Thursday, October 31, 2013

Holiday Chai!

This week - Numi Organic Holiday Herbal Chai

Cost:   $6.99 at Whole Foods (Update:  On sale now for $5.49 through December 3)
Number of teabags:   18 individually wrapped tea bags
Caffeine:   No
Type of tea:   Herbal
Steeping time:  Four minutes
Add ins:  Natural Bliss Sweet Cream
Ingredients:  Fair Trade certified organic:   Rooibos, cloves, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom
Fragrance:   Cinnamon and clove
Opinion:  Love this tea, I think this is my new favorite!  Another great caffeine-free chai to enjoy in the evening, too.
Rating:  5

Happy Halloween!

Creative Fuel

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wednesday Work in Progress

My pumpkin from the Galveston Farmer's Market

My room at the Tremont House in Galveston

This week we were focusing on interiors.  (The pumpkin was a bonus)  
We only have one more class left this session.  I am definitely going to re-up!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chantal Warehouse Sale!

Which lately the first weekend has been falling on the Houston Quilt Festival, but fortunately for us all the warehouse will be open three weekends in November with plenty of shoppertunities.  (In the past they have had different specials each weekend.)

Mark your calendars -- November 1/3, 8/10 and 15/17
Fridays and Saturdays 9 AM-6 PM
Sundays Noon-5 PM

5425 North Sam Houston Parkway West

Monday, October 28, 2013

Houston International Quilt Festival 2013

The Houston International Quilt Festival kick-off begins in just a few days!

Festival hours for the public are:
Wednesday, October 30 7 to 10 PM
Thursday/Saturday, October 31/November 2 10 AM to 7 PM
Sunday, November 3 10 AM to 4 PM
Yours truly will be there and will post my finds, pictures and of course, opinions during the Festival.
If you can't make it this year, make plans for next year.  The 2014 Houston International Quilt Festival dates will be October 30/November 2.

The 2013 ticket prices are:

$12 adults
$9 seniors/students
$12 Preview Night package, includes additional free day
Children 10 and under free
$42 Full Show pass (includes Preview Night)
(Want to buy and print your tickets in advance?  Click here  The fee is $1 to do so.)

Pssst!  Here's a sneak peek at this year's Exhibitors -- and their booth numbers (as of October 22) so you can map out and plan your shopping strategy.   You may also want to keep in mind everyone automatically heads to the right once they enter.  Take it from a seasoned shopper and booth exhibitor, you may want to start a few rows over (remember which row you began so you don't miss a thing!).
Click here for the floor plans
There's also a lull around 3-4:30 PM before the after-work local crowd arrives.  Want to pick up some deals?  Then shop Sunday, especially mid-afternoon.  Vendors often don't want to pay or go through the hassle of shipping things back.  It's also an especially good time to get display magazines from the different publishers.  (Honestly, they toss them out.)  Surprisingly, Preview Night on Wednesday isn't that crowded.  It's also the best time to check the quilt displays.  But please, park in a safe and secure area, especially at night.  I recommend parking directly across the street or the Hilton parking garage.  Don't try to save money on safety.

Last year, Craftsy had a pop-up class booth in the Food Court area, and gave away discounted class tickets.  I'm hoping they will be back this year, too.  Make It University will also be returning.

Wear comfy shoes, stick a package of trail mix in your purse, have fun, and hope to see y'all there!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pumpkin 'Puncture

Here's the pumpkin I did for Hooked on Acupuncture

A great place for affordable acupuncture (right next door to Yoga Haven).  Owner Clint McCallum basically gave me my life back after having the shingles.  In fact, I now feel better than before I got sick!  Seriously.  He's also a Chinese medicine herbalist.  Between the acupuncture and the herbal drops, I have not had any allergy problems at all, and this is usually my worst sinus/bronchitis time of year.  (knock on pumpkin)

If you live in the Houston/Galveston area, you've got to check this place out!
Hooked on Acupuncture
2505 Market Street, Galveston, Tx 77550 • 409-241-3199

Take a yoga class next door, follow up with a visit to the Oasis Juice Bar. and you've got a great, restorative day of health, healing and happy.


This is how I applied the glitter to just the tips of the flames.  I mixed a little of the sealant with the glitter and applied with a brush.  The brush happens to be part of a makeup brush set (Sonia Kashuk) which shape seemed better suited for painting and crafting than applying eyeshadow.

Halloween Pumpkin 2013!

Hopefully Chococat will have nine lives and stick around!

I used Martha Stewart's glitters -- Crystal Fine, Onyx, Brownstone, Cinnabar and Turquoise - from that 24 pack I scored at Michael's awhile back, 50% off.

I was pretty impressed with this - found it at Texas Art Supply for less than $2!

I also used Liquid Pearls in "White Opal", to highlight the ears, around the face and along the stem.

I thought this looked like a starfish!

Inspiration:  Magnet 

The sketch!

Ready to trace!
I put it on top of the pumpkin and with a little pressure traced along the lines with a pencil to create a line (dent) in the pumpkin
No need for carbon paper!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

Moonlight Madness - October 20/26

99 cent McCall's
40% off interfacing by the yard

October 31/November 2

5 for $7 Butterick patterns
$4.99 Vogue patterns

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thursday Tea Time - Fuego!

This week - Archer Farms Organic Fiery Chai Herbal Tea

Cost:   $2.99 at Target
Number of teabags:   20 individually wrapped tea bags -- nice to tuck and go in your computer bag.
Caffeine:   No
Type of tea:   Herbal
Steeping time:  Five minutes
Add ins:  Add a little fat free Half & Half if you'd like a chai tea latte.  Otherwise, nothing else is needed.  Not even any sweetener!
Ingredients:  All organic:   Rooibos, cinnamon, ginger root, cloves, cardamom, black pepper and nutmeg
Fragrance:   Cinnamon and clove
Opinion:  I like that I can drink this as is, no additional need for sweetener.  In fact, I even tried adding just a little bit of sugar and didn't like it at all.  The fact it is organic is a bonus, too.  And caffeine-free means I can enjoy this in the evening, also. The box suggests steeping in hot apple cider or juice...I may just have to try that!  Overall, a nice way to warm your days and evenings.
Rating:  4

Ooh, pretty!

Love the little Archer Farms rooster
(Though I miss the tea bags which used to have the sayings)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Live Love

Spotted on a bench outside Inversion Coffee House yesterday afternoon. . .

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Good Morning!

Sunrise - October 18, 2013
Galveston, Texas

"How beautiful, how buoyant, and glad is morning!" 
~ L.E. Landon

Friday, October 18, 2013

Today's Favorite Workout Song

As I look at my ice skates. . .

John Newman - "Love Me Again" - 3:59

Catchy song, I love the piano part at 2:57
Bonus this week it is FREE on iTunes - grab it!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thursday Tea Time

This week - Trader Joe's Organic Yerba Mate

Cost:   $3.99 at Trader Joe's
Number of teabags:   25
Caffeine:   Yes
Type of tea:   Herbal?
Steeping time:  Five minutes
Add ins:  Plays well with just sugar or sugar and organic half&half, or honey.
Ingredients:   Yerba mate
Fragrance:  Sweet tobacco-y
Opinion:   Evidently there are many health benefits to drinking yerba mate tea.  Here's a link to a good list.  This has a bit of a kick, but it doesn't hit until about 6 hours later, as attested by waking up at 2 AM.  So not a good candidate for after dinner tea.  It wasn't bitter at all and in fact, had a quite pleasant mellow flavor.  Pretty packaging, too.  I'll be grabbing another bag next time I'm at Trader Joe's.  (Along with another container or two of their dark chocolate almond bark!)
Rating:  4

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wednesday Work In Progress

Morning Reflection - at The Tremont House

"Morning Reflection"

This was the view from the fourth floor of The Tremont House in Galveston, October 11, 2013

Our watercolor class project was to learn to paint reflection and water.  Some painted flowers in a vase. I thought this would be a good learning opportunity
One classmate said, "You always choose challenging pictures" - My motto has always been jump in and figure it out as I go along.

Which I did.

First you tape off to make an interesting point of view.
This is actually a picture of the picture from the worktable
You see almost a different color palette
I might just use that for the next painting

"Paint the pretty colors first!"

Then the dark colors. . .


Insert hissy fit and a break for a salted caramel latte.  (Fortunately there is a coffeehouse in the same building.)
But an easy fix - and good life advice.  
In order to get more light, you need more dark.  
Add more color. 
Not take things and details so literally.
And don't give up.  

I was even able to "turn on" that last light on the right.

Not too bad!  The more I look at it, the more I think "hmmm" and start to smile.
I will save a vase of flowers for another time.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

While we are passing through space...

Shinedown - "I'll Follow You" - 3:58

Great swimming and ice skating song!
(Just a twee out of practice)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Bounty from the Galveston Farmers Market

I got to the Galveston's Own Farmer's Market early this morning and was finally able to score some Kenz Henz eggs, rye bread, raisin cinnamon roll and iced oatmeal raisin cookie from Galveston Bread Company, a homegrown pumpkin (which I think was from Moon Dog Farms, right next to the Oasis Juice Bar tent), and a spice Mud Cookie.   Coconut iced tea from Oasis Juice Bar not pictured.

Today is their one-year anniversary celebration, so you still have time to get there and get some goodies for yourself.  2508 Postoffice Street at 25th Street, just a few blocks from the cruise ship terminal.

What Will Be

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fall Friday Flowers

Fall Flowers from Trader Joe's

Their flowers last a long time.  This had a nice assortment of two roses, two Gerbera daisies, pom-pom daisies, celosia and a sprig of eucalyptus and greenery all for $5.99.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thursday Tea Time

This week - Celestial Seasonings Sweet Harvest Pumpkin Holiday Tea

Cost:   $2.19 at Super Target
Number of teabags:   20
Caffeine:   Yes
Type of tea:   Black
Steeping time:  Five minutes
Add ins:   I tried everything - plain, Half & Half, a little sugar, even the Cinnamon Natural Bliss Half & Half.
Ingredients:   Black Tea, Cinnamon, Ginger, Roasted Chicory, Natural Pumpkin Flavor With Other Natural Flavors (Soy Lecithin), Luo Han Guo, Cloves, Nutmeg, Natural Sweetener (Stevia Extract) and Pumpkin.
Fragrance:  It did smell like pumpkin pie!
Opinion:  I so wanted to like this.  Alas, no. I thought it tasted odd.  You could taste the cloves and nutmeg with a nice bite of ginger - nice.  But then there was an aftertaste.  Three times I tried this, three times I dumped it into the sink.  I don't know if it was from the Luo Han Guo or the stevia.  My bet is on the stevia.  I don't like to use it because it does have a "different" sweetness, which can vary from product to label.  
Rating:   0.5 (Useful as a potential potpourri?)

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Wednesday Work in Progress - Purple Tree Sunrise

Purple Tree Sunrise

This was inspired by a photograph of William Anzalone's "Very Yellow" oil painting.  (I don't think he needs to be too concerned.)  The trees are Texas Hill Country junipers.

Sometimes the practice bits turn out quite cool and pretty!

This week we were working on using analogous or complementary colors.  The purple and yellow are opposite each other on the color wheel and are therefore complentary.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Oh! My Star!

Lone Star

I finished my star!!

I forgot to note earlier that we were supposed to have a contrast of cool and warm colors.  Hence the green background.  Which through the magic of the Internet looks more turquoise than the mint green in real life.  Still a pretty shade either way, I think!

An experienced classmate (Yes, the class is all levels.  Which is good, I feel you can learn more by seeing more…and talking more.) told me that Viridian Green is a fun color to use for texture, as the pigments don't always dissolve completely through no fault of your own.  I also like the shading it created as I experimented with the Wet-on-Wet technique.

(Here's the work in progress post)

I just had to tell myself, "Just Do It!" and finish this

Friday, October 04, 2013

Today's Favorite Workout Song

Olly Murs - "Dance With Me Tonight" - 3:22

What a fun, catchy, happy song!

Yoga on the Beach

Thursday night at sunset, I had the opportunity to participate in the Third Annual Yoga on the Beach and help promote the Resource & Crisis Center of Galveston County.   October is Domestic Awareness Month and the RCC has and will continue to help victims of family violence, sexual assault, and child abuse, and to act as an advocate to prevent such crimes.

This was our view of the beach when we began --

And when we finished, we were treated to this gorgeous purple sunset --

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Thursday Tea Time - Go Green

This week - Republic of Tea Green Chai
Cost:   $1.48 at Whole Foods
Number of teabags:   .04 ounces - I was able to get three mugsfull.  However, it is also available in the canister as tea bags
Caffeine:   Yes, a little
Type of tea:   Green
Steeping time:  Five minutes
Add ins:   A little bit of sugar, fat-free Half&Half with a little sugar.  Next time I will try honey.  Maybe even almond milk to kick up the "almondness"
Ingredients:   Green tea, ginger root, cinnamon, cardamon seeds, almond pieces, natural almond flavor
Fragrance:  Spicy almond
Opinion:  Well, y'all  know I love chai, and when I found this version with green tea and almonds, I knew I had to try it.   The Whole Foods mothership in Austin, Texas has a loose-leaf tea section, and when my daughter and I found these packets and the prices, it was a great way to try some new flavors.  And I was happy to see this is available as tea bags, too - as I shake out the last remaining bits.  The almond was a nice touch.  It was not that overly spicy/peppery.  I like the fact it is a green tea, I'm trying to drink more green tea, and this has a fun combination of flavors.  I will definitely look for the teabags.
Rating:   3.75

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Wednesday Work in Progress - Two of a kind?

Pair of Pears!

I kind of mixed up the techniques of wet on wet, wet on dry.  Oh well!  But it was fun playing and learning how to work the water and brush and color together.  I will try to post a better picture in more natural light and angle.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The new Fall 2013 Free Vera Bradley Desktop, iPad and Mobile Devices WallPapers are here!

Click on this link to the Vera Bradley download page to get your free wallpaper designs!  Check out their four new styles for Fall Winter 2013 --


"Canterberry Cobalt"

"La Neon Rose"

"Olivia Pink"