June 24-28: A whole week

June 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

Summer school is over. I survived. What did we do this week? Not much. On Monday J. and I spent a whole hour attempting to make friendship bracelets. Unsuccessfully. I guess preteen girls are more talented at some things than I am. On Tuesday, I spent a whole hour trying to upload some pictures to get them printed. Unsuccessfully. That got me mad.

On Wednesday, however, I picked some herbs from my garden to take to my friend Laura (who has been mentioned on this blog quite a few times before), and making this bouquet was pure joy. So much so that I made another one the next day, and now I want to make bouquets every day. Because they smell so good! Yarrow, sage, rosemary, lavender, chamomile, oregano, marjoram, and mint.

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We also made banana boats at Laura and Tom’s house. Don’t know what a banana boat is? Neither did I until recently. It involves stuffing bananas with decadent toppings like marshmallows and chocolate chips, wrapping them in foil, and grilling them.  I don’t really have pictures of what they look like. But this is what a kid who is about to make them looks like.

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Then last night we were blessed with an amazing sunset. We just happened to be near the Puget Sound, and I just happened to have a camera.

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Today… today I am trying to make those buttons again. Slowly. I spent a few hours grading finals. But as I like to feature things made by others, here is a picture of a vase a student made for me. A great idea!

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It’s two days before my trip home. Maybe I will make some fantastic art in the next two days. I doubt it though.

June 23: Earth and rain

June 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

I am trying to make Earth magnets, which will have a picture of the Earth as a heart, with the writing “Love your Mother” — like this

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but I keep messing up, which makes me feel pretty bad. It’s ironic. All Earth needs is more crap being made in Her honor, especially as I had to trash three sheets of paper already, not to mention the printer ink. Oh, well. I think I got it right this time, I will report on my progress tomorrow.

Tonight there was a terrible rain storm, and as I was writing assignments and tests, I looked out the window and saw this:

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It simply had to be photographed. A little magic moment at the tired end of the day. I wonder if Merlin and Hermione (for that’s who they are) were making it rain or making it stop raining.

June 19-22: Not much, actually

June 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

I lost track of days. I am not sure I know what was done when. I do know that I’ve been thinking about the fact that I started this year-long project with the intent of spending quality time with myself, doing some soul-searching and sacred art; but I ended up spending quality time with the kids, and running away from the issues I really need to deal with. Like my recent phobias. Anxiety. Loss of faith. But hey, it’s still been a great ride, and it’s almost over. I find myself wanting to do all kinds of project (like making gifts for people I will be seeing next week when we travel to the motherland), but feel too tired from the many demands I place on myself, so fall back instead of the safe and tried things we have done before.

So on Wednesday (I think), J. and I did a science experiment. We made little cardboard people dance with a balloon that was electrified with  a wool sweater. It didn’t quite work like the book promised it would, but there were a few moments of sheer magic there (not caught on film, as is often the case with magical moments) when one little person made a few cartwheels and bounced around:

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On Thursday we created with melting beads, which is nothing to write home about, and yesterday we bought a fabulous castle set at a garage sale for $5. We all spent some time building it. I love the detail, and the fact that you can build it ANY WAY YOU WANT! (take that Lego!). We also read some solstice stories and D. and I lamented the fact that we used to have Solstice celebrations and rituals, but now we just spend time with the kids until we are worn out. Anyway, happy summer! It is a complex time: summer  begins yet the days are already heading back into darkness. I dread another winter already.  But I digress. Here is the castle (after being destroyed by O. who also thinks it’s great):

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And today I photographed the newly painted pagoda in Pt. Defiance park.

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I actually snapped photos all day, but this is the one I really liked. Along with the one of J. chewing on a candy necklace:

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Now onto all those other projects I have lined up? Actually, no. Off to bed with a favorite book.

June 16: fishing, June 17: weaving, and June 18: whimsical

June 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

These days I am finding that 1-year-olds are *very* time-consuming and that teaching summer school is a silly idea. In terms of this blog it means that I have very little time to actually post anything. Right now, I am drinking cold coffee, keeping an eye on the baby, trying to eat breakfast and leave for work in 20 minutes.

So here is a brief update on our small artistic endeavors. Because some of them have indeed been very small.

On Sunday, J. went fishing for the first time. I had a lot of time on my hands, sitting on the grass with O. which meant I spent a lot of time taking pictures of daisies and her. I don’t think my photography is getting any better, but I do enjoy the moment of looking at something through a lens and thinking about how it will turn out.

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Monday included going to the local art store to buy J. some art supplies with a gift card he got for his birthday. So far the appeal has been more in buying them than in using them, but he did spend some time on the weaving loom, which they also use at school, and it seems he is missing school a bit. I also organized his art supplies and desk, throwing out the old, making room for new. Time consuming but liberating. Though I suppose I could have just sat out in the sun instead.

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And then there were kids with balloons

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The first few days of summer break went well. Lots of playing and lounging. And some balloons.

Last night was my favorite though. A long time ago, J. made me a collage kit that consisted of some construction paper, some scrapbook paper and some stickers. When clearing out his room, I pulled out the kit for us to use, at last.  I started with no idea about what I wanted to do, but then thought: “flower.” I got a pipe cleaner and made a flower. J., who had not been interested in joining me, all of a sudden got really excited, and we made this lovely whimsical landscape in a matter of minutes. Often I feel rushed when making art, or I feel like I have to accomplish something. Last night, I just had fun, and those ten minutes made me feel rested and calm, as crafting should. I look forward to more such experiences.

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June 14: Mozzarela and June 15: planning to be creative

June 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

But first, here are the cards we made for J’s teachers. We will miss them greatly. Next year,  he will be in a different class (he is in a Montessori school, where kids stay with teachers for at least two years), and I don’t know if anyone will be so patient with him as his teacher and her aide were. They touched him and me both deeply.

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Yesterday was my second attempt at making mozzarella, and though it doesn’t quite look or taste like it’s supposed to, it’s not bad. It’s complicated to make, though. You have to knead the curds in hot whey until they are stretchy. Let’s just say that I never reached that stage.

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here are curds before kneading

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and after.

The cheese tastes great in a salad from our homegrown greens. We almost have this urban farming thing down…

Today I was recovering from a migraine which meant no looking at screens. Instead, I packed for our upcoming trip to the Motherland, which will take place in two weeks. It was especially important to pack art supplies. That was my creative act for today. It had to be small, light, and fun for both J. and me. So we got

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lots of goodies: glue, scissors, a journal, sewing, knitting, felt, sticky notes, sharpies… We are prepared!

 

 

June 13: a poem

June 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

Yesterday we made cards for teachers, and I will post the pictures of those tomorrow. It’s the end of the school year for the boy, and thank you notes are in order.

Today I am staying up late, being creative in planning my calculus course, but I know that no one wants to read about that.

So instead, here is a recent edit of an old poem, about the world as I would like it to be (with just a little bit of math thrown in).

Next Year

The circle is divided into 360 degrees.
We say: this is one year.
One year=Full circle
There is a knot on the boundary
at 90 degrees
at 180 there is a pasture
where clouds pose for sheep.
At 270 a nunnery to reconsider
what one is about to define as sin
the knot makes you trip
when you rush through the days

To be found within this circle:
* Fashion shows of naked bodies
naturally tanned
pregnant
aged
filled with joyous family meals
superstars in movies of close friends.
* Sketches of Spain.
* Intrepid circus acts with skeletons posing as monsters and little girls riding make-believe horses. Trapeze artists inevitably fall in love and breed children that can fly.
* Monkeys performing clever dances wearing huge sombreros and singing midnight serenades.
Not safe nevertheless pretty.

Outside of the circle there is nothing. Everything happens now and nobody dreams of crossing the boundary into
what is to transpire
what broke hearts.
All plans have the lifespan of 360 days.
When unfulfilled they wither –
– sad sight for those who form attachments.
Others cheer.
In the future there will be no disasters
one thinks.

To appease astronomers, the mystery of five missing days must be settled. These are the five days of pagan rites. The naked bodies celebrate being born. The celebration takes place on a different plane where the circle can’t even be detected. The number of dimensions one deals with is inconsequential: those without height are not missing out on sunsets or parabolic movements of UFOs come to collect the human crops. All is one and nothing is left behind to rot.

June 10: Waldo is back; and June 11: origami is back

June 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

Monday was “dress as your favorite character” day at school, which gave us a chance to pull out the Waldo costumes and have some (creative) dress up fun early in the morning. And the sun was out, which allowed me to get one or two nice shots of Waldo and his cool dad who dressed in costume in solidarity.

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Last night at dinner, J. asked “So how do you make an origami cat?” I don’t know where that question came from, since we weren’t talking about cats or origami. But it’s a good question, and I found out from my friend the Internet. And we made a cat.

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I have high hopes for his origami future.

June 4-9: Birthday book, muffins, and a beach trip

June 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

I have been gone for a whole week this time, but again I assure you, we have been busy. Or at least I have. First of all, our scientific experiment has taken on Gargantuan proportions. The ear grew and grew until we finally pulled it out of water. It is shrinking ever so slowly. I managed to put together the Rubik’s cube. It turned out that one of the little cubes was turned the wrong way, so it wasn’t really my fault that I couldn’t do it. Here it is:

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Now I just need to learn to do it without the book.

Speaking of books, O’s birthday book is coming along nicely. I have four more pages to go, but here is what it looks like so far:

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(Ok, not the best pictures, but it’s late and I have to work in the morning. By the way,  my favorite part of the book is the flamingo.)

Her birthday came and went, we spent it at the beach. I made her rhubarb muffins because our kids don’t eat sugar during the first few years of their lives (but J. has made up for it tenfold), so this is what the birthday celebration looked like:

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Rhubarb muffins: healthy, delicious. They would have been even better had I had buttermilk in the house as the recipe suggests. But I managed, as I always do. Somehow it always works out, usually not perfectly. Okay, never perfectly.

I took some pictures at the beach. Note that I don’t do nature photography well, and instead look for quirky human-made things. Like these:

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And finally, we picked up the ceramic pieces we painted a few weeks ago. Everyone was pleased:

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I will try to post more often, considering that I am still keeping up with the projects.

 

June 2 and 3: Birthday gifts

June 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

Things are busy in our little workshop. It’s O’s birthday on Friday, and we started making her gift a little too late. For his first birthday, J. got an altered book from me, and a collage story from dad. Of course we are doing the same for O. Dad will probably be done by Friday, but I procrastinated. I have lots of good ideas though, so whenever it’s done, it will be good. Here are snapshots of what I have so far:

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It will be a book about being strong and powerful, and it will feature all the goddesses that bring blessings and abundance.

J. is also making his sister a gift, a cloth doll. He also just started. This is what he has so far:

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And while this is going on, we are also conducting a science experiment, with one of those things that grow in water. We have an ear that looks too real and disgusting! and we are seeing how much it will grow. In the process, J. is getting a lesson about area and counting unit squares.

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It’s still growing!

May 29-June 1: Mosaic, beads, and failures

June 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

I have decided to post less frequently. During the day I may have time to make art, but not to write about it, and at night I am just too tired. I keep waiting for someone to come and tell me, “Hey, why don’t you take some time for yourself?” but no one will say that if I don’t.

I spent the whole morning trying to make mozzarella and it failed miserably, so now I am grumpy. But here is what we did in the last three days:

Wednesday, J. and I made a mosaic at the glass museum. A clever craft: you glue pieces of glass on a CD with white glue. Simple, pretty.

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Thursday, we were at the coffee shop as usual, and O. was practicing her journal writing

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which means that I wasn’t. We were a little creative later on that night when we went to a friends’ house for pizza, where we helped put on the toppings, which included nasturtium and calendula leaves (they tasted great), and made silly bead necklaces. J. made one that said “Joe M. loves you” for his best friend, and I made him this one:

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It’s a reminder for both of us.

Then last night I spent hours trying to learn to put together a Rubik’s cube, but all I got was this:

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This, too, makes me grumpy.  This blog is clearly not about my stellar successes in art, problem solving, and homemade living.

So as a consolation prize, here is a picture of a fascinating phenomenon: a shedding lizard.

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