Sunday, April 20, 2014

Go ahead. Sneeze.


I landed on my illustration Sneeze for this week's www.illustrationfriday.com theme natural.  Sneezing is an unstoppable, supernatural and often inconvenient bodily action.  It was also the pick for this year's Tomie dePaola contest.  I didn't win.  But it gave me a chance to use my most underutilized color. Purple.  And guess who also made an appearance?  The Easter Bunny.  He or she is getting blown away by the impact.  If you read my last post you might think that this could be a new tactic in my arsenal to rid the yard of our tenacious resident.  It's worth a try!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Christ of the Mercy


I have the perfect post to send off into the world this Good Friday.  We visited the 2nd largest statue of Christ in the world in San Juan Del Sur this Winter. Christ of the Mercy was completed in April 2009.  Set to debut for Easter.


The statue overlooks this beautiful crescent bay.


And it serves as a beautiful overlook for us mere mortals as well.


Plus some critters.


Swing around and the bays reaches out for miles.  We happily visited many of those inlets and beaches on our trip.  I picked the above 5 photos for Random 5 Friday  (I decided to post this even though the link up Random 5 Friday has come to an end) 

Now here are 5 random Easter memories...

1)  My Dad reduced me to tears one year in search of my Easter basket.  He hung it on the curtain rod behind the curtains.  After that I requested that they place it behind one of the chairs in the living room.  And that is what they did until the Easter bunny didn't visit me anymore. Sniff.

2)  I remember one lucky year getting a bonus solid chocolate bunny from my Grandma hidden in the dirty clothes hamper.  I was thrilled.  

3)  One year my cousin Donny brought out a home made go cart to entertain us.  I was too afraid to drive it. 

4)  My Aunt Pat made the best darn Ham dinner around.

5)  Our back yard Easter bunny foiled us again this Winter.  He just might be the smartest and most tenacious bunny in the world.  Every time my husband chased him out, he dug his way back inside.  Even chewing through our wood fence.  I guess you could say he devoured it faster than I chewed off the ears of my laundry basket bunny.  Now we don't have many raspberries.  And our hydrangeas didn't fair any better.

 And our energizer bunny lives on.  She'll be hatching more rocket scientists soon.  We might have to hatch a new plan.

Happy Easter!

Monday, April 14, 2014

More Than a Room With a View


Villas Palermo is nestled in the hills above San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua.  Last week I showed you our villa.  And the feline friends we met there.  We've started calling our cat Akua Tom Cat Gray now.  You'd have to read last week's post to understand.


When I first started dating my husband.  We stayed in Motel 6's and 8's.  One time in Duluth, MN we stayed at a 6 with a dumpster view.  A low point.  This place was 20 bucks more a night. If even that.  A whole Villa, beautiful inside and out with an amazing view!  



We spotted a White Fronted Parrot from our balcony.  And really had to zoom in.  But any parrot sighting is cool in my book.


Turn and this is your view from the same balcony.  Hmmm.  Let's see.  A dumpster view at a flea bite 6 with scratchy towels and plastic covered mattresses?  Or this.  You be the judge.  The statue of Jesus in the background looms over the city like Rio. 


Sunset.  Priceless at any price.

P.S.  Plus there were cats!  For more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Friday, April 11, 2014

Pinterest Propaganda



Pinterest.  Why do we love it?  I guess for me it is like looking through a free magazine everyday.  Plus, I can pin inspirational photographs that might help me with my art down the road.  And then there's the food porn.  And yes, I've actually made some of those recipes.  Here are 5 random Pinservations for Random 5 Friday.

1) Why do weird people that use celebrities for icons and only have health and fitness boards start following me?  Hello.  I only have decadent, indulgent and extremely fattening food boards.  And no beautiful toned people.  Only beautiful places, things, food obviously and cats.  Plus Morgan freeman up to the left.

2)  Which leads me to my next pinservation.  My favorite board is my Gray board.

3)  How in the world do people pin 100,000 pins on 1 board?  And for those of you that aren't on Pinterest I'm not joking.  People. Please.  Get a life.

4)  If you are following over 10,000 people you might want to step away from the computer.  Just saying.

5)  I really, really try to not pin every cute cat and all other eye candy I see.  Really! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Tom Cat Orange, Little Orange and Bushy Orange


This was our Villa in San Juan Del Sur this Winter.  That sounds so snooty.  But when you can stay at a place like this cheaper than a Comfort Inn in Fargo, North Dakota,  it's something you can feel free to brag about. And we even had our own cat.  Tom Cat Orange made an appearance on our last morning at Villas Palermo. And many more through out our week here.  It really was paradise let me tell you.   


Tom Cat Orange


But it was Little Orange that really stole our hearts.  We were fast friends the first morning she smelled bacon frying in Villa # 18.  The funny thing is, I don't think we were the only ones feeding her.  By the middle of the day her stomach was huge!  Now who is Bushy Orange you ask?  He was an unpopular fluffy orange cat that stayed close to the restaurant area.  And I over heard the staff warning people that Bushy Orange wasn't the friendliest.  Of course these were just names we made up.  I sure hope we see Little Orange again someday...


The bacon feeding frenzy.



Our cats weren't the only ones hanging around before we left our piece of paradise.  A family of Groove-billed Ani's were watching our departure.  They were like this big black clump of bird in our tree.



They probably wonder why the cats get all the tourist attention.  At least from us.

Stay tuned.  Next week I'll show you our view and another bird we spotted here.

For more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Monday, March 31, 2014

Hot Off The Griddle


I'm posting my latest illustrated recipe for the www.illustrationfriday.com theme sizzle.  Because when we're frying cakes at our house, the bacon is sizzling right beside them.  It's a weekend ritual.  And we aren't the only ones that love it.  Our cats go insane for bacon.  They impatiently stir (sitting doesn't quite describe their anticipation) beside us while we chow down.  Throughout the meal we break off a few fatty scraps into two piles, then my husband takes them to their food bowls.  Sometimes they will actually catapult over the whole table in a mad dash to salty glory.  Dogs aren't the only ones to have a beggin' time and  proclaim, "Yum, Yum, Yum.  It's Bacon!"

Click here! to check out my picky pecans over at the They Draw and Cook Glad recipe contest headquarters. TDAC had a huge turnout with over 300 new illustrated recipes.  Mine didn't cause much of a stir (literally) as usual. They always pick boring digital pieces as the winners.  But the contests are a lot of fun to participate in. 

 And these breakfast recipes are tried and true at my house. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Catie Couric Confessions

Catie Couric

1)  I'm sometimes grossed out by all of Akua's dander.  His nickname is dander boy.  I hate it when his back is full of specks and loose fur and he guilts me into petting him.  I can only hold off for so long.  And I'm usually wearing black.  My pants end up looking like a head and shoulders commercial.  Gross!

2)  Sometimes I act like I'm sleeping when Akua runs into the bedroom looking for love.  The cat mom equivalent of a headache. 

3)  Sometimes I wonder how long the water bowl has been empty.  

4)  The other day I caught Akua licking my toast and I ate it anyway.  I was grossed out but figure I've consumed a lot of cat back wash anyway.  They persistently try to drink out of every water glass in the house.  I'm still alive.

5)  My husband stated that Akua gets 10 times more massages than him.  He's right!  

For more randomness visit Random 5 Friday

Monday, March 3, 2014

Ometepe Island



Ometepe.  What can I say.  It is a very special place.  They even filmed a season of the T.V. show Survivor here.  Here is the low down on this exotic island off the coast of Nicaragua. 

 Ometepe is an island formed by two volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua in the Republic of Nicaragua. Its name derives from the Nahuatl words ome (two) and tepetl (mountain), meaning two mountains. It is the largest island in Lake Nicaraguaas well as the largest volcanic island inside a fresh water lake in the world.
The two volcanoes of Concepción and Maderas are joined by a low isthmus to form one island in the shape of an hourglass. Ometepe has an area of 276 km². It is 31 km long and 5 to 10 km wide.[1] The island has an economy based on livestock,agriculture, and tourismPlantains are the major crop.

We stayed on the beach in Santa Domingo. And the walk we took on this day spoiled us for all other beach walks. Why?  Because of the view.  The top photo was taken while heading down the beach towards Maderas Volcano.  


Something old.


Local cowboys heading down the beach with a couple calves.  Not your normal beach sighting!  Ometepe is not your normal island.


Two local horses were out on their own.  Frolicking and rolling in the waves.  It was a wonderful sight.


Birds were hard at work though.  Catching a meal.


An egret.


A creepy vulture cleaning up the beach.  Everyone has a job to do.  Except us!  We were just on a photo safari.



Wow!  When you head back you get a double treat.  An excellent view of Concepcion Volcano.  Yup.  Just spoiled for life I say.  I'll spout off more Volcano information before I go...

Volcán Concepción, once named menstruation volcano; before the Spanish conquest; is the northwest half of the island. Concepción is a symmetrical cone, and is an active volcano (Baker, 2006). Concepción volcano rose in the early HoloceneEpoch and, through continual eruptions, now reaches an altitude of 1 610 m making Ometepe the world's highest lake island. Concepción is considered the most perfectly formed volcano cone in Central America. Although it went through a long quiet period, on December 8, 1880, Concepción came back to life. This eruption was extensive, and the volcano remained active for a year. More eruptions followed in 1883, 1889, 1902, 1907, and 1924. In 2005, an earthquake measuring 6.2 on theRichter scale occurred as a result of increasing pressure within the volcano. Cracks appeared on roads throughout the island and an advisory to leave the island was issued. This was the first minor eruption since 1999. The most recent eruption was in 2010 and though extremely violent, few of the inhabitants heeded the order from the government in Managua to evacuate the island.
The southeast half of the island consists of Volcán Maderas which has a crater lake and supports a diverse rainforest environment. Maderas also arose in the Holocene Epoch, and rises 1 394 m above sea level. It is considered extinct or dormant. A large lagoon formed in its crater was discovered on April 15, 1930, by the farmer Casimiro Murillo. It is mainly covered with coffee and tobacco plantations while the remainder is rain forest. Maderas Volcano is a perfect destination for theecotourist with a notable hike originating from Finca Magdalena.[4] Much of this part of the island is now a nature reserve.
The volcanic ash has made the soil of this island extremely fertile, allowing continuous planting without fallowing. The volcanoes are visible from everywhere on the island, and life on Ometepe revolves closely around them. They also play an important part in the myths and legends of the island, which once served as an Indian burial ground

For more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday  For one more photo of Ometepe beat feet over to Toemail!

 Plus, I've updated my website.  I changed the template and for better or worse my art is bigger and badder than ever.  Visit Sharon's Studio and let me know what you think.  And to see my newest illustrated recipe click Pick Pecans For Breakfast  Nate and Salli are having a fun new contest.  You'll be Glad you did!


Friday, February 28, 2014

Poor Dan


I feel so bad for the person that lost their beautiful cat.  But my faith has been restored in humanity.  Look!  Someone went to the trouble of creating a poster just to find the loving home of this cutie.  So sweet. I am positive that if the cat is acting unfriendly and wild it is because the poor thing is scared.  Dan, you're the man!

I found this on Pinterest.  Where else.  I can't vouch for where it came from originally, but I found it at this link  It is just a hoot.  I wonder what happened after Dan posted this on his local electrical pole?

1)  Some poor sap with bad eyesight called Dan to claim her long lost tan, black and gray tabby.  She was shocked a year later when she picked up her new glasses. It finally explained why the cat had a hairless tail.

2)  Or maybe someone thought it was a new and rare breed of cat.  Unfortunately, all hell broke loose when she tried to mate her new pride and joy with a Maine Coon.

3)  Another theory is that Dan's wife called him and pretended to be an interested party.  She showed up with a disguise and a cat carrier.  The mysterious tabby was never seen in their neighborhood again.  Gulp. 

4)  Dan might not have gotten any calls.  And just decided to keep his new fe-male.  He might just be a sucker for good looks. 

5)  Obviously what really happened was Dan was inundated with calls.  But every call was from a scam artist.   They knew they had a sucker on the line.  Poor Dan.  

Visit Random 5 Friday for more randomness.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Close Your Mouth


When ever I see people chewing gum with their mouth open I want to say, "Close your mouth or you'll attract flies"  Oh, how I wish one would fly in.  It is such a pet peeve. 



Well, sometimes an open mouth is a good thing.  Like in this lucky capture.  Most birds would love to just open their beek and have nature do the rest.  But this hummer would probably prefer something sweet. I just love these photos taken in Fortuna, Costa Rica.  It is hard to catch hummers at rest. And the wire adds a contrast to his softness.  This hummer made a brief appearance a long time ago.  But is new to Wild Bird Wednesday 



Friday, February 21, 2014

Surreal Snow



click to enlarge

I took this rather surreal photo before stepping in the door after a winter photo safari.  My photographic journey took me out onto my steps and onto the frigid sidewalk.  Snap, snap.  The end! 

 Of course I was being watched the whole time.  I actually was thinking about the life of my spoiled brats compared with all the animals out there as the snow swirled and the winds howled last night.  How do wild animals survive the winter?  Meanwhile, mine were curled up in luxury. 

Here are 5 random snow quotes for Random 5 Friday 


1)  “The snow began to fall again, drifting against the windows, politely begging entrance and then falling with
disappointment to the ground” 
― Jamie McGuireBeautiful Disaster

2)  “A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” 
― Carl Reiner

3)  “The snow was too light to stay, the ground too warm to keep it. And the strange spring snow fell only in that golden moment of dawn, the turning of the page between night and day.” 
― Shannon HalePalace of Stone

4)  “Whenever she turned her steep focus to me, I felt the warmth that flowers must feel when they bloom through the snow, under the first concentrated rays of the sun.” 
― Janet FitchWhite Oleander

5)  “Snow flurries began to fall and they swirled around people's legs like house cats. It was magical, this snow globe world.” 
― Sarah Addison AllenThe Sugar Queen


Here's mine...

  "Old man winter can go %$#@ himself!"

Monday, February 17, 2014

Destiny

click to enlarge

I made a grand romantic gesture this Valentine's Day.  I was so inspired by an illustration I spied on Pinterest that I created my own version.  The original had a hand, a bird and the proverb as an attachment.  I normally would never draw something so similar, but the illustration was a romantic gift. I drew a chickadee because it is my husband's favorite bird.  I used my own hand and then in my version changed the thread into the words.  Literally. And now I'm sharing it with you because I'm sure we all have felt the pull of a predestined attachment. 

"An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, despite the time, the place and despite the circumstances.  The thread can be tightened or tangled, but can never be broken." 

I love that saying.

This Valentine's illustration is the first entry for www.illustrationfriday.com that was created after the theme twisted was posted.  I couldn't resist hooking up since my tangled thread of words is indeed twisted. 

P.S.  For more romance and a Valentine's recipe check out my last post.  Or click here!