Thursday, February 1, 2018

From Doodles to Websites

From Doodles to Websites

First a Chat.

All January I was frazzle-busy. In between cooking and company I was writing and polishing my new book. Nigel is illustrating the cover. "Please give the mother a contented smile and make it a good-hair-day," I said. He is obliging me accordingly. I hope to tell you about the book soon. I am working to make it as ministering as I can.

I found this old photograph taken in Christmas 1990 (just before I started my Parents' Review). My red dress is a Laura Ashley, wool cotton. It is in my closet still today. That was the last year I kept my hair to my waist. I used to love holding a little one on my hip. In this picture it is Nigel hanging there. Yolanda is in green. Sophia is in red. She is now five years older than I was in this picture. Oh my. (I'm feeling nostalgic this winter. What fun those home-teaching years were.) I hope to have some happy news to tell you about Yolanda and Sophia in my next blog post. I have an old photo of Dean and Nigel to share, next time we meet.

Poor Dean has a bad cold and is in bed. It's a good thing we have homemade broth in the freezer (from the Thanksgiving turkey). My next blog post is in draft still so I decided to make this announcement in the meantime.
I am delighted to announce our new family business venture.

Starry Night Media, LLC.

My son built the website to showcase his abilities. Isn’t it handsome? He’s an award-winning web designer, graphic designer, and illustrator.

Starry Night Media provides quality websites, beautiful graphic designs, and artistic illustration services.  
With web design he can build you a brand-new website, spruce up your old one or aid your efforts to do it yourself. He built our website and makes sure his projects work on all popular devices. If you watch the hot-air balloon on our website you will see it is sailing on the breeze.

With a diverse range of art styles we can illustrate most anything you can imagine.

At present, Nigel has some book illustrations in-the-works and is happiest while painting and drawing.

He painted this spotlight of a grocery store shelf. It shows how useful a good illustration can be in making your product stand out. The exotic squirrel on "Gold Crisp" corn flakes is an example of an interesting cereal box. "Puffs" is bland in more ways than one. he, he. If you eat "Sugar Rush" you are at risk of glowing in the dark.

To fit the banner width of the website Nigel expanded Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting. He matched the art style impeccably with his own composition. For example, the sparkling river in the painting is entirely his artwork and add-on.

He is often asked what drawing course he took as a boy. Just picking up a pencil and leisurely drawing what he felt like drawing, while listening to the Your Story Hour audio or a Jim Weiss audio, developed his skill. That's basically it. Time spent drawing. He doodled on his Saxon Math page to my dismay. "Can't you resist doodling on at least a few pages. I need to put some dignified-looking neat-n'-tidy doodle-free pages in your the portfolio," I pleaded. Years of Picture Study must have carried some weighty influence, too. We can never know to what measure "inspiration" plays a part in education. But we can be sure it does.

The only exercises that were of real practical help, he says, were the ones by Jon Gnagy. We followed the exercises in the age-old brown book. I see on Amazon that the brown book is sold expensively, being that it is probably out-of-print. My link is to a kit that is shown to be in color. I wonder how close it is to the old brown book.

Karen Andreola


  1. Karen, love the photo of you and the children from the 'old days'. It takes me back in time too :).

    Best wishes to Nigel with his new business venture. It looks wonderful. I love the sugar rush cereal, "artificially flavoured spray on vitamins"- that's hilarious!


  2. Gasp. You are writing a new BOOK?! Oh my. Sign me up. I'm beyond excited! I love, love the extended Van Gogh painting and hope your new endeavor will be richly blessed, Karen! :) I love the photo of you and the children. <3 Amy

  3. WoW! I wish you all the best with this new venture. I signed up to receive information about the music CD Nigel is completing. Your posts always mean so much--you remind me of how grateful we are that we were able to homeschool our children--with the help of wonderful friends like Jim Weiss and the cast of characters on Your Story Hour. God bless and keep you all in His tender care . . .

  4. I look forward to your upcoming announcements!
    All of my children draw, and draw well. I call their lesson plans pages "graffiti art" because they doodle all over them, too. Each has his or her own style. I get asked how all six of my children are so creative. (Art, music, theatre) "Did they have lessons?" "No, I have never had money for lessons," I answer sheepishly. "I couldn't give them lessons, but I did give them TIME." That is what a Charlotte Mason education gave my children--- great books, beautiful things, and TIME.
    I am so happy for Nigel. I think of you all so often and I wish him much success. (Sorghum Husks sounds like my kind of cereal!)
    God's best blessings be yours, my dear friend!

  5. Congratulations on the new venture! I have admired your son's artwork ever since I read Lessons at Blackberry Inn. I'm sure he will be wildly successful, as I hope you all are - I send my very best wishes to you all.

    I can't wait to see the new book!!!!!!!!!!! Please let us know when we can look forward to enjoying its undoubted riches...

    Take care :)

  6. Amazing things happening in your family! The river flows seamlessly with the entire picture. I'm impressed. God bless all of your family's efforts!

  7. Congratulations on your new family business venture! Nigel is a talented young man, and a shining example of a Charlotte Mason education.

    I am excited about your new book! It will find a place on my shelves alongside the others you have authored. Just yesterday, I was asked what I would do with all of my books when my youngest graduates next year. The answer: The books will stay on my shelves, to be loaned to the homeschool moms in my world!

    Love the photo of you and your children!

  8. Congratulations on your new adventure. Nigel is a talented young man.

  9. The picture of you and your children is beautiful! I love the clothing styles of the 1990's and your dress is so pretty.

    Your son is so talented in web design! I look forward to spending some time browsing your Charlotte Mason website.


    P.S. Thank you for your comments! They truly made my day. : )

  10. I love the photo of your family. Looking forward to the blog on happy news of Yolanda and Sophia. All the best with the book.

  11. Dear Karen,
    I cannot tell you how often I was grateful that we were not required to produce a portfolio each year. It is interesting to me that we have little clues all along the way of what most interests our children. I always liked how they managed to incorporate their own preferences into the assignments that they did not prefer.

    February is a month of nostalgia for me too. Our family has a 15 month old wee one who reminds us every day of each other and of those who have gone on before us. It is a great joy. There is also that tinge of sorrow. I know they are safe in the arms of our Lord. That does not keep me from missing them and wishing they were here to laugh with us and to watch this sweet child as she makes her way in this world.

    Our Lenten roses are in bloom. The daffodils are up about 5 inches. Leaf buds are swelling on the trees in our yard. I eagerly await winter each year. I also eagerly await spring!

    May you and yours be warm and cozy,

  12. So good to hear from you, Ladies. You have encouraged Nigel.Thank you.
    I see are feeling nostalgic, too. And being the older woman in-the-Lord.
    Until next time.