Category Archives: Travel

Creative Juice #149

Standard
Creative Juice #149

Read these wonderful articles, and spend the rest of the weekend creating stuff.

The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix, Arizona

Standard
The Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix enjoys a Sister City relationship with Himeji, Japan. In 1987, the mayor of Himeji proposed building a classic Japanese garden in Phoenix to celebrate its friendship.

The garden is an oasis of serenity and beauty in the midst of the desert metropolis. Despite its location near a busy interstate freeway, bustle and stress are banned from the garden. Their photography policy forbids professional photo shoots during regular visiting hours. Casual photography is permitted, with the condition that it does not detract from the enjoyment of other patrons.

I did take a lot of pictures when my daughter Katie and I visited there last Friday evening, but I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible.

DSC03463

This building houses the rest rooms–the prettiest rest rooms I’ve ever seen.

fullsizeoutput_d41

My daughter Katie

DSC03466

The Garden is also home to ducks.

The structures in the park bring to mind Japan’s rich history and culture. I especially admire the way the trees and bushes are pruned, like bonsai. They remind me of the artwork on Japanese scrolls. (Click on the smaller pictures to enlarge.)

And the pond! So carefully landscaped with plants and boulders and waterfalls!

DSC03475

DSC03478

DSC03481

DSC03483

fullsizeoutput_d48

Japanese Friendship Garden; Phoenix Arizona

DSC03501

DSC03502

DSC03503

DSC03504

But the stars of the pond are the koi who thrive there. Some are more than 18 inches long.

DSC03506

Below is the Tea House. Traditional tea ceremonies are offered monthly.

DSC03485

This sculpture represents the Shachi, a mythical creature with the face of a dragon and the body of a fish:

fullsizeoutput_d4c

I have no idea what these plants are, but I found them lovely and interesting:

DSC03493

fullsizeoutput_d4e

fullsizeoutput_d50

Close up of previous plant

The Japanese Friendship Garden is closed during the months of August and September, so I was glad we got to see it last weekend. It will be an especially lovely and tranquil spot to bring visitors from out of town.

fullsizeoutput_d54

Pagoda

Creative Juice #148

Standard
Creative Juice #148

“Beauty is truth; truth beauty.” ~John Keats

  1. It’s hard to love all your colors the same. Favorites emerge. What’s yours?
  2. How a massive sculpture for Burning Man was created.
  3. Award-winning bird photographs.
  4. And even more Audubon photographs.
  5. One watercolorist’s journey.
  6. A visit to the New York Botanical Garden.
  7. For the quilters: a Flying Geese shortcut.
  8. The amazing world of orchids.
  9. Lovely sketches of Phoenix attractions.
  10. Eye-catching suncatchers.
  11. This offer is so good it makes me want to move to an isolated Greek island.
  12. Merging drawing and photography.

Creative Juice #145

Standard
Creative Juice #145

Lots of artsy stuff this week:

 

Creative Juice #144

Standard

Creativity + skill = masterpiece!

Creative Juice #143

Standard
Creative Juice #143

Gorgeous ideas to jump-start your imagination.

Hiking in Usery Park

Standard
Hiking in Usery Park

A week and a half ago, my daughter Katie invited me to hiking with her in Usery Mountain Regional Park, part of the Maricopa County Park system. I’d never been there before, but I knew it was a favorite spot of a friend of mine, so I was happy to accept.

I’ve enjoyed my hikes in South Mountain Park, which I think is gorgeous, but Usery Park is much more beautiful, greener.

DSC03433

As we entered the park, we asked the attendant at the guard house where to find an easy trail for beginners (for me; I’ve only been hiking once since my emergency gall bladder surgery in April, and I wanted level ground). She recommended the Merkle Trail, which circles around a small mountain. We started on that, and immediately came to the Vista Trail, which went up the mountain, followed the ridge, and went down the other side. We decided to try it. The photo above was taken at the top. You can see the Merkle trail on the lower level.

The trail was rough and rocky in spots, but not too steep. There was one short stretch that was strenuous enough to get my heart pounding, but it was doable for an old lady like me. I brought my Sony Cyber-shot instead of my “good” camera, but it did a reasonable job of capturing the beautiful terrain.

Lots of cactus (click on the smaller photos to enlarge):

DSC03449

And we met a little friend. Katie thinks it’s a chuckwalla. I tried to walk around him and take a better picture, but he took off.

DSC03428

Here and there were some big outcroppings of rock.

fullsizeoutput_d03

Painted on the mountains in the distance is an arrow pointing the way to Phoenix. You can see it from the air on the way to Sky Harbor International Airport.

When we came down the mountain, we followed the Merkle Trail back to where we started.

fullsizeoutput_cff

I can’t wait to go back again.