Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Terry Grant wrote on her blog a few days ago about drawing (look for Green Quilt Drawing. I haven't figured out yet how to link you directly to a particular post); expressing the opinion that it is something artists should practice routinely. I guess I would agree that it would help. I have not done this over the years, even though drawing was my concentration in college. I do sketch in my sketchbook, but don't sit down to draw things as I see them. I use my digital camera to take pictures of what I see and can draw from them later if I wish.

I have been thinking a drawing a day would be a good practice. When I was in college, and before, I used mostly pencils to draw and would try to make the drawing look like what I was seeing (the perfectionist in me that I am trying to rid myself of). The drawings were "tight" and realistic. I'm not interested in doing that anymore.

Today I decided to sit down and do a quick drawing. I wanted it to be representational, but not necessarily perfect or exactly how the object looked. I chose this bird that I had found one day in a thrift store. I thought it was cute and it adds some whimsy to my studio.

I pulled a piece of paper from a foreign book which I bought used from the library and decided to use Crayola crayons with which to draw. You can not erase crayon and you can't be very precise with them either. Here is what I ended up with in a few minutes. I took the liberty of changing the colors and eliminating the heart. I like it.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

St. Ignatius Celebration

Outside of the Basque country in Spain, Boise has the second largest population of Basque people in the world. This weekend is the Basque Festival, a celebration of St. Ignatius. Yesterday we went down to the Basque block (an area of Basque restaurants, center, museum, market and pub) to see some of the activities. We saw some Basque dancers that were from Spain and the local group had raised money to bring them here specifically for this event.

It was over 100 degrees yesterday and they had on the traditional costumes which meant that at one point the women had on wool leg warmers and knickers under several layers of skirts. I felt sorry for them in such heat, but they did well. Here are some pictures.

Friday, July 27, 2007


I haven't written much on the blog lately as my parents are visiting us. However, as I was cleaning up for their arrival, I found Anna's notebook from her writing camp a couple of weeks ago. Looking through her work and some of the exercises they had, I was inspired. So here is my haiku:


Angry cloud cover

Threatening, darkening sky

Sun arrow shoots through

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Designer Wall or Design Wall?

Maybe neither. This is phase one of the redo for my sewing/guest bedroom. I painted the walls and trim and then wanted to have an entire wall of fabric covered boards. This is it. It was our first time doing something like this.

I knew I wanted Homasote - a 100% recycled board and had to call around to find who could get it for me. Pretty expensive stuff, but oh well. I had already bought the fabric which is just plain flannel. I chose the paint colors to match the fabric. Then we had to cut the 4' x 8' boards down to the eight rectangles. I covered the boards by stapling the fabric to the back. I had to cut small holes for the outlets. Then we screwed them to the wall with anchors and screws or straight into a stud.
These are the washers I used so the screw would not press into the board. I got big ones as part of the design element. The boards are soft enough to poke pins into and most of my fabrics will probably just stick to the flannel.

Phase two won't be for quite a while.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Harry Potter

Today I am taking a break from vacation pictures.

I think most people know about Harry Potter whether or not they have read the books or have seen the movies. I am a big fan of the books - not a fanatic. I enjoy reading them and have read each of them several times now. I can read one in a day. Not that I am necessarily a fast reader but that everything else gets ignored until I am finished with the book. That means meals don't get cooked, mail isn't retrieved, phone isn't answered.

Anna is a big fan, too, as we have read all the books to her. She has been talking for months about the release of the movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which corresponds to the fifth book in the series. It was released in the middle of last week and she was constantly asking when we were going to go see it. A girl at her camp had seen it at midnight the day (morning) it was released.

I figured since this past weekend was opening weekend, the theaters would be pretty busy. However, I thought maybe the first show on Sunday morning wouldn't be so crowded. I looked up the times and they had the first at 9:30 a.m. They don't usually start movies that early but I guess they figured lots of people wanted to go see it. That was a good time to go as there weren't many people there.

The movie was good, but the books are always better, for any of them that are turned into movies. The books allow you to imagine the scenes and gives more depth and background information. Whenever there is a movie that is made from a book that Anna wants to see, I tell her we have to read the book first. Then, we can go to the movie and, afterward, discuss how it is the same or differs from the book. Did they create the movie with a vision similar to what she had envisioned when reading it?

Now, we are both very excited for the last Harry Potter book to be released next week. I had it pre-ordered and will wait for it to arrive at my house.

For those familiar with the story, here are my predictions for things that might happen in the last book. Warning, if you have not read all the books and don't want to know parts of them, read no further.

1) I believe Snape is on Dumbledore's side. I think Snape and Dumbledore had an agreement that Snape was to kill Dumbledore if the Death Eaters were going to catch him or if Malfoy could not do it.

2) I think R.A.B. will end up being Sirius' brother, Regalus.

3) In the end, I don't think Harry will be the one to kill Voldemort as then his character would be somewhat tarnished having committed murder and would not remain innocent. And the prophecy said only that neither can live if the other survives. But it didn't say exactly that one had to kill the other.

4) There is some secret about Snape we have yet to learn. This being the reason Dumbledore trusted him so much.

5) I think in the end, Snape will kill Voldemort and get killed by him (perhaps trying to save Harry?). It would be the only act that would make the other characters believe he was on Dumbledore's side (seeing as it looks like only Dumbledore and Snape knew the plan they had agreed to), if you believe my theory in #1.

I can't wait to find out if these theories are correct! Happy reading!

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I hope you aren't tired of the trip pictures just yet. Here are some archictectural detail photos, not in any particular order.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bruges Close-up

Here are some miscellaneous pictures from our trip. All of them were taken in Bruges.

Monday, July 9, 2007

For Cat Lovers

My daughter, Anna, loves cats. We always keep our eyes out for cats when we go on trips. In Amsterdam we had a big surprise for her. I had found in our travel book that there was a cat museum, called the Katten Kabinet. It was a small place with artworks of cats and several live cats wandering around. It was the first place we went.

And we found chocolate cats in Bruges, Belgium.

And, of course, many lions.

This is James, the resident cat at the bed and breakfast we stayed at in Bruges. He is 17 years old.

I really didn't plan on staying at B&Bs with cats, but the one we stayed at in Brussels had three. This is Clarence greeting Anna.

I think Anna's final count for live cats we saw throughout the trip was 58. That is quite a bit more than we had counted on our bike trip in France three years ago.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Bicycles everywhere

One of the things that impressed me about our trip (especially in Amsterdam) were how many bicycles there were and how many people used them as a daily means of transportation. In Amsterdam there were more bikes than cars. People were riding in everyday clothes, some with spiky heels. None of them had helmets. They probably didn't need them as drivers were very well aware of them.

The above picture is the bicycle parking garage at the train station for those who commute outside the city with the train and then ride their bike to work within the city.

You can tell who the Americans are. They're the ones with the helmets - that's us!

Friday, July 6, 2007

No Tulips

For one week of our trip, we did a bike and barge tour in Southern Holland. On one of the days we guided ourselves, we went through the area that is famous for growing tulips. Seeing as we were there in June, the tulips were already spent and we did not see rows and rows of beautiful tulips. We didn't mind.

However, around the towns and houses, other flowers were in bloom. All through our trip, I noticed how beautiful the hydrangeas were there. Beautiful variations of colors would be in the same row with huge balls of flowers weighing the plant down. I remembered toward the end of the trip (and when we were on our own) to finally take pictures. And these weren't even the best ones we saw. The last picture was of bunches they were selling in a market in one of the small towns.

Frank has put some of the many pictures we took on our website. You can read his synopsis of our trip on the main page and then look in the photo gallery under trip photos, 2007, Europe to see the pictures. His selection may or may not include what I put here on the blog.

Monday, July 2, 2007

We're Back.

We've been in Europe for the last two weeks. It went by so fast. I have probably taken over a thousand pictures. That doesn't include the pictures Frank took. It will take time to sort them all out. I will put a few of the more "artsy" ones here. Some more can be seen on our website when Frank gets them up.

We spent a couple of days in Amsterdam, then traveled to Belgium. There we had a couple of days in Bruges and a day in Brussels. Afterward, we traveled back to Amsterdam to start our bike and barge tour for southern Holland. The weather for the bike trip was not so great - mostly rainy, cloudy and windy. It was really amusing riding in the pouring rain and wind. We were prepared and had our rain pants and jackets with us, some did not.

We thought it was going to be a self-guided trip, but ended up being a guided tour. We did have the option to do self-guided (where they give you the maps and you go on your own) and we exercised that option for three different days. The other days we went with the group for various reasons. Riding with a large group (19 people) is not my favorite way to go. Still, it was a good trip and we learned a bit about Holland and really enjoyed the area.

I will tell more about the trip as I put some pictures up. The one above is Anna and Frank in Bruges.