Monday, January 28, 2008

The Colouring part

This is what helps remind me to colour outside the lines.



My wonderful, wild Sharpies, a Christmas gift from Josh.

I always have a handful of black ones kicking around, but I'm discovering the joy of having bright and inspiring ones to play with. Today I cleaned my studio, organizing and sorting and purging. I found my work table beneath a pile of what I shall generously call stuff. I can now use my table...the whole thing. Wow! Who knew it would inspire me to do some journaling, something I've neglected for far too long. And my Sharpies added just the right touch, especially when I combined them with my water colour pencils. Used outside the lines, of course.

And I neglected, in my previous post, to mention this great bowl that contains all my instruments of brilliant Sharpieness.

This bowl was a gift too, from Dawn. She made me a bowl from an old LP, and lined it with a pretty blue doily, and delivered it full of goodies.
Just because.
She's like that.
She'll come to your house at the drop of a hint and paint your furniture too! Like here. If it weren't currently -47 Degrees Celsius (I know!!!) she would be out with her artist smock, and her Gogh-get-em attitude, and we'd have that chair finished! But it really is -47 Degrees Celsius and the wind chill is a killer. So she is tucked up safely at home where she should be, and the chair waits, making me happy just as it is, so bright and starry. Making a slip cover for the chair would have been too tame...too much like colouring inside the lines.
Have you coloured outside the lines lately?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Life is right here...

The light is always visible if I open my eyes. Life is right here, waiting.

  • make something
  • colour outside the lines
  • say no
  • study hard
  • read that classic
  • eat good food
  • smile!
  • play a game
  • listen to that song
  • create
  • write
  • take a photo
  • de-clutter life and space



Start small

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Enviro Blocks Rock!

"3.14...ENVIRO BLOCKS!!"
That was the rallying cry this afternoon at the First Lego League competition at NAIT. Our team did an amazing job, and Josh Classen, host of the event and weather specialist for CTV, loved the geek look...white dress shirts, nerdy glasses (taped together) and duct tape ties.
Josh's tie did the Dilbert thing, Jakes was THIS BIG!!
It was a lot of fun, very educational, and exciting for the team, and for the parents. Next year, Atlanta! (I believe we came in 9th of 40 in the table competition...not bad!)
video

This just in: The Enviro Blocks did finish 9th at the Table competition, but with their project award and points from the other elements, they came in 5th over all in the final standings!! Way to go team...Josh, Levi, Jake, Dave, Ty and Sarah and Steven!! (insert applause here)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Prizes galore!

OK Rice (with the dots above her name that I don't know how to do) won the first prize because she took the first guess.
She was wrong, but she took a guess, and I have not met her, (though I feel like I have because I'm an internet stalker. haha).
I love her blog, and I have loved this book since it first came out, and I love her latest book too. And I just discovered she has TWO MORE books that I have not seen! (They are now on my wish list.)

What did she win? Uh. That's top secret. Because I have not created it yet.
But I will, very, very soon. After Saturday, when the other big Lego competition is over with, I will have tons of time to devote to my artsy endeavors.
Then "I'll" get that chair finished (Dawn doing the work as usual), and I'll get the prize sent off to Rice (how exciting to mail out to her. I am waiting impatiently for her zine to arrive...she mailed it out to me a few days ago), and I'll mail out the other prize to whom ever correctly guesses what "we" are painting on the side of the chair in the photo in the previous post.

If I have no correct guess by Tuesday, the 29th of January, I will put all the guessers names in a (pointy) hat and draw one and they will receive this prize, created by Dawn. Its a "Major Award"! So take a shot! You have nothing to loose and a beautiful piece of art to gain.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

One more guess anyone? One more prize. Dawn insists!



Here is the view of the sketch Dawn did. Can anyone figure out what she means to paint? It's pretty famous and it's in the same theme..."Faux Gogh".
Oh, I'm making it way too easy! You can do it...and Dawn will reward you with a wonderful little surprise! Right Dawn?

On another note, my friend Diane sent home some herbal concoction to help me with the awful headaches I've been having. (something to do with the fibromyalgia I guess).



Well it looks so pretty, and green and flowery...but the taste? Blech! (I was warned, but man, it's pretty vile). I'm trying to choke it down and hoping maybe it will have that "Buckley's Effect"...you know when you were a kid and your mom made you take Buckley's for your cough, and you SWORE you'd never cough again?! And you didn't? (I took Buckley's once in 1967 and have not coughed since). Ya, it's that good.
The other cure was much more pleasant. She told me to rub a little Lavender essential oil on my temples as soon as I feel a head ache coming on. Ahhhhh! That's better. Soothing and relaxing. Love it. Thanks Diane.
I know, I know...I'll keep at the infusion and see if it helps. But don't ask me to like it.

And this is the parcel for the Valentine swap. I sent if off to New Zealand to Caren today. I could have almost flown there myself for the price of postage! Ouch! I told the post office ladies next time I'm sending it on the bus!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

One shocked husband.

My hubby hears about my brilliant schemes all the time. Like the time me and my art posse were going to "alter" his work car. We had plans that involved paint, toxic glues and stuff that would stick on and make people think he'd done the pschycodelic thing in the 60's. (ya, when he was, like, 7 years old?)
He said "sure, go ahead. It's a piece of junk anyway". (I bought it for him at a garage sale as a surprise for $500 and he drove it to work, 25 miles each way, for 5 years.)
Well, like I said, we were always "going to" alter the car, but it died an ignoble death, on the highway last year, before we ever lifted a finger to make good on our threats.
So when I casually said to him the other day. "I want to paint the chair like this, what do you think?" and showed him the picture of the bright and happy chair in an old Home Companion magazine, he said "sure", thinking, I'm certain, that the chair or I would be long dead and buried before it had to worry about the face lift.
But I've turned over a new leaf! I picked up the phone there and then at that very moment and called the one I could count on to "Faux Gogh" my chair in high style. Look at the picture she painted in the "Paint like Van Gogh" class! (Daniel saw it and he liked her copy better than the original! So he has faith in her talent). Oh course Dawn was all for it, and arrived within hours (or so it seemed) with her paint smock, her inspiration, and her go-get-em attitude. Here's a play by play. Stick it out till the end, there's a surprise!


I looked at this,


(my favorite thrift store chair... $14.99!)
and I saw this...or something just as bright and cheery. Maybe Van Gogh-ish sunflowers?...or something even better?

So I did this...

Actually, I cooked this...


and this...





Now, she isn't finished, but I LOVE what she's done. She works WAY too cheap. (Don't tell her I said that. I can afford muffins and soup!)


Can you guess what she's going to paint on the outside of the arm of the chair? If you are the first one to tell me what your guess is, AND, if I've never met you face to face, I'll send you a gift...something hand made that I've done.
But not a chair.
Something little and easy to mail, but something lovely.

Your guess doesn't have to be correct, but if it IS correct, maybe I can convince Dawn to send you something SHE made too! You will definitely LOVE something hand made by her!
Yes, I will make her send you something. (Just don't tell her I told you she would. I have to bake her some more muffins of something first to butter her up. I hope she doesn't get around to checking my blog anytime soon. I'll see how long it takes her to notice I've committed her to yet another project.)

Now I feel like a real blogger, giving stuff away in a contest. Weee!

I promise to post updates of the finished chair if anyone wants to see. I don't want to ruin the surprise.

And I know what you're thinking, but I will so finish it!

This week

was so busy! Here's a snap shot (or several) before I'm off to bed.


Music is joy.

So is yarn, apparently.

Here is my Dad showing Vanessa how to spin on the ugliest spinning wheel ever conceived . It looks like the result of an unholy tryst between a rusted unicycle and an outhouse that was hit by a tornado.
It was a difficult birth with frightful consequences.
I doubt it will inspire any artistic passions in it's new owner.
Just sayin'.


The Enviro-Blocks all ready to present their research project to the school that they did an energy audit on. Handsome, no? (unlike the previous sentence.)

Josh explains hydrogen fuel cells....it's really simple. Honest.

The bag I made for Dawn's birthday.
I spent today, or the better part of it, at a PJ party at her house, eating chocolate croissants, laughing, goofing off, playing Pictionary, in pajamas. Bliss!


A detail of goodies sewn into one of the pockets on the bag.

The other side.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wish List

This isn't exactly a list of goals...it is what I hope to manifest in my life this year. I need to move forward, and I know that having my dreams and desires written down, where I can review them often, helps to keep them in my thoughts, and in my prayers. It will help these wishes come true.

I hope that the peace of my home life will continue. That the love and care and consideration for each other's well being will grow and strengthen us. I hope that we will all remember that the peace we take for granted is a gift. It is something to be very thankful for.

I hope that we can all be truly creative. Creativity is the ability to look at life as an opportunity to contribute. It is the opposite of consumerism. It is the opposite of expecting others to provide for what we need. Creativity isn't art. Art is a manifestation of the need for beauty, and the creative interpretation can lead to production of an object that meets this need.
I wish for creativity to touch every area of our lives; our need to be meaningful, our need for relationships, our need to provide for this family, our need to grow and stretch and learn new things.

I hope for wonderful, meaningful new experiences. I hope that my days are layered, not unlike textures, in noticing beauty in my everyday environment...the changing sky, the tree in my backyard, the squirrel and the birds outside my window, the un-nameable colour of my youngest sons' eyes.

I hope to listen to beautiful music; Nialle's and Levi's guitars, Joshua's piano compositions, favorite CD's, friends and family's voices singing. I wish to sing with them.

I hope for adventures in healthful tastes; fresh oranges, juicy BC peaches, crisp garden carrots, earthy roasted vegetables, deep, dark chocolate, rich red wine enjoyed at the end of the day with Daniel, as we discuss our plans and dreams.

I hope to use my nose. There will be essential oils like lavender in my diffuser, zingy citrus, baking cakes, new leaves and sap and black dirt as I plant in the spring.

I will notice the extravagant pleasure of clean sheets dried on the line, and soft pajamas and luscious silks, and cotton and brown paper that rustles is my hand as I sew it or glue it to an altered art project.

I hope I remember to be at war with monotony! I will do something new and difficult, or go for a walk, or have a deep conversation or hug someone who is lonely, often.

I wish to hear. I wish to open the ears of my heart to God, to my family, to the universe, and to my friends. I wish to be aware of what they say, even when there are no words.

Most of all, I hope and wish to live my life. I will be an active participant with my family as they live their lives. I will not be a spectator.

Life is sweet.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Year

and I seem to be slacking off after posting almost every day in December.

The old year went out with a flurry of company and parties and visiting, and the New Year came in with a bang at Mark's party.
Since then it's been busy too, after Cheryl left (miss her) we were catching up with friends (seeing Jim and Karyn as they're home from Louisiana...Jim's gone back now- Karyn's waiting patiently for grandchild number 4 who seems in no big hurry to arrive.) The boys are busy with music. Levi practically lives with his new guitar in his lap, and is making astounding progress. Josh is practicing for the festival next month and learning new pieces from his new book (a gift from Aunty Cheryl), as well as writing another piece. We have been trying to record the song he composed for the festival. It's so beautiful, but it's too long to upload, and each time I try to get it on video with my camera or the apple, it doesn't work. Nialle says he'll record him with the equipment at the church and burn it on CD, so that's what we're waiting for now. We need to get a copy to Paul Bohnert, the organizer of the festival. Who knew there would be so many glitches?
The big Lego competition is also coming up, and the boys are deep into that...getting their projects going and the designing and programming to make those robots perform on cue and according to plan. And Josh had his 14th birthday. Whew!

I think I'll just post a couple of pics now, and you can see what some of our new year looks like.