Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Left Over Photos from March

I will be gone for a week visiting my son in Boise, so don't forget me. I hear they had 50 mph winds and snow last weekend. It is in the seventies here. We must love our son a LOT!

These are the best of the photos I have left over this month that didn't make my blog yet.

More ice plant but instead of the masses of vivid purple, these are bright, bright orange. They just about glow and the camera doesn't do them justice.

We call this the tulip tree. I don't think that's the right name. The flowers are a dark red and appear before the leaves. It was getting dark when I took this photo outside the high school. Sometimes you just have to take the photo when you can because you're never sure when you will get back again.

This didn't come out quite as well as I would have liked. Barry called me out to see the new moon. It was just a thin sliver, lying on its back. Really very pretty. In England we used to say that when the moon is on its back, we will have snow. Don't think that's true in Carlsbad!

I said I would outfox those mourning doves. So here it is. A canopy, low over the bird tray but not so low that the little birds can't get in. Well I thought I'd fix those doves, but this morning there were two in there, so I may have to lower the canopy again. Above are two doves and a squirrel on the ground.

It has kept the scrub jay out, and he still has his suet and anything on the ground that the doves and the squirrels don't get. We have a pair of scrub jays now. Between them all the ground feeders are eating me out of house and home so I'm hoping the little birds have enough left for them on the tray.

This is one of Bailey's favorite games. It's an upside down empty computer paper box. His paws just have room to grab what is going by. Better keep your fingers out of the way, though!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sunshine Yellow

This is one of my favorite back yard birds. I call him "Zorro" for obvious reasons. He is quite shy, but I frequently see him sneaking through the bushes to take a drink at the waterfall. I copied this drawing from the front cover of "Birds and Blooms", a really beautiful magazine which my eldest son bought me for Christmas.

These are my beloved daffodils. I buy them at Vons for about $3 a bunch. I buy them as buds. They usually open the next day. I trim off the ends, put them in a vase and put them on the patio. They last much longer when they are outside and I can see them easily from the kitchen/dining area. I also add one baby aspirin to the water. We keep them low on the floor so that they are protected from the wind. We can't grow them here. They need a little frost in the winter and then the rabbits and sqirrels eat them as soon as they poke their heads through the soil.

Daffodils are so showy that I'm kind of glad they are not year round flowers. That way I really appreciate their sunshine in the spring.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


This is the original from Sandy's Art Challenge #3 (click this link).

This is my effort. Hmmmm. Not very good. It was hard to do.

This is much better. A copy of a Flamborough fishing cobble off Flamborough Head. Very near and dear to my heart. Copied from a post card.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


We have had a lot of bird activity around our feeder, mostly house finches, house sparrows, white crowned sparrows, and gold finches. Of course the mourning doves are monopolizing everything and the scrub jay visits daily.

Here the most clear ones are the house finch , far left, and the gold finch, center.

This is quite a good shot (for me!) of the house finch and the white crowned sparrow.

The beautiful house finch just bragging about his color.

But this is another house finch whose color varies. When the sun shines on him he looks positively golden.

Close-up of a white crowned sparrow.

The fattest mourning dove on the feeding tray, just sitting there dominating it. I have plans for him and his friends. There are five more like him. They are eating me out of house and home. Then I have to deal with the squirrels. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 23, 2009

It's Come at Last!

No, I'm not talking about spring! I'm talking about my new book. It has taken a whole year to get it published and even now it has some things I'm not happy with. But it is HERE and that is the main thing.

Contact me if you would like a copy of this book of prayers for boys. ($9.00) chris@flamboroughhead.com

Designed and Illustrated by David Koechel.

Sample Pages

Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me

even when I do things I shouldn't.

Thank you for loving me

because that means I can always trust you

to take care of me.

Thank you for loving me

because sometimes I feel like no one else does,

and I feel lonely and unhappy.

Thank you for loving me

enough to die for me.


Computers are marvelous things, Lord.

I love playing all kinds of games on them,

looking up strange facts and answers to questions.

I love to push the buttons, play on the keys

And see all the exciting graphics.

Computers can do just about anything,

they're almost human.

But that's the really marvelous thing, Lord,

to think that you made man

with such a brain

that he can almost make a brain himself.


I've seen some pictures of people

who are really poor,

and I've see the homeless

sleeping on the sidewalk in the city.

They look skinny and sad.

I guess they were starving,

and they'd be cold in the winter too.

I've never been that hungry.

Please help the poor people , Jesus,

and show me how I can help them too.

Thank you that we always have plenty to eat.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sketches and Messes #2

The lion is the Sketches and Messes Challenge # 2

The seagull is a combination of two pictures I had. Done a lot of drawing this weekend, but they don't take very long. The lion is 4x4" and the seagull is 2 1/2 x 3 1/2" (the ATC size).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

San Diego, the Beautiful City

We went down to San Diego last week to meet up with an exchange teacher from Scarborough in Yorkshire. Since this is the next main town up the coast from my beloved Flamborough, we thought we might have a lot in common. And we did! We had a great time, probably wearing her ears out, discussing many things about 'home.'

Lisa, the teacher, told us that she didn't think she would be able to live in America because she would miss Yorkshire too much. I could certainly identify with that, so we came to the conclusion that the best plan would be to spend the winters in San Diego and the summers in Yorkshire, (British weather being what it is!)

Because Lisa had already been taken to most of the well known beauty spots in San Diego -- and there are plenty of them -- we took her to the two 'islands' of the city, which are not really islands but peninsulas. On Harbor Island we had lunch at Tom Hamm's Lighthouse which has a magnificent view of San Diego Bay. We didn't see the whale that everyone has been talking about, that some say has lost its way in the bay.

Then we went to Shelter Island and discovered that the city has built a very attractive mini-park at the end of the peninsula. In the center of the area is the large mosaic of the world and other cultures. The children seen in the photo spent their time and energy running round and round the mosaic as fast as they could, until they got dizzy. Then after a rest, they started again.

Surrounding the mosaic area were several semi-circular walls, sort of like the setting sun. The walls were decorated with the step-like pattern you see above, and set in them were slashes of of undersea themed decorations, also made of mosaic, smooth glass and shells. Very intriguing and attractive.

The were also several cement benches, which is a terrible description of what was actually very attractive also. The seats were set with mosaic and the base of the seat repeated the step-like texture of the walls.

All this was surrounded by an area of green grass and looked out over part of the bay where there were plenty of sail boats out having fun. Presumably many of them were looking for the whale.

At the entrance to Shelter island was this fine piece of artwork representing, I presume, a seagull. It was quite spectacular and very large. Another seagull seemed to appreciate it as a resting place also.

I do like some of the modern out-door art that is being displayed these days. Some of them are just 'over the top' but this was definitely an asset to the area.

San Diego is truly a beautiful city!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Keeping Busy

This is what has been keeping me so busy this weekend. It was a lot of work, but came out quite well. It is of the little village of Beddgelert in North Wales. I took it from a calendar of North Wales scenes painted in watercolor by Jean Morgan-Roberts.

I used a wash of water color for the sky, the cottages and bridge and then the water. Then I went back and filled in the details with pencil. The third step was to go over the pencil details with my prisma color pencils.

What an Honor!

Claude, whose blog I follow, left me two comments on my last post. I used one of her photos as a drawing for my collection of doors. It was the prison door at the Chateau du Loir. She liked it so much she took it to the tourist office for the Chateau and suggested it should be put up on their office wall!! Well, they agreed! I'm almost embarrassed, as I do not usually get this kind of publicity for my drawings and paintings.

Here is the picture again, so you won't have to go paging back to look for it.

It is actually a little darker in the original. Remember, it is only 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches. Whereas the one above is 5" x 7"
Here is Claude's blog:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Latest Art Projects in March

From Thanksgiving to Christmas I didn't do any art at all. Just couldn't get into it at all. Now, for the last four weeks I can't stop! These below are what I have been working on. The shepherd one I really liked in the original but it was much harder to do than I anticipated. I think I should have blurred the sky a little with a light eraser or my finger, then it wouldn't look so scribbly.




I am in the middle of doing a picture of a quaint village in North Wales, but it will be a little larger than what I have been doing. This one is 5" x 7". It is very detailed, but is coming along well. I may finish it over the weekend. So far it has taken me about 12 hours of work.

By the way, for those of you who may be wondering, Bailey is coming along well on his diet. The vet was thrilled and told me that he has lost the equivalent of 30 pounds in human weight! I must admit he looks a bit sleeker -- rather handsome in fact! But I won't bore you with yet more photos.


Not that JoEllen is an oddment! It's OK. She has a great sense of humor and would understand my title completely! JoEllen is probably my 'bestest' friend! She and I worked together at Victory Christian High School for quite a few years. I often called her 'my partner in crime'. Believe me, working with teenagers, you really do need a good sense of humor and a strong sense of calling! Then she deserted me and went to live in Ohio. But every now and then she comes back to visit family in Carlsbad.

Here is the Humvee she drives when she is here. She left her own, a bright yellow one, back in Ohio. I thought Jose would enjoy seeing this. Though a grandmother, she still goes 'off-roading' with her son in this vehicle.

If you look hard enough you can just see JoEllen peeking through the driver's window. She is smaller than I am, so you can barely see her. When she drives away it looks and sounds like a tank!

Then, this is bird feeding time in our back yard. As soon as the seed is scattered the birds dive down about 25 at a time -- and what a racket they make while waiting their turn!!

These are mostly house finches, house sparrows, song sparrows, towhees, and a few gold finches and ayellow warbler (Zorro). The mourning doves are also multiplying rapidly. We must have the fattest bird population in the neighborhood.

Special prayer reminder: for Wanda of "Brush strokes from the Heart" -- my blogging mentor.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sketches and Messes Challenge

This is my rendition of the art challenge on http://www.sandy-everydayart.blogspot.com It took me three hours to do, is approximately 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches and is done in Prismacolor pencils.

There will be a new challenge each week and I'm hoping to participate regularly -- but we shall see.
I like to work on my art while watching something worthwhile on TV. Last night I 'watched' PBS with "Live from the Met". Rhonda Flemming was singing sections from three different operas. She is not my most favorite singer, tho' she has a good voice, but the first opera she sang from was part of La Traviata which is one of my most favorite operas. The second one was Manon. I don't know this one very well and it was OK. But the last one I turned off -- definitely not my 'cup of tea'.

Speaking of which...it's about that time!

Sunday, March 1, 2009



(March 1st)

St. David's motto is: 'Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd' "Do the little things in life." This
is a very well-known phrase in Welsh, and has proved an inspiration to many.


It was Sylvia's Memorial Service yesterday. The story of her life could be made into a book. I thought you might be interested in reading about three specific miracles that came about in this lady's life. It is an inspiring, amazing and encouraging story. If you ever wonder whether the Lord is interested in you and your problems, I urge you to read this and see how He NEVER fails us, even in our darkest hours.


Sylvia's family were Armenian Christians who had escaped the Armenian genocide in the early 1900's instigated by the Ottoman Turks of that time. They managed to settle in Thessalonica, Greece. It was there that Sylvia was born. Through the providence of God she was blessed with a good education in her early years.

But when World War II broke out and the Italians overran Greece, her education came to an end. Her family suffered many privations during this time, including what they called 'the year of starvation'. Although still a young girl, Sylvia could speak several languages, including German. Because of this she was allowed to work at the local hospital which was overrun with war casualties. There, she came to the attention of a German 4 star General who was suffering from malaria. Noting her good work and talents, he gave her his card and said, "If you ever need anything, get in touch with me." She put the card away and didn't give it another thought.

As the war began to wind down, the Germans shut down the hospital and ordered all the workers to be shipped out to Germany. No-one was allowed to take any of their family with them. Only Sylvia and her mother who also worked at the hospital would be allowed to go. Her father, two sisters and a brother would have to be left behind. They were all very distressed and prayed that God would not let their family be separated. It was then that Sylvia remembered the General's card. In fear and trembling she contacted him and he stepped in. He gave her a letter and arranged for the whole family to go to Germany together. That was the first miracle.

But when the night arrived for the general's car to take them all with great secrecy to the railway station where they would join the other hospital workers, the car was late and they missed the train. They were distraught. All they could do was wait for the next train. All through that anxious train journey, her father kept softly singing "Any where with Jesus I can safely go". After a long journey, the train stopped unexpectedly. There was a long delay of several days before they continued on with their journey, but during the delay, they discovered the reason for the hold up. There had been an air raid further up the line. The first train that they should have taken had been bombed and none of the hospital workers survived. Surely God was watching over them! That was the second miracle.

The family finally arrived in Germany. There they had to work in a local factory. By now Germany was losing the war and food was in scarce supply for everyone. Once in a while they would receive a care package from a group of Armenian Americans. Typically, Sylvia wrote to them to thank them. At the urging of her mother she included a photograph of her family. At the end of the war many refugees and displaced persons in Europe were sent to various countries. Sylvia and her family were sent to America, where of course they knew no-one and had nothing.

After two weeks of traveling, they disembarked in New Orleans. From there, all the immigrants were told to take certain buses for their final destination. Sylvia's family was told to take the Fresno bus where there was already a settlement of Armenians and work was available. But when they tried to board the Fresno bus, they were told that they were not on the list for that bus. After some confusion, they were told they had to take the bus to Los Angeles. It was now three weeks since they had left Germany and when they finally arrived in Los Angeles they were exhausted and disheveled. They knew no-one, had no-where to go, had no money, and no jobs. "What now?" they wondered.

In Los Angeles, they told their story to those in charge at the bus station. When it was discovered they were Armenian, they were taken to an Armenian church which was not too far away. The pastor of the church came out to greet them and after talking to them for a few moments, he suddenly said "I know you! Come with me." So they followed him to his study. Quickly he pointed to a photograph on his desk. It was the photo of Sylvia and her family. It turned out that this was the church which had sent them care packages when they were in Germany working at the factory. It was the same pastor to whom Sylvia had written to thank and to whom she had sent the photograph of her family. This was the third miracle!

Right away the church allowed them to sleep in the basement. In addition, since it was the day after Thanksgiving, the church had much food left over from their celebrations -- most of it real Armenian food at that. Later the church found an apartment for them, and paid the rent for them, gave them $20 a week for food and helped them find jobs. They were overwhelmed.

Certainly the Lord had taken care of them throughout all these difficult years When Sylvia tells this miraculous story of her family's survival, she always ends by quoting this verse from Romans 8:28....

"All things work together for good to them that love God, and to those who are called according to His purpose."

Copyright: Christine A. Jones