Friday, March 1

Hawaiian Flora


My sister and BIL have an orchard behind their house.  We took a stroll through it.  The fruits that grow there are so different than what grows here in the Pacific NW.  An orchard here could have apples, pears, cherries, peaches, plums.  Have a look at what is found in Hawaii -

Avocado Tree
Dried Banana Leaf
Meyer Lemon
Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia Nuts
From Top to bottom:
Avocado tree (my dream!) bananas (love the huge purple blossom) Dried banana leaves are fun, Meyer lemon, papaya tree, macadamia nuts on the tree, mac nut from the ground, guava, open guava.

The orchard is complete with wild pigs who show up at night to eat the macadamia nuts that have fallen from the trees.  How they get them open is a mystery to me.  My sister told me there is going to be a reality show about wild pig hunters on the Big Island.  Who knew? 

Wednesday, February 27

Right Now: Late February


Listening . . .to this song.  It is my most current repeat play.  She is 16 years old.  What were you doing when you were 16?  Yeah, me too.  Definitely not heading up a super cool band.  Just read about her in Rolling Stone.  Very different - in a good way.

Remembering . . .our wonderful trip to Hawaii to visit my sister and her family.  Just the girls and I went.  It was great to see the cousins getting to know each other again. 

Reading . . .this for my Book Club.  Last month we read this, which was good.  I also finished #2 in the Hunger Games series.  Can't wait to start #3.  Things better work out for Katniss or I'll be pissed. 

Eating . . .trashy food.  That's right.  Last weekend we gathered with the neighbors for another themed dinner - trashy food.  Or food inspired by trashy food. If that makes any sense.  I'll share the menu soon.

Enjoying . . .my drawing class.  Or I was until we started 1 point and 2 point perspective.  That is some tricky stuff.  I'd much rather draw a bunch of boxes instead of a hallway.  Ugh.


Playing . . .games.  My 6 year old is obsessed with games these days.  Candy Land, Bird Bingo, Uno and Pass the Pigs are her current favs.

Coveting . . .a healthy left foot.  I've been dealing with plantar fasciitis for about 3 months now and I AM SOOO DONE WITH IT.  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be done with me.  It is shockingly debilitating and painful.  Done, so done with pain. I feel broken, shuffling around like an old lady. 

Tropical Flowers

Watching. . . this series.  Only 2 seasons!!  WAH! So smart and funny.  But he is coming to Seattle, going to have to make that happen.  I also watched this documentary with my sis and BIL.  It was fascinating.  Bryce and I just saw this (thanks to my in-laws for watching the girls.)  The first 1/3 was amazing.  Bradly Cooper was great.  Then it turned into a typical romantic comedy.  Too bad.

Thinking . . . about this blog.  Will I keep writing?  What will become of it?  I'm not sure right now.

Making . . . a first grade art project for the school auction.  I'll post details. . . hopefully.  Said the unreliable blogger. 

What about you?  Where are you right now?

Monday, January 28

Skiing Saturdays


It is ski season and we are up on the mountain every Saturday so the girls can have lessons (and we can ski!!)  We perfected our routine last year - lessons in the morning, pizza lunch in the lodge, family skiing afterwards.  It is amazing to me how much progress the girls make with each lesson.  Audrey was turning after her first lesson this season!  Last year she was using a deep snow plow and going straight down the mountain.  Last weekend we saw that she's started straightening her skis on her turns!  Eva is interested in getting a hockey stop down so she can spray her dad with snow. 

I have new skis this year, a Christmas present from Bryce.   I am no longer the creepy old person with looong, pointy, 20 year old skis.  These new wide, short skis really do make turning easier.

It is hard to believe we only have 2 more lessons left.  6 weeks goes by in a blink of the eye. 

Friday, January 25

A Student Once Again

I mentioned in my Year in Review post that I'm back at school.  I need 15 credits to reinstate my teaching certificate.  Last quarter I took 5 credits, this quarter I'm taking 5 and spring I'll take my last 5 credits.  What I didn't mention is that I've been taking art classes.  In addition to reinstating my certificate I'm working toward a teaching endorsement in visual art. The endorsement requires 35 art credits.

Last quarter I took an Art Appreciation class.  We spent 3 days in the lecture hall looking at slides and going through (quickly) the history of art.  The other 2 days of the week we were in the art room where we experimented with different art media - drawing, painting, linoleum block printing. I thought the hands on aspect of this class was a great compliment to the lectures.  When we were learning about linear perspective and seeing how the masters did it, in the lab we were trying it out for ourselves.  Thought I'd share a few projects from that class.  I didn't save all of them . . .some were just too hideous.

In this assignment we had to complete 2/3rds of a black and white photo.  I used a photo I took of a stack of rocks.  I drew a grid on the photo and my paper to help me.  
still life
This project required us to set up a 3 piece still life. I chose the most simple shapes I could find.
A color wheel of course.  This was my first time using acrylic paints.  I didn't realize I could use water with them.  Therefore this turned out looking thick and uneven.  

Linoleum block print.  I did the head of this exquisite corpse.  The surrealists developed the idea of the exquisite corpse, folding a piece of paper in thirds and completing either the head, torso, or legs before handing it off to another artist.   Carving a block really makes you think about positive and negative space since what you carve is white (no ink) and what you leave is black.  Not to mention you print the mirror image of your carving. 
Georgia O'Keeffe copy 

 For this assignment we had to find a painting we wanted to copy, one that wasn't too complex (aka don't choose The Last Supper.) I choose this landscape by Georgia O'Keeffe. The lesson in this exercise was about color mixing. Again, I drew a grid on my copy of the painting and on the paint board, increasing the squares by 1/2 inch.  The tricky part of this was the brush strokes.  No matter how much water I used I couldn't get rid of them.  This was my second time using acrylic paints.  This time I used lots of water to try and get the luminosity of the original.  I also painted in layers attempting to achieve some color complexity.  I really enjoyed this assignment.  Below my painting is the original.

This quarter I'm taking a beginning drawing class.  Drawing is one of those things that brings up emotions for nearly everyone - either you think you can draw, you can't, you're a horrible drawer, you wish you could draw, you're a great drawer.  Whatever.  I stink at drawing but I'm not worried about it.  I just give each assignment an honest attempt, maybe I'll even get better.  The truth is I don't want to be an artist, I don't actually love to *do* art I love to look at it, learn about it, talk about it and teach kids about it. 

Here are 2 projects we've had in class:

gesture drawing
 We started the class with gesture drawing. Gesture drawing is quick and scribbley. It is concerned with capturing the form and volume of something. I like gesture drawing. I'm much more comfortable making lots of approximations instead of one confident line. We practiced drawing people and shoes.

This assignment was about composition.  Each student had to draw one random object from 3 different perspectives.  Then we went around the room and traced other peoples' drawings that we liked.  At home we had to assemble these drawings into a picture.   I started out with the idea of creating an ink blot type of shape (you know how much I like ink blots) then when I was nearly finished I realized it looked like an insect.  How cool!

We've been spending the past 2 weeks on contour drawing - one line, no shading.  We are only allowed to use weight of line (dark to light) to show depth.  Our current assignment is to create a still life with mechanical objects and draw it (twice!) taking into account composition, weight of line and proportion (which is really hard!!.)  So, that is what I'm off to do . . .

Have a great weekend! 

Wednesday, January 23

The Ocean


 After Christmas we took a weekend trip to Pacific Beach on the Washington coast.  We lucked out with one beautiful day and one non raining day.  That is lucky.  This is the Washington coast we're talking about.

I took some pics there using my Hipstamatic app which I haven't used it a while.  I like the John S lens with the Ina film.  Somewhere along the line my lens switched to Jimmy which gives everything a yellowish tint.  I usually don't care for this look but I ended up with a few pics that I really like.  See if you can tell the lenses apart - John S gives a blue picture, Jimmy yellow.
Do you use the Hipstamatic app or are you an Instagramer?  

Tuesday, January 22

Birthday Number 9!


On Sunday we celebrated our sweet Eva's 9th birthday.  She had her friends over for a dance party.  Yes, we turned our basement into a disco for the afternoon.  The girls *loved* it!  Eva was thrilled.


This year Eva requested a Candy Land cake. The seed was planted about 1 year ago when I showed her one that I'd pinned on Pinterest.  She remembered it.  And wanted one.  She told me the themes for her party were dancing and candy.  Does that sound like a 9 year old girl or what?

So a Candy Land cake was joyfully created with plenty of creative input from Eva.  She was over the moon with the cake and that made me over the moon.  

candy land cake
candy land cake
candy land cake
candy land cake
What I used:  1 box cake mix, 1 can of frosting, green sprinkles, starburst, candy letters, conversation hearts, Mike and Ike's, Nerds, Swedish fish, mini candy canes, Dots,  M&Ms, rainbow sour candy,  blue frosting, 2 candy lane game pieces, 1 mini cup cake.

Wednesday, January 16

Finding the Perfect Valentines


I took the girls to the store yesterday to pick out their class Valentine cards.  Yes, nearly a month before February 14th.  That's how we roll regarding holidays.  Except Halloween, that one we start planning for 2 months in advance.

The trend these days is definitely for kids to make their own cards.  There are so many adorable ideas out there.  But I love the old time-y feel of going to the drug store and picking out the box of cards.  I love the little envelopes (although they rarely come with them anymore.)  I love the cheesy pictures and clever sayings. 

My affection for these boxed Valentines was strengthened while we were living in Luxembourg.  The girls attended an English international school and it was there that I learned that English kids don't exchange Valentines or have a class party.  I delighted in sharing the Valentine traditions we have in the US, including the boxed cards - you know how I love little differences.  Instead of seeing the cards as commercial and uncreative I began to see them as an endearing part of our shared culture in the US.  A tradition that is unique to us in the US (don't know Valentine traditions in countries other than the US and England - please share if you do!)  It also reminded me of how much I loved choosing my cards as a kid; Garfield or Peanuts?

My girls love this tradition too.  We had some great discussions over the merits of Pet Shop cards over baby animal cards.  Or Monster High over Scooby Doo.  Simple childhood fun.

One part of the new Valentine card culture that I refuse to participate in is adding candy to class Valentines.  The marketing geniuses have made this seem like part of the deal.  It is not unlike Halloween with mini versions of nearly all varieties of candy.  Valentines Day is about the cards.  Period.  It is about friendship and kindness.  There is no candy needed for that. Or little toys (pencil, eraser, sticker, cling) for that matter.

We as parents don't want our kids to eat all of that candy.  Why do we add it to Valentines?  The point is clearer if you think of the cumulative effect of all 26 kids in class adding candy to their cards.  Then you end up with 15 cherry lollipops and 6 boxes of Conversation Hearts like we did last year.  Yuck.  It is too much.

What are your thoughts on Valentine cards and candy?  Please weigh in. 

Monday, January 14

The Year in Review: 2012

Happy New Year, friends!! 

I almost didn't write this post.  It was too difficult to remember what we did last year.  When we were living in Luxembourg our year was marked by various trips - Rome, Paris, Morocco!!  Back here in The States our life looks veeerrry different.  But, when I actually sat down and thought the year through I came up with enough to fill a year and make a post.  Riding on camels?  Throwing coins in the Trevi fountain?  No.  But we had some neat experiences. Actually, 2012 was a great year! 


Skiing on Saturdays, snowpocolypse in Seattle and making macarons.


Worldly dinner with friends.  We shared tapas from Spain.

Annual Quilt Club retreat.  I was a work horse.  Bettas, Josie and Cutie, join our family.  They are still alive, btw, much to my surprise.

Bagels and Lox

Themed dinner with friends, this time from The States.  We shared some bites from New York.


My little niecelette, Ruby, was born.  I went to Hawaii to see her and help my sister.  Bryce and I took a weekend trip to Portlandia.


Trip to Luxembourg to visit friends.  A week in Portugal to relax at the beach. A day in Amsterdam and a tour of the Anne Frank House.


Family hike at Mt. Rainier National Park.  Lots of Pinterest recipe testing and a baby shower for a dear friend. 


Back to school for the girls - 1st and 3rd grades.  And for me!  I started a 5 credit class at the local community college to reinstate my teaching certificate.  Someone is ready to re-join the work force.  I'll have my teaching certificate reinstated by the end of spring quarter, 15 credits later.

Somehow Eva convinced us to have a Halloween party.  We did.  This was really the culmination of 2 months of thinking/talking/preparing for Halloween. 


We host Thanksgiving.  I turn the big 4-0.  Or 21 as it is known to my kids.  We cut down our Christmas tree at my in-laws. 

Bryce and I host a huge 40th birthday party.  I vow never to drink red wine again.  My mom spends Christmas with us.  We take a weekend trip to Pacific Beach after the holidays.
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