Tag Archives: McKinney

Thursday:) McKinney Empty Bowls 2021

30 Apr


“After a full belly all is poetry.”
― Frank McCourt

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This evening was the wonderful McKinney Empty Bowls event at MPAC on the Square. The annual charity event supports Community LifeLine, which helps feed the less fortunate in our community. The rain held off, with threatening clouds and drizzle all day. We lucked out.

I was honored that my bowl was displayed front and center of the display with all the other awesome handcrafted auction bowls.
There were hundreds of event bowls that were available with the purchase of a ticket, and others for an additional fee. These were created by volunteers, church and school groups, and other donations.
There was entertainment and many restaurants and area food vendors donated soups and desserts to feed the visitors.

Local potters were on hand to show the art of throwing clay bowls. My friend Steve Macias was busy creating beautiful bowls.

Bernard’s Gourmet Foods won People’s Choice for their black bean soup. I’ll have to agree. Congratulations David Bernard!

A big thank you to all the volunteers, donors, artists and visitors who came together to support Community LifeLine and feeding the hungry, “ONE BOWL AT A TIME.”

Saturday on the Square:) Arts In Bloom 2021

11 Apr

“Art is in the air, art is everywhere, must be because… it’s Arts In Bloom on the Square.”

Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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It was the perfect afternoon for Arts In Bloom on the Square In Downtown McKinney today. The three day festival had a shaky windy start Friday evening, but today was gorgeous and tomorrow should be even nicer. Yay!

Helen and I met Sherri, walked around a little, then had a yummy lunch at The Pantry. The Square was packed and we ran into a lot of friends and artists on our adventures.

So many talented friends, so much to see, so little time.
Musicians performed along the streets and the wine tasting venue was hopping.
Colorful flowers, crowded streets, food vendors, packed restaurants, and artwork everywhere. Many people were wearing their masks, unless they were eating or drinking. (But, most everyone was eating and drinking) We had our masks on except for photo ops.
Of course, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to take a photo with a few of McKinney FD’s finest. A few familiar faces under those masks.
There was also a nice representation of McKinney PD officers.
A fine fun day was had by all.

Friday:) Finally Back at Towne Creek, Friends, Food, and My McKinney Firefighters.

3 Apr

I’d like to be settled into somewhat of a normal life. Somewhat. I know it’s never going to be completely normal.

Michael Jordan

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Well, today was the day. The first time in exactly a year since Helene and I were able to go to Towne Creek Senior Apartments for our arts and crafts group. We were both so excited. We took enough food, drinks, snacks, and art projects to last a month. I’ll show you the baking and food frenzy another time.

The ladies made all kinds of Easter projects. Bunny bags, wooden cross hangers, and cross book marks.
Helene and I made up bag lunches with lots of food and goodies, plus extra to take home for later. It was a fun afternoon.

On my way home, I stopped off at Station 9 to drop off some Peep cupcakes. I had stopped at 1:30 on my way to Towne Creek, but everyone was out on a call. On my way home around 6, I caught them in the middle of dinner. Just in time for dessert.

It’s almost 9 pm, I’ve been on my feet all day and I’m exhausted… in a good way. Thank goodness it’s Friday.

Cheers, my friends!

Wednesday:) What’s Happenin’ In My World

4 Mar


“It’s okay to be crazy and scared and brave at the same time!”
― Kelly Epperson

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This certainly is a crazy scary world nowadays, but life goes on. And, we have to make the best of it, so it’s okay to be crazy and scared and brave. Hopefully, that will include being smart and exclude being stupid.

I’m trying to continue on with my life, being careful and considerate. I’ve gotten my first dose of vaccine and have an appointment for my second next week. Even then, I will continue to wear my mask and try to keep others safe. But, I’ll still do my thing.

Yesterday, Helene and I masked up and went over to Holy Family School with a trunk load of our donations for the little ones. We stock up on sales every week and about once a month, we drive over to the east side for our “happy fix.” We had baby wipes, Gold Fish crackers, juice, cereal, bottled water, and other snacks. The staff is always happy to see us, and we love peeking in on the little ones napping or going out to the playground.

It was kinda funny, today, on my Facebook memories from last year on this day, this cute photo popped up. (Pre-scary Covid time.)

When Helene and I were leaving downtown McKinney, we spotted the mounted patrol putting the horses in the trailer for their rest and lunch break. (The horses, not the officers. Well, maybe them too.) Officer John even recognized me with my mask and said, “Haven’t seen you in a long time.” Officer Kevin said the same, and the horses were glad to get a pat on the nose and a gentle nuzzle. Do you think they remember me, too?

Aren’t they adorable! The horses….well, the officers too.

Today, I met my friend Krys for a quick lunch and to pick up my order. She had sewn some special order items for my little granddaughters. I wanted to get them shipped before Easter, so she’s been working diligently. Not easy with the power outages we had. (Thanks Krys)

Aren’t they magnificent! Krys works wonders with fabric, and my little girls love the special handmade gifts. I ordered two identical sets so there is no fussing or confusion down the line. I have the most talented friends. If you want to contact Krys Watson, let me know.

Well, that’s what I’ve been up to the last couple of days. Keeping busy and trying to stay out of trouble. (That’s not always easy.) Happy Wednesday, my friends.

Toni’s Tuesday Time-lapse Painting Video:) Yellow Roses

23 Feb

“The perfect gift from the heart is made with your hands.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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This year, I painted another large glass bowl with yellow roses for Empty Bowls. People love their yellow roses down here in Texas. So, I did a quick video of just the first layer of the painting process using only three colors of FolkArt Enamel Paint. Yellow, white and sage green.


https://youtu.be/aiS7Ojix4ok

As you can see, I like to work in a very neat and well organized environment…. said NO artist ever! 🤦‍♀️👩🏻‍🎨
The finished product… ta-da…

I was so honored that my donation auction bowl last year for the Empty Bowls auction sold for $350! Wow! Let’s see how well the yellow roses do this year.

Way cool!

Saturday:) Sharing Miss Sherri’s Studio Tour Photos

15 Nov

“Sometimes I live vicariously through other people’s adventures.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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My dear friend, Sherri Murphy, is such an awesome photographer and artist. She also has a keen eye for artistic detail. So, Sherri said I was more than welcome to borrow some of her photos from this weekend’s MAST, McKinney Artist Studio Tour. If you missed it today, you have time to catch it tomorrow.

Mark Your Calendar for THIS WEEKEND!! Visit artists in their natural habitat (the studio). You can download the map on our website at http://mckinneyartstudiotour.com/about-mast/

Here are some awesome photos to entice you, or perhaps motivate you.

A raku firing or a blazing kiln is always pretty hot stuff.

Artists are such creative, talented, generous, and loving human beings.

You are never too old to learn or take up a new hobby or find your artistic passion. The MAST McKinney Art Studio Tour is a great place to start and get inspired.

Thanks for sharing all the photos Miss Sherri. Makes me want to go upstairs and paint.

Throwback Thursday: Tommy and Mabel

22 Oct

Modern storytellers are the descendants of an immense and ancient community of holy people, troubadours, bards, griots, cantadoras, cantors, traveling poets, bums, hags and crazy people. – Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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Normally, my Thursday is my Quarantined Karaoke Thursday post, but when I was checking Facebook today, I saw my old story about Tommy the wandering troubadour. No one has seen him around McKinney for a few years. I sure hope he is O.K. and singing, laughing and making new friends. (Tommy singing “Homeward Bound,” below. Check out the YouTube video. Has anyone seen Tommy?)

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TOMMY AND MABLE

Tommy sat on the cold metal bench outside a little coffee shop in downtown McKinney. His raspy muffled voice crooned a soft country song, while aged yet agile fingers strummed across the well worn strings of a blue acoustic guitar. Salt and pepper hair brushed across a ruddy bearded face as a crisp north wind kicked up. Tommy reached over to secure the two wrinkled dollar bills flapping inside the open guitar case. He carefully tucked the ends of the bills under the small stack of prized CDs bearing his image and that of Mable, his faithful companion of thirty-seven years.

Johnny Cash’s, “Ring of Fire,” soulfully echoed across the Square, and Tommy’s foot tapped along with each rhythmic beat. I dragged a wooden chair across the brick sidewalk, and then parked myself a couple feet away from the real-life Texas troubadour. I enjoyed each rendition of old familiar tunes, as well as the original compositions inspired by nearly forty years of life on the road.

“Tommy, would you mind telling me a little bit about yourself, ” I asked when he took his first cigarette break. “Where are you from?”

“I was born in McKinney, Texas. Haven’t been back here in over thirty years.” His tone and demeanor became a bit more serious when he described his early childhood.

“Yep, I was born right here in McKinney. My folks got killed when I was thirteen. They wanted to put me in foster care, so I took off and rode the rails. Never looked back. Been traveling ’round the country ever since.”

His eyes brightened and a little crooked smile appeared when he started talking about Mable. “We’ve been together for thirty-seven years now. I was rummaging around in a dumpster looking for cans one day, when I ran across this old black guitar with a broken neck. She was in bad shape, but I fixed her up with some glue and tightened up her strings.”

The adventures were mixed with making new friends and happy times, sprinkled with the hard hungry days.

“We’ve walked across all these forty-eight states, just playing music for folks and living off what they put in my guitar case.”

Tommy went on to describe the nomadic life of a traveling troubadour. “I’ve never run into anyone else who does this. It’s an honest livin’. I don’t beg. I just play my music and if folks like what they hear, they drop a dollar or two in my case. Sometimes I’d ride the rails from one town to the next or just walk ’till I couldn’t walk no more.”

I listened as he carefully crushed the tiny cigarette butt beneath his worn out walking shoe and tossed it in the trash can beside the bench. “I don’t stay in one town for more than a few days. Never had a wife or kids. Wouldn’t be right, with me movin’ round so much. Wouldn’t change a thing if I could.”

When I asked about Mable, he said she was named after his beloved grandmother. The old black acoustic guitar with hundreds of scrawled signatures from front to back, now sat in the window of Snug on the Square, just a few feet away. I asked if I could take a picture of him and Mable, so he walked over and took her out of the window. I could see the jagged repair on her neck and her strings were missing.

“Mable’s retired. When you retire a guitar, you take off the strings. Need ’em for the next one.” Then he pointed out the spot where Elvis had scribbled his name one rainy night in ’69 in Mobile, Alabama. But, he was just as proud of the signatures from a group of women that signed her after a Susan B. Koman walk a few years back.

“ I decided that it all began here, so it should end here. I’m leaving Mable with Sandra and these nice folks. I know they’ll take good care of her.”

Tommy mentioned that when he came back to McKinney after being gone for so long, he strolled along the unfamiliar streets and asked around at a few shops and restaurants downtown to see if he could set up somewhere and play his guitar. Sandra Nichols, owner of Snug on the Square, was the only one who welcomed him and treated him with respect. “That’s when I knew my Mable would have a good home and a good family right here. They’re going to keep her right there in the window.”

I was intrigued by the story of Tommy and old Mable, especially the long and loving relationship the two shared. So, of course, I was curious about the new acoustic.

“Tommy, what’s the name of your new guitar? I was sure it would be another interesting story.

He turned his whiskered face and answered, “Haven’t named her yet. She’s gotta earn it.”

After taking a few pictures and recording a couple segments of Tommy serenading and smiling at passers-by, I said farewell to the wandering minstrel from McKinney. I shook his talented weathered hand and dropped all the cash I had in the old black guitar case. Who knows when Tommy will be passing this way again?

Tommy and Mable

With silver hair and a crooked smile

Strumming tunes that make you want to sit awhile

As you tap your toes and start to sing along

He shares each word, and has lived each song

His guitar is closer than any family

And the road, the only home he’ll ever see

But he and Mable have a need to play

Her frame is worn and her strings won’t stay

They’ve seen the whole country from east to west

And the town they’re in, is the one that’s best

Mable’s been signed by many a star

Even Elvis scrawled his name on that old guitar

But the real country singer never settles down

‘Cause there’s another ballad and another town.

Toni Andrukaitis

September 11th~ 9-11…Never Forget

12 Sep

“When Americans lend a hand to one another, nothing is impossible. We’re not about what happened on 9/11. We’re about what happened on 9/12.”

~Jeff Parness

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September 11th is a day to remember. Never forget. A day that all Americans wept at the horrific tragedy, yet all gathered together to help and console one another, and appreciate our life and our country.

We certainly are going through some tough times now, but maybe 9/11 will remind us that together we can get through anything. The keyword here is TOGETHER.

As is my custom, I try and get to a few of my local fire stations with treats on 9/11. This year has been crazy with the Covid dilemma, and my friends at the stations haven’t been able to accept Miss Toni’s homemade treats in a while. (They are getting skinny) But, they can receive prepackaged sealed items.

So, my theme for today was …HOT STUFF…FIRE AND WATER. I gathered up a case of water and the fixings for “Nacho” average firehouse nachos. “Hot stuff.” I even made a video for instructions. The key ingredient is my favorite Bernard’s Gourmet Foods Salsa, and a big thank you to David and Michele Bernard for providing the awesome salsa.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WaWdMYtnXs

My first stop was my Fire Station 9, just a few blocks away. They were thrilled receive the goodies, and they thought the fire truck with the screeching siren was pretty cool too.

My next stop was Station 2, over by the college, but no one answered, so I left the bag at the front door. (Station 5 said they’d give them a call later.)

My last stop, Station 5, my original favorite station that I started visiting in ’04 when I moved to Texas. The names and faces have changed along the way, but one thing remains the same… these firefighters are awesome.

Firefighter Allbritten answered the door at Station 5. I hadn’t met her before, but I had to tell her that she had the most beautiful eyes. Look at those eyes. She appreciated the compliment and the bag of goodies saying, “I was just about to go out and get something for our lunch. You just saved me a trip.” Nice!

I appreciate all our first responders. I didn’t get over to all the stations, (I did last year) nor did I visit the police station, but I certainly admire and appreciate each and every person. It only takes a little time to say thank you, and it means so much. THANK YOU McKINNEY FD.

Wednesday:) What’s Happenin’, Miss Toni

3 Sep

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands — one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” —

~Audrey Hepburn

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Yesterday was a dark and stormy day. My good friend Helene and I had made plans to go over to Holy Family School, over on the east side of town. We both have been including our friends at the school in our shopping trips. We get excited when we find a great bargain on apple juice, peanut butter, snacks, baby wipes or school supplies for the little kiddos over there. We purchase a few items every week, and when we’ve accumulated a trunkload of goodies, we drive over with our donations and visit.

This wonderful non-profit preschool in McKinney is dedicated to providing a safe, loving, education environment for children in the community. Our good friend, Miss Sondra, and her staff always welcome our modest contribution with delight.

Helene picked up a whole bunch of crayons and markers, along with snacks.

I found some deals on juice, peanut butter, etc. And, when I mentioned our trip to the school the other day, my friend Zelda, reached in her purse and handed me some cash to donate to the cause. How sweet.

When you have two hands, it’s nice to reach out with one and help someone else, especially a little child.

A big thank you to all the teachers and staff at Holy Family School. A great legacy carried on to honor the works of the Vega family.

Saturday:) Some Seriously Awesome Artists and Musicians

1 Mar

“We see art with our eyes and we feel music with our soul, and we need both for a happy heart.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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So many awesome artists to visit at the MillHouse Art Fest today, and so little time. So, I’ll just show you some cool photos of what we saw today. Linda, Mercedes and I spent the afternoon at the Cotton Mill, checking out our talented local artists at the MillHouse Art Fest today.

We stopped for lunch at Square Burger on the Square. By the time I got back to my car at 5:30, I had just enough time to drive over to Delaney’s to meet the gang for the Texas Bluesmen performance. Our friends Justin and Paul are the stars of this cool Blues Brother’s tribute band. It was a really fun and entertaining evening.

Another busy and awesome day with friends. Art and music for the heart and soul.