Turning junk into treasures…

I got to spend one night with my new friend and fellow quilter, Debbie Fisher. She and her husband, Jack, have a house way up on a hill overlooking the Cumberland River near Nashville. Debbie invited me to stay with her before flying home from Kentucky. Their house was peaceful and quiet. I loved the wind blowing through the trees.

Debbie’s background is in floral design, but what she does is way more than working with flowers. She credits the man she worked with for teaching her how to turn junk into art but can I just say that she has a whole lot of talent on her own.

Objects that I would (and have) thrown away can be amazing when handled well. Look at this light fixture…

Silver plate holders for casserole dishes, flatware, and the bottom from a pressure cooker combine to make a really great chandelier over her breakfast table. Debbie uses family ‘junk’ most of the time and she knows where the flatware came from.

And the family cheese graters make a fantastic light fixture.

Debbie’s mentor made dolls from junk. Maybe I don’t get out enough but I’ve never seen anything quite like this…

If you have a drill with a ceramic bit and wire, you can do this too. I am not personally a fan of porcelain dolls but these made me smile. If I ever do make one, mine might be creepy on purpose.

Debbie makes junk dolls that are a collection of the stuff you would find in a junk drawer. She builds an armature from heavy wire over a foam cone. There is a doll’s head on top, with a pretty collar. Then she hangs family junk on the doll.

She knows where everything came from and the story behind it.

I wish I had kept more of my family’s junk but I still have some and I am going to make at least one of these. Not with a doll’s head (again, creepy) but something else on top.

But wait! There’s more! Why oh why did I make the silver plate ice bucket we got when we got married go away?!

The table was Jack’s dad’s work bench, cut down to fit the kitchen. And the rolling pins are perfect below it.

I used to hang plates on walls. Why did I stop? Who knew that more could be better? Could it be that I’ve made too much stuff go away? Maybe I need to go antiquing!!!!

Lastly, the fairy garden in an old wheelbarrow. I have one of those and this could happen in my yard, soon-ish.

There you go. You have now been inspired by Debbie too. Thank you, Debbie, for sharing your art with us all!

Hawaii adventuring…

We decided to go to a beach that’s off the beaten path, Pu’u Poa beach. If you are staying at the Princeville Resort, there is an elevator that takes you down the cliff. Public access requires climbing down a steep path.

The first part is not bad. But then it turns downhill.

There are ropes to hold onto as you back your way down steep, often slippery ‘stairs’. This is Jack when he declared he couldn’t do it. I went on down to see what came next. The path got worse but the beach was lovely!

I was about to go back up when Jack and Steve appeared! Jack decided he could do it, and he did. (Steve thinks the teenaged girls who passed them and told Jack it was worth it had something to do with the decision making :-).)

The beach had just enough people. The water was clear and clean. Tomorrow we’re going back with snorkel gear!

Hiking up and out is easier than it looks :-).

From Princeville, HI…

We flew to Kauai on Wednesday. We’ll be here for 9 days, 5 on the north shore (staying in Princeville) and 4 days farther south (outside of Lihue).

On our way north to Princeville, we stopped for supplies at Walmart in Lihue and then went on to find the BEST shave ice we’ve ever had, at Wailua Shave Ice.

The story behind Wailua Shave Ice is a good one. I watched the video (below) and thought more about the importance of finding balance in your life. We all want balance and it’s different for each of us.

Next we stopped to pick up dinner (for later) at Chicken In A Barrel in Kapa’a, where there is BBQ that even Texans can love. The sauces are superb!

We got to Princeville and checked into a fantastic condo called the Nihilani, #22C. Click here to look at the slideshow. It is bigger than our house and the views are (dare I say better?) than the views in Sherman. This is a photo taken nearby.

We went to Hanalei Bay on Thursday. The crowds were light, the water was cooler than it was in Waikiki. Jack made sandcastles and we walked the beach looking for shells.

We set up two umbrella structures! The one on the left is ours, from Walmart in Lihue. The condo came stocked with the chairs and smaller umbrella…

After a few hours on the beach, we found lunch at a lovely food truck that specializes in local, organic food, followed by more shave ice. (FYI: Wailua Shave Ice is better.)

We are enjoying the freely ranging chickens and roosters. I’m not sure I’d love them if they were all over Sherman, but maybe I would. Who can say?

There are lots of nene (Hawaiian goose) on the golf course. And there are small lizards in great abundance.

Unfortunately Jack tore up his toe nail Thursday evening. He did learn a valuable life lesson about always watching where you put your feet when walking down stairs. It’s a lesson I’ve had to learn myself, the hard way. I’d share a picture but, no. He’ll be fine but we are taking it easy today (Friday). Tomorrow he should be better and we’ll be out and about.

Oh! I almost forgot to say that I went to a hot yoga class this morning. One woman said it was actually just warm yoga but, dang, I would not want it any hotter than it was. In fact, if I could have heard the instructor, I’d have followed along from the porch outside. I disliked it enough that I might just have to do it again :-).

Aloha!

Be nice, every day.

October 24 was Unity Day. I didn’t remember that there was a Unity Day until I read the funnies…

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Kindness, acceptance, inclusion… these are virtues that we were encouraged to adopt beginning in pre-school.

Some folks don’t have to be reminded to practice these virtues—I wish I was one of them. When I am stressed, I tend to be short with people and I never feel good about that.

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I have been on a years-long quest to change, to always be kind to the people around me, but I consider myself to be a work-in-progress. It is possible to evolve if you put your mind to it.

Right now, with the country split politically, I think it’s especially important to be kind to everyone. If we all do that, maybe the national stress level will go down a bit. Wouldn’t that be wonderful!

 

More from the Sagrada Familia

You take an elevator most of the way up and then there are narrow passage ways and stone stairs with the occasional place to stop and look out. Barcelona is beautiful from above!

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This is also where you get to see the mosaics and other building details up close.

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You walk a stone spiral staircase back to ground level.

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You can’t see them, but there were a lot of people up there with us. There was not a lot of time to linger. That made taking this photo more interesting/challenging. Do it too fast and vertigo sets in.

Steve and I hope to go back to visit the Sagrada Familia when it is finished.

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Inside the Sagrada Familia

You have to buy tickets to go inside the Sagrada Familia. Entries are timed to control the crowd. I am Catholic so I did wonder if, or how often, mass is said. Pretty often as it turns out.

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The space is massive and filled with colored light. You find yourself looking up, a lot.

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This space is about light and color. The shapes feel organic and alive, and amazingly modern.

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We also went up into one of the spires. That’s for tomorrow.

The Sagrada Familia

Ever since I learned about the Sagrada Familia in a history of architecture class in college, I have wanted to see it with my own eyes. It really is a spectacular place.

Click here to go to the official site: http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/. There is more information there than I can possibly include in a post. And here is a link to the apartment where we stayed. This is the view from our window:

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This is not a subtle building. There is something going on everywhere you look. However, the more you look, the more you can feel the rhythm of the place.

This is the newer side of the church that depicts the Passion of Christ. The long columns simulate Christ’s tendons, the shorter white columns above that simulate ribs. The cross and figures at the top of the ‘ribs’ were installed just before we arrived. Workmen were taking down the scaffolding as we left Barcelona.

The statues on this side are more severe and I found them to be very moving.

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The opposite side of the basilica is happier, and more worn. There are depictions of the nativity and of Christ’s early life. The style of the statues is different, less angular.

 

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Catherine, this one is for you :-):

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This is the back of the basilica.

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If I remember correctly there are 5 more spires to be added to the top, plus the ones that will be built on the front. The front side (on the right in the photo below) is the least finished side:

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The scale model shows more spires and a bank of stairs that might go into the street, and maybe into the apartment building across the street. I’m not sure how that’s going to work and, thankfully, it isn’t my problem.

There is a planned finish date, perhaps by 2026. Until then, the work will continue. (Look for the workmen, on the tallest spire.)

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