Archive | December, 2016

Saturday:) Sometimes You Really Need Your Glasses

11 Dec

There is nothing invisible in this universe! There is only our lack of eyesight!~Mehmet Murat Ildan

After my almost mishap at the DMV a couple of weeks ago, I should have known to be more careful with anything to do with my vision. The nice lady did pass me after many contortions and Hail Marys while trying to read for the vision test.  I’m far sighted, so driving isn’t a problem. I just need “cheater glasses” or readers for reading small print. 

Wednesday, I was scurrying around trying to finish painting and glittering some Christmas ornaments, and decided to bake a batch of brownies for my support group at church, also. I grabbed the box from the well stocked pantry. (I have ten to twenty boxes in there at any given time.) I don’t even have to read the directions any more. I’ve made aapproximately ten million batches of brownies in my lifetime…well…almost. (I tend to exaggerate.)

I ripped open the mix, threw it in a bowl, cracked two eggs, poured in about 1/2 cup oil and 1/4 of water and mixed.  I chopped up some Snicker candy bars, sprinkled on top and threw them in the oven at 350, turned on the timer and went upstairs to paint another twenty minutes.

When the buzzer went off, I ran downstairs, got the toothpick and checked for doneness. The puffy mixture popped and sank like a soufflé gone wrong. Hmm? It didn’t look right. I checked the box still sitting on the counter. No wonder. It was a triple chocolate fudge cake mix, not a brownie mix. It needed 3 eggs and a full cup of water. See how much the boxes look alike? Oh no! They didn’t look so happy.

So, I put on my glasses and went back into the pantry and got a brownie mix. This time I looked closely at the directions. I cut up more candy bars, this time added some mini marshmallows and sprinkled with chocolate chips before baking. They turned out  fantastically delicious.

The pan on the right was kinda dry and not as chewy and chocolatey as the brownies. So, I didn’t take them to the church group party. The brownies were perfect. Everyone loved them and I had extra to share with a few neighbors afterwards.

Did I waste the cake mix of mistaken identity brownies? No! I smooshed them up in a bowl, added some homemade cream cheese frosting, kneaded the mixture and made yummy chocolate truffle balls. Waste not, want not. I know you would want these, too. Not many left…they are so good…my tummy hurts to prove it.

Friday:) Final Blossoms Fading Fast

10 Dec

“Love without reason—bloom without season.” 

― Debasish Mridha


Final blossoms fading fast

Chill of winter here at last.

Like in life they cannot stay

Left to die and fade away.

But in Spring a bud appears

Sharing joy throughout the years.

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

I went out in the dark last night and cut the final beautiful blossoms from my rose bush. We were expecting freezing temps and frost. It’s mid December, and miraculous that the roses were still thriving and blooming this late in the season. I placed the remaining colorful blooms in a festive Christmas tea cup to brighten my kitchen and my day.

Thursday:) The Coolest Art Club and Some Cool Clouds

9 Dec

Any time women come together with a collective intention, it’s a powerful thing. Whether it’s sitting down making a quilt, in a kitchen preparing a meal, in a club reading the same book, or around the table playing cards, or planning a birthday party, when women come together with a collective intention, magic happens.

~. Phylicia Rashad

The Art Club of McKinney is the oldest Art Club in Texas, founded in 1914. It remains a thriving, ever evolving organization. Today was our annual Christmas luncheon, ornament exchange, and silent auction at the historic Heard Craig House. 

The group isn’t comprised of only women. There are a few daring and patient men who attend the meetings.  I’ll admit, the cackling and chatting can get a bit overwhelming, but in a good creative kinda way.

Lynne, Sherry, me and Lynda. We’re the Tiny TOTS (Table Of Talent Sisters.)

When a lot of ladies get together, there is a lot of really good food.

The ornament exchange was cool this year. It was suggested that all ornamnets to be exchanged should be handmade, embellished, or decorated, instead of store bought. Then, they were wrapped or in a bag, so no one knew what was inside.

Here is the one I was lucky enough to receive. A lot of beads and sparkle.

Here is an example of the ornament that I brought. Bluebonnets this year, in a handpainted box.

Oh, then we had a silent auction. Everyone was asked to bring two handmade ornaments. One for the exchange and one for the auction. And, there were over a dozen paintings donated for the auction. Here are the two paintings that I won bids on. Both of these are fabulous watercolors.

It was a fun afternoon, with fun and talented artist friends.

Now for my cool clouds. After all that yummy food, I needed a long walk. It was pretty darn cold out. In the 30’s, crisp and cloudy. I wore my heavy coat, gloves and sock monkey hat. But, the lovely evening sky was worth the cold nose and frozen fingers.

Wednesday:) Wonderful Miracles of Life

8 Dec

“If you don’t believe in miracles, look at the face of your your child. If you need further proof, hold your grandchild in your arms.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis
“Children are the rainbow of life. Grandchildren are the pot of gold.”

~ Irish proverb


The day I have been waiting for has finally arrived. My son and daughter-in-law have a new baby girl. She arrived Monday evening, and except for a few fretful days and many prayers, she’s here. A beautiful angel sent from above, with a lot of hard work from a beautiful and patient mother. 

I’m a grandma!!!! I’m so excited. We don’t live in the same town, or even the same state, but I’ll be seeing her soon. Thank you to the many friends who sent prayers and good thoughts. My blessings abound and my heart is so full and about to burst. I sure hope that I don’t cry all over my new granddaughter when I first get to hold her in my arms. Who am I kidding? I’ll have to get her a little mini raincoat.

Here she is in all her glory. Yep, I believe in miracles.

Tuesday:) Tea and Conversation at the Heard-Craig House

7 Dec

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” 

― Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady


I was invited to a Tea and Conversation at the Historic Heard-Craig House this afternoon. My friend, Sheila Johnson, invited me to be her guest at this beautiful high tea. The beautifully preserved historic home in McKinney features tours, teas,  wedding facilities, but most importantly, supports the women’s clubs of McKinney by offering space to meet at no charge. This is all due to the generous  bequest of Kathryn Heard to provide social and educational resources for the women of the community. It’s a magnificent home.

The lovely china dishware in the background behind glass was all handpainted by Kathryn Heard. It was a beautiful lunch, in a charming house, with my lovely friend. Thank you, Sheila. (Vote for Sheila Johnson- District 3 McKinney City Council. Little plug,)

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

6 Dec

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” 

― Ansel Adams


I am content with silence today.

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

5 Dec

“Nothing erases the past. There is repentance, there is atonement, and there is forgiveness. That is all, but that is enough.” 

― Ted Chiang


A fine Sunday. I expected it to be a lot colder this morning, being a little disappointed, because if it was colder, I was going to wear my sock monkey wool hat to church? Darn! Dignity prevailed, silliness must wait for a colder morning.

Today’s Gospel was the story of John the Baptist, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’


My take on it…you can talk all you want and pretend you are sorry, but if you continue your evil ways and do not make amends, God knows what’s in your heart. You can’t fool Him.

After Mass, the women’s craft group had their holiday sale. Guess who I saw? My dear friend, Miss Bonita.

I bought another cross for my collection and an ornament. All the crafts were made by the church ladies in the group.

After Mass, I stopped at the store, then went for a walk. It was a gloomy day. But, the layers of gorgeous grey clouds were breathtaking with the contrasting fall colors. 

It was a fine day. HAPPY SUNDAY!

Saturday:) Some Seriously Sweet Bikers

3 Dec

“If you don’t ride in the rain, you don’t ride.”

~Author Unknown


It was a dark and dreary and rainy morning. Not the greatest day for the Annual Toys for Tots Mortorcylcle Run here in McKinney. But, rain or shine, the ride was taking place. I’ve been attending this charitable event for several years now. NO! I don’t ride a motorcycle, (heaven forbid- I’m a big chicken) but my friends David and Karen Marks are coordinators, and proudly support the national Marine effort to bring toys and joys to children during the holidays. 

Unfortunately, the cold temps, drizzle, and threatening storms kept a lot of bikers from participating. There have been as many as 700 or more participants in the past runs. This morning, probably around seventy five die-hard bikers braved the elements for this worthy cause. These are some seriously sweet bikers.

Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the Marines were on hand to collect toys. My friend David Marks, in the green jacket, has been coordinating the run for eleven years now. Thousands of Dallas area children receive toys during Christmas thanks to the Marines and the many volunteers and sponsors.

Friday:) A Few Special Friends, Fine Food, and Fun Gifts

3 Dec

“Homemade and handcrafted with love is the greatest gift to give, and the greatest gift to receive.”

-Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

“Presents are made for the pleasure of who gives them, not the merits of who receives them.” 

― Carlos Ruiz Zafón


Christmas is my favorite time of year. Personally, I think we should have the Christmas spirit all year round, but it doesn’t work that way. I like that people seem jollier, strangers are cheerful, and I love all the lights, decorations, and glitz. Yes! The more glitz the better.

One of the cool things about being an artist with many artist friends is, we get to share our talents with one another. We share ideas, teach each other various crafty techniques, share art supplies, and sometimes go shopping and thrifting together. The absolute BEST part is the homemade gifts for birthdays and holidays. Homemade and handcrafted with love is the greatest gift.

I was thinking about that this morning as I was making my homemade pasta salad for lunch. If I was given the option of the gift of a pair of two carat diamond earrings or a pink  painted noodle necklace that my son made just for me in kindergarten, well, you know I’d choose the noodle necklace. I don’t think I’m the only one, either. So, as I packed up my handpainted ornaments for my friends and finished embellishing my homemade pasta salad, I was excited to see what creative and lovely gifts would be shared at our little artist girlfriend gathering. 

Lynne, me, Sherry and Lynda. The talent and creativity of these lovely ladies could light up the evening sky. 

This is the ornament that I made for my friends this year.

We had lunch at Lynda’s new studio in the historic district in McKinney. The room is filled to the brim with amazing watercolor masterpieces. An artist’s dream studio. We sat and visited and giggled and ate. It was a wonderful afternoon, sharing food, friendship and special gifts. That’s what the holidays are all about.

Here are some the special gifts I have received from a few of my special friends. I will cherish them always. By the way, I still have that painted noodle necklace that my son made for me in kindergarten, and all the other treasures my boys made for me. Noodles over diamonds any time.

Thursday:) This Is What I Love To Do

2 Dec

“I think people who are creative are the luckiest people on earth. I know that there are no shortcuts, but you must keep your faith in something Greater than You, and keep doing what you love. Do what you love, and you will find the way to get it out to the world.”~Judy Collins

Painting is a pastime and a passion, and depending on the time of year, it can be a pretty all consuming endeavor. But…I love it. This year my theme is bluebonnets. Perfect for the Texas folks or beautiful for everyone else.

Unfortunately, I discovered that Hobby Lobby will not be carrying or be able to order these blank frosted ornamnets anymore. I’ve been painting ornamnets for almost twenty years. Now what will I do? I had friends and family scouring all the Hobby Lobby stores to buy all they had on the shelves. I sure hope that I find another source by next year. 

Yes, I’ve been a busy girl. Yes, I’m a lucky girl.