Let Go – Be Bold

“Each day brings with it another chance to live in the moment”.

I have been switching back and forth between hand-made collage and digital collage depending on what mood I am in.  It is certainly nice to have the choice and I really love being able to take art that I created previously and

Nourish Your Soul – Dream

use it again in a totally different way in my digital art.

I think with the onset of the cool, wet weather I have been craving lattes because they are delicious and creamy, my comfort drink of choice.  So this digital piece features a coffee cup and I recycled a couple of my background collages that I had scanned a long time a go.  I used some adobe brushes to create  swirls and various filters to create the effect I wanted which was a comforting warm feeling.  I love the versatility of Photoshop and how you can manipulate the layers to give the feeling of luminosity.  l love this collage and printed it of and framed it in white frame. This piece has quickly become one of my favorites.

Until next time – nourish your soul – Dream!

Michelle

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Big growth for the little town of Sayulita

I think it was about 6 years ago that I last visited Sayulita, Mexico, when it was still a quiet little town about 40 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta.  When we were there it was just a few dirt streets, very few shops and the restaurants were all along the beach where it was mainly surfers enjoying the lovely waves that Sayulita is known for.  I remember the city bus that commutes between Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita dropping us off at the top of the hill and walking down the dirt road to the main part of town, very few cars or tourists.  Fast forward to my visit in February 2012 –  we caught the bus from Lo de Marcos to Sayulita for a mere 25 pesos and it took about 25 minutes to get there.  We were dropped off on the side of the highway and told that there would be a bus in about 20 minutes, so we decided that we would just start walking in towards Sayulita rather than standing around waiting for bus that could arrive who knows when.  It took about 15 minutes to walk into town and was I surprised when I saw how much it had changed since my last visit, there were lots of cars and so many stores and restaurants.  We were warned that Sayulita was undergoing lots of road work and it was difficult at times to manuever around piles of dirt and rubble….they were not kidding, I don’t think there was a road that was not being torn up and re-done with lovely cement brick work and new sidewalks it should look really pretty when it is completed.  Needless to say that the noise level was very high with all this construction, though a lot of it is still done by hand, such as carrying buckets of cement to be spread out by another worker. 

We were wanting a drink of some sort and my friend was really wanting a coffee so we stopped at this lovely little coffee place right at the town centre, I can’t remember what the name was I think something like Loco Choco.  I had a delicious fruit smoothie and my friend Jenny thoroughly enjoyed her coffee which is roasted and ground right on location.

In the town square where there were lots of vendors working on creating there wares and lots of children playing.  We weren’t meeting our friends for a little while so we wandered about and checked out some of the shops on the main street – discovering that Sayulita has a very large artist population and the art comes with a big price tag as well.

One of the main streets that goes down to the beach was really torn up and it was like hiking over piles of rocks and sand, but we managed and then found ourselves in the midst of the local vendors who were very persistent about trying to make a sale.  The beach was crowded with umbrellas, chairs, vendors and of course surfers.  We had now hooked up with our friends and us girls decided we wanted to get some lunch, so we left the guys to do their thing and we found this great sandwich shop, Reubens on the same street that goes to the beach.  The shop was very small but had some prime seats that faced  out onto the road so you could do some serious people watching while enjoying your delicious sandwich – if you visit Sayulita be sure to stop as it is well worth it and the service was very good.

After lunch we all met up at the beach and spent the afternoon sipping cold beers and fending off the countless vendors that stroll the beach non-stop.  The waves were not exceptionally big this visit so the surfers were mostly just hanging out waiting for even the smallest wave that they could ride in.

Overall the visit to Sayulita was great but I have to say I was happy to be back to sleepy little Lo de Marcos and being able to walk down the beach without a soul in view and just enjoy the sounds of the waves and best of all no traffic.  I thought about staying in Sayulita prior to this visit but now I would not even consider it, it has grown so fast and is so crowded now it has lost the small town charm  that I am drawn to and I imagine it won’t be long before it is just an extension of Puerto Vallarta but it is worth a visit and I will pay a visit next year to see how all the improvements have turned out.

Til next time

Michelle

The delightful and pretty little town of San Pancho, Mexico

The first Sunday we were in Mexico, we did a day trip from Lo de Marcos to another little town about 15 minutes south called San Pancho and also known as San Francisco.  Though still small it offered many more restaurants and delightful little shops to poke around in.  There is a lot more traffic in comparison to Lo de Marcos which you can easily wander down the street and only have to more over to the side of the road for the occasional car.  In San Pancho it is better to use the rugged sidewalks, often being in a bit of disrepair, but they are working on improving the roads and sidewalks in some areas. 

If you walk down the main street you will end up at the beach, which is breath-taking but more crowded than Lo de Marcos.  It is scattered with beach chairs, loungers and colourful umbrellas provided by the adjacent beach restaurants. There are some vendors at the entrance to the beach that sell some really nice hand crafted items such as jewellery made with leather and silver and painted pottery, and beautiful hand-woven table clothes and runners.  The vendors are not in the least bit persistent like some of the bigger beaches in the Puerto Vallarta area.  There is a lovely beach restaurant ‘La Ola Rica’  which has been in operation for 15 years now.  They have delicious pina coladas served in mason jars, the beers are reasonable at 20 pesos for a Pacifico.  On Sundays there is a Cuban band that plays in the late afternoon and a dance floor on the sand for those that just want to get up and dance.  We came back the following Thursday and had lunch at this restaurant – shrimp quesadias which were delicious and the fish tacos are also very good.  They serve huge hamburgers too that looked fantastic they also have great guacamole.  I look forward to returning next year.

There are also a couple of restaurants on the main street that serve really good coffees and lattes which I was totally craving.  There is a new restaurant that was to open today in fact ‘Zedeco’s’ which is owned by some Americans from New Orleans and the restaurant will specialize in Cajun fair. By what they told us it is going to make you feel like you are in the heart of New Orleans, so another restaurant to visit on my return.

For dinner we went to ‘The Blue Pig’ and feasted on some wonderful barbecued ribs, baked beans, coleslaw and potato salad and delicious garlic toast and great staff. This is definitely a restaurant to visit if you love ribs, a bit more pricey then some of the restaurants but well worth it.

The Sunday evening that we were in San Pancho there was a Jazz Festival in the town park, some very talented bands played along with our friends from the RV parks ‘The Sons of Beaches’.  It was a very fun atmosphere and an area to dance as well.  Be sure to bring some good bug spray though as there are little no see-ums that bite the heck out of your ankles and legs and if you have a lawn chair even better but there are a number of park benches to park yourself on. 

San Pancho is really a sweet little town that is home to many artists, very friendly people,  and a number of different types of accommodation from bungalows, small hotels and houses to rent. The energy was  really good there and I completely felt at home  perhaps the creative air that was very apparent and I could definitely see myself spending a lot more time there. It is so great that you can fly to Puerto Vallarta and catch a bus from the airport and stay in a small town and really soak up the local culture.  I look forward to visiting again next year.

Until next time

Michelle

Handmade vintage-look roses from coffee filters

`Self-worth is a stepping-stone to Self-love
Relax your fears and spread your goodness for all to see`

I first discovered coffee filter roses back in the spring when I was searching for alternatives to live flowers for my daughter`s wedding – Martha Stewart has this great tutorial on her Website by crafter Cassie Chappell  http://www.marthastewart.com/266346/paper-roses  I tried making a few roses, using watercolours to tint the roses and I loved what I created, but they were time-consuming to make and I had lots of flowers to make for the wedding, so I ended up making Mexican tissue flowers instead. You can see my Mexican tissue flower creations in an earlier post.  I discovered  The-White-Bench Blog http://the-white-bench.blogspot.com/2011/09/tutorial-coffee-filter-roses.html  by Monica who lives in Italy, I find it amazing that we can be in touch with artists sharing their talents on the other side of the world.  She generously provided a tutorial of her version of the coffee filter roses in a vintage style which I absolutely loved.  I decided to try Monica`s take on the filter roses and have created 16 roses to use as Christmas gifts for my special girlfriends. 

I used the pattern available for download from the Martha Stewart site and instead of using florist tape to wrap the rose petals I used thread instead; once the rose petals were all attached I positioned the petals and then dipped and soaked the rose into a coffee and cinnamon mixture, and then sprinkled a bit more cinnamon on the petals, rubbing the cinnamon into the leaves.  I placed the tinted roses onto a tin foil covered cookie sheet and into  the oven at 350 for 15 minutes, be very careful, put the timer on, because if your oven is too hot the leaves will burn quickly.  I put my flowers in before the oven was totally heated and then left them for 15 minutes then turned the oven off and left the flowers in the warm oven for another 5-10 minutes to ensure they were totally dry.  I brushed off the excess cinnamon on the petals and wrapped the stems with masking tape and then attached a chop stick with masking tape wrapping down the stick until it feels secure, (who knew one day all those chops sticks I have saved would come in handy).  Next I took ribbon and wrapped it around the chopstick; using the pointed end of a chopstick I curled the petals to give a

Coffee Filter Vintage Roses

more realistic look to the flower.  I have saved vintage lace ( I think my grandmother actually crocheted the lace long ago) over the years and used that to embellish the rose stem.  I had a roll of  pearls that I wove into the vintage lace and then grouped 2 or 3 together and tied some burlap around the stems and added a vintage looking button on the knot to finish it off.  I love the finished look, the

Coffee Filter Rose Bouquet

flowers are beautiful, they will last for a long time and they smell good….cinamon.  I think they make a great hostess gift or a lovely gift for a friend, plus they are inexpensive to make just takes your time.  The final touch was adding a little hand painted shipping tag that I stamped with Thank You, Merci, Gracia  for a very special person.  

Once you get into a rhythm of making these roses it doesn`t take too long may be about 30 minutes per rose and the results are well worth the time.  I am pretty sure I will be making more and even some for my own home. 

Until next time – happy creating!

Michelle

Joy of Cinnamon Coffee

I have always loved cinnamon – when I was a kid my mom let me make baking powder biscuit pin-wheels where I piled on the cinnamon mixed with sugar.  They were delicious and I have to say they didn’t last long.  Cinnamon buns are also a favorite of mine and sometimes throw a dash of it into my chili and of course there is cinnamon toast for a treat now and then. 

Recently I was reading a blog that was surveying some artists on how they start their day to get them ready to dive into their art. This one artist mentioned that she starts by preparing her coffee which she adds cinnamon too.  I thought it sounded like something I would totally enjoy so thought I would give it a try.  Well now I am totally addicted to the cinnamon flavour in my morning coffee – it gives it such an exotic taste – I love it, good thing I can buy it in bulk at Costco! 

Wonderful to know that I am doing something healthy for myself as well – I found out that it is good for you to consume this delectable spice, apparently there have been some studies done, it seems that cinnamon may lower blood glucose, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol in people with Type 2 diabetes.  So there you go a delicious flavor plus health benefits and a creative addition to that ordinary cup of morning coffee.

Til next time be creative even if it is with your coffee!

Michelle