Saturday, October 5, 2013


Circle Journal #4 has arrived! This one came from Merri in Spokane, Washington.

Instead of "altering" an old book she found, she made her journal completely from scratch! You can tell from the hand stitched binding.

This is the sign-in page for each of the artists in our "circle", who will each be contributing a work of art to this journal.

She prepared a tiny manilla folder for each of us, left her own business card for us to take, then asked that we glue our picture to the front, and tell a bit about our self and our art journey inside.

Merri's Cover Page
These Circle Journals just blow me away, each one more beautiful than the last. Hopefully, I will return from Art Camp in a week with a head just bursting with ideas for what I might add to this oh-so-precious book!

Friday, October 4, 2013


Guess it's time to get the rest of our S.A. trip out of the way. There's just way too much exciting stuff coming up this week! First of all, I get to go wedding dress shopping with my daughter tomorrow. SQUEEEEE! Sunday we're taking the kids to see The Book of Mormon, and Wednesday I leave for Lucky Star Art Camp in Hunt, Texas. Woohoo! Meanwhile I've got one Circle Journal to pack up and mail off, another that arrived just before we left for S.A., all my packing to do, and a house and garden to whip into shape, since we have out of town guests coming the day I get back from camp! Soooo, back to day 3 in San Antonio (I told you it was a doozie of a day, didn't I?)...

From the Botanical Gardens we headed over to the Witte Museum, which wasn't too far away. I guess it's sort of a natural history museum. They had a great display about the native americans in the Pecos area of Texas, plus this awesome collection of "magic lanterns!"

Loved this weeping tree with the fern-fountain top!
Heading over to the tree house.
We had planned to head from there to the McNay museum, which was also in the area, but we were running out of steam by then. Too bad, since it turns out they have a fabulous display right now of props and gizmos used in the filming of The Nightmare Before Christmas! Maybe the Muses and I can make one of our day-trip gallery runs before the exhibit ends.

On the way back to the hotel we decided to stop in at "World Famous" Paris Hatters, family owned and operated since 1917. I was determined to spend part of my gift card on my sweet hubby, so this is what he got:

He said he could grow quite accustomed to having a Sugar Mama! Dinner that evening was at Boudro's, one of the few riverwalk establishments that has something more than tourist-grade food.

They do a mighty fine guacamole, prepared tableside! We ended the day with drinks at an outdoor cafe down on the riverwalk, the best place in the world to people-watch!

The next morning I was up before dawn as usual, headed for my bagel joint -- my favorite time of day to be wandering the streets of any city.

We had pretty much run out of energy by then, so we decided to take it easy and do some shopping at Rivercenter Mall, then go to see the movie Rush (very good!). I remember when Rivercenter was the hot new thing. Hard to believe that was about 20 years ago! It has obviously seen better days. I was also brokenhearted to see that the lovely old downtown Joskes/Dillards had closed. On the upside, there were signs all over the place about the new, improved Rivercenter that is in the works, one that will incorporate both the old Dillards and the mall.  It started raining pretty hard during our siesta, so we changed our dinner plans and just popped over to Acenar, a really nice Mexican restaurant that was right next to our hotel.

I guess Hubby was getting tired of never getting to take a bite until I had finished taking my pictures. I took the hint and put my camera away.

On our last morning I thought we'd just check out of the hotel and grab some breakfast on the way home, but Hubby had one last adventure up his sleeve...

breakfast at the St. Anthony Hotel, overlooking Travis Park.

Is there anything better than a proper pot of tea? It's just so, well, civilized. The perfect ending to a perfect trip!

Thursday, October 3, 2013


As soon as we finished up with breakfast at Guenther House we headed over to the Botanical Gardens, hoping to get there while it was still halfway cool. Why yes, we DID have free passes to that as well. However, it's definitely worth whatever they charge to get in! It's located in the Brackenridge Park area, near the fabulous Japanese sunken garden that I told you about here.

Not only did they have a great display of "savage plants", complete with a few ginormous sculpture replicas...

they also had a pretty good collection of native plants from each part of Texas, as well as some mighty fine scarecrows. I liked this one best.

We spent all morning there, and barely covered half the property.

Guess we'll just have to go back again to see the rest, huh?


Day three in San Antonio was our really big day -- the only one where we bothered to take our car out of the hotel's parking garage. Therefore, it was the perfect day to start off with a hearty breakfast, even if it meant twiddling my thumbs until Hubby was ready to wake up.

Have you ever used Pioneer biscuit, gravy, pancake or corn bread mixes? Well, those are produced right here in San Antonio at a mill established on the San Antonio River, a mile south of the Alamo, by young German immigrant C.H. Guenther in the mid-1800s.

Right next to it, on the edge of the King William District (a wonderful place to stroll if you are fond of historic homes) he built a home for his family. In 1988 the Guenther House was restored and opened to visitors as a museum, restaurant, and River Mill Store.

And, as luck would have it, one of the gift certificates in our prize package entitled us to a breakfast for four at the Guenther House. Hubby opted for their infamous biscuits and sausage gravy.

I decided to try the pancake of the day, which happened to be an oatmeal pancake that day. YUMMO!

Since our certificate was for four, and we were only two, they insisted that we take some of their lovely strudels and pastries back to the hotel with us. How could we refuse?

Afterwards we climbed upstairs to see more of the house, and to check out the shop and museum.

Hubby made a very good start on his Christmas shopping, which will come as no surprise to anyone who knows him well.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Day Three in San Antonio was a doozie -- too much to show in one post -- and involves some of my favorite 'splorin discoveries. But before we get to that, we need a little art break. At least, I know I do. To show you the seriousness of my obsession, I must confess that before I had unpacked any of the goodies we brought home with us, or even checked all the emails and facebook news I had missed, my hubby found me up to my elbows in decoupage and paint. It was that magnet again!

 So here are the bits of "sand and sea" I showed you, glued on to form my textured background.

And here they are with the tissue paper sketches I did, collaged over them.

Now I'm counting the days until we get to do some beach walking in Port Aransas!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


The first thing I always do when traveling with my hubby is find "my place." Since he likes to sleep at least a couple of hours longer than I do, and since there's not a whole lot you can do in a hotel room without turning on some lights, I have to find a place to hang out until he wakes up. This time it ended up being Big Apple Bagels, just a block down from the hotel. Not only did they have great bagels...

they even had a Little Free Library out front! I LOVE Little Free Libraries!

Once hubby was up and at 'em, we headed over to La Villita, San Antonio's first "neighborhood." Originally it was a settlement of primitive huts on the banks of the river, housing for Spanish soldiers. Later, immigrants from France and Germany settled there. Remember how I said downtown San Antonio has two levels, one on top of the other? Well, this is the kind of thing you see at just about every intersection, if you walk over to the edge of the bridge/street and look down.

These days La Villita is full of great little shops, galleries, and eateries. I made a beeline for one gallery in particular -- one called Artistic Endeavors, which is the only place around that carries the work of my favorite artist, W.B. Thompson. Guess what I got while I was there, thanks to my handy-dandy prize gift card? Here's a hint!

Unfortunately, W.B. moved away from San Antonio a while back, and settled in the Virgin Islands. He has moved on to other things, and no longer paints these color-mad San Antonio scenes that I love so madly. The gallery only had five or six of his pieces left -- two giant originals the size of doors (and uber expensive!), two tiny originals that were in muted pastels and featured the modern skyscrapers I hate, and this medium-sized color-mad print of the San Antonio I love. I went with the print.

From La Villita it was an easy walk over to Rosario's on S. Alamo for lunch.

They even had puffy tacos!

From there the plan was to head over to the Mexican Institute of Cultures, on the Hemisfair grounds. Sadly, though the hours listed on the door said they should be open, they were not. On the up-side, we just happened to stumble upon this grotto. I LOVE grottoes!

By then we were pretty pooped, so we took a river taxi back to the hotel for our afternoon siesta.

Dinner that evening was at the new Bob's Chop House, up near La Cantera, with one of my hubby's oldest friends and his wife. John and Dr. Bob met in middle school I think, ran track together in high school, roomed together at UT, and then Bob was best man at our wedding. Alas, as so often happens, I just got to having way too much fun, and forgot to take a single picture!