Brookside Gardens Morning

Brookside Gardens is some place that I've wanted to visit for a while. I found it while searching the Internet for somewhat local botanical gardens (I didn't want to travel more than an hour and a half for a visit). It seemed to be a little gem tucked in Wheaton, Montgomery County, Maryland. 

On Sunday, May 21st, the trip happened. We didn't have any issue finding the gardens, and there was plenty of parking. The gardens didn't top Ladew Topiary Gardens, but I enjoyed the visit. We didn't pay an entrance fee, but they did charge to visit the Butterfly Garden. 

Most of the garden was well-manicured. They had some spots that look like works-in-progress, but I'm sure they will be adding more plants in the future. 

My favorite parts of Brookside Gardens:

  1. The Formal Gardens
  2. The Rose Garden
  3. The Gude Japanese-Style Garden (with the Japanese Tea House)

Here is a link of a map of the gardens. The azaleas weren't in bloom when we visited, but the roses were phenomenal! 

While there, I did some quick sketches of some of the roses. Plenty of benches were scattered around to enjoy the scenery and garden sculptures. I would definitely recommend a visit! 

I will giveaway a hint...while there, I was having difficulty taking macro pictures with my iPhone. I paid all of 99 cents (if I'm not mistaken) and downloaded Camera Plus. It did the trick--nicely! 

 

Ellicott City Day Trip

Last Sunday, I spent the afternoon in quaint Ellicott City, Maryland. First, I'm happy to report that the town has just about fully recovered from the August 2016 flood. (For more information, check out this site.) Most of the stores were opened while a couple were slated to open the end of the month. 

The day started with lunch at Tea on the Tiber (here's a link to their site). Such a cute restaurant/shop with a large selection of tea. We had reservations for noon and were promptly seated upon our arrival. The tea was very good as was the food. I was happy they substituted some of the sandwiches as I'm a vegetarian. Even though it didn't look like much food, I left full. The ladies were very nice and even offered to keep our leftovers in their fridge until we were done shopping so they wouldn't melt in the car. 

We next spent time browsing and window shopping along the main street in town. For those with limited mobility, this might not be a good choice as it is hilly and the sidewalks are uneven. There are places to sit and people watch or enjoy a cold beverage. We ended the afternoon watching the mallards frolic in the Patapsco River. 

If you never been in the historic part of town, it's worth a visit! 

 

Travel Journal Dilemma

In preparation for the Iceland trip, I'm been trying to decide what kind of travel journal I want to take. I'd like to do some writing, sketching, and collecting of receipts and other mementos. 

I tried a Moleskin in the past, and I wasn't thrilled with the paper when it came to sketching. I did like the elastic closure, but otherwise, I didn't care for it. I currently have a Leuchtturm blank page (not sure of the model) journal that I use for sketching. It is fine with pencils and pen/ink, but the paper is too thin for watercolors or washes.

I'm leaning toward a lined journal, but I haven't decided on a brand or a size. So much to do and so little time! Iceland is right around the corner! 

In my research, I came across a helpful article on how to choose a travel journals and how to make the work. Check it out here

I also came a great blog article from European Paper. Here's the link. I liked their layout so I'm going to share that on my blog (see below). After comparing some of the journals they sell, I'm considering the Rhodia Webnotebook, a Clairefontaine notebook, and the Leuchtturm 1917. Do you have any experiences or suggestions for me? Please leave a comment. 

No worries, once I finally make a decision, I will happily share it and my experience with the journal after the trip. 

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Sketching in Gettysburg

Last Saturday, I visited a coffee shop in Gettysburg (PA) after a recommendation from one of my coworkers. The Ragged Edge turned out to be a great find!! They don't have a website that I could locate, but you can find them on Facebook. I had a great cup of coffee there! I'm actually kicking myself for not making a note of what it was. 

Seating was a bit tight as lots of college students were hanging out or working on school work. However, they do have an upstairs so Alyssa and I made ourselves to home once we had drinks and goodies. 

We had a productive afternoon of art. I completed two small watercolors, one was of a farm scene and one was a winter scene. Alyssa was working on cardinals in the snow. We had a blast and hope to do it again soon! 

The only downfall was paying for parking. The parking meters are very hungry, and we were informed that those who check on them are very diligent at their jobs. Hence, we didn't take any chances!! Nothing bad to say about the coffee shop at all! Go check it out the next time you find yourself in Gettysburg, PA.

 

This picture was based on a photo posted on Instagram by @freshexchange. They are located in the Old Mission/ Traverse City area of Michigan.

An Artsy Weekend in Manassas

I'm behind in my posting, but I wanted to share about a recent girl's art weekend in Manassas, VA. The weekend started with meeting sketching friends at Jirani, a very cool coffee shop in Old Town.  I highly recommend paying them a visit! Great coffee and desserts with lots of seating. I definitely want to go back and visit when the weather's warmer (they have outdoor seating).  

I managed some sketching, even though I had a lid malfunction on my coffee cup. I managed to splash a decent amount of my latte on my sketchbook. Yes, I was most upset (maybe not to the point of teeth gnashing, though!). 

The next day it was back to Old Town for a walking photography class with Don from Road Runner Photography tours. I've done some meet-ups with him and have a lot of respect for his knowledge, style, and way of teaching. You can check out his website here. For our class, we focused on making the most of the iPhone's camera and some beneficial photoediting apps. Overall, I had a blast and learned a lot! Oh, and I should mention, I picked Don's brain on travel to Iceland. He gave me some great tips!

Hat is Finished

I got a new shell to wear in Iceland and decided that i wanted a hat to match. You will come to learn that i'm all about matching! At any rate, I got an Arc'Teryx Gore-tex shell and a Patagonia Nano Puff as a liner. All purchased at The Trail House (link) in downtown Frederick, Maryland.  Big thumbs up to that outdoor store!

This weekend I checked out Yarnability (link) in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. They had the perfect yarn to match my shell. Needless to say, I made a purchase and got to knitting. I had the hat finished by early afternoon today. I think it needs some buttons or a pin to be completely finished, but I'm very happy with how it turned out. 

Things are slowly coming together for the big trip! I can't wait!!

Travel Sketching Inspiration

One of my favorite artists is urban sketcher/architect Liz Steel. She's Australian and very active in blogging her sketches, techniques, and product reviews in addition to teaching classes. I highly recommend you check her out! I recently purchased her latest read, 5-Minute Sketching--Architecture: Super-quick Techniques for Amazing Drawings, and love it! It's very helpful! i really like all the examples and hope to put her techniques into practice once the weather breaks.

Liz's blog has all kind of inspiration! I really enjoy her coffee sketches and seeing what's in her watercolor palette. Recently, she posted sketches from her trip to New Zealand. Stop by her site...but make sure you have plenty of time! http://www.lizsteel.com/