A 3-Day Adventure With Friends!

 

A Fun Visit With Friends in North Carolina!

by Rachelle Siegrist

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A scenic overlook

We began our 3-day adventure early this past Tuesday, while heading over to Brevard, NC with friends Fred and Barb.  It was one of those beautiful storybook days weather-wise, as we made our way along the winding road leading through the Great Smoky Mountains, while enjoying numerous gorgeous vistas along the drive.  After leaving the park, we headed up along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and soon found the perfect picnic spot.

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Picnicking atop the world . . . Fred, Barb and me

Perched atop the edge of the tallest mountain around, we felt as if we were on top of the world while we ate!  It was only 60 degrees in the sun, and the breeze blowing made if feel even colder.  Needless to say, I was most delighted I had brought along my black hooded sweater!  We were serenaded by the melodious song of a Winter Wren as we ate, while watching hawks flying over.  The next highlight of the drive was located at the end of a short walk from the road, known as the Twin Falls.

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The Twin Falls

Two beautiful waterfalls, the French Broad Falls to the left and Shoal Creek Falls nearest the old building.  We spent a short time enjoying the view of sound of the picturesque falls while taking photographs for future miniature paintings!

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Wes and me in front of the French Broad Falls

Soon afterwards, we arrived at our dear friend Don’s lovely home in Brevard, NC, where we were met by a big smile and hugs!  The group enjoyed relaxing while catching up on the latest happenings, before heading out for supper that evening.  Of course the most thrilling part of the evening was riding in Don’s brand new Tesla, and getting to watch it drive itself!  It was quite freaky watching the car turn on it’s headlights and interior lights, fold it’s side mirrors in and starting backing up on its own.  With the wheel turning, and no one in the drivers seat, it appeared as if the invisible man was stealing the car before our very eyes! The other great thing about the Tesla is that it goes from 0-60 mph in mere seconds, while pressing you against the seat, making it feel impossible to  move temporarily!  I personally found it most thrilling, asking Don to “Please do it again!” and was most impressed it’s actually run by bunch of rechargeable AA batteries!

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Tesla’s big navigation and control panel 

Each morning at Don’s started while enjoying Wes’ delicious pancakes and Don’s yummy coffee in what Don calls the tree house, a glass back porch surrounded by lush trees and native shrubs.

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Wes, Fred, Barb and Don enjoying pancakes

I always love walking the nearby trail, which follows alongside a stream, showcasing several nice cascades and waterfalls along the way. You enter the trail while walking through a tunnel of thick Rhododendrons, giving the illusion that you are indeed entering an enchanted forest!

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One of the loveliest sights along the trail, is this waterfall, and although not really big, it’s so beautiful and most peaceful to watch and listen to for awhile.

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There are several other beautiful tranquil spots along the narrow winding trail leading through the dense forest, and I found several brightly colored fungi while strolling along, finding this large yellow one especially lovely!

Upon my return, we spent most of the day walking around downtown Brevard, visiting a few of the interesting shops located there, and enjoying lunch at Big Mike’s Pizza. Of course no visit to the downtown area is complete without browsing the Ace Hardware store, housed in one of the historical buildings, with old wood floors that creak as you walk the long narrow isles, lined with stuff from floor to ceiling!  That evening was our big night out, while celebrating Don’s birthday, and we did so while enjoying a delicious dinner at Square Root!

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Wes, me, Fred, Barb and Don at Square Root

The next morning it was time to say our goodbyes to Don, and start the journey home.  We decided to make the most of another gloriously beautiful day, while driving through Pisgah National Forest, stopping along the way, to see Looking Glass Falls.  I was thrilled to be there at just the perfect moment, when the sun peaked over the rock cliff behind the falls, it’s rays streaming down, illuminating sections of the area below!  “Sweet” I thought to myself as I snapped photos, knowing it was the beginnings of yet another wonderful miniature painting!

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Looking Glass Falls

~ Recently Off the Easels ~

An American hero was Wes’ recent miniature portrait commission. A P-47 pilot from WWII. Wes said it was really tough figuring out what was what in the B/W reference and capturing a likeness in the tiny face from the low res photo, but that it’s always fun to do something totally different!  Meanwhile I’m painting an adorable dog in miniature, which I’ll be excited to share with you next post, upon finishing it this coming week.

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“Lt. Tom Cole” by Wes

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~ To Commission A Painting by Us Click Here!

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle

AH . . . Can’t You Just Feel It!

rachelle siegrist at the beach

Have you ever seen the movie “Ground Hog Day”? Well, it’s about a man who wakes up, and every day is the same thing over and over and over again! Well, this past week has been kind of like that here in the Smokies, especially weather-wise! Every day has been . . . cold and windy . . . cold and windy . . . cold and windy! Moreover, last week I was sick, and now this week Wes is sick, making it somehow seem even colder. Needless to say, during these long, cold winter days, my mind tends to travel to a place where it’s . . . well . . . nice and warm!

That place is the beach where I spent a lot of time, while growing up in Florida! All I have to do is close my eyes and imagine that I’ve just stepped off of the long boardwalk leading down to the sandy beach below, and the anticipation starts growing immensely! Then, as I reach the end and take my first step into the warm, white sand, I suddenly realize that my feet are surrounded by warmth, and oh, it simply feels divine! I can hear the crashing of the waves nearby and the cries of the Seagulls flying overhead. Within minutes my blanket is spread out and I’m lying there, without a care in the world, while the warmth of the sun makes my skin feel ever so alive! Every square inch feels so amazingly warm, and without the aid of a myriad of sweaters, gloves and hats mind you! The steady crashing of the surf, with the carefree calls of the gulls joining in, quickly mesmerizes me! I just enjoy lying there, while feeling the warm, balmy breeze that occasionally passes over me, gently caressing my hair, and tossing it about. Once I’ve sufficiently warmed up and thawed out, it’s time to head for the water. So with boogie board in hand, I start towards the water’s edge while admiring the beauty of the intense sunlight glistening off of the turquoise surface of the water and upon stepping into it, am delighted to feel that it is nice and warm! Within seconds, I am down in it, and blissfully free as I float about and begin to swim out a short distance. Suddenly a great magical wave appears and I jump on my board just at the right time, and am carried swiftly along like a bird flying through the sky! Then all of a sudden, just as I’m just about to reach the hot sandy beach after a thrilling ride, I have a cold chill, and am suddenly jerked back into reality, realizing that alas I am not at the beach, but back in winter, at least for now.

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Mmmmm . . . my Italian Angel Cream Cake!

One thing that can be done to warm up the house in these cold winter months, is to bake something. So I did just that, and made what I call an “Italian Angel Cream cake”. I made an angel food cake, adding some vanilla and coconut flakes to it, and the topped it off with homemade frosting, that being the traditional sinfully, decadent Italian cream cake frosting! And it was absolutely delicious, minus a few calories and grams of fat, which makes it even more appealing I must say!

~Fresh off the easel ~

I finished my miniature Florida landscape painting, and Wes finished his miniature painting this past week of a Ruby-throat Hummingbird drinking from our Trumpet Vine.  You can see several photos of my painting in progress on our Facebook page.

Florida landscape painting
“Evening Fisherman” by Rachelle
Ruby-throated Hummingbird painting miniature
“Trumpet Treat” by Wes

~ Currently on the easel ~

I’m painting two more cow portraits for my “Beautiful Bovine” series. The beauties are two Highland Cows, which we photographed while visiting the lovely Wooloroc Museum in Oklahoma.  Wes has been framing paintings for our upcoming show in Charleston, SC.

We have several special opportunities this week for you to see our paintings and tell your friends about. More information and additional shows are on the website!

BACTRACOLOGY: Amphibians In Art at the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science & Art, Midland, MI
Show runs January 18 – April 13
Wes and Rachelle Siegrist miniature paintings in the Batrachology show

Come see the artwork in person at our exhibitions!

Cherish your loved one or a beloved pet in miniature!

Don’t miss out on our news! “Sign Up” to receive an email each time I update the blog!

Until next time ~ Rachelle

Getting Ready For A Wonderful Christmas!

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My adorable little niece Haydyn, truly is an angel!

Busy . . . busy . . . busy . . . that’s what we’ve been much of this past week! We’ve been getting ready for my family, all eight of them, to arrive to spend Christmas week here in the Smokies with us! They should be getting here late tonight, so we’re getting the last few things on the “to do” list done! It’s going to be a splendid and very Merry Christmas with my family all around us and my little nephew, Tyler, and niece, Haydyn, here! It will be fun to see Christmas through the eyes of a child once again! In addition to getting ready for their impending visit, we spent quite a bit of time painting this past week as well. I have also been making numerous trips out daily to feed my feathered and furry friends. My little friend Stubbs, the Tufted Titmouse, has come several times, which makes me a happy camper. He’s very happy and content to sit in his bowl of finely crunched p-nuts and sunflower chips and gulp it down, and I’m perfectly content and happy to watch him!

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My homemade stuffed acorn squash I made one evening . . . YUM!

We’ve enjoyed some fun times with friends and neighbors this past week too! Our neighborhood had a Christmas dinner party at a lovely restaurant in nearby Alcoa one evening. I took my camera with good intentions of getting a nice photo of the group, but alas we were having so much fun listening to our friends Gary and Pam, that I lost track of time and completely forgot to have a photo taken. Oh well, nonetheless, we were obviously having a ball, as they are great storytellers and very funny! Another evening, our friend Kit joined us, and we spent the evening at friends Fred and Barb’s house, where we were also joined by friends Pat and Frank. As we nibbled on some delicious snacks, we watched the Christmas movie “Elf”, and did more laughing than anything! A homemade orange-spiced brownie topped off with a bit of Extreme Moose Tracks ice cream put a divine ending to the evening! Fred and Barb graciously sent home more mealworms for my little wren buddy, Peedeepeeps, and Frank and Pat sent home “pizza bones” . . . pizza crusts . . . to be made into future peanut butter treats for the birds and squirrels.  Many apologies for not having many photos to share with you this week, but you can be sure that next week’s blog will certainly be an exciting one, with numerous photos and entertaining stories to share!

Fresh off the easel ~ Wes finished his miniature painting of a White Rhino and I completed a cute little bunny. Both of these will be among our new paintings for the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE) this coming February in Charleston, SC.

african white rhino painting
“An African Treasure” by Wes

bunny painting
“As Cute As Can Be” by Rachelle

Come see the artwork in person at our exhibitions!

Cherish your loved one or a beloved pet in miniature!

Don’t miss out on our news! “Sign Up” to receive an email each time I update the blog!

Until next time ~ Rachelle