Friday, April 17, 2015

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to see.

Bambi, Alex, and Maria... lunchtime.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

En Plein Air

Not just painting outside, but sculpture, fiber arts, woodworking, bonsai, ikebana, too. The Art Festival was so much fun, so engaging, Maria and I went back the next day, with Bambi and Alex. The first day there was a contest called a Quick Draw, participants were found throughout the gardens, plying their crafts with paints, charcoals, silk, and pencil, and they had three hours to complete a work for judging. We were thrilled for Toni Williams receiving a blue ribbon, and the sale of her oil painting. We'd enjoyed such a friendly visit with her, while she discussed her work, and encouraged Maria in her own art. Having seen the changes she made, her thoughtful application of light and shadow to her painting, it made the finished work even more beautiful, familiar.

We found another kindred spirit in Jan Greenwald, a wood turner, and patient teacher. He also has a mischievous humor, which added to the fun of watching him work, and waiting for Maria's turn at finishing her ginkgo branch turned mushroom. Jan has a gift for giving each child all the time in the world to make their choices, and finish the lathed piece with markers... all complimentary, all with his amusing remarks. And when he's not turning tops and mushrooms on his lathe, he is making much bigger, more elaborate bowls, urns, and chalices from locally found wood. Each piece is so carefully, painstakingly finished, it feels like the smoothness of warm silk, timeworn wood, buttery, comforting.

In the gardens we saw spring, and growth, changes. It was nice to be back, nice to see friends, and make new ones, nice to walk for hours and feel reinvigorated for it. When we returned the next day, Alex and Maria came with their own art supplies... being creative en plein air is irresistible.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sewing Makes Me Happy

This is a cheap flour cloth dish towel thing. Very big, but very thin. It's almost a waste to add so much time and effort to it, but I love cheap flour cloth dish towel things, and I love sewing. While Maria was was in her Java class, I passed the time by either adding rows to a thing I am crocheting, or embroidering dish towels. I try to stay in the habit of carrying a basket, or bag, keeping it well stocked with works in progress, and supplies, like threads, needles, floss, a hoop, a pencil, fabric, hooks, and yarn... all handy for the ten minutes or two hours when I don't have much else to do. My down time bag saves me... it occupies my hands and thoughts, it gives me purpose, it makes me happy. Strangely, sadly, I never feel like this is an adequate excuse or explanation for my pastimes. So much of what we learn to value or praise is meant to have a higher purpose, to have a net worth, or an ultimate significance, and I struggle to justify sitting in a corner pulling colored threads through cheap flour cloth.

When someone asks about the lilac yarn I am crocheting, I know it's not good to answer apologetically, "I don't know... it's a thing I started, and I'm not sure how much yarn I have, so I guess I'll know what it is when I run out... " and I probably add: "It's nothing." It's not good to be embarrassed, to feel desperate for a solid rationale for wanting to sew, for spending time doing something that has no deep meaning, or patron, that isn't going to a gallery, or Regretsy. I am not with Etsy. Heck, I haven't even mustered the confidence to believe I make Etsy-worthy stuff. I only know, I like to sew. I want to have fabric nearby, and too many shades of floss to choose from, and a new idea to try out, a sketch to stitch. And I want to not feel silly-goofy-apologetic about it.

Ah, cheese wiz, it's even silly to feel goofy about being silly... time to watch Adam Savage's Maker Faire address, the one when he implores us to make what we can't not make! He adds the Art in STEM: "Art is where it begins! Make what you want. It starts with what you want to have."

I want to put a bird on it. I want to have a little red work creation from my own hands, with my own design,

I want to build on picture books I've seen, stories I have imagined, and I want to make another part of a whimsical place, where mice trek with knapsacks, and carry charts.

I want to feel calm, and content, to be occupied with the feel of cotton, colors, even tangled floss.

I want to be amused.

I want to have an escape from the everyday, from worries, from stress, from things I cannot manage, but must live with. I want to see what I can do with what I have in my bag.

I want to be one of the makers who demonstrates that it's good to play, to tinker, to mess up, and try again, to teach, to inspire. I want to share a skill, encourage silliness, and feel good about enjoying the feel of crocheted rows, wool sheep, pointless things, like hen's teeth.

Time and materials are riches, luxuries, some of the best resources in my life, and it may very well be disrespectful, a squandering waste, to not enjoy them heartily.

Sewing makes me happy. My needles, and hooks, threads, and fabric make me happy. Sharing makes me happy.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Five Good Things

La Mano, again.

Artist: Karin Grow

Well, it's happened. We are here, Monday, and the long anticipated and deeply appreciated spring break is behind us. Done and gone. Kapoot.


Deep deep sigh.

I think this is the first time that Geoff's comp-time, earned during crunch-time, coincided with the children's school break. It meant more family time, more liberty, and togetherness. That was nice. It was also nice that Max could have three, or more, game days, and a sleepover, with friends. It was nice that family was in town, and we had a rousing game of Apples to Apples with cousin Elias... his marketing degree serves him quite well. It was nice seeing some movies, playing music, sharing silly videos from the Internet, staring blankly into space from the comfort of our lovely porch. It was nice visiting art shows, galleries, gardens, walking through parks. It was nice that no one got sick, or injured, or carried away by mosquitos. And it was very, very nice to only pack lunches for picnics, to have no mornings rushed, and afternoons harried by driving through school traffic! Thank goodness for breaks, for something different, for a change of pace.

Now we count the days 'til summer break? Too soon? It's about 68. Sometimes I think it's necessary to maintain two countdowns... one includes school days only, and the other for every single day between us and freedom! Well, there are forty-eight days in school, more or less.

The other day we were counting something else, too. Blog posts. Chickenblog posts since May 2002: 2,932. Maria was impressed, and she remarked how interesting it is that it began with one... 1 post, a single blog post, and I picked it up from there, noting how I doubled my posts in no time at all. From 1 or 4, even 10, it's not too difficult to double up, to make twice as many postings, eat twice as many chips, walk twice as many feet. But now... to write 2,932 more posts to Chickenblog? That would be quite a feat. Aloud, I pondered what if I wanted to double the number of posts written for Chickenblog, in one year... how many posts per day would that take? Alex paused a moment, then replied "About 8. Eight posts a day would do it."
{Don't worry. I have no intention of even trying for that record.}

Good Things...

1. Max did well on his SAT exam, which is a good thing, because he is adamant about not taking that again.

2. Alex found a dowel, which he used to attach the chicken he carved, to add to my walking stick that he made me for mother's day many years ago... now my walking stick is even more awesome.

3. Geoff wants to visit the Salton Sea, and Alex and I want to stop at the International Banana Museum, which we hope isn't too far from the World Famous Crochet Museum. So, obviously our summer plans are looking quite awesome thankyouverymuch.

4. We have four bottles of white glue, a bucket of brushes, boxes of paint, loads of glitter, and more... we are blessed, and quite a bit overstocked, but mostly blessed.

5. Perhaps we should take all of our good things and make more art, which would mean even more good things.

Are you counting down to something good? Are you in the middle of something good right now? Please share... we'd love to hear from you.