Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Shortest Day

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!"

- Susan Cooper, The Shortest Day

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Flaws and Knotholes

"Our flaws, our imperfections motivate us to become pliable, moldable, and teachable. And like knots in wood, they give us our uniqueness and character. They help to bend or even break us to the point where we are able to recognize the needs of others and to help them."
From the book Hope Rising by Kim Meeder

Monday, December 10, 2012

Home Is Best

"A man travels the world over in search for what he needs
And returns home to find it."
George Moore

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Home, Heart, and Holidays

Not that she didn't enjoy the holidays: but she always felt-and it was, perhaps, the measure of her peculiar happiness-a little relieved when they were over. Her normal life pleased her so well that she was half afraid to step out of its frame in case one day she should find herself unable to get back. The spell might break, the atmosphere be impossible to recapture. Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Creativity and What Matters Most

"Ultimately, it doesn't matter to the world if you paint or dance or write. The world can probably get by without the product of your efforts. But that is not the point. The point is what the process of following your creative impulses will do for you. It is clearly about process. Love the work, love the process. Our fascination will pull our attention forward. That, in turn, will fascinate the viewer." Creative Authenticity by Ian Roberts

Monday, December 3, 2012

Coming Home

She reached her doorstep. The key turned sweetly in the lock. That was the kind of thing one remembered about a house: not the size of the rooms or the colour of the walls, but the feel of door-handles and light-switches, the shape and texture of the banister-rail under one's palm; minute tactual intimacies, whose resumption was the essence of coming home.
Excerpt from Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Photographic Redos

I consider myself more of a photographer than a painter, but painting just won't let go of me. One of my favorite things to do is to take one of my photographs and change it.

Here are two paintings that started off as photographs. The one of the ruins is the Old Sheldon Church off Highway 17 in South Carolina; pretty close to Beaufort. I've photographed it several times in different seasons. If you go anytime of the year, any season, take a container of potent bug repellant. The tiny mosquitos about carried me off last time! I was holding my camera with one hand and making flapping motions from head to foot with the other. It makes for some interesting photographs, that's for sure!

So for this technique, I took my original 4x6 color photograph,copied,and enlarged it onto gray watercolor paper. I then recolored it using watercolor pencils. The result is a finely executed watercolor painting. Since my drawing skills are pretty poor, this is a good way to let my photograph do the drawing for me.

The second painting is a watercolor using my image of a foggy morning in Virginia as a guide. The finished painting is a 5x8, so it's pretty small. I like to paint small so I can finish a painting in one quick sitting. I really don't have the patience to work on a piece for hours or days at a time. Instant gratification is the ticket for me!

I've tried many different techniques combining photography with painting which I'll share as the mood strikes. What different techniques have you tried, and were you happy with the results?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Art and The Things You Love

"Your art is to be the praise of something that you love." John Ruskin
Here are three small watercolors of mine painted within the last 2-3 years and are of things that I love; the ocean, a Paris street scene, and a country cottage. I know that I'm not a very good painter, but I derive an extreme amount of pleasure from trying to capture with paint and paper the world I see.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Madeleine L'Engle Jackpot

Look what I found at Goodwill; three Madeleine L'Engle books. Not only that but two of them are signed by the author! How exciting is that? I wonder if that greatly adds to the value? It makes them more valuable to me! I love Goodwill! Sorry for the image that didn't quite finish loading. I must have clicked too soon. You can still see the signature, and that's what's important!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thomas Merton and Solitude

I've long been interested in the works of the Cistercian monk Thomas Merton. I've read Thoughts in Solitude and have in my library but haven't read The Seven Storey Mountain and The Secular Journal of Thomas Merton. I hope to read them both soon. Now I'm reading The Value of Solitude, The Ethics and Spirituality of Aloneness in Autobiography by John D. Barbour, and he devotes a chapter to Thomas Merton. The above image is from this book. There are an amazing number of opinions on solitude held by as many people. Some crave it and some are repulsed by it calling it the utmost in selfishness. I fall into the first camp. How about you?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

"Harmony happens when behavior and belief come together-when we are living our highest truth." Jean Shinoda Bolen

Friday, October 26, 2012

October...Don't Leave

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Thursday, October 25, 2012


"When from our better selves we have too long Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop, Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired, How gracious how benign, is Solitude." William Wordsworth

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Children lose their innocence piece by piece. The layers are carved away until our hearts have been exposed and polished into an unnatural gloss. We spend the rest of our lives trying to remember why we ever loved so passionately and how we dreamed so simply, before life chiseled us down
to the core. From The Stone Flower Garden by Deborah Smith.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Delicious Autumn

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth searching for successive autumns." -- George Eliot

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

An Older Mom

Click on the picture to enlarge it so you'll be able to read the poem. This is a poem I tore from a magazine when I was a young mom. Something in it touched me, so I saved it. Never did I think that I would be 56 and have a 14-year-old child. I am that woman in the poem. Yes, it makes me sad that my youngest child won't ever know me as a young mom. All she knows is a graying, middle-aged spread mama. I tell her that I'm a much better mama now than I was in my 30's. What I've lost in physical beauty I've gained in wisdom and patience, although sometimes I have neither. I have a greater capacity for love now and a greater awareness of our human condition. I'm much less judgmental. But how can a young teenager know these things and understand? She can't now nor should she know. I think she will someday when she's raised several children and become a grandmother herself. But I know I'll never see it in my lifetime. I take it on faith that God will continue His good work in her already begun. And with that I must be content.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

When Life Gets To Be "Too Much"

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

— Wendell Berry

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Are Cheese Straws a Southern Thing?

I mentioned making Cheese Straws in a previous post, and several of you said you'd never heard of them. Here's the recipe from our church cookbook. I served them yesterday at my book group meeting.

Disclaimer: I didn't actually make these in the photo. Our Farmer's Market had them for sale, and I was on a time crunch this week, so I bought some. That's why they're in those squiggly shapes. I don't have the gadget needed to make them in this shape. When I make mine, I make round ones about the size of half dollars.


1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. red pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients. Roll into 1-inch balls, place on ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten. Bake for 8-12 minutes until lightly browned.

So what about it ya'll? Are Cheese Straws a 'Southern' thing?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What Is True Religion?

A paragraph from Knowing God by J.I. Packer: "Godliness means responding to God's revelation in trust and obedience, faith and worship, prayer and praise, submission and service. Life must be seen and lived in the light of God's Word. This, and nothing else, is true religion."

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hex Floor Tile Redo

I need advice. I've read somewhere about how to make grout black, other than mildew, between tiny hexagonal tiles. When we put this floor in with white grout, I didn't think about how it would look twenty-two years later. It's a dingy shade of tan. I've bleached it and tried all kinds of cleaners. It just won't come white again. So I want to make the grout black. Would a Sharpie permanent marker do the trick? Any ideas or suggestions?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Postcard Swap A Hit!

All the postcards are in from the swap mentioned here:

They came from all over the world. There were three photographs and three artworks. They also put their websites or blogs on the backs so I can contact them and see more of their work. I love exploring the art community and making new friends. This swap was a great idea!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How To Build Community

Our country definitely needs to do more of these things. I need to do more of these things. How about you? How would life change if we all chose to be more community oriented?