Saturday, March 29, 2008

Adventures await

We are moving into adventures!

Chris has arrived in Shanghai. He called me when he reached his hotel this morning (8 am our time, 10 pm Shanghai time), exhausted and ready for bed. He purposely did not sleep on any of the flights, so that he could go to bed on Shanghai time and minimize the jet lag. He is there as an invited speaker for an education conference. I know that he was nervous about the trip before he left, but I think he will have an interesting time of it. The conference planners have arranged a guided tour of the city today. It boggles my mind to imagine the streets of Shanghai. I would be snapping a million pictures. I put in my requests for silk and/or ephemera (Cultural Revolution stuff, postcards, comic books ... the guide books make these treasures sound fairly available, so I'm hoping he manages to gather some goodies for me!).

My camera has gone to Shanghai as well. It was really, really hard to hand it over. I think Chris was hesitant even to ask for it, because he knew how much I've come to rely on it. A friend is loaning me a camera, though -- whew!

The camera will be put to work right away, because Ross and I will be off on our own adventure. It's spring break, and we are headed to Seattle, leaving tomorrow, returning Wednesday. It's high time we get a taste of the big city! We're going to do the touristy stuff, of course -- our hotel is right by the Space Needle. We're planning on seeing the Pacific Science Center, Pike Place Market, perhaps the aquarium, and Chinatown. I don't want to be rushed, feeling obligated to hit every spot on our list. Ross and I do best if we are relaxed and explore what catches our eyes in the moment. That's only natural, I suppose. I envision savoring the sights, enjoying the time with my son, eager to hear his take on what we see.

Gotta go pack! I'm looking forward to blogging about it all when we return.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Peace sign contest

Art activity!

Sign making

Every year, my church has a bunch of lawn signs printed up, and folks decorate them and put them up on the church lawn. This year, we decided to have a peace sign decorating contest. The winners will be determined by which signs get the most votes. (One dollar = one vote -- half of the money will help pay for the sign printing, and the other half will go to Seeds of Compassion, a Seattle event that will promote education in compassion for children and families.)

The "Inner Peace" side of the sign is painted, collaged with magazine and catalog images, and has a beaded & quilted heart in the center. (Gotta have some beads!)

(Click on the image for a larger view. I had to make the sign photos small to fit on the blog page.)

Inner Peace Sign

Beaded heart (close up)

The "World Peace" side is covered with a rainbow of alcohol inks; more white hearts surround the words.

World Peace Sign

Peace sign hearts (close-up #2)

I was going to collage on this side, but the alcohol inks are so bright and funky (groovy!) that I needed to do something more subtle -- hence, the white hearts. I added the one heart to the "inner peace" side to tie it all together.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Scenes from my life

I've joined a Flickr group call "Life It Photos." It encourages us to take snapshots of where we are in our life, right now. I like the spontaneity of it, and I find myself paying more attention, looking more closely at what I see as I move through my day.

The flocks of birds are back, but it's so hard to get a photo! My camera makes too much noise when it starts up, and the birds fly away. Still, I was fast enough to catch a few in flight.

Birds fleeing bush

This morning, I noticed how lovely the orange juice looked in the sunlight, and so I had to take a picture! I just had to smile at how silly, and yet how fun, it was to take a photo while making breakfast. It feels good to notice that moment of beauty in my life.

breakfast juice

Exploring all the sides

As I edited photos this morning, I realized that my boy is exploring all the sides of his personality. One side, happily showing off his Easter eggs:

Another side, posing with the light saber that his dad has made:

He is dramatic, intense, relishing the dark moment. It is good to recognize all of it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Grateful, in this moment

My gratitude list, at this very moment:
  • Big, wet flakes of snow are falling this morning. I admit, I was initially horrified. But then I started to giggle, and I have been giggling about this beautiful absurdity every time I look out the window.
  • I am grateful for Craigslist. I've been shopping for a hutch or armoire to store art supplies, and while I haven't found the right piece yet, it's been great to read the ads, look at the pictures, and talk with sellers. It feels more human, you know? And, I can save gas and stay out of the weather.
  • I am so grateful for people who put themselves out there with honesty, openness, enthusiasm, and even tenderness. I am blessed with some wonderful friends who aren't afraid to show the world who they are. Then there are the bloggers, including Liz Elayne, Yolanda, Karen Maezen Miller, Anita, and Nina. (Bonus: if you're looking for Easter recipes, check out the comments on this post of Nina's.) Also, so many of the folks on Flickr, who are happy to share what they've done and how they've done it, and love to spread their enthusiasm for photography.
  • I am grateful for play! I get so fired up when I let myself play. Joy is here, in every moment, and play helps us to remember that.
  • I am grateful for the arrival of spring. (Even if it is snowing right now!)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Seed pods and crocuses

Seed pods and crocuses

Dark purple crocuses are sprouting underneath the Japanese maple in our back yard. I noticed that seed pods from a large weed have decayed, deconstructed into a delicate lattice. It seems fitting to put them in a photo with the crocuses -- the old season making way for the new.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Crocuses through the leaves

I try really hard not to invade people's yards to take photographs, but I have to admit that sometimes I sneak onto private property when I find a shot irresistible. These crocuses were too lovely to pass up. The folks were getting ready to leave the house, putting their large dog inside their house. I walked by slowly, biding my time. Once they drove off, I did an about-face and kneeled in the muck while their dog woofed from inside. I should have simply asked their permission! I get shy at the weirdest times.

Mushroom in a moss forest

I went on a photography expedition yesterday. I took about a million pictures, but I only loved a couple of them. I'm totally enchanted with this mushroom -- one tiny fungus, hanging out on a rock wall with tons and tons of moss.

A personality test for the Irish in you

What Your Shamrock Says About You

You are charming, witty, and larger than life.

At times, you can be a bit impatient and inflexible. You don't like to be distracted.

You don't really consider yourself a lucky person. In your view, people create their own luck.

You are stylish, in a classic sort of way. You are particular about how you like things.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Experimenting with flower yo-yos

I've been a sloth as far as art goes. I've taken out some unfinished projects, hoping that they'd give me a jump-start, but they haven't fired me up. (Maybe they're unfinished because they're not all that inspiring?) Some would-be fabric postcards have been mildly interesting. I had fused these pinks and greens to a stiff interfacing eons ago.

Well, I don't want to make more postcards right now. I find it very hard to make things flat enough to mail. I want three dimensions! I thought it could be fun to add some flower yo-yos to these cards, plus use them as practice pieces for machine quilting. So, I've made a few yo-yos, done a little quilting, and am playing around with what to do next. The yo-yos aren't attached yet.

I have an idea about making bigger yo-yos into "flower people," so we'll see where that goes....


Chaplin visited my pots and pans yesterday. He has a habit of jumping into open cupboards whenever he can. "Hey, what's in here?"

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Glorious flower photos

If you want to gaze upon some amazing flower photos, let me point you to my new favorite Flickr group, The Secret Life of Plants. There are some outstanding photographers in this group -- you won't be disappointed!

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Gathering for Peace

My church hosted a peace gathering on Saturday. It was a small but delightful group of folks who showed up for sacred dance, sign decorating, a potluck dinner, and a movie. We watched Peace One Day, an eighty-minute documentary (well worth watching if you've ever wondered about what one person can do for peace!).

Here are some photos from the event:

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Zen wisdom for the day

Buddhism is not about attaining some perfect, other place of peace and calm. Buddhism is about realizing that the place you’re already at is peaceful and calm if you would just stop screaming and throwing dishes.

-- Karen Maezen Miller, interviewed by Jen Lemen on her blog

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Say ahh

Weird self-portrait for the day:

Those blue things between my teeth are spacers -- essentially, small rubber bands or o-rings, crammed between my teeth to make space for the metal bands to come. I am getting partial braces. I have some very crooked teeth, but never opted for braces. But now I've got one back molar being worn away by my crossbite, so I've got to get it fixed or face losing the tooth. The orthodonist gave me the option of full braces as well, but let's just say that we need a down payment for a new car far more than I need all my teeth to be straight.

I am finally starting to get some energy back. I'm making signs for a peace gathering on Saturday, so I've been gessoing cardboard boxes and painting some backgrounds.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Climbing into March

Ross and I both came down with a stomach bug on Sunday morning. Ross was well enough to go to school today, but I'm still dragging a bit. Before I take a nap, I want to post a few pictures....

Chris and I loved how Chaplin arranged himself on his royal throne (aka Chris' pillow).

Saturday, Ross tried out the rock-climbing wall at REI. He has decided that he loves to climb.

A neighbor's snowdrops

Spring is coming!