The Art of the Armenian Alphabet

Celebrating the Art of the Armenian Alphabet

In 405 AD, Mesrob Mashdots, a monk, theologian and linguist (artist and genius!) established the Armenian alphabet, translating the language into written form. What an undertaking it must have been!

The language gave Armenians their cultural and religious identity. It gave them the means to survive as a people, despite efforts to destroy them, again and again.

The art of the Armenian alphabet

My old pencil and ink rendering of the alphabet


The alphabet originated with 36 letters. Later, in the middle ages, two characters were added. It’s curious that after reciting the first 36, one says, “and,” before finishing up with the last two letters!

I can still recite the alphabet, which I learned as a child. But speaking my own language is becoming increasingly difficult. Older people who speak the language so beautifully, and correctly, are leaving us.

And reading and writing? That’s another story. It’s hard to explain, but for instance, there’s a soft “k” sound, and a hard “k” sound. Same goes for a “t.” So which one do you use? And the complexity doesn’t stop there. There are letters for different sounds and combinations of sounds. Correct spelling seems impossible.

The art of the Armenian alphabet

My name (Ani) in Armenian. And the font’s name happens to be “Ani” too

A work of art.

This alphabet, an ancient and beautiful work of art, represents the language and the rich, artful, and haunting heritage of the Armenian people.






Mushroom Cultivation


Where does inspiration come from? What influences us? Why are we drawn (I guess that’s a pun!) to certain subjects? And why do we save certain things?

Recently, I decided to reread some books in my personal library. And I’ve kept a few beloved books from childhood. The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron is one of them. A literary treasure on my bookshelf. From long-ago grade school.

Why did I save that book and only a few others? I must have read a variety of books. The imaginative fantasy of the science fiction story spoke to my creative side. I was in a homemade rocket ship with two boys, going to the mushroom planet. It was an adventure. A “wonderful” one.

mushroom cultivationCreativity

Sometimes, creativity eludes even the most creative people. When this happens to me, I look to the past. I tinker. I look at old notebooks from long ago to see what inspired me then. I look within. I look at my old artwork and writing. See what’s on my bookshelves and in my cabinets. I explore the familiar. And then my creativity returns and I can get back to it. (Going for a walk helps too!)

Mushroom cultivation

I love to draw and paint mushrooms. When I saw this book again recently, I decided that it must be the reason why. One reason anyway. It makes sense. What else can it be?

So thank you Eleanor Cameron (1912–1996) for writing this wonderful book. A work of art. And thank you to Robert Henneberger (1921–1999) for the charming artwork on the cover and throughout. The pages in my book are yellow with age and falling out. But that makes it even more precious to me.

Art is everywhere. All around. We just have to find it.





Smiley face

Art that became an icon.

I’ve always loved the original Smiley. This simple face I loved so much growing up became a huge world-wide icon. And it all started with a small job for a commercial artist.

The State Mutual Life Assurance Company of Worcester, Massachusetts needed to boost employee morale. So they hired Harvey Ball to design an image for a button. Ball’s fee? $45.00. Not bad for ten minutes of work in 1963.

That was the end of Harvey Ball’s participation.

But Smiley was born. And soon became a global pop culture sensation. A world without smiley faces is impossible to imagine, isn’t it?

Smiley face

Smiley face puts a smile on my face.

The original Smiley has a crooked smile and oval eyes, one larger than the other. Imperfect and endearing. These are my original Smiley pins saved from the 1970s. They’re tiny. Just about the size of a nickel and two dimes. Even smaller than dimes. They are art. The art of the Smiley face.

I think Smiley is the ancestor of   : )  and   ; )  and of all the smiley faces we add to our texts and social media posts. What do you think?

Smiley face. Born in 1963 and still going strong in different forms over 50 years later. Google it. It’s a fascinating story. And you might enjoy this entertaining and award-winning documentary podcast all about Smiley:






Vintage Valentine Cards

A “blast from the past.”

I’m sentimental. And so I’ve kept a few things. Random things. (Luckily, not everything.)

These are my vintage valentine cards. Old? Yes. (Let’s not discuss exactly how old!)
Charming? Definitely. Funny? Yes. Art? Of course.

“I’m hunting for you, Valentine!”

“I’ve been looking for a Valentine like you — why not string along with me?”

“If I looked through the whole universe, I’d never find a nicer Valentine.”

“Just whizzing by to say — have a happy Valentine’s day!”

And my favorite: “You suit my palette, Valentine!”

It’s not likely that I thought these quite as charming while in Mrs. Rooney’s third grade class. Because back then, they were commonplace. Nothing exciting. No big deal. Maybe even a little embarrassing in some cases? Now they are my little treasures of printed paper. Delightful reminders of an innocent time.

Why I saved cards from third grade only is a mystery. What happened to the first, second, fourth, and fifth grade cards? I’ll never know. But I’m grateful that I have these vintage valentine cards to inspire me.

I can just imagine artists drawing and coloring these in a Mad Men-esque studio, one after another. Copywriters adding the words. Bosses putting in their two cents. And off to the printers. Art for masses of children.

Vintage valentine cards.

Art and charm from the past.





Why shoveling snow this week reminded me of creating art.

Imagine over two feet of snow.

Why shoveling snow this week reminded me of creating art

Now imagine a huge plow going down the street. Two feet of snow becomes three-or maybe four feet, a mountain at the end of your driveway. You’re blocked in. No way out. And the snow is heavy. Piled up. And there’s nowhere to put it.

So a shovelful at a time, you carry it and add it to the nearest snow bank. Little by little, in freezing temperatures, you make a dent in the pile. It’s cold, so you take breaks to warm up. Maybe have a cup of tea.

You go back outside and move more shovelfuls of snow. Finally the pile disappears. And your car is free!

Until the plow passes by again. And you have a new pile to overcome.


Imagine a blank paper or canvas.

Why shoveling snow this week reminded me of creating art

You have pencils, tubes of paint, brushes, some water, and inspiration needed to create your work of art. You’ve begun. No way out. And the blank paper or canvas is challenging you. Daring you to imagine where the art is going. It’s still in your head. In your heart.

So a stroke at a time, layer by layer, it builds up. Little by little, in the studio, you make something out of nothing. It’s intense; so you take breaks to wash your brushes, sharpen your pencils. Maybe have a cup of tea.

You go back and add more strokes, more paint. Finally the blank paper or canvas disappears. Your vision is out of your head and created!

Until inspiration strikes again. And you have a new blank paper or canvas to overcome.





Perfume Bottles


When we moved to a smaller place, after a long time in a house, I had to get rid of a ton of things we didn’t need. Literally. Two garage sales. Old tins? Bye bye. Disney videos? (Yes, videos.) Gone. Furniture? Craigslist. Clothing? Goodwill. Boxes and boxes of miscellaneous “stuff” donated. On and on.

It seemed like a never-ending, 4-month ordeal.

But some things I could never say goodbye to. Some things have memories. And have to stay with me until the end. (A little morbid sounding, but true.)

On the shelf

Why did these beautiful little perfume bottles stay with me? Why do they sit on my shelf?



My father, back in the day, brought my mother and me an assortment of miniature perfume bottles when he came home from a trip. He had a knack for picking the best ones. And they were French. Always. The ones on the left, Cabochard and Bleu de France, were mine. The ones on the right were my mother’s. I loved Bleu de France so much that on another trip, he brought me a big bottle. I still have it and use it sparingly. I just stopped mid-sentence to put a dab under my nose so I can smell it while writing!

He’s gone now. But when I look at my little perfume bottles, I think of my father giving us these tiny perfume bottles and smiling. He was a big man and he picked out these charming little perfumes just for us. No garage sale tag for these babies. No way.

Little works of art

Each little bottle is a work of art. Someone designed every detail of each bottle. Each is a special design for its brand, with a unique shape, distinct fonts and logos. (As a designer and artist, I totally get how this is not an easy task!) An expert perfumer formulated the scent. A little cap sits on top of each to seal in the special fragrance. They are not merely bottles, but works of art. Perfect little works of art.

And so they sit. On my shelf. Little old bottles. Art. History. Their own, and mine.

Look around

Little bits of art and design. Charming. Inspiring. Memorable. Even a tiny bottle has a design. An art to it. Reminding me that art is all around us. Even a small piece of glass can have beauty and meaning if you just look for it. If you think about it. If you appreciate it.

Look around. What do you see? What do you have that recalls a special time? A day. A moment. Or a special person in your life.

Enjoy your memories. And create new ones. It’s what life is made of.





My new favorite drink.

Move over Cayenne.

For months now I’ve been drinking warm water with lemon and cayenne first thing every morning.
Sometimes it’s just too spicy. I tried a concoction with apple cider vinegar. But no. Not for me.

Ginger in the cup.

I’ve never been a big fan of ginger. Sure I like gingerbread cookies but that’s about it. But I like to give things a second chance. Except scallops (sorry scallops.) So decided to try Mayi Carles’ detox tonic with ginger, lemon, and honey. Delicious! Tasty. Subtle. Soothing. Tomorrow morning Cayenne will have to stay in the spice drawer while my new friend, Ginger and I have a little detox.

Life is Messy Kitchen

Life is Messy Kitchen

If you haven’t seen Mayi Carles’ Life is Messy Kitchen, do it now!
Go. Now.
You will smile.
And giggle.
And see the cutest thing on the internet.
You will fall in love.





Digital products, naturally.

Digital products, naturally.

Some time ago, I found Blacksburg Belle and instantly became a fan. Writing is an art and April Bowles-Olin is an artist. Her writing flows. I look forward to her posts and don’t just skim through the way I sometimes do on other blogs. When I decided to launch my website and start blogging, I turned to her for guidance and bought the fantastic Build a Successful Creative Blog course. Some people are just natural born teachers. So now, April has another course, Create Digital Products That Sell While You Sleep, which I’m really excited about. Because what’s next for me? Digital products, naturally.


Art that makes people smile. And have fun. It’s magic.

I’m an artist and my passion is to create things of beauty. And share them. Our world is a complex and difficult place. It’s awful sometimes. The news makes me cringe. It’s scary. I want my creations to help people forget the problems of the world, even briefly, and just have some fun.

So I launched my website and my blog and my shop. All systems go! (I started before I was ready.)
I’m making headway. Slowly. But with determination.

So, what’s next?

Digital products, naturally. A great way to share my artwork. And make people smile. And have fun.
So, since my favorite number is 9, here are 9 things I’d love to know about selling digital products.

1. What are the most effective ways to promote my product?
2. What are the most effective ways to launch my product?
3. How much time should I spend on promoting my product before launching?
4. What are copyright guidelines?
5. Is BETA testing for my product a good idea?
6. What is the best way for me to determine pricing my product?
7. What about variations of my product at different price points?
8. What are best practices for customer service after a sale?
9. And most importantly, any guidelines for testing my product?

Can’t wait for April’s class!

In the meantime, off to work on ideas for my digital product!

More about the upcoming CreativeLive course:

Are you ready to make your creative work more lucrative, stable, and sustainable in the long-term? Join April Bowles-Olin for an introduction to digital products and how they can enhance your creative business. This course will show you how to produce and position viable products for generating multiple revenue streams and passive income. RSVP right here to watch it live and get access to the workbook for FREE. This post is part of the Create Digital Products blog tour.





Leave it to me

Walking with me in the fall requires patience.

The whole time I’m walking, I’m scanning the ground for the perfect fallen leaf.
This can be difficult while walking briskly, but I do it anyway.

Here’s how it goes when I’m with a friend.

“Sorry. One sec.”
Stop. Bend. Pick up leaf. Scan quickly. Toss or keep. Continue walking.
(I like certain neighborhood routes for the best variety. Because I do like variety.)
And then my friend starts getting into it. And starts looking too.
I usually have a huge wad of leaves by the time the walk is over. (They will not all survive.)

Timing is everything.

Leaves change color and start drying up almost instantly.
Maybe I can paint right away when I get home to my studio.
But if not, there’s always another perfect leaf waiting for me on my next walk.

Leave it to me






Flower power


Let’s start with some flowers.

“Yuk. I HATE flowers.” You’ll never hear anyone say that. NEVER. Because everyone loves flowers.

It’s flower power.

This year my husband planted a small cutting garden. We haven’t had one in years, so I’m really happy that we have one this summer.

Zinnias, cosmos, and white snapdragons.

I have a thing for zinnias. Don’t know what it is about them, but I think they are just gorgeous. And the colors! Amazing shades of pink. And red and orange. It’s like perfect shades of lipstick!

And the cosmos are precious and beautiful shades of pink (more lipstick, anyone?) with a rare white one popping up now and then. They are strong despite being so delicate. I just love them too.

Oh, and the snapdragons! We planted only white ones. They took their time blooming but now it’s like having a bridal bouquet on the kitchen table! Beautiful.

A garden palette.

Next year we’ll expand our little garden with some other colorful varieties.

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a few small cutting gardens, each with their own color flowers?

Flower power.

Do you have any favorite flowers? Let me know in the comments. is a subsidiary of Ani Design Associates, Inc. | copyright 2017 | terms and conditions | privacy policy