Sunday, October 1, 2017

Zentangle, Mixed Media and Apple Picking in New England

I just got home from spending a glorious 2 weeks in New England.

  My husband and I moved to Bolton, Massachusetts in 2001. Neither of us had ever lived in a cold climate like that, what a change from Southern California!  After 14 years of shoveling snow my husband finally cried "uncle" and we moved to the warmer weather of South Carolina 2 years ago.

We made friends in Mass. that are more like family than anything.  One young couple has been like our own kids for many years and their daughter calls us Nene and Papa.  At nine Lanie is still trying to figure out who we are.  (lol)  They needed a babysitter for 2 weeks so off we went.  September is my favorite month in N.E., no complaints here.

The two weeks were filled with playing mommy, fixing school lunches, bus drop off and pick ups, laundry, cooking, blah blah blah.  I did manage to visit tons of old friends, go to see the Phantom of the Opera at the Boston Opera House, teach two Zentangle classes and also teach a little Mixed Media in my spare time.  Oh, and apple picking!  Apple picking just means pie baking to me, with the freshest, most delicious apples in the world.  Last year I kept moaning about the apples here not tasting as good so a friend in Mass. went out, picked apples, filled a box and shipped them to me.  You would've thought someone gave me a box of diamonds!  I made 5 pies and froze most of them for later.  That should give you an indication of the nature of the folks there, they are as sweet as their apples.

I wanted to give you a little background story before sharing these photos.  The awesomeness of Zentangle, my Mixed Media portrait technique conquered by another 12 year old newbie, and the beautiful countryside of Massachusetts showcasing the apples from my old stomping grounds.

Drawing faces with a Jane Davenport stencil and Distress Crayons

With this technique I can teach anyone to draw a face they're delighted with

Taking an hour walk through the countryside, the leaves haven't changed yet

My favorite place to pick apples

When you buy your bag you get a map of the orchard telling you which apples are which, go to the flag to pick designated trees marked with ribbons

This is a nice one!

These were delicious too

A close up showing the beauty of apples!

This bag doesn't look like much but it is a 1/2 bushel bag (translation 20 or more pounds of apples) that I paid $35.00 for and then filled with a variety of apples.  My friend, Lisa, and I spent about 2 hours picking apples in 90 degree weather.  It was unusually warm in Mass. for September.  I was expecting cooler temps. It took both of us to carry the bag back to the car.  No matter, I went back to the house and baked a couple of beautiful pies.  I shipped the rest of the apples home to myself, let's hope they are not applesauce by the time they arrive.

I did manage to teach two Zentangle sessions.  One was at a Montessori type school with children ranging in ages from 5 to 15.  I didn't expect much interest but ended up with 15 students.  The teacher said in 5 years he'd never heard a silence like that
 for such a long period of time.  The second class was a mommy and me type class, here's a sample of that group's work.  I believe the 4 year old's tile is the one in the center.  Not bad for a bunch of newbies!  This was the first time for most of them to do Zentangle.  It's hard to believe that everyone is doing the same pattern at the same time and yet the results are so different.

It was a delightful visit for all of us.  I think Lanie was happy to have just mommy and daddy with her after those strict "pretend" grandparents finally left.  I must admit I forgot how hard it is to raise children.  The tight scheduling, baths, hair washing, homework, etc. keeps one so busy there is barely time for much else.  I'm happy to be home and back in my studio.  Just hoping those apples get here intact tomorrow.  

Thanks for stopping by!

(I mean

P.S.  Just a side note, I have an apple pie recipe on the blog a few years back if you need a recipe for pie dough and apple filling, you might want to try it, it is easy and good.


  1. So glad you made it back for a bit. It's been a lovely fall here. I bet you're fun to hang and create with.

    1. Everyone made me feel like a rock star! I'm a little kid wearing an old lady disguise. :-)

  2. Your time away sounds fantastic, and that orchard looks like heaven on earth to me!

  3. What a great post and story Renee, I'm glad you made it back for a bit and had a wonderful time there. Wow, the apples!!! And wow the face by your like "grand-daughter!":-) Fabulous works by everyone. Would love having a class with you!!!!!!
    You made my day and give me a good breath to read you before a crazy day planned for me, thank you dear Renee!
    Hugs Corinne

  4. What fun for you and everyone around you! Loved reading about you working vacation. I don't want to make a pie but I sure don't mind eating one. Great comment about being a little kid wearing an old lady disguise. Me too! LOL

  5. WE LOVED having you here! Can you move back??????

  6. we LOVED having you here! Can yo move back????

  7. Renee!!
    What a- god bless you both! phew! fun blog post! I could just read the excitement as I read it!
    And apple picking in 90 degree heat????Bless your hearts!! LOL
    Hope the apples made it safely!
    huge hugs,Jackie xx

  8. Indeed, a very lovely time to revisit New England! We enjoyed it here in the campground with new neighbors who just happen to be my son and his family and my daughter and her family! We now have a compound in tuxbury pond! One day, maybe I can take a Zentangle class from you. I am still way too intimidated to take it from anyone else! Love your faces and Zentangles here, my friend!

    1. I'd love to teach you the basics of Zentangle! Enjoy your time with your family.