Tuesday, February 10, 2009

a simple idea

In anticipation of our upcoming trip to Africa I've started reading everything I can get my hands on. I found a lovely old book on birds. Roberts Birds of South Africa. It's a field identification guide. The cover was tattered and falling apart, which wasn't really a problem, but I decided a remedy was called for anyway. Here is my idea...

I used a paper garbage bag and folded it to fit the book. Then I chose my favorite birds that I hope to see when we're there. And drew them. And then painted them...

... each bird has the page number where it can be found, for quick reference...

Then, because my husband thought it was too pretty to use, I made a copy of it. (but I think I like the original better, easier to take notes on, the copy paper is a little too smooth for watercolors)...

...here is a picture one of the gorgeous plates inside, the Kingfisher is one of my favorites and I think it's one of the most beautiful birds in Africa...

color plates by Norman C.K. Lighton

...and now, see this magazine here? We have a subscription and at my husbands suggestion, I wrote a letter and sent a photo of my book cover to them a few weeks ago.

And now Look!! here it is! Well, he said he is not surprised. But I am!! He said "my wife is getting famous".

... and then he said "you'd better go put this on your blog" ...

...indeed ;)

xxx lori


  1. wonderful! I inherited the hand-me-down copies of Roberts whenever my mother updated hers. Its still the best available. I love your restoration job. Where will you be visiting, Lori?

  2. Wow, that's gorgeous. You're quite the artist! And congratulations for being featured in the magazine - that's pretty damn cool. :)

  3. Beautiful job! That looks so good, and such a great idea. Congrats on getting into the magazine. :) You sure are getting famous!

  4. You're a genius!

    I still have my old Roberts bird book with my childish eleven year old notes scrawled across most of the pages!

  5. Well done! You are very artistic.

  6. Wow!!! Superb, Absolutely superb...

    Much love,


  7. Bonnie Lori, I never stop marvelling at you!! All those ideas and talents, and then so beautifully and diligently carried out! I am truly proud of you! Can I get an autograph? Famous you!!

  8. That's the greatest!
    Grats on the minor publication too!

  9. How lovely! You are one talented woman!

    I must say, birds in Africa are totally extraordinary and beautiful. There's no place like it for exotic wildlife! Enjoy the colours, especially. Some of the birds look simply unbelievable in real life. You just can't conceive of it, before you experience it.
    Enjoy your trip.

  10. oooh Lori! We also have a Roberts, but it certainly doesn't have such a gorgeous, handpainted cover. It's a bit worn because of years of use and has annotations inside written by oldies and youngies alike. Your beautiful cover is dreamy - how clever you are!

  11. Fantastic idea and awesome artwork.


  12. So how many places have you been published now... your husband is right you are getting to be famous.
    Are you gong to meet any bloggers on your trip?

  13. You are an incredible artist.WOW,I'm super jealous!

    Don't want to sound nosy,but which part of South Africa are you coming to?I live about 2 hrs drive from Cape Town,and it is HOT right now.

    So remember your sunscreen!

  14. You are a gifted illustrator! Have a great time in Africa.

  15. Hey Lori, that's the most fab idea ever!!!!!
    I LOVE IT.
    My old autographed Newman's (another late, but brilliant SA ornithologist - Ken Newman)is in need of a cover. . . . . .
    Hope to meet you when you pass through Joburg!!!

  16. I've got a challenge for you!

    How about I email you the calls of your birds and you learn them before you get here and then you can hear them calling and rush out to find them. . . . .


  17. Wow Lori that is so cool. Both that you made a beautiful new cover so creatively and that it was published in the magazine! Can I be you when I grow up? Just ignore the fact that I'm 30 and should already be a grown up! Haha!

  18. Oh Tam, I want to talk about only your wedding!! i'm so happy for you!!
    but, ok, I'll answer your ?, we will be in Zimbabwe with one day in Botswana, both places I've not been so I'm very excited!

    bodaat, you are so sweet for saying that, I really appreciate your kind words.

    Colleen, oh thanks! and I think it is you who are famous, I can't wait to see your name as a finisher!and grab a place too! but no pressure,hehhee!

    Miranda, you are so lucky to have kept that, it's going to be a treasure to your own baby one day!

    Momcat, thanks for the so kind words!

    Maithri, thank you for taking the time to come by, please stay safe and know that we are all praying for you,your country, and its people and animals.bless.

    Geli, hmmm..should i send you a copy in my next mail? it's easy to do, birds for you!

    Meagan, thanks so much, its really nice to hear you say that! and I do appreciate your words so much.

    Lovely comments my friends, thank you very very much,
    love, lori

  19. you are so talented - you should frame the original - it is just beautiful.

  20. Wow you are such a great artist! The drawings are truly beautiful. I love it that you're being publicly recognized for your brilliance over and over again this year. YES!!

    I so look forward to your posts from Africa. Say hello to the birds, our modern-day dinosaurs.

  21. expateek, thank you so much, yes, I'm really looking forward to the area we're headed, I've not been to Zimbabwe before!

    Tessa, thank you dear, I wish you would borrow my idea and make it in your gorgeous style!

    Coco, umm..chanel...oh! well, thank you so much for your kind words!

    dear fire byrd, Haha! i've been lucky. I'll be meeting Karen and Sharon(Kazungula day care center). Hopefully Janet if we have a long layover in Johannesburg. Hopefully more!!

    Thanks Penny, good advice! we drove once from Cape Town to Paarl and then to the Cedarburg, what a gorgeous country you live in!

    Kristin! thank you so much!

    Janet, Hey, once on a drive our guide noticed we like birds and he said he drove Newman on safari! We did have his book with us at the time! I will send you an email, too much to respond to here, except I love that challenge!!
    thanks for the kind words too.

    My Frogs, if you want to be like me sweetie, you will have to believe "grownup" and "should" are only words, I can't get the hang of either! ;)

    thank you so much for your kindest comments, I am touched, really.
    love, lori

  22. Bhavana, thank you, I know some friends were confused, a garbage bag? but the paper takes color nicely...

    Reya, wow, thanks. I am really pleased you like my birds.
    You bring up a good point, I'm not decided if i'll travel with my laptop...this will be my first trip with a digital camera. Still shooting film and never needed one before(computer). I'll be bringing both types of camera, so we'll see...

  23. Lori, when are you going to Africa and where will you be? I had the good fortune to go to Kenya in 2000on a photo/wildlife safari. Visited Karen Blixen's home, drank champagne at the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, landed on an airstrip full of wildebeast, watched two male lions fight over a female, and many other adventures. I was just looking at my bird books as I was actually dusting.

    Your artwork is superb.

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  25. Oh Lori.......You are so talented.... I am so excited for you to be going to Africa,it is a life long dream of mine. My daughter was there for 3 months in Tanzania last year and she fell in love with Africa.

  26. Wow, you are truly creative! I have a lot of books and magazines but I never would have thought of this idea. =)

    Maybe I'll try to do something similar sometime. Really, thanks for the great idea!...and congratulations for the magazine feature!

  27. Lori! Your book-cover is so beautiful! How wonderfully creative. I can't wait to read about your trip to Africa. I'm so glad to be a follower. You are very interesting.

  28. Beautiful artwork.. I can not draw anything beyond stick figures... Please take a million pictures when you go and post them somewhere on photobucket or something. Safe journey.. and God Speed.

  29. Renee, Thank you so much for the sweet words. your trip sounds heavenly! We did much the same in 2000 too. This May we'll go to Zimbabwe a country I've not been to yet.

    Ziongirl, yes, it was long a dream of mine too, I do hope you get your chance!

    Mimai, Let me wish you good luck then!

    Andrea, Thank you very much, I really appreciate your kind words,and thank you for liking my birds!

    xxx lori

  30. Dear just a little, i'm sure your sticks are cute though! hehe! we will go in May, and yes I will be taking a LOT of photos, I don't know Photo Bucket, I'll have to check it out. thank you for the lovely words.
    xx lori

  31. Very Cool indeed!
    And silly girl, you are famous!

  32. You are charismatic! Where in Africa are you going to travel?

    P.S. I've added that translator to my webpage. It seemed the most decent one. So if you wish to read anything you are welcome.

  33. I really love the work u do. U are God gifted artist.Keep up the good work and i'll keep visiting ur blog :).Take care.

  34. Thank you Linda, I appreciate that!

    Janis, haha, well, maybe here on my blog with our friends...

    Maximus, thank you for the very kind words! And for adding the translator. It worked,I think it did a great job, I could understand most everything...I loved "the history of Andalucia with the passion of Carmen". Except now it won't let me make a comment! :( I'll try again. Oh, going to Zimbabwe. In May.

    Thanks Himani, i'll try!

    thank you everyone, i really appreciate all your lovely comments.
    xxx lori

  35. Lovely delicate copies, Lori. Your blog continues to be such a joy to view. Looking forward to your African Adventures!

  36. I just checked the translation of this text and it sounds really funny. Most of it though is comprehensible.

    I had a friend form Zimbabwe, who, after spending her summer holidays in Greece, was crying every night the last three days, feeling guilty, as she told us, because of the tough everyday life her parents had those days.

  37. Oh how neat they published it in the magazine! You are so talented and innovative, the birds so pretty.


  38. Lovely pictures Lori and I hope you really enjoy Africa. I've never seen anything as amazing as the Victoria Falls. When are you going?

  39. It's a much nicer cover than what I have on my Robert's Birds of SA, Lori!!! Mine's just a plain navy blue cover! And you can see it's an old copy, those colour plates are so lovely. It's a great book to have - my favourite birding reference.

  40. Katherine, thank you, maybe next I'll be able to draw from photos, if we get some good ones!

    Maximus, yes I've read so many stories that have come out of there. I'm so sorry for your friend and her parents. And the translation is fine, I can tell you have a great blog.

    Lori Lynn, hmmm...YOU are the talented one my dear. I can't wait to see what you'll come up with next!

    Mama, thanks! I'm sure I will, I've heard so much about it, they even recommend staying an extra day at the falls if you can. We go in May.

    Your right Nicky, I've been tempted to frame some of the plates! Maybe if I find an old book beyond rescue.

    thanks so much everyone for the kind comments!
    xxx lori

  41. Lori, what a clever idea! And you have been hiding your talent...that is a no no (to use mommy language). So glad you got recognition for your creativity! Your husband's right, if you use the handmade cover on your trip it will be ruined. Tell him how much we appreciate his telling you to post this...sometimes we need a little push to show our talents!
    I hope you share lots from your trip! Happy V-day. Love from Oasis in Puerto Rico. xx <3

  42. That is so gorgeous...and a great idea. No wonder you got published!

  43. That cover is awesome. I'm always thrilled when I see someone working with their God-given talents. Congratulations for getting into the book. You should consider hand-designing covers for other specialty books. People love their books, I bet there would be a market for such a thing.

  44. Hello,

    Your blog has been recommended to us as a interviewee's favorite blog!

    We would like to do an interview with you about your blog for
    www.BlogInterviewer.com . We'd like to give you the opportunity to
    give us some insight on the "person behind the blog."

    It would just take a few minutes of your time. The interview form can
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    Best regards,

    Mike Thomas

  45. Carrie Lynne, thanks so much for the kind words!

    Cynthia, haha! oh you are right, and this WAS a big step for me. Happy V Day to you too dear!
    love from California

    Susan, thank you! i really appreciate you saying that!

    Linda,you have a good idea there, thank you so much for the encouraging words!

    Mike, ok, thanks alot, I'll go check it out.

    thanks so much everyone for the lovely comments!
    xxx lori

  46. Sometimes simple is the most beautiful!

  47. Beautiful south african birds.
    Fred Smilek is the acting president of the Society to Save Endangered Species. It was founded two years ago by Fred Smilek along with his two best friends Charles and Jonathan. http://www.fredjsmilek.com

  48. Thank you for letting me know about this beautiful post! My friends in Japan would love your idea! I'm gonna add a link!

  49. This is so amazing! You are such a talented artist!! Just beautiful!! Daniel works in watercolor and I haven't had the courage yet. They can be so unforgiving if you don't know what you are doing... I'm impressed!! Hugs, Silke

  50. Gorgeous!!!!! Definitely work to be proud of!


xoxo lori