Monday, December 23, 2013

Annual Holiday Shindig

Alex showing off her Kermit Muppet News Coffee Mug that she acquired during "dirty santa."

All the Mouyal girls except Ellie (from left: Sarah, Hannah, Me-Lindsay, Annie)

Liz and her portrait hat

Daniel and Liz admiring the ridiculous dolphin lamp!

Liz pose!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Day of the Dead Festival

One of my favorite cultural events that takes place every year in the downtown Birmingham area (where the old Bare Hands Gallery used to be) is the Dia de los Muertos festival.  The Day of the Dead is celebrated every year in Mexico and some other Hispanic countries on November 2nd.  It is a beautiful day set aside to remember and honor loved ones who have passed on.  The celebrations usually include name call ceremonies, parades, traditional foods, re-enactments, altars, art, dancing, music, costumes, face painting, sugar skull decorating, and more!

We had a get together this year beforehand to get in costume and we had a blast!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

AAEA Fall Conference

All the hard work paid off!  Around 150 art educators from across the state of Alabama gathered in Orange Beach, AL in October to share ideas and get their hands wet in some art.  We worked and we played!
Art Teacher Scream (with the help of some fellow art teachers, I made these famous art photo cut outs with tar paper!)

mixed media encaustic workshop

Adam at the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach in the glass blowing "hot shop."

Mollie in a clay workshop

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Closet Makeover

 I got into an organizational frenzy and couldn't take any more of my messy closet.  So, I went to the Dollar Tree and picked up these cheap plastic bins, organized everything, attached duct tape and used sharpie to label them.  Feels so good!

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Taos was super cool and apparently was and still is home to many hippie communes that began back in the 1960's.  I watched this documentary called Garbage Warrior about the architect that first began building and perfecting Earthship homes.  She also shared the book, Scrapbook of a Taos Hippie, that is full of stories told by the people that lived on the various communes throughout the years.  I didn't have time to finish the book while I was there, so I ordered a copy for myself!

Map of the communes

Barbacoa cheek tacos from Guadalajara Grill in good!!!

Taos was a lot like Santa Fe or old town in Albuquerque as far as the shops and galleries, but it had a lot more of a laid back vibe...if that is even possible.  And it is further up the mountain.  I also visited Ojo Caliente Springs while I was up there.  So relaxing and peaceful!

Taos Mesa Brewery...yummy beer, wide open space, fun times

out in front of the Gorge bridge you can order ice cream, coffee, or more from this funky bus

Art by Brandon Muldanado.  Super cool Dia de los Muertos stuff.  One of the girls working at Marble Brewery in Albuquerque told me to check it out (she has a tattoo inspired by his artwork).  I found it, but it was I did some "window shopping."

another window shot from Brandon's gallery

Beautiful sculptural windchimes

Christina and Melissa (fellow art teachers from up north) who joined me on my first trip to Ojo Caliente.  We had just learned how to mud up and were drying in the sun.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Earthship-Carson, NM

I got to stay in an amazing Earthship with an inspirational woman named Elisabeth!  She is 74 years old, leads two different hiking groups each week, a book club and skis every day she has the time in winter.  She lives by herself in an Earthship house she began building in 1993 and was completed in 2005.  She used to live in Los Angeles, California and retired to the tiny town of Carson, New Mexico (about 30 minutes from Taos and only 10 minutes from the gorgeous Rio Grande Gorge).   Elisabeth was so sweet, even inviting me on her hikes, to dinner with her friends and educating me on the area.

out back...this part of the Earthship only has one layer of adobe on it so you can see the shape of the recycled tire insulation.

view from inside the house

Elisabeth and her two dogs, Mollie and Charlie, on our hike down into the Gorge (Vista Verde trail)

view of the Gorge

Josephine found some mushrooms!

view from day two hike

Shiva found a stream (we had to cross about 8 of these)

some fellow hikers from the group.

It was humid that day (for New Mexico anyway)...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Albuquerque...Way Cool!

So Albuquerque is super cool!  Santa Fe is beautiful, don't get me wrong and driving up through Taos is breathtaking.  However, I think I might prefer the more spread out Albuquerque and mountain views there.  Maybe I just needed a change of scenery.  Either way, this whole state is beautiful!  Old Town in Albuquerque was fun, but very much like the plaza area in Santa Fe.  I would say Old Town Albuquerque is more reminiscent of the typical western look.  I really enjoyed strolling up and down Central Avenue in the Nob Hill district.  Also, best thrift stores ever here on Menaul Blvd. NE (Thrift Town and Pink Rhino)!

Church in Old Town

Neuzz mural on patio of Marble favorite brew here was the Wildflower Wheat (No I didn't try the Heisenburg because it doesn't come out until late August)

Street art on Central Avenue (Nob Hill)...

View of mountains from Nob Hill area (picture doesn't do it justice)

Funky dinosaur sculptures in front of space age looking house on Monte Vista Boulevard

Friday, July 19, 2013

Bandelier National Monument

Christina didn't have to leave town until late the night we checked out from our hotel in Santa Fe.  I was going to Albuquerque that evening anyway, so she cancelled her shuttle and joined me for one last day of New Mexican adventures!  We drove north towards Los Alamos to visit Bandelier National Monument.

Here is a quote from their website explaining a little about the history of Bandelier:
"Bandelier National Monument protects over 33,000 acres of rugged but beautiful canyon and mesa country as well as evidence of a human presence here going back over 11,000 years.  Petroglyphs, dwellings carved into the soft rock cliffs, and standing masonry walls pay tribute to the early days of a culture that still survives in the surrounding communities."

It was breathtaking to say the least.  We hiked along the main loop trail and climbed into some of the cliff dwellings.  Then we hiked up a more zig zag path where we kept climbing higher and higher.  The higher we got, the more spectacular the views were!
Christina climbing up into one of the cliff dwellings

the view from inside...

Looking down...

If you look closely you will see petroglyph carvings