Friday, March 25, 2011

Messing Around and Spilling Over

This month's Sketchbook Challenge was titled, "Spilling Over".  I was kind of stumped by this one, but just decided to sit down one day and work it out.

Given that we are preparing our home for market, there isn't a whole lot of time to devote to outside, recreational projects. So I was thumbing through my new book, Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun by Carla Sonheim. I found this fun, cool technique in there for doing a portrait using an eyedropper and ink and voila!  I was in business!  I just thumbed through a magazine and picked out some fashion photos. I didn't have a lot of time and I just wanted to play - to mess around.

I didn't have any ink, but I did have some bottles of concentrated watercolor that actually have their own droppers with them. After you outline the picture with the dropper, you cover it with a piece of toilet paper and then quickly lift off. The result is so cool - it looked very much like a print to me; so fun! 

Over the next couple of days I added color after the original outlines dried. I gave the one above kitty ears, because my younger daughter loves to wear them and the guitar is because my older is learning to play.

Unfortunately, since this was all watercolor and not ink, things really did smudge (spill over!) a bit more than I might have liked, but this was all just experiment anyway - just play.

I came in one day and found what I'm pretty sure was evidence of real-life kitties on the table (a no-no!) overnight. Smudges on the redhead just wouldn't go away. Oh, well.

And the last one got a little bit of magazine page jewelry for a necklace and a bracelet.

All in all, I like my little collection and will likely share this exercise with my art students. This was a good exercise in loosening up for me. I'm usually much more precision-oriented, so this was good practice for me.

Friday, March 18, 2011

One More Reason: Feed the Beasties!

One of the many reasons I love homeschooling my children is that I often get to learn something new right along with them.  So here's something Eve and I learned a couple of days ago in science:

There are two reasons why we sweat. I knew the first reason: to cool our bodies. What I didn't know is that our sweat also feeds beneficial bacteria and fungi that live on the surface of our skin. That's right, 65,000 of these little dudes live on each square inch of your body and what's more is that they protect you from the pathogenic bacteria and fungi that want to make you sick!

A cold, non-sweat-producing body, therefore, is more suseptible to the bad guys. It occurred to me then, that this is likely a large reason why people get more sick in the wintertime. Wouldn't it be a good science (fair!) experiment to see if people who exercised to the point of sweating at least 5 days a week got fewer illnesses during cold weather than those that did not regularly work up a sweat in the cold and flu season months?

As someone who is moving up north, this has given me even one more reason to maintain my fitness.  Not only does exercise reduce the risk of chronic diseases and elevate the mood along with all sorts of other benefits, it also helps protect us from colds and viruses. So, get out there and work up a sweat, so you can feed the beasties!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Special Treat for You for Lent

Enjoy this fresh perspective on Jesus' own 40 days!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Thoughts on a Peaceful Morning

This is the view from where my day begins. After the tea kettle has been set to boil and my cup is prepared; after I feed the four "starving" cats that mew piteously around my ankles until their dishes are set on the floor; after my bird, outside on the lanai has also been pet and fed, I head to the living room to my rocking chair, settle in with my tea and my Bible and let my day begin.

I deeply appreciate my quiet mornings and this time I have alone with God and my own foggy thoughts, slowly coming into clarity, has become a treasured part of my day. No longer a "discipline" as it once began, my morning routine is just that: routine; I am always a bit out of sorts if I miss it. 

Another habit over the years has been to clean up everything after supper. What hasn't been so firmly established, however, has been to make sure the dishes are also dried and all put away before bed.  I have long been a dish-drainer stacker, but I was finding that the last thing I wanted to do in the morning while waiting for the water to boil was to be putting away dishes.

So, now, before bed, I, with help if necessary, have been trying to have everything put away before I go to bed, so I can be welcomed by a peaceful kitchen when I greet it in the morning. Incedentally, I have had to resort to using bleach in the last year to really get my sink white. Despite baking soda, lemon juice, salt scrubs, and a multitude of other gentler, natural cleansers, nothing really works on a white sink the way bleach does. That said, I have found that I can use a tablespoon of bleach in a spray-bottle of water and it works brilliantly.  I clean with baking soda and soap and then about once a week, give the sink a misting and that is all I need. I didn't really want to resort to this, but I comfort myself with the fact that my tablespoon of bleach goes a very long way and given that I live in the Sunshine State in the land of swimming pools, I am okay with using this small amount. Also, even though I love the look of a white, porcelain sink, I will not likely get another one for this very reason. At the present, as we move toward getting our house ready for market, little details like a very clean sink become important.

And you know, if white were still popular, we'd have a very sellable kitchen! :)  I did used to have more, personal things on the walls, such as family photos and a few, fun posters. I like a kitchen to be very homey and comfortable, because we spend so much time in here. All of those extras have been removed and just a few things remain, so that someone else might picture themselves here.  I confess I don't really like that idea. I do love our house. If I could move it up to Minnesota - and insulate it like crazy! - I would.

That said, I have loved all the kitchens I have ever lived in - purchased or rented. Apparently - if the HGTV "House Hunters" show that I watch over at my mom's on Wednesday night is any indicator - stainless steel everything seems to be pretty important to a lot of people. I confess that I just laugh when I see that folks will walk through a home with perfectly good appliances and talk about how they will "need" to be replaced. Personally, the only appliance we have ever truly "needed" to replace has been our dishwasher and that, of course, is an appliance of certain luxury.  I have always had more of a "make do" mentality. If an appliance was not functioning properly, of course, we'd try to replace it, but I don't go wasting appliances on a decorating whim. Acutally, I have always loved that I can still provide noursishing, tasty food for myself and my family no matter what kind of kitchen I've had, be it spacious or a narrow galley.

I know that our kitchen is "dated" (it was built in 1986 and other than cosmetic changes, most of the original kitchen remains), but it has served our family well and I'd like to believe it will do the same for someone else. It's given me many a peaceful morning.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Spring Break!

My family and I are on Spring Break this week. Are you?  We've got family in town, so there will be trips to the beach and fun in the sun and at the pool. Enjoy yourselves this week if you're on a break too. And if not, enjoy yourselves this week anyway. Think warm thoughts and know that spring really is just around the corner!

See you next week!
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