Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mom's 80th Birthday Party - She Opens Her Special Present XO!

Mom getting ready to make a wish
For Mom's 80th birthday my sister Melinda made the special 1-2-3-4 cake that my Grandmother (Mom's mother) used to make and it turned out perfect. Every bit of it is from scratch, including the delectable from scratch chocolate icing. It has a flavor that you never forget. Not an easy cake to make like my Grandmother did; cooking time really matters for moisture, and texture is everything depending on the recipe, but it's well worth the effort, thanks Mel!! She also put little heart shaped candles on it as well as the number 80 and some more colored ones for good luck - some of the candles made colored flame, which I had never seen before, oh the wonders of this world today : )

I should probably add that Mom wanted a pizza party (she declares she's forever 35 in her mind, and we have TUMS) - so we ordered several pizzas from Facia Luna, where my beloved son Torey worked for a number of years while working through his college degree at Penn State. 

I made the salad - 3 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped, with capers, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, a little roasted red pepper for color, cucumbers, scallions, shaved Italian cheeses, and a light red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing. Yum. It was a nice complement to the pizza.

Yep, the tissues were at hand and everyone needed one!
The suspense was killing us as we waited for the right time to give Mom her special present. My sis knew that we'd all cry when Mom got a look at her very personalized commissioned painting, and she had a fresh box of tissues on every table in the living room : )

My favorite photo
My iPhone is an old model and doesn't do much to accommodate indoor evening lighting, so apologies for the photo quality - this is my favorite photo cause both Mom and Melinda have their tissues at hand and are talking about the details in the beautiful painting.

My brother had invited my sis and myself over to his house when the painting arrived and we all sat on the floor with the painting propped up against his couch exclaiming every time we recognized a new detail that was transferred to this beautiful painterly world from Mom's reality. We loved watching as Mom went through these same discoveries.

Wow, Rick Alexander really trumped it with this one!!!!

As a souvenir, we each received a little booklet of images of details in the painting along with some beautiful quotes Rick chose and some description of the details. I asked Mom to sign mine, and the message she wrote is very beautiful and special. She said "Forever my love to my dearest middle child and such a memorable 80th birthday from your all loving Mom. Boy do my three kids ROCK!!!"  : ))))

Mom was enchanted, as we knew she would be, and every time she looks at this beautiful painting she'll remember how very much we love her and how special it has been to celebrate her 80th birthday together.

GOOD TIMES!! Thanks Rick!!


Friday, January 10, 2014

How to Get Along with a Twelve Tailed Dragon

My Twelve Tailed Dragon
My Twelve Tailed Dragon has been flirting with me for the past few days. I was very surprised to find that he is capable of fierceness, but it's not at all his favorite thing. 

Red and White Striped Soft Boots
His favorite thing is a pair of red and white striped soft boots with bells on the toes that he loves to wear. This was the first indication I had that this drawing was not going to be too predictable - Dragon was gonna tell me what he wants, and it was up to me and my pen and my muse to give it to him. 

He's a very fancy, Grandfatherly Dragon, who knew?
After I drew his striped boots he decided he wanted a golden star hanging from one of his horns - and because it's always a good idea to keep your Dragon happy, that's what he got, along with a selection of bows and gold bangles to decorate his tails. He's very polite, see how he holds his tails under control while his Little Green Faerie Girl helps him pick out which kind of ribbon he likes best?

Litte Green Faerie in her best party dress.
Dragon's Little Green Faerie Girl has made sure to put on her best party dress in preparation for the festivities. She has a selection of ribbon for him to choose from, all color coordinated with her outfit so the other faeries will know they're pals.

Twelve Tailed Dragon Gettin' Dressed Up to Party
At midnight they'll go to the magical clearing in the forest for bonfires and dancing under the stars. He'll probably take her flying over the mountains, through the clouds, next to the moon and stars, too. They'll stay up til dawn to catch the sunrise from a nice hillside, then head back to the cave for some ZZZzzzzzzs. Sweet dreams! 

* * *

A couple of the challenges with this little painting involved figuring out how to include all twelve tails in the Dragon picture. I love how the tail started out as a braid, then exploded like fireworks into his twelve separate tail tips, hence the salt treatment behind his tail tips to help with that expression. 

Another challenge was that Little Green Faerie clearly expressed that she wanted her dress to be pink, red, and orange. I loved the challenge of making these colors work together, how did I do? To make it work without totally clashing (I know, my colors are crazy) I added a little red and yellow to the pink, and a little pink and red to the yellow, and a little yellow and pink to the red. So somehow it looks just the way she wanted it - very colorful like the time before twilight as the sun goes down, right when all faerie parties begin!

This little painting is a result of the suggestion to draw my Twelve Tailed Dragon in the Wonderlit course I'm taking. It's been a pleasure meeting him, and I look forward to drawing some more of his adventures (and meeting some of his friends!).

Til next time....


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Happy 80th Birthday to Mom - Best gift EVER

Mom in her happy place
So my mother is turning 80 this year, in just a few days. She's a little nervous about it, but kind of zen and we're all feeling very fortunate that her mind is sharp as a tack and she's still fairly mobile.

We wracked our brains for what might be a good present for her - we wanted it to be something special. Dad's been gone to heaven for several years, and she's moved from the place they lived to our little town, so a big party wouldn't be quite right at this time.

My sister had discovered a verrrrry special artist who does paintings on commission, and his name is Rick Alexander. Rick is magnificently talented and also a very empathic person - able to do paintings on commission that celebrate the lives of very special people. He can paint the things they love, the animals they love, the people they love, and the result is nothing less than absolutely enchanting.

We decided to have a painting done for our mother (my sister, brother, and myself went in together on this very special present).

The result is wonderful. We can't wait til she opens it at her party on Tuesday - we will pass out the tissues beforehand! There won't be a dry eye in the house.

Dad, and us
My brother sent Rick a decent amount of information, such as that my mother associates hummingbirds with my Dad, so in the painting, my Dad is represented by the beautiful hummingbird flying along, yet leading the way, in joy. And each of us siblings got to pick an animal that represents us, my sis is the elephant happily playing with the water, my brother is the dragonfly, able to flit about at will, and I am the lynx, my totem animal for life who leads me through many meditations and teachings.

Some of Mom's favorite things
From the info that my brother sent to Rick, he was able to paint so many of my mother's favorite things, such as the cat named Cricket that she and Dad had and loved so well, and ladybugs, and the camels they loved from when they lived in Arabia for four years - the "blanket" on the camel is actually a reproduction of a bookmark Mom uses all the time, that she keeps on her table by her favorite chair when not in a book. Stargazer lilies were my Dad's favorite flower, and they're in there, as well as the butterfly ginger jar that he bought her when they were young and in so much love, that sits on her fireplace mantle today (no one's allowed to touch it, especially the maids).

I love that the painting shows her in her happy place, surrounded by all the things and people and animals she loves, and when I wrote to Rick to say thank you for your amazing talents, I told him I thought he'd struck up a spiritual connection with her while he was working on this.

What a very special present. We can't wait til she opens it and we know that for years and years to come, whenever any of us looks at it we will know and appreciate the celebration of who she likes to be. Rick also is making each of us a little printed book of details in the painting, so we'll each have a lovely keepsake.

Thank you Rick Alexander, for your beautifully refined talents and for making my Mom's birthday and all the days to come so very, very special!!

I would highly recommend this artist in case you want something really really special for someone you love! He can be reached at r.l.alexander@me.com - keep him in mind....

Here's to our elders, may they enjoy comfort and love and our joy in them each and every day!