Tag Archives: Richmond

Back to the Future…

Back to the Future…

Looking back I could see it coming. Burn out….I was going to need a break.  How about a four month hiatus from blogging?  Last year was much like juggling flaming knives while studying for finals during a hurricane while riding a roller coaster… in a kilt.


(Photo credit  here…)

I hit a wall. I needed a LONG hot bath and a nap!  Real life had left little time for Art. Or teaching. Or cleaning.  Or thinking.

Honesty, I did not plan to take the break.  It was forced upon me. One week led to two weeks to a month and well, you know….

I did have every intention of continuing my 365 project on Instagram as a means of staying in the loop. That lasted about a month or so until my 2 year old smartphone – 187 in cell phone years – stopped wanting to upload, download, or otherwise communicate with the internet.  It was in my face….take a break!


Did I do a ton of art in the meantime?  Not as much as I could have.

Is my house super clean and ready for a magazine photo shoot?  Not so much.

Have I been teaching classes in art/history/math/science.  Well, yes. Yes, I have. I am a homeschooling mom.  But even that hasn’t felt as complete as I would have desired.

Maybe it was that long cold winter we had here in the mid-Atlantic…DSCN8452Too much snow time?DSCN8619Feeling a bit confined….So exactly what have I been doing with all this “extra” time?DSCN8857Reading!  I read a stack of books. More than what’s here. Art books, business books, fun books, life books.  Some on a device, but lots of real, hold it-in-your-hand, turn-the-page kind of books. live with art lampRepurposing some tattered IKEA lamps headed out to Goodwill….StevensonL_EdwardsCreating a little mixed media statement art for a friend….DSCN8850Handcarving stamps…Hines bath (2)Adjusting to our newest family member, my Christmas present….Big Daddy Hines….sweet, but maybe a tiny bit overenthusiastic…Experiencing dog parks for the first time – ever…wow!  Add dog training books to the list above.Hines mirror (2)He’s a good-looking lad. A tad narcissistic? Maybe just confused…big head (2)He is a kind of big-headed….those itty-bitty little feet, though!…perspective is everything!GOLD window seats (2)Helping my girl figure out how to make these window seat box cushions for her Girl Scout Gold Award project!!! Thanks to the most generous donation of cabinetry for the entire room from Closet Factory, our church’s youth space is handsomely outfitted for the many uses it must handle. These cushions were just one part of the many pieces of this project that was completed in March.  Yay!  Girl Scout Gold Award…Check!  DSCN8512 (2)Celebrating her 17th birthday with some FUN fool-the-eye cupcakes made with rice cereal/marshmallow-type toppings with all kinds of flattened, cut up, dipped and sugared candies pretending to be Chinese take-out…Cupcake fortuneThe broccoli is really lime Tootsie Rolls split and dipped in green icing then dipped in green sugar.  Flattened and folded caramel squares made up the fortune cookies with special custom birthday fortunes….DSCN8831Teaching…did I mention that I am teaching Driver’s Ed to this one? (add dyeing my hair to the list!) This mode of transportation was a tiny bit less stressful of a ride along….a blast actually!DSCN8786Spending time with these girlies doing RVA!  This is their last year together as Girl Scouters.  Some have been with us since Brownies….sniff.DSCN8794Checking out the Girl Scout Commonwealth Council of Virginia Century of Leadership display at VCU Branch Cabell Library…DSCN8816Posing at the Jefferson Hotel…DSCN8825and lunching at Tobacco Company in Shockoe Slip…


Restarting a yoga practice abandoned long ago after a neck injury, which led to a weekend trek to Yogaville with a group of wonderfully adventurous women.   We laughed, meditated, hiked, did a little yoga, slept in dorm rooms and made new friends.Gorilla

The latest project has been working with my girl on gorilla costumes for an upcoming production of Tarzan. Not the greatest cell phone picture but I can’t blame it on my shiny new device….DSCN8849She’s a beaut!  We have four of them in our family now (and one S4 for the black sheep)…Pretty stunning the advancements in just two years…  Crazy good stuff!sam bday cakeBaking and decorating what I am sure is the first ever backwards birthday manatee cake in our house…colored coffee filters (2)Dying coffee filters to feed my apparent obsession with paper flowers.coffee filter flowers 1 (2)….more about that project in my next post….

Looking to start up some more workshops and classes to get an Art in Real Life Revolution started.  Been spending a lot of time looking around the area for the kind of art experience I want to have.  Looking and looking.  There are things going on in RVA, for sure.  But nothing that felt like the right kind of space for the FUN ART experience I have been searching for.

It’s possible, though, that the space has found me.

….more about that in a future post, as well…. promise it won’t be four months!I

Hope you have spent the first months of 2014 doing something good for your soul….


RVA in a day…

RVA in a day…

Saturday it was “Amber Day in RVA”.

close Amber Day

My “niece” just moved back to Richmond after living mostly in Baltimore for the last 8 years so we took her on one of  those whirlwind tours you do when you have out of town guests that need to see it all in a day.  Impossible, of course, but we sure had fun trying…


After checking out Manchester, Shockoe Bottom, and Churchill we caught this view of downtown RVA straight down Main Street  from Libby Hill Park,

jefferson ceiling

Beautifully ornate stained glass ceiling in the Palm Court of the historical landmark Jefferson Hotel.

Jefferson tree

Two lovelies reflecting on the HUGE Christmas tree at the foot of the Grand Staircase.

Jefferson big tree

Did I mention it was HUGE?

Amber World of Mirth

After lunch in Carytown and a stop at World of Mirth

Chihuly boat1

…it was on to the Virgninia Museum of Fine Art to see the Dale Chihuly exhibit. The very first gallery was jaw-dropping stunning. Inspired by Japanese glass fishing bouys and Chihuly’s own water installations being gathered up in rowboats after their use, the combination of space-alien-twists, weathered wood fishing boats, reflections, blazing candy-shop color, textures, other-worldly orbs – just captivating!chihuly overhead

This installation in a hallway gallery was like being in a fabulous modern aquarium filled with swimming glass creatures overhead…So much energy and shared enthusiasm as everyone was like a little kid pointing up and trying not to squeal  “Look at that!” too loudly! Chihuly ceiling

Now this is my kind of gallery!


Chihuly’s collection of 100 Pendleton blankets that inspired him with their unique color and patterns.  Who wouldn’t be?  They are gorgeous!chihuly forest

This was called the “Forest” …

Chihuly shadow

…and the shadows were as dazzling as the glowing pieces themselves.

chihuly seascape

What?!?!  This was crazy! Hypnotizing!  None of the pictures, of course, can do it justice, but I could not stop taking them.  I couldn’t look away or leave the room. His largest platform installation to date, it was like a barge full of these dynamic sea creature inspired glass figures from which I could not turn away.

chihuly seascape close

His beautifully formed blown glass is mesmerizing but please! Just look at that  giant chunk of turquoise glass!!!!  Mama mia!

chihuly white balloons

Good grief!

chihuly neon

Neon!  Duh! Color. Glass. This piece was the size of a small room, by the way!

chihuly blue reeds

Blue reeds on logs….who knew?

chihuly red reeds

Red reeds outside in the pond….enchanting.  The exhibit is sheer brilliance in more than one definition of the word.  I  am grateful I was able to visit in person.  We were charmed beyond our expectations.

Tap room yoga

Our day was not all about eye-candy.  Girls have to eat you know!  There was French food for lunch, Indian for dinner with some Starbucks in between but the food highlight of the day had to be the new Olive Oil Taproom in Short Pump!  What a delightful, not to mention delicious, experience!

olive oil vats

We tasted from most of the forty-seven vats including Pumpkin Spice,  Blackberry, Strawberry, Pomegranate and Espresso Balsamic vinegars as well as Garlic, Herbs d’Provence and Chipotle Olive Oils, just to name a few. HEAVEN! on Earth!

la olive room

Not all were total winners – coconut balsamic vinegar and the butter flavored olive oil didn’t quite pass the test – but we happily had our share and were practically bathing in the stuff toward the end. We left with several bottles to enjoy later and an education in all things olive oil.  Definitely will be back there soon!  (I have to give credit to another niece who gave me a few bottles from here for Christmas for the idea! Thanks so much!)

Love love to explore my “hometown” through the eyes of a visitor. So much we didn’t  get to do. Oh well, we have already started planning our next “Amber Day in RVA”. On the list …St. John’s church, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, the rest of the VMFA, the shops on Grove, the Pony Pasture and “Hot Donuts Now!” at Krispy Kreme  – Did you know there’s an app for that? What else?!

Let me know what your favorite “must see” is in RVA!


PS – Check out my newest page – 365 Project – where I am posting a photo a day for the year thanks to my photog pal Kelly Nentwich.  Her inspiring work can be found on her blog Kelly Nentwich Photography.