WaterDragon Sunday Post: City~ “Siena, Italy”

Siena, Italy,  is the capital of the region called Tuscany.  The Province of Siena consists of 36 comuni (comunes), which we would call municipalities or townships.
Siena is not a large city, compared to Rome or Florence.  However, the city’s population is 54,000.  It remains a walled city since the 12th-15th centuries, when the first Gothic buildings and wall were built.  The Cathedral of Siena was started in 1284 on the lower section, a stunning showpiece with its black and white striped interior and exterior marble walls.


I was able to get this particular shot of Siena’s Basilica, Bell Tower and Duomo, as I was standing on top of the wall of the first cathedral, which was never finished,  The first cathedral was intended to be the largest in the world. Then the plague hit Siena, cutting their population nearly in half.  With fewer people, they could no longer support a cathedral that large, and they began to build the smaller present cathedral. ( Although we think it’s still very large!) The original nave with arched door, 3 walls and stone floor still remain.  The wall above the nave is available as a viewpoint for looking at the rest of the city and the surrounding countryside.



On the road again…..

Hello to my favorite blog readers~
Just to let you know….

I’ve been on vacation and will return in another week. 
I’ve been snapping lots of photos.  Too many, in fact!
I’ll be sharing the photos with you when I return.
I have sporadic internet service, so I won’t be able to return
comments or visit blogs regularly until I get back home.   Thank
you for understanding.

Enjoy your days…I look forward to visiting you again soon.








Guest Blogger today…..come visit me!

Today I’m a guest blogger on The Authentic Me‘s blog.

The topic is for this month’s WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH.
The title of my piece is: 
From the Eyes of a Six Year Old.  

Please come read my story.

Click HERE for  The Authentic Me’s blog.

Thanks, Judy

Welcome Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee NYC

Members of ESAC are shocked and devastated by this sad news!!! As our chairwoman Ms. Zewditu has urged, all concerned individuals (Ethiopians and non Ethiopians) who live around NYC and beyond please join us to fight this fight against the abuse of domestic workers in the Middle East. It is inhuman to savagely abuse domestic workers and it must be stopped. May Alem Dechassa rest in peace!!!

Tadias Magazine
News Update

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New York (TADIAS) – The Ethiopian domestic worker that was violently mistreated outside the Ethiopian embassy in Beirut, as shown in a viral video last weekend, has committed suicide, Ethiopia’s Consul General confirmed to local media in Lebanon.

Alem Dechasa, 33, hanged herself using her bed sheets Wednesday morning, the Daily Star newspaper reported.

“My body is shaking and my heart is broken” said Ms. Zewditu Fessehaa, Chairwoman of the Ethiopian Social Assistance Committee in…

View original post 230 more words

Tag! I’m it! And you can be tagged too!

TAG!  I’M IT!  AND YOU CAN BE TAGGED TOO!  This is a DIY TAG GAME!   I changed up the rules because I just gave out a lot of Awards, and I really don’t want to name people for Tag.

So here’s how it works: If you want to play:
1. answer my questions at the end of this post
2. post them on your blog
3. link your blog in my comments if you want

I was recently tagged by two people.  Andy1076 and Amira, thank you both!

Andy1076 Questions for me:  and my answers

1) What’s the one thing you have yet to tell your readers?   We had a Miniature Schnauzer for a pet.

2) If there was anywhere outside of your country you could be, where would it be?  France

3) Who do you wish you could meet in person out of all the blogs that you follow?  I honestly would be happy to meet any of them.

4) What would be your ideal kind of partner?  Kind, sense of humor, romantic, adventurous, best friend, does chores 😉

5) If you had to do one thing in your life you never imagined you would, what would it be? ride the Iron Dragon @ Cedar Pointe. eek!

6) Why did you name your blog the name you named? (Borrowing this from Cafe)  my initials are J.J., thus my nickname “jay jay”; the blog is about my favorite things.

7) Describe yourself in three words (Borrowing this from Aurora)  creative, helpful, friendly

8) What is the one thing you would never sacrifice no matter what you would get in return?  my family

9) If there was one movie to describe your life’s hope, what would it be?  This movie epitomizes Hope. I loved it.> “Red Tails”, the Tuskegee Airmen.

10) What is your strongest trait?  Dedication

11) If you could only choose one fruit or one vegetable on a deserted island, what would it be?  Clementines!  Oh my darlin’ Clementine…. 😉


Amira’s Questions...  and my answers.
  1. Jam or marmalade? What do you pick?  Jam.
  2. Where is your home?  Lower Michigan
  3. What does blogging mean to you?  Blogging gives me a chance to try new things and meet new people.
  4. What words would your tombstone carry about you?  “Sadly, She Died By Not Forwarding That Text Message to Ten People”
  5. What’s your favorite gift?  Anything that doesn’t need an outlet. 😉
  6. What’s your favorite non-english word? “oui” French for yes. Pronounced “wee”/also: I “speak” sign language: I sign “I love you” to my children and husband when they leave. (thumb, index finger and pinky pointed up).
  7. What’s the one word or phrase that you use most often?   Cool!
  8. What’s the wildest thing that you have ever done?   white water rafting on the Snake River, WY.
  9. What’s your best accomplishment/moment of triumph?  Raising two wonderful children. (along with my husband!)
  10. What is the one regret that u have?  Missed an opportunity to go to Europe many years before I actually did go.
  11. Something that scares you?  Snakes.
My Questions to YOU….if you want to play:       DIY TAGGING!!

1.  What is your favorite color?
2.  Do you prefer a pool or open water?
3,  What is your favorite song?
4.  Where do you feel most at peace?
5.  If you could take only one item to an island, what would it be?
6.  What scares you?
7.   Do you prefer the mountains or the beach?
8.  What is your favorite pizza topping?
9.  Name a place you’d like to visit~
10.  Name an Actor or Actress to play your life in a movie.

11.  What was the last book you read/or are reading?

Happy Blogging!

All text and images are copyright © 2002-2012 and are the exclusive property of Judy Johnson (unless otherwise indicated). All Rights Reserved. All Images are protected under United States and International copyright laws. None of the images on this site are in the Public Domain.

The Academy of Blog Awards!

Yes indeed, it’s Award time!  In fact, it’s past time!  I’m late giving out these wonderful awards that were so graciously bestowed upon me by my blogger friends.  Please bear with me while I give out FIVE awards!

If you are nominated for an award, or receive an award,  you can choose to accept it.  If you accept it, you may choose to pass it on.  These awards are given to you because you have shown characteristics that are desirable as an “author/creator” of a blog,  and for the message your blog presents to the blog community and the world. 

I appreciate all those who have visited my blog, chosen to follow me, commented or “liked” a post.  I am grateful for every one of you!  You give me the confidence to try new things, to polish my skills, and to keep on posting. Thank you so much.  Judy
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Hope Unites Globally HUG Award

“People do not have to give up or compromise their own religious, spiritual, or political beliefs to qualify for the Hope Unites Globally HUG Award©.  They qualify for the HUG Award© when, without bias or prejudice, they use their resources and gifts to make the world a better place for everyone.”

“Those who receive the HUG Award© may paste a copy of the original
HUG Award© image into an Image widget on their website or blog
by simply copying and pasting the following image URL
into an Image widget:   

Please do follow this link for more information on the award.  This award was created by Connie @A Hope For Today.
I’d like to thank Amira and Jackie for giving me this award.  I am honored to accept it and happily pass it on to spread the word about Hope for our World.  Amira and Jackie are fantastic bloggers with heart and spirit.  Click on their names to visit their blogs.  You will certainly enjoy it!

Thank you for making the world a better place through your blogs!

My nominees for the HUG Award:

Betty R



The Awesome Blog Content Award               

Thank you, Amira and Elyas for giving me this awesome award!  I am quite humbled to receive it, especially from creative writers such as the two of you!  Please do click on their names to visit their incredible blogs!
You will stand in awe, as I have, as you read their work. 

I appreciate all those who have visited my blog, chosen to follow me, commented or “liked” a post.  I appreciate every one of you!  You give me the confidence to try new things, to polish my skills, and to keep on posting. Thank you so much.


Rules for this award:

1. There is no limit to how many fellow bloggers you pass this on to.  You may post the ABC sign on your blog.
2. Share some things about you, but alphabetically, just a word or two starting with each letter of the alphabet.

26 Things About Me in ABC order: 
A: Airhead.  lol
B: Beaches… serenity and peace~ could sit all day on a beach.
C: Chocolate addict
D: Digital photography~
E: Electronics…love ’em… am techno-disadvantaged at times…
F: Family~my heart and soul….my loves.  And Friends too~
G: Greek food! Yum….gyros, feta, tzatziki sauce
H: Humor…I love to laugh until tears run down my cheeks~
I: Interested in what you have to say~
J: Jazzy Judy…love smooth jazz
K: Kind
L: I love everything & everyone~
M: Michigan, Pure Michigan! Have you been here?
N: Nasty hair.  Comes out of my head curly,  frizzy, you name it.  Have a love/hate relationship with it. 😉
O:  Olives…black and green.  Eat them right from the can. yep!
P: Paris love! Mais oui!  French speaking (un peu)~ plz don’t converse with me. lol
Q: Fave quote…describes me best: “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”
~Winston Churchill
R: Repurposing:  Giving new life to an old object/piece of furniture, etc.
S: snowshoes, skis, swimming & SUNSHINE!
T: Travel~anywhere!
U: United States of America~we have our problems…but I support & love our beautiful country.
V: Vintage anything!
W: Workout mantra: “I work out because I know I would’ve been the first to die in the Hunger Games.” 😉
X: Cougar XR-7 Fire Engine Red convertible…first hot car! Miss that baby!
Y: Yoga girl
Z: Zentangler

 Here are my nominees for the ABC Award:





Genuine Blogger Award

I received this award from Amira!  Thank you Amira, I’m honored to receive this award from you!   Please click here to go to Amira’s blog.  You’ll be enchanted by her poetry, videos, stories and photos.  And you’ll get a lovely peek into life in the Maldives.  Sun, turquoise waters, sandy beaches, thatched roofs and glorious colors.  You’ll love her blog!

I haven’t heard about any rules for this award.  If you wish, you may post the Genuine Blogger Award sign on your blog page.

I like to pass it on and I am assuming I can, to any number of people.
The bloggers I chose, without doubt and without question qualify for the Genuine Award :)

 Genuine Blogger Award recipients:

Thank you, Nalaik Panda for honoring me with this Lovely Blog Award!   I will work hard to keep my blog “lovely”!
Nalaik Panda has an awesome blog.  I know you will enjoy his humor, his writing and his expertise on sports.  Click here to see his blog!
There are no rules for the Lovely Blog Award.  Just enjoy it and bask in the love of your fellow bloggers.  If you choose to pass it on, you can share it with as many as you wish.  If you want, you may post the Lovely Blog sign on your blog page.
My nominations for the Lovely Blog award are:

Candle Lighter Award

The award given to me by Amira.  It was originally created by Kate.
I recommend you visit Kate’s page for more info on it.
Please make a point of visiting Amira’s blog.   She has extraordinary poetry, stories, videos and peeks at her lovely homeland in the Maldives.   Thank you, Amira, for giving me this wonderful award.  To spread light into the darkness and around the world is such a lovely thought.

 You may give the Candle Lighter Award to as many people as you desire.  There are no other rules to do.  Your blog was nominated because your blog shows encouragement, light and optimism. Spreading the light around the world is the goal. If you wish, you may post the Candle Lighter Award sign on your blog page.
My nominees are:
For everyone reading this….if you’ve made it this far ;)….please click on the nominated blog names and visit them.  They are all awesome bloggers.
Thanks for reading!

✿〪〭〫〬❀〪〭〫〬❃ ✿〪〭〫〬❀〪〭〫〬❃ ✿〪〭〫〬❀〪〭〫〬❃


Friends Don’t Let Friends Get Spammed.

Okay everyone…..on the count of 3, check your Spam folders!   One, two, three…….

Did you find any of your blog friend’s comments in there?  Lately this has been happening to many people.  We are unsure why and it would be nice if it stopped.

Until then, keep checking your Spam folder…….and let your blog friends out!

Have you noticed blog friend’s comments in your Spam folder?   Comment below if you have.
If anyone knows how friend’s blog comments are ending up in Spam,  or how to stop it, please comment.

***ATTENTION…we have an answer:  write to Akismet.com  (see below) and fill out their form.  REAL BLOG COMMENTS will stay in your comment area within a few days after filling out the form according to  blog friends who did this.   Thanks to Chris & Cee for the information.

write to http://akismet.com/contact/ and fill out their form.


I’m going to write “WP Support” about it.  If I find out a solution, I’ll let you know.

Hello Valentine! ❤

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!  I have a vintage Valentine for you today….my very favorite kind!

This heart locket belonged to my mom and I treasure it.


My mom and dad, c. 1941.

Double hearts.....

Dedicating this post to my beautiful, kind, loving mother…
Celebrating a life full of love, laughter and dedication to her family,
She lit up a room when she crossed the threshold.
Her laugh was infectious and her sense of humor unparalleled,
She could toss a pun quicker than the a blink of an eye.
Giving to others, and finding beauty in every person
Were the tenets of her life,
Which we, her children and grandchildren, strive to emulate.


~February 14, 2011  ❤

All text and images are copyright © 2002-2012 and are the exclusive property of Judy Johnson (unless otherwise indicated). All Rights Reserved. All Images are protected under United States and International copyright laws. None of the images on this site are in the Public Domain.

Making Valentine Cards ❤

Valentine’s Day is coming soon….so I have a craft for you! 😉
Today I’ll show you two Valentine cards…one is a very simple design, the second one is a Pop-Up card. Both cards use the same dimensions: 11″ x 4 “.   That way they will fit inside a business envelope.


THESE ARE POP-UP CARDS....also easy!

Materials you’ll need for both cards:
1. scrapbook paper: solid color, or with a faint pattern~or~ construction paper.  Both can be purchased at dollar stores, or discount stores.
2. scissors
3. glue….any glue is fine.
4. markers, pens, colored pencils or crayons
5. sentences/headline words from newspapers, comics, other colored paper, wrapping paper, old notecards
6. free downloads, print paper and cut to fit  (I’ve given you the links below)
7. Optional: stickers, glitter, Happy Tape**, stamping supplies, doilies
**Happy Tape is a decorative tape used for scrapbooking, cards, invitations, etc.  click here for the site.  Or you may be able to find specialty tape in stores.  It’s optional.

LINKS for Free downloads… these links are from creative commons’ sites. They are free for your own personal use, however you cannot sell them. (commercial use).
Magnets for the Eiffel Tower
Vintage photos, letters, newspaper, postcards
Vintage Valentines
Modern Heart clip art

Card A…..the Simple card.
♥ Choose your paper and cut it to size (11″ x 4 “).
Fold your paper in half.
♥ Use prints from the download links I gave you above.  Cut them to fit, turn them at an angle, cut part of one out, put another color paper behind the print..you choose!  If you print them in B&W, use them that way or use colored pencils or crayons to give them color. ~OR~
♥ Use scrap paper, sentences/headline words from newspapers, wrapping paper, solid colored paper, comics to decorate
♥ Think about the inside too….write the words you want, glue decorations inside the card.
♥ You can decorate the left side of the envelope too, as long as it doesn’t make it too thick, or sticky.

Card B…..The POP-UP Card.
*Cut your paper the same as Card A…11″ x 4″.
*This time you will also cut an 8″ x 4″ section for the Pop Up.  Use the same or different color paper for the pop up part.
* Fold the 11″ x 4″ paper in half.
* Fold the 8″ x 4″ section in half, then in half again…it should be folded into 4 equal parts.  See my photo below.




Now you are ready to decorate the outside and inside of your card (same as Card A).
There is just one important rule about Pop-Up cards!
When you glue your chosen item on the Pop-up section….remember to glue it on the part that faces the person when they open the card.  Do not glue it across the fold of the pop up.  Just glue it on the left side and let it “hang over” the fold.  See my photo below.

HERE’S THE INSIDE JOB!!  THE SIMPLE CARDS are in the foreground.  THE POP-UP CARDS are in the back. Note the placement of items on the Pop -Up sections.  Glue them on the left side of the Pop-Up, but do not glue them ON THE FOLD of the Pop-Up.  They can overhang the folded edge.
Have fun!  If you have children or grandchildren, get them to help you!

Do something good!
If you get really industrious and you want to share your Valentines (homemade or purchased), here are a couple of ideas:
 ❤Share Your Love, promoted by Etsy.  Giving Valentines and hot meals through City-Meals-on-Wheels to the elderly of NYC.  Click here for more information.  Valentines are due by Tues. Feb. 7.
 ❤”Valentines for Vets”, go to the US Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs site.  Find out the nearest VA hospital.  Make or purchase cards, and send or take the cards to the clinic or medical center.  This is an excellent project for children, and one my classes used to do every year.  Make sure you (or your child) write a note on the card, the Vets love them.  Click here. 


All text and images are copyright © 2002-2012 and are the exclusive property of Judy Johnson (unless otherwise indicated). All Rights Reserved. All Images are protected under United States and International copyright laws. None of the images on this site are in the Public Domain.

What is a Zentangle?

Zentange: two 3.5" tiles. (done on white paper, but light turned photo yellow)

Dear readers~In my post called “Award Time!”, I had to tell you 10 things about me that you might not know.  Statement number 5 was:  5. I like to Zentangle.    

After I posted it, I received some questions:  “What is a Zentangle?”  “What does #5 mean?”

So tonight’s post will be about ZENTANGLES.   A Zentangle is much like doodling, but it is considered a form of art.  A Zentangle is a line or pattern that is repeated over and over.  Did you ever get bored in a meeting or class and start drawing on your paper?   You probably were doodling.  Anyone can doodle, and anyone can Zentangle!   People of all ages Zentangle~ from kindergartners to over the age of 100!

1. There is no right or wrong way to Zentangle.
2. Zentangling is relaxing, meditative, helps with focusing and fosters creativity.
3. You don’t need fancy, expensive materials to Zentangle.
4. You don’t need to take a class to Zentangle.  You can start right now!  (although classes are available in some places)
5. Schools use Zentangles to teach children to focus, and to have fun without worry of being “correct”.

*A good thing to do is visit the Zentangle website:  click here.
*The first book (and best!) I bought is Zentangle Basics by Suzanne McNeill.  It has great beginner Zentangle ideas.
I found the book for $8.99 in paperback on Amazon, but you can probably find it in bookstores.
*Some excellent Zentangle videos are found here:  click here 

Materials needed:
Paper~  any kind….white is best, I’ve used tracing paper (it’s cheap!) and white drawing paper.
Template~ you will need a 3.5″ x 3.5″ square of paper to trace for each of your Zentangle “tiles”
***Note: children use a  5.5″ x 5.5 ” square “tile”, as their fine motor skills are not as fine tuned as adults.
Adults may use the 5.5″ x  5.5″ size if they prefer.  Teens also like the 5.5″ tile, 8.5″ tile, as well as the 3.5″ one.
Pen~ a black, permanent marker “Micron 01 Pigma” pigment pen is suggested.  I have used those, but I also
have used a very fine tipped black ink pen, and recently I found a very fine Sharpie marker that works extremely well for Zentangles.

Materials needed for Zentangles. And how to start a Zentangle.

In the photo above you can see the materials needed.  The pencil, pen (Sharpie Fine…silver & black barrel color), paper, and “tile” to trace for the 3.5″ square.

The color of the paper is much better here! 😉

Steps to Zentangle:
In the photo with the materials, you will see three “tiles” or squares, showing you how you start:
1. Trace your shape on your white paper (I have the brown paper cut in a 3.5″ x 3.5″ size), so all I do is trace it…I don’t have to measure every time.
2. Make 4 dots just inside each of the four corners of your square.
3. Connect the 4 dots, so you have a “frame” inside your tile.  Note….they don’t have to be straight lines.  They can even have a loop in them.  Be creative!
4. Now make a Z or a loopy shape or anything you want…to divide the Tile into 3 or 4 sections as I did.
5.  Now you’re ready to ZENTANGLE !
6.  Start in one section and make a zig zag all the way from one end to another.  Go back and follow that zig zag line with another line near it, all the way…keep following that same line until you have filled the section.
7. Make up some ideas of your own, copy mine, Google Zentangle to get ideas….and have fun!


Zig Zags and checkerboards are a good way to start!

I want to thank Rick & Maria for starting Zentangle and give them credit here.

Have fun with Zentangle.  If you enjoy it…let me know!  Post photos too! 😉

All text and images are copyright © 2002-2012 and are the exclusive property of Judy Johnson (unless otherwise indicated). All Rights Reserved. All Images are protected under United States and International copyright laws. None of the images on this site are in the Public Domain.