Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The In-between Week

It just so happens this week, the in-between week, is my very most favorite week of the year.
Every year.
I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.
And I know I've said it before. 

I like it because after the rush of the season is over, there seems to be a calmness in the house.
I like it because after the dishes are done, the wrapping papers are picked up and out of the house, the house is clean.
I like it because for a few days, there are leftovers and no cooking.

I like it because everyone left happy.
Santa did good. 

I like it because it seems like the calmness is also present in my thinking space.
For the most part, the old year is over and the new one hasn't started yet. 

I'm wishing you a HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Santas At Our House

on the mantle

cookie jar Santa

cookie jar Santa

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Snowman Christmas

From our house to yours,
Wishing you the best Christmas ever. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Sunday, December 07, 2014


All Norah'S Art, my Ning classroom network will be closing July 31, 2015.

Before that happens, I want to offer all of my current online classes at a huge discount starting now!

All classes are discounted at least 50 percent. You can access class information by clicking on the page buttons above or by visiting my classroom network: All Norah'S Art.


I have made a huge decision about my Ning classroom network. 
You may or may not know that Ning has and is changing their ways. 
I have had plenty notice of this and plenty of time to consider what I wanted to do. 

However, the decision has been very hard to make.
Big decisions are always hard for me and I typically swing back and forth from to-do or not-to-do.

Even though I have had many great ideas for new workshop offerings, I just haven't had the energy or I should say passion to go forth with them. 

I have finally realized that this decision hanging over my head is stifling my energy. 

So, once and for all, I made the decision to give up my Ning network at my annual renewal day of July 31, 2015. 

I decided to go out with a bang!
A bang of offering all the classes for the next several months for a huge discount. 

You will find all of the class descriptions and paypal buttons on the Main page of All Norah'S Art, as well as, here on my blog pages.
You can click on the class buttons in the top page heading or by clicking on the picture icon of each class in the right sidebar.  

WIProgress of My Garden Lemons

My Garden Lemons

Audio about Signatures

While changing all the paypal buttons and making sure the classrooms were in order, I came across a bit of audio that I added at the end of one of my favorite classes, Faces In Collage.
I'm sharing this snip of audio today with you because it is something that I feel really strong about. 
(hopefully, the audio embed works)
If you are reading in a reader, you may need to click over to the blog to see and play the audio. 
Recap of the New Class Fees.

A Diary of Faces - Part One    $35.00
A Diary of Faces - Part two    $35.00
Faces in Collage    $32.00
Faces in Technicolor    $25.00
Tree Castle Apron    $35.00
*Inktense Faces on Fabric (mini class) $20.00
**Norah'S Darker Skintones (mini class) $20.00
Faces:  All Norah'S    $32.00

*   Inktense Faces on Fabric is a part of the class, Tree Castle Apron.  

**   Norah'S Darker Skintones is a part of the class, Faces: All Norah'S.

Access to all class will end July 31, 2015

Monday, November 24, 2014

Garden Wrap-Up

2014 Garden Wrap-up
 This is me this morning with bright sunshine and temps warming.
I planted three rows of onions on October 15th.
A sweet onion known as Texas Grano 1015Y, meaning you should plant them on October 15th. 
I did. 
The middle row is Red Burgundy and seems to have been the best germinator. 
And a row of White Bermuda. 
 This is me this morning showing a row of collards and a row of spinach. 
Did you know that spinach seeds do not keep? 
In other words, I had to buy new seeds and replant the spinach after the first planting ..... did nothing. 

This is the garden on October 29th  with the tomatoes and peppers still going full force. 

 Not all are visible but this plant had 18 tomatoes on it and was still blooming. 
 Eventually I had to shut them down and collect the bounty before hard freeze. 
 Early in November, I happened on an article about green tomatoes.
I knew green tomatoes will ripen inside because I did that early in the summer when a limb broke with green tomatoes. 
But I did not know that after the night temperature gets down to 50ºF and lower for several days that you should pick the produce and bring them inside to ripen.
Therefore, you can't necessarily leave them until a predicted freeze which was my plan. 
I harvested the green tomatoes and peppers on November 11th.
Sure enough, they began to turn.
Each day I pulled the newly turning tomato to the rim side....well just because.
I am so glad for this tomato lesson because, I have fresh homegrown garden tomatoes for Thanksgiving.   
 Of course I also made fried green tomatoes.
My first time. 
Here's my recipie.
After coating them with yellow mustard (yep the kind you put on your hotdog), then I toss them in a plastic bag with Zatarain's Seasoned Fish Fri.
Fryed in oil.
Try it.
Cooks Tip: I coat them by squirting about 2T of mustard in a plastic bag. Then I smush the mustard around to coat the inside of the plastic bag. Then, dump the sliced tomatoes in the bag and smush them around to coat. Add the Fish Fri mix and shake the bag. I do the same thing when something needs to be coated with olive oil.
 The other thing I learned in the tomato article is, the small green tomatoes will not rippen because they haven't matured enough to do so. 
This to-ripe or not-to-ripe all has to do with what's going on inside the growing fruit.

But you can make green tomato chutney with them. 
I did. 

Now here is the biggest surprise of all. 
Remember I left the seed pods on the dill so they would self-seed in the spring. 
I didn't expect them to germinate in the fall. 
But the surprise is, we have had several days of freezing and below temperature and here is the dill today. 

You can see the dill in the top two photos too.
First, to the left of her head.
Then, to the right of her head.

That's it for the garden this year!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Who are These People

These People on cardboard by Sharon Tomlinson
Who are these people?

That Sunday back in October when I initiated the Attic Studio and documented the event on Instagram with the above photo was a beginning.

It was a beginning of a huge attic studio project; the details of which I will save for another post.

Not until I posted it on Instagram did I see the haunting white face right there near the middle.
Do you see him? 

I got pretty excited but this is when we were having big rain and wind storms and I didn't go back over for a few days. 
All the time, I would pull up the photo and wonder about who he was and how I would paint him.
I really did get myself worked up about the process.

At last we had a clear day and I rushed over to look at the face in-real-life to see how in the world I had overlooked him.

At first glance, Oh No!
He's gone!

In shock, I remembered the quick documentary photo shot was just a moment in time. 
I had totally forgotten that in the zone and flow of the day in the attic studio, I kept pushing cheap pastel craft paint around with a cheap foam brush on this big piece of cardboard.
And he was gone!  

I was back to no inspiration with this piece which was my starting place when I first sat down at the easel in the attic back in October. 

I left it be.

As stupid as it sounds, I grieved about the loss of this phantom (a physical manifestation of the soul or spirit of a deceased person) face.

Time passed and I finally was ready to face the project again. 
Due to the cold, I decided to fetch the cardboard and paint here in my warm home studio. 
 I propped it up in front of me while in the cozy chair zone just thinking about what I would do next. 

He was sure enough gone. 
So I flipped it over with the up side down
lo and behold!
There are people on it!
I would probably never have looked for them were it not for him. 
 Here they are after I lightly penciled around the shapes that clearly were people. 
 Sometimes it's not about pretty faces. 
My technique is to capture what I see with minimum paint.
 This is not the first time A Group Of Strangers has shown up while I'm painting. 

I don't know who These People are but I'm pretty sure these people know my people.
I'm also pretty sure they have lots of stories to tell.

On that Sunday back in October when I started this project, I prepped and pushed paint around on several more cardboards. 
Yep, more people.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Evolution of my Attic

Remember this?  
This is the back wall view of the attic before I pronounced last fall that I would reclaim The Garden Palace from the furry beast and flying creatures.

 Here is the "after" with a few word to document the evolution of my Garden Palace attic. 

"before" front wall
 Dear sweet son came in early June.
He and I installed the floor. 
The truth is, I never really really thought this would happen. 
 Nearly done.
Taking a break.

 When the floor was finished, I started closing in the end walls. 
After a few days, I enlisted the help of D.J. who uses a bigger hammer than me.
Pipe Hand Rail
 On July 1st, we installed the hand rail. 
What a glorious day!
Maybe you can see how steep the stairs are.
You can't imagine how excited I was about this project. 
It couldn't be done until the wall was closed in.

 The thing to notice here is how little shelves were created in a "make it work" design moment.
 I placed jars on the shelves so they would show in the photo. 

By this time is was well into July and the Texas heat was not bearable in this tin roofed attic.

 Late September, I started back at it and finished installing the front wall. 
Now is when I should tell you that the wall material was any and every kind of board you can imagine. 
I used hundred year old floor boards, new floor boards, old garage door facing boards, old shelving boards, old bead board, new and old lumber bits and pieces.
Some had been painted, some had not, some was obviously new wood and some had an aged patina. 
The width nor the thickness mattered not to me. 
The point was first, to clear out a couple of hoards of such material and secondly, cheap.

 The first layer was a whitewash effect with just watered down white paint. 
 Then, I went back in with some paint colors on random places.
I really wanted to love this but when I realized the huge job I had created for myself in order to get the final finish that I wanted, I just knew that no matter what, I wasn't going to love it. 
 I also realized or rather remembered that my intention is to cover the walls with framed art and photos. 
That fact cinched it.
I had to paint the walls white. 

When I got the left side painted white, the conflict was over.
I loved it!
 On October 9th, the first painting was hung. 
It just felt like I needed to have this here while I continued the work. 

 Then the back wall. 

The Bridge

 To reach the wall and rafters above the stairwell, a bridge and ladder is used. 
It's a little scary up there.

The Floor
 Even though I knew, I'm not crazy about gray paint, I still started out with it because it is a ready-mix color easy and quick to get. 
The color was light gray.
That is the light gray on the left.
It seemed too dark.
So I mixed it with a white to see if I might be happier.

Not really. 

 I went back to the store and had this light color mixed.
After using it, I saw that I could go a little darker without making the room dark, so I got another gallon mixed for the second coat. 

Stay tuned for more projects.