Saturday, May 18, 2013


We had quite the evening last night! One day last week my Hubby, a man of many surprises, walked up to me saying "Hope you don't have any plans for next Friday", and handed me tickets to this:

Believe you me, they were every bit as hilarious live as they were on Drew Carey's Whose Line Is It, if not more so. I thought poor Hubby was gonna bust a gusset!

But wait, there's more! We somehow managed to get to the theater almost an hour early, so we got a drink, then moseyed out onto the balcony to enjoy the view. That's when we noticed this interesting group of people gathering on the terrace below.

Judging from their attire, and all the stretching they were doing, I assumed it was a yoga or pilates group, with a rather unusual classroom. But then a girl walked over to one of the decorative banners hanging around the terrace perimeter, unknotted it, and started doing this.

Once she had climbed about halfway up, she started doing stuff like this...

and this!

Soon there were people hanging from every banner. We were having so much fun watching them, we almost hated to go in!

Believe it or not, they were still at it when we came out of the show around 9:30, only it was dark then, and they had added eerie mists and exotic lighting. Well, as it turns out, they were rehearsing for this:

Hmmmm. That just might be worth going back for, no?

Friday, May 17, 2013


The Muses and I got to talking this week -- about how we've sorta drifted away from our original intent, and how much we miss all that. You see, when we first came together, we were part of another, larger group. It only met about once a month, but when we did get together, we always did something arty and fun. Somehow that segued into weekly gab fests at the coffee shop, with attendance being sporadic at best. I think we were reminded of all that we miss when I started talking about my play-date with H.S. Debbie last week, and my upcoming sleep-away art camp in October. Anywho, it got me to thinkin'... thinking that maybe I should organize something similar for the Muses, and try to get the ball rolling again. Who knows? If it turned out to be uber fun, maybe I could even convince each Muse to sign up for a different month, and be in charge of arranging other arty events for us all! But what could I do to make it extra fun?

At first I thought about teaching them all to carve stamps! But then I remembered that I only have one carving tool.

Same problem with teaching them to do monoprints with my Gelli plate. I knew they'd get too bored, waiting for it to be their turn.

Then I thought about just piling all my art supplies out in the middle of the table, and letting them have a free-for-all. But, sometimes, having too many choices is just as bad as too few. You end up getting overwhelmed, and don't know where to start. Know what I mean?

And then it came to me -- the memory of pre-schools and kindergartens that were set up with play stations, or "discovery" stations. What if I were to set up four or five different stations, each with a different kind of equipment, and basic instructions for how to use it? You sit down at once of the stations, and play with the equipment and supplies for about 45 minutes. When the timer goes off, you stop what you are doing, autograph your piece, hang it on the clothesline to dry, then move on to the next station. By Jove! That just might work!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Once in a blue moon, when daughter Lex has a bit of time off from work, we manage to get together for an artist's play date -- one where we explore new-to-us shops as well as a few old favorites. She is usually on the look out for design inspiration, while I get my jollies from color and great merchandising. One shop where we both always manage to get our fix is this one.

Can you guess which one it is? There's probably one in a city near you!

Unfortunately, stores like this aren't usually too keen on people snapping photographs. They are a bit proprietary about their merchandising ideas, and I can't say that I blame them. Which is why all these shots were taken rather surreptitiously. My daughter, however, claimed it looked more like I was about to steal something and that, if anything, my stealth was actually calling attention to us! Okay, just one more shot. I'm crazy in love with these little cafe' au lait bowls. Did you know that the French often sip their coffee from bowls, rather than cups? That came as quite a surprise to me, when I first read about it in Robert Arbor's book Joie de Vivre.

Can you imagine getting paid to sit and doodle all day, coming up with sweet designs like those above? I know a few art bloggers who have made that happen!

Speaking of the French, guess where we had lunch yesterday?

Le Cafe' Crepe, in downtown Austin. What a fun little place!

Check out the jars of Nutella sitting atop this cooler:

Each one was as big as my daughter's head, I kid you not!

The Eiffel, with asparagus, chicken, provolone and Mornay sauce.
The Chloe, with Nutella, strawberries, bananas, powdered sugar and whipped cream.
Ooh la la! What a day we had!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


OK! Going back to that little day-long Art-o-Rama with High School Debbie and her friends, I guess I should probably share some of what I did there.

I started the day trying to do another of my crazy, color-mad riffs based on a photograph of one of the Muses -- this time, a snap taken of Fiber Woman at her 60th birthday celebration. By lunchtime, however, I was extremely frustrated for, though I did a pretty good job of capturing the sparkle of patio lights (yea Stickles glitter paint!)...

No, she doesn't really have six fingers. That was a slip up on my part.
I just couldn't come anywhere close to capturing the sparkle that is our little buddy Fiber Woman!

Sooooo, after lunch I decided to try something completely different. The final project in Kate Crane's section of my 21 Secrets class involves some stamp carving. If you recall, I carved that one crazy owl stamp when I first got my carving equipment back around Christmastime, but then got distracted by other stuff and never did anything else. Luckily, I had thrown in those supplies at the last minute, when packing up that morning, so I started with a very simple leaf stamp...

then tried one with some scallops...

and finally moved on to a, well, I don't know what you would call this. A Stripey Bar?

By then I had discovered, not only that stamp-carving is much easier than you'd think, but also that there is something rather sensual and addictive about the way that linoleum cutter's blade oozes its way through the buttery-soft rubber. Instead of unpacking and putting away my mess when I got home, I went straight back to carving. I just couldn't stop!

OK, that face needs a redo, as it's a bit more difficult to carve away all the skin, leaving only the outline of a nose or an eye, than it is to do the reverse! So what's up next on my stamp-carving agenda? Well, how about a stamp of our little house on the hill? Maybe something kinda like this?

Monday, May 13, 2013


Yesterday I was treated to lunch, at a new-to-us place called Galaxy Cafe, by son Austin and his sweet Areej.

Today I get to have lunch at a French cafe' with daughter Alexis, plus we're making it an Artist's Date by checking out all the interesting shops we've been hearing some buzz about on decorating sites like Houzz.

Life is Good.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Serving Platter Awaits Black Bean Spanish Rice
Funny, don't you think, that the very easiest way for me to entertain -- the no-fuss Mexican pot luck -- has also been my most popular for almost forty years now, since that very first one in Bahrain as newlyweds.

Appetizers on the Balcony
This one was a second spontaneous get-together of a group of couples that tend to hang out at Driftwood Vineyard on Sunday afternoons, and who all happen to be major foodies.

Master Chef Ken Prepares Salmon Tacos, While Chef Deb's Chicken Enchiladas Warm in the Oven
Every one of these pot-lucks turns out completely different, according to what everyone decides to bring. The only thing they have in common is that they are always easy, and always fun!

Mmmmm...Tres Leches!