Thursday, March 31, 2011

Almost Recovered...

People!  I have been exhausted!  The Historic Tyler on Tour was a wonderful success.  The party Friday night could not have been more perfect; the weekend was busy and we enjoyed a steady flow of visitors; and, it has taken the whole first half of the week to tie up the loose ends and do the numbers.

As it stands, we enjoyed the most successful Tour to date.   My friend, Barbara, sent me this beautiful flower arrangement Friday at the start of the weekend.  It cheered me and reminded me of her constant support every time I left the house and returned.  Big smiles and warm fuzzies.

It was great fun, lots of work and a wonderful success.  I'm glad its over.  ;)

Now, back to blogging!  LOL!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Let The Trails Begin!

I whipped by and shot this from a distance; I was dressed to work!  Our Belles are gathered for the Opening Ceremony of the Azalea Trails.  They will be waving at visitors throughout the Trails.

There are over eight miles of official Trails; but, all around this area, beauty abounds.

This is one of the most striking yards to be seen.

I will share more later this weekend.

I love the drape and grace... the color... and the architectural interest.

Off the Trail, you can find all kind of lovelies.

... Just waiting for our visual feast.

This is why my Opening Ceremony shots were from a distance.  I was on my way to start getting ready for the Candlelight Party tonight!  We'll convene again to do the decorating!  I can't wait!!  It is going to be a perfect evening for touring the Historic Tyler on Tour homes and having a Candlelight Party!  Wish you could be here, too!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Aged Beauties of Tyler... Day Two

As promised, I am going to continue posting views in my historic neighborhood this week as we count down the days until the Azalea Trails open.

California Girl asked the age of the neighborhood.  There are homes ranging from the late 1800s to present day infill, fortunately we have very few of these.

This would be one of the older ones. 

There are a predominate number built in the late 20s and the 1930s, when Tyler experienced a growth surge due to an oil boom.

Homes built in the 60s are eligible for historic designation now:   a home must be fifty years old to qualify as historic.

This year's Historic Tyler on Tour will feature a couple built in the late 40s, one of them a ranch style Austin Stone with beautiful crown moulding, gleaming hardwoods, and beautiful design, decor and artwork by the homeowner.

I find the variety of age and style to be delightful and interesting.

The property on the right in the above photo is a duplex built right in the midst of the single family homes, probably in the 30s.  This one is not one of ours, but I am sure it was built with the wonderful style that we so love.

This one would be one of the younger girls on the block.

There are several Tudor style homes and I love this style!

The property above was recently bought and restored to its former glory.  Gotta love it!

This concludes today's tour... hope you will come back for more.  The Azalea Trails open tomorrow; our Candlelight Tour and Party are tomorrow; and, the weekend will have the home tour going strong.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Love Affair...

Twenty-four years ago this coming weekend, I stood in the middle of the brick street in front of this house waiting to hear a starting-gun.  I had come to run in the Azalea Trail 10K.  Little did I know that I would be changing the course of my life.  That was my first visit to the Azalea District in Tyler, Texas. 

I was seduced by a kaliedoscope of pinks and reds and whites and purples; intoxicated by the heady perfume of wisteria and jasmine; and lost in the beauty and grace of the historic homes lining the race.

For many years, I came back to run the Azalea Trail.  Each time, I appreciated its beauty more.

A young couple moved in this little gem last November and have honed the beauty of their new old-home.

The cottages live peacefully in proximity to the castle-like mansions.

Homeowners work hard to create such beauty... they share it every spring during the Azalea Trails and Historic Tyler on Tour.

There is grace and generosity.

A commitment to our heritage.

And hope for our futures...

It is a whole-grain neighborhood... full of variety and texture and heft...


It is my neighborhood now... has been for almost ten years.  It still has my heart.  I will continue to post more photos of our neighborhood over this week as the azaleas come into their full, bright beauty.  I am humbled and amazed at the magic of God's art... his flora and fauna delight my soul. 

I am linking this to Kim's Wow Us Wednesday.  Hope you all enjoy a beautiful day!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Baskets of Yarn for Baby Boy...

For anyone who has been visiting my blog awhile, it comes as no surprise that a new Baby Boy is on the way...  Brother to Little Man, whose Momma is my daughter, Amanda.  He is due to make our aquaintance June 11 of this year.  It's getting high time his Noni got busy on a welcome-and-be-wrapped-in-love gift of his very own.

This beautiful organic cotton yarn came in the mail yesterday and, at the very last tail-end of the day, I cast on the first stitches of what will become a tiny nightgown for Baby Boy.

Last week at Rose Path, my friend Laura showed me a new book that hadn't even been checked in to the store yet.  It is Natural Nursery Knits by Erika Knight.  I fell in love with this little gown!  I had been looking for a pattern for Baby Boy with no luck; then, thanks to Laura, there was this one!

Help needed:  Rose Path did not stock the exact yarn called for in the pattern, so I thought I might use this cashmerino.  After making a start on it, I realized it just wasn't turning out like I wanted:  ergo, the order of Rowan Organic 4-ply Cotton.  So, I have a nice stash of this beautiful blue cashmerino.  If any of you knitters out there have done a project with the Debbie Bliss yarn that you loved, please pass that information on to me.  I have to find another new project.  =)  Like I need one more!  I have three knitting projects and one crochet shawl on the needles now! 

This is the sunflower a.k.a. Ides of March Project to date.  I was only able to work on it Tuesday and this is as far as I got.  I think I am really going to like it (if I don't pass the point of no return!  LOL!)

This.... well, I stole it off my daughter's blog which is private.  I do miss my angels... and soon there will be one more!  XOXOXOX

Now, back to work!!  Hope you all have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ides of March Project

I shot this photo of sunflowers yesterday afternoon.  I'll be using them in class today to attempt a sunflower watercolor.  I am looking forward to seeing how it will come out.  I love sunflowers!

Finished shawl. 

 Never did come to appreciate the yarn... but I like the open look.  And, that it is finished.  ;)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dinner 911

Yesterday, I was brain-drained from catching up on my bookkeeping.  Tired, cranky and hungry.  The crankiness precluded any desire to go out to eat and the refrigerator was EMPTY.  So, I went to my pantry and pulled out "The Bag".  I keep a reusable grocery bag filled with the ingredients to this quick, hearty meal.

My gourmet-minded friends will be rolling their eyes back in their heads by now, but this is amazingly good and very satisfying... especially to a tired, cranky soul.  My supplies were so low, I didn't even have cheddar cheese on hand to top it off!  Can you imagine a refrigerator without cheddar cheese?  It is delicious without it.  Thank goodness I had an egg and a 1/3 cup of milk to whip up the Jiffy cornbread!  LOL!  Once again, I know you purist are scoffing, but this IS a 911 meal.  LOL!

Bean and Hominy Soup (from a magazine so long ago, I can't remember which)

3  (15.5 ounce) cans Great Northern beans, undrained
1 (15.5 ounce) can hominy, undrained (I usually use the large can, since I love hominy)
1 (14.5 ounce) can no-salt-added stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 (11.5 ounce) can bean with bacon soup, undiluted
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
1 (11 ounce) can whole kernel yellow corn, undrained
1.5 cups of water (I usually use about 2/3 cup)
2 bay leaves
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or 1 Tablespoon dried cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients, except cheese in a large Dutch oven, and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes stirring occasionally.  Discard bay leaves.  Ladle soup into bowls, and top with cheddar cheese.  Yield:  8 servings

Evan, who generally cannot fathom a meal without meat, loves this simple comfort food.  It is a great 911 Dinner.  I'll be restocking The Bag for future emergencies.  =)

Hope you have a wonderful day.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Roses... and Roses... and Roses...

A few weeks ago, I came across a photograph on Empty Nest Revolution.  California Girl had done a post on Spirals and used a photo by her husband, professional photographer Cole Scott.  His beautiful rose became an inspiration piece for my study of watercolor.

I did two versions and neither one even begins to portray the beauty of his photograph.  I started out on a quest for the soft, delicate coral he had so beautifully captured.  But, for the life of me, I could not stop myself from playing with the deep, garish colors I ended up with.  It was a great lesson in creating some shape... and not.  ;)  Rolling the edges... sometimes the wrong direction...

My versions have some Pop Art, odd and harsh colors and shapes... but, I like them okay...  because they are a part of my progression to an unknown place... I find that exciting.  And, I learned some things.

After starting these, I found Wanda's Art Blog and decided to play along on the challenge of March to paint flowers!  Thank you, Wanda!!  Thank you, California Girl and Cole!

Check out!!  Incredible photography!

My blog friend, Kim at Savvy Southern Style hosts a Wow Us Wednesday party at her place.  She was kind enough to expand the party for those of us who are less enthusiastic about getting around to decorating!  Come join us.  She is open to recipes, knitting,  crafts, decorating or anything you would like to share... and she is quite kind.  =)
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Numbers 6:24-26

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.