Saturday, May 31, 2008

"Great art ...

... picks up where nature ends." A quote by Marc Chagall. This was the artist we studied for the last art lesson for Anna's class. We looked at his work and talked about the colors and surrealism in the works.

I had found a great lesson on the internet. I gave them directions one at a time. First, they had to write the quote around the edge of their paper. Then, they had to turn the paper and draw a house. Then, they had to turn the paper again and draw themselves holding something they liked. Next, turn the paper again and they had to draw a tree(s) or flower(s). Then, turn the paper again and draw a sun or moon with a face (or both or half and half). Color in with oil pastels. Here are a few of the kids' works. I think they are great.

The top one in the picture below is the one Anna's teacher did.

I didn't want to show the kids an example because sometimes they just copy what you do. The instructions were so specific anyway, they didn't really need one. During class I help the kids and answer their questions and give suggestions. I don't get to work on anything.

This one looked so fun, though, that I did it at home in my sketch book. I used color pencils instead of pastels. Here is mine below. (Ooo, I just noticed I did the quote wrong! Oh well, maybe I was thinking of leaves and nature.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008


There's something to be said about routine. Some would say that it is pretty boring. Some might say it is necessary. Anna needs routine. It makes her feel comfortable to have familiarity and know what to expect. My routine seems to revolve around other people. I have the routine of getting Anna to and from school, to and from her after school activities and making dinner (most of the time). I have some semi-routines like teaching art lessons at the school (which sometimes the time changes based on the teacher's needs). I try to go to yoga every Monday night, but this can change if Frank has a meeting, is out of town or will be home late from work.

My work at the museum is not routine at all. I usually only know when they might need me a few months (or weeks) beforehand. Then, I don't always know how long it will take us. Sometimes it is longer than I plan, sometimes shorter. I also try to go once a week to volunteer when I'm not getting paid. I try to go on the same day but that gets changed with school activities, appointments or other things that come up.

For the past few weeks, I was trying to keep the routine of going to the Y one or two days to take a NIA class (they have it in the morning on two days). That has now changed because I'm working this week, next week and maybe the next week and then the week after that.

School is out next week and that always reeks havoc on any routine. I have to try to find camps for Anna when they want me to work at the museum, as well as others she just wants to take. I was trying to not have her go to too many camps this summer. But now with my work in June, it looks like she won't have very many weeks free. We also have several trips planned this summer.

What I really would like to concentrate on is creating my own routine, especially for working on my art. I realize I have about four jobs: mother/wife, art teacher/yearbook coordinator, curatorial assistant, artist. I'd rather have the artist part be my main work and I need to figure out to set up a routine to make this happen. I don't see how I can possibly do it during the summer (unless it is after everyone is in bed!). That's my goal and I will work on it but it will probably be easier to do in the fall.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Paper Beads

Do you ever wander around the internet and then wonder how you got somewhere? I do. One day I ended up at this site called Beads for Life. They sell beads that are made from paper by African women to help them support themselves. I think I might buy some.

Do you ever get so overwhelmed with all the things you need to do that you just go and start something you don't need to do? This week that is how I have been feeling. When I have had a little bit of time, I have been making paper beads. In the past, I have made paper beads. After going to the site above, I thought I would try it again.

Here are some of my beads. The woman bead was one I made several years ago from a craft book from the library. I just wanted to see how it would turn out. It is made from construction paper and took quite a bit of time to do. It is the only one I made. It is coated but the color has faded a little.

The others are made from magazine pages, specifically art magazine pages that I had saved to make envelopes with. But they ended up as beads instead. They have not been coated yet.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cirque de Soleil

We have not gone south for the holiday weekend to Las Vegas. Home is where we are spending are time. However, we know the Cirque de Soleil performs in Las Vegas and we have seen one of their performances on TV (public television?). I always thought it would be awesome to see them.

Yesterday was our chance, as they had a traveling group of Cirque de Soleil come to our little city of Boise. I purchased very expensive tickets (probably not as expensive as Vegas) and we went to the performance yesterday. It was quite enjoyable and they did some amazing things. I don't think it was quite as extensive as it would be in Vegas.

I think most of the expense of the tickets when to the set up and the costumes. What I noticed was that they were great at the art of distraction. You would be watching something and not realize that they had brought something in or taken out some props (most of the time).

The other thing I notice was how meticulously everything was planned and practiced. You could tell every move was choreographed. It wasn't sold out because they are here for five days, which I think is a little much for Boise. They probably would do better with just three shows. It was fun.

We also managed to do a little more shuffling. Anna and I got her toy storage plastic bins cleaned out so we could move the dresser from the sewing room into her room and fill it with clothes. Toy storage is now in the garage pending a decision on what to do with it. Some plastic organizers that were holding some of Anna's clothes will probably get shuffled to the downstairs closet or garage. The shuffle continues and who knows how long it will take for the game to end.

Today we did a bit more planting in the yard as the weather is nice and cool. Tonight Anna is having a friend over to spend the night. Tomorrow will be grocery shopping and hopefully some work on art!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ta Da!

I want you all to look at these pictures carefully. It is the first, and probably only, time my sewing room will look this neat (dare I even say, professional?). As you can see, I have completed step 7 from the previous post and filled up the cubicals. I took out a bookshelf and dresser and organized a little bit so I have this "new" space. All my fabric came out of drawers, closets, bookshelves and is now consolidated onto the cubes (o.k. some fabric for unfinished projects are elsewhere.)

It took me a morning to build the cubes and a day and a half to get the fabric neatly onto the shelves. I had to refold all the fabric to fit. It took me another day to get the rest of the space in order. Let me take you on a tour.

This first picture is seen as you are walking into the room. There is the ironing board and then one of those fold up tables to cut on. One side is folded down the other side is up. Then, my lovely new cubes with neatly folded and color coordinated (mostly) fabric. (We'll see how long that lasts.)

Turning toward the left. More lovely fabric and the design wall that we put up in stage one of the sewing room re-do. What I noticed as I was going through my fabrics was that I tended to have a lot of medium values, not much light or dark. I have a lot of greens and blues (although I never seem to use much blue). For prints, I have lots of oriental, African looking prints, modern geometric type and some small florals. An eclectic mix. This looks like a lot of fabric, and it is. But it is about 15 years worth.

Turning more to the left, you see my sewing machine and cabinet, then a blanket chest, which actually has blankets in it. Someday I would like to put two small storage units on wheels here instead. Then if I am quilting something very large, I could roll them over to the back side of my sewing cabinet and use them to help support the fabric. I can do that with the blanket chest as well, but it is not quite convenient.

Looking from behind the sewing area toward the blanket chest, there is the closet that has the closed door, because that part has not been cleaned out and re-organized yet. I forgot to take a picture of the installed track lights, but you can see one here.

Now looking back out the door. Ignore the unorganized supplies in the sewing cabinet. They need some work, too.

Back to the cutting table corner and this completes our tour. I hope you have enjoyed your visit!

(Now if I could just get the art studio upstairs to look like this!)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How to Put Together "Cubicals"

Step 1: Purchase ready to assemble Cubicals.

Step 1.5: Make sure husband and kid are not in house.

Step 2: Open box and sort out all supplies (make sure you have everything you are suppose to have before you start). Find instructions and read them. Get power tool to make things go faster.

Step 3: Start assembling according to directions.

Step 4: Finish and put into place. Say "Yippee!"

Step 5: Repeat.

Step 6: Repeat again.

Step 7: Fill cubes (stay tuned).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Slow Day

I think the heat and cycling yesterday really wiped us out. All three of us have been tired and dragging today. I did manage to go to the grocery store (always a chore). We also managed to install the old track lighting in the sewing/guest room. Now I will be able to have more directed light (when I get some light bulbs).

For quite a while I have been wanting to complete the remodel of the sewing room by building shelves with some environmentally friendly wood, or finding some used storage items that could be converted to my vision. But frustration finally set in today as I have not found anything suitable. Since I want to get that room in order, I went to Target and bought some of their cubicle pieces. Anna has some in her room and I think they are pretty nice. (Frank wouldn't let me steal any of the bookshelves from the living room). So I guess my big project tomorrow will be to clean up all the ceiling dust that's all over from installing the lights and put together the cubicles and get organized! I hope I have more energy than I had today.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bike day

This week has been Boise Bike week. There have been many events planned over the course of the week to promote cycling. Today was the finale.

We left our house this morning on our bikes around 10 a.m. First we headed down to the Warm Springs neighborhood yard sale. There were lots of people walking up and down the avenue. I only found a CD of French songs and a bike tube (which I had just bought three the day before). Frank found some tools. Anna found nothing.

After browsing we rode downtown to get lunch at the very busy Brick Oven Bistro (or The Beanery as some of us still call it). Saturday market was going on so Anna found something after all, a pendant.

After lunch we went to the Green Expo which was right there at the Grove as well. We got several brochures and stickers. The day was heating up. We were getting ready to leave when I saw my front tire was flat. Good thing I had just bought those tubes (I had a flat earlier in the week which is why I knew we needed some. My rim liner was punctured which was causing the flats).

Fortunately, they had bike people there to help with repairs and stuff. They had some electrical tape we could put over the rim spot. Frank changed the tube, but they had a nice pump to use (so much easier than the portable pumps we have on the bikes that take forever to pump up). Once fixed, we headed down the river a ways. . .

so we could put our feet in the freezing water. It felt good but was the kind of cold that makes your feet and legs numb.

Who's that handsome guy?

Since Frank and Anna had split a lunch and Anna was hungry again. We went back downtown to get some croquetas, a local Basque specialty that Anna just loves and we don't get that often.

On her arm, it says "Keep it local. Think Boise First." That was from the Green Expo. We also got a sticker (which you can kind of see on the top of Anna's visor) which says we were carbon neutral because we had ridden our bikes there.

When snack time was over, we headed toward Bogus Basin road where the Pedal Parade was starting, as we were planning to participate. The mention in the papers wasn't specifically clear about times. So when it said Pedal Parade at 4 p.m., we thought that meant the parade started at four. We were there about 3:15 p.m. because you had to sign a waiver and we thought there would be tons of people.

There was nobody there yet. Across the street we went to get a cold drink from the coffee shop (smoothie and italian soda). It was a very hot day today. After a while we started to see other cyclists trickle in. I think they meant start gathering for the parade at 4 p.m.

We were hoping there would be hundreds of cyclists. Frank estimated that there was maybe around 100. We were also a little disappointed because we didn't see many "crazy" or homemade bikes. We did see this guy with his old fashioned bike. Anna and Frank were one of three or four tandem bikes.

I think around 4:30 is when we actually set off for the parade. We all rode down 13th St. into downtown , up 9th street and over to Julia Davis park. I was hoping we would have a police escort so the group could stay all together to make a bigger impression (and the silly motorcycle rallies always get traffic stopped for them). But no, not even the bicycle police. So the group got divided by stop lights. There were kids and adults of all ages riding.

At Julia Davis park, they had free pizza, salad, strawberries and drinks for us. We also received a free t-shirt when we turned in our waiver.
After dinner, they had a drawing for some small items and a drawing for a bike and Bob trailer. The drawing for the bike and trailer included every participant throughout all the events of the week and you didn't have to be present to win those. Of course, we didn't win anything.

I had Anna take a picture of me and Frank, just to show that I was along for the ride, too. Sometimes I remember to do that. Just ignore the helmet head hair!

It was 95 degrees today and we were riding up Shaw Mountain road during the hottest part of the day. We arrived home around 6:30 p.m. A great way to end bike week.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bits and Pieces

I am still working on what I am calling my Recycle series. Here is something I did today. Can you guess what it is I used? (answer at end of post).

This is some embroidery I am going to use in a different piece. I don't think I've ever really done embroidery like this (I really don't do embroidery at all), but this was what I thought I needed for my idea. It is done on a piece of old cotton/linen shirt that I tried to tea dye. I started with just a little bit of colored pencil on the tree before I started stitching. I guess I could have made it a little darker.

Answer: tape from a cassette tape. Yes, I still have a few cassette tapes and a tape player on which to play them!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


This is my 200th post. I haven't been doing so well about writing daily, lately, but life does keep me busy. Happy Belated Mother's day to all the moms out there. We went camping this past weekend in the Owyhee mountain area. For those of you who have been to Silver City, it is out in that area.

We drove on the Owyhee back country byway and camped along the north fork of the Owyhee river. There were still little patches of snow in some places and the breeze was quite cool. The sun was out and everything was beautiful (and the grasses and shrubs were still green).

There were about five other groups of people camping at the campground. We arrived in time to get a nice spot by the river. We saw lots of wildlife on our drive: one antelope, one badger, three deer, two mountain bluebirds (this is the Idaho state bird but they, obviously, live in the mountains so we rarely see them), turkey vultures, falcons or hawks, two hummingbirds, some other yellow birds, and quite a few prairie dogs.

I think Anna's favorite thing to do on the trip was eat! She could hardly wait to make s'mores. Then I realized I had forgotten the graham crackers. Bummer. She managed to eat plenty of marsh mellows anyway and just stuck the chocolate pieces right into the marsh mellow after it was roasted.

We did have one banana left. So I made a banana boat. It has been a long time since we have been camping so we forgot a few things, like trash bags.

It was a little chilly in the morning, but not unbearable.

Frank did all the camp cooking, as he usually does. So that was a nice Mother's day gift.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Sneak Peek

The weather has been very nice. We have been enjoying walking home from school. We have some sprouts in our garden. I have been working on some things inside though. I'm progressing slowly on my scrapbook. However, I am almost finished with the water piece I am doing in conjunction with the Twelve by Twelve group. Here is a sneak peek below. I just have to finish the binding and it will be completed.

I am also still trying to work with the recycled or found materials. Here is a sneak peek of a piece I worked on today. You may recognize those red circles because this is several plastic bags ironed together. Yes, I ironed them outside so I wouldn't get overwhelmed by fumes. It might have looked a little funny to the neighbors with me ironing in the driveway. The black outline is stitching I have started to do. The edge of the orangish (is that a word?) flower is from something else that I appliqued on.

Monday, May 5, 2008


After my New Orleans trip, I think I mentioned I would show you what I made for my college house-mates. I thought I had taken a picture but couldn't find it. Anyway, this is a similar picture. I made them all fabric picture frames like these with a magnet on the back for their refrigerator or file cabinet. The ones below are the ones I made for the yearbook kids. They are smaller and also have magnets on the back and will work in lockers. They thought it was pretty cool.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


I don't have any pictures for you today. Today I will just talk about them. I think National Scrapbook Day is one day this weekend. Archiver's sent me a flyer that says it is Friday, Saturday and Sunday, at least that is when they are celebrating. I have not scrapbooked for a very, very, long time. I use to do it and have lots of albums for proof. But my pictures have been piling up and haven't seen the light of day in ages.

I have decided to make an effort to get our pictures from our Holland cycling trip from last summer completed before we go on our Germany cycling trip this summer. I figure if I don't get them finished, I would start getting them mixed up later on. Today I started working on it. I already had spent some time months ago sorting the pictures and trip ephemera into groups so I could just grab a group and start. I only finished two layouts today as I also had to go to the grocery store. Then, I wanted to print out some more copy on the computer.

I hope that by working on this album, I will get back into it. Then try to get somewhat caught up on Anna pictures and other trips and everyday pictures. I have a big task ahead of me. I might even go to the scrapbook store this weekend!