Saturday, February 27, 2010

Birthday wishes

Thanks for all of the Birthday was a day full of smiles and excitement and being seven. Two days later she experienced her first 2 minute penalty in hockey for hooking.....sweet seven?
Watching the news.....aftermath of the earthquake in Chile. My thoughts and prayers to yet another country facing devastation.

I have some pictures from the "good fortune" birds that I was lucky to receive from the swap this week. Again, I love to see the different interpretations (birds and owls) and the variety of "paper" made using the techniques from Kelli's book.

I have decided to join in the fun of another group.....based on the book, An Artistic Mother by Shona Cole, mentioned earlier this week. I can't wait. It does seem to help me to have a syllabus to stay focused and committed to "art" time. Y0u interested to join along???? Go to Artistic Creations with Trudy at Can I tempt any of you??????

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

six before 7

oh boy, oh boy, oh boy........the excitement
our youngest...

on the eve of her seventh birthday.

I can't begin to express the ball of excitement that quakes in this child of mine.

I bet we can all remember being THAT excited.

I am so happy!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

An Artistic Mother

wow! i just stumbled upon a wonderful new book, An Artistic Mother by Shona is beautiful. I had to learn more about her so I buzzed over to her blog and am hooked. She has a twelve week plan of art action....gotta love that. Having just finished the fun Stitch Alchemy book study with the Mixed Media art group I appreciate so much the "schedule" if you makes it so you "have" to make art. It isn't pressure in a dreaded way, but in a "permission" sort of way. Does that make sense? She focuses on digital photography, poetry and mixed media, yeah!!!!!! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy and then.......more projects. Speaking of which......since I am not subbing today I need to be making art.

Finished the Darn hat!

Yes, folks.....the hat is done. No more drama about the darn..blankety blank hat. It is finished! And....I don't like it. Not because of the challenge but because it doesn't look good, on me that is. My Mom has made comments over the years that she wants to find a hat that looks good on her and I have to admit I kinda scoffed at that...what do you mean, all hats look good on you (and me I thought). well I am here to tell you this hat...oh it's bad. And after all of that work. It actually looks good on Olivia, our oldest daughter with lovely long hair. But, I am afraid it isn't "hip" enough.

My hat making has spurred on three hat requests from the kids. So I have already started making "snow board" style hats with ear flaps. Super easy (YES!) and I can actually watch tv/Olympics and hold a conversation at the same time.

Onn another note, I made the most delicious Spanish inspired quinoa last night. Oh my, love , love it. Now....I want to make some spanish inspired art to make it a "complete" experience. to be continued..........

P.S. Go Team USA!!!!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Feeling kinda spoiled

After my half day of work on Friday, then cleaning and errands I came home to find this in the mail......a package for me!

And gets even is my beautiful love doll that I have received in the Mixed Media on line art group swap. This Love Doll swap was inspired from the wonderful Stitch Alchemy book by Kelli Perkins. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this Love Doll. I feel so lucky. Thank you Donna!!!!!!!

I also received this precious Valentine from three delightful boys in Minnesota....they quite obviously have a talented Momma! Thank You Ische Boys!!!!! and the pictures (minus the gorgeous family picture) were taken by a budding photographer....Emmett..who is 5!

These pictures just make me smile and remember a fun summer night visiting Minnesota 2009!

Friday, February 19, 2010

a moment to reflect

This morning I got a call from the sub office to fill in for a special education aid at the middle school. I took a deep breath, middle school subbing experiences have not been the most pleasant. Don't get me wrong nothing awful has happened, just the middle school age presents a lot of "attitude". I agree to going in, it was for half day, I can give it a whirl and see how it goes. Let me was REWARDING and really makes you stop and appreciate everything you have. My guy was about to turn 16, high functioning cerebral palsy. He was the hardest working student in the class. He kept an upbeat attitude despite the excruciating pain that he is in due to hip issues. I feel so blessed to have gotten that call this morning. To have been presented with the opportunity to reflect. Reflect on how darn lucky I am, to have been able to share the morning with an incredible soul, to slow down...cause I am here to tell aren't rushing when you walk with a limp and a cane....I was provided with moments of being very present. It was refreshing and perhaps for me, much needed.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

substitute teaching and little knitting

Today was my second day substitute teaching for a particular kindergarten teacher. I love when I can fill in for more than one day. All of that learning of the classroom schedule pays off when you can use it for multiple days. This particular school I was filling in at has a reputation of being a bit on the tough side. All of the kindergarten teachers have had blue Mat training, a training to help diffuse burst of anger. We are talking about 5 and 6 year olds. Sad. I can attest that the class was a bit of a challenge and.....kinda wiped me out. So the heart.....a graffiti heart i spotted in downtown Traverse City, with a bit of to remind us all of the beauty of life....even in odd moments and places and natural or man made.

And now for my Olympic Knitting you may have already noted, there is no "update photo." My knitting has taken a back burner from our family schedule last night and tonight. I was able to sneak in a couple of rows throughout the day (when the kids were at lunch and when our youngest was at hockey) I feel an overwhelming need to pick up the needles. Now considering how much this pattern has frustrated me, I am reminded of how much I enjoy the rhythm of knitting. Hopefully I can whip out a couple of rows yet tonight.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mardi Gras

We love Mardi Gras in our house.
In 1994 my husband and I splurged and went to Mardi Gras and to this day it is one of our high lights. We would go back in a heart beat. Some pictures from our trip. I think they transcend time, as Mardi Gras, is Mardi Gras.....not much changes. It is colorful, full of music, warm breezes, hurricanes (drinks), beads, parades and LOTS of people, lots of HAPPY people.

and now for the knitting Olympics update.

Day Three results are.........

not sure how easy it is to "read" the photo...but the arrow points to a whole row where things get funky. I ripped out 4 rows after and then figured out what the problem is. So...I have grown as a knitter with this experience. But as you can see.....I did not rip the whole problem area out....I decided to move on. But, if I were to do knit this hat again and I can honestly say now that I know what the problem was (human error on my part) I might consider it.....might....might not. We'll see.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Family Time Fun

Taking full advantage of a day off from school and substitute teaching we all headed for one of my favorite places...the dunes! For some sledding. We sailed down the dune and across the snow covered parking lot. Trust don't go up and down a lot, but it is fun!

Then we headed in downtown Traverse City to take in the snow sculptures and ice carvings, part of the 2010 WinterFest. We all cracked up at the "surfer gnome"!
This one is for our Vikings friends back in Minnesota!

And for all of the Red Wing Fans!

We topped the day off with dinner out.

And now.....time for knitting Olympics.

Knitting Olympics Day Two

Day Two of the knitting Olympics........and I have not grown any fonder of this pattern. It requires a lot of concentration and while I find knitting relaxing...not so much with this pattern. But....I did complete the 8 row pattern more quickly than the previous night so i guess my "speed" has improved and that is what the Olympics are all about. Beating your best score.

I did get to watch Canada wins it's first gold medal at home.....that was exciting. Had to re-watch K.D. Lang's performance in the opening ceremonies, just amazing. Here is a youtube video of K.D. Lang singing Hallelujah at a 2007 performance. Not the same as the Olympic performance, but wonderful nonetheless.

Happy President's Day!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Olympics Day One

Do not attempt to adjust your monitor......that seriously is all that i was able to accomplish last night. This pattern...grumble, will be lovely when it is done, I may even consider to mount the hat in some way to display during the "off season" because this is truly a labor of love. And trust me, this isn't anything special, it's just tricky for a gal like me. But hopefully the Olympic challenge will do the trick. I am obligated to knit daily (or nightly as my schedule allows) so hopefully this will help me to get into a rhythm of the pattern.
So I did watch the Olympics in an auditory sort of way (one must keep eyes glued to what you are doing and keeping good track of each stitch)...exciting to watch team USA win two medals in speed skating and learn about some of the women rocking the moguls on the ski hill.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy (early) Valentine's Day! Here is the cute Valentine's that our 1st grader passed out this year. This little guy cracks me up every time I see it.

Opening Ceremonies

Opening Ceremonies were awesome last night. AND......I got started on my knitting. The ribbing was the easy part. Now the concentration begins. I have "waited" to work on this project because it is a pattern that you HAVE to concentrate on and with three kids and little windows to knit....could make this tricky. is the Olympics after all!

Also, I have to give a shout out to my long time favorite K.D. Lang, what a beautiful song last night and then the "doves" that fluttered around. Technology is so amazing. Now, it is time to be amazed by the athletes.

Watching Speed Skating at the moment and those Orange fans for Sven Kramer, from Denmark, what a hoot.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Yarn Harlot: The 2010 Knitting Olympics

Yarn Harlot: The 2010 Knitting Olympics

Just the inpiration I needed. I am signed up to start and hopefully finish a hat pattern, the Koolhaas Hat, that I picked up a couple of years ago. I have the beautiful Shokay Yarn Shambala (100% Yak) to knit with. It would be nice to finish this while I can actually wear it, is still winter!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Good Fortune Birds = Goodness

Good Fortune Birds, aren't they sweet. These were made for another swap with the Mixed Media on line art group for the Stitch Alchemy (Kelli Perkins) book study. Each participant was asked to send 3 strands of 5 birds. We have not received our swapped birds in return the anticipation is high. The birds are made from fabric paper, as described in the previous post. It was interesting to consider how similar the sheets of fabric paper were, obviously each of us as individuals are drawn to certain colors. It will be a challenge to myself to purposely use different colors in my next see where I can branch out a bit more. For these birds I tried to incorporate different embellishments on each bird......use of tulle, embossing powder, hard body paste, etc. Again, I wasn't thrilled with my fabric paper as a whole but felt completely different and excited when I saw the sheets in smaller pieces. At the bottom of the strand we were supposed to use a bell, like a cow bell. But since the directions by the swap host asked us to mail in a priority envelope (not box, me I went over the directions many times, took the directions to the post office to ask my oh so sweet postal workers and we all was clear we were supposed to use the envelop).....a cow bell was not an option. So I had to get creative. I used felt balls along with smaller bells, polymer clay ring and made my own "bell".

Again....if you are interested in mixed media.....this book will not disappoint. Form an art group and challenge yourselves to try a new technique each week. Small steps, without investing in a lot of time or materials and the sense of gratification is priceless! Then when you have lots of sheets of fabric paper (because you will, it is addicting) you can make things to swap (book marks, good fortune birds, love dolls, post cards, etc....) Have fun and PLAY!

Catching up with Love Doll

Catching up.......
No excuses.
Here are some shots of my Love Doll ( you need to say it with some swagger!) that I have sent to New Mexico as part of the Mixed Media online art group swap. A few of us in the group participated in a book study of Stitched Alchemy by Kelli Perkins. Great book, but even better book to do as a "book study". It is the kind of book that if given "assignments" you can go to for inspiration and suggestions to get you going. The book study started out by making fabric paper. The book goes into details with a variety of ways you can begin your first layer. The layers are the key. You build paper included the following layers.....gluing papers to the muslin, then adding color, stamping, more color, more stamping and you keep going until you have some visually pleasing fabric. I will admit, most of my fabrics were not quite what I wanted. But...when you cut into smaller pieces, like the pattern for the love doll above...then magically the fabric paper becomes wonderful. So for the love doll the assignment was to create fabric paper, then cut into love doll shape of your own design and then embellish the heck out of it. It was great fun to see the doll come to life. I must admit, this doll took on some character and made me smile. I want to make MORE.
One technique that I rather enjoyed was making a transfer with packing tape....for those of you who know my family you know that I have LOTS of experience with packing tape, but more in the use of actually packing up a house full of stuff. This was a fun use of the tape. Here's what you do.......find a photo copy image or an image from a magazine, key is to not use an ink jet image. Then, apply a swatch of packing tape. Burnish paper onto the tape. Once you are satisfied with the burnishing you soak in some water and rub off the paper. The image will be on the tape. You can see the transfers on my love doll.......they are the light blue rectangular pieces. I stitched my transfers to a watercolor blue batik fabric scrap that I had laying around. My transfers were from text and a photo copy of a rubber stamped image. It is so clever, simple, fun and.....oh the possibilities! Try it. A quick technique. Something to get the creative juices flowing.