Friday, July 6, 2012


We'll be off playing with sonny boy tomorrow, so you are being invited into Studio Saturday a day early! This week's lesson was about paint doodling. My instructor thinks it's a great thing to use as a warming up exercise, to help you loosen up. First we did a practice page -- just playing with different elements such as line pressure, circles, organic shapes, etc.
Then she had us start another page, just by painting a few basic shapes, then expanding them with doodles to fill the entire page. No pre-sketching or pen-work allowed.
I liked the way it turned out, but there was way too much "intention" on my part, which sorta defeated the purpose of the whole exercise. I needed to keep practicing, until I could figure out how to just let go, and let it flow! Then I remembered how my ex-boss, the landscape architect, always used to put on certain music before she started doing any design work. She said it helped her switch over to right-brain-mode, and got her creative juices flowing.

The next lesson was to do a double-page spread of paint doodles, still no pre-sketching allowed, but afterwards, we could go back and do some embellishing and shading. Plus, we were to leave room on one side for some actual journaling. Before beginning, I switched on one of my Jesse Cook, classical guitar CDs.
The music worked! Before I knew it, I was loose as a goose. I was in the flow -- not thinking, just painting -- which led me to the perfect quote to use as my "journaling" on the companion page.
"After all, the object is not to make art, but to be in the wonderful state which makes art inevitable." ~ Robert Henri

Brought to you from my
Wee Little Studio

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Poor Hubby. His celebration of The Fourth did not go at all as he had planned. As I may have mentioned before, Independence Day is much more his thing than mine. Since it fell mid-week this year, and we couldn't be with family, I didn't bother to plan anything. This was totally unacceptable, as far as John was concerned. He went to his computer to do some digging around, then came up with an idea for one of his little adventures in Austin. I love his little adventures!
Soon as I laid eyes on his lunch locale selection, I started getting excited. Frog les, fried pies and fabulous garden funk? Whooooo-doggie!
The closer we got to the door, the more excited I was -- until I got close enough to read the little sign that said "We will be closed for lunch today." Well fuuuuuuuudge.

No problem. Hubby had a back up plan! We wandered around for a good long while, until he finally spotted the little hole-in-the-wall joint he'd been looking for, tucked into the middle of a residential street. I think it was called Live Oak Barbecue, or something like that. The smell that greeted us was heavenly, and I was really tickled to see that they posted where each of their meats was produced, and by whom -- all in Texas, of course -- but I got a wee bit worried when I had to ask for barbecue sauce. Even more so when he ladled up something that looked more like beef broth than sauce. The brisket and ribs were actually pretty good -- or would have been, if they'd had a decent salt-lick-style sauce to go with them -- but Hubby and I agreed, the sausage tasted downright funky. Doubly sad, considering how seldom he gets red meat these days.

Our next destination was to be the Alamo Drafthouse on S. Lamar, but we had about an hour to kill, so he decided to stop and take a walk along the shores of Ladybird Lake -- one of his new favorite things to do whenever he's in Austin. What he did not realize though was that, due to the holiday or an event or something, they were charging you just to get into the dang parking lot! Ne-ver mind.

When we walked into the theatre, we saw one of those huge snaking lines of people who had their tickets, but hadn't yet been allowed into their particular show. John said "I sure hope they're here to see Spiderman, and not our show." "Oh, they have to be. Moonlight Kingdom has already been out for a while, and it's an oddball art house flick. Plus, we're way early. We won't have any trouble getting tickets." I walked up to the counter and told them what I wanted. "We're completely sold out for that one, but I've still got a couple of seats left for the Spiderman that's about to start." Yeah, seats on the very front row. I think not.

Hubby was so bummed out by the time we got home, I really had no choice, now did I? I just had to take him here, for one of these.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Happy Independence Day ever-buddy! Did you know that hummingbirds fear the American flag? We'd had swarms of them fighting over both feeders, until John put out the flag. Then, poof! They all disappeared. Actually, it's probably the sound that scared them away. We get a lot of wind up here, and the flag's snapping and popping has managed to startle me a few times too -- even here inside the house!

Independence Day is not my favorite holiday. I might like it a whole lot more if I lived up north, but here, it's just way too hot to be doing much of anything outside -- especially standing over a barbecue pit! Also, as a kid, it always got me kinda depressed, because it meant summer was about halfway over. Now I see that as more of a positive thing. You would too, if your summer lasted a good five months. Did you get a gander at that thermometer up there? Here, let me zoom in closer.
That shot was taken at 7:00 am, when the sun was barely up, so that's our low temperature for the day!

I was really good about water conservation during our two year drought, but we had so many good rains from fall through spring, keeping our rain tank constantly full, that I'm afraid I let my guard down -- fell back into some old habits. Unfortunately, though there have been several thunder showers in the area over the past month, not one of them has landed on us, and our tank is now less than half full. Time to get a grip! Just the other morning I suddenly realized how much water I've been wasting with my tea brewing habits. For one thing, I make an entire potful each morning, 'though in the summer, a half pot would suffice. But, if I don't fill it all the way, the water doesn't reach the loose tea that sits in a little strainer at the neck. Rather than toss out the leftover hot tea, I've started turning it into a big ol' glass of iced tea for the afternoon. Also, after I've dumped the tea out, I usually fill the pot with clean water and let it sit for a while, to make it easier to get the tea stains out. I was just about to toss that out as well, when I suddenly thought "Holy Moly! What am I doing?" Now that and lots of other bits of leftover rinse-water are all going into a big ewer I keep out on the counter, which then gets used to water house plants, clean paint brushes, or fill the reservoirs on those porch-rail herb planters.

What about you? You got any tips for making the rainwater in that tank last just a wee bit longer?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Mom and Dad, back in the day
My dad had an unbelievable talent for repurposing stuff -- which is pret-ty dang funny when you think about it for, if he were still alive today, I'm sure he'd probably call anyone involved in the eco movement or green industry a bunch of numbskull whackos. He didn't really believe in causes or movements, especially not Women's Lib! But, though he never fought for civil rights, he raised his kids not to be bigots, and though he never gave too much thought to preserving the planet for future generations, he just couldn't bear to throw away anything that might still have a bit of life left in it. He was a home-builder and -remodeler, and was forever wagging home the leftover bits and pieces, and stuffing them into our already overflowing garage -- which is why none of our cars were ever kept under cover. Our homes were always "works-in-progress", since my folks thought coming up with ways to change and improve them was the very best form of entertainment. And, no matter what new project Mom came up with, Dad could usually find the supplies he needed to complete it out in the garage or tool shed.

Even in his final days, after we'd moved them out of their house and disposed of most of his "stash", he still managed to fill up my sister's garage and shed with a good bit of stuff -- enough so that, when she suggested they combine their efforts to make some Christmas gifts one year, he managed to come up with the ingredients to make each of us a unique little footstool, according to the style of our homes.
We were living outside of Houston at the time, and had decorated our home and garden with a tropical theme, so this is the stool I got. How many people do you know who just happen to have some good thick bamboo and a nice piece of barkcloth hanging around?

Of course, my house is no longer tropical, and I'm afraid the fabric doesn't really match the red-striped swivel chair I use it with. Still, even though, like both my parents, I love to decorate and re-do, I just can't bear to change a thing about that stool!

Monday, July 2, 2012


Know what I love? I love the way stuff like this just shows up on my counters and in my mailbox on a regular basis, for no special reason or occasion.
I love it that I live with someone who views luscious smelling soaps and candles as more of a necessity than an extravagance.
That they come in gorgeous, reusable glass bottles, and have wrappers that work well in mixed-media projects, is just icing on the cake!

Sunday, July 1, 2012


 A pretty little repurposed bottle...
filled with a few sprigs...
of whatever happens to be in our garden at the time.