Saturday, September 8, 2012


Well, we're back from our mini get-away, but I see many more trips back to this wonderfully laid back hideaway in our not-too-distant future. Now, if you are the sort who is used to luxury accommodations and room service -- the kind who likes fluffy robes in the closet, and lots of counter space in the bathroom, with a good soaking tub and some designer bubble bath on the ledge, well, you'd probably hate this little beach lodge. But for us -- the couple who is never in their room except to sleep or nap -- it wast purt-near perfect.

This was our open-air hotel lobby, and you actually checked in and got your key at the bar.

There was a jukebox in the corner, which was almost always on, playing "our kind of music."

The rooms were no-frills, but bleachy-clean. In fact, the only real piece of furniture in the whole room was this one cute little chair. The rest consisted of concrete platforms covered in tile -- easier to hose sand off of, I expect.

There you see our nightstand and the entire bathroom counter. The toilet and shower were in a separate room, behind that wall. Oh, and you are looking at the closet too, which consisted of those hooks on the wall. We had two beds, a queen and a twin, but there were other suites that could sleep six or eight people. Our room cost less than $100 per night -- pretty amazing when you consider that we could step out of our door, walk down five or six steps, and our feet were in the sand!

The pool and the Tiki Bar, off to the right.
The penthouse suites, and a rooftop deck (where I stood to snap the shot) perfect for stargazing.
John's favorite spot, on the porch outside the bar/lobby/restaurant.

The only time he put on shoes was when we drove into town!
There was only one thing wrong with the whole trip. Well, make that two. First of all, it was freakin' hot. Triple digit hot. In September. Wouldn't you know, the day after we left, the first cool front of the year finally blew in. Ah well, at least we had nice sea breezes the whole time.

The other problem had to do with all that sketching and painting I was going to do for my Ode to Nature art class -- the thing that prompted this beach get-away in the first place. Well, guess who somehow managed to leave behind her "field kit" full of sketching supplies and paints? Doh! But, to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure how much sketching would have been done, even if I had remembered to bring my supplies. The thing is, the really interesting stuff rarely ever sits still long enough for you to sketch it. Neither do your traveling companions. But, if you are lucky, and fast, you can usually capture them with a quick click of your camera. Which is why I managed to take over 200 new photos, in less than three days! Hopefully, many of those will serve as inspiration for art work and blog posts in the not too distant future. In fact, I'm certain of it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Well, we're off to take care of number one on this list -- spending some time on a deserted (hopefully) beach. In fact hubby's been by the door, tapping his foot, for the last thirty minutes, while I sat here in my nightie, painting this to-do list. I know he's excited, but jeez-louise! It isn't even 7:00 AM yet, and we probably can't check into the hotel until 3:00. Ah well, don't want to spoil the boy's get-away. Guess I better go think about what to pack. See ya!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I think my color-madness must have rubbed off on my hubby a bit over the years. Check out this plant combination of his.  It looks fantastic pretty much all the time, what with the way the purple fountain grass pops against the soft blue-gray of the Texas Sage foliage. But, when that sage happens to be covered in these gorgeous violet blooms, well, it'll knock your socks off!

Texas Sage is a peculiar plant in that it comes in and out of bloom all season long, and you never know what's going to trigger it. Some people call it the barometer plant, and think it can tell you when it's about to rain, but I haven't really found that to be true. I call it the Sinus Shrub, because what it does do very well is predict when it's going to turn so dang muggy that I'm sure to wake up with one of my sinus headaches. Beautiful colors, thrives in our rocky limestone soil, and the deer don't touch it? What's not to love? The bees are mad for it too. The whole plant was just vibrating with them, when I was taking these pictures early yesterday morning.

Yep, that hubby of mine -- he's definitely got a designer's eye!

Note: If you are thinking about planting some purple fountain grass, be forewarned that it is not terribly cold hardy. However, we don't mind planting a few new one gallon plants each year, as it grows fast, and there are so few things with color here that the deer won't bother. There is also a similar plant that has more red in the new foliage, and which is more likely to winter over. If only I could remember the name!

Monday, September 3, 2012


My friend Buffalo Woman spent a few weeks in Greece with her family this summer, and when she left to come home, her Greek daughter-in-law gave her a little pamphlet-style cookbook. I like Greek food, so I copied a few recipes from it, then promptly forgot about them. When I was trying to straighten up a pile of stuff in the kitchen this week, I stumbled across them again, and realized I'd had the perfect recipe for using up that bag of mixed peppers, right here, all along!


1/2 kg feta (about 16 or 18 oz.)
1 large tomato, diced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red banana pepper, sliced
olive oil

In a deep clay oven pot (which I don't have, so I used my little Le Creuset saucepot), lay the feta cheese. Add the tomato, peppers, some olive oil, oregano and pepper, and bake in the oven at 200 C (about 400 F.) for about 15 minutes. Serve while hot.

There you go -- that's all there is to it. Not a very specific recipe, I know, but that's what I love about it. We really need to learn to be more flexible and at ease with our cooking! The world will not end if you substitute a different kind of pepper, or use another kind of cooking vessel (as long as it's deep, heavy, and completely oven proof, including the handles). Just use your common sense. For instance, the cookbook didn't say whether this was meant to be an appetizer, a side dish, or what. Nor did it say how it was to be served. We opted to use it as our main course, and scooped it up onto big, sturdy crackers. Next time I might use it as a filling for pita pockets. It'd make a pretty good topping for a pizza too, and is similar to my filling of choice when I order a calzone (with the addition of some Greek olives) at our local Italian cafe. I don't think it matters how you serve it -- if you like feta cheese, you're gonna loooove this recipe! (P.S. I halved the recipe, and John and I still ate it two nights in a row.)

Sunday, September 2, 2012


I think I mentioned before that I'm taking two art classes at the same time right now. Can't say that I recommend it, but ever so often, synchronicity puts you where you need to be.

This week, in my Ode to Nature class, we finally progressed from field notes and photography to using these "collections" to make art. The only problem is that my sketchbook I've been using just had thin drawing paper in it, and if you try to put water and paint on that, you end up with a wrinkled, bleeding mess. So I grabbed the visual journal I've been using for my Letter Love class, to play around with these gingko leaves and hyacinth bean pods. With this book I had the opposite problem -- the watercolors just wouldn't spread or blend! I forgot that the visual journals come with different kinds of paper in them, and this one happened to be a "mixed media" journal. What I needed was water color paper. So I went rummaging through my stash, and came up with this.

I bought it at Hobby Lobby a while back when it was 50% off, not sure what I would ever do with it. I just loved it that the cover had an antique feel to it, and that the watercolor paper inside was "a bit rough around the edges." Perfect for a nature journal, no?

The next day I switched to a lesson in my Letter Love class. For this one we were supposed to look to vintage lettering styles for inspiration. I love all things art nouveau and art deco, which is probably why I've been obsessed with drawing gingko biloba leaves lately -- a common motif in those genres. Anyhoo, I found a few words in a simple art nouveau font, and was about to use that style to write some quote or phrase in my Letter Love journal, when it occurred to me that they would make a great title page in my new nature journal. So I wrote Ode to Nature on the first page using a permanent black pen. Then I decided it needed some art nouveau flowers up in that empty space in the corner, so I added those.

Then, of course, I decided it need color. Lots of color. The watercolors loved this paper, but I was left with another problem. Those vivid colors on the bright white background looked too stark and modern. They just didn't fit with my antique-looking journal, and that's when yet another of my art classes came into play. I remembered that when I was taking Junelle's Art of Wild Abandonment class, she always ended every project by "dirtying it up" with brown crayon and some stamped texture. So that's what I did.

I ended up with something that was inspired by all of these teachers, but which didn't mimic any of them. It was uniquely my own, and that felt good. Really, really good.