There and Back Again

My vacation has come and gone. Two weeks ago I last sat here writing to you and trying to get everything prepared before we left.

And now I'm here again, trying to get back into the swing of things.

fortune cookies, fortune cookie fortunes, vacation, joy, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I found those fortune cookie fortunes the morning we left when I switched purses. Our trip really did end up being sunny and carefree.

Vacation, Beaver Island, Sunshine, Lake Michigan, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

We traveled to Beaver Island (I wrote about a previous trip there here, and Beaver Island also appeared in my 2x2 Sketchbook collaboration with Dana Barbieri which you can see here).

vacation, Charlevoix, lighthouse, greyhounds, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

The trip involved a 10 1/2 hour drive (through the beautiful Wisconsin and Michigan countryside) and a 2 hour ferry ride.

ferry, boat, vacation, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Unplugging from the internet did me good.

vacation, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan, Beach, Ferry, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

As did walks on the beach and through the woods.

Beaver Island, vacation, boardwalk, woods, nature, greyhounds, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Spotting wildlife (and saving turtles crossing the road).

turtles, vacation, Beaver Island, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Reading. Hunting for rocks and fossils and shells. Kayaking. Frolicking in the water with very happy dogs.

vacation, Beaver Island, Font Lake, retired racing greyhounds, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

It was restful.

retired racing greyhounds, Beaver Island, Font Lake, vacation, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry


vacation, Beaver Island, Font Lake, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

And over much too fast.

vacation, Lake Michigan, sunset, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Back home I buckled down for multiple days of marathon painting sessions (with no help from a certain two kitties who seemed to have missed us quite a bit).

studio, painting, botanical painting, studio cats, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

I needed to finish a painting I was creating for a special project. It truly was a marathon. Long (sweaty -- we returned to summer heat) days of painting, that had me questioning my sanity and my abilities. I nearly quit a couple times, but eventually did finish the painting.

nasturtiums, botanical watercolor, watercolor, painting, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

And I finished the computer design work to create my 2018 Tea Towel Calendar for Spoonflower.

Just in time to enter their Design Challenge Contest.

Last year I placed in the top 25 designs (thanks to everyone who voted!!)

and my design was available from Roostery as one of their Special Edition Tea Towels as well as for sale on Spoonflower as a DIY option.

Like the 2018 version? I'd LOVE to have your vote in the contest! Voting opens up on Thursday.

I'm busy with a bunch of other projects this week and although I miss the lakes and the woods, I'm happy to be in my studio.

I hope you have a lovely week. See you on Friday with another Sketchbook Conversation!


  1. Welcome back Anne! I hope you are well rested and rejuvenated. Judging by your photos and words you had a wonderful time! Your latest tea towel design looks so good with the nasturtiums and I hope you will do well in the contest! Have a lovely rest of the week. :)

    1. Thank you, Simone! Funny you should mention being rested and rejuvenated... I've been so tired and dragging ever since I got back. Ah well, at least it was a lovely trip!

      Hope your week was wonderful and that you have a great weekend!

  2. It looks like it was a fantastic and restful vacation. We all need that from time to time. I love the photos! It seems Fall hasn't gotten the memo here yet either... although this evening a cold front may be ushering him in. Love your new tea towel painting! I'll be voting again for you!

    1. Hi, Jaime, I've been meaning to catch up with you. We're always both so busy during the summer! And summer does seem to be holding on (though we've been lots cooler this week after a storm on Monday). I'm so grateful for the continued harvest of tomatoes and for all the flowers that are still blooming in my garden!

      Thanks for your vote! Hope you are doing well!

  3. Your holiday looks like it was amazing - such gorgeous photos of beautiful scenes. It does us all good to get away from the norm. And love your new teatowel design - pretty and stylish - talented lady! Hugs, Kat xx

    1. Hi, Kat! It was a lovely vacation and it's hard to believe that I've already been back for over a week! Time sure does fly (where did September go? And for that matter, where did August go?).

      Lovely to hear from you. I hope you are doing well.

      Thanks for your sweet comments, my friend! Big hugs back!

  4. Just voted for your design Anne! :)

  5. I'm so glad you had a nice vacation, Anne. Your dogs are beautiful. It's good to get away with your loved ones. I voted for your design. It's gorgeous. I'm always so surprised whenever you say you question your abilities. You have so much talent. xo

    1. Thank you, Nancy! It was a lovely vacation and you're right, getting away with my loved ones did me (and them) good. I'm so glad that my boys got to come along and enjoy some time in nature with us. Their joy playing in the water brought me so much joy.

      I think all artists question their abilities. Some days are easier than others and some projects flow much better than others. Sticking with it during the tough bits is so important.

      Thanks so much for your encouragement and support, my friend. They mean so much!! xo

  6. Hooray for vacations!
    Your gorgeous tea towel would make a very fine holiday gift for several people I know...

    1. Yes, I'll second that, Hooray for vacations!!!

      So glad you like the tea towel, Karen!

      Thanks for being here, my friend!


  7. Welcome back Anne,
    I voted for your design. It is lovely. I love your artwork. You inspire me!
    The time away sounded wonderful. I am glad you had the opportunity to take your dogs.
    Love, Carla

    1. Thanks so much for the vote, Carla! You're such a sweet cheerleader and I truly appreciate all of your encouragement and support!

      My vacation was wonderful, but it seems a distant memory now!

      Hope you're having a lovely week!



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