Leaving the City Behind

HoustonCome April, Houston folks leave snarled traffic, city crowds and tall buildings behind for a few hours and head to the country.  

bluebonnetsBelieve it or not, it doesn’t take much more than an hour to find those country roads that wind through wide open spaces.

bluebonnetsYou’ve heard of cows in the meadow?  Well, there are plenty of them, and these days they just might be resting in  fields where bluebonnets and Indian paints are profuse

flowers/poppyand bright red poppies lift their faces to the sun

flowers/cactusalongside cacti showing their colors.

animals/sheepHere and there sheep graze,

animals/pigs pigs play in the mud

cowboyand a friendly cowboy stops to chew the fat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen it’s time to sit a spell, it’s not hard to find a welcoming porch where you can breathe the air and leave thoughts of big city life behind.

Think I’ll fit right in with that sassy pink cowgirl hat?

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

The Scoop

You’re Gonna Love It Tuesday

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA simple monument to a monumental talent who lays simply among the people and in the place he loved.

Olson HouseUp the hill from his resting place is the house where Andrew Wyeth spent hours as a welcome guest and which became subject for so many paintings.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

Betcha Can’t Eat Just One

Betcha can’t eat just one is a line I remember from a Lay’s ad, either for potato chips or Fritos.  

toffee barsIt also applies to these toffee bars, easy to make and oh so good.  I first tasted them after a tennis match some years ago and immediately got the recipe from the gal who introduced me to what has become one of my all time favorite sweets.  Whether or not I should be grateful to her is another story!

Toffee Bars

Line a rimmed baking pan with aluminum foil and cover the foil with a layer of graham crackers.  Melt one cup of butter with a cup of brown sugar over medium heat and cook for 3 minutes or until sugar is well dissolved.  Pour the hot mixture over the graham crackers and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes.  As soon as the crackers come out of the oven, spread a 12 oz. bag of dark chocolate chips over the surface and top with chopped almonds, pecans or walnuts. When they have cooled completely, break into squares.

toffee bars To speed the cooling process, you may want to put the toffee in the refrigerator.  This allows the chocolate to harden a bit which makes it easier to break it into pieces.

As soon as it is ready, pour yourself a big glass of milk or a cup of coffee and eat to your heart’s content.  Try hard as you might, I bet you can’t stop at just one!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Full Plate Thursday

Foodie Friday

A Dream Come True

screen porchWhen we talked of the house we would eventually build, I dreamed about having a screen porch,

screen porcha place where I could begin my day with a cappuccino  and a good book. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI dreamed of sitting there, taking in nature’s  miracles  and listening to bird sounds.

screen porchI thought of having a friend come over for an afternoon break

screen porchand how the hubby and I could share a glass of wine as we planned a special trip.

table setting/screen porchI imagined lovely evenings and a simple dinner on the porch.

Yes, those were the dreams.  The hubby wasn’t too keen on the idea saying the times we would use the porch wouldn’t justify the additional building expense.  Luckily, the architect though it a great idea and gradually we brought the hubby around to our way of thinking.  Whether or not we’ve justified the cost is now a moot point, but what I do know is that the dream was worth dreaming, and I love those minutes/hours on the porch.  The only down side is this time of year when the yellow pollen blows through the screen making it a challenge to keep the porch clean.

screen porchLuckily the pollen season only lasts a short time, and I am left with  a wonderful place to read and write blogs with the morning sun shining on my face.  Tell me, do you have a favorite spot in your home?

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Seasonal Sundays

Share It Sunday

Sunday Best Showcase

Metamorphosis Monday

House of Twigs

Patrick Dougherty installation in Minnesota

Patrick Dougherty installation in Minnesota

Now, who would’ve thought of art made from saplings with the help of hundreds of helping hands?  Patrick Dougherty, an artist who has combined his carpentry skills with his love of nature to create installations from Maine to California as well as in many foreign countries.  Because of the volunteer effort required, his work truly becomes a community project that is the source of much delight.

Linda_  032When a friend told me of a project being done in Houston’s Hermann Park, it dawned on me I had just seen the same artist’s work at a winery in Napa Valley and was fascinated by it.

Patrick Dougherty in HoustonAll finished, the Houston installation is drawing big crowds

Patrick Doughertythat marvel over the construction

Patrick Doughertythat seems to be a natural part of the landscape.  The three little pigs would have done well to have such a sturdy house!

Patrick DoughertyWhether or not children appreciate the work for its artistry, they love to wander through the space

Patrick Daughertyand delight in discovering the magic of what probably seems to them a great big playhouse!

Isn’t it wonderful that art takes so many forms and enriches our life on a variety of levels?

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Sunday Afternoon Delight

The Bayou City Art Festival is one of my favorite spring events in Houston.  It is one of the country’s largest outdoor art shows and features art in all mediums by more than 400 artists from all over the country.

Daniel Ng

Daniel Ng

This year’s featured artist is Daniel Ng who is said to paint with imagination but not from imagination.  As this painting interpreting the approach to Houston’s downtown shows, he is definitely a colorist.

As much as I like paintings, prints and photographs, my heart sings when I see beautifully crafted art of wood, fiber, metal, glass and clay.  It’s hard to pick favorites from so many wonderful pieces, but these represent some of the artists who caught my eye.

Amber Marshall

Amber Marshall

Amber Marshall hails from Spruce Pine, North Carolina, and her glass creations are wonderful for their color and delicate shape.

Gregg Rasmusson

Gregg Rasmusson

Interestingly, many of the clay creations were done by men, and it was exciting to see their use of color and design.  I particularly liked the energy of Gregg Rasmusson’s work.

Sally J Bright

Sally J Bright

Every time I see Sally Bright’s work my heart beats a little faster.  Her sculptural fiber pieces are graceful and show a wonderful sensitivity to color.

Eric Ober

Eric Ober

Two Houston artists got my attention.  Eric Ober’s sculpture is perfect for outdoor installation, and I could easily imagine one in my yard.

Thomas Irven

Thomas Irven

Thomas Irven is a wood worker whose craftsmanship shows a real sensitivity to his material.

Carlos Montanaro

Carlos Montanaro

Of course, I can’t resist looking at jewelry and am particularly drawn to unusual upcycled pieces such at that of Carlos Montanaro.

I wish you had been here with me today.  It would have been fun to share the excitement and see what caught your eye. 

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

PS  All the photos shown here are from the artists’ websites.  I hope you will take a look to see other examples from their talented hands.

Joining

Seasonal Sundays

Share It

Treasure Box Tuesday

You’re Gonna Love It Tuesday

Friendship: A Gift

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.

Albert Schweitzer

Linda_  044Usually on Thursdays, tablescapes and/or food are subject for my post.  Today, however, I’m thinking about friends and the people who come into life at just the right moment.

For whatever reason this week, I’ve not felt my usual chipper self.  No reason, just a little blue and believe me when I tell you there’s seldom reason for me to feel down.   Still, there are days when a smile is hard to come by and the heart feels a little heavy.  It’s times such as these when often the unexpected occurs and rekindles my inner spirit.

This morning, for example, the first email I read was from a long time friend whose joyful spirit is itself a gift.  Today, for whatever reason, she sent a message filled with kind words of appreciation, the kind that cause tears to flow and which I did nothing to earn.  How did she know that on this day her thoughtful kindness would mean so much?

Later, a woman who is a casual acquaintance I’ve not seen for years pulled into my driveway.  I happened to be getting out of my car and turned to see who was in the unfamiliar vehicle.  What a surprise to see her face!  She hadn’t stopped to visit but to snap a photo of the beautiful azaleas blooming along the side yard.  She explained the coincidence by saying that God must have brought her to that spot at that moment so that we might reconnect and be reminded of the value of people who pass through our lives.

Is there a greater gift than unsolicited expressions of friendship?  Certainly, they lifted my spirit and reminded me that I need often to offer the same.  Maybe those expressions will make a difference in someone else’s day.

Today I will start by telling each one of you who take the time to muddle through my musings how very grateful I am.  Many of you regularly brighten my day with your posts or your visits here.  Thank you.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind