Saturday, March 31, 2012


Zach House image from
There are twin sisters, somewhere in their 80s -- tiny little things that, if sitting together on one end of a see-saw, just might balance me -- who workout at the women's gym I go to. They are fraternal twins, I think, not identical. One has straight hair in a boyish cut, while the other has a halo of frizzy curls, though I suppose they could come from a kit or salon. Their faces are different too. Straight's is softer, rounder, while Frizzy's is more prune-like, with scrunched up eyes. I suppose that could be environmental as well. Straight says she gave up cigarettes years ago, but Frizzy still smokes. Like a chimney. The aroma follows her around like a cloud, which is why I usually try to nab a machine on the opposite side of the room from them when I come in. Of course, they are both talkers and story-tellers, and once they get going, they occasionally forget to move on to the next machine in the circle, so eventually, I catch up to them.

That's what happened yesterday, and I was planning to skip on past, until I got hooked into the story they were telling the woman next to them. They were talking about how they first came to Wimberley in '32. Their momma was a school teacher, and was having some health issues. The doctor told their daddy he needed to get her out of the city -- take her somewhere quiet and restful. Their father was somehow connected to the San Marcos Baptist Academy, and was familiar with Wimberley since they occasionally took the boys there on day trips. He figured that would be the perfect place for his wife to recover, since nothing ever happened in Wimberley! They ended up renting a cabin at what is now called Rio Bonito Resort.

Eventually Momma got better, and they returned to the city. But then Daddy passed away, Momma remarried, and Step-Daddy went off to war. When he finally returned, he was a bit worse for wear. He said he just couldn't live in the city anymore. He needed somewhere quiet and restful. Momma said "I know just the place!", and that's how they ended up living on a ranch in Wimberley.

Before I knew it, the blinking red light on my machine was telling me my exercise session was over, and I'd forgotten all about the smokey aroma that I usually take such pains to avoid. In fact, I was thinkin' that, in the future, I just might be seeking it out. It'd be worth it, don't you think, if it meant getting to hear lots more of those tales about life here in Wimberely, and how it has changed over the last 80 years, from a couple of gals who saw it all first hand?

Friday, March 30, 2012


Have you ever tried doing an image transfer? It's easy-peasy, I swear, and just waaaaay too much fun! An artist neighbor of mine, Martha Gibson, did a demo for the Muses a while back, but I didn't have the supplies at the time, wasn't sure if I had the right kind of printer, and somehow just never got around to trying it. Recently, however, I watched a video about it in my little online class, and realized it doesn't really matter what kind of printer you have. You don't absolutely need a printer at all!

All you really need is a background, something sticky (glue, mod podge, gel medium, gesso, paint or even sticky back canvas) and a picture. Yeah, it probably works better if you photocopy that picture on the right kind of printer (is it laser or ink jet? never can remember) and then transfer the copied image. But hey, art journals aren't really about perfection, are they?

So, for the one above --  my first, but not my last -- I just tore a page of watercolor paper out of my little 5x8 Strathmore tablet, gessoed it and let that dry. Then I scribbled several different colors of watercolor pencil on it, misted the page lightly with water, used a brush to smear all the colors around, and let that dry thoroughly too (if you have one of those little crafter's heat guns, which I don't, that helps speed things along). There's your background.

For the image, I just tore a picture of a coffee cup out of a magazine ad, and used it as is!

Now you paint your sticky stuff (I used gel medium, just because I had some around) onto the background wherever you want the image to go, put the picture face down in the stickiness, carefully smooth out all the bubbles and ridges, and just walk away.

Once you are certain it is absolutely dry you come back, mist the paper image with water (don't be afraid to get it good and wet), then get to rubbin' with your fingers or a little sponge until every bit of that paper and glue have been rubbed off. The ink from your image will have magically transferred itself onto your background. I don't know how it works, it just does. It's like a miracle!

Now, remember where I said to carefully smooth out all the bubbles and ridges. Well, to tell you the truth, that's almost impossible to do. Wherever you have a bubble, that means the ink isn't actually touching the canvas, so of course, it's not going to transfer, and you will end up with empty splotches in the image, where the background shows through. But you know what? That's totally ok. In fact, I kinda like it that way! It just gives your image more of an antique feel, don't you think?
So what are you waiting for? Go try it for yourself. I don't want to be the only one havin' this much fun!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Yet another perfectly cool, slightly foggy morning on the porch. I must savor them as much as possible, for as long as they last.
We've had the six-month chunk of wonderful that is allotted to us each year, and I am truly grateful for it. But, I'm afraid this makes it all the more difficult to face the fires of hell which will soon descend upon us, and force us into hibernation.
Ah well, no use fretting about it before it even happens. Better by far, don't you think, to concentrate on how I wish to spend this day -- this one, glorious, cool, possibly even rainy, day. We love our rainy days, here in the Hill Country!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Blue oatmeal again? Criminy! Looks appetizing, doesn't it? At least it wasn't my fault this time. John watered the plants after supper last night, and must have forgot to switch the pump back from well water to rain tank. That's twice in one week that breakfast has been ruined. At least this time I didn't try to eat or drink any of it. Soon as I saw that the tea was dark and murky, instead of a clear amber, I knew I might as well take the oatmeal off the stove and fix myself an egg. Sure enough, the oatmeal had that same, blue-gray scum floating on it -- the one that gave it a distinctive "rocky" taste the other day. Must be all the minerals in our well water. We let the "Culligan Man" take back his equipment a while back. You don't need water softeners for that crystal clear rainwater. At first we didn't notice that much difference when we occasionally slipped up and drank well water. In fact, we thought the straight well water was a bit of an improvement over the salty taste of softened water. I guess those torrential rains we had recently must have stirred things up, loosened some sediment or something. 'Cause now? Now we notice!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I'm really starting to get excited about the Cantina Garden this year. How long have we had it now? Two and a half years maybe? Anyhoo, between the time it takes for perennials to really get going, the space I sacrificed to my less-than-successful veggie-growing attempts, and our horrid weather conditions these last couple of years, well...let's just say it has never lived up to its full potential. But this year? This year is gonna be different.
This year is gonna be phe-NOM-enal. I can feel it!

Monday, March 26, 2012


 If you've been visiting this blog for long, you have surely seen pictures of my office/writing studio/library, a.k.a. the bedroom.
Well, guess what? I now have an art studio, too!
Let me stop you right there, before you say "Hey, that's no studio. That's just your kitchen hutch!" You couldn't be more wrong. I've got a place to work (art journals don't take up a lot of space), I've got one whole wall of floor to ceiling windows, which share the same gorgeous Hill Country vistas that my writing and meditation studio (a.k.a. the dining room) do, and I've got access to running water. What more do you need? Best of all, between my standing up to work at my art table, running back and forth to the sink and to the art supply cabinet in the other room, and trying to keep upright on the balance ball I use for a desk chair, I'm actually getting exercise as I write and create, instead of just sitting on my tushie all day!

I really love how being around creative people makes you see things through new eyes. Take my friend Fiber Woman, for instance. She and her hubby are both artists, so they save all kinds of interesting stuff, which some people might see as junk. But, once you've seen her create a piece of art that contains leather strips woven with x-ray film, and hairpin lace she tatted from plastic-coated electrical wire, well, you start to look at it all in a different way. My art journaling instructor has me doing the same thing. In fact, she had me rummaging through a Dollar General store today. I didn't even know we had a Dollar Store here in Wimberley before this! I went looking for some of those old-fashioned plastic lace doily things our grannies liked to use. Turns out their floral patterns make fun paint stencils. Unfortunately, I didn't see any (let me know if you ever run across them somewhere). I did find a great stash of rubber flip flops for only a dollar a pair. You can cut them up and use them as rubber stamps, to add interesting texture and dimension to your journal pages.
Know what else I found? Check out these itty bitty flip flops. These are actually erasers that I found in with the school supplies -- all four in one package for a dollar!
Because I was looking at things through new eyes today, it occurred to me that they might just come in kinda handy if, say, I ever wanted to do something like this.
Happy Dance! Happy Dance!

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Image from
I don't know about you, but I am absolutely fed up with trying to figure out what's true, and what isn't, when it comes to health and nutrition. I'm sick of having all the "experts" telling us "This is it! This is what you have to do to be healthy!", then turning around a few years later and saying "Oops, sorry! Turns out that was a bunch of hooey. This new program is the one you need to follow. Trust me!"

Now we've got at least three different factions out there telling us what to eat. We've got the paleos, the clean-eaters, and the fork-over-knifers. There seem to be experts in each group with some impressive credentials to back them up, each appearing to have done their research, yet they have somehow ended up touting paths that, in many ways, are diametrically opposed to one another. So how is the average person supposed to know what's true and what isn't? How do I know who to trust?

I guess, in the end, there's only one person I can trust. Myself. My common sense. My gut has always told me to shy away from anyone who claims his or her way is the only way. That somehow they are the only one in the whole wide world who was smart enough to figure it all out. The only one whom God has gifted with this information! My gut tells me to look instead to communities, entire cultures even, who have managed to just putter happily along, generation after generation, not paying any attention whatsoever to the so-called experts. People who manage to outlive us all, and who laugh at all our angst and obsession. People who are living the good life.