In the Kitchen…

Do you use Houzz? I know you designers use it, but it’s a nice source to save design projects for your own house, and you can shop right from the app. Like Pinterest for HGTV junkies.

I created an ideabook where I save images to use if we ever get around to remodeling our bathroom. I have a few licensed products  there as well, like this kitchen poster.

fullsizerender-4Speaking of farm fresh, I love most any of the Barefoot Contessa’s recipes because they use fresh ingredients, are simple to make, yet have interesting and flavorful results. This winter salad is good for this time of year. Here are the basic ingredients, but since I’m not a food blogger, check out the dressing and the full recipe for Ina Garten’s  Cape Cod Chopped Salad from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, one of the many cookbooks I own and one of the few I actually use.

Cape Code Chopped Salad

8 ounces thick-cut bacon

8 ounces baby arugula

1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced

½ cup toasted walnut halves, coarsely chopped

½ cup dried cranberries

6 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled

I know you are probably wondering why I’m sharing recipes, but I get kinda tired of talking about myself, so I thought I’d share more of what I find interesting. Hope it’s not too far off topic…Is it? Comments welcome.

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‘Bless this Kitchen’ by Breakwater Bay now available at Wayfair

As much as I like to paint…

…honestly, I’d rather be AT the beach than PAINT it. Which is exactly where I’ve been instead of painting, and I hope you have been too!

That means I’ve had lots of inspiration for this coastal abstract series. It also means that it won’t be finished until late summer, rather than in July as I had planned.

I’m rested, relaxed, and have no excuses…15 new paintings that I’m really loving. All that fresh air and salt water therapy is just pouring on the canvas. I can’t wait to show you!

There’s this place..

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There’s this special place. This coastal town I’ve been visiting every year for over 15 years. The first summer I went there my younger son was just over a year old and my older son was about to start Kindergarten. It’s a long drive by yourself with two small kids. Six hours. There are many closer beaches. But my friend Kim invited me and my two boys to stay at her parent’s house with her three kids. Thank you, Pat & Bud.

So, I packed up my beach toys, the stroller, diapers, sunscreen, along with a bunch of other necessary ‘stuff.’I stuck a CD in the player and drove. The first four and half hours were fine. By hour five I was shoving Skittles in my toddler’s mouth to keep him from screaming while the five-year-old slept.  (Don’t judge – I never would have done that with my first).

We made it there. And we LOVED it. And we went back. Every year.

Kim and I happily made sandwiches and dragged all five kids to the beach along with the wagon full of beach toys. At the end of each day, we made kiddie food for dinner, put the babies to bed, and broke out the wine and crab cakes. And tuna, and crab legs, and clams, and shrimp too.

We spent a couple of days on the beach. On the third we packed up our coolers and our sandwiches and went to this cute little coastal town. It became a routine. Every year.

Those days we always took a trip on the pirate ship, complete with eye patches and plastic swords from the General Store. Ice cream. Swimming in the sound. Lots of laughing…and arguing (the kids, not us)…and laughing.

The kids are now teenagers and they still show up. Whoever can get there between summer sports and part-time jobs. Now they drive jet skis and we have to share our seafood – and next year most likely our Coronas too.

Nowadays we shop, take the ferry over to the sound to swim. Sometimes we sit on a restaurant dock and enjoy the view of the Intracoastal, eating fried okra, pimento cheese and maybe drinking a ‘pain killer.’

We talk for hours, dream, plan, laugh, cry, and keep each other inspired.

So, the little town. It’s sophisticated. Great shops. Excellent restaurants, breathtaking water views. Boat rides.

This place is special. It’s become such a part of us. Its beauty is quaint, yet sophisticated, quiet, yet bustling.

This new series is inspired by that special place.

Love. Friendship. Family, Growing older. Growing up. Lots of changes, yet the beauty of the sound, the sea, the Caribbean blue water stays the same.

Do you have a place like that?  Someplace that has your heart? I have a few, but this one? This one is special.

 

The next series. A special place.

 

PW-Abstract-Bay-4

PW-Abstract-Bay-3I’m working on a new series of coastal abstracts. They’ll be in my shop mid-summer.

I hope to base the palette and style on a painting  I love.

These images are the direction I’m headed.  They’re looser and more abstract than I usually paint and I had so much fun with them. I like the palette and the lines added in pastel. So I’m hoping to create a whole series using similar colors or maybe even more pale greens and blues. We’ll see.

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Look for the story behind them in an upcoming post. It starts with this special vacation spot. The resulting abstract series will look nothing like this picture, yet be inspired by the beauty there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ski Trip Collection – Ready for Winter?

Well, I’m not. But in anticipation of its annual arrival, winter might as well be wrapped up in cute, brightly colored ski wear. I haven’t skied much in the last few years, but I was a regular on the slopes back in high school. I also took a skiing class in college so I skied every Tuesday afternoon, whether I wanted to or not. I know, tough schedule, right? But back in the day, you had to take a PE elective, so it fulfilled that as well. ski-trip-round

Hurricane Arthur and Reference Photos

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This was loosely painted from a photograph I took on Shackleford Banks, one of the barrier islands near Beaufort, North Carolina. Wild horses still roam there. It is also where I got my digital SLR (i.e. expensive) camera wet and ruined it forever. It is where I got little tiny cuts all over my feet from walking in an oyster bed (dumb-a*s) to get close enough to get a good picture of the horses. It was not the best day. Well, actually it was a very good day, because I spent it on the water. But not a day of good decisions, I guess. I decided to take my ‘good’ camera instead of my little point-and-shoot, which I NEVER do when I am at the beach.

It also happened to be the day before Hurricane Arthur roared in to the lower Outer Banks. We decided to take our annual boat trip to Shackleford which was cut short due to the weather. Usually the island ferry takes us over there and drops us off for a few hours. We drink pink champagne out of paper cups and watch our kids play in the sound. Then the ferry comes back to get us. This time, they were batting down the hatches in preparation for Hurricane Arthur, so it was a short trip.

The ride back was loaded down with passengers and on very choppy waters. We sat in the back (last ones on the boat, as usual). The back-heavy boat caused the water to pour over the side into our laps. Where my son Jack held my beach bag, which held my camera. It was protected, but apparently not enough.

Good news. Apparently when you damage a camera, it is rare that the card inside gets ruined. So, my close-up pictures of the wild horses as well as this reference photo for the painting above were saved.

The guy at the camera shop reminded me that a camera did no good in a closet somewhere, so at least it was being used. Gee thanks.

Beaufort, North Carolina

oceanserenityBack to some more traditional art. Painted mostly with the palette knife. This is along the intracoastal in Beaufort, North Carolina, where I’ve been going every summer with my friend Kim since 2001. These are right along the docks where the tour boats go out every day. One of my favorite places in the world. Love that little town.

Nepenthe Mary – California Road Trip Day 12

My favorite stop in Big Sur. Always a Bloody Mary. Extra olives here. Oh yeah, and great views of course. It’s not a yurt or a tent as I really am more of a ‘warm bed in a hotel’ girl. I’m really only a hippie wanna-be because I like the clothes and I always wanted to wear a daisy in my hair.

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‘Nepenthe Mary’

 

Lonely – California Road Trip Day 10

10-lone-cypressweb1This one is for my husband. When he turned thirty, I surprised him with a trip to California and a round at Pebble Beach. I turned 30 the same year, and since I was seven months pregnant, I think I got a new nursery. That was a LONG time ago. Anyway, he wants another round for his next big round birthday, so we’ll see. This time, we had a picnic (again), not at the Lone Cypress, but nearby on the 17-Mile Drive. A Trader Joe’s picnic, with sushi, bread and cheese, and a bottle of wine for me. It was windy, freezing, and the kids just wanted to go back to the hotel and watch the World Cup on TV. Ah well…..