"Art is my vehicle through life; may we share the ride together." Ron Wickersham

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Are you ready for Christmas yet?

The Little Blue House has been hopping these past few weeks! We've taught packed Buffet classes trying to get everyone's projects completed before Christmas.  Tomorrow is my last class for this year - sounds very strange!

Luckily for me I haven't had to prepare much for the holidays. Our family has rented a house in various parts of the country for the last five years and everyone comes to spend the time together. It's fantastic - no decorating, no shopping, no wrapping, no baking - just spending quality time with the family.  This year we are going to the wine country in Northern California for five days - my husband and I plus our five kids, two sons-in-law, one boyfriend and two grandsons. Can't wait!

Looking back through the blog, I've noticed that I never posted the holiday projects I created, so I will share them here.

Double-page Layout

Vintage Tree

"Family" Block Set

Monday, December 9, 2013

You Distress Painted What?

When we replied to Fabio's family that we would be attending the wedding, Jo promptly asked us to be in the wedding party!  Apparently in Brazil (at least at this wedding) there were no bridesmaids and groomsmen. Instead one has "madrinhas" (female) and "padrinhas" (male) - family members or friends or people close to the couple. The couples walk down the aisle together and then go together either to the groom's side or bride's side of the altar.  In all there were 31 of us! The women all wore long formal dresses and men wore suits with matching ties.

I was luckily able to borrow a beautiful dress from one of my co-workers (thanks Lynette!) but the only appropriate shoes I had were silver and the dress was bronze.  I really didn't want to buy a new pair of shoes! After much thought, I finally came up with the idea of using Tim Holtz's Distress Paints to color the shoes!  They are advertised as working on all surfaces and permanent when dry, so I figured I had nothing to lose!

I have to report that it worked beautifully! I used Antique Bronze Distress Paint which was almost a perfect match for the dress. The paint went on really easily with the dabber top.

Here's one original shoe (on left) and one coat of paint on the right shoe.  I could have probably stopped at one coat, but I wanted to make sure they were well covered, so I did two coats. I didn't do the insoles as I thought they might get sticky in the heat when wearing them.

And here's the finished pair!  (Oops, before the pedicure...) They stood up to an entire night of walking and dancing and still look like new. No nicks or scuffs!

So, Mr. Tim Holtz, thank you for another fabulous product which is more versatile and useful than I ever thought! Now I'm wondering what else I can paint...

I'm back!

 It's been a whirlwind November around here for sure.  We returned just before Thanksgiving from Brazil and I hit the ground running! We left a few days later for Thanksgiving weekend in Austin with three of our daughters and families. As soon as I got back, it was crunch time to prep and get ready for our annual Little Something Workshops for 100-150 students planned for this weekend.

However, TX was hit with major ice this weekend and everything, including our workshop, was  canceled!  This did leave me with some free time so I decided it was time to update this much-neglected blog.

Brazil - our trip was amazing, wonderful, fantastic!  The country is so lush and beautiful and the weather was warm since it was the beginning of their summer.  We flew into Sao Paulo and then took a local plane to Rio Preto where Fabio (our exchange student eight years ago) picked us up for the 45 min. drive to his home.  We met up with his parents, sister, fiancĂ© and a few other family members at a churrascaria for typical Brazilian "churrasco" - BBQ.  In retrospect we didn't look too bad for having been up for over 28 hours!

With Neusa, Fabio's mom

First up after our arrival was the wedding of our exchange student's sister.  They live in Votuporanga, a small city of about 100,000, and their father is the owner of the town's largest newspaper and a radio station. He is also a local sportscaster and a very prominent man in the community. So, this was the local "wedding of the year". It was held in the main cathedral of the city with all the pomp and circumstance imaginable including a large choral and orchestral group, 31 in the wedding party, 450 guests and fireworks at the conclusion of the ceremony!

In typical Brazilian fashion, the reception lasted until 5:00 am the next morning; we got a few hours of sleep and then resumed the party at noon until 9:00 pm, with lots of beer, music and samba! At 9 we thought we were on our way back to the hotel, but no there was yet another party to attend. We stayed until midnight but it lasted for several more hours!

Bride and groom in the lovely church

Fabio and me - his "American mom"

Bill, Fabio and I with several of his friends at the wedding

Silliness in the wee hours of the morning - Fabio and his 79-yr old grandfather who out-partied everyone!

A day later Fabio, his parents and his sister and her new husband took us to Sao Paulo for a few days.  This is one of the largest and most dangerous cities in the world (20 million people!), but since we were with locals, we did not experience any problems. We took an elevator to the top of some building where we had a 360 degree panoramic view of the entire city - amazing!  We partied every night - eating dinner around midnight and staying out until 2-3 am. This wasn't too hard on me (as I'm a night owl anyway) but took it's toll on my husband who regularly goes to bed between 9-10 pm!

My favorite place in Sao Paulo was the Mercado where vendors were selling everything imaginable, especially all kinds of foodstuff. I have never seen larger or more beautiful fruits and vegetables!  (The raw meats and raw fish were much less appealing.)  Check out these tangerines the size of grapefruit.

Then we went on to Rio de Janiero for the last few days.  Rio is truly a gorgeous city, surrounded by green hills and, of course, the beautiful white beaches.  The famous Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking the city is breathtaking with magnificent views. Of course, we had to get the requisite photo with arms outstretched.

Every night we went to samba "bars" with live music and dancing. Brazilians love their samba! It was sensory overload and quite the experience. Of course, we were also trying to keep up with a 26-year old!

Brazilians are friendly, warm and loving. They are very proud of their country and want everyone to love it as much as they do. (And we did!) Too soon it was time to say our teary goodbyes.  Our families are just one big family now and we hope to return soon! We made many wonderful memories, enough to last a lifetime!