26 April 2011

Spring Cleaning

Sorry I've been inattentive to blogging lately.  We hosted a huge Egg Hunt for my husband's co-workers and their families, and preparations took a lot of my time.  The Hunt was a huge success, thankfully, and we had so much fun hunting with our little ones and visiting with other families.

One of the side perks to hosting a big gathering is it inspired me to thoroughly clean my house and redecorate a couple rooms.  When we moved into our house, I misguidedly painted the master bedroom a pair of greens that set my teeth on edge.  It always felt wrong and I felt like I was sleeping in a little boy's room.  So, thanks to a couple unused gallons of blue paint in the garage and some extra marine-blue-satin-turned-curtains, our bedroom feels light and happy and serene.  I spend my mornings sitting with my coffee looking out the window, enjoying the solitude in my new room.  I can tell you that has never happened before.

(Pictures to come)

The other room to get some attention was our dining room.  Formerly an ugly brown rag-rolled catastrophe (from the previous owners, mind you), now a neutral beige-yellow.  The nasty cheesecloth window treatments were replaced with red striped curtains.

(Pictures, again, to come)

There's really no comparison, I feel like I'm in a new house!

Spring...new beginnings. :)

20 April 2011

Little Surprises are Wonderful

I've had kind of a hard week.  I don't really know why - blame it on the nasty, cloudy weather, on not seeing my hubby as much as I would like, on having to take care of two cranky toddlers by myself, on hormones - whatever.  It's just one of those times that life seems harder than usual for no apparent reason.  Then three little things happened this morning to turn it all around.

First, one of my best friends, Dawn, invited us over for a playdate/fabric party.  It was nice to get out of the house and enjoy some good company.

Second, I reached my first small weight-loss goal this morning.  That always boosts the mood.

Third, I got a little package in the mail today that really brightened things up.  It was a simple Thank You note with a 2-1/2" charm pack for a quilting cause that I helped with.  For those of you who don't know, in the quilting world a charm pack is a collection of fabric cut in either 5" or 2-1/2" squares.  I had never actually held a 2-1/2" charm pack before, and it made me smile; there's something about miniatures that makes me happy.

None of these were earth-shattering, but it was a sequence of little nudges to help me out of my funk.

Cute Christmas fabrics!

Isn't it adorable?

A sampling of all the fabrics in this collection.

08 April 2011

Tiramisu Ice Cream

Last week, I had a bit of a health scare.  Not a huge one, but one that shook me up enough to want to get healthier.  So, for the past 10 days I have been eating healthy and exercising.  Go me, right?

Enter the documentary "Kings of Pastry".  It's about French pastry chefs competing for the MOF honor.  Don't ask me what MOF stands for - I don't speak an iota of French.  Anyway, this competition awards a blue, red and white collar to the top chefs in France every 4 years, and this documentary follows 5 or 6 chefs as they prepare for competition.  Aside from all the outrageously gorgeous sugar sculptures, delicious-looking cream puffs and chocolate lollipops, something one of the chefs said stuck with me.  It was:

"The idea in France is to eat the best possible on a daily basis, but just in small quantities so your brain is happy every day."

I think this is going to be my mantra.  Eat well and keep my brain happy.  

I started last night.  I indulged in 1/2-cup of premium Italian Cafe Tiramisu ice cream.  I dished it up in a fun glass bowl and ate it with a tiny spoon.  Every bite was heaven.  

06 April 2011

A Peek Into My Brain...

I've known for a long, long time that I don't think like other people.  My mind works in vivid images, each encapsulating my emotions at that second, like a snapshot that makes you feel more than see.  Even now, I have a hard time putting my thoughts into words because my thoughts are more vacillating feelings than solid English words.

In that same vein, I am also a very vivid dreamer.  My dreams are full of symbolism and odd depths, light and dark and again, emotion.  I wake up many times in the mood set by my dreams.  I find trying to explain my dreams is impossible because my explanations are lacking the emotional component, so it's like watching a movie on mute for anyone but me.

But (da, da, DA!), I found an Artist who thinks very much like I do, Swedish Photographer and Retouch Artist Erik Johansson.  In fact, many of his pieces reflect dreams I've had.  I'm sure there's some sort of conclusion of archetype I could draw from that, but I'm only on my first cup of coffee this morning.

If you've found these pictures intriguing at all, do yourself a favor and visit his website here.  It's truly mesmerizing.  And if you think like me, all too familiar.

Also, if you like these pictures and you haven't yet had the pleasure of watching Big Fish, do so.  Simply incredible.

05 April 2011

Devorah Sperber

Not surprisingly, I have an app on my homepage that shows me a piece of art from a modern, still-living artist every day.  90% of these artists I find maudlin, depressed, angsty or simply thriving on the shock value of their work.  Somehow many of today's artists lack depth and creativity - even if they possess talent.

But every once in a while an artist comes along an artist that I cling to - a bright, shining glimmer of hope that amazing art is still alive and well.  Today's artist is a perfect example.

Devorah Sperber combines my two greatest loves, hobby category: sewing and art.  She employs spools of thread to re-create highly recognizable works of art through history.  DaVinci, Picasso, Wood, Warhol, Vermeer, Cezanne, Star Trek, Superman.  She uses anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands of spools of thread for each installment.  And what's more amazing: she's completed more than 50 pieces in the last 12 years.

Now, I have to admit I'm a little torn.  The artist in me is yelling "This is awesome! What a strange and amazing medium!", but the quilter in me is thinking, "Shame, what a waste.  Do you know how many quilts I could make with all that thread?!".  Wow.

Well, without further ado, here's a sampling of her work.  Some of the works below are upside-down due to Ms. Sperber's exploration of optics.  She enjoys the idea that images are flipped upside down inside the human eye.  I highly recommend checking out her site.

The Mona Lisa. 1482 spools of thread.
Warhol, 2,524 spools of thread.

Wood's American Gothic, 4,392 spools of thread.

See the "painting" on the left.  Yep, it's a landscape made of 60,000 thread spools.  Insanity.

02 April 2011

Sunny Days, Sweeping the Clouds Away

For Christmas 2009 my son was given the Old School Sesame Street collection on DVD from his grandma.  As he was too young to really watch them then, we put them away with our other DVDs and waited until he could begin to appreciate Big Bird and Kermit the Frog.

Well, the time has come, and let me tell you, it's more fun for me than it is for him.  It's good to see my childhood friends again and to see familiar episodes and hear songs that I must have sang a hundred times as a kid.  It's like being able to go to my childhood home again.

Sesame Street is a Utopia, a place for children to feel safe and feel confident in who they are.  It's a place where one can be friends with a plethora of other people, animals, monsters.  Celebrating diversity is a reality, not just a pipe dream.  It's wonderful; it's the kind of world in which I wish I could raise my own children.

Sure, the Sesame Street of today might be geared more toward the children of today, but I would rather my kids know Maria and Mr. Hooper, Rolph and his piano, Oscar the Grouch and his pet worm.  It's not up to Sesame Street to teach my children anything at all - that's my and my husband's job - but I know from personal experience that it will leave a lasting impression of a sunny, perfect world on them.

Sunny days, sweeping the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet
Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?

On my way, everything's A-OK
Friendly neighbors there, that's where we meet
Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?
How to get to Sesame Street?

Hello, Old Friends!

(This post was brought to you by the letter S.)

01 April 2011

Overwhelmed. In a good way.

You all know that I have been working to start a chapter of Quilts for Kids.  Well, more to the point, Quilts for Kids is starting itself.  I feel like once the ball started rolling there has been an overwhelming response from the community and my family and friends to join the cause.

We have been an official chapter for less than 2 weeks, and already we have 2 quilt shops partnering with us, over 10 volunteers, a donation of a sewing machine, and an amazing hospital to donate our quilts to.

I am so grateful to be a part of this opportunity.  I really don't feel like I've done much work, and so much is getting accomplished.  It feels like a case of being at the right place at the right time.

Thank you to everyone who is making this possible.  I hope that the kids who receive the quilts get a glimpse of how many people care!