Sunday, December 31, 2006

Huh??


This is a label from the back of my new candle holder plate. In case you can't read it, it says "Always place away from flammable materials"....like say, candles?

OK, I get being cautious, but is this intentionally schizophrenic, or just plain dense? Or is it a bad attempt at irony? Or is it an "Engrish" thing? You tell me.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Another Paige in my book of blessings



My niece, Paige, who is Studying at the Alberta College of Art and Design has always given me amazing gifts. They are always wonderous, original, and highly coveted. This year she is in studying pottery and glass blowing..Hooray for me!! She gave me three fabulous pieces of glass ware...a smallish vase (shown with marbles in it), a beautiful paper weight that looks like ink swirling through water, and an aqua blue/white swirly clear glass water picture (too big for the light box...I'll try to get a decent photo later). I am estatic! Thank you Paige!!

More Talent



Josh made me a beautiful little book for Christmas. It has polymer clay covers, embossed and with my initials, and a bead charm dangly. It was just the perfect size for some of my Christmas stamps. I aged the pages a little, and added two soldered charms I made. It is so precious!

Little House on my prairie.



Oooohh...I LOVE this little house Dawn made me for Christmas!! It has buttons AND birds, two of my favorite things. Thank you Dawn! I will keep it up all year. Isn't it dear??

The pen is prettier than the sword...
















I have been soldering a lot...I made Christmas gifts, and a charm bracelet for myself from the fantastic directions on the "Simply Charming" blog. Ruth Rae shared such precise how-to's that I was able to put one together in an hour or so! Don't you LOVE talented, generous and gifted people? Thank you Ruth! (who has no idea who I am)

I also made a pen from the directions in Sally Jean's new book, which is so full of inspiration it makes my head spin!

Phapboy built a light box for small object photo-shoots and did some wonderful pictures for me. I think he did a marvelous job!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Ghost of Christmas Past


We went to see A Christmas Carol at the Citadel last night. The boys and I had a wonderful time...too bad Dad had to work.

That Scrooge had it pretty good, what with getting a chance to make things right and all. The scenes with the Spirit of Christmas past made me think of the Christmases that I had as a child. One word...CHAOS! Crazy, crazy, chaos. Picture six kids, and often various cousins, in pajamas, ripping and tearing and shouting and laughing and generally going berserk all at the same time. My Lord, if my boys acted like that I'd go back to bed and pull the covers over my ears!
But it was always a fantastic day, no squabbles or cats on fire or crazy aunts,...well, maybe one or two...but all in all we spent the day enjoying our blessings. That's me on the right...wondering what on earth I'm supposed to do with an ironing board and iron??? (still wondering)


You know, I don't think I'd change a thing!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Christmas Calm


It really feels like Christmas this year. We haven't had a White Christmas for SO long! I've been making gifts, and decorating. Josh has been lighting candles every evening and *GASP* the coffee table (formerly known as the big mess in front of the sofa) has been clean for TWO WEEKS!! And no, Vanessa, I didn't say it took two weeks to clean it (haha very funny)...its actually taken what...two YEARS to get it to stay clean for more than a day! Here is a photo...though it's more a candle scape.

Silent Night....

Birthday Party


Dec 6th is Mr Wonderful's birthday. We had a nice night away, just the two of us, and then a dinner with the kids the next night. Good food, wonderful company, and lots of laughs, mostly at poor Liam's expense. But he's just too darn CUTE, and when we put him in the little Speedo that once upon a time belonged to his Daddy, well, we just couldn't stop laughing. He was a good sport and he loves to make us happy, and of course I took pictures...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More than one poet in this family!!

I always get a chuckle when I read Laid-Off Dad and his recent post about the revival of the humble Haiku led me back to junior high (aaaaaiiiiii!!!) and inspired me to try this subtle art form once again. So little says so much....

Haikus are so hip
Iambic Pentameter's
A thing of the past.

COPYRIGHT PROTECTED BY ARLENE P TRAVNIK

What a team!!


Then I thought, why not pair the understated art of Haiku with the diminutive art of the ATC, or Artist Trading Card? Voila! A match made in Heaven!

Yes, Haiku and ATC's do in fact go together like piss n' vinegar, and once I started I couldn't stop!

The cold weather inspired me...

Some Haikus are moody and sad...as are some ATC's




Actually, I think the cold weather may have addled my brain...but my creativity was off like a runaway snowball....rolling down hill... on a crowded playground!

Oh oh!


It turns out that Haikus and snowmen go together like piss n' vinegar...or would that be like twig and berries?

Hope you're lucky enough to be snowed in like me. Have fun!!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Why DO we want to be parents?

I was asked that question recently on a home education site I frequent. Here is my answer, though I didn't mention the obvious reason...we parent in order to become Grandparents of course!

Hi Emma,

You asked some thought provoking questions.

>>>This idea also brings to my mind the questions of why do I want to be a
parent? If it is to magnify my own glory, then raising a "difficult" child
would certainly burst that bubble. >>>

I think all children are "difficult". It might help to remember that raising a child, like getting or facilitating a
good education, is a very difficult thing to do, even in the best of
circumstances. It's not easy to be a parent, there are always issues and
difficulties, at every stage of development.
Why do it? Because we are made ( I believe) in God's image, and God is
love, so we have this huge capacity to love beyond any difficulty. We are
created to love. That is what any child needs, and the joy of sharing love
surpasses ANYTHING that happens along the way. We will deal with the
difficulties through loving. I don't believe any parent could imagine or
understand the depth of love that we are capable of until we hold a small
hand, and realize the sincerity of trust that a little person places in us.
I believe it causes us to rise to the occasion and emulate our heavenly
Father. It's just natural! The fact that a child is difficult does not
diminish that love.

arlene

Monday, October 16, 2006

Because I know you are going to ask...

The black and white photos are done by the very talented Kristi Larson of Blue Frame Photographics. Are they not beautiful?

My little boy's little boy




Here are two little boys, both so dear to my heart.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Busy Learning

I have been enjoying learning alongside my boys. I have been so busy with that, that I haven't had much time for blogging! But I could combine the two! I could blog about our adventures in learning!
Here is my check list for the next few days ...

___ I made each of my kids laugh today.

___ I found a way to get one of my kids to say “That was so much fun!”

___ We read aloud and I heard the words I read, and noticed one great simile and one great word pair.

___ We followed one rabbit trail today (someone brought up a subject that made me stop what I was doing to go do a google search, to look for a movie or book on the topic, to talk about it and follow it up with a plan of some kind).

___ I hugged each of my kids.

___ I listened to one child tell me a long story about something important to him.

___ I learned how to do something today that one of my kids taught me.

___ I read a blog or book or magazine about relaxed schooling.

___ I didn’t do one thing that I hate to do.

___ I didn’t make my kids do _________ today.

___ I did one thing that made me supremely happy today.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

More Books



Here are a couple more books I've created. They were gifts for two of my friends. One has her initials on the cover. The other has a little bit of art pertaining to "Tea" on every page. She is going to have different friends work in the book, with a Tea theme.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

On the Beach


We're here on the beautiful Oregon coast today. We're off to go tidal pooling. I hope we figured these tidal charts out. It seems there's two high tides and one low tide per day. Must go find some treasures at a place called "Road's End". A girl in a little book store here in Lincoln City gave me the scoop for the best place to play. I'll be back to browse in her shop at high tide!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Friday, September 01, 2006

Another masterpiece!


My friend Cindy is an amazing artist! She masters each new medium she sets her hand to. Have a look at this acrylic. I love the intensity and warmth of the colors. I look forward to our monthly PHAP meetings so I can see what treasures she has wrought. Here is her site.

Book with hand sewn binding

Pass it on!






















A couple short weeks ago Josh was wanting to take a course to learn how to do book binding. Today he tutored his friend in the art of making a hand-sewn book. And what a good team they made! I'd say he is as gifted a mentor as he is a student.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Liam update.


Awwwwww. Isn't he the sweetest? I held him yesterday at church. He finds me very comfy, and slept the entire time. Such a good boy...and smart! I bet HE could win at poker!

Rockin' in the Real World

So, I love CBC radio. No pulp, no pop, no ads hurting my psyche. It's usually on in the van, in the kitchen, in my studio.
On Saturday I heard this local guy, and I just had to contact him. He was gracious enough to send me a transcript and give me permission to post it here. He also sent me the mp3 version. If you contact him, at jonathan.gonyou@spaconline.com he'll probably send you the link too. Give it a listen. Tell him I said hi.

Here is the whole thing. Authored by Jonathan Gonyou, assistant pastor of "worship arts and maturity" at Stony Plain Alliance. Great stuff!

THE LEAST LIKELY GOSPEL SONGS

Some of you out there in radio-land may not even know that there'’s a whole sub-genre of music out there called "“Christian Contemporary"”. You'’ve got your Newsboys and your Michael W. Smiths and your Jars of Clay. And it'’s all come a long way baby. In fact I'’d put up the likes of unknown quote "Christian bands"” like the Violet Burning against Radiohead and the "“Lost Dogs"” against "“Wilco" any day of the week.

There is a lot of people who classify or maybe qualify music of "faith" by it"’s "“JPM"’s or“ "Jesus's’ per minute"”. I wish I were making that up.

But if you'’re like me and believe all truth to be God'’s truth, than maybe a gospel song isn'’t just about being on a Christian record label or getting Christian radio airplay.

There'’s the usual suspects of course. Johnny Cash has been singing and writing gospel songs his whole career and his last recording "“The Man Comes around"” is straight out of the last book of the Bible, Revelations. U2 have worn their faith on their sleeve and have written more overt "“Christian"” songs than your typical southern gospel quartet. Check out their song "“grace"” or their perennial concert closer "“40"”, verbatim from Psalm 40. Bob Dylan wrote 2 landmark Gospel albums with classics like "“Saved", "“Gotta serve somebody", ” and "“Lord protect my child"”. Willie Nelson, the Byrds, Moby, Kanye West, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Switchfoot, Sixpence to name a few have written profound songs of faith and devotion (a little DePeche mode reference there for you synthpop geeks).

But some of my favourite quote "“gospel"” songs come from the least likely of sources.

Prince, of all people took a break from writing soft core porn to music to pen one of the most compelling songs about that day 2000 years ago, that changed the world. "“The Cross"” is only 2 chords but persuasive and touching.

Indie poster boy Sufjan Steven'’s song "“The transfiguration" ” from the album "“Seven Swans"” is a riveting account of Jesus last few days on earth.

And is there a better song ever written than Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen? A word that transcends language and culture. The most succinct word of adoration to God. Jeff Buckley'’s version is, in my humble opinion, the best.

How about Lauren Hill'’s "“into Zion"”. A Biblical allusion and ode to the miracle of life of her newborn son.

And the Violent Femmes, ya, I said it: the Violent Femmes have more JPM'’s than, well, than you'’d ever expect from a band with the name "“Violent Femmes"”. Check out "“Jesus walkin'’ on the water"” or "Faith"” or "“Rejoice and be happy"” almost a transcript from the sermon on the mount.

And finally, the Velvet Underground, known more for writing gender-bending- drug-binging stories of New York'’s underbelly and yet when Lou Reed sings "“Jesus, help me find my proper place, help me in my weakness, ‘cause I'’ve fallen out of grace."” Well, it cries of a man, of all of us, in need of redemption. And I don'’t know about you, but I'’m one Pastor in need of redemption.

Gonyou out.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sunday Thoughts

I thought the topic of blasphemy doesn't get discussed often enough. What is it? Am I guilty? I think this article is really interesting. Tell me what you think.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Career Move???


So, just in case the Toy Inventor thing doesn't work out, a Certain Generous Person we know is thinking ahead.
Because we're home-ed'ers, a lot of our friends and relatives like to buy us educational type toys for holidays, or even for no reason whatsoever. This item certainly falls into the latter category. Also into the "what-the-%@*#" category.
This is an actual transcript of the phone conversation with this *C.G.P.* calling from the mega-store:

Her: In an excited whisper in her thick eastern European accent, because someone might be listening in on her call from the courtesy phone and might be planning on busting her for what? Conspiracy to shop?:

"I find a beeuuuteefull game for boys. For only TEN dollars. I buy?"
Me: "What kind of game, they have a lot."
Her: "A beeuuuteefull game for poker".
Me: "Yah, we're not big on poker, so probably you don't want to buy it. But thank you! It is sweet of you to think of them."
Her: Oh, no! It's so cheap! They can learn?"
Me: "Well, no, thank you, but we just don't really feel that poker is a really important goal right now. You know, they're more into things like reading, and basketball, and doing art and things like that. But thank you!"
Her: But poker is very fun! People win BIG money on poker! They could learn and win BIG money on poker!"
Me: "Ya, so that probably won't happen though will it? Most people actually LOOSE money on poker."
Her: "No, no no! These boys very smart! They can win BIG money on poker! I buy!!"
Me: "Of course you will. Thank you so much."

We'd better watch Chevy Chase's "Vegas Vacation" again. Can you say "Griswold"?

Kids Invent



Over the last week the boys attended a camp to learn to invent toys.
This is a natural habit at our house, because that's mostly what they do. Really, the only toys we spend money on are ones of V.H.I.R. ... that is they have a Very High Imagination Requirement...Lego, blocks, any kind of art or craft supplies. (really, how could I refuse a child asking to explore a new medium?? Acrylics? Sure! Art markers? Great! Supplies for building "Backyard Ballistics"? Now you're talking! And actually, we DO all still have all our limbs and digits.)
So the boys are ready to go pro with all the fantastical ideas bursting from their craniums.
"Sub-Aqua" is a model of a water vehicle with a working motor, light, and paddle-wheel propulsion, for use in "bathtub, pond, pool, lake or sea".
"Divide and Conquer" is a Real Time Strategy game of unlimited (Ka-Ching!!) upgrades.
I fully expect we could soon be rolling in the royalty cheques!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Collage for Cathe


Here's a page I did in an Art Friends book, "The Creative Edge" from PHAP.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Book Art




I know, I know...I should have cleaned house today...or gone to the park, or well, cleaned house. But I was lying in bed last night thinking of a binding technique I read about in a book at Chapters on Thursday evening on my date with Mr Wonderful, and I knew if I didn't try it right away, I'd forget how and have to go buy the book in question. (wow! long sentence.)

I remembered how, did it, and had phapboy do one too, as he was wishing he could take a bookbinding course. See, he's been reading InkHeart, and InkSpell by Cornellia Funke, and is infatuated with Book Arts. I say, why take a course when we have most of the supplies right here, and about a dozen books on the subject to show us how. Also, I'm at the place in my life where I believe that if something is worth doing, it's worth doing poorly...at first. I love to practice, and find the process as rewarding as the product.

So here our our first attempts at this technique. (I've done a bit of bookbinding before today, all from directions in books). It's addictive!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Things That Give Me Joy


What brings me joy? Where do I start? I was lying in bed last night thinking up more and more things, so perhaps I'll do this again soon.
1) Grace - the profound fact of Grace, from my God, from my husband, from my kids and my friends. Living free of the fear of being condemned. Acceptance based on who I am, rather than what I do is exhilarating!
2) Families - my family, even more so now that I am a grandma. Seeing little Liam with his parents makes me almost burst with joy! But it's not just my family...I am a streetside voyeur. I love to observe families interacting; children with parents; parents with babies; toddlers with everyone. I love listening in on families when I cannot understand their language. The words they say are not important. The unspoken, the tone, the glance, the love; it's universal. So please don't tell me it's not polite to stare.
3) The tree behind the house across the street. Oh-my-gosh! Have you seen this tree??! It is magnificent! I believe God had that family bring that tree from their farm in Manitoba and plant it there as a tiny sapling, way back in the '70's when they built their house (yes, it's the original owners) because He knew I would move into this house in 2002 and look out at it everyday and thank Him for it.
4) Blocks. The ones that have constantly cluttered the floors of the houses (2) that I've lived in for the last 12 years. The ones we paid an-arm-and-a-leg for from that specialty toy catalogue, as well as the wonderful IKEA offcuts, and the ones my older brother did for my youngest brother when he was a toddler. They are all hand painted and sanded and have stood the test of time. (Chris-the-toddler is now 35 years old).
They have all been used in thousands of construction projects, and have taken the place of our non-existent TV and video games with every child who has crossed our threshold, be they toddler (Brandon is the latest) or architect tech (Mark). And soon, very soon, they will be stacked and knocked down by a new generation, passed down in living colour with no downtime. They represent the best entertainment dollars we ever spent. And they make such a satisfying sound crashing down!
5) My "studio" room. What a capital J- joy to have a room to create in! I don't have to dig supplies out of closets, they're all right here. I don't have to clean up when I'm done or before I can cook supper. It screams "freedom" to me. Am I blessed or what?
6) Clean hot and cold running water. Believe it or not, I think about this often. It's not something I take for granted.
7) The colour on my walls in the kitchen, living room, hall and dining room. It's the first time I've been brave enough to use colour, and I love it!
8) Volunteering at the Friends of the Library book shop. I get to sort and shelve used books, and I find such treasures. Every week. And I feel morally compelled to give them a good home. Which explains a lot.
9) The fact that although my husband was raised by The Worlds Cleanest Woman, he is just near-sighted enough to be totally blind to the excess of books that threaten to overtake our home. Oh sorry, did I say " threaten"? He also accepts my reasonable explanation of the usefulness of books as R-value. And did I mention how keen his eyesight is when we are driving? He can spot a used book store blocks away, and find the nearest FREE parking spot. My hero!
10) My treasures - marbles, those glorious, brilliant little orbs; stones and shells collected over the years...they are more precious to me than diamonds. Especially the ones that were offered to me in the palm of a little boy's hand.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Journal Pages




Josh, Levi and I are working at doing a journal page a day. So far so good, thought the last couple days have been so packed with baby we've just been catching up.
Here are my Journal pages for this week. Whew! It's been exhilarating, to say the least! I LOVE this little Liam!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Found



I love to visit Found Magazine on-line. If you've never seen it, google it because I'm too lazy to put up a link right now.
I've always been fascinated by the little scraps of peoples lives I find in the bottom of carts at the grocery store, or on the street, or in the glove box of used cars. But I've found another great source of these treasures; inside old books.
I volunteer for our local Friends of the Library book store and my job is sorting and shelving the donated books that come in. People put highly personal things inside of books, and then forget about them. It's a real glimpse into another time and place. I find newspaper clippings, old money, (rare...usually an American one or five), bills, receipts, recipes, grocery lists, photos, and....notes to God and dead pets. Yes, really.

Here is one I found inside an old, well thumbed copy of "Little House in the Big Woods" by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It pulled at my heart strings.

God, I too hope Mitse is with you in the Garden!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

What a ride!

I must confess that the thing of the most amazing beauty that I have had a hand in creating is my family. Our joy grew today, far beyond our expectations. It's still a little hard to comprehend but Daniel and I became grandparents to a little boy named Liam. It's like we were waiting for our love to be completed, and he arrived and fit in like the missing piece.

Words fail me.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

This IS art!

Well, summer is here and I have been doing the outdoor art...AKA gardening and puttering rather than sitting in my basement studio...(which is back to being a MESS. Who wants to look at that?!).
It's peaceful and good for the soul to be out with the birds and the butterflys.
I favour a natural, woodsy look, which is fortunate because I have a lot of shade in the back of my lot, and formal plantings don't do so well.
Here's a peek...get a glass of iced tea, slip in a sprig of lemon balm, and enjoy.

June is my favorite month.


Not just because it's the month of the longest day of the entire year, which just happens to be my birthday!!! (My mom tells me there were MANY days AFTER my birth that were PLENTY long. What can I say? I am a child of the sixties!

It's a magical month full of the promise of summer without the sweltering heat, and you know, anything can happen on a beautiful June night! With only 2 or 3 hours of darkness, it's paradise!
Just ask the boys who stayed out in the tent in the backyard the other night with no flashlight! Sleep? What sleep?

"I think that I shall never see...


a poem lovely as a tree." It's a bit of a poem from my Mom's childhood that she liked to quote on occasions such as these. Don't know where it's from. Tennyson perhaps? Anyone know?

My son Josh likes to sit in the branches WAY up there. I considered getting him to climb up so I could capture it for all time, but considering he just got his cast off today from the last extreme photo shoot I thought perhaps he should keep both feet on terra firma. I wish I could sit up there and read!!