Stop it Switzerland!

Hi there. How are you? 

Gimmelwald-idyllic-view.jpg

My family and I took an unforgettable trip to Switzerland this summer. It's so damn idyllic there that it was difficult to whittle down the photos to a manageable number for this post. In true Johnson/Johansson style, this trip was jam packed with activities. 

Read on.....

Stettlen

Our trip started in Stettlen, just outside of Bern, to visit these two cuties (my niece and nephew) and their parents.  Even the view from their house is lovely. You can see the alps in the background. 

Bern

Matt and I were the first of the family to arrive, so we got to enjoy a private tour of Bern with Matt's brother Luke, his wife Cindy, and their kiddies, William and Kendall. 

Celebrating Jack

Next to arrive was Jack (my stepson) and Matt's parents. They had just finished up their week long trip to France and Germany. (That was his high school graduation present. How cool is that?!?) The celebration of Jack's graduation continued in Switzerland with tacos and ice cream cake. ( A very traditional Swiss meal. HA!) 

Solothurn

We took a walk around Solothurn, and hiked the 249 narrow stairs up to the top of the St. Ursen Cathedral for some spectacular views. Then it was a quick drive to Stansstad to visit a lakeside WWII era bunker. I had to snap a photo of the typewriter that I saw there. In fact, it was the only photo I took there. 

Lucerne

We ended the day in Lucerne, where we picked up Carrie and Rick who had just arrived in Switzerland. (Matt's sister and brother-in-law.) We had a lovely Swiss meal filled with sausages, pretzels, potatoes and beer. 

Murren

The following day we had another adventure, albeit a soggy one.  The pouring rain couldn't keep us from a trip up in the Bernese Alps. We took the gondola up to Murren, which even in the rain, was adorable and majestic. 

Stop it Switzerland

The rain started to subside a bit, so we decided to hike down the mountain to Gimmewald.  The views were so unreal and I kept saying "Stop it Switzerland." The beauty was totally overwhelming. I felt like I needed to stop every few feet to take a photo. The further down we descended, the more it cleared up. It made for some killer views! 

Cue the deluge of beauty.......

Seriously. Stop it Switzerland! 

A Break at the Pub

By the time we reached Gimmelwald the rain had ceased and the clouds had lifted. We stopped at an adorable pub for drinks and then took some more incredible photos outside. 

Kendall is my Muse

Can you tell I love snapping photos of my niece Kendall. She loves to pose for me! 

Well, that was just the first THREE days of the trip.

I'm exhausted from going through all these photos and reliving this unforgettable trip. I'll have to finish up this recap in another post. 

That's all for now. Ciao! 

Yellow Ballpoints Found at Last!

Hi there. How are you?

I've been collecting ballpoint pens for years now, but I could never track down a yellow. I literally had every other color in the rainbow, in many shades, but no yellow. I needed yellow! 

* HEADS UP: As an Amazon Influencer, I earn a small commission when you purchase the pens I've listed here with Amazon links. It's a small way to support the work I do without any cost to you. (Thank you!)

 I've found 3 different yellow pens! Click for purchasing info.

I've found 3 different yellow pens! Click for purchasing info.

The search was long and arduous. 

I googled, I went to every art supply and office supply store I came across, and I checked out the websites of the top pen manufacturers. Still, no yellow! Well, at least not that I could get my hands on in the States. 

Then a breakthrough! 

 I was gifted this set of ballpoints from a patron in the Netherlands. It included the first yellow ballpoint I've ever had! 

I was gifted this set of ballpoints from a patron in the Netherlands. It included the first yellow ballpoint I've ever had! 

A Yellow Perfecto

I was gifted this set of ballpoints from a patron in the Netherlands. It included the first yellow ballpoint I've ever had! (Thanks Natasja!)

The yellow is has a nice bright hue and the ink goes on almost like a gel pen. There's just a little more moisture in the ink than a traditional ballpoint, but it still works well. 

I used my yellow Perfecto pen in this sketchbook drawing. The ink is nice and bright.

One is never enough

I was thrilled to find this yellow, but I knew I'd need more than one solitary yellow pen. I was going to run that sucker out of ink in no time! Again, I hunted all over the internet for Perfecto ballpoint pens but they were nowhere to be found. 

The hunt Continued....

 This Yoobi ballpoint pen has yellow and 7 other fab ink colors. Click to purchase one for yourself!

This Yoobi ballpoint pen has yellow and 7 other fab ink colors. Click to purchase one for yourself!

The Yoobi 8-in-1

I was taking a stroll through the pen aisle at Target one day and came across Yoobi product display. Amidst all of the colorful, well designed Yoobi merch was this rad 8-in-1 ballpoint pen with YELLOW! 

All of the inks in the Yoobi are nice and smooth and despite its larger barrel size, it is pretty darn easy to use. The yellow ink has more of a golden hue than the Perfecto, which is great, as now I've got a range of yellows to choose from! 

 I finally found a Bic yellow ballpoint pen. The ink is incredible! Click to purchase. 

I finally found a Bic yellow ballpoint pen. The ink is incredible! Click to purchase. 

The Bic 4 Color Fluo

As I'm never really satisfied with the pens I have, I decided to search Amazon one more time for yellow ballpoints. This time, there was a hit! And it was a Bic! (My all-time favorite ballpoint brand.) 

This 4-in-1 Bic pen features a fluorescent yellow ink that slightly wider than the other 1 mm coloured ballpoints. I paid a pretty penny for it and had to have it shipped from the UK, but man was it worth it! This pen is a dream. 

 The yellow ink in the Bic pen is fluorescent and smooth as silk. Click to purchase. 

The yellow ink in the Bic pen is fluorescent and smooth as silk. Click to purchase. 

Bic is the BEST!

The Bic is by far the best yellow pen I've found. The fluorescent ink is smooth as silk and is oh so bright! I'll certainly be ordering more of these soon and maybe, just maybe, Bic will decide to stock these stateside sometime. 

 The yellow in the Paperchase 8-in-1 pen is warm and golden. 

The yellow in the Paperchase 8-in-1 pen is warm and golden. 

The Paperchase 8-in-1

I didn't really need another yellow pen, but when I spotted this cutie at the Paperchase store at Victoria Station in London, I had to have it! The colors are all a little different from my 8 color Yoobi, so I've got an even wider selection of colors and values to work with. The yellow has a lovely golden tone to it and feels very "Indian Summer." 

When I came back from London about a month ago, I was able to find this pen for sale on the Paperchase USA website. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be available any longer. Boo! If you're lucky enough to live near a Paperchase store, I suspect you can pick one up there. 

Have you found any other Yellow ballpoints I've missed?

Do tell so I can try 'em out and add them to this list! 

That's all for now. Ciao! 

P.S. If you liked this post, check out this ONE too, where I share all of my favorite ballpoint pens and supplies.

Summer, Swimsuits & a Comission

Hi there. How are you? 

It's been hot and humid for weeks now in Southern Illinois. All I want to do is swim. Good thing we've got a lovely little public beach on the lake nearby. Hoping to head there tomorrow.  

I've been thinking about swimwear a lot this summer as I spent a good chunk of my studio time illustrating swimsuits for a commission. A few months back, I was asked to create some original artwork for a brand new tiny house rental cabin near of Lake of Egypt.   

 The stylish, light filled interior of one of the Dam Near Lake of Egypt micro cabins. Photo courtesy of Dam Near Cabins. 

The stylish, light filled interior of one of the Dam Near Lake of Egypt micro cabins. Photo courtesy of Dam Near Cabins. 

 Pops of red, yellow and blue set off the mainly white, bright interior. Photos courtesy of Dam Near Cabins. 

Pops of red, yellow and blue set off the mainly white, bright interior. Photos courtesy of Dam Near Cabins. 

Dam Near Cabins

Dam Near Lake of Egypt Cabins is a brand new business started by Allison and Michael Hasler. They built and elegantly furnished two lovely rental "micro cabins" that are just 1 mile from Lake of Egypt Dam. (Clever name, isn't it?!)

I got to tour this cabin right before they finished it and I've got to tell you, it's gorgeous. It's diminutive 550 square feet is packed with high end finishes and feels light, spacious and airy. I would love to stay here sometime! 

* All cabin photos courtesy of Allison Hassler, Dam Near Cabins.

 The Dam Near micro cabins have a sleek, modern, and full sized kitchen and bathroom. Photos courtesy of Dam Near Cabins. 

The Dam Near micro cabins have a sleek, modern, and full sized kitchen and bathroom. Photos courtesy of Dam Near Cabins. 

Bathroom Art

Allison commissioned me to create some original art for this charming bathroom. (I'm not quite sure why, but my art often seems to make it's way into people's bathrooms. Maybe it's the small size of my work?)

She asked me to illustrate vintage swimwear and I was happy to oblige. I was excited to revisit collage and take a break from abstraction, so I quickly got busy looking for source material. I took my cues for color from the pops of aqua, red, and yellow found in the cabin furnishings.

 A mixed-media illustration based on a vintage Tom Brigance swimsuit. 

A mixed-media illustration based on a vintage Tom Brigance swimsuit. 

Ink & Paper

I started with this adorable 1950's skirted suit designed by Tom Brigance. I did a preliminary drawing of the suit on red polka dotted paper, and then added in the details with my trusty black Bic ballpoint pen. 

 A classic 1950's bathing suit illustrated with patterned paper and black Bic ballpoint ink. 

A classic 1950's bathing suit illustrated with patterned paper and black Bic ballpoint ink. 

A Classic Shape

Next I worked on the yellow suit, also a classic 1950's design. As we know, that comes around goes around in fashion, and this style is in vogue again right now. In fact, I own a suit very similar to this myself. (It's a little less ruched and is red instead of yellow though.  Yellow is not my color!)

 A vintage 1950's bathing suit that doesn't look that idea for swimming that I illustrated for a client. 

A vintage 1950's bathing suit that doesn't look that idea for swimming that I illustrated for a client. 

Swimming in Velvet?

Though this one seems older to me, this is also a 1950's Tom Brigance design. It was made cotton and rayon, but almost looks like velvet to me. It doesn't seem that practical for swimming, but that's nothing new.  Have you seen this suit that can't get wet and is dry clean only?????

 The original illustrations framed up and hanging in the bathroom at the Dam Near micro cabin. Photos courtesy of Dam Near Cabins. 

The original illustrations framed up and hanging in the bathroom at the Dam Near micro cabin. Photos courtesy of Dam Near Cabins. 

The Install

A couple of weeks ago, Allison shared these pictures of my illustrations framed up and hanging in the bathroom. They look great, don't they? I'm so pleased with the way they turned out and so were my clients.

I absolutely adored working on this project and I couldn't believe how quickly I was able to adjust to working in this illustrative style again. I'd love to do more more swimsuits in the future. (It may have to wait until the fall though. I've got so many other projects to accomplish.) 

 Vintage swimsuit prints are here! Click through to purchase. Buy the set and save $10.00.

Vintage swimsuit prints are here! Click through to purchase. Buy the set and save $10.00.

Prints are available! 

With the blessing of my client, I've made prints of my three swimsuit illustrations. They'd look great in your bathroom, beach house, lake home or pool. Each print is available for sale individually or you can buy a set of all three and save $10.00. 

Want to commission me to make something special for you? 

I really love being told what to do. (Seriously, I do!) Get in touch if you'd like me to create some custom artwork of your very own. 

That's all for now. Ciao!