Saturday, May 30, 2009

Older and wiser~

~Getting older...and hopefully, wiser.~
Today I am grateful for:
* My great husband, son and daughter-in-law, and world's most precious grand-children, my totally fab sister, niece and soon-to-be new 'nephew'... And all of my other terrific family members.

* My special friends here and all of you in this blog arena that daily bring inspiration and joy.

* My two pups-Lucca and Pickle.

* My home.

* Good health.

* The special memories of my late parents.

* My travels.

* Being able to get up each morning and do what I truly love to do.

Each day we awake with hopes and wonder of what our day will bring. What are some of the things that you are grateful for?
*Wonderful update~ My son, daughter-in-law and darling grandchildren surprised me and came to spend the weekend. What can be any better than this?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rain and Deadlines...

~So much rain~

Just a little update:

It has been raining much of this week. I think we've had enough!
Mr. G arrived home safe and sound early Thursday morning.

Thank you for your kind comments.

For those of you that asked the 'downpour' graphic and where it came came from a google search.

You see, I am working on an illustration that was due late next week. After a frantic phone call from the client, it was announced that the party was this weekend not next weekend.
See what can happen when the computer is substituted for the hand-written note???
So, I'm off to complete a job. I sometimes do my best work under this sort of pressure!
Do you sometimes work better and more efficiently under a little pressure?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Not Tonight Dear~


My husband has been away for over two weeks on a Tarpon fishing trip to the Florida keys.
The Airline: Is this Mrs. G?
Me: Who's asking please?
The airline: This is "the airline"
Me: Yes?
The Airline: The flight # 1234 has been canceled, no further information available.
Me: Is everything alright?
The Airline: The flight # 1234 has been canceled, no further information available.
Me: Excuse me???


No panic, these things happen and it's pouring here, so it must be due to the rain in NY or Washington-or somewhere.

Mr. G was suppose to arrive here at home tonight around 8:30. I would likely be in bed reading with the dogs near-by. We would all welcome him back home and be very happy we were once again under the same roof.

~...and more rain~

After a brief phone conversation with Mr. G, it appears that he may be able to get back at some point very late tonight or maybe 'Not Tonight Dear".

The one available flight is over-booked- but I think he may be sweet-talking someone, somewhere. He has early appointments tomorrow- which will be interesting. The moral to this whole post is not to tell you my woes.

Mostly it's because found this fabulous graphic downpour.

It is to suggest that whenever traveling late in the day- perhaps not to schedule appointments of even work the following day. Pad the vacation for one more day.

It's a much more pleasant re-entry from your vacation, gives you some wiggle room in the event of torrential downpours and it makes the dogs a lot happier when they can sleep through the night.

Welcome Home Dear! We really have missed you terribly.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Simple Salad~

~ Iceberg wedge with chunky bleu cheese~

I love salads and have one just about every day. I like the young spring lettuces, Mescalin mix, Summer Crisp, Romaine for a good Caesar, spinach for a warm spinach salad that is my husband's specially. I frequently add fresh basil leaves and some fresh tarragon to my salads when the herbs are fresh from my garden. I add just about anything to my salads. Left-overs from the night before, dried fruits, fresh berries, apples, cheeses, roasted sweet potato and butternut squash. Toasted nuts add a little crunch to salads- pignoli, walnuts, pecans are a wonderful

addition to any salad with roasted vegetables. Fresh, sweet peas right out of the pods are delicious. When the tomatoes are in season, I sometimes make a salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and red onions with just a drizzle of good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. There are no rules when it comes to making a great salad. Just use the very freshest salad makings. Frequently in the summer we have just a big salad for dinner. It's a meal in itself!

But when I'm alone, or I'm short on time~ I will always reach for a fresh, cold wedge of iceberg lettuce with some thick, chunky bleu cheese dressing. If you think that iceberg lettuce is a thing of the past or boring-try this!

Do you have a favorite salad that is your 'go to' quick meal?

*Check here for listing of great salads.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Art by Karena

~Original work by Karen~

Some time ago I won this beautiful original piece of work via The Sundown Sunday Giveaway.
Karen has a lovely blog here. If you haven't seen it, stop by. She is one busy lady. Karen is heavily involved in her art among many other hats that she wears.
She kindly emails updates on her exhibits and her involvement in the arts. Oh, if only to live closer.
My husband likes to call our painting Keys Sunset. He fishes the Keys for two weeks every May{due back home this Wednesday- yay!}
and he says it looks just like the sun setting there. So I think we were meant to have this splendid piece of work.
For now we have given Keys Sunset a home on a ledge in our living room.

Thank you Karen. We love our painting and think that you're pretty sweet too.
Generous, inspirational, lovely, up-beat, always with a kind word- that's what I think of when I think of Art by Karena.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009~

~A feast for the tummy~

~A feast for the eyes~

Memorial Day 2009

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

No Words Needed~

~Mother Teresa~

~Maya Angelou~

~Meryl Streep~

~Coretta Scott King~

~Lauren Bacall~

~Jessica Tandy~

~Audrey Hepburn~

~Katherine Hepburn~

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Weekend~

~Thankful Remembrance~

~A Family Picnic~

~Showing some Red, White and Blue~

~Watching a parade~

A Happy and Safe Memorial Weekend to all.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Spring Dinner~

~Fresh Artichokes~

1. Take a couple of these...

~Clarified Butter~

2. Clarify a half stick of butter...

~Fresh Rosemary~

3. While the butter is melting, add several crushed leaves of fresh Rosemary...


Dip the tender leaves of the Artichoke into the Rosemary butter...

If you like Artichokes and you enjoy the piney flavor of Rosemary, give this a try~ delicious!
Do you have a favorite way of preparing early season vegetables?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Breakfast anyone?


Please join me this morning.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Good Life~

~Another view of a Lifescape~

When I illustrate from memory, I can almost smell my surroundings of a place I have visited. Right around the corner from this hotel in Lucca is a gorgeous cafe~ see it here.

Just as you round the corner, you can smell the strong coffee brewing. Men and women stop in for a quick jolt of espresso or a cappuccino,.They stand at the polished brass bar, quickly downing their coffee before heading out to work or to the market.

It costs a bit more to sit at one of the beautiful marble tables, but we Americans don't stand with our coffee. We sit, take a little more time, watch people and if that means spending a bit more on a fine cup of coffee, it's fine.

Those Italians though, they know how to live. They generally start work a little later than we do, and they close up shop at 1 p.m. and then re-open at 3:30 until 6:00 or 8:00, depending on the time of year. During this afternoon break a mid-day meal is served with the whole family in attendance. What could be any better than that? I love the laid back way of life that I see in Italy. Home, family, good food, rest, relaxation, art, beauty~strong coffee, a good mid-day meal and perhaps an afternoon nap.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Weekend Solitudes~

~Grilled Shrimp, roasted butternut squash, marinated onions and spring lettuce from the farm stand~

When I'm alone I like to make fresh salads with whatever is on hand and maybe something from the local farm stand.

With inspiration from Ronda and Ina I made a couple of delicious salads this weekend. Our local farm stand just re-opened for the season and there was gorgeous young, spring lettuce in abundance. With the days a little longer and the sun just a bit higher, it feels good eating lighter.

~Love in the Time of Cholera~

While it is a rainy weekend here, it's a wonderful excuse to catch up on some things that I put aside during our usual weekends. Like~ watching this movie. Did you see it? Or read the book? I enjoyed it, but was skeptical upon ordering it from Netflix.

It kept me fully engaged and I thought it had a sweet ending, which is always a treat in this day when movies are filled with violence, sadness, gloom and doom.

~Just a wisp of Lily-of-the-Valley~
Time for a quick, wet stroll around the yard to see what's coming up. Although I have a good sized patch of Lily-of-the-Valley, they are just now starting to show their little umbrellas. I couldn't resist cutting a couple of early flowers.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Just scoot.....

~My little Scooter~
*Please excuse her nose being cut off- I hadn't realized the photo would appear quite this large.*
~ Retro Scooter Gal~

Monday my little scoot will go in for her yearly check-up. The 'Doc" that she sees will check her feet, fluid levels, give her a little charge, and a general physical exam.

She is well taken care of so I do think she will be delivered back to her rightful owner in picture perfect health and will be raring to be taken on a trip to the local farmer's market.

* With the local gas prices soaring each day- this is not such a bad way to get around locally.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tarpon Fishing in the Keys~

~Tarpon Fishing off the Florida Keys~

My husband is in Florida for two weeks of Tarpon fishing with his very best bud.

He will return well rested, deliriously happy, ready to get back to work before the next fishing trip and with lots of color in his cheeks.

*I hope that your days are sunny, warm, with just a whisper of a breeze, that you catch...and release, and that you wear your sunscreen.*

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Moonlit White and {gray} Gardens~

~Moon Garden at Night~

After years of gardening for others, I finally had the time and the know how to plan my own gardens.
One of the first gardens I designed, was a white or moonlit garden.

A moonlit garden consists of annuals, for constant summer blooms, perennials for year to year beauty, and gray foliage.

During the day, these gardens are to me, the most beautiful as I have an affinity for white flowers and gray foliage.

* Impatiens, Nicotiana, Nierembergia, Cosmos, Salvia, Geraniums, Dianthus, Poppies, Cleome, Violas, Lobelia, Morning Glory... the list could go on and on. Choose white varieties and in varying heights.
Gray foliage annuals:

* Dusty Miller, Licorice plant. There are a few nice varieties of Dusty Miller-some with very lacy foliage.

~ Gray Foliage~

*Delphinium, Candytuft, Snow-In-Summer, Creeping Phlox, Lupine, Iris, Lilies, Chrysanthemum, Salvia, Hollyhocks, Lily-of-the-Valley, Feverfew, Daisy, Baby's Breath, Musk Mallow, Pearly Everlasting, ....... on and on!
Gray Foliage perennials:

* Lambs Ears, Silver Mound Artemisia, Common Sage.
Use white flowering bulbs for the first signs of the spring.

* Hyacinth, Allium, Oxalis, Tulips, Ranunculus, Scilla, Freesia, Crocus, Narcissus, Sparaxis.

For height and depth I suggest white hydrangea-"Annabelle'. To add interest to your winter Moonlit garden a couple of dwarf evergreens take on the appearance of snow sculpture.
*Many of the plants and bulbs listed here may be considered "tender" where you live. Some of the annuals will continue flowering longer if you are in a warmer climate.
These are the plants that I have had the most success with in my white garden. My choices were based on a mostly sunny spot where there was some dappled shade from near-by trees. If you have a shady area the plant selections can be easily adjusted with the help of your trusted garden center. There are endless possibilities of glorious white annuals, perennials and beautiful gray foliage plants. If you are planning a new garden, I recommend a white moonlit garden. They are eye-catching during the day, and at night, especially when there is a full moon, a lit candle or a few luminaries - truly magnificent.
*My blog-roll mysteriously disappeared earlier this morning!!! I'm correcting the problem/

Photos courtesy of Google search.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Another view~ Ponte Vecchio

~Ponte Vecchio~ Florence, Italy~

This is another little glimpse of the painting I did for my friend, commemorating our trip.

What else can you say about this special place? Jewelry galore! At every turn there is a shop window over-flowing with gold and gems.

The view of the Arno and the distant hillside is breathtaking.

I would love to set up a small table and illustrate the view and characters surrounding.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lifescape's 100th Post~

~A Spring Bouquet For You~

When I started my blog back in January, the thought of my 100th post felt like it was light years away.

"Thank you" to all of the wonderful friends I have made in the past few months. This has become an important part of my day~ pouring a cup of coffee, sitting down to catch up on what each of you have shared. The family tales, delicious recipes, heart-warming stories, book reviews, art, helpful tips, and the beautiful photography are part of what makes each of you unique and special. The inspiration and kindness has been overwhelming.

Life takes us on the most unexpected and incredible journeys. I am so grateful to be sharing this adventure with each of you.


I am sincerely blessed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sidewalk Cafe in Lucca

~Sidewalk Cafe in Lucca~

This is a small section of a Lifescape that I illustrated for a friend after we spent 12 days in Italy. I call it- The Adventure of a Lifetime!

What could be any better than spending 12 glorious days in Florence and Lucca with worlds best travel mate?

A huge Thank-You to a special someone for uploading images of this painting so I can share it with you. I am technically challenged... and she is technically savvy- no, she is just plain savvy all the way around.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A long, over-due project~

~A very stylish trash bag~
I'll be searching for these...for my really nice trash!

On Mother's Day, after our guests had left, I continued with the purging of a six-year-build-up of things under our eaves.
That's where I put my old clothes, bags, shoes and in general, anything else that didn't have a home.
I was in one of those ruthless, tossing moods.

I sent eight bags to the Good Will and six bags went into the trash...
{And a few things were saved out for someone special with a flair for re-styling}.

I packed seasonal things in clear containers, and put a wardrobe on wheels in there for winter coats.
I feel as though I could entertain in there now.

It was one of those projects that I had been putting off for 6 years! In the summer it was too warm in there and too cold during the winter months. This was the perfect weekend to accomplish such a task.

Do you have a project weighing heavy? One that will clear the way for you to set forth on new endeavors?


~Mom and Jonathan~

A few of you asked to see the portrait I had done for my husband and son a few years ago.

Jonathan and I were both a bit younger when the photo was taken by a dear friend, outside of her home on a crisp October day.

My mistake, it was done in pastel, not watercolor.

This is a slightly different pose from my entry on Monday, but I love that we are having a little smooch.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day 2009~

~Jonathan and Mom~

It was a wonderful Mother's Day here. Our Grandchildren, Erin and Jack came for a short visit. There were games of Candyland, Wii, walks down by the lake, cooking, "girlie-time", but not near enough sleep for any of us.

Still, what's a weekend for anyway? Lot's of fun, playing, and if a couple of sleep-deprived nights go along with it...who cares?

I love this picture of my son and I. A few years ago, I had a watercolor done for my husband and one for my son for Christmas using this photo. I think that may be another post.

I hope that your weekend and your Mother's Day was special and filled with wonderful memories. Posted by Picasa
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