Saturday, August 15, 2009

No Place Like Austin!

Austin, Texas has such a terrific vibe. Students at UT elevate the city's energy, and I love their style. One Austinite I know made a skirt out of vintage men's neckties -- very cute! Artists abound, and great music is everywhere. You don't have far to search for terrific restaurants -- Guero's Taco Bar on South Congress is my favorite. The bridge on South Congress is home to a Mexican freetail bat colony, and the nightly flight is a major attraction. South Congress Street is full of fun shops like Uncommon Objects (a treasure trove for a packrat like me) and Allen Boots. I'm still lusting for the black and turquoise Old Gringo cowboy boots (photo above) which fit me to a T -- Gotta have 'em. I love this city!

Earlier this summer, this was the view from our hotel room at Holiday Inn Town Lake. That's part of a sculling team practicing on the Colorado River, with Austin's beautiful hills in the background.

We enjoyed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, though it was a bit too early for wildflowers to be at their peak. Still, the Center is worth the trip all year. Some wildflowers were in bloom:

The Center's prairie hike offers much to see -- prickly pear cactus:

a lone windmill reminding us how difficult it was for early settlers to obtain water:

and a path winding through Texas Hill Country scrub oaks. Hill Country oaks are not huge and majestic like the live oaks in Southeast Texas and Louisiana, but they are beautiful in their own gnarly, twisted selves, symbolic of tough Texas pioneer spirit. To my overactive imagination, these woods are enchanted:

The Center also has a sculpture garden -- I love this one. Give peace a chance, people!

And the entry loggia is gorgeous, embraced by mountain laurels and prickly pear:

Lady Bird Johnson loved wildflowers and was determined to restore the natural beauty of Texas.

Thanks for going along on my journey. Y'all come to Austin if you get a chance. It's worth the trip!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Slipping away from Slipper Moon

My life has changed recently, and I regret that my blog has suffered from neglect. My brother Chris is now living with us, and it's taken some effort to find even keel. Each time a new ripple is added to my life, I have to absorb it into the here and now, into my being, and adjust my sails to accommodate the change. That's what life is -- a journey across seas calm or stormy, never dropping anchor for long.

But I can't stay away from Slipper Moon, and beads have been calling out to me. Here's my latest -- a bracelet I've been wanting for some time. The beads are faceted freshwater pearls in dark teal laddered between black Greek leather cord, and the clasp is one of my soldered glass charms -- a collage with the word "imagine." (Thanks, John Lennon.)

It wraps three times around my somewhat skinny wrist (would that the rest of me were so cursed!).
Guess I'm just an old hippie at heart.

I FINALLY finished the sea talisman necklace. I added more bead links so that it can be worn wrapped twice around, if the mood strikes me . . .

or as just a single, long loop of color to remind me of the seashore.
This necklace really is comfortable to wear, despite its heft. I wore it on a "date" with my hubby, to see the new Harry Potter movie (which was fabulous).

I've also been working on a series of necklace pendants made from ceramic rune stones that I bought about a thousand years ago at the Texas Renaissance Festival. The shapes and symbols are interesting, and remind me of Celtic lore.
The rune on the left symbolizes "Learning." The middle one with the tiny dragonfly bead, "Journey." And the rune on the right, with the leaf charm, "Natural Force." I have six more pendants to put together, and then I'll make necklaces for them. I'm using mixed metals -- silver solder, copper, some brass -- which I want to look aged, and beads of turquoise, coral, bone, and some African trade beads for an ancient look.

So that's where the winds have been blowing me recently. I've missed blogging, and vow to not stay away so long again. Let me hear from you, dear friends!