Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Here I am getting in the mood for Halloween with Howard on my back...

What could be better than Halloween in New Orleans?  Lots of over-the-top decorations every witch way!

 I went to a block party that was like a hollywood set...dry ice, sound system, outdoor Tiki bar, the works...One of the guests said that he believed Halloween costumes should always be scary, otherwise, save it for Mardi Gras.  I had never thought about that before, but it made sense.

New Orleans has a certain style...they do things in a big way!

This display is a lot of hot air.

And here's an old friend. Cast iron with a removable hat. Not to say a real pumpkin isn't the cat's meow...but this is a reliable Jack who always has a smile I never tire of! Happy Halloween to all!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rocky Horror Picture Show

There are a few things that I feel strongly about, no, make that a LOT of things that I feel strongly about!  One of them is that everyone should experience the Rocky Horror Picture Show sometime in their life.  Of course, while you're in college would seem the optimum time, and somehow I MISSED OUT ON THAT!  So when I finally caught it in my twilight years, I was shocked, awed and amazed.

It was a hoot when I saw it in St. Louis a few years ago.  I thought it would be a howl to see it in New Orleans.

As always, there was a great cast to lead the audience astray, not to be outshone by numerous audience talents in supporting roles.  You have to know in advance that it is OUTRAGEOUS and absurd, and if you're there, you're in the show.

You gotta come well fortified to last to the end.  Pre-RHPS antics started at 12, and we didn't roll out of there until 2:30 a.m.  Like I said, it's best to do this when you're in college, tho' I did observe a wide range of ages.  I don't think it's appropriate for children (as I am so prim and proper), but there were some, all the way up to some real old grey hairs who see it on an annual basis.  I recommend seeing it as soon as possible; it is a real part of American culture.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pick Up Dinner

Here I am in New Orleans combining business with pleasure at the wonderful Jacques-Imo's restaurant.

Prime dining spot for my daughter and me is situated on the bed of an old truck that hasn't moved in years.

 It's just business as usual in NO.  Note the corn meal muffins on the table.  OMG!  Soaked in butter and topped with garlic and cilantro.  What could be more heavenly that THAT?

Dress is casual for the wait staff, and they are LOADED with personality and charm, like at most other restaurants in town.  Here the food is so great that tables are thrown out on the sidewalk.  NO takes its food very seriously, but they don't get stuffy about it.  It's just expected to be good, and don't expect to be disappointed!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Treasure Chest

Quick - what do you do when you see an old trunk in the alley?  Answer: drag it home, let it sit outside in the elements while you think of what to do next for a couple of months.  When inspiration hits, refinish it. I was also spurred on by the worry that it would become so decrepit that it would be beyond salvage.

I wish that I had had the foresight to photograph it before I started "restoring" it.  It was a big pile of peeling rust, but I could see that it had great potential.

This is where having an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) comes in handy.  I mixed up some alizarin crimson, raw sienna, burnt sienna, raw umber, burnt umber, ultramarine blue and lamp black oil colors to blend in with the natural rust colors.

Here is the finished product, with a coat of satin varnish over all. Now there is storage in this room and a surface that has character from all angles!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Autumn Inspirations

Autumn is a visual symphony - a feast for the eyes and free to all. The first vivid colors of fall, with individual leaves exploding with color, nearly brought me to tears.  This change in season seems to be a time for reflection as we prepare for the dormant, hibernating period of winter.

My mother, Marta Flanders, has a nice way of describing falling leaves: "...autumn leaves seem to wave to one on a walk with a "hi" and then a "bye" as they dance in the breeze to the ground."  

When I am walking the dogs, I feel as if I am snorkeling the autumn carpet.  The ever changing terrain of texture varies with the species: small, lacy, and delicate leaf edges contrast with rustic and durable dinner plate sizes. The gentle breeze shifts the colors, and leaves flutter to the ground like schools of fish changing direction in the current.   

What emotions do you have seeing the different colors?  There isn't a color that I don't like!  I was inspired to do some leaf paintings. These are 3" x 3". The color of each leaf was very rich and required mixing many colors together, just as the beauty of an autumn vista is composed of many colors.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Designer Doggy on the Spots

While we're on the subject of toilets...when walking Chewy and Alice recently, we stopped at these freshly painted doggy facilities in the neighborhood.  I thought they looked rather attractive in their new shiny colors. 


As you know, I'm always fascinated at how fastidious utility workers can be with their work.

Actually, I have observed many different kinds of hydrants and various color combinations. Certainly, from city to city and country to country, there are profound differences.

Does anyone know what these colors mean?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

National Toilet Tank Repair Month

In the process of specifying a Toto toilet for a project, it was brought to my attention that October is  National Toilet Tank Repair Month.  I don't think we should all wait until next October before we put a stop to running toilets.  Jiggling the handle can be quite tedious, and did you know that you could be wasting up to 200 gallons a day - that's like 70,000 gallons of water a year!  That would translate into a very hefty water bill, and are you really interested in flushing money down the toilet?  One in four American toilets  leak, and so, as usual we lead the world in squandering natural resources.  Someday water will be more precious than oil, so as we are kings in our castles, we should all keep our porcelain thrones in perfect running condition! Try this:

Now, I admit that plumbing is outside of my comfort zone, but all it takes is a bit of courage to tackle your toilet on your own with this kit, otherwise pick up the phone and keep those plumbers in business!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Taking Flight

I have noticed that the bird feeders are not being frequented as they were in the spring and summer.  I do believe that the songbirds have taken flight for warmer climes.  I hope that they are enjoying their warm vacation and will return next year!  While walking the dogs, I noticed these bird silhouettes stenciled on to a concrete wall.  Flight in suspension!

A little while later, I came across these images in a book.  I've always liked the idea of drawing and painting directly on walls...not exactly a mural, but a sketch.  It breathes life into the wall.  Children know all about this kind of seems perfectly sensible to them!

Friday, October 1, 2010


Come October, I am always reminded of a poem I learned from my teacher, Miss Jenkins, in kindergarten.  How I loved a school program with art, music, and snacks as the main subjects!  My class recited it together, sitting on the floor in a circle as the tree leaves outside changed colors and fell to the ground.  As a homeowner, when I recall the poem, I feel a sense of urgency to ready the home and grounds for the approaching cold weather.

by Aileen Fisher

The last of October we lock the garden gate.
The flowers have all withered that used to stand straight.

The last of October we put the swings away.
The porch looks deserted where we used to play.

The last of October the birds have all flown,
The screens are in the attic, the sand piles alone.

Everything is put away before it starts to snow-
I wonder if the ladybugs have any place to go?