Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Warm House

After Annie's guests had all left her Halloween/Housewarming party today, she asked if our house was now warm.
It definitely feels warmer to me!

I just wish I could have gotten Vivi the hedgehog and Lily the cat in the picture too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Dark & the Light

That's what I love about Halloween. Life & Death. Trick or Treat? I guess there's not one without the other. Eh?

Annie loves this holiday. She isn't afraid of the dark side. She's asked six friends to come over and play and do funny Halloween stuff with her tomorrow afternoon, so today we made cookies and put up some streamers in preparation. I got a great recipe off of Cooks Illustrated for gingerbread and Ulla posted a great looking idea for decorating them, and that's exactly what we did. We made human bones and skeletons, a chicken skeleton and a few hearts. Now I just have to keep them away from Jasper until tomorrow.

I Consider You My Friend

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Don't Burst My Bubble

I find myself more and more anxious around this election.
Not that I follow the news or read the newspaper at all. I really only get headlines from my Yahoo! home page and they keep stating the lead of one presidential opponent over the other. Maybe I should change my homepage from here on out because I'm already on edge?

I really believe that all people yearn for peace, care for their fellow human, and crave a healthy planet. When I move out of my bubble, (of no T.V., news, etc.) like I did this week, I have a hard time believing that everyone wants it. Annie and I went to Central California for a few days, the Salad Bowl of our nation, and we came face to face with values so different from ours that I get scared. On more lawns than not, I saw bright yellow 'Yes! on 8' signs and I become aware of how conservative and republican a lot of California is.

I'm not so naive to think that Obama is all that different from McCain. They are both politicians, playing a global, and very established game, but I'll take Obama, and that small bit of difference if it means a slightly higher chance for peace, equality, and hope for the future. Besides, if you do catch the news wouldn't it be nice to see African American girls on the White House lawn, and a young energetic couple breaking the old horrible mold that has been this nations daily diet for far too long?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Roots & Shoots

Annie and I joined the East Bay chapter of Roots & Shoots. Roots & Shoots is a grass roots organization started by Jane Goodall as a way for kids to contribute to their community and to animals. Our first meeting/project is to make cat toys and dog treats and then a tour of the Berkeley Animal Shelter to distribute the home made goodies. Sadly, Annie and I will be out-of-town so we made toys today so that we could contribute even though we will be absent.

Earlier, I set out the toys we made to snap a photo to post with, then Annie and I stepped out for a dental appointment. When we got home, our cat had broken into the studio, played with all the toys and lay completely stoned on the ottoman with the floor littered with toys! Did I mention we filled them with catnip? Bill snapped the photo below before carrying her upstairs and putting her in bed where she slept all night through!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thimble Recommendation

I've always had a thimble (or two or three) in my sewing box. I've just never used one. They never feel right to me and seemed more work than they were worth. Maybe it's that I usually have longish nails, or that I'm just not used to it. Well, LaLa recently sent me a thimble and it is fantastic! I can wear it for long periods and it seems much more ergonomic than the thimble of yesterday. Now I get the whole thimble "thing!" It really does help if you are going through heavy fabrics, multiple layers, or repetitive stitches.
I believe this one was by the Clover company.

Thanks LaLa!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

All I Wanna Do

O.K. So I started the mural. And I can't stop! It's all I want to do! I'm still blocking in the first layers of basic colors and shapes and I have soooo far to go. I'll admit I've taken on an enormous challenge with this mural. A much bigger one than I anticipated. It is a whopping 32' in total length and to achieve the look I want, I will use a dry-brush technique (hardly any water, mostly paint) loading up the brush with a few colors to get a soft grassy look, one that is touched with the orange glow of sunset (or sunrise?). All of this on a ladder with the light changing constantly. I can only paint for about 30-40 minutes, at the most, each time I make a go of it. Then I'm pooped. My arms are getting a workout, so are my legs, my eyes and my brain.

On top of working on this exciting project, of course our life wants constant attention. Food to be made, dishes to be washed, hair to be brushed, brownies to be baked for the Homeschooler Obama Bake Sale (we made over $600!), animals to be fed, books to be read, phone calls to make, laundry etc.,etc. You know what I mean.

Since I find it hard to even walk through the dining room without picking up a brush, I'm trying not to go in there unless I can paint for a while. That is one way I'm trying to have balance (or restraint) with this project.

I feel nervous showing WIP photos because there is so much that will be different when completed (like the peachy sky, that's just a first layer) but I will post a few here so you can see what I'm up to. Oh, and if you didn't see the initial phase of sketches, you can find them here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Frida and Diego

Ever since we went to the Frida Kahlo show at MoMA, we've wanted to make some figures, based on the fairy dolls we love to create (only bigger), of Diego and Frida. We just finished last night! Diego stands a full nine inches, and Frida is seven and a half. Do you see the tiny hairless dog tucked into Frida's arm? Annie made it with Fimo, plus she made the jewelry you see her wearing. Annie also made a second set of shoes for each figure, and a second hat for Diego. The supplies we use are felted wool, wool roving, wood beads, embroidery floss, pipe cleaners, acrylic paint and Fimo. We used muted, earthy tones (our local wool supply is limited) and used the painting Frida did of their second wedding as our inspiration. The only items we didn't make are the clay flowers in Frida's hair. They are from Thailand.
(Thank you to the wonderful man at Castles in the Air!)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Saying Goodbye

But oh the joy to the one
Who captures the moonbeam
And holds it in her hands
For even one moment in time

-A. Walden

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"...and they called it poultry love..."

That's Annie and Nell snuggling up in the rocking chair. Annie has had her in bed too. I draw the line about chickens in bed. So far Annie has made several "Nell" movies with various characters as co-stars. I play a bit part in one of them. It's really me in the background trying to keep Jasper on a down stay. He's painfully jealous of the chickens and moans, yips and all out barks when Annie is playing with them.

And no. We haven't had an egg yet.

I'm hopeful.

And I'm not surprised, considering