Thursday, April 29, 2010

Shopping & Visiting & Cooking...Oh my!

Well we were suppose to have two days in our jammies, but that didn't quite work out. There was just not enough time in one week to fit in all we wanted to do!

Last night we watched Julie & Julia.  It was about my third time watching this charming tale.  Last summer we went to the show with my cousins and as I posted on my blog they gifted me with Julia Child's cookbook.  Some time this winter I bought myself an enamel cast iron pot to make my first recipe from the book...Boeuf Bourguignon.

So of coarse today was the day...more about the recipe next week.

Then we had to make a trip to my favorite decorating shop Real Deals.  Good grief we both enabled each other :]   Here is a sneak peek, but more about that later.
Out to lunch with the babies.

Then we visited grandma in the nursing home with the babies.  I so enjoyed watching my sister surrounded by the little ones on the floor trying to keep them all entertained :)

The good news is Nellie is really doing well, and will becoming home in a few days! She was thrilled to see her great grand children.

Now I needed to go figure out our day trip for tomorrow. Four of us gals are heading to Walla Walla Washington, to celebrate Chris's birthday!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Taking a Minute

Chris arrived safe and sound Friday evening around 5:00 pm at our local Tri City airport.   We came home to a houseful of  babies to babysit and grilled pizza for dinner.  My new favorite way to make pizza is on the grill. You must give this a try. The recipe and know how was found on one of my favorite food blogs Proud Italian Cook  . Chris got her full share of the great nieces and all their cuteness. 

 Saturday found us up and Adam to head out to a few new wineries for Spring Barrel Tasting.  We headed to Red Mountain in Benton City, about a 15 minute drive from our home. This is one small appellation in the Yakima Valley.  We took Chris to show her one of the fancy wineries that tries to look like something out of the south of France...not really believable but lots of money flowing here.  We took a peek around and stopped to snap one picture under the wisteria arbor, but did not bother to taste the wine. The place was so crowded with bus tours and hoopla, not my thing at all. 
Dan & Chris (Knitting Mania)
 We then headed up to Hightower Cellars, a small boutique winery where a friend of mine was working.  Again the crowds were thick.
 I knew it was a touristy weekend and all, but what we were really heading for was a few brand new wineries that were just opening up that weekend. We were out for a bit of an adventure and we certainly found one.  Off the main drag we found a little sign on the edge of the road and turned off to follow the gravel road into the desert.  As we pulled up to the winery we saw an older woman and a young boy flagging us down to come on in, to what looked like their garage.  They were so excited to see us and I think we were some of their very first customers.  As I stepped out of the car I was met by the most gracious bubbly woman with her grandson. She was so excited to see us and so proud to welcome us to her winery.  They had been growing and selling grapes for many years on this very special piece of Red Mountain terra, and making wine for personal use. This was now their first weekend of going public. 

There were definitely no crowds here.  As her son stepped in to introduce to us their three lovely wines for sale, we got a very wonderful personal rendition of their families history and journey into wine making.  We soon learned that the elderly gentleman was the wine maker himself and indeed a great one.  As we took our first taste of their Bordeaux blend, Black Dog  we knew we had found a hidden treasure.  With big smiles on all our faces we sipped and chatted about wine and life.  Pretty soon I knew I had found a kindred spirit when Eve had dragged me over to one of four tanks and insisted that I have a sip of their Riesling right from the spigot. The sniff and  the taste of pineapple/pear and a hint of citrus was indeed heavenly.  Dry and fruit forward but not sweet. The name of the winery is Portrait Cellars and when you take a look around you find out why.  As I began to chat with Eve about her beautiful paintings, with her pointer finger she motioned at me with a big grin on her face to follow her and away up the stairs I went to have a delightful tour of her beautiful home and studio overlooking the vast vineyards of Red Mountain.  As I looked around and admired her work I was then invited to come and join her and her friends on Tuesdays for painting get together's. Now that is the kind of generosity and down right open- heartedness of the kind of folks that make up the best of the west :)  Iam look forward to more of their wonderful wine and generous friendship.

From there we rambled down the road to one more brand new winery of the beaten path. Again met the grower/wine maker and tasted some delicious young cab.  I love to meet the folks that have poured their hearts and souls into their livelihood and the fruit of the land.  

On the way home we stopped for lunch at Bella's.  We were not disappointed. Between the cold corn soup with a dollop of sour cream in the middle, panini sandwiches, and a rustic bread salad, we had a scrumptious feast.

We will be heading to Walla Walla for Chris's birthday on Friday.  Another one of Washington's great wine regions, just 45 minutes from here.  I hear there are great and wonderful things going on over there, great restaurants and shops have risen up along with all the new wineries.  I will try to remember to take more pictures of our journey. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spring Break :)

Oh my life is getting a little busy for the moment.  Sister Chris is flying in tomorrow...been doing lots of cleaning :)

Dan's mom is back in the hospital...but just for a urinary track infection....

I did get all the roses planted and I can't wait to show them off when they bloom.  I actually have buds popping out on many of my roses.  I am sure pictures will be coming.  I have been painting up a excited about that.  I have so much fun planned for sis and I.  There will be lots of photo journaling going on to bring you all along on our adventures.

 Ahh... but what I am most looking forward to is sipping coffee in the morning with my sis in our jammies, and then back in our jammies for the evening session sipping a nice glass of red wine till the wee hours of the night chatting our heads off.  It will be so good to see her...who knows we might spend one whole day catching up in our jammies :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

I Found an Old Friend!

I have recently discovered an "old friend" through blogging land.  Well she was not really an acquaintance, but after having read her first book, I knew this woman and I were kindred spirits.  Her book Sunflower Houses had such a huge impact on me as a young mom. Teaching me how to introduce the love of  gardening to my children.  Till this day my daughter and her friend cherish special memories of playing tea party in their sunflower play house that we grew for them out of sunflowers and morning glory in the garden. So when Sharon Lovejoy wrote her second book Hollyhocks Days that to quickly became a part of my garden library.

For years I have treasured these books and all the wonderful garden lore and children's activities and projects these treasures hold.  To my delight a couple of weeks ago I came across Sharon Lovejoy's name in one of Vee's comments.  I thought no it couldn't be. Sure enough I followed her back to her blog and discovered Sharon all over again.  Well since my earlier acquaintance with her books she has written several more.  I went on amazon and order three of them.  One she highly recommended to me was Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars.  The subtitle to this book is Grandma's Bag of Tricks. 
This book goes into much more than just gardening. The first chapter is called Preparing Camp Granny.  This is the grand parenting book I have been looking for. This book after just reading the first two chapters is everything I want to do with my grands.  Ideas for gardening, nature, crafts, games, art projects, and cooking with your grands...the whole shebang.

I know all you grandma's out there are going to love this.  I can't wait for Puddin Toes to come visit this week so we can start exploring some of Sharon's great ideas.  They are simple, practical and homey.

Please go check out her blog , she has a fun little clip from a show she did in Portland last week. It gives you a peek into some of the fun things she shares about in her book.

Oh did I mention she does her own sweet watercolor illustrations.  I love this woman!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Exploring My Style

I have been on a journey the last couple of years that has taken me back into the world of art and  painting. When  my daughter left home for YWAM after high school I felt that God was whispering to my spirit, "paint Cindy paint."  I had set that part of my world aside after I married and poured myself into raising a family. Boy did I pour.  I found myself Homeschooling for 9 years.  I was definitely consumed by my children and though I picked up a pencil once in a while to see if I could still draw, I could not find the time or space it would take to set up a studio. I just knew that some day that season would be apart of my life again. Now was not the time.  As my kids grew older, I was wondering what I was going to do with the rest of my life :D  Maybe I should get a job?  Go back to school?  What did I want to be when I grew up :)  One day I felt God say teach.  Huh...hmm...really...   So I offered some free lessons to the neighborhood kids, and away I went.  I found myself back in the homeschool community teaching other folks children how to draw and work with color. Still at the back of my mind, I knew I was suppose to get back to exploring my own possibilities. Well ever since Jenna has left I have been having a very difficult time giving myself permission to paint.  Sounds silly  I suppose.  I wonder if any other moms feels this way after their kids grow up?  I just have found it difficult to stop and do something seemingly for myself.  I remember dreaming of the days I would have some time all to myself, and  when it came, I just felt awkward.

Trying to get to my point here.  I have just recently quit teaching and have found myself finally exploring the world of painting again.  I have started a few oils...still in progress.  What I have been most intrigued with though is watercolor.  I have never been trained in this area aside from a basic class Jenna and I took together.  So it has been a bit of a mystery.  I won't give up my oils.  There I can pour myself into all the details that I love to fuss over. But I want to be able to do some quick watercolor sketches.  Well I found out it is much easier said then done...for me anyway.   

So here is a peek into my journey of this medium:

At the beach last summer I sat down to TRY to do some roses...they were okay...but

Then a few weekends ago in Seattle I got to have an hour at Daniel Smith.  I was browsing around when the maker of the paints started chatting with me and introduced me to these Primatek colors, made from real minerals.  So back in the hotel room I fussed with them, and came up with this uptight version of roses. My daughter Jenna said it looked like an old lady painting...haha the honesty of your children.  She was right ;)

Last week I came upon an artist blog with a demo of doing loose roses. Jean Haines "Watercolors With Life
So I gave it a go...not quite sure how she achieved what she had demo? I would love to take one of her classes but she lives in the U.K.

Now here are two paintings that I did by coping from other artists work. (of coarse just for personal practice and learning)  I can copy no problem, but to do this on my own....not so much :)  Both these styles I admire and would love to come close to.

Below is the painting I attempted yesterday.  Some wonderful blogging friends (Judy Anneliese Lovella ) went to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival and gave me permission to use their photos.  I have one more in progress. I was disappointed at how stiff I was compared to the landscape above.

Last night I was trying to do just a few more roses before bedtime and I saw another painting challenge on Jean's blog. I gave it a whirl on the back of an old paper, and found what came out (haha at two in the morning) was finally something I was aiming for. I am actually too scared to try it again.  But this is what I want to do, something quick, fun, and loose.  I have no idea what she taught her class that she gave this assignment to, but she does have a book coming out soon, that I am sure I will purchase. Soooo... I am on a journey to find my style and my vision.  This last painting is a glimpse of where I hope to go.

Up Date... I just painted this on the back of my old lady roses.  Ha ha now I probably paint like a second grader :->

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Moments

Let me first say my blogging has been on the back burner with Dan's mom back in the hospital, trips to Seattle, and various other life stuff happenings.

We had a very low keyed holiday. Both Josh and Jenna weren't able to make it home. Everyone here caught up in lots of issues, especially with grandma in the hospital.  We are taking turns to be there at every meal, or she won't eat. I think she is getting very tired, it is her third trip there in five months. Just when we thought she was in complete recovery, she took a nose dive on us.

We were able to attend church together with the grands, and have a simple lunch afterwards back at our house.  The one special treat of the day was to hide some eggs for Eden.  In all her cuteness she danced around the back yard picking up each egg as though each one was a very special miracle.  Kind of like how God feels about us...just delighted :)

Hope you all had a blessed Easter.

Here is a link to my daughter's Easter in Seattle.  Pastor Elijah was singing an old favorite for the gang back in the Tri Cities. "Alleluia, He Is Coming"
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