July 12-14: This and that

July 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

The last few days have been busy. The kids are tired and today we stayed at home and made some boring art in the morning, which is so rare! I made a collage with the very few pictures I have access to:

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(The caption says that people in wealthier countries are happier, but I don’t believe it.)

and J. made a melting bead”Star Wars thing.” He did not specify what it was.

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It calmed down his hyperness from last night, when there were 30 guests at my dad’s house, all of whom brought him and O. gifts. Stressful, if you ask me. He requested an Angry Birds cake from my aunt who is a semi-professional baker, and this is what she brought:

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Featuring others’ creativity is usually my favorite part of this blog, and this cake is no exception. It tasted delicious too. O. got this cake:

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Yes, she ate some too. Yes, she was hyper too.

Finally, the day before yesterday I had no choice but to be nostalgic again as we saw an exhibit of ex-Yugoslav artifacts, from my childhood, before the wars. Most of the things seen here were a huge part of my growing up. I presume that every generation thinks that the world has gotten worse since their time. I know that I most certainly do.

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There was also cool art on the main street, and here is what some of it looked like:

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Entering the last week of blogging, with few art supplies. Hopefully I have internalized the need to create something every day, and wil continue even after I stop documenting it publicly. We’ll see.

July 10 & 11: Tricksters and snacks

July 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Yesterday we went to the Belgrade zoo. I am not going to talk about what we did or what we saw as that is not the purpose of this blog, but I do want to share an awesome thing that I saw: a raven and a coyote, in two adjacent cages. It is sad of course that the two tricksters ended up in small wire enclosures in an urban zoo; but it is also lovely to see those two mythical creatures in the same place, even though it is not their natural setting. We can pretend a little:

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Today my mom was making Serbian crackers they call galete around here, and J. and I helped her roll the dough into balls and bake (and eat) it:

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These are the dough balls

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This is the ancient toaster oven we baked them in

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And this is the end result. The recipe is simple but I don’t have it.

As a bonus, here is a photo of the ceiling in my dad’s house:

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and a snapshot of my favorite thing in the world:

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I lasted eight days without a latte and then I broke down. I took the kids to the neighborhood cafe, where we sat in the shade, I got caffeinated and took some photos, and we all had a great time.

 

July 8 &9: Random acts of beauty, jams, and laughs

July 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

I am still just taking pictures. Today I spent time with the kids and an old friend, a photographer, at a cafe overlooking the city of Belgrade, getting advice on photography. While I was randomly clicking, J. found an empty mini wine bottle and filled it with leaves, flowers, and a bit of water. Instant beauty. I love it when that happens. I love the ease with which kids can create art (and chaos, but that’s a different story).

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(notice the sour cherry juice next to J’s bottle; it is nice to have many juice options at cafes, and not just apple and orange as we do at home)

Prior to that, my mom was making apricot jam, and I was loving the stunning orange of apricots being cooked, so I took a few pictures of them:

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For those who follow the blog regularly and remember a certain striped dress I featured a few days ago, here is a photo that goes with it (my sister’s first day of  first grade):

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Yesterday, little creativity happened, as I left the camera at home for a truly fun outing (as these things usually happen), and in the evening the kids insisted on being awake late and not letting me do anything, so I gave up and went to sleep myself. But, here is a magical moment of laughter that I caught earlier in the day:

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The universe is good to me. I wish I didn’t fear losing it all and savored it instead.

July 6 & 7: More pictures

July 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

I think I may be done with this nostalgia thing for now, especially as my project is two weeks short of being finished. I intend to fulfill my promise and create something until July 21. After that, I think I will focus on more complex art projects that will take more than a day to complete. I want to learn something new. Like sewing. Like knitting. Like candlemaking. Like soapmaking. But more about that in the next two weeks. In the meantime, let me return to nostalgia again. I am a big fan of this sentiment. It fueled my writing for a long time. so here are some photos that are a testament to the nostalgia of the past week:

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Old dolls looking creepy and sweet at the same time as old dolls do. some Russian, some American.

Last night I was taking some nostalgic photos at my 20-year high school reunion, but I will not post those as I generally don’t like to include pictures of others (with the exception of my kids sometimes) on this blog.

 

 

July 5: My dad’s art studio

July 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

As a continuation of yesterday’s post, here are more old clothes, Chinese pajamas that I slept in when little, and that J. decided to sleep in last night:

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I still remember wearing them.

Then today the kids and I spent some time in my dad’s art studio. J. painted, O. messed up the paints, and I photographed.

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I have had a rough day, but I know that I will look back at these photos and think how lucky I was to get to relive some memories and form new ones.

July 4: old clothes

July 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

My mom saved a lot of my sister’s and my childhood clothes. As I have a daughter now, the clothes are being passed on to her. Which is so much more fun than getting new clothes. We spent some time today going through the clothes, and I picked out some lovely dresses and coats, the likes of they just don’t make any more. Here are some details.

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The beauty of childhood memories and bright colors of old polyester clothes.

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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