Patrice’s wonderful drawing challenge, water

This morning I sat in the cool light contemplating the ocean and Patrice’s drawing challenge.

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For some reason I had yesterdays sand sculptures on my mind; especially this lovely iguana which was claimed by a pelican. I wondered if the sea came up in the night and the water claimed the sand back as its own.

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This afternoon I used the resort’s acrylics to draw myself the sea.

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And then I walked down the beach and offered the sea a bit of art. Ephemeral as it is, it will be washed away by the water and the only thing left will be a memory. :)

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When you have a chance, click on Patrice’s link and visit some of the other wonderful artists. :D

Too much wonderful randomness happening here

Oh my gosh, I could go on and on and on…and for those of you who know me well, thank you for not tapping your toes and crossing your arms and rolling your eyes. I know these days have been a little post heavy, but if you only know how much I have to say and how much I restrain myself!!! :D

Let me just say though, that the light quality is astounding here. It practically takes my breath away every second. As I look around I feel myself automatically reaching for my camera. It’s breaking my heart…in a good way.

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I bought a piece of art. Not this one…although I really want this one too…but a similar one which C and I picked out together to remind us of our holiday. This is the second piece of art I bought from this artist; the first piece was one Robert and I chose together. It’s called Romeo and Julietta and it hangs in our Vancouver bedroom. The artist’s name is Xaime Ximenez and he doesn’t have the use of his hands. He paints with the paintbrushes in his mouth. I’m humbled by his work.

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In the morning, I pretend to want to go for a walk on the beach but it’s only to the neighbouring resort so I can nick a blossom from their hedge to paint in my travelling sketchbook, and then I wear it in my hair…and when it’s almost gone at the end of the day, I press it into my book.

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Speaking of books, there’s a little library of silly books left by holidayers for anyone who wants one, and in it was this Danielle Steel as fifth Musketeer novel. Makes me think of the sorts of surprises I can leave in a novel for the next holidayers…lol..love it. :D

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C ran out of energy at about 7pm today, we missed having supper for the sunset. I know we were pushing it and I bough her a snickers bar because she turned into such a Joan Collins. No…actually she was more Betty White.

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Later, back at the resort post supper, she showed me a most excellent snickers commercial:

I know, right?…lol :D

Sharing with Nancy and the random bunch. :D

The sun sets on our fourth day of vacation

My what full and fantastic days we’re having!

I joined Fernando this morning for beach yoga and had the most wonderful stretch, even if not my calibre of Vinyasa yoga. It’s so worth it for that morning stretch, isn’t it?

Then Fernando invited me to come back for some painting. Of course I jumped at the chance to paint…are you kidding me? Dragged Chloe along too because I love her unique style.

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Fernando showed a canvas he made previously and asked us to copy it. He passed around a gessoed canvas on a bit of cardboard and we all set to with acrylics.

Resort life is just lovely. One gets sort of stuck with a bunch of holidayers and sooner or later you’re bound to say hello.

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So we all dutifully painted a blue sky and some bright buildings and the wall and the church.

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We painted a cobblestone road and rooftops and flowers and the sea. Then I made everyone sign theirs…artist…so sue me! :D

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Chloe and I finished up ours with a few birds and C even put in a couple of sailboats. Don’t you love C’s free spirit style? I love it to smithereens. I’m so keeping both these paintings and framing them together; a most wonderful reminder of this time…of us…here, now, in this tropical sunshine.

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But then, do you know what Fernando did? He invited us back in the afternoon to string beads! Wretched man!

So back we went with the twin poppets and their mom and a couple other twenty-something girlies for some fun with beads.

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Fernando wowed us with this ring-bracelet design!

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C and I both chose sea beads…that is beads which reminded us of the ocean.
By the time C decided she had enough, her bracelet was long enough for her ankle but too long at two wraps and too short at three wraps for her wrist, so ankle it was.

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But you should have seen me. I was so proud of mine! I loved that bracelet. I loved the seaweed and sea foam and shells and water and spray and ancient Aztec turquoise, and every salty, briny thing I strung into it.

I lifted it up to the sea and said, “Look here ocean, I made a piece of you that I can carry with me always!”

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Just then the sea gave me a heart shaped rock – a true affirmation of love…and…just as I bent over to pick it up, my bracelet broke and most of the beads tumbled into the sea.

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And the sea claimed it as its own. Glass returning home. Tumbled in the sea. Salty hands rolling and turning, carrying and cradling, caressing and loving those beads till they are no more.

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Heading to town

Let’s face it, this town, which began life as a mining and whaling port, wouldn’t be where it is now without all the fine people enjoying the sun. And with that comes shopping. And with that comes shopkeepers, peddlers, and all sorts of assorted ingenious people keeping their eye on the prize – the tourist dollars.

Not that I’m complaining. I love to walk around and shop just as much as the next girl…and, if you ask Robert, he’ll tell you that I could shop for Canada.

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Not strictly true…lol…but here in Puerto Vallarta, the main shopping part of town, The Malecon is scrubbed clean and sparkling and certainly inviting to tourists.

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The sidewalks boast intricate designs and the peddlers walk around dressed in white.

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There are interesting pieces of art made from brasses, mostly touchable, climbable and definitely photographable.

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And, with this amazing backdrop of the largest bay in the world, you bet that people keep snapping those photos. Not to sound jaded, but we’ve been told umpteen times that we should really go into town to see the sunset. Not that the sunset from town is any different than the sunset from the resort, but the sunset from town features restaurants and bars where the tequila and beer is $1 at happy hour, the people charm you and invite you and call you in with promises of a good time…and then you stay and the drinks get more expensive…and then you get hungry…

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Speaking of restaurants…hundreds of them. And they range from the downright silly to the sublime.

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But finally we get down to the goods. The shopping is really amazing. There are stalls and stalls of the same stuff and you just have to decide what you want, wander around till you find a stall which has pretty much everything you were after, pick your stuff out and ask for the best price and then offer about half and negotiate from there. Please remember that mostly the silver will be 850 and not sterling at 925. Anyone can buy a 925 stamp and use it. Also, be aware that 850 is so darn close to 925 that you cannot tell the difference, but it’s worth about $15/gram rather than $20. Just saying.

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But if you’re like me and want to look past the whitewash, it’s not too hard. Just peer around the corner into the back of the garden to see the dancer taking a break on the cool grass between shows.

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A block or two away from the tourist section are quaint streets with an absolute spider’s web of electricity wires and laundry drying over the balcony.

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Tabebuia trees shedding masses of golden blooms into private courtyards.

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And while tourists walk across the bridge leading to the whitewashed Malecon, locals cool off in the shade of the bridge and the river below. This is the Puerto Vallarta I like to see. :D

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Heaven is: AKA Hello from Sunday night

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Suntans have gone a little out of favour these days, haven’t they? (Except in one faction of populace who deliberate turn orange for special events…what’s all that about?) But in my childhood suntans were highly desirable and seen as healthy. But that was when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, so I suppose the sun wasn’t so strong and the ozone more protective or something.

Anyway, grandma used to say, “Girls, you’re as white as a piece of cheese.” (And, OK, maybe it doesn’t translate so well from Czech, but you get the picture.) Needless to say, that after the long winter, we sure are, but give us a day or two in the sun with our oily Mediterranean complexions and we’ll change all that. :D

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Sharing with Mary for Mosaic Monday and Inspire me Monday

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This was going to be hello from Sunday night post…

…but it just go to be too late.

I blame it on the Oscars, and on a rather sombre Saturday, but, this weekend just sort of got away from me.

My 100yr old friend Norman passed away last week. A rather expected but nevertheless very sad thing. But I must say, how wonderful to have such a long, healthy and happy life, and the end of which you are home, pain free and surrounded by your children and friends. Saturday was his funeral and so C and I took the day to support his daughter, our friend Jane.

Sunday I had a long morning in bed and then a little shopping and we settled into TV. The Wizard of Oz and red carpet and Oscars. We loved every minute of it, since it’s ever so rare that we watch TV to begin with, and then we end up thinking that we should spend more time in the family room/library, it’s such a lovely place.

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C and I bought some chips and some fizzy drinks, and C made her world famous guacamole. Morgan cuddled up beside us and I turned on the “happiness light.” (That’s that star shaped thing with the colourful fairy lights in it.) Do you all have a happiness light in your rooms? Robert first started me doing that and I love designating a light to that role.

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A couple of weeks ago I bought some scarves at a charity shop and they cost $1 each as long as one bought five. In among the tacky and sparkly things I found two hand made wool scarves including a long cream coloured one hand painted with the solar system and a large moon done in blue. There are two little bits of hand lettering, one which says “size is nothing to the universe” and the other says, “Love surrounds the Earth”. (We think, because the second bit of writing is a bit difficult to read…but we like that)

So Now I am the owner of a lovely long scarf, more like a shawl really, and it has a few worn spots and holes in it.

Now you all know I love age and vintage and character, and I’m even perfectly happy to have the scarf show its age, but I worried that it might get more worn and possibly the holes would enlarge if I left it alone.

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I got out my embroidery threads and my box of unfinished projects. I really like embroidery and cross stitch, but that’s just it, I like the stitching aspect and not so much the finished product and displaying it in my home aspect. Not sure what that is about, but think I really should just do something with all these things. My friend N made an amazing footstool with bits of embroidery. Here, I’ll get the link for you. Anyone else come across or done any other fab ideas? I’d love know.

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I’ve been in love with the Japanese art of Kintsugi forever, and so I wanted to do something like that on my new scarf. Also I like the concept of Sashiko, little stitches, and wanted to use that on my shawl as well, and so I chose a soft silver thread to mend with, but I wanted to keep the holes, as weird as that sounds, because, after all, the scarf has had a life previous to the one with me, and I wanted to honour that past life to some degree.

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I got some soft and dissolve-able interfacing and cut out some circles, like planets, and ironed them on between sheets of parchment paper.

Then I threaded my needle and started the sewing.

Now, I’ve never done anything like this before and had very little idea of what I was doing, but that’s never stopped me before, and besides, how hard can it really be?

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The Oscars were fun, weren’t they? I got terribly worn out by the constant thumpy, thumpy background music noise on that “E” channel with that violet haired Osbourne woman and that other one, Gulliana someone, and so we switched it to the Canadian channel sans thumpy, thumpy noise and that was so much better.

I also hate that pretensions “WHO are you wearing?” question and would love to see more people, like Ellen Page did, say things like, “I found this in my grandmother’s attic!” or maybe, shock and horror, wear the same gown a second time!

But I loved the whole whoop and spectacle of it. I love the acceptance speeches, and was especially impressed by Mathew Macconaughey’s and Jared Leto’s, (we need more young men who seemed to have been brought up right by their mamas), and loved Ellen DeGeneres and her goofy antics and crashing Twitter. So funny. I hear the pizza boy got a huge tip. :D

So this morning, in the day light, I reviewed my stitching and actually really love it. I love the fragility of the silver thread, and I love the handmade quality of the stitching…I mean, SO not professional! Lol. And I love that the scarf will go on with me and be a lovely, useful object which I saved.

Two more small holes and a larger tear to go. I think I might mend the tear with a bird shape. Maybe the tear will become the bird wing in flight. :D

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Linking with Mary for Mosaic Monday

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The new spring-like feel in the house

I do have the best intentions but get so sidetracked that my butterfly brain lets those intentions go and flutters on to a different, more interesting project.

Going thru my past posts yesterday I suddenly remembered that I wanted to show you the results of the wallpaper board and the more spring-like feeling in the house.

Milo and I keep looking down into the shade garden. He for birds, me for snowdrops. I think the very first ones might open today.

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If they do I’m going to snip them and bring them inside and put them on the table where I can see them all the time. Then I’ll bring them into the bedroom with me for the night. Yes, I get that selfish with winter blooming flowers.

So this is what I did with the living room for spring. Gone is the heavy old mirror, the black wood candlesticks with the melted candles, and the angel and new is the wallpaper covered board, some pictures of birds and eggs, a parasol and some potted and cut daffodils.

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Everything is still layered and the silly cats have stayed so far. So has the hand crafted kaleidoscope and Sanctuary, and, I took the branch away, and then missed it, so put it back and strung the copper fairy light chain thru it. (guess I’m not done with the branch since it was such a palaver to get…lol) Soon I think I’ll add my ostrich eggs and maybe some more green plants.

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I hope you like the fresher look; I do. Morgan’s not impressed though. If there isn’t food in it or a good cuddle she’s not moving. (that can’t be comfy – you pretzel cat) :)

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Friday photo challenges, WordPress and Photo Friday

Juxtaposition and Beast…Hot cars in the kitchen!

Had to be done. :D

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Between work, a lunch at Burford Garden Centre

So, figuring that we can’t actually work all day, we decided to go have lunch at the Burford Garden Centre.

You’d love it here. Walking into the huge, multi-layered, multi-spaced complex and hitting this wall of jasmine was just magical, and, as you come with me, imagine the scent paperwhites and hyacinths and orchids of every description following you around.
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There is everything here you could imagine, and I fell in love with the hand-spun and naturally dyed wool products, like these blankets, and the hand woven market baskets. The lovely thing is that mostly all of the products are made in England by small British enterprises.

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Robert and I planned on how we can construct a barn board table like this one.
I thought about painting some fabric for pillows.

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Or maybe just stitching up some gingham pillows for the spring. Aren’t they fresh and lovely?

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And they have the loveliest collections of old china.

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And tea services.

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Then we got silly trying on the hats. (no sniggering at the “thing” behind me please)

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But of course, since this is a garden centre, there are garden supplies, and loads of beautiful rustic pots. Those are my favourite.

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And, apparently, it’s time to think about planting potatoes and onions. Not in this soggy ground, I’m afraid.

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But then, I bet there’s still loads of time. :)

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Tea in Wallingford

Well, all the wind and rain has resulted in some localised flooding. I joked that now we live in The Lake District, because all the fields are lakes! The Thames and Windrush have resulted in some sewer and drainage problems in Northmoor and so what are we going to do?

This:
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We went for the day to a lovely market town about 23 miles away to have a mooch in the antique arcade and a bit of lunch.
The first thing I saw was the stall with this shelf. OMG! I loved everything on it! I loved the dog and the funny harlequin cat, that weird…thing in between, and I love the paintings. Wanted to buy it all. Ok, let’s just get something straight right now. I actually wanted to buy 75% of everything in the arcade…lol.

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But I wanted to have a look at some lovely tea also. What do we all think about the tiered plates/cup/thing? I kind of like it. The cup might hold some flowers while the plates hold the goodies. (Assuming the water doesn’t run out thru the hole.)

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You know, I really would love to learn how to carve wood because these funny ducks would be the first thing I’d carve. Love how they sit in this basket.

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Look at this! Here is an exquisite hand-painted Victorian tea service.

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And Robbie found a friend! This is Milo, the same name as one of our Vancouver cats and so we loved him right away. He was such a soft, foxy, friendly little thing.

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And then this! The next tea tray I make will have a friendly pig in the centre.

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After we had a good look around, we went to find a lovely spot for lunch. At first we thought about a pub, but then we found this lovely, friendly, yellow cafe called Catherine’s cafe, which had a great view of the arcade.

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We chose this little table upstairs in the tea rooms, with turquoise seats, flower pots and a reading angel. Catherine is a retired English teacher and has brought her classic book collection into the tea room for customers.

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I bet you’re all wondering what I bought. I wanted to buy absolutely everything, but I bought this little green hat pin and this lovely old Christmas bobble.

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AND ALL THIS EPHEMERA! Not sure how these things will end up being used, but it’ll be great.

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Thank you so much for this lovely day Robbie…PS. I’m going back for that painting. :)

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Sharing with Terri and Martha and Sandi and Bernideen.