Saggy, Baggy Starfish

This past weekend I headed back to the Round Top Antique Festival which is a semi-annual event in my world. My friend Kathleen drives up from Houston and we invade my sister’s house as our home base before we venture out to begin trekking through miles of antiques, treasured vintage items and eclectic art objects.

I am at a point in my life when I really don’t “need” anything but this year I was in search of a butter dish that was wide and tall enough to house a large block of butter rather than just one stick. The Kerry Gold butter needed a house!

On my treasure-seeking journey, the artist in me is drawn to the expertise exhibited by so many vendors in their marketing skills. I am entranced with the vignettes they create and they inspire me to want to cleanse the entire palette of my condo and begin again anew.

Plein Air Paint Box
Unusual art objects
An enlightening moment! Very creative, one-of-a-kind lamps

So I found my butter dish…check! But there is always one something that I believe I can’t live without and for me this trip it was the saggy, baggy starfish. It was love at first sight and the beach bum in me could envision him ensconced with my huge basket of scavenged sea shells surrounded by sponges, feathers and other nature objects de arte that I have collected over  decades of beach trips.

The Butter Dish

No trip to Burton is complete without visiting one of my favorite stores called Leftovers. The store owners are nothing short of genius in their merchandising artistry and no trip can end without strolling through and absorbing all the beauty created with old, new and found objects. My every visit purchase here is their goat’s milk soap that comes embedded in a soft sea sponge and both my daughter and I are addicted to this soap. A visit to their store is similar to taking a designing course from a world-renowned interior decorator.

So here are some Leftover displays that caught my eye on Saturday.

The Antique Weekend runs through April 7th. I highly recommend a visit if you like a good treasure hunt!

Happy Hunting!!!

The Jewel of the Country

This past Saturday, I got up early, loaded my car with cinnamon rolls and homemade bread (my latest efforts) and headed to my sister’s home in Burton. On this trip we  planned on attending a concert at the Festival Institute located in Round Top, Texas. IMG_2679

Festival Hill Institute is well-known by classical music lovers, many of whom travel frequently from Houston, Austin or San Antonio to attend masterpiece performances by world-renowned musicians for little or no cost. But it may be little known to many people who have no knowledge of this gem of the countryside for unless you know it is there you wouldn’t expect to find the quality of music and a magnificent concert hall tucked into the lush landscape off a small country road. It is located on a campus that has been slowly developed piece by piece over thirty years or so. There are residences that house students that vie for summer scholarships to work and study under music masters of all kinds. There is a chapel, beautiful gardens, a magnificent terrace and of course the music hall itself which is a testament to the skilled workmanship of the creators and builders of the whole campus.



All of the exquisite patterns of wood were honed by the hands of master craftsmen. The building itself is a work of art. The music that fills the concert hall and floats outward to fill our souls with the sweet notes of beautiful music is a gift made possible by many dedicated workers, sponsors, and aspiring musicians who have spent a lifetime studying and practicing to become the best of the best in the musical world.

I highly recommend a visit to this special place. Better yet, give them a call (979-249-3129) and ask to be placed on their mailing list and then you will have a complete schedule of upcoming concerts and events. I am lucky, for my sister works for this organization and has been fortunate to be a part of this, her second family, for many music filled years.


No one would guess or imagine that life in a small town could be so filled with such riches. Festival Institute is definitely one of these gems. But for me, my sister and the time we spend together making memories, is my most beloved treasure.





From The Front Porch Looking Out

This past weekend I traveled to Burton Texas to spend some time with my sister and meet up with my friend Kathleen to explore the many wondrous objects being displayed for miles and miles as part of the Round Top/Warrenton Antique Festival. We scoured different booths at img_9009various locations for the past two days not really seeking anything in particular, but there always seems to be something that calls to me. I recently began rearranging a room in my home as an art studio and on this trip, baskets seemed to jump out and scream to be added to my studio as organizational tools for the wide array of art supplies that I have accumulated over the years on my artist journey.

Late afternoon we drag ourselves home to my sister’s house to review our purchases, share a meal and fall into an exhausted sleep in preparation for the next day when the scavenger hunt begins again.

Burton Ernie

A frequent visitor to my sister’s home is a permanent “fowl” resident of Burton. Nicknamed Burton Ernie (a play off of Bert & Ernie I believe), he struts through yards looking for bugs and many times eats my sister’s kale, honks loudly scaring unsuspecting residents, and roosts on a neighbor’s shed roof each night leaving behind a predictable mess.

Early morning coffee on the “front porch looking out” gave me an exciting moment this visit. As soon as I stepped out of the front door onto the wooden porch, I caught a quick glimpse of a very large bird flitting around in a tree in the next door neighbor’s yard. It was very early, sunrise was breaking and there was Mr P.W. (AKA Pileated Woodpecker) out and about early looking for his breakfast. My binoculars brought him up close and personal and once again I was totally captivated by my favorite woodpecker. He flew across the street to another very large tree and off I went in pursuit, my robe flapping, binoculars bouncing and my camera on and ready to try to capture Mr. P.W.. He moved quickly from limb to limb and I had great difficulty trying to capture an image of him. But capture one I did. Not the best lighting and not the best photo I would have liked, but I managed to capture the moment….a moment I had been seeking for many, many months.img_8993

The birds were shy this weekend. Using the straggling leaves still clinging to limbs to hide and turning away from the camera shutter, Eastern Bluebirds, Cardinals, Black capped Chickadees, starlings, hummingbirds, red bellied woodpeckers and a squirrel busily collecting pecans to store for his winter’s stash, comprised a steady parade this morning from the “front porch looking out”.

My quest for the perfect Mr. P.W. photo-op will continue. But for this moment, I am at peace….

Happy bird searching!!!!!

My Stork Encounter – September 29, 2013


Wares at Warrenton

While visiting my sister at her ranch in Burton, Texas, I had a very special encounter with a clatter of storks. I was visiting her for a twice yearly antique event being held in Round Top, Texas.  Every April and October, thousands of vendors from all over the United States set up shop along Highway 237 to hawk (pun intended!) their wares to thousands of shoppers who are seeking special treasures. It is hard to imagine the scope of this event for it encompasses many miles and must be seen to be believed. But trust me…anything and everything can be found here. Think the best ever garage sale in your entire life multiplied one hundred thousand times plus antiques thrown in the mix. We already had two full days of canvasing most of our favorite sites and were in her kitchen just enjoying a lazy Sunday morning with a steaming cup of coffee. I was in my robe and not really focused on birding at that particular moment. My attention was drawn to the kitchen windows by some huge birds flying in to settle on a stock pond in the pasture behind their house. They were big! So big that I instinctively knew this was a special moment. I jumped up and grabbed the binoculars that were on the window sill and at first thought they must be Whooping Cranes. I flew to the door and started walking barefoot very slowly towards the pond which was approximately a football field distance away. No shoes but thankfully my brother-in-laws pastures are pristine and free of burrs and weeds.  In my flapping robe, I am sure this “swoop of storks” probably viewed me as some giant bird flapping in the pasture. So here I was barefoot in my robe stalking some very large birds and trying to get close enough to memorize identifying marks and to observe their behavior.  Many times the behavior of a bird can help you in the identification process. But I digress.


Santas Galore

These huge birds were wading on the edge of the stock pond with their beaks half submerged slowly opening and closing them. They had predominantly white bodies , a sliver of black along their wing edges and tail and their heads were dark grey, scaly looking and featherless. The bills were thick, long and curved downward. And did I mention they were HUGE!!!!! Wood Storks have the nickname of “Old Flinthead”, “Ironhead” and Preacherbird because of their featherless heads and tendency to stand around contemplating their environment after eating. And indeed when you look at them their heads look very prehistoric.

Another moment in my life that I was kicking myself since in my excitement I did not being a camera with me. So once again, I began the process of burning the image into my memory. I was able to get within 50 yards of them and I spent the next 30 minutes or so leaning against the post on a barbed wire fence just absorbing the sheer magic and beauty of that moment. It was a gift to watch them slowly move through the pond water seeking food and refreshment on their migratory journey. When they finally took off to resume their trip, I savored the beauty of their powerful wings lifting them upward into the sky. They were magnificent and I was blessed to have witnessed them up close and personal.

Wood Stork Journal Entry