Friday, May 4, 2012


The Blog Hop, that is. Today's the day for The Art of Wild Abandonment's blog hop. Everyone participating has taken the same online art workshop that I am taking right now, though most of them took it last month when it first opened up, while I'm just getting started.  Though we all completed projects based on the same basic instructions, we each ended up with something uniquely our own, so we thought it would be fun to hop from one blog to the next, to see what everyone came up with. Here are a few of the things I've done so far. For our first lesson, on making thumbnail sketches, Junelle sent us to the store for some radishes! Then she gave us permission to go crazy with them -- to imagine them doing things that radishes don't normally do. Who knew radishes could be so much fun?
She then made us do another whole page of thumbnails, but this time we were to draw things around our house or garden that we really love. Obviously I have a thing for colorful kitchen pottery and ceramics.
From there we moved on to drawing these crazy cute little fat owls. Remind you of anyone?
I love the extra layer of crumpled paper that we added to the wings, and let flip up at the tips.
Ummmmm, cupcakes!
Here's my most recent project, called "Spring Line Up." It's supposed to be all about the things we hope to do or accomplish or bring into our lives this spring. My main goal is to release my inner artist!

I still have several more lessons to go before I complete week one, and then there are two more weeks to go after that (woohoo!). I'll be kinda sad when it's over. Don't know when I've had this much fun!

Next stop on the blog hop after me is Sherry L. Coogan, so hop on over to see what she was inspired to create! The one before me was Goog Guarino, and if you wish to go back and start from the very beginning, the first stop (and organizer of this wonderful event) is Claire Smillie. Have fun everyone, and many thanks to Claire for coming up with the idea!


Yikes! I can tell already, it's gonna be one of those days. I've got company coming over Sunday, which I'm quite happy about. But, as you may have guessed, I've spent the last several weeks doing lots and lots of artsy stuff, and very little housework. Make that NO housework! So, time to get busy, right? Only thing is, tomorrow we've promised to go to the Pecan Street Festival over in Austin with Lex. Plus, we found out that a really cool urban gardening couple are opening up their veggie garden to members of the LAMP program for tours -- tomorrow only -- and we can't miss that, now can we? So, tomorrow is pretty much shot. Guess that leaves today for going to the gym (have to, since I skipped yesterday), cleaning the bouse, buying groceries, doing some clean up in the garden and on the porches, and making a bakery run. But wait, there's more!

It just so happens that tomorrow I am participating in The Art of Wild Abandonment Blog Hop! All the members of my on-line art class, who happen to blog as well, will be linked together so you can easily hop from one post to the next. I'm really looking forward to it because, though we all began each project with the same basic instructions, it was up to us to interpret them in our own unique way. I can't wait to see what the others came up with. Plus, it will be a great opportunity to discover some inspiring new blogs. Most of the others completed the course last month, when it was first offerred, but I'm just now getting started on it, so they will have much more to show for it than me!

The Blog Hop goes live at 8:00 AM BST tomorrow morning, which is 2:00 AM my time (class members are from all over the place, in both hemispheres!). So, in addition to the chores I mentioned earlier, all I have to do is photograph all the work I have done so far and write a blog post about the class, link the post to the other participants and explain how the "hop" works to my readers, then try and figure out how to use the "auto-post" capability I've been told that Blogger has. Knowing me and technology, however, it might be easier if I just stay up past midnight and post it manually, so it's ready to go when all the Brits wake up and start their blog-hopping.

Like I said, lots to do today, huh? So, why on earth then, when my hubby looked at me with giddy expectancy as we were crawling into bed last night, and asked "Wanna go see The Avengers with me tomorrow?", did I reply "Sure, why not?"
Yep. It's gonna be one of those days!

P.S. If my Sunday guests are reading this, and it's making them feel sorta guilty, well snap out of it! I invited you over this week on purpose, because I knew it was the only way I'd get anything done. If you called right now and rescheduled for later, to give me more time, know what would happen? I'd go straight back to playing with my fun stuff, until mere hours before you were due to arrive, and it'd be the same story all over again! Sad to say, it's just the way I roll. OK, that was a lie. I'm not really sad at all. Who do you know who has more fun? When Hubby and I are on our deathbeds, what would we regret most -- a less than perfect house, or years- and years-worth of missed opportunities?

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Japanese Noodles
Once we had completed our tasting at Con' Olio, we were supposed to have wound up our tour by lunching at a new-to-Austin bakery cafe called Blue Baker. Unfortunately, they ran into some permitting delays, and weren't quite open yet. Instead, our tour leader described some of the other options in the Arboretum area, and even handed out some coupons. We decided to try a new one called Noodles & Company, which has menu boards for Asian dishes, such as my Japanese Pan Noodles, Pad Thai, John's Bangkok Curry, and Indonesian Peanut Saute'; Mediterranean pasta dishes; and American noodle dishes, such as Mac & Cheese, and Steak Stroganoff. Plus there is a sandwich menu, and soups and salads to go with each category. I thought it was a pretty good meal, though of course, not quite as good as if we had gone to an authentic Japanese or Thai restaurant.

Bangkok Curry
They did, however, have the coolest soda machine of any restaurant I've ever been to!
It had something like a computer touch screen, and just look at all the choices!
But wait, there's more! Wanna know the very bestest part of the whole day? Guess who came strolling into the restaurant, just as we were about to leave? Our very own precious pitootie Alexis! I ask you, what are the odds? In a town the size of Austin, which we don't even live in, and in a restaurant that wasn't even near her apartment? We were tickled to death to see her, and she was pretty tickled to get the spare $8-off coupon we hadn't used!
After visiting with her for a while, we wandered off to spend an hour or two browsing a huge, two-story Barnes & Noble store -- something I haven't done since our last trip to Houston. I got a new Artful Blogging magazine, the latest Bon Appetit (all about Paris!) and another novel by Susan Vreeland, who wrote the one about the Impressionists that I loved, called Luncheon of the Boating Party. This new one is Clara and Mr. Tiffany, about the woman who conceived and designed nearly all of the iconic leaded-glass lamps for which L.C.Tiffany has long been remembered.

It was a very good day.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I've told you, haven't I, about the L.A.M.P. program that Hubby signs up for each semester over at U.T.? During the school year he attends lectures once or twice a week, on just about every subject under the sun. In summer, though, there's just a once-a-week discussion group, and a variety of in-town tours he can sign us both up for. We went on one yesterday that he knew would be right up my alley, since it had to do with food!
First stop was Savory Spice Shop, in Austin's Arboretum shopping center. The owner answered questions on anything we ever wanted to know about spices, and encouraged us to taste and smell everything.

My son would love this -- one huge wall section dedicated to curry spices and blends!
Two sections for chilies and their blends.
The back room, where meticulous records are kept on every single spice, to ensure its freshness.
I nabbed a small jar of Piment d'Espelette/Grey Sea Salt blend, but ran out of time before I even made it to the cocoa section. Waahh! Guess I'll have to go back. Next stop, just one door over, was Con' Olio -- importers of fine oils and vinegars.
One half of the couple who owns Con' Olio. Her hubby is busy getting their 2nd shop, in central Austin, ready to open.
If you were around back in the 60's or 70's, perhaps you remember tasting the olive oil that was available in U.S. supermarkets back then -- and hating it! It tasted and smelled a lot like crayons, right? That's because it was old, and probably rancid, by the time you got it. These oils taste absolutely nothing like that. They smell grassy and fresh, and create a soft, peppery glow when they hit the back of your throat. Yes, I do feel a bit guilty for the miles they have traveled to get here, but at least I also have a bottle in my pantry that was pressed right here in Wimberley!

I love the color of this wall. I think I need to repaint my kitchen.
Our only dilemma now will be deciding which of our new balsamic vinegars to drizzle over our vanilla ice cream tonight. Should it be this 18 year old traditional, or a bit of the wild blueberry infused balsamic? Decisions, decisions...

But wait, there's more! The best surprise of the day was yet to come...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


It always amazes me -- the things that can manage to survive a two year drought, and then spring back to life with the first bit of moisture...
like these little red flowers that started springing up in my limestone "grottoes", as soon as they began oozing water again. Tenacious, aren't they?

Monday, April 30, 2012


Well, my first online art class had me shopping for art supplies everywhere from Hobby Lobby, Jerry's Artorama, and a couple of online sites, to Goodwill, The Dollar Store, Walmart and both our local thrift stores. I thought I'd pretty well covered all my bases. I thought wrong. This past week I started a new class, called the Art of Wild Abandonment, with a new instructor. You'll never guess where she sent us to get supplies for our first lesson. The produce section at the grocery store!
I have never spent quite so much time up close and personal with a radish! It was more fun than one would think.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


A month or two ago I was eavesdropping (as I so often do) on some women at the gym. They were talking about the great little Steve Martin play they had just seen at Texas State University. Well, I horned in on the conversation, and that's how the hubby and I ended up joining TSU's fine arts booster group, which hosts a pre-show dinner in connection with each of the theatre department's main productions. Last night we attended our very first one. Looks like the dinners are going to be fun. We got assigned to one of about 20 big round tables, and will have a chance to meet and visit with a different group of interesting people each time.
Some of the guests really got into the spirit of things, and came dressed for the occasion.  I hope we get to sit at their table one of these days!
The dinners are held in the JC Kellam building, right next door to the round theatre building, which sits in the middle of the water. Such a lovely little walk, from one to the other. A river runs through it, you know -- the campus, that is.
Then there was the play. The kids did a fabulous job. Such great costumes. So many favorite songs from my youth -- Let the Sun Shine In, Easy to be Hard, Good Morning Starshine, Aquarius, and of course Hair, to mention just a few. My older sister Kathy either bought or borrowed the album when it first came out, and I remember the two of us sitting with a dictionary, trying to look up all the words to one, particularly naughty, song, 'cause we didn't have a clue what any of them meant!
We should have felt totally elated after this chance to flash back to our youth, right? Then why did we walk away feeling so blue? Well, our first words to each other, upon reaching the car, sum it up nicely. "What the truck happened?" "Where did we go wrong?"