Tag Archives: summer

Sharing the Fun!

Our spring fundraiser auction included a couple of hours painting with me, and I just finished the time with two of my sweet students! With summer fresh on our minds and still reigning in the outdoor temperatures, I chose a juicy watermelon for our painting adventure. It was a great chance to actually to take time I don’t normally have with this age group (second and fourth grades) to walk through the steps involved in an acrylic painting. Come to think of it, my younger students never see acrylic anyway. I hope they had at least as much fun as I had!

happy watermelons with ant visitors

I had already posted my original watermelon, but the other night I had the most fun idea of adding the little ant visitors intot he excess of negative space above the melon! And inspired by my friend who is trying to put more Scripture on her walls (and therefor before her eyes), I added this verse from Proverbs. This cheery little painting really does make me smile!

My Proverbial watermelon


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The Peach Festival

When my daughter dragged me to Texas, it was so she could attend the Parker County Peach Festival. While this is a fun little small town festival, it is also the HOTTEST one of the year. Misting tents and early attendance keep it fun rather than torturous. There is always a variety of entertainment in the shade.

fiddle playing

Even if the clogging, music, or dancing isn’t your thing, pretending it is may be worth the seat out of the intense Texas sun!

"SOOO happy to hear the fiddle, Mom!"

All kinds of crafts and food vendors fill the streets. I bought an espresso cup bird feeder on a stick that I just love, although the birds will have to be content to find only seed in it. I always find somthing to surprise me; this year it would be the booth raising funds to grow awareness of and fight breast cancer with the Tshirt slogan “Squeeze your peaches; save your life.”

Trying to get cool after a festive morning.

Of course there is peach tea, peach lemonade and limeade, peach cobbler (regular and dutch oven), peach ice cream, peach preserves, peach salsa, and, well, peaches. Oh, and Dublin Dr. Pepper! I bought 20 pounds of peaches and have sliced and frozen and refrigerated until I am delightfully sticky, and these won’t last us any time at all. I am thinking I should have bought more!

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With fun like this, who needs a war zone?

The Kansas phenomenon of personal pyromania still awes me, even on my fourth Independence Day celebrations here. I will admit that our first Kansas July found us completely disbelieving the signage at the fireworks CIRCUS TENTS (because back home in Texas, you have stands. Fireworks STANDS. Little shacks that sell what you otherwise have to go to the outlet factory warehouse to purchase). These signs reminded buyers that fireworks could only be bought and set off in the city limits. Yes, that word is IN. My husband and I actually sought out the city and state code online because this was so incomprehensible to us. Surely, there was a misprint? but no.

Everywhere else we’ve ever lived, cities ban you. If they could pat you down for artillery at the city limits, they would. Urban dwellers elsewhere have a healthy respect for the fire-starting properties of fireworks. My husband, the son of a volunteer county fireman, mostly has July memories of emergency calls to put out grassfires, lake drownings, and fireworks-induced bodily injuries. Most of our personal fireworks have been of small to moderate firepower, usually at a lake or over rocky escarpments. So now, picture our culture shock as we view the Kansas way:

First, the source:

a medium fireworks tent

These tents come in size medium, large and Barnum & Bailey circus. Too crowded at the first one? Move up the street a half-mile and try the next. No luck? St. Mary’s summer fundraiser is across the street another half mile. And so it goes, at least every half mile along major roads.

T preparing to celebrate the Fourth

Second, the proximity:

we live in a very suburban, cul-de-sac kind of neighborhood. Request a city barricade and you can fence off your whole street for your own personal ground zero. The center of our cul-de-sac becomes a show staging area for the circle’s half a dozen homes. Need I mention the importance of making sure your car is garaged during this week, rather than left curbside? Yes, I have seen Roman candles sparking their lovely colors across a street and right under a neighbor’s car.

sparklers writing in the night

Third, the Chill Factor:

no one thinks anything of letting kids (under the close supervision of well-lit adults) set off some serious artillery. Everyone is very laid back about the explosions and sparks, and the close proximity of VERY BIG fireworks right above your roof. ‘sall coool.

note the roof right below the sparkles


Fourth, the firepower:

we see not only fountains and hear the Black Cats, but we see crysanthemums and palms and other giant glittery overhead oohs and aaahs. And I mean right. over. head. Set off right in one’s own street. This year they just yesterday afternoon banned the fire lanterns, due to extremely dry conditions, but we still watched a literally-fire-powered paper-shaded cylinder float way up into the air above the neighborhood. Which begs a look at Kansas weather in general, which was unusually still yesterday, but is often very, VERY windy. This is little discouragement here, however, as folks are used to the gustiness. If you waited for still days, nothin’ would get done ’round here. My pastor calls his small town “Little Baghad” during this week, and looks forward to adding to the haze of artillery smoke (and I can’t deny we contribute, either!).

talk about front-row seats!

So what are July 4 celebrations like in your area?

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Garden Visitors

Butterfly: tiger swallowtail?

More inspiration: maybe Chinese brush style?

wasp lunch

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Living Art: An Inspiration

Spring and summer are my favorite times in my landscape (my hubby loves fall). I love flowers, and daisies especially just smile at me. I can be totally stressed, unable to lose the little crease between my brows, but if I step into my garden, I can’t help but smile. I breathe deeper, more slowly; it’s SO therapeutic! I thank God for my garden. Enjoy a few scenes. I hope to paint some of them!

God almighty first planted a garden. And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures.”– Francis Bacon

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”– Claude Monet

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