Saturday, February 8, 2014


A year or so ago, when my magazine pile was getting way too unwieldy, I made this.

Oh yeah, now I remember! I made it when I took my very first 21 Secrets class. The instructor said that whenever she hit a roadblock in her creativity, she would sit down with a pile of magazines and just start ripping out anything that struck her fancy, without pausing to analyze why. Later, when she started gluing them into her inspiration book, patterns and preferences would begin to emerge. I used to do something similar whenever I needed to decorate a new house or landscape a new garden, and it worked really well for me. I decided to give it a go. I demolished that pile of magazines, and even got a good bit of it glued into the book. But then life got in the way, and my "inspiration basket" was left to languish in a corner for a good long while.

The other day I noticed that my magazine pile had again morphed into the leaning tower of Pisa, and since I was a bit stalled for art inspiration at the moment, I decided to pull out that basket and get to work. One of the magazines I tore into was Stampington's Where Women Create, and I noticed that most every studio featured there had some kind of "inspiration board" on the wall.

I had one of those in our Houston town house, and used it for everything from decorating and garden design to merchandising ideas for the garden center where I worked. I really miss it now, but alas, there is no wall on which to hang one in my wee little bedroom studio.

Hang on a minute, hold whatcha got! What if...

What if I were to hang a bulletin board on the back side of this door? It's easily seen by me when I'm in this corner working, with the door slightly ajar, but invisible from anywhere else in the house. Brilliant, ladies and gentlemen -- your inspiration never ceases to amaze me! You do inspire me, you know, whether you realize it or not. Sometimes, all it takes is for me to write or post something here, and see it through your eyes, rather than my own.

Fast forward a few hours, et Voila!

Now all we have to do is get it hung! (easier said than done)

Thursday, February 6, 2014


As you know, Miss Alexis is getting married November first, and the wedding will have a "speakeasy" theme. I have always said that the only thing I dread about my kids getting married is having to come up with a "mother-of-the-bride dress." I don't do dresses much anymore. Skirts and boots are about as dressy as I get, and now, not only do I need a dress, I need one with a 20s feel! Of course, dressing in character isn't mandatory, but it would be a lot of fun. Fortunately, I have almost nine months to scour Austin's vintage shops and see what I can come up with, but just in case I can't find anything that just blows me away, I now have a back-up plan!

I have this one dress I bought a year or two ago, and haven't had much chance to wear. It's just a simple shift-like dress, but Lexi's colors are turquoise, black and white, and with all this beading around the neckline, I thought it just might do in a pinch. The only problem is that it's a sleeveless dress, and on November first it could be warmish, or it could be downright nippy! So, I would definitely need some kind of wrap.

Well, yesterday Hubby and I were having a yummy gyro at Cody's Bistro over in San Marcos, when I remembered that the shop next door, called Cally's, carries lots of glitzy stuff. We decided to take a quick look around. The Muses and I had been talking about 20s hairstyles, and the first thing I spotted was a rack full of sparkly headbands that could easily be worn across one's forehead, flapper style.

As for wraps, they had a lot of really cute silky jacket/shawls with long black fringe along the edge, which would be fantastic over a simple black shift, but none of them even came close to going with this dress. Then I spotted something straight out of those Maisie Dobbs mysteries I love reading. Maisie's best friend Priscilla is a wealthy socialite who buys all her clothes in Paris, and whenever Maisie has to go an "event", Priscilla insists on dragging her upstairs to her dressing room and choosing an ensemble for her. Of course, the whole series takes place in the Roaring Twenties -- the period between the two great wars -- and I just loved the descriptions of Priscilla's glamorous outfits. As you know, women were just beginning to bob their hair around that time, and some were even daring enough to wear trousers! One time Priscilla was wearing a kimono-style top with some loosely draping lounge-style trousers -- what we called "palazzo pants" in the early 70s -- and I suppose the memory of that outfit is what made me do a double-take when I saw this:

It's a gorgeous patchwork of the most luscious fabrics!

I wasn't sure it would even go with that particular dress (it does!), but I liked it enough to go ahead and buy it anyway. I think it would look pretty dang faboo with jeans and boots, and who knows? I may even find me some palazzo pants!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Several weeks back when we had to attend a funeral in Austin, we stopped for lunch at a new to us restaurant called Satay. It's billed as a Thai restaurant, but once we opened the menu we were delighted to find many Indonesian and Malaysian delicacies on the menu as well, which is how I ended up eating Nasi Goreng again for the first time in ages! 

They even had my favorite Thai dumplings, with the crispy garlic bits on top, and a lovely tropical patio area for outdoor dining in nice weather.

What's really interesting is that John came across this article online just the other day, talking about this very same restaurant being featured on the show Restaurant Redemption! Not sure whether we visited the restaurant before or after its makeover, but I'm thinking we'd better pay it another visit sometime soon, just in case it's even better this time than it was the last!

Monday, February 3, 2014


Continuing on with my color-mad art diary, courtesy of Joanne Sharpe's Draw Your Awesome Life class...

instead of simply drawing my grocery list, as suggested, I thought it might be fun to draw the things that come in the basket of locally grown or produced foods which I order from The Bountiful Sprout every other week -- maybe even talk about what I end up making with those ingredients. What a great seasonal reference for the future, when I'm wondering what might be available at a particular time of year, or wanting ideas of things to make with say, kale and Meyer lemons, for instance. (Answer: Crack Kale!)

Next up were a couple of projects involving blind contour drawings. You know, the ones where you can only look at the object you are sketching, and not at the page or what your pen is doing?

That's right, you have to do it in permanent pen. No erasing allowed!

The first time I was ever told to do this, I thought it was the dumbest thing I'd ever heard of. There is, however, a method to this madness. After all, art is not about teaching your hand to paint or draw. It's about teaching your eyes to SEE! When you can't watch what your hand is doing, all you have to rely on are the messages your eyes are sending to your brain. The more you do this, the better you get at seeing the lines, shapes, and shadows that are actually there, instead of the preconceived notion you have of what a hand or a tree is supposed to look like.

Oh, and did I mention that it's supposed to be done in one long, continuous line? The only time you are allowed to look or lift your pen off the page is when moving to a different section that is in no way connected to the previous line. I might have accidentally peeked once or twice. I couldn't help it -- my eyes slipped!

What you end up with is some very imperfect, abstract art, but I'm getting where I like it more and more. Makes me feel kinda Picasso-ish.

Sunday, February 2, 2014


Apparently someone forgot to grab his own sunglasses when we decided to take a jaunt in my little Mini the other day, rather than taking his Prius. Almost bust a gusset when I glanced over and found him sporting these.

You just gotta love a man whose confidence in his own masculinity is so unflappable, no?

In other news, I'm reading such a good book right now -- Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes. Can't hardly put it down! Outdoor Woman put me onto it, but refused to tell me anything about it. Her book club read it, and they were all advised not to even read the blurb on the jacket -- just jump right in and start reading. I advise you to do the same. You'll be hooked right from the get-go.

Come to think of it, why am I sitting here at the computer, when I could be in there reading instead? TTFN!