Monday, September 14, 2015

Beach Blog

Greetings from the world's most unreliable blogger!
(Once again blogspot is putting in spaces where I 
had none.  My perfectionist Virgo self is going nuts.)

Remember me?
Shown here with Boofle and Critter.
That's right...Boofle has a girlfriend now.
These two tagged along on my recent coast trip.

Here we are in Florence at Mo's
enjoying some good eats and a great view.
 I got to spend four fantastic days with these ladies.

This is a group of women that i meet with once a 
month for dinner and good conversation.  They make 
my life better in every way.  Two of these lovelies
are missing from the picture.  Someone had to take
camera duty and one could not make the trip this time.
We strolled the beach, gathered rocks, visited Heceta
lighthouse, watched movies, did some great artwork...

and ate snacks.

My readers know I'm an art lover.
Check out the art spread.
My proudest moment was teaching a
watercolor class with two people who have
never painted before. 
I drew several flower bouquets for the ladies
to choose from.  They did some warm-ups
mixing paint and making a color sample sheet
to refer to while painting their pictures.
As you can see below
they did an exceptional job.

This is Jeanne's Blue Beauty.
She has never painted before.
Pretty good huh!

Deanna painted a beautiful
pastel watercolor.  Very soft
and feminine.

I went for a rich orange with
sassy spots.  Looks good
enough to eat.

Vickie was my other newbie.
She made what she thought was
a mistake...but we turned it
into wonderful feathers in the
back.  I love it.

Kris painted a fabulous full
bouquet.  I think she has
a real flair.  She also hosted
our weekend away for which
we all are so grateful.

I love that everyone was eager to try
something new.  Art is a joyous way to
connect with other people.  And it is so
absorbing that time just flies.

The expressions on my students faces
when they completed their paintings
made my heart soar.
I am so proud of them.

On another creative weekend the
painting group got together to work on
the theme Brilliant Bouquets.
Jean worked with colored pencils
to create this beautiful rose.

Karleen painted this lovely vase
with bouquet in acrylics.

Sandi opted for watercolors
for her coffee flowers.

Melysa whipped out an amazing
"O' Keeffe" type flower. Lovely.

I did a watercolor based on a 
picture from a magazine.

 And just because I was enjoying the 
theme so much...I did this one too.

You just can't go wrong with flowers for inspiration.

Until next time...which I hope was sooner than last time! 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Armchair Travelers Guide

Some of you don't know this about me but I'm kind
of a geek for personal triumph books.  You know... those
people who get it in their head to do something and
follow it through. Climbing the worlds tallest mountains
in their bare feet at 20 below without a jacket or supplies.
That kind of thing.

The other thing you should know is I'm kind of an armchair
follower.  I spend a few hours following someones adventure
and think that surely I should be able to follow through on 
something of my own.  Maybe a week with no potato chips.
That kind of thing.

I'm easily influenced by these kinds of books.  The first one I
can really remember involved walking across America.  I hatched
a plan in my head that this would be a good father / daughter
bonding project. Backpacks and sleeping bags riding heavy on
our shoulders, we would have heartfelt talks about the 
mysteries of life while exploring the back roads of these
United States. We would sleep under the stars.  Of course it would
be hard if the weather got bad or we met mean people.
I counted on the fact that my father could take them on.

It didn't occur to me that we might have awkward bathroom
issues or encounter nasty animals and snakes.  I liked the 
finishing part where we wrote the book and did put the
documentary together.  And of course there would be some fame.

The fact is....when it comes to adventure I like low doses.
My heart is willing but my bum is stuck to the leather recliner.
I'm more the speed of "The Gnome Project".  Jessica has similar
setbacks in her level of follow through fortitude.  Her solution
was to pick something that she felt she could do every day for
a year.  And so she made gnomes my friends.  Little felted gnomes,
every day...for one year.  
But she went through all of the necessary steps for a project.
The excitement of setting the goal.
The gathering of supplies.
The disbelief of friends and family. 
Deciding on the beginning and ending dates.
Going through the flush of the beginning.
Going through the I hate this phase.
Pushing through to the no way am I quiting stage.
Finding the ultimate meaning of said experience.
The pride of the accomplishment.
The book contract.
I do have some ideas for my own low key adventures.
But in the meantime here are some titles I've enjoyed from
those who DO get out of the leather chair to make
something happen.

"Julie & Julia" is the first book that inspired me to write
a blog.  It took me a few years to figure out what that blog
would be, and I'm still not sure of the direction it is going,
but I'm throwing my small adventures and accomplishments
out there...and that feels pretty good for now.

In case you have been living in a book / movie void....
"Julie & Julia" is a cooking memoir whereby Julie cooks 
her way through Julia Child's celebrated "Mastering the
Art of French Cooking" in one year, and writes about
in her blog.
"Lively...laugh out loud funny.  Julie and Julia glides by on 
prose that alternates between buttery smooth and exceedingly,
but hilariously, salty.  Writing about her life, she's funny as hell,
often obscene, with a largely unquotable vocabulary.  Writing about
food, she's sensual, deliberate, and original."
~Clea Simon, Boston Globe
Another thing you might not know about me is that I
am an HGTV fan.  House Hunters International marathon 
anyone.  That's a marathon I can make it through!  And I  love
to watch the segments on Tiny House Living.
I come by it honestly.  My mom was "The Queen of Space".
If anyone could size up a room and see the potential for using
every nook and cranny it was my mom.  She designed two 
complete studios for me during her designing reign on earth.
Fantastic use of vertical space. Way to go mom....
Recently I read "The Big TIny - A Built-it-Myself Memoir" 
by Dee Williams.  When Dee is diagnosed with a heart
condition at the age of forty-one she is reminded that, "life
is short, (and) time is precious."  She loves her house but 
doesn't love the mortgage and all that goes with it.  So...
she decides to build an eighty-four-square-foot house on her own.
"The Big Tiny is an utterly seductive meditaion on the benefits
of slowing down, scaling back, and appreciating the truly
important things in life." 

 Anyone who knows me knows I loved my trip to Paris
and will gladly visit it again and again if given the chance.
Many of my favorite artists and authors have lived there
at some point in their lives.  I am one among many who have
dreamed of having a bohemian French apartment along the Seine.

This is a description of "We'll Always Have Paris".
"From the cafes of Paris to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa,
Jennifer and Katie take on Europe one city at a time, united by 
their desire to see the world and spend precious time together.
In this heartwarming generational love story, Jennifer reveals
how their adventures helped vanquish her fear of dying...
for the sake of living".
Isn't this what it is all about?  The experiences we have alone or
with friends and family that make us feel alive.  So often we are
here, but not present.  I think that is why I enjoy my armchair travels.
They remind me of what makes us feel alive.  Sometimes we have to 
reach for it...and when we do....something amazing can happen.  We get 
out of the leather chair.  We realize we can change, grow, take on a challenge, 
and most of all..Live the Lives we came here for.  Don't ever let someone 
else tell you what your life story is.  Produce it the star of
every single chapter.  And if you write the book, I'll be sure to read it.
Peace out my faithful readers!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Watercolor Washout

This is Pickle.
He asked to host the blog today.
I met him in the shrubbery one day
conversing with Chunky Squirrel.

I would show you a picture of Chunky,
but he is a bit camera shy. 

I have been paint deep in my
 watercolors lately.  Something about
the lightness of Spring....

I came across some watercolors by
Rose Ann Hayes that inspired me to
try my hand at some floral arrangements.

Cheerful yellows and purples
in a simple glass jar.

I loved the shape of this teapot that I found
in a magazine.  Why not put flowers in that too?

See the red and green spots on the surface of
the teapot?  You get those by loading your 
brush with a lot of juicy water and paint.
Then you back up  and flick it onto the paper.

You can't predict where it will land.
Exercises like that add a small element of
danger to the process.  It's good for the 
perfectionist in me to experience a 
little serendipity!  Sometimes that ends
up as my favorite part of the picture.

I like to sit outside in the summer reading and
watching the birds feast at Shade's Snack Shack.
This little guy was inspired by another
Rose Ann Hayes painting.

I think this one is my favorite so far.
I love how aged the flower pot looks,
and the flowers look like butterflies. 

(For some reason there is great big gaps
between these pictures and it is driving me crazy!
As the British say..."Mind the gap".)

While I'm expounding on the virtues of
watercolors, check out this Raven by 
John Holdway.


 I took a class that he taught at
Oregon Art Supply.
The orange in the background is much
more vibrant than I captured.


He's got quite the personality and it only
took John a little over one hour to paint.
He sure seems like he needs a name.

John teaches regularly at Oregon Art Supply.
Check into his classes if you are wanting to
learn how to paint.


Before I go....May is ALS Awareness Month.
Please read my last post if you haven't seen it yet.
there is a way for you to support those with ALS
that will take less than a minute and not cost
you a cent.  Thank you faithful readers!

Have a great weekend.....

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Voice for ALS

Those of you who have been following my blog
know that my mother passed 2 years ago from ALS.
One of her biggest frustrations was that she lost her
ability to speak clearly and be understood.  Imagine
not being able to communicate with your family, friends,
and medical staff.  My mom would have told you she loved
to talk!  So to not be able to converse and communicate 
needs, on top of not being able to move....well,
it paints a sad picture.

I would like for those of you who feel comfortable doing so
to follow this link and add your voice to prompt Senator Wyden to 
pass the Steve Gleason bill. This vital legislation would help preserve 
Medicare coverage for speech generating devices (SGDs).  
SGDs are critical to the lives of people living with 
ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) who have lost the ability to speak.
It will take you less than a minute and possibly give
someone with this terrible illness the gift of a voice.

Please leave a comment to let me know that you have supported
this important legislation.  Thank you!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Haiku Hangover

Hello my faithful blogging peeps,
It's been a rather rainy week.
I have a special word surprise,
Involving Haiku, you may surmise.  

It started at work but then unraveled
At The Wine Lab where it traveled.
Here's a toast to Haiku taste,
And not a word drop spilled in haste.

Those itchy bug bites
Tell of happy camping days
No more school in sight.

The feeder is full
Squirrels want birdfeed snacks today
                                                   Move little Nuthatch.

Flowerpot with blooms
One could outgrow your safe home
Nurture its journey.

Dashing waterfall
Consistent in its wooing
Courts the stoney hearts.

Strawberry icecream
Melting on lips and fingers
Better get licking.

Little legs pumping fast
Red pigtails fly like streamers
Summers best playmate. 


 Roses blush today
Flaunting silk petals of youth
No thought of winter.


 The girls will gossip
After a glass of good wine
Whisper louder please.

Delicate blossoms
On outstretched limbs: Forever
Releasing skyward.
~  Sandi

 The fast cold stream
Meets the tumbled stones
Turns aside, moves on.
~  Chris

Just learning tonight
Drunken Haiku with my friends
Slurring words is fun!
~  Debbie

I'll leave you with this final gem...

The scent of dog poop
Cooking on the hot pavement
Makes me walk faster. 

The unsigned poems are mine - 
the rest are guest poets.
Please feel free to send me your
spontaneous Haiku's!