Saturday, August 4, 2012


Not too much going on in my wee little studio this week, as I was way too obsessed with finishing the last two Hunger Games books. I did, however, manage to practice making a few "groovy grids" for my Letter Love class, and filled them in with two of my very favorite quotes. Hope you like them too.

Friday, August 3, 2012


Have you read all three Hunger Games books? If not, why not?

I read the first one ages ago, long before the movie came out, but for one reason or another, didn't manage to get ahold of my sister's copies of the last two until just this past weekend. I started the second one when we got home Sunday evening, then read straight through both of them in about three days, not even pausing to do any of my art lessons! Yes, they were that good.

If you've been telling yourself, and others, that you are not about to read a book that encourages kids to go around killing people, then you know nought of which you speak. Believe me, I am usually the very first to toss aside any book where there's even a hint that bad things will happen to children (it took my friends months and months to convince me to read Sarah's Key), yet I just couldn't put these books down. They were like an onion, and you had to keep peeling away layer after layer to finally get to the truth.

The books could be set in the distant future, or it could be ancient Rome, in the days leading up to the fall of the empire. They are about no place real. They are about every place. In the end, what I came away with was this: The more things change, the more things stay the same. There will always be power-hungry people and green-eyed-greedy-guts, who want to take more than their fair share, regardless of the cost to others. There will always be Hitlers and Madoffs and Monsantos. But, the more independent and self-sufficient our "villages" are, the more resistant they are to oppression and aggression. How do we become more self-sufficient? By becoming less dependent on having our necessities shipped in from afar; by doing away with huge, corporate-run agribusiness; by rebuilding our local food systems.  Oddly enough, all the things that caused me to raise my hand at that very first Bountiful Sprout meeting I ever attended, and which have kept me there as a member and volunteer ever since.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


One thing I love about finally being in our forever home, is not having to worry about "resale." At long last, I can muck it up with as much color as my little heart desires. Plus, I no longer have to worry about keeping my furnishings in style or up to date, so that the younger prospective buyers can easily picture themselves in it. That really hit home this week, when I was thinking about my dining room chairs.
Their cushions are in desperate need of replacement. They are the ones we always grab and take with us when we go to a movie at The Corral, since those vintage metal lawn chairs are hard on the tailbone after a while. Well, one summer we forgot to bring them back into house when we got home, and they sat in my steaming hot car all the next day. Ever since then, whenever our dining room gets warm and sunny, our whole living area starts to smell like burning rubber. So, not only do we need to have six fancy new box cushion covers with ties and contrasting piping made, we need all new inserts too...and they're not square, they're sort of wedge-shaped...and none of the pillow inserts I saw at the craft store were the right size, even if I were to cut them to shape. So, for a while there, I actually considered replacing those chairs altogether. I thought perhaps I should order something a bit more contemporary from one of the catalogs so popular with young people, like maybe West Elm. But then I came to my senses and said "Screw it!"
You see, I really, really love those wicker chairs we had made in Indonesia, with just a hint of Country French in their lines. I love comfy-cozy furniture, not the sleek, hard and uninviting stuff that's "in" now. And, since we don't plan to be putting this house on the market anytime in the near future, why not keep what I love, instead of replacing it with whatever appeals to the masses? Which is why, of course, whenever we went house-hunting in the past, it was always so painfully obvious when a house had been occupied by comfortably-settled "old" people.

The downside to being in our forever home is long-term maintenance. Jeezy-peazy, who knew it could be such a b__ch? There are definitely certain advantages to buying new, and moving out before anything needs repainting or replacing -- especially if you are married to someone who is a whiz at repairing electronics and keeping them in good shape, but not so much when it comes to household stuff. Plus, this house was built in '96, and has all it's original appliances, a.c. and heating, pumps, etc. Our washer and dryer aren't much newer. So, what if they all crap out at once? (And, yes, I do realize that those of you who are from old world countries, where anything built in the last century is considered "new", think me insane.)
While we're on the subject of "Country French", I have one more set of photos from the Dallas Arboretum to share with you. Years ago, when I was living in the Dallas area, the Arboretum invited various architects to enter designs for a treehouse competition. The winning designs were then constructed there on the grounds and left up for several months, so that visitors could come see them. Some were absolutely amazing! Later, after we moved away, I got word from the landscape architect I had worked for there, that she and her hubby had entered a similar competition for playhouses, and had won! Unfortunately, I never made it back in time to see it. During our recent visit, I spotted what looked like two adorable little playhouses, and went over to get a closer look. I'm not sure if they were kept after one of these competitions, or what. All I know is that I fell madly in love with them! So, if you are a huge fan of the Impressionists, as I am, but can't actually make it to Provence any time soon, just head to the Dallas Arboretum to see their interpretations, in playhouse form, of...

Van Gogh's Sunflowers:
Monet's Gardens and Bridges:

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


The Dallas Arboretum is not your average arboretum -- the kind where you just go to study a variety of trees. It's that, and a whole lot more. Much like the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center that we love so much here in the Hill Country, it's a botanical garden as well, with greenhouses and propagators and colorful displays that change with the seasons. It's also an educational facility, a wedding and party venue, a portrait setting, a fitness track, a place to get plant ideas and inspiration for your own garden, and a major source of entertainment for the Lakewood community where I grew up. Therefore, I thought you might enjoy seeing a bit more of what it has to offer, in addition to this fabulous Chihuly exhibit.
As if this wasn't enough, there are shops and cafes and playhouses too!

Monday, July 30, 2012


I have been a major fan of glass artist Dale Chihuly ever since I stumbled upon a little documentary about him on tv years ago. I was deeply inspired by the way an accident, which should have been a career-ender, forced him to think outside the box and become the creative genius behind these works of art, even though he can no longer do the glass blowing himself. I happened to be back in school studying horticulture at the time, so I was especially excited by the installations he was doing in gardens and glass conservatories. Though I've had his work wallpapered on my computer, and his book Gardens & Glass on my coffee table, ever since, the only work of his that I'd ever seen up close and personal is the bit you can see at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Until this weekend, that is. Though Dallas is not my favorite place we have ever lived, there is one thing, besides my friends and family, that I do really miss. The Arboretum. And, when I heard that this very same arboretum was to host a Chihuly exhibit, well, I just had to go, now didn't I?
The arboretum is situated on two estates overlooking White Rock lake,
and this infinity pool just appears to overflow into it.
This one piece alone took the installation team 2 1/2 days to assemble.
The only problem with this exhibit is that, well, once just isn't enough! Fortunately, it will be up through November 5th, so there's a chance I could go again in October, when it's cooler. Also, in conjunction with the arboretum's evening concert series, you can "enjoy the Chihuly exhibition in the evening glow of moonlight and tree lights with the artist's magnificently lit sculptures" and let the music accompany your stroll, stopping by the outdoor cafes for you favorite wine, champagne and evening nibbles. What's not to love about that?

So, if you live within three or four hundred miles of Dallas, and have a lick of sense, I trust you will make your way to this exhibit before it goes away, 'cause believe you me, coffee table books and computer backgrounds don't even come close to seeing the real deal.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Had tons of fun this week playing with Dylusion sprays and Dyan's ghosting technique. Easy, easy, but uber fun. Check it out!