Thursday, September 29, 2016

Survivin' the Life 'n' Still Growing

Lovin' Orange Tucked in Here 'n' There

Watercolor Pencils

As I continue the attempt to restore diminished painting skills, my love of watercolors is growing. I remember painting in my room as a kid, using Gordon Fraser cards for inspiration and tubes of messy oils as a medium. Acrylics took hold with the GrandLoves. Thing is, I'd never really tried true watercolors, but rather fooled around with the kids' varieties…. not even to be remotely compared to the real deal. Now, I'm liking Prang pots of watercolor and have just enhanced my collection with their brand of paint pencils. Too cool for words…

They can be used hard and dry by themselves for definition or with water applied afterwards to the paper for different affects. Or one can wet the paper first. Or just wet the tip of the pencil. Or how 'bout wetting a brush and then picking up color off the pencil tip. Need more? Well, you can use them in conjunction with your paint-pots for endless varieties in results. 
Whatever the choice might be, I'm psyched. This card was done with pencils, except for the trees.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Realization - OBX Photo of a Lifetime

NIK and I take boatloads of photos of the OBX equines. But you already know that. Thing is, I've come to the realization that from now till doomsday, they'll never be another like this oldie.
It's an early capture from when we first discovered Corolla and the horse sanctuary on the off-road beach. I'm not sure of the year, but hope to explore my discs to find the original shot. It was "canvased" by a different company, before the discovery of canvas4life. We love its surreal look.

To this day, we wish for another such appearance in the dunes. For us, this photo takes the proverbial prize. We've just moved it to our LakeHouse entryway, as it was kind of hidden in the bedroom downstairs. Would you agree it should be enjoyed by all?!

Neverland Has Arrived

Ilze's package has arrived, all decked out in delightful horse pictures. A creative mind is always thinking outside of the box, pun intended. What a wonderful experience with a newfound beach lover such as Joe et moi.
Inside, our bowl was safely packed, along with beach-walk gifts of a handmade necklace (currently adorning our bamboo) and precious, sandy shells. Thanks again, Ilze! You're guaranteed to be thought of often.


Did you declare a winner? Clearly, there will be one… "SNL" should be interesting, this week, with its gift of pre-written material. Maybe Rosie will make an appearance. :-) But comic relief aside

We thought that once t.Rump crumbled after a somewhat strong beginning, Hillary nailed it. After all, someone had to look and sound presidential...

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Gorgeous Baby Richie ♡

Yesterday, Rich 'n' Kelly stopped in with their beautiful baby, Richie. We were delighted, to say the least. What a precious boy, so happy and curious and all the things that make little ones so very special… not to mention those eyes!! Good gene pool, right?!

Thanks, Friends. Come again real soon. And thanks for permission to share photos… and for sending this adorable Golden Pond shot, while we were away...

3 Loves Collide - Everything Happens for a Reason

Do you believe? I mean, do you BELIEVE?

Ah, my love of (link) Pan and Tink is well known, especially if you're a Friend of CMI. That shall never change. And my love of the OBX, not to forget just about any beach - you know. But did you know that I have a weakness for hand-thrown pottery? Maybe not, as I've been in my downsize mode for a while now, trying to resist old haunts and temptations. Occasionally, though, a girl has to cave. Consider this…
To be found at Spry Creek, link below.
Shop owners on the OBX love rainy days. Beach types like myself and Joe would never browse, were it not for them. And so, on the last two days there, we didn't have much choice. Rains were torrential. Did you see those earlier captures? On the first of the two days, Joe went to run an errand and came across a shop that sold driftwood. I know, I know, it's pathetic that we'd even think to buy such an item, but every piece I've approached for a steal either here on Golden Pond or on any sandy shores seems to be anchored by a root system that runs to China. Thing is, when he brought me to check it out at (link) Spry Creek, my favorite piece was a cedar tree. That's right, I said tree. Gorgeous, right? Imagine our return to Rock Hill with it anchored to the roof of the Jeep…

Oooh-kay. The tree wasn't an option, so we went inside to check out the shop. Great stuff. I was particularly attracted to pottery by Ilze. Actually, I strongly considered one particular bowl, but there was just one little thing about it that didn't appeal to me; thus, resistance. Instead of pushing other items on us, the shop owner, Karen, began telling us about the artist, where she lives (Carova!) and that she maintains an Etsy store. Then, we went on with Karen, a native of the Banks, to have a wonderfully interesting and informative chat. She was raised during that horse-y time when the OBX was remote to most of us… and then, she watched it grow. Our conversation with her (and other locals) was reminiscent of those had with Kaua'i natives… all maintain an intense appreciation for where-on-earth they ended up. It's a crap shoot, eh?I digress...

Next morning, I began to browse (link) Ilze's online store. There it was. My bowl. The theme? Pan and Tink. Some things are just meant to be…
"What?!? The road to Carova is not passable???"
I contacted Ilze by e-mail to see if we could get together for a purchase. We're always ready for a ride to Carova. But sandy Route 12 was a washout. Yep, it's true - when you live in the sand, there might be issues. It wasn't going to happen. Other possibilities were mentioned, also drowned out by the weather, pun intended. Not to worry, I made my purchase via PayPal and the duo should arrive at my doorstep by tomorrow. Ilze shipped as soon as she was able to swim to the post office. Just kidding!

And so it goes and so it goes…  sheer coincidence allows a few loves to collide. Who would think that the bowl carrying childhood loves and soon to adorn our home would be a souvenir of that beach-y, horse-y place we can't resist… a rhetorical question, but food for thought.

The bonus? We met some lovely people, along the way.
Thanks, Karen and Ilze. Thanks, rainy days.
Now, on to find some fairy dust...

(Photo of bowl to come, upon its northern arrival!)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Cruz, You Lose… Twice

Ugh. Ted Cruz. A political opportunist, afraid to stick to his proverbial guns.

Route 12 or OBX?

We're of the OBX variety, as our Jeep windows proudly state. That said, here is a fantastic article about Route 12 and its meaning to residents who travel it daily. Gives a new perspective to a place we love. Also, we learned that our patch of road to Carolla and then Carova is relatively new. Does that make us pioneers?

Link here for an enjoyable read…

D♥D Would Delight In This...

We're home! Just in time to celebrate Dad's birthday by finding or baking (later on) the perfect chocolate cake… and by remembering all the loving and wonderful times - the memories he created with us that remain to be cherished. An awesome legacy. He'd love, love what we arrived home to. After all, he's responsible for my adoration of outdoor gardening…

"Nick, Nick, we have a pumpkin!" exclaimed Joe after checking the lake estate upon our arrival, yesterday. :-)

So, here's our little pumpkin. Better late than never. And growing as a result of our withering pumpkins tossed into the woods, last year. But those dilapidated fruits carried this year's seeds and are now bearing fruit. Or are punkins veggies? Take your pick and celebrate with us. All occasions great and small. Do you see this, Dad?

Yes, my Dad is smiling. He's always smiling on us. Still missing him, though I feel his constant presence. Always loving him beyond words.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A Painted Sky… Where Clouds Are Hung For The Poet's Eye… Neil Diamond 'n' Jonathan

Funny thing about "Be" and all the music from "Jonathann Livingston Seagull"…. it just plays in my head, no CD necessary. With each beach scene, there it is. It doesn't even take a gull. Color me OBX inspired.
But then…
That's a pick-up truck hidden by the huge spray of water!
All clouds are not created equal. Consider today's version. Dark. Ominous. Filled with moisture that is coming down in buckets and flooding the road in front of our condo and the fountain pond behind it.
Our steps to the pond are under water!
Yep, the rains came, after twelve incredibly beautiful and consecutive beach days. Let's hope tomorrow brings another painted sky of our dreams.

Round-up Three 'n' Riding a Wild Corolla Mustang

We drove down the beach to Carova, late yesterday afternoon. Yep, we took the challenge of a very rutty dune, in order to cross over to the residential area. Mr. Ed et al had not made an appearance (that we saw) on the beach. Enough is enough, already. We needed an equine fix. Besides, I thought to introduce you to some new and interesting faces. How 'bout a horseback-riding egret? A common sight, the birds often wait patiently before climbing aboard to scour a horse's back for bugs. Sounds like a win-win, to me.
Not much has changed in Carova, (link) since my 2010 post, introducing y'all to this unique place. Six years ago, already. Yes, yes, there are boatloads more of the mega-houses, mostly multiple rentals for summer folk. But the real beachies? Their houses remain modest and beaten by winds, sand and storms. Inhabitants wouldn't have it any other way.
Water is all over the place. Canals offer kayaking. Freshwater lakes and underground springs afford the equines their sustenance. 
Still, only the firehouse provides help if needed and a few mandatory groceries, such as milk and eggs. Kudos to the fire and rescue people.
Roadways are sandy, of course. Driving slowly is mandatory. Ahem. Watch for horses and be ready to capture through-the-windshield moments.
Imagine awakening to this view, every morning…
Wondering if Mr. Ed is ticketed for getting too close to humans? Haha. Sometimes, it's tough to stay fifty feet away. G-d, they're gorgeous creatures.
Giving Thanks for such gifts.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Two-Zu Post… She Clearly Did Not "Lie To Me"

Zu recommended the currently-on-Netflix TV series "Lie To Me," circa 2009-2011. Three complete seasons take a long while to watch and are worth one's time, we think. We've watched two complete seasons, thus far. An episode in the morning and one and night have been our TV fare, before and after enjoying long OBX beach days. It takes a bit to get into the show, but stick with it. Cal Lightman, played by British Tim Roth, will hold your attention, as he reads faces to determine what someone really means when they lie… or not. In doing so, he helps the FBI solve crimes. We promise, you'll never just casually look at eyes or facial expressions, again. Watch to see the many appearances-by-photos of politicians and celebrities you know well. No spoilers here. A great supporting cast, as well.

And while I'm on the topic of (link) Zu, please visit her to see how this amazing leather project came about. She's always thinking creatively. Thing is, she executes her thoughts in pro style, as demonstrated by her gorgeous handmade tote and traveler's notebook. Yes, my talented friend is something else.

Umbrella Daze

New York and its upsetting (to say the least) issues seem like a world away, as we enjoy the rest of our OBX vacation. Thankfully, all twenty-nine innocent souls caught in the Village explosion have been released from the hospital and shall be okay. Well, physically okay. I'm sure the mental anguish will continue. We pray.
Meanwhile, here in southern parts, life seems simple and we give thanks for beautiful days, as we maintain our umbrella daze.
Mambo thinks he's a pound puppy. A sand-lovin' one.
I continue my attempts at Child-At- Art.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


This is a throwback shot from last week, taken by Joe et iPhone. Thanks, Honey.

But the real throwback is the old, old sundress. I've lost track of exactly what birthday it is celebrating. It's at least Number 15. G-d only knows how many times it's been worn and washed. Hmmm, I'm sayin' it's a keeper.
This post is for Cousin Khrista . I hope she still has her orange sundress...

Creatures of the Deep

iPhone photo by Joe
Look at what greeted us, as we crossed over to the drive-on beach, yesterday. Ugh. There was a time - when I was about five years old and in my Dad's ♡ arms , "jumping" waves (my earliest memory) - that I loved the ocean. Being in the ocean, that is. It was great through my teens, too, when big-wave days at Jones Beach were coveted. Then came "Jaws" and all of its terror. Accompanying the movie was the realization that under the sea - and my feet - lurked the potential for… well, you know. Still, I adore the ocean from a vantage point on the sand. I've digressed. Back to yesterday and this monster sting ray. My thoughts went to Steve Irwin and his tragic death. Didn't you just love that guy? I did. Imagine this terrorist alive, lurking under the sand, as is their custom. The antidote is to shuffle one's way into the waves, just in case a ray is feeding in the shallow water. But this freaky sight didn't define the whole day…
It was a windy and cool one, "cool" being seventy-nine degrees. Dark and light clouds mingled in an interesting sky. The water was rough. Our stretch of beach past many houses and in between surf and dunes afforded us near isolation… not even the few families we've become accustomed to were there. It was refreshing to be out from under an umbrella. No sun is just fine, on occasion.
Besides, the wind screen needed some air.
iPhone photo by Joe
And then came today. Perfection. Look at that sky! Sun. Seventy-nine degrees, again. Cool and breezy. We did share our space with a few others, but everyone maintains a distance. After all, don't we all wish for the secluded beaches of our dreams? Almost.
This post is in memory of Steve Irwin.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Child-At-♥ Art??

Be nice! The GrandLoves will surely ! And it was fun, after the sand
Just not quite as delicious as the real one...
OBX Inspired

Dune Buggy Days

Now, THIS looks like fun! They are rentals and available beyond the beach.

Round-up Two with Behaviors of our Wild Horses of Corolla

It appeared to be a huge band of over a dozen mustangs that we saw as we left the beach, yesterday. Ah, but at second glance, we noticed widening segregation…
Look again to see White-Socks Blackie, a favorite stallion, standing in between his huge harem and the smaller group to his right. The big male in that band protected three mares.
Back to White-Socks. You've met him before, along with my other favorite, Flaxen, with the white-blonde mane and tale. Now, I'm pretty sure that Flaxen is the offspring of parents who love to nuzzle.
We parked the proper distance from the horses and enjoyed a great photo op. White-Socks never stopped watching his potential adversary. He's got a lot of responsibility on his shoulders - that is one huge harem he's accountable for. And you'll notice that size means nothing, when it comes to male prowess.

Also worth a mention is my conversation had with a Corolla Horse Fund rep who made sure that curious tourists didn't approach any of the equines. It was good to see him and he happily answered a few of my questions. (1) It's true that the herd is down in number to the low eighties. What can we do? Just support the fund, if possible. (2) He was not a hundred percent sure of this year's foal count, but knew that one baby, separated from momma, drowned and another was saved from drowning. They are endangered in more ways than one. (3) Tourists pose a huge problem and threaten the herd almost daily, in season. Many think it's cute to feed them, but in reality, it is deadly. One renter left watermelon rinds out for the horses to find. A foal did just that, consumed them and died, shortly thereafter. Fresh water, sea oats and dune grasses do not equal our veggies. Colic and death… the results of human "kindness." They are looking strong and healthy, without our dietary help...
The kindest thing we can do is to respect the ground rules that protect the herd. It's true that we are all in awe and mean well. But love from a distance is our best gift to Mr. Ed et al.