Sunday, April 26, 2015

WAXAHACHIE: QUITE A CRAFTY LITTLE TOWN


Every time I drive back and forth from visiting family in Dallas, I pass the exit for a little town called Waxahachie (wok-suh-hatch-ee). And, every time I pass it, I say "I really need to stop there some day." Well, guess what? Yesterday I finally did!

My main reason for stopping was that I kept hearing about a little shop called The Crafty Scrapper. Now, my version of "scrapbooking" was to finally get all our photos stashed in shoe boxes, sorted by country, and yell "Hallelujah!" However, there is a good bit of crossover between the supplies that scrapbookers and art journalers use, so I thought it might be worth a visit. Indeed, it was!

My first big surprise was that instead of the cozy little nook of a shop I was expecting, it took up half of one side of the town square.


The second big surprise came when I realized there was some kind of class going on at the back of the shop...


and the person conducting the workshop? None other than internationally renowned art journalist Dina Wakley!

But, the biggest surprise of all was all the other crafty goodness I discovered while wandering around the square and its side streets. Such as this fabulous quilt shop...


with a liveried doorman! Or this awesome shop where you can make your own mosaics.


Of course there were oodles and oodles of antiques, such as the shop called Paris Market, but there were also some pretty hip spots like this...



As for dining options, well, you have your quintessential ladies-who-lunch-and-shop venue, The Dove's Nest.



But, I also spotted a funky Tex-Mex spot, an upscale pub, the Courthouse Cafe, a soon-to-be-open vintage drive-up burger joint, and a swanky-looking Japanese restaurant in their historic hotel.

 
So, I guess it comes as no surprise that, instead of my usual four-to-five hour trip from Dallas to Wimberley, it took me eight and a half hours to get home yesterday!


Waxahachie -- it's worth a visit!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

HUBBY'S ART, AND THE PASSING OF A GENERATION

I'm heading up to Dallas today for an uncle's funeral, so you won't be hearing from me for a few days. Uncle Jay was the last of my mom's siblings to pass away, even though he was the oldest of the four. He was a postman back in the days when they actually walked their routes. Just goes to show what fresh air and plenty of exercise can do for you. Sadly, both parents and all of their siblings are now gone. Know what that means? It means my siblings and I have officially become "the old folks." Kinda freaks you out, doesn't it?

Meanwhile, I thought I'd share some of Hubby's art for a change. He has always loved photography, and has a great eye for composition, but what he loves even more is the "mechanics" of photography, and all of the related equipment. When he moved to Singapore right after college, he went on a bit of a shopping spree, buying all kinds of camera and stereo equipment. After we got married and moved to a little beach bungalow in Indonesia, he proceeded to take a billion sunset photos, then bought all of the equipment to develop and print the photos himself. He set up his darkroom on a board over the bathtub!

He had actual darkrooms in our first couple of houses, but then came babies, and our first video camera. After that, the digital age. Lucky for him, he discovered that he enjoys manipulating his pictures in Photoshop just as much, if not more than, he every enjoyed printing and developing them. Here is one of his latest projects, using a photo he took in the Latin Quarter of Paris a few years back.




I made him frame this one, and hang it in our dining room.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

THE HONEYMOON

Well, Lex and Nate made it back from Hawaii yesterday, and the first thing they did was come steal their puppy dog back from us, even though they'd led us to believe they wouldn't be fetching her until this afternoon. I think they missed her! In exchange, they were kind enough to share a few photos with us.


First half of the honeymoon was spent in a tree house...


while the second half was spent in this vintage trailer.



In between they went zipping around the Big Island in this snazzy convertible...


 trying everything from zip-lining and hiking through lava flow tunnels...



to exploring a botanical garden filled with exotic blooms.


And, because she's her momma's daughter, they sought out some sweet treats...


and a local tea house.

She loved it that they had to remove their shoes to enter, and got to sit on the floor at a low table.

All in all, I'd say they had a fairly amazing adventure, wouldn't you?
 

Monday, April 20, 2015

FAVORABLE CONDITIONS

Despite all predictions of dire weather conditions, we managed to make it through an entire fun-filled weekend, spent mostly outside, without ever getting wet.


Saturday, after a somewhat hilarious brunch (which I will tell you about in a minute) we headed into town for the annual Wimberley Arts Fest, down at Blue Hole Park.


First stop is always the classic car gathering, near the entrance to the park.


Then there is the live music to relax and enjoy, a food truck or two, and booth after booth filled with all sorts of hand-made goodness. I was standing in one booth, looking at all the wonderful mixed-media paintings that had all kinds of fibers and little goodies added in for a 3-D effect, when it suddenly occurred to me that I recognized this art. "Hey! I know you!", I said to the darling young woman with the strawberry-blonde hair and freckles. "This is The Freckled Army!"


I first came across Elissa Brown's work in one of my Stampington art magazines several years ago, and it was love at first sight. Even better to see them up close and personal!

Then, of course, there were the new six-foot tall, hand painted boots that were being unveiled as part of the Bootiful Wimberley program. This one is my new, color-mad favorite.



Guess who sponsored it?


Mima's! Which means I get to visit it every time I stop in for a chicken fajita taco...which, as you know, is fairly often. Maybe this is why they've been busy painting all their patio tables and chairs in bright fiesta colors over the last month or two! 


This booth is going to provide great inspiration for an upcoming project in Junelle's Art of Spring class, which involves sketching a little barn or farmhouse.


Or maybe I should just sketch that little old church house that I see every time I look out my dining room window?

I got separated from Hubby after a while. No problem. I knew just where to find him!


Thanks to our local W.A.G. Rescue, there are always puppies at any local event, and Hubby always makes a beeline for them!  It was a very fun day.

OK, back to our breakfast story.


Friday evening we took the kids to dinner at Hays City Cafe, which I told you about a month or two ago, when they first opened. While there we noticed that, at some point, they had added breakfast into the line-up. We decided to give it a try the next morning, since Wimberley Cafe is always so dang crowded, especially on a festival or Market Days weekend.

The waitress came over to hand us our menus, saying "Just want you to know, before you get your hopes up, that we are all out of biscuits." Hmmm. Okay, well, I wanted to try their Migas anyway, and most everyone else wanted pancakes or breakfast tacos, so, no problem.

A few minutes later she was back. "I really, really hate to tell you this, but we just ran out of pancakes too. We just weren't expecting quite this many people, and everything is made from scratch." I told her we realized it was hard to know what to expect the first few weeks, before word gets out, then asked how long they had been serving breakfast. "Umm, a couple of hours? Today is our first day." Ahhhh, no wonder.

A short time later she was back at our table, tail between her legs. "I'm so, so sorry, but we just ran out of the pico de gallo that goes on one of those tacos you ordered." "That's fine, just give me two of the other one."

A few minutes later she was headed back to our table. "OMG! What now?" "Good news this time. They made more pancakes!"

Know what? Those were, without a doubt, some of the best Migas and pancakes we've ever had, and I wouldn't hesitate to go back, now that they know how many people to expect!

Friday, April 17, 2015

JUST TOO MUCH FUN

This is turning out to be one heckuva week. For one thing, I'm babysitting my grandpuppy Izzy while her mom and dad are honeymooning in Hawaii.


Plus, I'm still up to my eyeballs in the lusciousness of Junelle Jacobsen's Art of Spring online class.




Then, there's the email I got from our fearless leader at Lucky Star Art Camp, announcing all the class options for this fall's 5-day camp for grown up girls, right here in the Texas Hill Country. Squee! Is there anything more exciting/stressful than trying to pick the ideal combination of classes, out of so many possibilities?

And, as if all that weren't enough, we've got Austin and Areej and their puppy Guinness, plus his college roomie A.J. and his little family, all coming this weekend -- Wimberley's annual pull-out-all-the-stops weekend, with a Blue Hole concert tonight, BBQ cook-off and Butterfly Release tomorrow, and the Blue Hole Arts Fest and Antique Car Show going on all weekend long! Oh yeah, and we mustn't forget the unveiling of about 20 more of those giant, local-artist-painted boots, which will be added to those already scattered about town.


So, who said small-town-living was dull?
 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A TINY THING THAT PLEASES YOU

"I think that sometimes people don't grow fresh food because they think that it is too much work. So my advice to you is to only grow a tiny thing that pleases you, and enjoy that tiny thing for all it is worth." ~ Joie De Vivre: Simple French Style For Everyday Living, by Robert Arbor

My initial plan, when we added the terraced beds of the Cantina Garden, was to grow mostly vegetables. However, between the deer, racoons, armadillos, and this incessant drought, it didn't take long for me to realize that I just wasn't getting enough return on my investment. Over time, those veggies gradually got replaced with native or well-adapted perennials, which require almost no work on my part, and little or no extra water once they are well-established. Eventually I realized that just about the only edibles I had left were my cooking herbs, and my asparagus patch -- that one tiny thing that pleases me. Lucky for me, it's a perennial which comes back year after year, and the deer hate it! My seven or eight plants aren't huge producers, and the harvest season is short, but I guar-on-tee, we enjoy each and every stalk for all it's worth!

The season is drawing to a close now, but I did manage to gather enough asparagus over the last few days to make this delectable repast for our dinner last night, with enough left over for breakfast this morning. Try it. You'll like it!

FRITTATA WITH ASPARAGUS, TOMATO, AND FONTINA CHEESE
from Everyday Italian, by Giada De Laurentiis
(serves six)

6 large eggs
2 T. whipping cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
12 oz. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tomato, seeded and diced
3 oz. fontina cheese, cubed

Preheat the broiler. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper to blend. Set aside. In a 9 1/2 inch nonstick ovenproof skillet, heat the oil and butter over a medium flame. Add the asparagus and saute until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.


Add the tomato and saute 2 minutes longer. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus mixture and sprinkle the cheese over. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the frittata is almost set but the top is still runny, about 2 minutes. Place the skillet under the broiler and broil until the top is set and golden brown, about 4 minutes.


Let the frittata stand for 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, loosen the frittata from the skillet and slide the frittata onto a plate. Cut the frittata into wedges and serve.