Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Christmas in June or Go Visit the Disney Christmas Carol Train, If You Can, and A Reciipe, of Course

If the Christmas Carol Train comes to your town, you should plan to go. It is a lot of interesting fun. This November Disney will be introducing its remake of the famous Dicken's tale featuring Jim Carey.

We toured the train which had five cars with all kinds of neat exhibits from the making of the movie.

In the last train you could have your face superimposed onto that of a character from the story. Later on you would get it emailed to you. Our friend's images arrived a few days later. Mine never showed up. I am not sure what happened to them. Either way, it was pretty cool. Here's Ellie as Tiny Tim.

The last activity was a very cool 15 minute cut from the movie. It was shown in a giant blow up building that holds almost 100 people. It made me feel like I was in a jumpy castle as I wore the 3D glasses you needed to watch the flick.

On another note, I thought I might share a simple, tasty and easy to make recipe:

Mike's Bean

1 bag or about 3 cups Dried Beans (today I am using Pinto Beans)
7-9 cups water
4 Bay Leaves
1 tea Salt
1 tea Cumin*
1/2 tea Mustard Seed*
1 tea Coriander*
1 - 2 tea Paprika
1-2 tea Red Pepper

Rinse the beans and pick out any bad ones. Place them in your crockpot with the water, Bay Leaves and salt. Let it cook on med. over night or on high for about 4-6 hours. Check to be sure that there is still water with the beans.

* Concerning the spices - you can use whole spices which you roast in a skillet and grind up before adding to the beans. You can also use preground spices.

Add in the spices, stir well and serve. They can be served over rice and topped with cheese. Left overs can be mashed and used in burritos.

Thanks to Mike for the lovely recipe.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Hail No or How It Feels to be Near the Edge of Where a Tornado Touched Down

Last Monday night the local weather took an odd turn. It started out like a typical, lovely summer evening. Until, in the span of about 20 minutes the sky when from a pinky sunset to a pea green grey sky. The rain which began in small sprinkles quickly transformed into sheets of horizontal rain. In other part of the city Hail pummeled the trees, gardens, vehicles and buildings.

Our own home fared well with only an intense and aggressive watering. Two blocks away at my mother's house people got about 2"-3" of hail. West of us they got more hail. Hail and rain so aggressive that nearly everyone will need new roofs and siding.

Down in Wheat Ridge, where our school is, seemed to have gotten the worst of it. You can see where the tornado or nearly tornado went. It left a trail of destruction in its pathway. On the north end of the school all of the windows that were still glass (many are plexiglass) were blown out. The wind whipped through the side stage, past the stage in the theater, and through to the other side stage. Luckily the floor was covered in thick black plastic for a performance. It surely would have been ruined. It was incredible to find leaf bits in the main hallway. The wind took off part of the roof cap and striped the plants of their vegetation. In a Land of Oz like fashion we found that a piece of someone else's fence took down our fence. I am not even sure of where it came from. The building flooded in parts.

The area looked like, well, a tornado had hit. Huge trees were pushed down, their root balls exposed, turf pulled up like a blanket on a bed. Cars and trucks were crushed under their falling. Houses had most of their windows blown out. One house was pulled up off the foundation and flung elsewhere. Amazingly, I did not hear of anyone being injured during the storm.

Larr and Ethan went over around 10:30p.m. and stayed until about 1:00 a.m. trying to secure the building. Larr called service offices at midnight so we would be on the top of their duty for the day schedules. Many people from the school community showed up with brooms in hand. We got the cleaning done that day.

The woman who owns this house just sat, crying. She said she didn't even know where to begin. Within the last two years she had the entire house redone and lanscaped. Her house and yard were in terrible shape.

Ethan helped some of the older neighbors by cleaning the leaf clutter off of their roofs so that they would not be pulled off from the weight. The girls and I offered to help other neighbors clean up their messes. While it was a devastating event for many, it was also an opportunity to come together and create a sense of unity, as well as accomplishment.

Here's a great video of an Italian Coca Cola ad that is inspiring:

coca-cola encounter on Vimeo - Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

We also had a wonderful dinner of Coconut Chicken Tenders with Honey Marmalade Dipping Sauce. The recipe is from the Tasty Kitchen, a subunit of blog that I love.

Coconut Chicken Tenders with Honey Marmalade Dipping Sauce

* 2 pounds Chicken Tenders
* Salt And Pepper
* 1 cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
* 1-½ cup Panko Bread Crumbs
* ½ cups Orange Juice
* ½ cans Sweetened, Condensed Milk
* 1 whole Egg
* Peanut Oil For Frying
* ½ cups Honey
* ½ cups Orange Marmalade

On a cookie sheet, season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix orange juice, condensed milk, and a beaten egg until your “wet” mixture is well incorporated. In another bowl, mix coconut and panko crumbs.

Heat peanut oil in a medium pan or skillet on medium-high heat. Fill pan to about 1/2″ of oil. Dip and fully coat each tender in the egg mixture first and then the panko/coconut mix. Set each coated chicken on a cookie cooling rack.

Fry each tender for 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Serve with Honey Marmalade dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Honey Marmalade Dipping Sauce Instructions:
In a small bowl, add honey and marmalade. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute. Stir everything until well mixed and serve with coconut chicken tenders.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Of Weddings, Good Company and a Recipe for Good Measure

Today we ventured into the mountains for an unusual wedding. Midge and James are our neighbors who have their own style. They went for a wedding with a twist. They arrived at the primitive site a few days ago and prepared the place for their wedding. They dug a pit in which they roasted a pig. They built several tables and many benches from plywood and fallen trees. A friend who was helping them even built them a giant throne. For a touch of levity the boys wore 3D glasses. Midge had thought about wearing her signature boots under her wedding dress, but opted for white shoes with rhinestones instead.

Marin and Mia (James' girls) gathered wild flowers for decorations. How cute they are.

Here Ash (James' son) and his cousins enjoy the giant throne.

The weather had threatened a bit, even rained for a while, but mostly passed the wedding party by. As we drove out to the highway we saw that significant hail had fallen just a few hundred yards away. Perhaps it is a good sign of luck for the newly weds.

On an entirely different note, I'd like to mention my friend Mike. She is the mother of two kids that my kids race with. Her son Rhys is Ethan's age and Laurel is a year older than Ellie. Mike and I visit at bike races. We thought it would be fun to spend some time together so she drove up from Colorado Springs on Thursday and did crafts with Ellie and I. Laurel, a super athlete, broke her arm in two places during a ride with her father last week. That means that she will not be able to take place in Road Nationals, Triathlon Nationals and one other important sporting event. She is exhibiting and amazing attitude. We decided to bust out the Cricket machine and make her a lovely, highly embellished name banner. We worked on it as we chatted all afternoon. It was so much fun to make, too bad I forgot to photograph it before sending it home with Mike.

Mike and I talked recipes a lot. We are like two peas in a pod. Here's one recipe that she told me off of the top of her head. It was a hit"

Mike's Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Shrimp and Cheese

1 large jar of Roasted Red Peppers (you can also roast your own) drained
16 oz. Evaporated Milk (or cream, or even regular milk)
1 tea. Olive Oil
Salt to taste
Shrimp (grilled or sauteed with butter and lemon)(we had about 1/3rd pound per person)
Pasta cooked al dente
Blue Cheese or Feta Cheese
Turkey Bacon (cooked and crumbled, about 1-2 pieces per person)

Create the sauce by blending the drained roasted red peppers with the evaporated milk, olive oil and salt.

Cook the pasta.

Grill or saute the shrimp.

To construct the dish place the pasta on the plate. Top with the red pepper sauce, the shrimp, a bit of cheese and the turkey bacon on top.

And a video that Ellie thinks is brilliant:


Friday, July 24, 2009

Notes from a Dinner Party - Recipes and Ideas

We had the Suter Burgess family over for dinner. They've had us to their house many times and I was happy to plan a party. I was going to do a taco and burrito bar, but Ethan really wanted a baked potato bar. I love the Colorado Broccoli Salad that they sell at Safeway, so I searched for a similar recipe. I was going to do a few other items such as Gouda with Rigatoni and Root Beer Cupcakes, but time did not allow for them. We had a lovely time. The food was simple, but nice.

Here's notes on preparation and the recipe:

Baked Potatoes

Clean Russet Potatoes and stab them with a fork in several places. (This allows the steam to escape)then bake them in a 350 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours. This produces baked potatoes with a slightly crispy crust outside. Another method is to clean and fork them, then coat the potatoes with olive oil and a bit of sea salt, wrapping them in foil. The foil method results in a different, softer potato texture after cooking. I transferred them to a large crock pot that was turned to medium.

Baked Potato Toppings:
Sour Cream
Bacon, crumbled (2-3 pieces per person)
Ham Cubes (cut from a ham steak)
Cheddar Cheese
Salsa (no one used this topping)

Broccoli Salad

2 heads Fresh Broccoli (cut the head into small pieces, discard bottoms or save for some other use)
1/2 pound Bacon, cooked and cut into small pieces)
1 -1 1/2 cup Grapes (sliced in half)
1 cup Almond Slivers (Cashews would be very lovely. Sunflower seeds work, too.
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Sugar
2 TBL Red Wine Vinegar

Combine the Broccoli, Bacon, Grapes and Almonds in a large bowl.
In another bowl, mix the Mayonnaise, Sour Cream, Sugar and Red Wine Vinegar. Mix well, then mix with the broccoli mix. Make at least one hour ahead of time so the flavors can blend. Many people like a 1/2 cup of chopped raw red onions added in. I left them out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Of Hill Climbs, Clear Running Rivers with Lovely Stones and Stories, or How We Spent Our Weekend.

Today I am tired, or rather, parts of me are tired from raking leaves and cleaning up from the near tornado hit that struck our school on Monday night. I will write about that soon, just as soon as I get around to preparing a few of our many photos of that event. In the meantime, we'll go back to our regularly scheduled event - the weekend.

Last weekend was a wonderful blur, just as so many of our weekends are. Friday we had a lazy day capped off with a movie night at home complete with hot fudge sundaes with all of the toppings. It was wonderful. We watched "Son of Rambow" which turned out to be a much better movie than I had expected. It is a sometimes sweet coming of age story, one I recommend.

Saturday we were off to the races. This weekend we had the Mount Evan Hill Climb Colorado State Championship. Ellie was nervous. Ethan was excited. It seems that something has really click for him lately and he is much faster, with better form than before.

Last year hill climbing was Ellie's be event since she was so small. She hardly had any weight to pull up the 11 miles up hill. (Yeah - 11 miles with lots of switchbacks - can you imagine? That's my strong girl!) This year she is much taller and more muscular, but also heavier. When we practiced a few weeks ago it did not go well. She had too many new things (shoes, cleats, drink and protein bar) and something went wrong. Near the end of the ride her throat began to close up. We were worried that it would happen during the race. We went back to all that is predictable and she did well, cutting nearly 22 minutes off of her time from last year. This was within 5 seconds of the winner's time (in her category) from last year. She earned third and was okay with that. She is relived to be done with it for this season. I am most proud of her attitude about the whole thing.

I was the junior clothing vehicle driver so I was one of the first adults to the junior finish. He surprised me when he flew past me much earlier than I had expected. He cut about 21 minutes from his time from last year. That is pretty remarkable since he is nearly 16. Like I said, things are clicking for him this year. He had a great ride and energy to spare. After crossing the finish line he rode back down the hill to find his team mates and cheer them on. I am proud of him for making that choice. He could have simply sat at the finish and waited. I love to see how my boy is growing up and blossoming into a thoughtful, caring man.

Sunday Ellie and I went on a camping trip with just the girls. It went even better than I had hoped. It all came about because Christy had never been camping. This summer she is stretching her wings and taking in many new adventures. We really wanted it to go well so that Christy would have a good experience. I had hoped to get a spot in the Mizpah campground that is next to the river. This campground, located in the Arapaho National Forest, is still untouched by the pine bettle. The tree are still lush and lovely. The river is clear, crisp and lovely. The campsite is only 10 minutes from a small town that has anything we might need. I had four more backup campgrounds in mind just in case we could not get the spot I wanted. However, our camping karma was good and we got just the one I had hoped for.

I thought we would have fun, I never expected to find that our little adventure would be so empowering. In the absence of the bigger brothers, the girls did it all. Ellie and Christy put their own tent up and everything arranged in about 10 minutes. I had expected to have to do it. What a joy that was to see. Later in the evening Ellie and Anna started a fire for us to roast marshmallows.
They explored, they chatted, they made a remembrance spot for Michael Jackson who died unexpectedly just a few days ago. They had fun. It was especially cool to see the photos she was taken. I can see her artist's eye developing. Her shots of the river will be great Photoshop textures.

I had fun, too. It was lovely to get uninterrupted time to visit with Laura and Connie. We sometimes hung out together. Other times we hung out with the girls, eating, telling stories and painting our nails.
Even before we were half way through the night, the girls were already clamoring for another trip.

On the way home we stopped for treats at the Sweet Shoppe in Empire.


I read Ali Edward's blog each day. Today she was inspired by another blog, Days With My Father. This is a link worth following. It is a loving chronicle of a man celebrating the life he had with his father who had no short term memory. It takes a while to load and is bitter sweet, touching, and very worth the time it takes to visit it.

Another site worth visiting is the Shutter Sisters. Their Project Hope is very moving.

Finally, a really moving example of how we combine the art we love, the passion we hold, and the children we love. This is LOVE STORY (Taylor Swift) meets VIVA LA VIDA (Coldplay) - Piano Cello - by Jon Schmidt. It is the arrangement he made for his seven year old daughter who loves the song by Taylor Swift.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Of Dogs, Crawdads and Unintended Responses , or Hey, Someone Forgot to Tell Reisha that Dogs are Supposed to Like Water

Playing in the creek is part of what summer is all about.

When I was a kid I would go down to a small ditch by my house and catch crawdads. One time I took home a ton of them and put them in the kiddie pool that I had at the bottom of the slide on our playset. I had taken nail polish and labeled each one with a name. (I had not intended to kill them - I was too young to know what the polish would do to them.) I even tied bows onto some of them. My sister Amy came whizzing down the slide and into the pool full of crawdads. At first I thought her screaming was from joy. You see, my sister seemed to almost always be screaming about something, so this was not unusual. What tipped me off that she was unhappy was the jumping up and down from one foot to the other accompanied by the flailing arms. I tried to look innocent. I had not intended to upset her. I had plans to start an aquarium. I was going to sell tickets out of the window of my playhouse. I would be open on Sunday afternoons. I was worried about the crawdads, not her. I was also trying not to laugh. That would only make her more mad. I felt both sad and sneaky silly at the same time. I imagine my mom tried not to laugh, too. It was gross when they started to die and rot in the pool. I did not want to clean them up, but I did.

But I digress. This is not the river where the crawdads were. This is the Platte near the REI Flagship store in Denver.

The kids thought it would be nice to cool down. Reisha had a different attitude. Someone forgot to tell her that dogs are supposed to like the water. A few others were paddling around. Reisha woofed at them to tell them they should get out. They ignored her. She turned to me, pleading. "What did I do to deserve this?" her eyes said. I took pity on her and let her hang with me.

I stood on the shore and watched the kids. Occasionally I caught a glimpse of the schools of young fry testing the waters.

I love funky movies. Here's one that you can rent. It makes me wish I had Netflicks:

Phoebe in Wonderland

Here's another video that you might find interesting:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What's All the Fuss About Full Color or Photos Altered in Photoshop

I've been working through the free class I am taking over at I think her classes are wonderful. I had intended to do each day's assignment on the day it came out, but I fell behind. Today I caught up. Here's what I created:

Cool places to get textures and inspiration for altering photograph in Photoshop include:
Skeletal Mess in
Sheispretty in Deviant Art (especially the masking tutorial on April 21, 2008)

Here's the video that the kids love today. It is Stop Motion with Wolf and Pig. I think it is pretty incredible. Enjoy!"

Monday, July 13, 2009

Golden OPEN Acylic Workshop or How to Have a Grand Time Being Creative

I've always thought it would be fun to do a bit of oil painting but have never tried it due to the odor and the solvents. Now I don't have to work with them to get a similar effect since Golden, my favorite paint company, has created their new Golden OPEN acrylic paints. They are specially formulated to have a longer wet period, allowing the artist to combine and manipulate the paint for a much longer time. Last Friday I learned about them in a Golden OPEN Working Artist class offered by local painter, Mary Morrison.
The class was an absolute blast. I had a lot more fun and gained a lot more knowledge than I had expected. It was a small class of three of us so it was very individualized.

The first exercise was to do this boat scene. (Mine is the one in the upper right hand corner with the darker purple sky.)The intent of this painting was to learn about the different items that could be mixed with the paint to change its composition. We did an underpainting with regular acrylics. Next we painted in the boat. Then we mixed some of the blue paint with the gel. This created a thicker color that we could manipulate with the palette knife. That was really fun. It was also hard to decide what kind of water I wanted - actively waving, swirly or calm. The sky was added in after the water was done. Here we added thinner to the paint so that we could get a different level of control. The final element in the painting was to use the thinner directly on the paint as a means of removing the color to make the sun.

The nearly monochromatic eggplants were next. These had several interesting experiences including painting on a molding paste surface. I had never tried that before, but loved it. (I think some of my favorite knowledge was more about the gel, thinner, paste and molding pastes - that opened an entirely new world!)It was interesting to see how different each person's painting was. My eggplant is the one on the bottom in the photo above. Here again we painted a base color. This time it was Quinacridonel Gold. It is Mary's favorite color. (She told us about a time when she was at a workshop for the working artists which took place at the Golden factory. She was thrilled to find that they were making this color, her personal favorite. We used the paint with the different mixed in items again, but this time it was more about removal instead of adding in. At the end we used the end of the brush to "draw" on the painting. This is referred to as Sgraffito. It was perhaps one of the most fun elements. It was so free and unrestrained. If you did not like what it looked like you could simply move around the paint and give it another go.

At the end of the class we picked a piece of art that we would like to imitate. I did mine on a light molding paste. My image was a mix of images from David Body and a hand tinted photo from a Flickr photogroup. I do not have a picture of this to share, I will share it later.

At the end we got to see Mary's personal paintings. I loved them. She works on large boards that have been gessoed and then underpainted. Next she mixes the paint with a paste to put on a foundation for her abstract landscapes. She moves the paint around with these rubber things called paint shapers. She also gave us lots of hints such as the fact that rubbing alcohol is great for removing pain from paintings and from brushes, providing it is not completely dried. Mary was a wonderful instructor. She offered information in an easy to understand way and met each person where they were operating from. I would recommend any of her classes.

I hope to get to go to another on of her classes.I also appreciated all of the small samples that Golden provided for the class. I had expected that we would just get a bit of paint on our palettes. I was thrilled to find that I had paint to take home and work with.
On a completely different note, here's a great recipe for camping or just eating that I am making today:
Cream Cheese Chicken

1 pkg. Good Season Italian Dressing Mix
3-4 chicken breast, cubed
1 stick butter
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
¾ c. cream cheese

Combine dressing, chicken and butter in crock pot. Cook for 4 hours on high, 6 hours on low. Take chicken out and add remaining ingredients, mixing well. Return chicken to crock pot and cook on high for ½ hour. Serve with noodles.

Here's a movie that I might have to go see. I think the actors are both wonderful:

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Jazzy, Modern Take on Tosadas from the Cherry Creek Arts Festival

In some ways, I am a foodie. Now, I won't drive four hours just to visit a restuarant, but I do take in as many cooking classes and demostrations as I can. I recently enjoyed a few of the demonstrations at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. The only one that I sat all the way through was the one with Duane Walker from Lola. His food was wonderful and I am thinking of making his Rock Shrimp Tostada with Mango & Guacamole tonight for dinner.

Today begins a whirl wind of fun activities. I will spend the day in a painting class on how to use the new OPEN Golden Acrylics. They are supposed to be something like painting with oils as they take a long time to dry. I've never tried oils, so this will be exciting.

This evening Larr and I will take in "Much Ado About Nothing" at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Then we are off to the races this weekend. Ellie races up Cheyenne Canyon in Monument (near Colorado Springs) and Ethan will do the Peak to Peak Mountain Bike race in Winter Park. He and Larr will also go rock climbing. Sunday we will race in Longmont. I am hoping we can sqeeze in a cooking class at William Somona, but we'll have to see if it works out. It is on Summer Desserts. I am hopeful.

Here's the recipe in the event you want to make it, too. You can find two years worth of the recipes here (

Executive Chef Duane Walker- Lola's
Rock Shrimp Tostada with Mango & Guacamole
(Serves 6-8)

Rock Shrimp
6oz cured rock shrimp
To cure: 3 to 4 hours
4oz of orange juice
4oz of lime juice
1 vanilla sprig

4 ripe avocados
1 red onion, small dice
2-3 Serrano's, chopped
1 oz garlic, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 Tb chimayo powder
1 tsp cumin powder
4 limes, juiced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Ceviche Base
3 mangos, medium dice
2 papayas, medium dice
1 red onion, medium dice
2 fresno chiles, small dice
1 jalapeno, small dice
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
2 limes, juiced
2 oz rice wine vinegar
2 oz olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

mix all ingredients in a bowl

On an entirely different note, here are some videos that the kids find inspiring. Mike Song is a pro at a dance style called "tutting." If you like this video, check out his choreography video on

Ethan thinks "Flawless - Britains Got Talent" guys are amazing, and they are. You'll need to visit them on to view their dancing.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Riding Lake Dillon or How a Branch Cannot Replace a Broken Pedal

I love to ride around the town of Frisco and take a peek at the sales in the outlets in Silverthorn. Before we had the kids Larr and I used to go and spend a weekend up there. We'd ride our bikes around, follow the trails from one town to the next. We even found a small ghost town on one of our jaunts. I think about those times nearly every time we drive by Frisco, which is actually pretty often. I've had a desire to go ride again. In fact, I've been trying to find the time to do it for more than a year. Yesterday we finally made it. Well, Ethan and I made it. Larr was working and Ellie was feeling like a city girl.

We stopped in Evergreen at the Evergreen Art Center to see a bike related art exhibit. One of the artists was there and she was fun to talk with. Some of the pieces were inspiring. One mat job was really fun. One photo of a cyclist had been matted off center. On top of the mat were three more photos, each a bit smaller than the one next to it. They were all in a sequence so that it looked like you were watching him ride by. Another cut out some of the wood to create a silhouette, of sorts.

Next we had an impromptu lunch and visit with the Suters. I got to see their current puppy. He is just about the cutest thing alive. We chatted, ate yummy food and showed Ari a few fun videos, such as:

Here's another one that is a similar style:

Oh, and here's what Ethan loves:

We also admired Ari's photography. I love seeing how other people view things - very inspiring. We left after a short while so that they could get back to packing for a camping trip.

Okay, I digress. Back to our story...

We stopped and looked at the sales in a few of the shops, but nothing called our names and had to go home with us, so off we went. Until we came across a welding store and a fruit stand. After eating (well, slurping, really) peaches we were on our way. It was great. I am so happy that my son still likes to do stuff with me. It is wonderful to see the kind of man he is becoming.

The trail along the dam was like a gentle rollercoaster. It was a blast!

But alas, our fun was cut short about eight miles into it when my pedal began to wobble and then break. In an effort to help Ethan offered me his bike. The kids ride one legged at practice so he was game for riding my bike. However, I could not even stand over his bike to get on it. Next up, he tried fashioning a stick into a pedal. He worked hard at it. It was so sweet to see him labor at trying to solve the problem. I felt bad when it broke, too.

Eventually I rode as far as I could and then I walked it the rest of the way. I was a bit bummed, but not too much. After all, it was really more about spending time in a beautiful place with my boy rather than getting miles in.

We capped off the evening with a bit of food and rootbeer floats at A&W.

Driving home we admired the changing clouds and the sunsets that Colorado is so famous for.

Monday, July 06, 2009

I Almost Can't Sleep for All the Inspiration Running Around in My Head or All the 4th of July Means If Are An Art Lover In Denver Around the Holiday

The July 4th holiday really begins and is fervent for us on July 3rd. It begins with a trip to the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. Ellie and Christy go for the fun stuff they can make and do. I go to be inspired. I have yet to be disappointed. Here are just a few of the pieces that have set my heart and head spinning:

I love and admire these two for their simplicity. I love their use of color. I seem incapable of creating art like this. I just can't seem to stop adding, fixing, fiddling. I guess I would need someone to say, "Step away from the canvas..." (although mind would more than likely be watercolor paper instead of canvas, but I quibble...)

Oh this bird, I fell in love with him. I wish I could have him, but he was way beyond my ability to buy. I simply had to admire, gush at the artist and get permission to photograph it. Perhaps I can make one like it some day.

I love these for the texture and the unusual shape. I stared for a long time, trying to catch every detail!

There were several people who made art with found or recycled objects. I took a few of these kinds of photos for Ethan since he was not with me to appreciate their artistry.

I love this man's art every year. Perhaps some day I will have one. I would love to see his workshop or go shopping/finding with him. He must be very intense and interesting to create such art.

I love the whimsy of the art this woman creates. I might be moved to create my own version of this kind of art.

These abstract flowers are wonderful for the color and design.

I was so moved by these that I went home and started a painting the next day. I was inspired by very different styles and the result, while my kids loved it, was very incongruous. I may have another go at it. I am not sure if I will post that attempt or not.

In the mean time, here are a few fun videos related to the holiday that I wanted to share:
"Fireworks" by PES

If you like this one, go onto and look up "Human Skateboard" by PES.

Here's another that Ethan found:

I hope your head will be swimming with inspiration soon, too.