Monday, April 11, 2011

Waking up

Hello! Welcome Spring! If any of you are still reading this blog after my long winter hibernation, thank you! My soul is finally waking up, and starting to unfurl after the many months of rain. We thought we were so clever to escape the winter for 5 weeks, but came home to lots of rain and cold, so we had our share of winter still. While we were away, a lovely new restaurant and patisserie opened called St Jack, right in the neighborhood at 21st and Clinton.
I have fallen in love over the first bite of rhubarb tarte, and that feeling was reinforced after tasting the warm, mini madelines that are baked to order. This place feels like being in France without the long plane trip. Everything is very authentic and they even said that they would make chocolate brioche to order. The fact that I am not there this very minute is a testament to my willpower!
Spring flowers make me feel like waking up, too, and in spite of the fact that it has felt like winter (I even had to scrape ice from my windshield on Friday morning) it is beginning to look like spring. I was lucky to be able to do the wedding flowers for a friend's daughter's wedding over the weekend, and got to work with these absolutely gorgeous anemonies and ranunculus.
The tulips are straight out of the fields in Woodburn, so if you have a chance, go out to Wooden Shoe Bulb Farm for a stroll through the tulip fields while they are still blooming.
The bridal bouquet also included blue grape hyacinth, freesia, mini calla lilies, and hellebore from my garden.
I thought this candle ring was especially spring like, and could imagine it as a festive crown.
Stay tuned, as I hope to keep up my momentum and do a blog giveaway soon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A little Australian street art

I was pretty excited when I saw this road sign and I made Jim pull off at the exit. It is not everyday that you see your last name on a road sign--twice! Unfortunately Mooney Mooney was little more than a wide spot in the road, not some charming little village.
In no particular order, I have a few of my favorite bits of street art found mostly in one alley on Hosier street in Melbourne. This city is a great promoter of the arts in public places and we saw many examples of great public art. I especially liked that there are "laneways" where graffiti is allowed, and even encouraged. If we had more time I would have found the map of the laneways available through the visitor information bureau. These places are treasure troves of information, including all kinds of maps and brochures.Very helpful.
This Ganesh was one of my favorites along the alley. Notice the mouse in the left hand corner.
This artist was having a show of his art somewhere in the city, so often the art is done by well known artists, and they have to request a space on the wall as it becomes available.
How did these get in there?? Not street art , and not from Australia. Oh well...Pretty colors.
These vans were camper vans, available to rent. I think it is cool that this company, Wicked Vans, had all of their vans decorated by different artists. These are the vans that I would want to rent to camp in AU! Imagine the hard time you would have choosing which van to rent...
This is the rear end of the same van. Three young men trooped out of it to watch the wind surfers on the beach below.
This is probably my favorite mural, seen on a wall in a small town outside of Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road. Did I already say how much we loved that drive?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tales from Oz

If you are not interested in wildlife, or cute, fuzzy animals, stop reading now, as this is what this post is all about! We love cities as much as the next person, but I find them a bit fatiguing at times, and realized that we have really enjoyed our experiences in the nature.We had a most excellent day driving a short way out of Melbourne, on the Great Ocean Road, and saw the most varied amount of wildlife of the whole trip,all in one day.
As I was taking a photo of the bird above, two parrots flew down and one landed on the shoulder of the man two feet in front of me, then another one landed on my shoulder! I was so unnerved and excited that I hardly knew what to do. That may have been the highlight of the day. Of the trip, even.
A little way up the road, the koalas love to hang out and sleep in the trees. We saw many along this road, most of them curled up in the branch of a tree. Also very exciting.
We saw a mob(?) of kangaroo later in the day, and although we saw a few earlier in the trip, this was the biggest grouping that we saw. It was very cool and I felt like I was on safari, except that there were no large animals that might attack .
As we we drove through another rain forest, we came even closer to the koalas, and one was eating up in a tree, totally oblivious to the fellow with a camera, not more than 4 feet from him! Jim said it is amazing that they are not extinct. I had seen these fellows at a wildlife center on a previous trip, but it was nothing compared to seeing them in the wild.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Off to Oz

And now for something completely different....we are in Australia, after a 10 hour flight from Hawaii! Whew. I hinope I am not getting too old for these long flights, but they are sort of daunting to think about. We arrived late, but typical of me, I grabbed some brochures at the airport and read about a Chinese market in Sydney that only went for another hour, so we dropped our bags and trekked onto the streets of Sydney in search of it. Good thing Jim is such a good sport! The market was for Chinese New Year, and it was mostly torn down by the time we arrived, but I did see this wonderful lantern for the Year of the Rabbit. It was worth the walk!
I'm sorry we didn't get there sooner, as there would have been more photo ops like this one of a midway clown. This is for all you clown lovers out there. Dayna, this one's for you!
.On the drive north from Sydney, we had our first wildlife encounter with an actual live lizard. He was rooting in the garbage and was quite oblivious to us. We did see some kangaroo, but they were not of the living variety, sad to say. I guess one of the best places to see kangaroo is on golf courses, but still no sightings for us.
We are visiting friends in Queensland, in the lovely area of Noosa, and our first day we went to the large market at Eumundi. I especially liked seeing the produce and fruit, and since I am a passion fruit lover, was happy to sample these passion fruit(bottom) and see dragon fruit again. I bought a bag of passion fruit since that is something we rarely see in Portland.It is lovely mixed into a fruit salad.
We went for breakfast to Bistro C the day cyclone Yasi struck the Queensland coast. It is all anyone could think about for several days. Luckily we were far south of the storm, but many many people had their houses "deroofed" or worse. After we had breakfast, and my 'cyclone" coffee, we walked the boardwalk in Noosa, one of the hippest beach towns along this coast. The waves were a bit higher than normal, but the surfers were happy.
It has been too hot and humid here to do a lot of outdoor sketching, but I was determined to paint at least one of Marg, our host's beautiful garden plants before we leave here. Our stay in Noosa has been wonderful, but too short, so we really must visit again.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

journal giveaway!

It's not too late to get in on the drawing for this springy journal that I made for the PAC blog giveaway! It is soft and quilty and a perfect travel journal. or just good for any kind of journaling.

This palette is one of my super minis that I have made to sell, and this one is created from a tiny altoids tin and air dry clay with M graham artists watercolors. Just leave a comment and you may be the lucky winner of this journal.

Monday, January 24, 2011

In a La Nina year, it is good to remind ourselves of the fact that this is still winter, and even in Hawaii, the rain does fall. It is warm rain, and our wise friend, Katy K. came up with the saying on this page. I think it is so good that the Hawaii tourism bureau might want to use that in their advertising! So we have not let the rain slow us down much. As the locals say, "if you don't like the weather, just drive five miles and it will be different"
This is the end of the road in Kaua'i, at Ke'e beach. It was a lovely spot to sit and sketch and I imagined that the landscape was mush unchanged over time. While the family hiked here, I walked up the road to Limahuli garden, one of the foremost natural botanical gardens in the US.
In recent travel journals, I have taken to kee ping a day by day log of weather and activities, etc. It is a kind of shorthand that is easy for me to keep up and I don't feel so bad if I don't do a page a day. I always like to refer back to where we ate or stayed each night, and when I look at this, I realize that it was sunny most days.
This is the spectacular setting of our condo unit at Sea Mountain village on Hawaii near the famous black sand beach at Punalu'u. Each day we saw sea turtles there, too.
I thought these seed pods were gorgeous. They come from the autograph tree,the leaves of which were used in Asia for playing cards. One can scratch into the surface and they keep the design.
Rambutan are my favorite crazy tropical fruit. They are much like the lychee, soft and fleshy.These were are the Hilo farmer's market, one of the best on the island.
Gorgeous protea captured my attention, athat d I just had to buy a couple to try to sketch. They are not that easy!
These antherium are plentiful here on the big island. Not my personal favorite, but it is interesting to see the different varieties, and color variations.
I always wish I could bring home one of these tropical beauties. But I just have to take a photo and enjoy them while I am here.
I usually buy at least a few stems of flowers to have in the room, and these have provided me with a lot of pleasure and sketching opportunities. I think I will leave them with my friend Judy when I leave the big island in a couple of days.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A change of scene

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am always seeking more light, more sun during the dark days of winter. Sometimes you just need to get a little further from home (if you live in the Northwest) to find that. So, several years ago, we decided that we needed at least a week of sunshine to get us through until March. Hawaii is one of our favorite destinations, and this year we decided to bring the whole family along, for what my be a once in a lifetime trip together.
Our first day on Oahau was gorgeous, so I got to do a quick journal page as we sat on the grass, overlooking the ocean, waiting to get into our room. Much better place to hangout than the hotel lobby!

The next day was quite rainy, however, as predicted by the lovely hula dancer that we watched over sunset cocktails the night before. So that meant a change of plans, and a little retail therapy. Window shopping, mostly, but I do like to go to my favorite Japanese bargain store, Marukai. I used to be sucked in by these cute little Japanese gewgaws, but now I have an easier time resisting the urge to bring home a miniature set of woven sandals, or a set of erasers in the form of sushi. Fun to look, though!
Another favorite stop is Nieman Marcus at the Ala Moana mall, where I saw what looked like a shelf of coral formations, but was actually beautiful napkin rings. This is a great store for visual stimulation and a good place to get out of the rain.
The koi seemed quite content to pose for me. The koi seemed quite happy to pose for me, swimming up in formation right in front of the camera.A pleasant way to spend an idle hour.