Saturday, June 8, 2013


You'll never guess what just opened here in Wimberley yesterday!

The cutest little frozen yogurt shop called The Wooden Spoon...

with eight different rotating flavors, and two little kiosks filled will all sorts of toppings and mix-ins, not to mention wi-fi, and rocking chairs!

Caught him with his mouth full!
Know what else we discovered, just last week? There's a shop across the street from it that is now selling the infamous Amy's Ice Cream! And this is on top of the Blue Bell ice cream you can get at the Wimberley Cafe, the sno-cones you can get behind King Feed, and of course, the Blizzards and Dilly Bars at DQ!

So, what I'm saying is, if you're thinkin' it might be a little too hot and muggy to be doing any shopping in downtown Wimberley, well, you needn't worry. We gotcha covered!

Friday, June 7, 2013


The Cantina Garden has been mostly green ere now, but it's finally starting to show some color. Most exciting discovery so far?

The coneflowers all survived (despite that dastardly "'Dillo Dan's" best efforts)! I planted every different color and variety I could find, except white, but this is the only one in bloom so far.

Is that gorgeous, or what?

In case you haven't noticed before, I tend to gravitate to the spicy hot and downright lurid shades.

I used to design my gardens according to how they looked from a distance -- from whatever viewpoint people were most likely to be seeing them from. No one ever sees the Cantina Garden beds from the street side. They look at them primarily from our upstairs porch and windows. If I had followed the traditional rules, putting the tallest plants up close to the house, many things would have been blocked from view. It was only by checking on things periodically from my dining porch windows, after my plants were beginning to take on some size, that I finally figured that out. I had a bit of rearranging to do!

A Hybrid Blanket Flower
Now, however, I'm beginning to look at my garden from a different perspective.

More and more I find myself zooming in on the details -- wondering how best to capture these on camera or with paint.

I have neither the time nor the temperament to be a realistic painter, trying to capture every last detail. But I just can't figure out how to reduce something this glorious down to it's very essence, with just a few brush strokes. And so I wonder, what would the Impressionists do?

Thursday, June 6, 2013


For a long time now, my hubby and I have been wondering if our daughter's career choice was the perfect match for her. Not only has she worked her butt off for very little reward, she always seemed a bit like a fish out of water -- kinda like the only hippie at a sorority party. But hey, as long as she was happy, we were happy! She must have been asking herself those same questions, however, for she told us this week that she's been focusing more on her web design skills, which are pretty amazing for someone who is completely self-taught. She has several friends who work in that field and who are advising her on the transition -- friends who work at "fun little companies where they have Friday Nerf wars, and where I could be around other people more like me." Ahhh, she felt it too. Not too surprising, I suppose, considering she was raised by a hippie and a geek!

A Self-Portrait Done By Lex in High School
I felt the same way most of my career. You're drawn to things like design, catering, and merchandising because you are a creative type, but in order to make a decent living in anything like that, you need to be really good at kowtowing to the uber-riche. I just never got the hang of it. I started out in fashion merchandising, then realized it was my job to convince everyone to ditch their perfectly good clothes from last year, and replace them with whatever's new and trendy. I hated working for the landscape architect, because all of our clients had multiple million-dollar homes with gardens they never stepped foot in -- they were strictly for show. They also thought that having lots of money meant that the laws of nature shouldn't have to apply to them. On the other hand, I loved designing for the do-it-yourselfers -- young couples who were over the moon about finally having a real garden, but who just needed a little help getting started. Too bad you can't really make a living designing for people like that. Lexi's number one pet peeve with her design clients was anyone who told her they wanted her to " just buy all the accessories" for their new homes, since she was raised to believe that the accessories should tell a story about the family who lives there, and about the lives they have lived.

Ah well, no experience is ever wasted. Everything I learned, at every job I ever had, eventually came together to land me the perfect job -- visual merchandiser at a native plant nursery and gift shop for garden fanatics -- and I'm sure the same will eventually be true for our Lexie!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


One thing I really love is creative reuse -- finding interesting new ways to use what's already at hand. Let's call it cre-use, for short. I'm not very good at it, but I'd like to get better. That's why I really appreciate several of the instructors in these 21 Secrets art classes I've been taking, who are helping me to see things with new eyes. Art supplies are expensive! So imagine how relieved I am to start a new class where, instead of handing me a list of more things to buy -- things which I have no more space for -- the teacher says "look at these things we can use, which we would normally throw away." Things like those security envelopes Ro Bruhn had us use in her first project, and these paper plate palettes we used in her second one.

Normally, I use my big reusable palette, but I only have the one. So, when I have friends over to paint with me, I hand out foam or plastic plates for them to mix their paints on. Ro, apparently, teaches lots of kid's classes, and she does the same thing with them. But, when the class is over, does she toss all the paint-smeared plates in the trash, as I used to do? She does not! She gathers them up and uses them in her projects.

So next time you are about to toss one, flip it over instead, sketch a few simple flowers on the back, then cut them out.

Add a few doodles, maybe pick out a few buttons from your stash, and there you have it!

Cute little embellishments that you could stitch or glue to any journal page or other project, ...

and which cost you not a cent!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


My Hunny and I had a great day Sunday. It started with seeing a fun little movie, Now You See Me, which we both enjoyed. From there we went to have lunch at the new Thai fusion restaurant that's causing all the buzz in Austin right now. Have you heard about Sway? From the same ladies who brought us La Condessa?

To this team, there is no such thing as a trivial detail -- not even the straws in the tea glasses.

I adore their big communal tables.

Next time, however, I want to try sitting at the counter. I love watching a well-choreographed kitchen ballet!

Everything we ordered was delish -- especially that Salt & Pepper Calamari!

Calamari and Spring Rolls
Stir-Fry with Chicken and Pears
The only problem was that, with there being only two of us, we just couldn't order enough. This is definitely the kind of place where you need to go with a few others, so you can dine family style, sharing lots of dishes.

The cover on this little altar's base looks like it was either hand-knitted or crocheted! 
As wonderful as all that was, it was not the highlight of the day. No, the pinnacle came when we headed over to the Blanton Museum, and were walking along the sidewalk outside. I noticed an orange blob in the grass out of the corner of my eye, but was busy yakking, so paid it no mind. My hunny, however, zeroed right in on it. He reached down to grab it, saying "Hey! This looks like something you could use in one of your art projects!"

Turns out someone had dropped a Papel Picado, which would make a great stencil. Only this one wasn't made out of cut paper, it was some kind of plastic or vinyl. So, not only is it perfect for some inky spray play, I'll be able to use it over and over again! Has my hubby got a well-trained eye, or what?!!!

Monday, June 3, 2013


I have a habit of apologizing to most of the service people who come to our place, almost as soon as they step out of their truck -- for the difficulty in finding us; for our crazy steep driveway and all it's curves; for how hard it is to park and turn their large vehicles here; and most of all, for anything we might have done to cause whatever problem they are here to fix. They just laugh, then usually say something like "This is nothing! You should have seen this one house we went to!"

When the well guys got here the other day, I was quite proud that we'd moved all our vehicles out of the way ahead of time. I told them they could pull all the way to the end of the driveway, so they wouldn't have to carry their equipment too far. They laughed. Then they explained to me that they would have to back their giant two-ton vehicle down these steps and across the patio, until it was butt up against the pump house, in order to use their crane dealiebopper to pull all the pipe, and then the pump, out through the roof of the pump house. They also told me that, since their vehicle might crush these steps, they would call their supervisor and get him to bring some blocks and ramps to help prevent that." Oh. Okay. I'm so sorry!" They just laughed again, then said "Oh don't worry. This is nothing. You should have seen this one house we went to. They put their well pump in their house! We had to pull it out through a skylight!" They were even nice enough to move our big Green Egg barbecue pit and all my heavy flower pots out of the way, while waiting for the ramps to arrive.

These guys were just kids, really (Hubby got depressed when he heard one talking about how his Grandpa used to have these eight track tapes), but when I complimented them on their driving skills, they again laughed and said "Aw, this is nuthin'! You should have seen this one time, when I had to back this heavy truck right up to the edge of a cliff to get to this one pump. I was prayin' the whole time, 'Please don't collapse! Please don't collapse!'" And here I thought learning to drive in the city was tough!

Anywho, the new well pump is up and running now, and it's a good thing, too! The very next day, when Hubby went out to change the filter on the rain tank, something broke on that one, and caused water to start squirting into the pump house. Soooo, we had to shut that pump down now, and switch the house back to well water temporarily. We called and left a message with Tank Town, but of course it was the weekend. Turns out they're not open on Mondays either. Ick! Well water is fine for washing and flushing, but not so great for drinking and cooking -- especially since we got rid of our water softener a while back. At least I haven't been smelling that horrible sulphur smell this time! Instead the water smells like a highly chlorinated swimming pool, which isn't so bad.

I sure hope we hear from Tank Town soon, and that this doesn't cost a fortune to fix. My poor hubby is beginning to feel biblically beleaguered!

Sunday, June 2, 2013


Woke up to a dilly of a storm this morning -- the kind where you find yourself wondering "Should I be bunkered down in the basement storeroom?" Trouble is, by the time you realize how bad it is, it's probably too late to be traversing our outdoor staircase that sits beneath a big oak tree whose branches could conk you on the head, not to mention the garden gnomes and such, which are flying hither and yon. This is the kind of night that really freaked me out when I was up here alone. It's not nearly so bad when you're snuggled up to someone who's saying "It's fine Beck, just go back to sleep", even if you know he'd probably say that no matter what was going on out there!

Our balcony furniture always rearranges itself when we get winds like these, but this is the first time it has completely knocked our glass tabletop off its base, and thrown it into the wooden bench. As far as I can tell, there's not a crack on it.

Woohoo! Let's hear it for shatterproof glass!

I got a very exciting package in the mail this week. It came all the way from the frigid north, and you'll never guess what was in it.

These! The wonderful bounty that resulted from the napkin swap that one of my 21 Secrets classmates organized! Now I have all sorts of gorgeous flowers, birds and bugs that I can cut out and collage into various art projects.

In the meantime, I finally finished adding doodles and whatnot to the first of those little envelope flowers I told you about.

Next up in Ro's Flower Power class? Creating cute flower embellishments using those trashed picnic plates that you used as paint pallets. Woohoo! Let's hear it for creative reuse!