Giving thanks for Friends & Art

Well I already have winter vacation on the brain even though we've barely arrived at Thanksgiving. I'm just thinking ahead because this year I'm especially excited to spend some time in Santa Barbara (more on that later). Every year over the winter holidays Mr. Monkey and I take a vacation with some of our college friends. The groups shifts a bit depending on the year, who can make it, and where the meet-up is. Years past we've found ourselves hiking, soaking, eating, drinking, and generally enjoying each other's company in Sedona (AZ), Yachats(OR), Palm Springs (CA), and Baja (MX). In our little group we have many smart, creative, and overall deliciously delightful people.

One person who we find to be incredibly artistically talented has often  commemorated said vacations with a sampling of her artwork. About three years ago the crew rented a house on Orcas Island in Washington State. It was a very mellow year. I was recovering from thyroid cancer surgery and having my amazing friends around me while we all jointly recovered from the general stresses of life was a priceless gift. To top off the gift of her friendship Tucson-based Monkey Bobcat sent along the painting above. Sadly it took me awhile to find a frame for it. I desperately wanted to get it professionally framed but that wasn't happening and the wonderfully funny painting was sitting in a closet. I had to ultimately admit that professional framing was not in the plans and it was better to simply get it up on the wall. For the time being I found an inexpensive alternative for $20 at a big chain home store. Hip hip hooray! Monkey Bobcat's art is now up and I have a daily reminder of how dear friendship is and essential to our every day and overall quality of life. Just as the painting shows the waterways of the sound to be the "cardiovascular system" of the network of San Juan Islands I like to think of my friends and family as my life support system. I'm glad that this little painting made it's way out of the closet and onto the living room walls. Yay for art and yay for friends who make art!


Kitchen remodeling on the brain

We've got kitchens on the brain. We've finally met with an architect and plans are in the works. By the end of the year 2010 we should have plans which means we can begin construction in January! We've got tons of ideas but we're really leaving it up to David Schmitz, of Engage Architecture and to our limited budget of course. Below I've added some of our inspiration kitchens. The 3 features I love from the pictures are the colorful tile back splashes, the center islands with bar seating, and open floor plans. I think between Mr. Monkey, our architect, and I we will have no shortage of ideas. The challenge will be finding the best function/design/price balance. Most of these pictures can be found at this Sunset Magazine Kitchens link.
Sunset Mag, Richard Leo Johnson

Sunset Mag., Thomas J. sTory