Thursday, September 3, 2015

Nature Is a Painting

  How's the weather in your neck of the woods? Here in PA it certainly still feels like summer with continued high temps feeling like the 90's F along with high humidity. So of course my thoughts are still on summer and our recent vacation in Fenwick Island , DE.

                                             Nature's Treasures ( 8" x 6" canvas board)

 The base was first painted in several bright colors then mostly gone over with several blue colors. I adhered feathers and Jingle shells I crushed (to resemble mica flakes).

 This is what they look like:
  A few days ago I received a new stash of pens in the mail!

 Some I needed to replace and some are new to me and I wanted to try them out. These come from JetPens online. I think the prices are really good, they ship free $25 and up, and their service is fast and excellent!

 Here's a detail of the gold pen-very hard to capture but it is GORGEOUS and flows perfectly smooth:

 I haven't had much time to play with the new to me ones yet. But the uniball signo pens are my very favorite and I have them in several colors although it is the white one that I use the most-it is THE best by far although I think I am going to like the Posca pen too.

Do you have any of these pens/markers? What are your favorites? How do you use them?
 Please do share!

 Besides the beach my thoughts have also been about France - especially since I just sent Mom off to spend a whole month visiting her family. And so I will share with you a journal spread I had done some years ago in a book I dedicated to times spent there with my French family.

The words mean "by the window". I used a photo of shutters I took in France then printed them out on cardstock and cut them to go over photos inside.

 And to reveal how old this is-that is my dear aunt top left- who is now 81 yrs. old-my Mom's oldest sister. I was always closest to her so it was especially difficult knowing I wasn't able to go and see her again with my Mom this time. Top right is hubby. There was always a clean table cloth put on the table at my grandmother's and afterwards we'd shake the crumbs off  by waving it out the kitchen window. She lived in a  3rd floor apt. - and as you can guess- I did lose a cloth that went on a line below one time:):) Bottom left is my MéMé , my mother's mother who is no longer with us. Everytime we went out she'd stand by her front window to wave us off and watch us leave, and then she'd be there again when we returned. She was a ton of fun and we all miss her so. Bottom right is my son-who was 7 then and he is now 27!!
 Thanks for indulging me a bit with my nostalgia. I am truly grateful to have so many remembrances of the happy times spent there.
 Hope you all have a wonderful weekend coming up. Here in the US it will be an extended weekend as Monday is our Labor Day holiday and most will have the day off. Enjoy!
 Linking to Art Journal Every Day, Art Journal Journey (theme for this month is "Through My Window"), and Paint Party Friday.
 " Nature is a painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty if only we have the eyes to see them."                                                           John Ruskin


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

It May Be September...

... but I am still holding on to summer! And it appears the weather is too with a whole week of heat and humidity into the 90's F. No complaints here despite what my body may be saying:)

 Another photo from our beach vaycay. Strawberry margharitas! Of course I snagged the umbrellas and napkins:):)

 We've been enjoying the prolific fruits of the garden at home and I have a French recipe to share to use those tomatoes and zucchinis:

                                                 Tian Provençal (recipe at end of post)

 Speaking of garden, I have a visitor who made a grand home at the corner of our house and fence out back:

  It is a common Garden Orb Weaver spider. Sorry for the bad pics-neither my camera nor the photographer are up to getting great shots. It was the huge and magnificent web that caught my attention first. It spans about 3 ft. high by 2 ft. wide and oh how I wish I could have captured the intricacy of it! The spider itself is just over the size of a quarter. I love watching for it each day-it somehow feels sacred because my first thought of the marking on it was of a cross. It's not deadly so no worries.


 OK, I know not everyone appreciates spiders so how about some art?

 My journal page began with a watercolor wash. See my previous post for the links to a fun and easy tutorial from Dianne! There will be a few more of these type of pages to share soon.

 Remember the umbrellas from our beach drinks? This page also was a perfect thank you card for our friends:

 I resized and printed the page, attaching it to a white card with foam tape and stamped coordinating envelopes.

 Linking to T Stands For Tuesday at Altered Book Lover. Will be around to visit in between rheumatologist appts. for myself and my Mom this morning and then I am helping her pack for her month long trip to France (she leaves on Thursday) to spend time with family (yes, I wish I was going too).

 Hope you are staying cool, or staying warm, whatever the case may be! I am leaving you with a special quote. Dr. Wayne Dyer, self help author, motivational speaker and spiritual leader died Aug. 29th at the age of 75. He was a very wise and kind man and will be missed by many. He has helped me and then hubby in SO many ways. I am ever so grateful for the gifts he has given.

      " I believe if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
                                                                                                                        Dr. Wayne Dyer
                                                   Tian   Provençal
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling      1 onion, sliced     1 garlic clove, chopped
1 lb. tomatoes        1 lb. zucchini       2 tsp. dried herbes de Provence    salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. fresh grated Parmesan cheese
 Preheat oven to 350 F.  Heat oil in heavy saucepan over low heat and cook onion and garlic for about 20 min. til soft and golden. Spread over the base of a shallow baking dish (about 12"). Cut tomatoes crosswise into 1/4 " thick slices. Cut zucchini into slices. Arrange tomatoes along sides and add zucchini in center over the onion mixture. Sprinkle with herbes, salt, pepper and cheese. Drizzle with olive oil then bake for 30 min or more until vegetables are tender. Serve hot or room temp. Serves 4.
Tips: This is most flavorful when tomatoes are at the height of their season. Mix some of this into eggs and sauté in an omelette type pan on stovetop for a nice , light frittata. Bon appetit!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Life's A Beach!


 Well, it was anyway-for two weeks! How are you lovelies??? Although I have neglected you and my own blog for (really???) almost 4 weeks I have thought of you often. It was my choice to completely unplug while away, and then when you get home to STUFF in addition to the cleaning, unpacking washing etc. etc. time gets away but you just have to grab it back, right? So here I am again with photos , art and good news to share-if you can bare with me to the end of this post:)

 Above is a page I did while on vacation. I'll have other similar pages to share, thanks to Dianne of the T Stands For Tuesday gang over at Altered Book Lover, and the great little tutorial she provided in this post! The only bag of art supplies I took with me while away were supplies to do sketching, watercolor and collage-something I needed to continue work on-including my "Draw Your Awesome Life" class lessons.

 The beach part:

     We enjoyed so many gorgeous sunsets over the bay side, and a rainbow over the ocean!

  We all ate very well, each taking turns cooking the dinners each nite. Some of our dinners included pasta primavera, caprese salad, lobster and champagne, and penne a la vodka-YUM!

 We got a shopping day in and also had some fun modeling some new things:

 Our sweet hostess and friend Lynne (second from left at top) gifted each of us ya ya sisters (beach goddesses) with a gorgeous scarf from Seville Spain! Of course she gave me a red one:):)

  And not to be outdone by us girls-hubby had to have some modeling time in too:

   Showing off the special shorts he bought especially for our lobster nite dinner (they have little black embroidered lobsters on them).

  OK, and in this pic he is wearing MY leggings-the ones I just bought that he originally made fun of!! They are now safely tucked away in MY dresser drawer thank you:):)

 Lots of talk and laughter both on the ocean deck and bay deck, with cherished friends-it doesn't get better than this!

  Even our Annie (who will be 14 in October) was a trooper despite all the coming and going and being tired.

 In addition to some family drama I did come home to some great news too. Our son (who had to move back home a few weeks ago) has landed a good job right here in town after job searching the last 8 months!! It is in his field and he was so excited to begin today. And I received my complimentary issue of Holidays and Celebrations 2015 for having these two pieces published:

                                                           "America"  6" x 6" quiltie

                                                            "Erin Go Bragh" prayer flag

  This is another journal page like the one I shared at the top of this post:

 One more page to share:

 This was inspired by Kim Dellow. Watercolor squares in which I quickly drew faces in ball point pen(yes it was scary) then made frames around each with Pitt pens.

 Whew! Linking to Art Journal Journey, Art Journal Every Day, Art it Friday-Show Your Face, Express Your CreativityPaint Party Friday, and T Stands For Tuesday. I am SO looking forward to reconnecting with you all again!

" The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination, and brings external joy to the soul."  Wyland


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Songs Of Summer

  Well, the weather continues to be very hot and humid, with a serious heat wave expected the next days ...but no complaints here! We are enjoying the fruits of our neighbor's wonderful garden for one thing:

There is basil and dill within the fence along with from left-eggplants, cucumber growing along our yard fence, peppers, new lettuces, green beans, kale, more lettuces, swiss chard. Other herbs outside the fenced area are thyme, tarragon, sage, mint, raspberry bushes and rosemary.

Another view-further back. Pole beans, tomatoes along the wood fence, and behind it is zucchinis!

SO, with all this fabulous and healthful produce I wanted to use a lot of it to my best advantage-and I am doing that by not only cooking with it all, but by drinking it!

 I bit the bullet and bought the Bullet (sorry, I just couldn't resist). It's the NutriBullet 900 pro series juicer that I was able to get for an amazingly great deal! This is a kale and mango drink and it is delish!! I have been enjoying playing with a variety of ingredients-so far a mix of greens and fruit. They are enough to fill me up at noontime or so since I don't usually eat lunch, plus with all the nutrients I'm getting I don't feel it necessary to take so many supplements. Since I couldn't possibly eat all the ingredients whole in a salad bowl this is a perfect solution for me.  Now I have hubby and son wanting in too:)

 Enjoying all the birds outdoors too-and I was thrilled to be able to get a few pics of one of our visiting hummingbirds! They're not the best as I had  the zoom on my camera but at least I got something. Poor hubby has been taking his really good camera out off and on-and if he even sees one-they take off and he has yet to get a pic. Competition has kicked in and he's determined more than ever though:):)

 Linking to T Stands For Tuesday. And speaking of, last week Elizabeth celebrated her second anniversary of this challenge and welcomed a swap of ATCS if anyone linking was interested. I sent something off , and yesterday I received this beautiful packet of things:

 This came from Debbie (Craftymoose). She not only sent a darling tea inspired ATC with a sweet little teapot charm attached, but two cold brew teabags to try, a packet of wonderful ephemera, and a card with a hummingbird and my very favorite poppy on it! Thank you Debbie!!

 And for my art part:

This journal page was inspired by several things. First, I watched the Tour De France cycling  race every day for the last several weeks until it ended in Paris on Sunday. Second, my Mom just booked a trip to France to see her family (they all live there) for a whole month! And thirdly, I was having dreams about being in France-and my dreams were actually in the French language! Has that ever happened to any of you- where you speak more than one language and dream in it too? I am sad that I am not able to go with my Mom but so happy that she will have this opportunity to see her sisters, brother and extended family members, as some are not in good health and aging.
 The background is a gelli plate deli paper print. I used a profile image from a French magazine, along with some postcard ephemera and stamps from an envie I received. A few postmark stamp images and a rust heart finish the page.
 Linking to Art Journal Journey (theme of post/postage), Mix It Monthly (theme is the facial profile), and Paint Party Friday. I'll be seeing you!
    " Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it."   Tagore

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Par"T"y Time!

 A very happy 2nd anniversary to Tuesday's "T Stands For Tuesday" hosted each week by Elizabeth and Bleubeard of Altered Book Lover!!! Through this link up I have met people from all over the world. It's a place where we share anything drink related-like an actual beverage, or an outing, or an art page, or a book-anything so long as there is a link to a beverage somehow. Anyone can join in and link any week so please do take a peek and perhaps bring a cuppa to share too:) Thank you to our fabulous hostess!
 The other week I had a celebration dinner for my Mom for her birthday and mentioned the special  baba au rhum cake I was making her. I didn't even think to explain what it was or translate-so here it is. The French translates to "cake of rum" It is a yeasted cake with raisins. You make a sugar syrup with rum , pour some over a handful of raisins to soak, then slowly pour the remainder over the warm cake to let it soak in also. Here's a few pics:
 These are the flowers and cards I left at her house on her actual birthday day since she was on a day trip with friends.

 The baba au rhum:

And this is how my Mom was enjoying it:

 As if there wasn't enough rum involved, the tradition with my families in France was always to bring the rum to the table and splash a bit more on the cake! those French:):) My Mom thoroughly enjoyed it-and not to worry-she didn't have to drive!

 On a completely different note-lookie what my neighbor discovered in her yard:

I looked it up and found that it is an Imperial Moth. Here's another pic to give you a better idea of the size of it:

 See it on the bottom? It's on a large bag of grass clippings and behind it are large bags of mulch! My neighbor knew I'd want to get a pic. I'd never seen one of these nor any of this size. Apparently the wingspan is anywhere from 4" - 6 7/8 " (8-17.4 cm)! I looked earlier today but it's gone.

 Do you like investigating strange bugs and critters? I think the only insect I really freak out about are the centipedes-eeeewwww!!

 Linking to T Stands For Tuesday and Art Journal Journey (theme is post/postage). I'll be around to visit in between  a dr. appt. I have to take my Mom to this AM. We are having yet another oppressive hot and humid day so I plan on staying in mostly. Still purging and cleaning to make room for our son moving back next week too:)

                      " Life should not only be lived, it should be celebrated! " Osho