Friday, February 28, 2014


Know what time it is boys and girls? ASPARAGUS time!

I've been harvesting a few stalks a day this week, from my tiny little patch in my wee little Cantina Garden, and I think I finally have enough for the two of us to make a meal out of!

The asparagus patch is there in the middle tier -- the one with all the stakes in it. Once harvest time is past, the ferns get really tall and floppy, so I tie them to those stakes with sparkly purple bows!

And, if asparagus is in season, you know what else is in season, don't you?

Strawberry Shortcake, that's what!

Thursday, February 27, 2014


Hubby got me a new phone. Not because I needed one, mind you. It was because he was entitled to a free upgrade, and he simply cannot resist having a new toy to play with. I HATE having to get new phones -- especially when there's not a dang thing wrong with the one I have! "You won't even notice the difference!" he claimed. He lied. There's not one thing on it that is the same as before. I have not been a happy camper, no-siree-bob!

But then this showed up out of the blue -- this new cover for my plain white phone.

It's a favorite painting by my favorite color-mad artist, Vincent van Gogh. I've actually stood on that corner, looking at that cafe.

It's in the town of Arles, one of the stops on our amazing river cruise through southern France a few years back -- a vacation that my hubby insisted we take, not because he cared anything at all about Provence, but because he knew it was a long-held dream of mine. Now, every time I pull out my phone and see that image, I am transported back to the cobbled street in front of that cafe.

Well, OK, perhaps I can learn to live with this phone if I really try.

But if he replaces it again any time soon, he'd better have an actual trip planned to cheer me up!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


All day yesterday I had the great good fortune to hang out with some crazy-creative women in the ultimate creative space. Could there be anything better?

Our hostess was my friend Julie, whom I have known since back in our Indo-Days. The venue was this wonderfully airy studio, which her hubby added on to their property after suggesting that the basement of their vintage rock house might be better suited to a pool table. She thought it was a pretty good trade-off.

One of Julie's Works-In-Progress
 So many wonderful toys to play with!

Our focus for the day was to be these -- alcohol inks.

Our instructor was artist Mary Barton. Though she is a potter at heart, she has learned to do amazing things with these inks.

We spent the first half of the day trying out lots of different techniques and making those little sample cards you see spread out on the table. Unlike other inks, which are used on porous surfaces, alcohol inks do not react to water at all, only alcohol (at least 91%) and are best used on slick, non-porous surfaces like YUPO paper, glass, plexiglass, or ceramic tiles. We used the YUPO paper, which is made from polypropylene -- so not really paper at all.

After our lunch break we moved on to some serious play time, where we toyed with backgrounds using the Tim Holtz felt stamping tool, and abstract landscapes using coffee stirrers!

The thing you have to understand about alcohol inks is, well, there's just no controlling them. Once they hit a slick surface, or come into contact with alcohol, they pretty much do what they want to do. You just have to let go and let it flow. Once you finally accept that, and quit trying to plan everything out in your head, you'll be amazed at the glorious accidents that will unfold!

These funky flowers were made by dripping ink and alcohol, then blowing on it through straws.
While we're on the subject of hanging out with crazy-creative women, guess what I saw yesterday? The line-up of instructors for Lucky Star Art Camp 2014! Squeee! Not only will all of my favorites from last year be back, they've also added several new ones, including Mindy-Freakin'-Lacefield! See that Christmas ornament in the center of my blog banner at the top of this page? Well, before I painted that, I never drew or painted human beings. I was terrified of even attempting that! But then I signed up for the 12 Artsy Ornaments of Christmas class in 2012. 12 projects taught by 12 different instructors -- one of which was that ornament, taught by Mindy Lacefield. If I could paint that after watching one little video of hers, imagine what could come out of spending several hours with her, in person! 

Can you tell I'm excited?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


I have tried walking in many different locations in our little community, but my very favorite is still the newish hike and bike trail that leads down to the Blue Hole park.

I liked it in summer because there were so many wonderful trees to protect you from that blazin' Texas sun.

I love it even more, however, now that I've discovered that the area along Cypress Creek is open to walkers year round, even when it's closed to swimmers.

It's so very quiet without a horde of squealing kiddos awaiting their turn at the rope swings!

Is there anything more blissful than gazing into still water, while hearing it rippling over rocks in the background?

The many cypress trees that give this creek its name.
Once I've completed the loop along the water, I head off on the nature trail that runs through the trees atop a cliff overlooking the creek.

View From the Overlook
The Overlook, Seen From Below
Tangled tree roots creep down the cliff-face.
 Nope, as far as I'm concerned, there's no better place for a walking meditation!

Sunday, February 23, 2014


I suddenly got the urge to do some stamp-carving this weekend, and remembered that, at one time, I was thinking about carving a stamp of our little house on the hill. Not sure what I would use it for, but you never know. Perhaps I could use it in place of a signature or something? Anyhoo, that's what I did.

This photo was taken before the courtyard garden was added to the front of the house.
It may have been a trifle ambitious for someone with so little experience. Next time, I should probably go for a simplified depiction, without so much detail. And, oh yeah...

I must remember that the end product will be a mirror image of whatever you carve -- which is why I ended up with the tree and the staircase on the wrong side of the house! Ah well, the point is, I had fun doing it, right?