First Animal Print of 2013: Peepers

A friend-of-a-friend recently found Gadora while looking for someone to paint a portrait of a pup. The watercolor was for her Sister-in-law and would eventually be a gift for Peepers’ human Mom. Awww, Peepers! Oh how I miss my own Peepers. It will be 3 years this April, and while I still miss her, time has healed some of the sorrow. Peepers’s portrait would be a sweet Valentine’s Day surprise.

Peepers DONE
The Peeps ready for a picnic.

The pics Gadora originally received were from the client’s Instagram < check out Gadora’s set of pics – and thus a teensy bit small, but very telling. Peepers was a sweet, sweet pup.

3Peepers Instagram3
Sweet Peeps. 

I noodled around with the portrait, and was finally ready to send. Peepers was the first watercolor portrait I’d actually send with a name scribed on the paper. I scribbled a little heart right by her name.

2Peepers Instagram2

After sending Gadora let a few days pass, then checked on her recipient. “Just got it when I got home from work today — it’s beautiful! Thank you!! Can’t wait to show it to my mom tomorrow!  :)”

1Peepers Instagram
Picnic Peeps.

The following day, this arrived. “My mom loves it!!!!! It really looks just like peeps.  :)” And if you’re counting, that’s two smiley faces in her reply! Thanks Lady, glad the family loves their Peepers. xo

2012 NoLa Rollerbulls. It’s happening!

Derby is one of the many joys of my life. It’s an inexplicable, and dangerous, love I discovered late in life. I give and give, not as Gadora Wilder but as my other alter Scrape Myrtle, each week in hours of practice that exponentially give back—on and off of the track. It has afforded me a circle of women who make me laugh, constantly challenge and support me… and at 41 has given me an ass I’m finally quite proud of. My derby loves have trekked to New Orleans for years—without me—to partake in a wacky weekend whereby they skate the streets of The Big Easy as red “bulls” whacking willing runners along the 1+ mile route.

This year I. Am. In. There’s been countless chats for where we’ll stay. What we’ll eat. What we’ll wear. The organizers encourage us to have a blast and whack the runners with “the love for a brother we hate at the moment.” We are not to maim them, just toss them around a bit. We are promised the 15,000 of them will LOVE it. Always at the ready for a crafternoon, the gals and I gathered at my place to pimp our wiffle bats, helmets and horns. We hadn’t planned for our logo but wanted to represent Texas. So Scrape put on her Gadora hat and traced and cut a Rollergirl logo into a Shrinky Dink sheet. We used the reverse as our template.

Shrinky Dink Rollergirl template.

As a Texas Rollergirl hometeam representative, I now incorporate purple into anything I can. So, my shiny new helmet got a spray of Hustler purple.

Hustler purple Rollergirl

Huddled around my courtyard’s table, affectionately referred to as The Goose, we derby gals each sprayed our helmets and bats and gear. Here’s mine, quietly drying underneath the reflection of my canopy of trees. Pretty, me thinks.

Hustler helmet with tree reflection

MariEasy Livin’ (we’ve dubbed MariEZ… or maybe she did herself), Hydra (a Derby hall-of-famer of sorts) and I each took turns spraying all 8 participating bulls’ gear. In the Texas summer, drying time was a breeze. We carefully peeled and re-stuck the sticky tape on the underbelly of the Shrinky Dink template, then sprayed.

Drying time: wiffle bats and helmets.

I got a little crafty with my bat graphic. Yes, YOU, I fully intend to smack you with the wrath of my bat. I might even leave a lil mark. Then I’ll skate right past you to the next eager fool. MariEZ recommends we reinforce our bats at their base with duct tape… so as to prolong their life. What kind of hurt did SHE administer last year?

“You’ve been SMACKED by Scrape Myrtle!”

The horns. Oh my fellow derby dears—there will be some 400 of us skating—have created some magnificent specimens. Our gaggle of gals are going for practicality. Nothing will get between us and our ass-kicking. We procured some devil horns and re-appropriated them as bull horns, but not without a bit of bedazzling. They’re kind of perfect in that they’re easy to slip over our helmets, and will allow the maneuverability any self-respecting derby enthusiast craves.

Our bedazzled horn bouquet.

• • •

¡Bienvenidos a! San Fermin in Nueva Orleans (SFNO) is an annual festival in New Orleans featuring an Encierro (bull run), which replicates and pays homage to the world famous Encierro of Pamplona, Spain, or “The Running of the Bulls”, only our bulls are none other than members of the Big Easy Rollergirls and select participants from other rollerderby leagues across the country! I. Cannot. Wait.

Simply put.

Bouldin Creek’s new home… A bittersweet gulp.

When Gadora first moved to Austin, I maneuvered my new city by mapping out consignment furniture stores and set sail. Navigating new (to me) boutiques, I rated them on a very serious four smiley-face scale. 1 “=)” was given to mediocre stores of which I’d already seen enough and 4 happy faces were awarded shops with discerning taste—those I’d recommend to friends. On one such outing, Gadora and Paige the Wonder Wagon happened upon an empty building at the busy intersection of Mary and South 1st.

An empty nest.

Ooooh. It was fun. The cinder block walls and flat roof line immediately drew me in. The building reminded me of so many of the mid-century buildings that littered Tampa’s palm-lined streets, it simply felt like home. I parked and stuck my nose in every window it had. Who owned it? Why was it empty? Oh, wouldn’t I turn it into something marvelous! I pitched the notion to my GF—together we were sorting out how to turn “Gadora Wilder” into a viable source of income—but she just couldn’t see it. It was dingy. Lackluster. And needed work. With a little imagination, and with a few strokes of Photoshop, I reworked the building into this…

Gadora Wilder ~ June 2009

I’d paint the thing Gadora’s favorite Chartreuse green. Working with the building’s original metal awnings, I also envisioned adding a teak pergola along the street-facing front. As I’d use the space as a workshop-of-sorts to refurbish furniture, its garage doors were perfect for throwing open on those rare days the Texas heat let up. I showed my partner that pic, she immediately got on board. We mentally carved out every square inch of space: allocating room for my wares, a roomy workshop space, a place for gathering and learning and even fathomed a coffee spot. That was more than a year and a half ago now…

Continue reading “Bouldin Creek’s new home… A bittersweet gulp.”

The Inn at Bella Vista

The Inn at Bella Vista
The Inn at Bella Vista

Name: Gary, Paula, Silly, Millicent (Millie) and Baby
Location: Promontory Point, Seven Falls Ranch, Fredericksburg, TX
Built: 2008
Size: (upstairs) 1,800 sq. ft., 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and (downstairs) 600 sq. ft., 1 bedroom, 1 bath
Accommodations: Main floor will sleep 2, upstairs will sleep 8

Dining Room
Dining Room

Nestled on 13 wooded acres in Stonewall, just a stones throw from Fredericksburg, TX, sits a new metal barn construction perched on a hill ~ “The Inn at Bella Vista.” Currently serving as home-base while the home owner’s stunning stone structure is constructed just up the hill, the “Inn” will be open for business in January of 2010.

Dining room with a view...
Dining room with a view...

Continue reading “The Inn at Bella Vista”