Thursday, August 30, 2007

Headed to N'awlins

Hubby and I are heading out to New Orleans this afternoon and will spend Friday there looking around...should be an interesting trip - 2 years after Katrina so devastated the city. John's 4 daughters and their families all live within an hour or so of New Orleans, so we will be visiting with them the rest of the time. We are SOO excited about seeing the entire bunch again - we saw them last at the wedding, so we're overdue for a visit... I'll be taking LOTS of photos and will share here, so please stay posted...

Here's Johnny and his (our) beautiful girls:

And here's a shout out to Samantha (2nd from the left) - Friday is her birthday - she's the baby of the bunch!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Honeymoon Photos!

And now, as promised, I will share a few of the best photos from our recent Honeymoon in Costa Rica. As with the wedding photos, you can see them ALL here.

Los Angeles Cloud Forest - Villa Blanca Casitas

The lush grounds at Villa Blanca

Colorful handpainted ox-cart - national symbol in Costa Rica
John beside our private "casita"

"Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" plant

Canopy of leaves in the cloud forest

Arenal Volcano Region - La Mansion Resort Cottages

Our cottage at La Mansion

The gorgeous view of Lake Arenal from our front porch

Our "Welcome Drinks" when we arrived at La Mansion - they had just received a fresh palette of strawberries...

Breakfast served on our front porch
(while we were enjoying this breakfast, a rainbow broke out over the lake - gorgeous - unfortunately the photo did not turn out too well)

There were fresh flowers placed EVERYWHERE in our cottage daily

While on a river safari, we visited the home of a 95 year old local Costa Rican farmer - this is his kitchen - no electricity

Homemade bread, fried plantains, homemade cheese, and of course fresh coffee, prepared for us by the farmer's two daughters who still live at the farm

Two-toed sloth - we were very fortunate to get to see one so closely

Manuel Antonio - Pacific Coast

Ready for our Rainforest Canopy Tour

John on the zip line - such a rush!!

The sail on our catamaran - we toured the coves around Manuel Antonio, snorkeled, and watched dolphins

The beach at Quepos - near Manuel Antonio

The date we were on the beach at Quepos

If any of you have ever considered a trip to Costa Rica, I would highly recommend it - it was gorgeous, had very friendly folks, and was relatively affordable. Here is the wonderful travel agency that helped us pull all this together:

Monday, August 27, 2007

Illustration Friday: Visitors

This is a bit of a tribute to my Mom and Dad, the most hospitable people I know. From my youngest years I have memories of people always at our home - visiting, eating, hanging out, living temporarily, crashing temporarily, whatever. My parents never had much, but they were incredibly generous with what they did have, and they had a roof over our heads and good food to eat and much love to warm even the coldest heart.
Whether it was a foreign exchange student, a divorced child (namely me), a down and out relative, a wayward youth or whomever, my parent's door was, and still is, always open. I cherish the lessons I learned about selflessness and generosity and hospitality from these fine folks - and I only hope I can be half as hospitable as they have always been...

"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."
Hebrews 13:2

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Illustration Friday: Captain

Captain Noah
of the S.S. Ark

Well, it took me long enough to hit upon this idea - and perhaps it's a stretch, but I love the story of Noah's Ark. It always reminds me that even when things look bleak, God has a plan, He is in control, and He always keeps His promises!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Make-Over Monday: The Studio

I've decided to kick off a weekly feature on Just Bee 'n Me called Make-Over Monday. I hope to share a make-over project each Monday, complete with before and after photos. The make-over could be large or small, and might involve anything from a room in my house to an older piece of artwork that I redo, and anything in between.

To start things off, I tackled the most problematic (translated: "messy") room in my house - my Studio. Actually, a better term for this room is my "Playroom". Most of my artwork these days is created digitaly on the computer in my home office - but the studio is definitely the place I go to dream and plan and get inspired. In preparation for my wedding, however, the studio was most definitely a working room. I created all the floral arrangements in there as well as stored all the numerous boxes and piles of stuff it takes to pull off a wedding. So, the studio took a real beating during those months and it needed work in the worst way.

Here are the series of before and after shots. Now this part of the make-over is just cleaning/straightening/and some de-cluttering - long term plans for the studio involve much more re-organizing and eventually redecorating - but this was the first necessary step to get the ball rolling...









Now off to do a little dreaming and planning in the least now I can step in the room without tripping...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wedding Photos at Last!

Well, as promised, I am finally getting around to sharing some of my favorite photos from our wedding (I'll do a separate post for the Honeymoon soon)- hope you enjoy!

You can see them all online here at Kodak Easy Share (free, easy login)


The main challenge we faced for decorating the wedding/reception hall was the fact that the hall was a big empty white box with no character - but I love a blank canvas, and once we settled on a country theme, I was off and running. We primarily used quilts (strung up on clotheslines with clothespins), checkered tablecloths and lots of silk flowers to add a lot of color and visual punch for the buck. Plus, wherever and whenever possible, we got kitchy-country accessories that we either made or borrowed from friends/family and put them everywhere....Here are the results....

"Redneck" Directional Signs
I painted these using wood from an old fence that our neighbors were tearing down - gotta love free stuff! Johnny put them all together and made it stand up...

Country Decor
Checkered tablecloths, bandanas, quilts, silk flowers, and mason jars were use to achieve a country look - on the cheap!

Great-Grandma's Quilt
This was the only quilt out of all the ones we used to decorate that was actually a vintage piece - all the other were ones that my mom and I had, mostly from WalMart or Foleys.

Hay Bale Chic
We used hay bales for atmosphere as well as to mark off the corners of the dance floor and hold the galvanized tubs for icing down cokes and water.

Country Floral Decor
I used any and all containers I could find to fill with country silk flowers - I was going for a wildflower look. My dad also had a collection of old Texas license plates that we sprinkled here and there as appropriate for an instant country look!

Handpainted Watermelon Sign
Grabbed an old piece of plywood from a trash pile on the side of the road and painted and antiqued/sanded it to use as decoration on our watermelon table - we served ice cold watermelon after the BBQ. One young child was overheard telling his mother that he needed a nickel before he could get any watermelon - cute huh?

Wedding Cupcakes
Oh goodness - these were so disappointing - not at all how I described them to the bakery - but they were cheap and very delicious and fun, so that's all that really mattered...

The Wedding Party
My sweet sister-in-law Sharon (my brother's wife) and John's talented best friend (and former brother-in-law) Jimmy were kind enough to stand up as our Matron of Honor and Best Man. Their matching shirts were a small miracle - after looking for weeks for coordinating shirts, I finally found Sharon's online then clicked a link labeled "Click here for other merchandise from this manufacturer" and sure 'nuff, there was a men's shirt with the same fabric and cowboy details - perfect!

Close-up of the Bouquets
These were fun to make - and really easy...just arrange the flowers in your hand like a casual bouquet, get them in the position you like, trim the stems, use a bit of floral tape to secure, then wrap the stems tightly with ribbon of your choice and secure the ribbon with floral pins. Lastly you make a bow with streamers and attach at the base of the flowers. Instant casual (or dressy) bouquet!

My "New" Family
These are John's (and now my!!) 4 beautiful daughters, handsome son-in-laws, and 71/2 adorable grandkids. (8th one is due September 15th) After not having any children of my own for 23 years, I now have a wonderful instant family!! I'm already in love with them all!! How blessed am I??!!

My "Old" Family
Here's John's new family - my wonderful parents, my 2 terrific, talented brothers (they made all the incredible BBQ!!), beautiful sister-in-law and "almost" sister-in-law, 2 incredible nephews, and 1 incredible niece. Johnny loves them all and they all love him - it's awesome!

Our First Dance
Dancing has been (and continues to be) an important part of our relationship from the very beginning. For our first dance, we chose the song "I'd Love to Be Your Last" by Clay Walker - absolutely beautiful song - perfect for a second marriage. Check out the lyrics here.

Johnny and I share a *rare* quiet moment...

The Rings

Invitation Still Life
It was fun to be able to design the invitations for the wedding- they were fun and informal - just like us, and just like the wedding was.

Our "Going Away" Outfits - Custom Wedding T-Shirts
After a full afternoon of getting married and eating BBQ and dancing, dancing dancing, we were tired, sweaty and blissfully exhausted! We donned our fancy going away outfits and headed off to our hotel.

BTW, I ordered these from CafePress - just uploaded the artwork, picked out the t-shirts, and voila! - Instant unique wedding souvenirs!
My online store (such as it is at the moment) is a CafePress store.

Yes Indeed He Did!!
This rusty old thing was in my dad's license plate collection, and I ended up putting it right near the front door for the guests to see as they arrived - it became a motto of sorts for the wedding. As you probably know, weddings, even small casual ones like ours, take a lot of planning and a lot of work - and when all was said and done, it was quite clear that God had indeed put it all together - from John and I meeting in the first place right down to the smallest detail of the wedding... We certainly could not have done it without His help and guidance!