Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy leapers

Frogs are the best leapers I know so I've included a few here in the spirit of the day. These are murals I painted in our playroom a few years back. I think this is what is really going on in that frog pond when we turn our backs.

If there is any day that you can justify picking up a good book it would be today. I mean it IS a special four-year-rarity.

Or how about just taking some time to look around in places you haven't been for awhile?

Go deserve it.

Take one or two of those
extra 24 and do something fun.
I'd recommend taking at least two.
We'll have to give one back in
a few weeks to spring ahead.

Here's hopping you have
a great February 29th!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

For the Squirrels

With another free Saturday morning and three anxious kids, we went back to Lowes Kid's Clinics for more wood building fun. This was the perfect project for us. Years ago, I gave up trying to feed the birds. The squirrels practically attacked any poor winged creature trying to get a bite from our bird feeders. We have squirrels the size of small dogs who are more limber and agile than the very best circus performers. When we had a bird feeder hanging from the deck, I ended up taking it down. The squirrels would catapult off the deck railing, swing the feeder back and forth, raid the seed and then do a Mary Lou Retton off the feeder back down to the ground. The noise was ridiculous and the entertainment factor got old quick. So today we surrendered. I guess the people at Lowes also recognize that a bird feeder at our house is useless. We waved our white flags and painted colorful squirrels on the top of our feeders to welcome back our pesky friends.

With this blend we're talking McDonald's vs. The Precinct, but we have to feed our kids too. Besides the squirrels around here don't seem to mind.

The squirrel feeders add little spots of color to the monochromatic landscape of winter. While I appreciate the subtle tones of winter, I have to admit that I'm a color person (did ya notice?!) I can hardly wait for traces of spring to start peeking out. And with summer up next, our feeders will soon blend right into the landscape. For now they're a reminder of the color (and warmth!) to come.

Welcome back furry friends. Birds you're invited as always...that is if you can sneak in a bite or two.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

First Cut

Look out fingers! For the next month, this is what I'll be doing a lot of. Red Bull's Art of Can comes early in 2008. Last year in Chicago was such a great time, that I can hardly hold myself back from giving the art competition another shot. This year AOC is in Houston from July 11-25.

My entry is well underway. The concept, planning and initial construction are all complete so now I'm ready to can cut. I've pushed myself a little further this time, now that I've figured out some of the basics of can art construction. This year's entry has an electrical element that I think is going to be pretty cool. I'll have to keep you in suspense for a month or two. Cross your fingers that "it" makes the cut.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

the strep party

alright so I can just hear your reaction as you pull up this entry..."what the...?!" And I do apologize for the extremes between my last post (mushy heart) and this post (medical looking throat)...but to be really honest I'm giggling just a little. Actually—if you can believe it—the two back-to-back posts relate! The above is what kept my husband and I from enjoying Friday night out to celebrate Valentines Day. Sitter lined up, reservations made and then came the fever and the throat pain from our eldest daughter. Immediately I knew what was going on. No ESP needed. Cara had been on two different antibiotics in the last 5 weeks to battle strep throat. As soon as she finished a 10-day prescription, the symptoms would reappear and a strep test quickly confirmed that the bugs were back (or maybe never left). On this latest visit to the doctor, we could choose between another 10 days of twice-a-day medicating or one quick shot. Cara picked the 10 days. I picked the shot. So Cara got the super penicillin shot. Hopefully, Cara will win round three with the strep guys. Once we got back home Friday afternoon, she asked me exactly what everything was in the back of her throat (including that mysterious hanging thingy in the middle) causing all of this torture. I tried my best to explain it all to her in my usual pen and paper way. That's when I thought, 'hey this would make an interesting blog entry...surely other Moms and Dads get these questions from their kids.' Well here you go.

This is my unscientific portrayal of the streptococcal bacteria. Isn't this what they're doing? having a party? All of that dancing around back there has got to hurt. Brendan and I have had our tonsils removed. I know that doesn't make us immune to strep throat, but I think tonsils make for more spaces and places for the strep guys to hang out. Anyway, let's hope Cara can get rid of the green guys this time. Enough already!! And Mike and I are going to try to get out tonight for our belated Valentine's dinner.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day

A more sophisticated heart..after all Valentines is for parents too! Here's to Mom and Dad's night out at a restaurant that doesn't have crayons, placemats to write on, booster seats, crackers shaped like fish and/or cups with lids. Have a day filled with lots of L*O*V*E.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

You've Got Mail

This past weekend we did a first. The planets all aligned. We actually had a nowhere-to-be, nothing-to-do Saturday morning. While at Lowes earlier in the week, I noticed a sign for Kid's Clinics. So feeling adventurous and free my husband and I, along with our three kids plus an extra kid friend, hopped in the van and headed for Lowes to build Valentine mailboxes. I brought my camera thinking I would capture some onsite building. But that could have meant sacrificing one of the 40 fingers we were trying to keep our eyes on. As a result, no pix exist from the actual clinic...too many hammers flying around. Believe me.

We completed four really cute Valentine mailboxes at the store. As we were leaving, the Lowes people handed out leftover kits from past clinics. We brought back home lots of projects and spent the rest of Saturday happily hammering away in our garage/workshop. If you have a Lowes around and have never been to a kid's clinic, I highly recommend checking it out. The kids get aprons and a badge (kind of like brownies or cub scouts) for each project they complete. And it's all free!

The best part about it all is the sense of pride and accomplishment that kids get from actually building and constructing wood projects. There is big time satisfaction that comes with swinging a real hammer—with adult supervision of course. The next clinic around here is on February 23rd. We're pretty excited about going again as we'll be building squirrel feeders. And boy oh boy have we got squirrels to feed.

While the Lowes mailboxes were very cute, they won't work for collecting Valentines at school in a couple of days. We need larger enclosed type boxes to hold all of those love notes and candy attachments from classmates. I made the mailboxes above for my school age kids out of recycled dry food boxes. I covered the boxes with fabric and embellished with felt scraps, ribbon and lace. The openings at the tops are lined with fake fur (Brendan's) and fabric (Cara's) to prevent peeking. Right now we're working on the task of addressing cards to friends and adhering candy to the envelopes. Actually Cara finished this activity in an afternoon some time ago. Brendan can handle about five cards per night so we're still working to complete his class list. Ahhhh...the excitement of Valentines Day....and hang tight squirrels, you'll have your treats—in your very own feeders (no stealing from the birds)—in a week or so.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Dear Mother Nature...

With all due respect Mother Nature, your chaotic weather is making me C*R*A*Z*Y. I realize that we humans are partly to blame... breaking down the ozone layer and all, but really. Last week we had days in the single digits. Yesterday, it was almost 60 degrees. Today, the wind is howling with a sporadic rain and at 7:45am the temperature is 55 degrees—in February in Ohio! My kids and I are painstakingly trying to figure out what they should go to school in.

The meterologists say by mid-afternoon the temps will drop back down in the 40s. Will the kids make it through recess if I send them in spring jackets? Or will falling degrees make them yearn for warmer winter jackets before I can pick them up from school? And just how trustworthy is my local weather channel? Will you play a fast one on those poor weather forecasters that try so hard to figure out what you're going to do next?

Forget about the days when you rolled out one season's wardrobe at a time. Now we must have spring, summer, fall and winter dress ready at a moments notice. My 1950s coat closet sure isn't big enough for this. I'll agree that predictability is boring, but even the plants don't know if they should sprout or rest.

Well, that's my whine for today. Maybe it's the rain making me cranky. Or maybe it's lack of sleep. The weather sirens went off
last night at 1:30am to alert me that severe thunderstorms were moving in. that sunlight starting to fill my windows?!? hmmmm...what was I complaining about again?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

baby Kings and baby Queens

This weekend was about signing off on proofs (design work) and putting the finishing touches on my January baby tile orders that just arrived back from the kiln. I've been selling these 8" x 8" tiles (along with a wedding version) for several years. After having two little queens and one little king I've learned that they are the real rulers of the house/castle.

There is a scary number of beads that live in our house. I would not doubt that if they were lined up they could stretch across Ohio and maybe even back again. They are all organized by color which makes them all the more attractive and irresistible to me.

How precious is a New Year's baby? Here I'm stringing the carefully chosen beads on this tile's wire hanger. It's like the icing on a cake. As is signing off on projects that I enjoy while I'm doing, but somewhere along the way seem like they will never bid farewell to my desk or my studio.

The best part is now I can make room for new endeavors. I can hardly wait to get started on that one.