Thursday, March 27, 2008

Taking a Deep Breath

"...But she was typing her novel by the river" is the title of this one. Ironic since this weekend is husband-free (at an Association of Waldorf Schools of North America conference), and I will most certainly not be free of bouncing kids. Think of us, if you can, as I am pulling together lots of logistics involved with running the BookLovers' Cafe on Saturday (for which I make baked goods) and working all day at the library. The imported grandparental help for the day will be very grand indeed!

Though Jonas fell asleep over a half hour after his regular bedtime, missing dad and having a fit and crying, he set his jangly alarm clock for 5:30 so he could wake early and make ATCs. The Fit was because I was offering too much uninvited artistic advice, as he practiced the new technique we learned last night at the library ATC Swap event. Such unimportant hints like "don't try to erase on tissue paper, it will rip" (and it did). Sigh. So any pleasant helpful wishes for a peaceful weekend will be so appreciated.

"Few Eggs and No Oranges" is the cover of a book, republished by Persephone Books of the UK, and recycled by me from their catalog (generously shared by Joanie). The subtitle is: "A Diary showing how Unimportant People in London and Birmingham lived through the war years 1940-1945, written in the Notting Hill area of London by Vere Hodgson."

And if you were wondering, the Persephone catalog is where the wonderful image of the riverside typist comes from, too. Here's this from their website: "Persephone prints mainly neglected fiction and non-fiction by women, for women and about women. The titles are chosen to appeal to busy women who rarely have time to spend in ever-larger bookshops and who would like to have access to a list of books designed to be neither too literary nor too commercial." What's really nifty is that the endpapers of the books are all printed versions of vintage fabrics. Click on the link to view their list of titles; each has a swatch of the fabric by the listing!

Speaking of fabrics...
"Has marriage changed your habits in this?" above, could be for several people I love. But the title speaks to one person. And I wonder if she has an answer for me?

So, this quote from Gandhi is probably a perfect one, as I take my big deep breath in for the weekend: "There is more to life than increasing its speed." Another way of saying maybe it's more important to slow down than to actually get somewhere. The trick is getting to work on time on Saturday with homemade scones and biscuits in hand, in a work-ish outfit, with the children fed, their ski equipment in the car, outerwear located, etc. etc.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

On Thursday afternoon (the boys' early release day) the boys felted eggs, around a plastic egg inside. So now we can snip them open, and make a cozy spot for something to sit...a little chick or a treat? Sylvan chose hot pink curly mohair, which looks pretty snazzy, with the tendrils curling off, while Jonas chose a variety of colors and even layered them, so the inside of the egg will be blue! The house was also filled with the aroma of hot cross buns baking that day.

Sock Update

Look at that heel! Yes, I have finally completed the instep gusset, my least-favorite part of sock-making. When trying to remember my location in the four rows of plain knitting between the ridgy bits, a created a mnemonic. Forget numbers, I'm an alphabet girl (librarian!): for the A row I think of Baby Alice; for the B row I have many choices, Barbarina, Bjorn, or Burleigh; for the C row I think of Carrie; for the D row, it's Dean, J.

"Spring Bird and Colors"
was one I made on my art date with Kimberly last Thursday (what a great day for being creative it was!). More to come later. Those yummy fabric bits at right come from the Boden catalog. I used to resent their sending me what seems like a catalog a week, but now I am thrilled...just more fodder to recycle into art!
"#10: Being Strong" is the final installment of the Ten Things That Make me Happy series. Not that there's only those ten, of course!
The Yogi tea fortune reads: Oneness is achieved by recognizing your true self.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Creative Community

Awakening Mother Earth is the dramatic and musical interpretation of the coming of Spring (and how LONG it takes here in Maine), directed, written, and organized by the talented Kathryn Oliver. Kathryn is partnering with the Rockport Library this year and we'll be performing the show during the first weekend of May, the 3rd and 4th. Kathryn has the wonderful gift of being such a humble creator with such a large vision...AND the ability to manifest that vision into a community production. Did you notice that I used "we" a little while back? Well, I am going to be helping to lead the chorus part of the event---mostly parents who have children in the production. I am trying hard not to be nervous about numbers of singers, leading folks in song, etc. but trusting the process! Kathryn is a great coach in this.

"Are You Open, Emotionally?" above, is something I made a few weeks ago, one of those cards that needed very little help from me being born into form! I had found the image and saved it in my bulging plastic organizer, full of "things I might use later," and then it took a few days until I found the quote that seemed right. But as soon as I saw it, I knew.

Ten Things That Make Me Happy

Below, find "#8: Real Mail" complete with a tiny envelope that I penned my return address on. (I am longing for a new camera so I can take really good close-ups of these details, I'm sorry.)
Below, "#9: Dreaming of Spring," with words by Maurice Sendak from Chicken Soup with Rice.
Art Date with Kimberly!
It was fabulous...we were cozy by the woodstove, sipping (tea), snipping, and clipping and having a blast. I made several cards but you'll have to wait and watch for them soon when I get them digitized! Somehow it's easier for me to get in the flow (and out of my head) when I am working with a friend. Since we're chatting, I guess things just seem to come together in a very organic and natural way. I am not trying too hard, but just having fun. Terrific way to spend a cold and icky rainy morning.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

More of My Ten Favorite Things

Above, is "#4: Making Stuff," like sushi, knitwear, handspun yarn, and delectable comestibles.

Above is "#5: Pretty Aprons," and I am wondering if this card should make its way to Holland to Erna?

Above, "#6: Tea and a Good Book," should come as no surprise to anyone. Yup, sitting peacefully near the woodstove keeping my eyes averted from the SNOW FALL (yes, today, right now, on March 19th, we are having more snow; I am ignoring it), with my book (About a Boy by Nick Hornsby, hilarious) and my tea (PG Tips).

Saturday ATC Swap Group
...will be starting at the Rockport Library on Saturday, April 12 from 2:30-4:30! Robinsunne and I will be alternating months when we facilitate/hostess the event, on the second Saturdays. We thought it might be nice for those folks who can't make Wednesday nights and/or want to bring the kids (and not have the next day be a school day!). I so appreciate having Robinsunne's enthusiasm and interest in sparking the creative juices of our community, and having a library director who is supportive about making the library a dynamic place for people to meet!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Sap is On the Woodstove

"Babushka Softy doll" by Erna

I have discovered another artist-mother-blogger from Holland, via Ravenhill's blogroll, called Erna. Erna's blog is called Blij Als Mij and if you don't speak Dutch, it translates to Happy Like Me. Erna has a fondness for beautiful fabrics and lovely handmade items, such as her Babushka Softy doll, pictured above. I was also quite fond of the Cupcake Apron she was making for an online swap, not to mention the adorable little Snow Drop dollies, pictured amidst greenery. Wonderful to connect and appreciate each other through this online community! Yay, Erna, I'll be watching for your upcoming swap!

Ten Things That Make Me Happy
The series that I began a couple of weeks ago is almost finished. After our art date with kids and Robinsunne, I was inspired to try using little envelopes on my cards. Also, this series has all rounded corners, which I have enjoyed trying. I was sad that I ran out of the dotty paper, but I found a suitable replacement in my stash! All cards include the Thing that Makes Me Happy written on the little tiny card inside each envelope. "#1: Color" (Needs no explanation!)
"#2: Treats" (That funny fruit in the upper righthand corner is a Mangosteen---have you ever eaten one? Let me know!) "#3: Mornings Alone" (The rice paper envelope is a little fussy.) I will be posting more entries to the series later. I am not sure I am pleased with #10 and may remake it. I guess I was feeling a lot of pressure to have it be extra-special, so of course it was more difficult than it should have been!

Special Evening...
Last night when I returned from work, such a surprise awaited me! Two identically dressed waiters (black turtlenecks, clip-on ties, aprons, and pajama bottoms) with twinkling eyes escorted me to the bathroom where a candlelit bath awaited. Yes, even floating candles IN the bath! The younger waiter stayed to pour water on my back and legs, tucking in his tie first! When I emerged, a pretty outfit was already laid on the bed for me to put on. The dining room was transformed with fresh flowers, more candles, special silver and tablecloth, and the table at a unique angle. The two waiters brought our salads, poured our wine and water, and then retired to the living room where the older waiter read-aloud to the younger. Lots of chortling giggles drifted our way! They cleared our plates, and brought our next course, then got themselves ready for bed. What a special date at home---thanks to my three special guys for making me a queen for the evening!
PS Blue pot in the background is sitting on the woodstove, boiling off the water from our maple sap.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Trading Cards with Friends

So far this week, no time for ATCs yet. I am hopeful that tonight Jonas will opt for art rather than reading aloud together, as I am eager to finish my series! But look at these lovely things coming my way...

This first, below, comes from dear Hannah. Notice the beautiful Tiffany window stamp, canceled, with a quote by John Adams "Let us dare to read, think, speak..." This one is so full of "my" colors, and I loved it at first sight---then to find out she was making it for me!
Below at left is a card Sophie made for me: "Sparkle, Shine, Glitter." I added a layer of sparkly Mod Podge, it seemed so fitting for her card. Then, lo and behold, in a catalog I came across "S is for Sophie" and had to make another card to send back her way! Although she is growing into such a sophisticated and lovely person, I hope she will still find fondness for tiny adorable girls with crowns on.
Finally, look what Jane made me! You may recognize this Babushka from Emily's blog; Jane printed the image in color, and added paint eyes that look like French knots, another matryoshka doll, AND a haiku:
Blogging, sharing art
Sharing my heART with you
Waiting to share yours
Happy days! Jane also gave me another amazing and lovely card, but so far the pictures I have taken are not doing it justice, so you'll have to wait. These are bright spots on a day that is wet and snowy, when I feel like spring inside. Our maple trees are tapped and I emptied the buckets for the first time today!

And I have been mailing some ATCs to other friends recently. What good are they, sitting in their plastic sleeves here at home? So, Tricia received hers in the mail and was happy! I love real mail! I am STILL waiting for some ATCs to come my way from Carrie, who has a blog of her own now...come on, girl, give me some mailbox lovin'!

According to Sylvan:
"You can't just grab someone and throw them in a wedding if they don't love you. It's like the law."

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Some signs of spring!

The reluctant bulb...
This little bulb came to me via Joanie when I was sick back in January (she brought Joanie's Magic Tea, also). It didn't want to be wakened, however, so after a week I put it in a dark cupboard for more sleep. More time went by. I took it out of the cupboard and put it back on my windowsill. Still nothing...still sleepy. Finally, there was a little growth! And low and behold, last week these two flowers showed their bright shiny faces! So lovely, and not so noxious-smelling as the white version.

"Bad Morning..."
Jonas and I had a very bad morning the other day, culminating with him saying that he was going to throw away all of his ATCs. I didn't let him. I told him if he still wanted to when he got home from school, he could. He was probably over it by the time he left the car at school, but I hung onto it for so much longer! Through my work-out even! I knew what I needed to do was to make some art, but unfortunately I was Out all morning. But when I returned home and got down to it, the thing pretty much made itself because I had already made it in my head. Anyway, he didn't throw away his creations and he liked my apology ATC.

Primrose Puppets...Roly Poly Rice Ball!
Yesterday at the Waldoboro Library there was a performance of the Roly Poly Rice Ball, a lovely Japanese folk tale. My boys were part of it, Jonas as a Mouse puppeteer, and Sylvan as the Special Effects Man. It was lovely, with handmade silk marionettes by Joanie and Cherry. And the boys did so well...Sylvan even remembered to stay hidden and take cues from his brother on when to bring the lights up! In this picture you can see the puppeteers as well as Sylvan, who was hidden from audience view, in the "backstage."

Art date with kids...
On Thursday, I borrowed a few kids (mine were at a birthday party) and met Robinsunne at the Rockport Library for a little art date. Never long enough, but we tried a few things. I have been wanting to make gel medium transfers of photocopies onto paper and Robinsunne shared a book she had on this technique. Still mostly disappointing results, but I am not giving up yet. The kids were experimenting with little doors and envelopes on cards. This has inspired me...We could have played for hours more, but had to get going back to Mommy-Land of timetables and schedules, etc.

Ten Things That Make Me Happy
I have been thinking of this series since I saw it as some headline in a magazine. Then with the added inspiration of little envelopes from Thursday, I decided to jump in. I have #1-6 done so far, so look for the set sometime this week! Of course I had some notion that I could think up each card in advance...Nope, they just come together as they will.

Monday, March 3, 2008

More Fun Than You Can Shake a Stick At!

Above is "Happy Trails." What a score to find that Tintin bit in, of all places, Down East magazine!

Well, last Wednesday night was a huge success and loads of fun. Yes, on a snowy night 22 adults and 11 children braved the weather to attend the first meeting of the Swap Group at Rockport Library! We were flooding the stacks! Making art with neighbors, strangers, our friends, and kids in the library was pretty incredible. This month, we plan to have various tables and work areas set about through the library...Can't wait. I made the one below for Sylvan, who was sad not to come along.

Below, find one of Sylvan's very first ATCs! The picture of Radio City came off of a chocolate wrapper that Jonas had been saving... That provided a Fuss. Sylvan's drawing is of a person Fussing, not his brother though.

And to counteract any Fussing that happens, we turn to Buddha. Simple. Just PrismaColor pencils on a nice textured paper.
OK, well this fellow seems to have trekked his snowboard to Morocco. It's called "Somewhere in Morocco Without Snow," and I made it on this past Saturday when we were having a large storm of 8 or 10"!

This one, "The Way We Fall in Love," will be heading to NYC to beloveds Matt and Susan soon, when I can write them a card. The background is from a book by Peter Sis called Tibet: Through the Red Box. We are cutting it up because it had sat about for about ten years without anyone looking at it. It has amazing ATC potential however and we are loving it.
"Baroness Elsa," below, another simple one that almost made herself.
This one is called "Shake that Thang," because it is the hindquarters of an African Shield Beetle. Like a jewel...
Below is "Are You As Smart As You Think You Are?" The rest of the phrase is found on the reverse side. Jonas gave me the technique of colored-pencil border and it looks really nice on this one. Those little mountains are also from Peter Sis.
Finally, words by Amy Sedaris, from her book I Like You, as quoted in some magazine. Totally quirky and hilarious with the origami paper that Jonas purchased as the background, that Jake found hideous but is now warming up to: