Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Update: tournaments, trees down, and spring fever win out over screen time.

Well, here we are- another week gone by with no blogging. I have to say, I don't even have any excuses this time. So what did I do last week? Piano Girl had her first piano competition, the Simon Fiset, last weekend. She didn't place, but enjoyed the experience, and learned a great deal. She is working up a description of her experience to post. I also was very sick last Friday- I won't go into details, but it was thyroid-related. I did a tiny bit of gardening, and some garden planning. I chopped and stacked wood till the cows came home, and supported the Dude while he chopped down the birch tree and our oldest plum tree. I have been cleaning the house, and doing more decluttering, slowly. We got some schooling in last week, too, but not as much as I would have liked. I have even been sleeping. That's been nice.

My break from the internet (I am really fighting an addiction, here folks. Sigh.) made for boring blogging, but it was nice to be a part of the world and get away from the screen to breathe fresh air, and engage in hard labor, and wear freshly-laundered pants and sweaters.

Our up and coming rest of the week: The kids don't get to go to Youth Group tonight, as the Boy has a band concert. Piano lessons all day Thursday, and then I have a Mom's Night Out Thursday night. Looking forward to that. The Boy has his National Qualifiers on Sat. It looks like I will end up driving, and being there all day, even though the Boy's events aren't until the afternoon. I seem to have become a speech-team-mom-lady. I do love the Coach, and this fine bunch of kids. ( I am finding that winter is extremely busy to keep up with all the kids events in the winter. Speech and piano competitions both happen during Feb and March.) My birthday is Sunday. Not sure what plans are for that day. I think it might rain. We shall see. A visit to Gramma at the very least.

I haven't been doing any art- I go and sit down there, but nothing is happening right now. I feel a bit pressured to create, and feel the "blockage" of all the creative ideas floating in my head, but not coming out of my hands. There are so many areas of my life I am trying to pull together right now, all the juggling of dirty floors, and dirty clothes, dirty dishes, food to cook, gardens to plan, kids to teach, etc. It is so easy for me to jump into the "I'm overwhelmed" story, and to just get locked up. Winter is not a great time of year for me.

I have been experiencing a bit of Spring Fever lately. The kids played outside a great deal last week- I felt bad that we weren't schooling, but they had such a great time running, playing, using their imagination- up in the treehouse, out in the back yard........ You know- these are teens I am talking about, still actively playing. How cool is that? Gotta make time for that.

I do have some photos to post, but gotta get going right now. Kids are still sleeping, sigh. They'd sleep till noon if'n I didn't wake them.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tidbit: Aarrgghh! Can't find it!

Don'tcha just hate it when you can't find something?!?!?! The Boy is home, safely tucked into his bed, and all is well, but I am wide awake, obsessing because I have misplaced something. This adorable ATC, to be exact. My invisible friend Tami gave it to me, and it is very special to me. It is the very first ATC I ever received (I have a grand total of 3 now), and I love Tami's orchard characters very much. I think I might be Lemondrop's biggest fan, to be honest. I have recommended her blog before.

Tami and I are doing a monthly ATC swap this year, so I was getting together the cards I have received from her so far, so I could show them to you in an upcoming post, and I. can't. find. this. one. anywhere. Sigh. I have tidied the studio, and looked just about everywhere down here. And I am obsessing and can't sleep. Phooey!

I did find a few things I had been missing, and I came across a bunch of art materials that I haven't used/tried/played with yet, so all is not totally lost, but I do find myself in quite a dither over this tiny, flat, sweet little card. Well, I will try to look again tomorrow. I know it is here somewhere, but an ATC is only 2.5 X 3.5, so it could be anywhere. I will post the other ATC from Tami, as well as the one I am working on for our first swap soon.

Guess I will head up to kiss the kids on their (hopefully) sleeping heads, and crawl into bed. After all, it will be time to get up in only about 5 hours.

(Edited later Tuesday morning to add the song that kept going around in my head while I wasn't sleeping.)

Oh where, Oh where has my Lemondrop gone?
Oh Where, Oh where can she be?
I have looked high and low
In my wee studio,
Oh where, Oh where can she be?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tidbit: Update from Stanford

I just talked to the Boy's S & D Coach, and she said he made it to the semi-finals, which means he was in the top 14, but he didn't make it to the finals. I cannot begin to tell you how proud we are of him- he had some really tough competition, and did really well. From what I hear, he was competing against college-aged "experts. I wasn't able to talk to the Boy himself, as Coach said his stomach wasn't feeling well, and he had gone straight to bed. I am sure he will call us tomorrow after he has had some rest. I wish Coach well, as she will have 6 kids to keep busy tomorrow until they fly home.
LB, aka Proud Mama

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Birthday Wishes!

Happy Birthday to the best Godmother my kids could ever have, and a dear friend to the Dude and I.

You give them such unconditional love and are their biggest fan. You teach them manners, and listen intently when they talk to you.

You also do an amazing job of picking out the best clothing gifts for them of anyone we have ever known. Yours are always instant wardrobe favorites.

You have been an amazing friend and support to me as I have navigated the joys and trials of parenthood.

You are one of the most loving, patient, and forgiving persons I have ever had the fortune to know.

You can find something wonderful to say about any human being you meet.

You have an infectious laugh, and a beautiful smile.

You are a joy to cook for, and your cooking always has the special ingredient of love added. I know- I can taste it!

You live your spirituality, and are such an amazing example for me- reminding me of the good that is available to me if I only choose it.

You are the most regular commenter of all my blog readers.

I am blessed daily by your friendship.

May your birthday be as special and wonderful as you are.

Happy Birthday, Auntie P!

With much love from the clan.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Tidbit: Getting my baby ready for a plane ride

I really hate it when my kids fly, or go on trips without me. I get all locked up, and cannot seem to accomplish anything except sit on the couch and surf the internet. But not today. There is too much to do. We are washing clothes, having teachers sign permission slips so the Boy can miss school on Monday, getting cash for spending money, ironing dress shirts, shining shoes, tying ties loosely enough that they can be slipped over a head, packing bow ties and undershirts and black socks, etc. All to get the Fine Young Man ready to go to the airport at 7 p.m. tonight to leave for his trip to Stanford, for the special competition this weekend.

There are 6 kids from the Boy's S & D team going, as well as many kids from other local high schools. They will be competing against college kids, so it will be tough competition, and a great learning opportunity. And I am not nervous about my not-yet 16 yr old being on his own with a bunch of other high schoolers at all. Nuh uh. Not me. Not a bit. Nope. Sigh. Yes I am. But I will hide it. I need to let go, and trust that he has really heard all the lectures and safety lessons, and that he is the amazing Young Man I have raised him to be. His planes will travel safely, and his Coach will take good care of him. He will learn lots that will help him to win at State Championships in a few weeks. All will be well.

Off to check the dryer, and to teach the Boy how to iron his shirts.

Update: It is midnight, I was just starting to really freak out, and was just typing how he hadn't called me yet, when the Boy called me. He is at the hotel. They have a meeting at 8:30 tomorrow a.m., and his first round is at 10:30. I told him to go right to sleep! And that is what I shall do now that I know he is safely ensconced in the hotel. Whew.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Tidbits: art is energizing, Valentines finished

Well, I said I was all tuckered out, but it was too early to sleep, and I didn't want to watch a movie (too soon after a migraine-type headache for that), so I begged the Girl to come down to the studio with me. I had to ask her repeatedly, as she was feeling tired too (Piano Lesson Days can be long and taxing for her, but today was shortened due to illness in TBPTOTP's family.), but once we both got down there, we just had a really fun time together. We listened to music, and got a fire roaring, and played. It was very energizing and enjoyable to spend that time together. We are both glad I forced us to come down!

The Girly tried out the new waterbrush we recently purchased, and played with the new colors of Twinkling H2O's. She added to my palette (so I don't buy duplicate colors) and then painted two pictures, exploring how the waterbrush works, and what you can do with different brushstrokes, and wet watercolor paper versus dry. I could probably count it as homeschooling! Here she is, completely absorbed in her work/play. (Click to enlarge as usual.)
I got the Valentines all cut out, and even wrote on some of them. Here is a photo of the card pyramid I made so you could see them all. I figured, as there is only a week till Valentine's Day, I would just send them all out, not putting any in the soon-to-be etsy shop. The bottom three are 5 X 7, and the top six are 4 x 6- postcard size. I also have enough scraps left over to make 2 ATC's and a few bookmarks. I am very, very pleased with how these came out. They are very classic and romantic. I would like to make some that had more of a modern feel, with paint, stamps, etc. but that isn't a priority at the moment.
Okay, the Dude should be home in about an hour, so I will crank the tunes, stock the stove, and work on more of the little rough paintings (like this one, but even better) till he gets home. Or maybe I will be done for tonight and crawl into bed with a book. We shall see.
T.T.F. N.

Tidbit: Toddler quote

Cute toddler quote of the day: While playing with his mama's vintage Fisher-Price camera (kinda like this one, only older and cuter), Abe says, "I take-a smile, Abe?" Very cute. I will miss this third-person toddler talk.

And the fact that TBPTOTP (The Best Piano Teacher On The Planet) is the only other person I know of besides myself who saved her vintage (funny- they are only as old as we are- does that make *us* vintage, too?) Fisher-Price toys for her kids is another reason I love her so.

I cannot believe how much this little guy has grown in just a week! I swear he is 3 inches taller than he was last Thursday.

That is all I have right now. I am plum tuckered out.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Unfinished business

Before I get to the unfinished business, here is a picture of the Fine Young Man for Dy (one of his biggest fans!), at last week's tournament. Isn't he dapper? All the other boys wore black suits until FYM appeared on the scene in this snazzy number. Now we have one guy in a light blue suit, and another whose suit is black, but has snazzy red stripes. I like to think my youngin' started the trend when he insisted on picking this fine dandy at Value Village, almost a year ago, when it was way too big on him. He really has grown so much in the last year! Here is my current work-in-progress. (Click to enlarge) This is the Valentine collage. It is a 14" X 22.5" piece of Arches watercolor paper that I received for free in an art supply order. It has about 3 layers of paper- beginning with some patterned papers from Paper Zone, and then a layer of images cut out from the cards that a friend of mine gives me. She is a gift rep, and gets tons of samples which she usually recycles, unless I relieve her of said cards. We have a deal- I can have them if I don't just use them plain- I need to make art out of them. Twist my arm!! Third layer is some vintage and reproduction scrap, and a few more card images. I used Yes! paste to glue the images, and it is all covered with 2 coats of gloss gel medium.

So now, I just have to cut it into post cards. I will do some 4 X 6, and send them as postcards, and the others I think I will cut to 5 X 7 and use with envelopes, and just write on the back. I may sell these and make some more- I would like to do another collage that had stamps and paints on it as the fourth layer. I meant to add those to this, and forgot until I was on my second coat of gel medium. Still looks good, so no worries. I feel like I should sell these and not use them myself. Trying to get some stuff together to put in the etsy shop.
Okay, these next two photos are for my gorgeous, highly inteligent, soap-making friend Amy. She happens to love to quilt and hate piecing, and I happen to love the top-making, but not the quilting. It is a beautiful relationship. Here is a top I will be sending her this weekend. It was one of the first tops I ever made. I made this one in a 24 hour period about 8 to 9 years ago, and it could be a small lap quilt, wall hanging, or a crib quilt. I named it "Hands-on Habitat". This one is not basted yet, just the top.
This one was supposed to be the first birthday gift for a little boy who will be turning 7 or 8 in April, sigh. It is much smaller, less than a yard square. This one is basted, and you can see the background fabric on the right, there. It is un-named, and is quite bright.
When you click to enlarge these, don't mind the wrinkles- I just pulled them out of a drawer to photograph them. And please remember, these are two of my very first quilts! Exact color matching was soooo important to me back then. I am really much more "free", for lack of a better word, with my colors these days. And I rarely make any quilts with actual blocks.

Ok, so. An amazing Young Man, a work in progress, and two unfinished, and hopefully soon to be finished (Thanks to Amy) projects.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Tidbits: Acrylic recommendations, car-naming, and hot water

First, Melissa mentioned that her daughter is teaching herself painting with acrylics. I promised her a couple of book recommendations.

The first book I will recommend is Acrylic Revolution (AR) by Nancy Reyner.

The second book is a DK book titled Acrylic Workshop. (AW)

These are both technique books, both of them useful. They both go over basic techniques, covering everything from simple differences in brush strokes, to using gels and mediums to add texture and depth to your painting. One of the best and most simple things I got from AR is that it covers the set-up of your painting area, so that you learn how to effectively use your paint, and make as little mess as possible. If forced to choose between the two, I would probably choose AR, but I do get a lot of information from AW, so would highly recommend both of them.

As for the car naming, I haven't got very far. Sometimes it takes a little while to get to know the car first.

And we have a functioning water heater! The water isn't nearly as hot as it was on our dying heater, but that's ok. It took the Dude and the Girl until midnight to get it installed, and apparently everything that could have gone wrong did, but they were triumphant, and we now have hot water again. Bless them. I did, as I had just my nose sticking out from a nice bath yesterday morning.

I am coping with a migraine that started yesterday, but am trying my best to ignore it. The house is really in disarray- laundry and dishes from Monday night, sigh. The Boy had his last state-qualifying tournament yesterday. I drove and took kids with me, and chaperoned at the tourney. He and several of his teammates did qualify for state, and are all very excited. The Boy leaves for Stanford on Friday night, for a college-level tournament he will be competing in. I am curious how that will go. He is growing up so fast, sigh.

Okay, back to the house. I do have a lot of work to do. I also want to finish my Valentines. I cot the collage finished and put several coats of gel medium over it yesterday, so today it is ready for a photograph and to be cut into smaller cards.

Have a great one, and I hope to post some photos soon. But first on to the dishes. Or maybe a nap on the couch. No. Dishes. Nap. Dishes. Maybe both.

Tidbits: Slumber parties are fun, dead water heaters are not.

The sleepover went well. We only had 4 girls instead of five, and it was a good number. They ate pizza, watched Ratatoulle, and engaged in lots of girl talk. These are the Girl's closest friends, and they are all very wonderful kids. I really enjoyed having them. Some of them clean up after themselves better than others, but that is to be expected. It was really fun to listen in on their conversations when they thought I wasn't listening, and they proved to me that tween-aged girls can eat just as much as tween-aged boys! We went through a lot of food! The other thing is, I sometimes hear how different and weird it is to have a gaggle of boys, but I have to say, it was just as weird to have a group of girls around. I think we need to do sleepovers more often. (Did I just say that??)

The art part went ok, and the girls enjoyed it, but it didn't go the way I wanted it to. I had to fetch the Dude from the airport while they were in the middle of art (I should have had them just play while I was gone.), so the specific collage project I had in mind kind of turned into them just exploring and having fun, which was super, don't get me wrong, it just wasn't collaged Valentines, which is what I wanted. I learned several things from this besides being there- namely having a sample of each stage of the project, so that your pupils can see exactly what you are talking about. Another thing is to allow some time for free exploration of materials, but not so long that they get bored and just want to be done with it.

I got a lot of work done on my Valentines collage yesterday, and hope to get a bit more added to it today, but I do have to be in the kitchen baking, and we have plans this evening, so I am not sure how much I will get done.

I think the hot water heater is dying, too. I have no hot water. Why is it that things like this don't die in a timely fashion? I just forked out a wad of money for my new car, and not even sure how much a water heater costs. Sigh.

I do love my new car. It's a 99 Mazda Protege', and it is so nice to not have to plan ahead before I get into the car. No more 5 am trips to the airport, no more waiting till the Dude gets home to go to the store, and the Boy doesn't have to take the Metro bus any more, which means he regains about 2 hours of study time daily. Yay! Now to come up with a name for the new car.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Sleepover Preparations

The big party/sleepover is today. I got to bed before midnight last night, which is early when my Dude is away at night, and woke up about 10 minutes before he called me this morning. We had a nice, quick chat, and then I got dressed super quick, and snuck out to the grocery store and back before the kids were even up. I got lots of party food, that was all on sale- hot dogs, burgers, and pizzas- even the dairy-free pizza was on sale. Gotta love that.

The only things I didn't buy were fruits and veggies, as I usually get them at the fruit stand, but it was closed, and their new location isn't open yet. So when I pop out to take the Boy to the high school, I will have to stop somewhere and pay full price (sigh) for some fruit and veggies. The Girls will need them to balance out all the sweets and meats this weekend.

Now the Girl will tidy the house a bit, while I head down to the studio to start pulling out everything Valentine's day related. I did this will all the Christmas stuff, and put it all in one big basket, and it really helps to be able to just pull one box out, rather than to have to make a huge heap of piles by pulling out this paper, and that stamp, and that roll of pink hearts wrapping paper, etc. We will make Valentine's as our main craft today, with lots of stamping and painting.

After I drop the Boy off, I will be surrounded by 5 lovely young ladies ready to make art, bake a cake, eat, and maybe watch a movie, before they all take over my living room. I may let the Boy go across the street and play video games with our neighbors- three men, aged 10, 35, and 70. All that testosterone will help keep him sane. It will be fun to watch him, though- he has a bit of a crush on one of the girls, and they are all very nice kids.

Okay, gotta get going- I will take photos (better make sure my camera is charged!).
Have a great day!