don’t do a letter. 

Do tell – what holiday card traditions are on your kitchen table? (Or have you already gotten them out?  How organized!)

Wishing you and yours a lovely, inspiring December! 

Remember Etsy for some great, one-of-a-kind gifts.  (You can use the coupon code HOLIDAY2012 in my shop for 10 percent off!  Shhhh… don’t tell.  Nah, just kidding – you can tell your friends.)  PS – I do have free shipping on these holiday cards: