Saturday, July 20, 2013


Junelle gave us a bonus lesson in our Wild Summer Art class this week. This one involved handwriting, since everyone loves her lettering style, but is always complaining about their own. One part of the class, which I haven't done yet, involved painted words. The other, which I made a beeline for, was what she called "chalkboard art". Basically, you just slap some black acrylic paint on a piece of book paper, pencil in some words, then go after it with some white pens.


Love, love, LOVE the way it turns out!

Thursday, July 18, 2013


 "There is no season such delight can bring, 
as summer, autumn, winter and the spring." ~ William Brown

An Autumn Feast Hosted By High School Debbie A While Back
Earlier this week I was reading about seasonal feasts in the book Simple Abundance. Ban Breathnach says "The joy of seasonal cooking is the simplest of pleasures, but one of the most overlooked. It brings harmony and rhythm to our days, demonstrating with gentle wisdom that simplicity and abundance are soul mates. The joy of seasonal foods transforms even the ordinary days at the table into hallowed moments."

Now that I think about it, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it wasn't those very words, when read for the first time so many years ago, that inspired My Great Epiphany -- the one that made me see the link between all those great books I had read about people who were living "the good life." The epiphany that made me aware of something I dubbed "seasonality" -- a quality that has colored most everything I have thought or done since, from how I cook and eat, to starting a garden design business called Seasonality which focussed on four seasons of interest, buying this Hill Country home and naming it Seasonality, trying to grow some of my own food, and even writing a blog called Seasonality.

When we first bought this place, I had great plans for big seasonal feasts to be held out on our porches or patios, with tables full of interesting people, scintillating conversation, and the best food that the season had to offer. Unfortunately, for the first several years we only came up here a couple of weekends per month, we hadn't got to know any locals yet, and we didn't have beds to sleep more than two out-of-towners at a time, so the feast idea sort of fizzled. This essay got me to thinkin' about it again.

Ban Breathnach went on to mention a favorite cookbook for seasonal feasts, Table For Eight by Judith Huxley, which contains "fifty-two sensational menus -- a week-by-week walk through the year celebrating the pleasures of the table", which got me to thinking about the great foodie friends we have made since moving here, about how lucky we are to have two kids who love to cook, and who, by some miracle, have both ended up living nearby in Austin, and about our forever friends Paula and Tim, who would be the only ones who would need overnight accommodations (unless one of our siblings wanted to come, in which case they could take turns). Hmmmm. Wonder if I could still get my hands on a copy of that cookbook, after all these years? If so, it just might be time to resurrect the idea of those seasonal porch feasts...perhaps in the form of a once-a-month-or-season, old fashioned Sunday Dinner. What say my foodie friends and family?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


We had a new assignment last week, in my Wild Art Summer class -- one involving summer markets. We were to take ourselves out on an "artist's date" to explore our favorite summer markets, be they veggie, antique, flea, or whatever, to see what inspiration we could find there. My first thought was "Hey, I've got that covered!", since we had just recently returned from a day spent at both the amazing Findlay Market and the City Flea in Cincinnati. However, once I'd flipped through all the pictures I'd taken there, and sat down to play in my sketch book, something strange happened. Instead of sketches from Findlay, I found myself staring at snippets from our Vacation of the Decade in France a couple of years back. Snippets from Paris...


Le Miel en Motte just means honey in mound. Miel Extrait means extracted honey.

and Marseilles.

I think I could fill an entire journal with nothing but market scenes!  For now, however, I had to settle for this simple composite sketch.

Vive la France!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Why, it's TOMATO time, and I've got a whole mess of beautiful, home-grown tomatoes headed our way this week. You know what that means don't you? That means it's time to pull out this nifty little fellow...

and whip up a big ol' ball of fresh mozzarella, 'cause my hubby dearly loves a good Caprese salad, or two, or three!

Monday, July 15, 2013


We've fallen into the habit of spending most Sunday afternoons picnicking with two other couples out at Driftwood Vineyard, which sits upon a hilltop with a gorgeous view. Yesterday, however, we decided to branch out and go splorin'. Lots of people have to settle for those silly Humvee limos when they go winery-hopping, but we had something even better...

a personal driver with the best wine "nose" around, and a seven-seat SUV with Harry Potter playing on multiple screens!

Our first stop was for lunch at Pecan Street Brewing in Johnson City. Several of us had the most delicious lamb burgers with feta cheese sauce and pepperoncini (Mmmmmmm!), two had the pastrami pannini, little Bella had a pizza, and John had a char-grilled Hickory Burger that rivaled the ones I drive all the way back to Houston for periodically. We'll definitely be going back there again, but next time John and I will know to share an entree!

Next stop was Woodrose Winery, in Stonewall. In really hot weather they move the tastings over to the gorgeous Dance Hall building, where you get to sit together around a table, and they bring the wines to you!

From there we headed to Pedernales Cellars, also in Stonewall. They had some really good wine there!

Last stop was my favorite -- William Chris Vineyards, in Hye, Texas. Why was it my favorite? Check this out:

You walk up to the entrance and think "Cuh-yoot! They've converted this little ol' country farmhouse into their tasting room!"

I'm lovin' the patina on this door...

and the turquoise crushed velvet on these stools.

But wait, what is this? You come out onto what must have been the original back porch, walk down a ramp, et voila! You find yourself in this very modern, spacious tasting room, where the classical guitar and violin music was so gorgeous, I just had to buy the CD.

Later, whilst sitting out back having a little snack, we discussed the day's results, and here's what we decided:

Best Wines: 1st - Pedernales, 2nd - William Chris, 3rd - Woodrose
Best Venue: 1st - William Chris, 2nd - Woodrose, 3rd - Pedernales (nice, clean, modern, just not all that interesting)
Best Staff: 1st - Pedernales, 2nd - Woodrose, 3rd - William Chris, though we really shouldn't judge the entire staff by this one guy, who'm we gave the D***head of the Day award for spending all his time with the cute young things down at the other end of the bar, and being kinda rude to us. And, just so you know, it wasn't either of those guys pictured. We were at the bar across the room.

Also, in case you too live in the area, and enjoy sipping some wine every now and then, I just want you to know that we are a friendly group. You are more than welcome to join us, if you happen to drop in at Driftwood Vineyard on a Sunday afternoon. We're usually there, weather permitting, from about 4:30 until they kick us out around 6:00. But you have to bring munchies.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


One of this week's projects in Wild Summer Art had us getting outside with our cameras. Most of us tend to shoot photos from our natural view point, standing up and looking straight ahead. For this exercise, however, we had to look at things from a variety of perspectives -- looking down, looking up, down on our bellies at eye level, etc. You get some pretty interesting shots that way.

We then used those shots to make a montage of little paintings in one of our art journals, and this is what I ended up with.

Junelle was right. It's all about how you look at things.