Wednesday, December 28, 2016

How Well Do You Distinguish Colors?

I've been known to get into some vivid color discussions with artists. I seem to see colors more intensely or acutely than even my hairdresser. Perhaps I'm just more dogged about the concept. Even so, occasionally I'm out done. 

Luttrell Psalter
Heures du Duc de Berry
Color determination, being able to see the difference between colors, is essential to an artist. As a scribe it is crucial to selecting colors that emulate your chosen inspiration source. 

There's a big difference in the colors in the Luttrell Psalter and those in Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.

As an art student or scribe, would this change your ability to learn about art? Would it affect how you paint? No matter your artistic style, would you change how you paint if you don't see colors the same as those who view your work? 

Knowing how you see color is a step to answering those questions. Below are BuzzFeed quizzes to help you casually assess where you fit on the color determination scale. These fun quizzes will give you a clue to the next step on your scribal journey.

If you are interested to learn more, as part of their free online color theory classes, The Student Art Guide website tells how color determination affects art students and artists. While the Student Art Guide website is intended for high-school students, it's pages are relevant to most art students. Be careful you don't get lost within it for days. 

Exploring color mixing is important. Being able to see the changes that happen when you do is crucial to recreating scrolls that emulate your inspirations.

Related Prior Post:
5 Tips to Train Your Artist Eye

Image credits: Click title under image for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, December 25, 2016

To My Readers, Family And Friends...

Hope you enjoy your holidays.

Thank you for your interest and support. You may still not quite understand what I do, but you've supported me unconditionally. I hope I don't bore you with nerdy details, jokes, and addictions I enjoy and pass along. How you continue to tolerate my geekish banter amazes me. 

Thank you, again.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Brush Basics and Buying

I'm a brush collector. I have all types and sizes. I even have some for oil painting, which I've never tried. With each purchase, I feel that brush will be my best brush for it's intended task. If that's true, why do I keep going back for more? Why do I have so many?

Brushes are tricky to select. There are many options in type, shape, fiber, manufacturer, cost, and wear-ability. 

Most scribes begin with a friend or teacher's recommended brush. That's how I started. I bought and used that same brush, in different sizes for years. 

I still like Winsor and Newton Sceptre Gold II watercolor round brushes. (Round brushes come to a point.) I like the way they feel on the paper, their spring. They are a less pricey artist grade brush because they blend red sable and golden synthetic fibers. I have them in the smallest 101 series round size, 00 up to a 4.

I prefer to buy an illumination brush I can see and feel. When buying a brush, I first go to the section for the medium I'm intending to use. When doing a traditional illumination you want a watercolor brush. They are softer than oil/acrylic brushes and come in smaller sizes. You might also consider decorative detail brushes for their micro size.

Most of my brushes are round pointed brushes, with average length hair. I also like the short haired, round brush, some call spotted round. I do have a few small flat brushes, with a broad flat edge. I like them, but I don't often use what I have. They can be useful for underpainting or brush lettering.
Multi-use artist brush area
at Hobby Lobby 

When shopping in the watercolor brush area, you'll find sections of brushes by name that are based on their fiber composition and handle design. Manufacturers give them fancy names to attract your attention. There are sable, squirrel, and synthetic blended fibers. The selling price depends on the rarity of the fiber. Premium pointed-round watercolor Kolinsky sable brushes are treasured because they keep a fine point, and are long lasting. I choose the W&N Sceptres as an intermediate option that combines sable hairs with synthetic fibers for less cost. 

Looking at a watercolor section with round short handled brushes you'll see they are stocked by size. The larger the number the bigger the size, the more 0s the smaller the brush is than a size 0. The very tiny may say 20/0 because there isn't enough room to write 20 zeros on the handle. I pick the size I want for the size paint stroke I expect to make. If I'm underpainting I use a 2 or 4. For outlining or highlighting I use 00 or smaller.
No point on this brush tip.

When I find the fiber, size, and cost I want I pick a brush and slightly wet the tip with water from my drinking water bottle I carry. Don't lick it. Some manufacturers coat the tip for shipping with a bad tasting "fishy" oil. After moistening, I point the tip by pulling it between my index, middle finger and thumb. Then I closely check that it comes to a crisp, sharp point, without stray, outlying fibers. If there are I pick a different brush.

I've tried plucking out bristle stragglers of brushes I own. That never works well for me. Most of the stragglers happened when I placed the plastic guard tube over the bristles to transport my brushes somewhere. I like guards, but I must look very close to use them or the thing I'm trying to protect gets damaged.

When you upgrade from brushes like ox-hair, squirrel, or synthetic, student brushes are still useful for loading dip pens, mixing colors, and odd jobs. I save my best brushes --newest, most pricey, or just plain favorite -- for the finest work. 

While a good brush should last you years, to ensure longevity clean them after using them. When I use a watercolor medium I wash them with cool running water and mild soap, gently pressing the bristle hairs in the palm of my hand. After washing, I gently "wring them out" using my fingers and pressing them together around the brush base and moving toward the tip. I let them dry flat.

My home-made brush storage.
In my studio, I store my brushes upright in a home-made tray that separates them from each other. Upright is what's important because their shape keeps them away from their neighbors. My home-made system helps me organize them by size. You can use any container, a mason jar or empty tea bag tin. 

Beware, brushes are like potato chips. It's hard to stop with one.

You May Also Like These Other Blogs' Related Post:
in bed with Mona Lisa/Painting Materials
Picking a Brush--Guest Post on Scribe Scribbling

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Gouache And Watercolor Paint Comparison

Teaching scribes in the Barony of the Lonely Tower I've been asked the difference between watercolor and gouache paints. I thought you would like to know too.

Simply put, watercolor paints are transparent, gouache paints are opaque. That's it in a nutshell. 

Watercolor paints use the white of the "paper" for their white. Lighter gouache paints, even white, may be applied over colored paint under-layers. White gouache may also be added to a hue to make a color tint. Gouache's opaqueness lets me paint in layers from dark to light.

Modernly both products typically have color pigments bound with gum Arabic or similar water-soluble binder. Gum Arabic is a natural, non-toxic, weak binder. Both paint types have a little preservative and plasticizer to extend their shelf life.

While a form of gouache was developed during the middle ages, today's designers' gouache was developed for professional illustrators. 

Student gouaches (and watercolors too) are applied like designer gouache. But student gouache, like Reeves and Artist Loft, has less pigment to binder, more filler, odd color options, and fewer choices. The manufacturers use synthetic hues for traditional single pigment colors like Ultramarine blue. They are economical but less pure or permanent.

There is also acrylic gouache. Like traditional gouache, it dries to a matte finish and is opaque. Its acrylic binder makes it unlike medieval manuscript paint, but resistant to water when dry. It's useful on more surface types, such as wood, fabric, and metal. 

It is possible to use watercolor paint for illumination if you use it with white gouache. The technique is not like watercolor painting. If you already have useful artist quality watercolor paints, buy some white gouache to get started. You may like it.

That's the difference between the various gouache types and watercolor. They each have their use and benefits. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

How To Make Effortless SCA Donations

I'm retired now, but during my work-life there were times my employer matched selected donations I made to charity. Usually, these were medical or disaster relief related charities because I always worked for a dentist. 

One year the whole office was provided hordes of Girl Scout Cookies, even though it was a dental office. Seems the boss meant to bring the staff his daughter's cookie sign up sheet. He forgot. So he faked it. We got free cookies for months.

Did you know there's a no-brainer way to donate to the SCA? It's Amazon Smile. Most of us shop there anyway, so why not take advantage of it.

Hopefully, I won't sound like a salesperson now, but AmazonSmile is a simple, automatic way I support the SCA as I shop online. I get the same low prices and even use my Amazon Visa points charge card. 

Each donation is small because the AmazonSmile Foundation only donates 0.5% of the purchase price. Still, combining the amounts from all SCAdians shopping at Amazon would make a large donation. 

And it doesn't directly come out of my income. I think of it as easy, free money for the SCA.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Kris Kinder Absence--Family First

This is the time of the year I usually go to Calontir's Kris Kinder event. What's not to love? So much holiday spirit and shopping to enjoy.

Nan receiving her degree.
This year I celebrated something more exciting and important. Something in the works for three years. Yesterday, my daughter graduated as a Nurse Anesthetist.

It has been a long haul for Nan and the whole family. She's studied hundreds of hours, written a senior research project, provided hours of free clinical work, traveled to distant clinics...all of this with two grade-school children. I'm over-the-moon proud of her.

The family has provided 20 months of child care, room-and-board, and emotional support. Nurturing and love abounding.

Nan will have a major test to take before she's certified and can be employed as a CRNA. That will happen early next year. Even so, her graduation is a milestone completed. A major accomplishment for the whole family.

Calontir is like family, but it is not as important as the closest person in my life. Kris Kinder will happen next year. I'll find the perfect gift then. This year I celebrated something bigger, something that happens once in a lifetime.

Related Prior Post: 
Shopping and Merriment at Kris Kinder 2015
Why Guard Against Being Overfull?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Dip Pen v Cartridge Pen

I prefer to use a dip pen, but that wasn't always the case. I started learning calligraphy using a cartridge pen. Why did I switch? What is the difference?

I switched from a cartridge pen to a dip pen to create scrolls in a more medieval manner. Quill pens would be even more medieval but not as practical for scroll creation. I'm not able to cut quills to a consistent size nib, so my letter strokes vary in width. I use dip pens as a reasonable compromise when lettering scrolls.
Dip Pen Nib and Handle,
Rotring and Schaeffer Cartridge Pens

How do dip pens and cartridge pens differ? A cartridge pen is a nib connected to a feed that gets ink from a cartridge held together with a barrel. A dip pen is a nib on a handle that takes ink from an outside container. 

Cartridge pens are easier to learn with than dip pens. You don't have to deal with having the proper ink amount on the nib for consistent stroke density. Although changing nibs with a full cartridge may be messy, cartridge pens tend to be less messy than dip pens. There is a limited choice of ink and you must use the ink cartridge that goes with the pen. If I use a cartridge pen I prefer a Rotring 1.1mm, but I have beginners start with a basic Manuscript set.  

Dip pens have a large range of nib sizes and ink options. I've even used very liquid gouache as ink. 

But there's a knack to using a dip pen. Determining how to get the proper ink amount to the nib takes experimenting. Over time, I tried multiple home-made systems to hold the ink for dipping. Some scribes use a brush with ink and stroke it across the nib's back. I prefer dipping in a short depth container similar to a 1-liter pop bottle lid.  

After I have the ink on the nib, I test a stroke on scrap Bristol board to make sure I don't have too much ink. Too much ink makes a blobby letter with no thin lines. I do this each time I dip for ink.

There's a difference in the lines each pen type creates. Pen nibs have tiny tines that spread when making strokes. Nib flexibility affects how the tines spread. Cartridge pen nibs are less flexible than dip pen nibs. (There's also variation within each pen type's nib choices, but that's a separate topic.) 
Cartridge Pen With Cartridge, Feed, and Nib
Note The Nib Slit Forming Two Tines

Nib flex is what makes calligraphy's thick and thin lines. The change between think and thin happens by changing the about of pressure you apply to the tines. On downstrokes, more pressure is applied spreading the tines allowing more ink flow to the paper.

Cartridge pen nibs are generally stiffer than dip pen nibs. I have to exert more pressure with a cartridge pen to create thick lines. I find it tiring after hours of lettering text. However, if you have a heavy hand this may be a plus. 

Broad dip pen nibs are also thinner front to back along the edge than cartridge pen nibs. (You can see this in the top picture.) This affects stroke thinness. I'm able to make thinner up-strokes with most dip pen nibs than cartridge nibs. I say most because nibs vary so much between manufacturers.  

The writing experience is different for cartridge pens and dip nib pens. Cartridge pens are forgiving if you push the nib into the paper. I get an ink splat when I do that with a dip pen. Dip nibs have a "scratchy" feeling and sound because their broad edge is sharper than a cartridge pen nib.

I'm a scroll production SCA Laurel, so I don't have the vast knowledge a modern professional calligrapher has with pens. I learned by research and trial to find what works best for me and the support I'm using.

Cartridge pens and dip pens serve different users for different purposes. They complement each other. They are both prime tools in my scribal toolkit.

Related Prior Post:
My Battle With Calligraphy

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Holiday Scribal Gift Ideas

Are you a scribe wondering what to get that want-to-be scribe in your life for Christmas or 12th Night? How about putting together a scribal gift-pack collection?

When looking at John Neal Bookseller's web page, like a kid dreaming for a Christmas present, I came across this unique item offered by a professional watercolorist. It is a paint dot cardI've made similar cards for scribes wanting to experiment with paints beyond their Reeves gouache set. 

You simply apply large dots of your favorite, most useful artist gouache colors to cold press cardstock. Let them dry. Then label each dot with the brand and color name. 

Along with the dot card, you could include an intermediate quality brush set such as these six Loew Cornell Golden Taklon round brushes from Jo-Ann Fabric. (Under $10)

Add a small smooth Bristol board pad from Dick Blicks art supplies. (Often under $5) Include print-outs on cardstock from my free inspiration images and you have a gift for any aspiring scribe.

If your someone enjoys exploring through books give one from my Cyber-Monday suggestions.
And for the advanced scribe on your shopping list have a look at John Neal's web page specifically for SCA scribes. I was drooling over these for my own wish list.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Why Guard Against Being Overfull?

Thanksgiving retaught me the meaning of "sated". Defined as full beyond belief, or satisfyingly full. I choose to be satisfyingly full.

As a scribe, that means knowing your limits. Knowing when you have enough on your plate to do in a timely manner, whether scroll creation or personal responsibilities, like family and holidays. Lack of energy, anxiety, irritability, lack of enjoyment and more. Knowing the signs you're burning out helps you pace your efforts.

Don't succumb to the siren call from others for help and the desire to do it all. Learn to stop with saying "no" rather than "no problem."

Remember, the SCA and scribes within it are volunteers. Family comes first. 
When you can't complete a scroll in a timely manner, tell your Royal Scribe assigner you hit a snag. Give them time to finish what you began. Guard against becoming full beyond belief.  

Friday, November 25, 2016

New Update for Your Calontir Blog List

Earlier I wrote about Calontir blogs. I have an addition I missed. I don't know how because it's been around since October 2006. It is M. Eleanor Deyeson's Workshop. A well organized, often updated, well researched, SCA relevant blog. Be sure you check it out.

Related Prior Post:
4 Calontir Blogs That Will Inspire You

6 Scribal Books For Your Cyber-Monday Shopping

Hope you had a joyful friends and family filled Thanksgiving. I did.

Now it's on to Black Friday shopping, for me at my local Barnes and Noble

B&N is the only national book retailer in Omaha. Even so, it is limited to trending books. 

I took a look at its scribal related books, hoping for inspiration. Sadly it's lacking. 

There is David Harris' The Calligrapher's Bible, although The Art of Calligraphy would be more appropriate for a novice. And any SCA scribe must have a copy of Marc Drogin's Medieval Calligraphy: It's History and Technique. Sadly missing on this shelf.

There's little here for illuminators, unless you count watercolor, illustration or drawing techniques. Nothing on history, gouache application, or medieval manuscript terminology.

Therefore, I give you a Cyber-Monday shopping guide for the novice SCA scribal person on your gift-giving list.

Related Prior Posts:

Sunday, November 20, 2016

An Amusing Iren-Hirth Scroll For Duke Sir Anton Rhaghelan

I've been posting information relating to the making of a scroll I can now show. How to Google For Illuminated Manuscript Inspirations, My Battle With Calligraphy, and 5 Tips To Train Your Artist Eye all sprang from my efforts to create this scroll.

The scroll is an Iren-Hirth for the Duke Sir Anton Rhaghelan. That alone is special because the Iren-Hirth is a mid-level combat award being given to a knight and former Calontir Monarch.

Sir Anton came to Calontir from another kingdom prior to becoming our beloved King. He didn't come up through the Calontir fighting orders. Receiving this honor, the Iren-Hirth, officially makes him a Calontir Huscarl. A treasured membership in Calontir.

The current Monarchs are Norse, so blending their personas with Duke Sir Anton's 14th century persona was a trick. The inspiration itself, the Icelandic Flatey Book, a challenge for its unrefined quality.

My creative attempt adapted the Flatey Book's colors, double columns, a split enlarged decorative versal, other colorful versals with filligree, vines, and selected relevant images for a bas-de-page. The sun, falcon, and water are references to the oath TRM Logan and Ylva swear to peers during their reign. Of course I added the order's heraldic arms and included Sir Anton's in the bas-de-page. 

I hope the scroll looks like a refined Flatey Book page to you.

Related Prior Posts:
6 Scroll Design Tips
The Making Of An SCA Scroll, Part 1.
The Making Of An SCA Scroll, Part 2.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

5 Tips To Train Your Artist Eye

People don’t see detail like a camera, and yet as a scribe detail is penultimate. We anticipate what we think we should see therefore we miss things. Our logical brain gets in our own way.
My first SCA art teacher, M. Gillian of Dragonsley, showed me a way around this, at least for my then novice brain. To draw an image from a picture, she had me turn my source image upside down. It worked.
This trick stopped my brain from identifying objects and helped me see scenes as collections of lines, shadows, and shapes. My drawing improved dramatically. Without this trick, I was only drawing image icons, not the item itself. 
Since then I've discovered other tricks to help improve my drawing. These include
  1. not naming the item I'm drawing  
  2. closing one eye
  3. squinting
  4. drawing the negative space
  5. turning my source picture upside down 

How you see the detail in an image you want to recreate is important. With practice, you will learn to see more and more detail. 
When painting a recent scroll I snapped some pictures that included missing lines. See if you can find them. It's a game called "What's missing?" like we did as a kid.
You can find more information on The American Psychological Association's web article How Artist's See.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

How To Google For Illuminated Manuscript Inspirations

Calontir's current Monarchs, Logan and Ylva, are Norse-Viking and the scroll they want me to do is for a person with a 14th century Western European SCA persona. How do I blend those two?

I started by asking Google.

Trolling for manuscript images with Google is helpful if you know the way it searches. Its search results are based, in part, on a priority rank called a "PageRank"a way Google measures a web page's importance. 

The first image(s), if any, are from the entered search term(s). After the most likely items, the search engine hunts for individual terms in your request. (This applies to text as well as images. Right now I'm looking for images.)

For example, entering "14th century Norse illuminated manuscript" Google first provides images and the first two are Viking style boats in 14th-century manuscripts. Spot on for my search terms. 

The next image Google provides is an English 14th-century illuminated manuscript. A ball-park result, 14th-century.

But there's a problem here. If the person asking for the search doesn't know or doesn't follow through with calling up the original image, it's possible to misinterpret the results. A Viking boat image in a 14th-century manuscript fits, but a pretty, English manuscript that doesn't have Edda prose or similar is unsuitable.

The next image takes you to a list of 14th-century illuminated manuscripts at Wikipedia. Interesting to know what other manuscripts of the time look like, but less specific than my request.

The last images are an Armenian illuminated manuscript, showing Google was only searching "illuminated manuscript" at that point. The last is a blog post of new images at the British Library. Very remotely related to the full requested search.

When I googled 14th century Norse, I was surprised to find an image from an illuminated manuscript. I clicked on the image to enlarge it. Besides more images, that page described the picture as "King Harald in the 14th century Icelandic Flateyjarbok manuscript." 

I'd never seen or heard of this manuscript before. So I googled the Flateyjarbok. Besides Wikipedia's information, the search included other pictures from the manuscript, plus some from other manuscripts, as I expected.

 From the 14th century Icelandic manuscript Flateyjarbók
now in the care of the Árni Magnússon Institute in Iceland.

My next step was to click on each image provided from the Flateyjarbok search. That click brought up the initial image searched and ways to access it. The image only or the web page that holds it. Since I was still looking for information on the manuscript I chose "visit page."   

"Visit page" takes you to the source that holds the image. It can be risky or educational. It might be in a foreign language. It might not relate to your topic at all.

When I click "View image" the indicated picture opens on my screen, without possible accompanying text. Useful for reports and possibly this blog.

From these searches I now have information and inspiration for my assigned scroll. I saved the results and printed the best examples. Now to use them to design my assigned scroll.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


"Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote." 
William E. Simon

Vote in person today, if you haven't voted already.
You can't call it in, text it in, or email it. You must go in person today.

 Margaret V. Lally at the door of a voting booth during the first election where women could vote, New York City. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2016) Forms part of: George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress).

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Beginning Illumination, Book Review

Queen's Prize in Calontir, September 2016

Checking out the calligraphy and illumination entries at Calontir's recent Queen's Prize Tournament I saw a copy of Claire Travers' book Beginning Illumination. I was intrigued, so I ordered it.

While only 80 9"x11" pages, it is worth the reasonable $19.97 hardcover cost. 

Travers first introduces the reader to the materials and basic techniques. Then using photos she guides you, novice or skilled, through her five illumination steps. Using medieval materials she shows you how to execute a floral decoration, medieval human faces, flourishes, and critters. Her book also includes the advanced techniques of preparing parchment and gilding. 

The book includes a short illumination masterpiece survey with photos. A small taste only, to whet your appetite for the feast that truly abounds.

Traves includes ideas to use these skills on current certificates, gifts and family trees. Many adapt to SCA scrolls.

You can view her lovely, detailed work at Claire Travers.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Battling Calligraphy

Scroll production is a battle with calligraphy for me. I receive the task, research and plan the script and motifs I want to use. When I begin the lettering, the first and largest permanent motif, I'm tense.

The page is blank and the more expensive the support--Bristol board, pergamenata, or calfskin vellum--the tenser I am. There is a deadline to meet, and the more costly the support the less I want to remove mishaps or restart. 

I plan a mock up with letter and spacing. I outline motifs. I practice the script I intend to use. I'm ready to beginI. 

More often than I realized I restart on another page. I know because I am recycling the pergamenata I didn't use, scraping off the errors and using the reverse. I should have enough for 7 more scrolls...if I don't restart them. 

I know how to do scripts and how to develop a hand from a period source. But when I letter a scroll I feel the stakes are high, sometimes causing shaky hands and mislettered text.  Corrections work, but they take time and I notice where they were.

I use tricks I've found to get through the lettering. I refrain from caffeine before working. I play quiet background music for a subtle distraction. I use a pre-ruled plastic grid or computer mockup under the pergamenata to reduce errors and save time. I take breaks, but do the lettering within one day.  

Thankfully, with practice, I feel the battle receding. I'm enjoying the calligraphy creation, the flowing thick and thin lines even with small letters. The point of making a scroll is to do something I enjoy, that has a purpose and pass it on to someone else. It's a blessing I now feel also with calligraphy. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

How Can You Boost Your Scribal Confidence?

Confidence comes from physical activity. Just doing that thing you are interested in on a regular basis boosts faith in yourself. For me, it unleashed my calligraphy and illumination reliance.  

I started with little skill, as you see here. What I had was a desire to learn. To make mistakes. 

Mistakes are guideposts for a new direction, not failures. They are signs to make a change. To practice. 

I made bookmarks to practice. I made them for 12th Night gifts for friends and more. I offer you their designs here, to be the next bookmark queen before you design your own.

It is possible to learn skills from books or the internet. But, they do not provide a physical coach as a guide. You open yourself to more mistakes and must be your own critic. It is a learning process that is your own making. 

Practice builds skill but it also creates confidence. We learn not only what to practice, but why, and how. A class helps more immediately. It leads you through the motions, guides you through handling the materials and tools. You develop muscle memory through your hands and eyes along with your brain. ou In a class you do all the steps with immediate access someone who helps you discover your next safe step. 

Every teacher is a student, too. You take the risk you will have the answers your students need. I learned as much from teaching calligraphy and illumination as I did the scrolls I fashioned.

Taking risks allows us to learn. Be patient with yourself if the outcome isn't the success you hoped. It is a chance to wake-up the talents within you.

Related Prior Post:
Calligraphy Mistakes, Making and Managing Them

Friday, October 28, 2016

Surprise...I've Returned

After my life's recent craziness I took a little break. I drove to the far south side of Kansas City, MO, to visit my long time friends, again. 

I arrived in time for a BBQ party and a chance to see their extended family. (No pictures, sorry.)


Sunday we went sailing on Perry Lake, with their son Joe's family. This was a fresh pleasure and a new experience. I've never been sailing and I've missed boating since the cruiser was sold. 

The gleaming fall weather was perfect. I relished the gentle, steady breeze on my face. The temperature just right. (But too cold for swimming.) 

Joe's whole family was all over their boat. The girls fished off the front while their Mom fixed treats in the galley. No TV here. (But satellite access for safety meant the Chief's game was monitored.)

On the way back to the marina, Joe even rescued a stranded boater. His engine wouldn't restart. Boaters help boaters, because you never know when that might be you. I've been part of this many times before, but never from a sailboat.

Back at the marina, you can see Joe's boat docked until the next sail. Not many weekends remaining this season, I'm pleased I shared one with them all.

On the way home we stopped for dinner at Ted's Cafe Escondido in Lee's Summit, MO.

I love Mexican food and my friends know it. They know how to show guests a fun time. (Love you too.)


Monday we went to Westport, Kansas City, MO. It's now an entertainment district. 

My Mother's family lived and worked here, when they were young. I wanted to find the site of the old Blake Sheet Metal Shop. (I'd written about it in this earlier post.) My daughter had tried to find it on her recent trip. It's now the Westport Saloon, with entertainment nightly.

Next we walked the district, deciding to snack at McCoy's Public House. Its sunny deck was so inviting, providing a warm-hearted atmosphere for talking.

Next we drove to the Plaza to walk and browse its many shops. We finished with a Starbucks Latte while enjoying the sparkling outdoors.

We didn't just eat, shop, and talk this visit. There was the party and my last evening they BBQ'd chicken. 

Of course, I also played with their darling dog, Padre.