Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rockin' the ROCKs!!!!

I have a thing for rocks.
Not shiny, sparkly rocks.
Not rocks that you wear on your fingers.
Just . . .rocks.
The plain, grey rocks you find near a river or by the ocean.
Rocks that fit in your hand.
Rocks that are smooth and rounded from years of rolling around in the water.
I love the way they look.
I love the weight of them.
I love the way they feel in your hand.
I love to stack them and lie them around on tables and fill jars with them.

As a young girl, I remember spending hours every day while I was on our beach vacations "rock hunting".
In fact I would spend so many hours, that I would see miles and miles of rocks when i closed my eyes to go to sleep.

On our recent trip to the beach I found myself walking at the water's edge looking for my idea of the perfect rock.
And I found some wonderful ones.
Flat surfaces, the perfect size and SMOOTH.

I later sat at my table, paint brushes in hand and I felt compelled to paint.
But rather than reaching for the canvases, I found the rocks in my hand.
Oh - just one, I thought.
A few timeless hours later . . .

Words on one side, painted images on the other.
These are the perfect size to attach to a painting . . .stay tuned for a preview of those.
Or to add a magnet and adorn the refrigerator.

There truly was something magical about painting these.
It reminded me of being a child and we would create murals with our beach treasures and paint the rocks we found.
I felt a strong connection to the earth while I held them and painted them.
I'm sure there will be many more of these in my future.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Apples and peaches

A Riddle . . .
What do you get when you cross a sink full of apples . . .

A counter full of peaches. . .

A family of busy bees in the kitchen . . .

A few sassy attitudes . . .

And a day of working together. . .

A hot stove and a few large pans???

You get a whole lot of winter satisfaction in the form of bright oranges globes floating in sweet, amber liquid.

And creamy sauce with just the right amount of sugar and spice.

And a great feeling of "look how we spent our weekend?"

Homemade applesauce and home canned peaches - it doesn't get much better than that!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ready or Not, Here It Comes

As I am meandering back to my office after an enjoyable lunch break
I look over to my left.

What is that?
Why are those leaves red?
What kind of plant is that?
Wait . . .
The leaves should be green like the other ones around it.

And then it hits me . . .
it's September.
Fall is coming.

Ready or not . . .it's on its way.

It's time for shorter days, cooler nights, crisper mornings.
Bowls of warm soup with crusty bread.
Changing leaves.
Doesn't that sound wonderful?

OK - I tried.
I tried to make it sound wonderful and romantic and as if I am exicted for the change.
But Nope.
It's not working.
I'm sure I will get my brain wrapped around it soon enough - but the point is -
I'm not quite done with summer yet.

I still haven't eaten the perfect peach that drips down your arm when you bite into it.
I haven't gotten my fill of watermelon.
I haven't had enough naps out in my hammock listening to the windchime.
I still haven't gone to the river and jumped into the cold water - grateful for that initial burst of cold against my hot and sweaty skin.
I haven't sat in a park listening to the music at a free outdoor concert.
I haven't even had a chance to get tired of the hot temperatures or the stale air conditioned air.
I still haven't gotten a chance to drive to the mountain to visit a lake and float around on our inflatable raft.
I haven't smelled enough warm blackberries growing wild on the side of the road.
I haven't walked around the farmers market on a warm Saturday morning gathering a basketfull of fresh produce.
I haven't heard the ice cream truck drive through my neighborhood, with it's tinny speakers blasting out the sounds of childhood.
I haven't stepped into the shower, cursing myself as the water stings my sunburned shoulders because I forgot to reapply the sunscreen - but grateful at the same time because my day was spent playing outside.

So - for the time being, I am going to ignore the changing colors on the trees.
And I am going to do my best to hold on to summer just a bit longer.

How bout you?
Are you ready for the change of season?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Only in Netarts!

If you are ever on the Oregon Coast and happen to travel through Netarts, Oregon -
you will pass by a little place that will make you turn your head.
You will slow down your car and wonder . . .
Should I stop?

And the answer is YES!

This is Lexi's Cool Stuff.
I mean - how can you not stop at a place that is full of Cool Stuff???

A tiny little cottage full of . . .everything.
Clothes, jewelry, paintings, dishes, chachkis of all kind.
Now, just in case you are still wondering what kind of place Lexi's is - I looked up the definition of chachki and it reads "a nicknack or 'all sorts of crap'".
Enough said.
And besides - saying it is a shop full of chachkis sounds so much better than saying there is all sorts of crap.
Wouldn't you agree?

But best of all - there is Lexi.
A woman who loves what she does.
She is living her dream.

From the second you walk in her shop, you realize that you are someplace special.
This is not your average thrift shop or antique shop.
Everything has a story -
and she will oblige you with where she found the item, how she got it back to her shop, and what the place or person from which she found it was like.

Lexi will show you around and get to know you.
She'll show you some of the cowboy boots and clothes.
She'll show you her office - a table outside in the front with a low-tech cash box that she trustingly leaves just sitting there.
She'll event show you the bathroom/dressing room with old recycled wallpaper and fringed light fixtures which a local lovingly deemed "the brothel".
There is even a handwritten sign in the bathroom that reads
"Please don't poop - there isn't a fan in here".
I mean really . . .are you going to find that kind of customer intimacy at Target?

And when you are done shopping - she will send you on her way with a fresh baked brownie.
When was the last time you shopped and were given a fresh baked brownie???
And if you don't want to eat it now - she wraps it up and sends it with you.

Only in Netarts.  Only at Lexis.

Her sign is made out of shells! See the table with the cashbox???

A large concrete hand - ready to sit in. And can you resist when the fingernails are painted bubble gum pink?

Rows and rows and rows of old creates filled with . . .(ahem) . . .chachkis!

And who doesn't need one of these??? And he MOVES! He waves at you!!!

Thanks Lexi! We thoroughly enjoyed our visit!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Oceanside Labor Day Sale

We had our annual Labor Day sale in Oceanside.
This was a bit different for us this year.
Mama Bear was tired.
Very tired.
I really didn't want to go to the sale this year -
Beach . . .Yes!
Sale . . .No!

Papa Bear made a compromise.
We do the sale in Oceanside as planned.
But in stead of me sitting all day for SAturday and Sunday managing things -
he would do it.

How could I turn down that offer?

So  - he drove down ahead of me and set up our space.
He managed the sale and talked to the customers.
He worked all day Saturday and Sunday.

Now don't get me wrong -
I worked too!
I had important things to do . . .
Books to read.. . .

Sculptures to design . . .
(OK - truth be told - I had nothing to do with the turtle sand sculpture. This was all my daughter and friend. -
And really - everyone makes castles.
A turtle is so much more original . . .)

There were sunsets to watch . . .

And more sunsets . . .

And I painted . . .a lot!
I mean - I worked HARD all weekend.

Do you believe me???

Friday, September 9, 2011

Everything Old is New Again

You know the story -
You buy a new shirt - a new WHITE shirt.
I am an artist - almost everything I own has paint on it.
What doesn't have paint on it usually ends up with some other type of stain.
I am a bit of a "slob" - what can I say.
So why do I insist on trying to buy and wear white?
Oh well . . .I digress -
On with the story . . .

you wear the white shirt once.
You are very, very careful.
When it is dirty, you put it in the wash -
you look it over carefully and there are no food stains and no paint.
Whew! You did good.

The shirt is washed.
You even hang it to dry.
You go to wear it again and . . .WHAT????
It has a purple stain on it. Don't know what it is or where it came from.
It wasn't there when it went in the wash.

The shirt is now a paint shirt . . .or is it?

While on my weekend away, I decided to try an experiment.
I took the stained, but otherwise clean white shirt (that had only been worn once) and got it wet.
I gave it a good wringing out to remove the excess water.

And then . . .

fluid acrylic paints were put on a paper plate and I added water to them.
I watered them waaaaay down.
 and using my paint brush I started dabbing blobs of paint on my shirt.

I tried not to "paint" anything - just blobs.
I let the wet paint and the wet t-shirt do it's thing.

I added more colors - keeping in mind how the various color would react if they came in contact with each other.
All those years of painting with watercolors came in handy here!

I pulled some of the color in long lines to add variety.

Then I waited.

And waited.
For the shirt to dry a bit and let the colors set.
If I had been at home, I probably wouldn't have had to wait as long because it was was warm.
But I was on the coast and it was a bit cooler and damp out.

After it was "mostly" dry - I got out my bottle of scribbles three-dimensional paint.
Black was my color of choice.
And I began to add shape and texture.
The trick was to move my hand quick and not let the paint get too "thick".
I didn't want the end result to be stiff.
And I wanted it to have a very free, unformal style.

In the end - I think I turned that stained $7.00 tshirt into a custom designed shirt that I can wear with pride.
Hmmm . . .what other clothes do I have that could use a makeover?