Friday, December 6, 2013


Those dang Hill Country winds are like a gang of rambunctious cowboys, coming off of a very long trail ride -- always ready to stir up some trouble and wreak a bit of havoc when they blow into town!

This time the hapless victim was our poor Christmas mouse.

Rest in peace little Speedy G.

On a brighter note, our new bottle tree was still standing, last time I checked.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


I had one of those "Aha!" moments the other day, during my morning reverie. The light bulb came on just as the sun came up. You see, I was sittin' there thinking about how odd it was that middle sister Gus has gone absolutely nuts over sewing since her retirement, making all sorts of darling totes and such for everyone she knows...

while the sister who majored in Clothing & Textiles (that would be me), and who put herself through college working at fabric stores, and made all her own clothing for years and years, never sews at all anymore. In fact, I don't even have a sewing machine now, since I gave it to my daughter!

Then I got to thinkin' about how I replaced that love of fashion with a passion for gardening -- a passion that became so all-consuming that it led me back to school and down a totally new career path. Which, of course, led me to remembering how absolutely flabbergasted my poor hubby was when I moved up to Wimberley a bit ahead of him, picked up pen and paintbrush, and suddenly forgot all about my trowel and pruners!

So what did that light bulb reveal? Well, that perhaps all I really did was take a circuitous route back to where I was actually meant to be all along.

When I was a kid, all I really cared about was reading, writing, daydreaming, and playing with art supplies. If I ever had any money at all, it almost never went towards toys. Instead it went towards tins of tempera paint, big boxes of crayons, playdough, and packages of manilla paper. I would actually sniff them when I opened a new package, and I remember each unique scent to this day!

So what distracted me from that path? Oh, who knows? Public school? Parents who wanted nice little girls who stayed within the lines? Criticism? The mistaken belief that if you weren't born a painting/drawing prodigy, then you obviously weren't meant to make art?

And so I found other, safer ways to assuage my inner artist and express my creativity, until at last I was strong enough, brave enough, to just say "Aw, what the hell? What have I got to lose, other than my silly inhibitions and, perhaps, other people's expectations?"

Monday, December 2, 2013


Hey Girlfriends! How many of you read my posts about Lucky Star Art Camp, and dreamed of being there yourself someday? Well this is your chance!

Instructor Juliette Crane in her riverside studio at Lucky Star Art Camp.
Over the past few weeks, registration for Lucky Star 2014 -- to be held November 5th through 9th -- was open only to those of us who attended the inaugural session in 2013. However, beginning today, Lisa has opened registration up to our personal friends, for one week only, before she opens it up to the general public. All you need to do is follow this link, fill out the registration form, put down a small deposit, and tell 'em Becky sent you, to snag your spot for 2014. Believe me, you don't want to miss this!


Well, that mischievous elf tried to sneak another one past me, but I caught him in action this time!

He drastically underestimated the number of lights required, and had to pause mid-project to go get more!

We'll be leavin' this baby up year round!

Sunday, December 1, 2013


According to my ancient Webster's, a vignette was a small picture, or a brief incident or scene. In the merchandising world, to create a vignette is to pull together bits of this and that in order to tell a story -- one that stops people in their tracks and leaves them wanting to be a part of that story. I guess you could say that building vignettes is my thing, and it matters not whether I build them with merchandise, photographs, words, plants, decor, or art supplies and ephemera!

I haven't really started my Christmas decorating yet, but as I sat in the dark this morning enjoying my tiny tree, bare but for white twinkle lights, it occurred to me that one of the things I love most about Christmas is this period right now -- the gathering up of all my little treasures from their various hidey-holes. I love spreading them out on the dining room table, and just playing with all the possibilities.

I think most people like arranging things the same way, and in the same spots, year after year. Not me. I couldn't, even if I wanted to! We were always changing houses, and one might have the perfect niche for displaying a Christmas village, while the next house might have no space for one at all. I'm okay with that. I begin each year with a clean slate, playing with different combinations and different locations until I finally hear a little voice say "Yeah! That's the ticket!"

We pared way back when we downsized to this house, with only two rooms that we actually decorate.

Then, last year, we gave half of what was left to our kids, since they finally had places of their own to adorn. Still, there is plenty left for me to have some fun with.

I used to go through a similar process with all of my everyday knick-knacks and gee-gaws, each time we got transferred to a new town or country. It was a lot like the thrill I got when a new season's-worth of merchandise arrived at the garden shop where I worked, and it was my job to figure out how to get the most bang for our buck. Should these pieces go in the gift shop? On the deck? Out in the greenhouse? And what other pieces might they enjoy spending time with? What secrets do they wish to share with you?

Once a merchandiser, always a merchandiser, no? So here I sit, pondering the possibilities -- wondering just what stories my treasures wish to tell this year!