Tag Archives: McKinney

Tuesday:) A Talented Creative Community

13 Mar

“Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.”

~Leo Burnett

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McKinney Creative Community meets the second Monday of the month at The Cove in downtown McKinney for a pot-luck gathering. It’s a wonderful group of like-minded, talented and appropriately named creative people. We are artists, writers, photographers, dancers, musicians, and the list goes on. We get together for camaraderie, sharing our “New and good news,” meeting new people, and chatting with old friends. Then, we always have an inspirational guest speaker.

Yesterday, our guest speaker was Carolyn Selby, owner and baker/designer of Cookies In Bloom. Carolyn talked about leaving the chaotic corporate world to follow her passion, starting her own business and being her own boss.

When asked what keeps her going and motivated, she explained how delighted she is when people rave about the special personalized gifts they give or receive. Making people happy and loving what you do is motivation enough.

The cookies are delicious and beautiful. We all found out first hand when we were treated to some yummy samples, and saw a few tasty examples.

If you’re feeling creative, they also sell kits to make or share your own yummy creations. You can special order, pick up and/or ship your delicious edible gifts at their location. They are also a full service U.S. Post Office, at 2001 Central Circle, #107, McKinney.

Stop by or check out the website.

http://www.cookiesinbloom.com/M/index.aspx

We have such a great time at our McKinney Creative Community meetings. We have great food, talented guest speakers and members, and most of all, we share our love of community.

Wednesday:) Where Angels Wing

20 Feb

“We all have a Guardian Angel who is loving, kind and caring, who’ll be there when we need someone to share the load we’re bearing.”

― Anonymous

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The gloomy grey skies from yesterday burst into glorious sunshine today. You know why? This morning was the ribbon cutting ceremony for the brand new Catholic Church in McKinney. The Angels would not allow a gloomy rainy day. Parishioners, staff, friends, family, neighbors and local dignitaries gathered on this beautiful Wednesday morning for the ribbon cutting ceremony at St. Gabriel the Archangel. Dedications and Masses will begin this weekend.

A beautiful new church for a beautiful caring community.

Angels guide and guard the way.

Stunning stained glass windows surround the sanctuary to brighten even the gloomiest day. But today, the sun illuminated the interior.

May your Guardian Angels guide and protect you always. I know mine do. I have a few, but my angel mother is and has always been my champion.

Saturday:) Some Seriously Amazing Artwork By Brad Donaldson

10 Feb

“A really great talent finds its happiness in execution.”

~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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This evening, I had the opportunity to see the wonderful artwork created by my friend, Brad Donaldson, at his artist reception at The Martin Place in McKinney. Brad is a self-taught, curious, experimental, and talented artist who works mostly with resin art , but has also recently expanded his creative horizons with whimsical sculptures.

This evening was a very cold and rainy night, so the reception was not that well attended. But, the good news is, it looks like there will be another chance to meet and talk with the artist at an additional reception February 23rd. Brad is always happy to discuss his techniques, inspirations, and insights. That’s what I love about my artist friends. They are always happy to share, and even offer to teach you their methods. Brad has mentored and shared his techniques with many artists,

Another cool thing about Brad’s work is that he also researched, investigated, and taught himself how to build his own huge canvases, molds, table bases, etc. So, his amazing original work is pretty much all a personal labor of love from start to finish.

This black pecan wood and resin table below is my personal favorite. Just stunning.

Now, for the whimsical side …

If you’d like to check out this really cool artwork this month, feel free to stop by or call The Martin Place.

Saturday:) Some Seriously Special Friends

3 Feb

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”

~Oprah Winfrey

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The first Friday of the month, I visit my dear friends over at Towne Creek Senior Apartments. We paint, draw, eat, laugh, tell stories, sing songs and share fun times together. I had prepared a wonderful feast for our dinner break of pasta salad, hot dogs, brownies, chips, Dr. Pepper and brownies. I packed up two big bins of food and art supplies. We were going to work on painting more bowls for the upcoming Empty Bowls Fundraiser.

I arrived at 2:30 and unpacked all the supplies. I put the food in the fridge and set up the tables, lining up the bowls to be painted. Guess what? I forgot the glass paint at home. How do you paint without the right paint? Duh! The good news is that I did bring a container of brushes and permanent markers. The markers will adhere and stay on the ceramic bowls. Not paint, but almost as good. I also brought some blank notecards, and we painted and stenciled some cards.

Here’s what I created real quick in between setting up, helping out, demonstrating, and cooking.

We finished up our bowls and cards then sat down for our Friday feast.

Feeling blessed with so many special friends.

Also, when I made brownies for “my ladies,” as I like to call them, I made an extra batch for “my firemen” friends over at Fire Station 9.

It was funny. While we sat around talking and eating, I was telling my ladies all about the country dances at the senior center. They meet every Monday at 1pm, but they have an evening dance the first Friday of the month with a live band. I was thinking about going, but I didn’t feel like going alone. Miss Dorothy said that she’d be happy to go with me. So, after we cleaned up and packed up, Dorothy and I went to the dance at 7. It was fun. There were about 125 people there, and I even bumped into a few friends…literally. That line dancing can be dangerous, especially when you don’t know what you’re doing, like me.

I have been blessed with so many really special friends,

Wednesday:) What’s Happening in McKinney?

24 Jan

“Caring can be learned by all human beings, can be worked into the design of every life, meeting an individual need as well as a pervasive need of society.”

~Mary Catherine Bateson

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Last evening, a wonderful group of talented artists met at The HUB, at First United Methodist Church of McKinney. Our objective was to create beautiful underglaze paintings on the already fired bisque-ware bowls thrown and fired by local potters for the upcoming Empty Bowls Event in May.

For those of you not familiar with the Empty Bowls charity event, local potters, artists, painters, students, instructors, and other creative souls decorate, paint, glaze or create unique bowls to be auctioned or chosen with an entry fee ticket. The concept is, these lovingly created bowls will remind us of all the many Empty Bowls of the less fortunate and hungry people in our own community.

When you purchase a ticket, (I believe they are $25) it entitles you to chose one of the hundreds of bowls on display. Then, there are fine artisan bowls in the silent auction, and extra bowls that can be purchased. Also, local restaurants, bakeries, and eateries provide samples of their soups and desserts while you browse and visit with friends and neighbors. You get a beautiful bowl, a wonderful meal, and the knowledge that you helped to feed some hungry folks. A win-win.

Last year, over $75,000 was raised to help provide meals for families in Collin County.

Here are just a few bowls that I chose over the years at Empty Bowls. I’ve gone every year since it started. Some were made by middle and high school students, and others by local artists.

When I walked into the HUB last night, it was like The Who’s Who of the McKinney art world. Of course, most of them are already dear friends from the Art Club, or long-time artist friends.

Everyone was hard at work, creating a masterpiece that will grace the auction tables in May.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to paint when I arrived, so I went to my signature bluebonnets and roses. Keep in mind, these under glazes will be brighter and shiny once they are fired in the kiln. Another huge task that the volunteers undertake.

Our good friends Steve and Minda Macias, Jamie St.Clair, Jennifer Burke, Wayne Batchelder and others, organized and set up this 2-D artist event, and have been busy all year organizing other creative events for Empty Bowls.

You can Google or check out Facebook Empty Bowls McKinney for more info.

Minda commented on Facebook that I was an over achiever because I finished two bowls while others were still struggling to finish their first one. I laughed because I can do these with my eyes closed…and I have demonstrated that on occasion.

I still haven’t painted my artist donation bowl yet, but I’ll keep you posted when I do. It’s all for a great charity and for a great community. We have the greatest, kindest, most generous and talented people you’ll ever come across in your lifetime. I LOVE MCKINNEY!!!

Tuesday:) Toni Talks About McKinney

16 Jan

Small towns make up for their lack of people by having everyone be more interesting.     

Doris “Granny D” Haddock

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McKinney feels like a small town even though it is growing by leaps and bounds. But, it still has that small town atmosphere. There are no strangers, just people you haven’t met yet. Hang out on the Square a while, and you’ll make new friends.

Monday afternoons, I go to the Senior Center for the country line dance. Growing up and spending nearly 50 years in the Chicago area, I know nothing about country music or dancing. Hey, you’re never too old to learn. Right? I’m learning. I’m having fun. Then, I stayed after for the group line dance instruction class.

No, I don’t wear boots and a cowboy hat, but it’s never too late.

After the dance and the instruction class, it was almost time to go to McKinney Creative Community over at the Cove. I was already on the east side, so I just hung around until 5:30.

This group of talented local artists, writers, musicians, and creative people meet the second Monday of every month for a pot-luck gathering, to share, care, and stare at one another. We usually have a wonderful guess speaker. This month, Rachel Reitan, provided a very interesting presentation on portrait art and the motivational and inspirational process of an artist. Fascinating!

It is so interesting to learn about other artists and their creative process. Rachel spends hours with her clients before and during their portrait painting session, learning about their life so she can express that feeling into the portrait. If you want a photo, take a photo. Don’t expect a portrait to look like a photo. If you want the heart and soul of a person reflected in a painted portrait, call Rachel Reitan. If you live somewhere far from McKinney, find a local artist to paint your special portrait.

I love living in my little town.

Monday Memories:) Tommy’s Back In Town

27 Nov

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”

― Lucy Maud Montgomery

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Normally I have a montage Monday post, but today, when I was looking at my Facebook page, my friend Sherri posted a picture of a street musician sitting on a bench on the Square. I was so excited! It was my old friend Tommy.

I met Tommy a few years back while I was strolling the Square. He was playing his guitar on a bench outside of Snug, so I sat next to him and chatted when he took a break. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years, and I started to worry that Tommy might have gone to the big music hall in the sky. He was a wandering minstrel that never put down roots or had a permanent job, just wandered around the country. I was so pleased to see that he was alive and well and back in McKinney. (Photo: Sherri Murphy)

Yay! Tommy’s back in town.

Here’s the story and poem I wrote a few years back when I first met Tommy.

Thought I’d share this story with all of you. )

TOMMY AND MABLE

Tommy sat on the cold metal bench outside a little coffee shop in downtown McKinney. His raspy muffled voice crooned a soft country song, while aged yet agile fingers strummed across the well worn strings of a blue acoustic guitar. Salt and pepper hair brushed across a ruddy bearded face as a crisp north wind kicked up. Tommy reached over to secure the two wrinkled dollar bills flapping inside the open guitar case. He carefully tucked the ends of the bills under the small stack of prized CDs bearing his image and that of Mable, his faithful companion of thirty-seven years.

Johnny Cash’s, “Ring of Fire,” soulfully echoed across the Square, and Tommy’s foot tapped along with each rhythmic beat. I dragged a wooden chair across the brick sidewalk, and then parked myself a couple feet away from the real-life Texas troubadour. I enjoyed each rendition of old familiar tunes, as well as the original compositions inspired by nearly forty years of life on the road.

“Tommy, would you mind telling me a little bit about yourself, ” I asked when he took his first cigarette break. “Where are you from?”

“I was born in McKinney, Texas. Haven’t been back here in over thirty years.” His tone and demeanor became a bit more serious when he described his early childhood.

“Yep, I was born right here in McKinney. My folks got killed when I was thirteen. They wanted to put me in foster care, so I took off and rode the rails. Never looked back. Been traveling ’round the country ever since.”

His eyes brightened and a little crooked smile appeared when he started talking about Mable. “We’ve been together for thirty-seven years now. I was rummaging around in a dumpster looking for cans one day, when I ran across this old black guitar with a broken neck. She was in bad shape, but I fixed her up with some glue and tightened up her strings.”

The adventures were mixed with making new friends and happy times, sprinkled with the hard hungry days.

“We’ve walked across all these forty-eight states, just playing music for folks and living off what they put in my guitar case.”

Tommy went on to describe the nomadic life of a traveling troubadour. “I’ve never run into anyone else who does this. It’s an honest livin’. I don’t beg. I just play my music and if folks like what they hear, they drop a dollar or two in my case. Sometimes I’d ride the rails from one town to the next or just walk ’till I couldn’t walk no more.”

I listened as he carefully crushed the tiny cigarette butt beneath his worn out walking shoe and tossed it in the trash can beside the bench. “I don’t stay in one town for more than a few days. Never had a wife or kids. Wouldn’t be right, with me movin’ round so much. Wouldn’t change a thing if I could.”

When I asked about Mable, he said she was named after his beloved grandmother. The old black acoustic guitar with hundreds of scrawled signatures from front to back, now sat in the window of Snug on the Square, just a few feet away. I asked if I could take a picture of him and Mable, so he walked over and took her out of the window. I could see the jagged repair on her neck and her strings were missing.

“Mable’s retired. When you retire a guitar, you take off the strings. Need ’em for the next one.” Then he pointed out the spot where Elvis had scribbled his name one rainy night in ’69 in Mobile, Alabama. But, he was just as proud of the signatures from a group of women that signed her after a Susan B. Koman walk a few years back.

“ I decided that it all began here, so it should end here. I’m leaving Mable with Sandra and these nice folks. I know they’ll take good care of her.”

Tommy mentioned that when he came back to McKinney after being gone for so long, he strolled along the unfamiliar streets and asked around at a few shops and restaurants downtown to see if he could set up somewhere and play his guitar. Sandra Nichols, owner of Snug on the Square, was the only one who welcomed him and treated him with respect. “That’s when I knew my Mable would have a good home and a good family right here. They’re going to keep her right there in the window.”

I was intrigued by the story of Tommy and old Mable, especially the long and loving relationship the two shared. So, of course, I was curious about the new acoustic.

“Tommy, what’s the name of your new guitar? I was sure it would be another interesting story.

He turned his whiskered face and answered, “Haven’t named her yet. She’s gotta earn it.”

After taking a few pictures and recording a couple segments of Tommy serenading and smiling at passers-by, I said farewell to the wandering minstrel from McKinney. I shook his talented weathered hand and dropped all the cash I had in the old black guitar case. Who knows when Tommy will be passing this way again?

Tommy and Mable

With silver hair and a crooked smile

Strumming tunes that make you want to sit awhile

As you tap your toes and start to sing along

He shares each word, and has lived each song

His guitar is closer than any family

And the road, the only home he’ll ever see

But he and Mable have a need to play

Her frame is worn and her strings won’t stay

They’ve seen the whole country from east to west

And the town they’re in, is the one that’s best

Mable’s been signed by many a star

Even Elvis scrawled his name on that old guitar

But the real country singer never settles down

‘Cause there’s another ballad and another town.

Toni Andrukaitis