Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How to Know if You Live with a Nerd
  • When you go to look for your MacBook Pro, you find it under an original Nintendo game system.
  • They consider their phone a status symbol.
  • When they are catching up with a friend that moved over 500 miles away, the entire conversation centers around World of Warcraft.
  • They buy shirts for babies that say "Newbie."
  • When they see a sewing magazine entitled "Threads," they pick it up thinking "multiprocessing."
  • The words "borg," "prime directive," and "midichlorians" are a part of everyday speech.
  • They can speak in powers of 2.
  • When they see the combination of OX, they don't see "hug and kiss," they see hexadecimal.
  • They consider George Lucas a demigod.
  • They sprained their thumb in a Legend of Zelda accident.
  • They are publishing a book entitled "Everything I Ever Needed to Know, I Learned from the Internet."
  • At a year old, their first born can recognize Fry (aka. Philip J. Fry).

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Watercolor Update
New progress on my watercolor painting! I am actually starting to see potential now. Hope feels great!
I mainly worked on my "tree," actually a bunch of vines, in my last class. I drizzled rubber cement all over it to act as a mask. Then I started adding colors..dark colors. My teacher kept saying "Darker!" although he probably didn't yell it like I remember it. I remained somewhat timid color-wise, but I will bolden with experience.
I am really happy with what is going on with it so far, though.
Dixon Family Quotes of the Day
  • Emma decided to do sit ups with me this morning. When she had difficulty pulling up, she exclaimed: "Gravity is being so rude!"
  • Me: "Whoever has the most googly eyes, wins."
  • Emma in reference to Simon's and Evy's new humor phase: "I don't think bathroom words are very funny."
  • Simon's breakfast order: "Roly Polies!" (raviolies)
  • During a refereed skirmish between Simon and Evy, Evy said, "I had it first. When I snatched it out of his hands, I told him it was mine."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Things Learned
  • Moonlight shadows are beautiful.
  • Paint fearlessly.
  • Without forgiveness, evil wins.
  • Honey is a potion.
  • God made Emma extra special.
  • Your scrapbooking tools can do double duty for appliance repair.
  • There is no such thing as a "too big" salad.
  • Evy and Simon are the proverbial two peas in a pod.
  • A significant portion of life's problems can be solved with a wet wipe.
  • Keep learning.

Card Fun
I heard about the local Michael's craft store starting back up their scrapbooking crop, and really wanted to go. It's hard to pass up an opportunity to meet creative people.
I don't really scrapbook much anymore, so I thought cards would be in the same vein. I gathered up a box of goodies to work with and headed out.
I met some really nice people. We had lots of fun creating and chatting. Actually, we had so much fun that our Michael's is going to do the crop every Friday night instead of just once a month! Yea, for us!!
Here are the cards I created. I may turn some of them into letterbooks because I do tend to go on. :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Of Leaves, Bricks, and Chicken Pox
The washes continue at my watercolor class. I have added several layers of leaves and bricks to my painting.
For homework, I was supposed to mask and splatter paint my alliums. I must have left my masking tape in the classroom, because I couldn't find it in my watercolor bag. The combination of having procrastinated on my homework and having no other masking tape in the entire house, led me to do tiny dots on my alliums instead. I used the other end of my paintbrush to do the dots. The effect reminds me of chicken pox.

It is nice for everyone to have a sanctuary....someplace you can go to relax, meditate, or pray. I am blessed in that I have such a place here on our property. Hidden amongst the pines on the pond bank, there lies my personal little haven.
Throughout my life, I have returned time and time again to this place to renew. I am sure the water calls me. Water, for most folks, has a calming affect. In a thriving pond, there is also some entertainment value: fish striking, dragonflies flitting, turtles crawling onto a log, snakes skimming along the surface, and visiting wildlife looking for a drink or an aquatic meal. All are best observed by being quiet and still. The states most conducive to reflection and restoration.
I am very thankful to have such a blessing in my life.

Walk in the Woods: Follow Up
Of course, there are hazards associated with walking in the woods. The squeals of children tends to attract bears.
This bear was particularly brutal...turning his victims upside down and eating them from the bottom up.

This was the last we saw of Evy.

Walking in the Woods
Taking a walk in the woods was once part of our daily routine, but with the onset of winter and the inevitable bouts of sickness that accompany that season, the frequency of our walks dwindled to zero.
Today, we renewed the routine. The walk quickly turned into a run. When you are under 6 years old, sprinting is your preferred mode of transport.

Before and After
We got Roscoe from Southern Pines Animal Shelter as a Christmas present for the kids (me?) last year. He was about 6 weeks old when we got him. He had a an alertness and a twinkle in his eye that immediately caught my attention. Joseph thought him less than asthetically pleasing because of all his speckles and spots. I thought it added to his charm.
We brought him home, de-manged him, and started acclimating him to his new home and way of life.
There have been days filled with puppy mischief. There have been other days only mostly filled with puppy mischief. But, in the last few weeks, we have seen a new maturity creeping into Roscoe's routine.
Today, it really struck me how much he is grown physically and mentally. He is really starting to settle into his life here with us. He's gonna be a good dog for us. We all love him, and he loves us right back like only a
dog can do.

Friday, March 26, 2010

"How a Rain Jacket Changed My Life" (or "Because I Was Asked")
I have never wore a rain jacket or even toted an umbrella. I love the rain. If I get some on me, all the better. Getting wet in the rain is a luxury that goes along with not wearing make-up and not using hairspray.
However, there are limits to this freedom. It doesn't do you a lot of good to get completely soaked, especially when there is a chill in the air.
Before my trip to California, I was gifted a red raincoat. I was told rain showers were frequent where I would be visiting, and it was still the cool part of the year.
It did get a lot of use in California, but the real revelation came the other day when I was moving my goats. It was cool and raining, so I donned the raincoat and set about my errand.
After my chore was done, I just took a moment to stand in the rain. Under my hood I could hear the pit pat of the rain. It was like a muffled version of a memory I have of sleeping under a tin roof.
I am not sure how long I stood there...listening to the rain and watching it run down the front of my jacket and drip off my sleeves. It was a quiet moment with only the sound of the rain and me snuggled warmly in my coat.
I realized at that moment, what a gift I had just been given. I took a moment to stop. There was no thinking, no doing. Only quiet observation. I made up my mind that I should give myself more gifts like this everyday and not just on a rainy one.
So, I have. Just today, instead of doing yet another load of laundry, I sat on my porch back steps and just soaked up some sunshine. I listened to the birds, noticed the new green in my pots on the porch, and watched an industrious honey bee about his tasks.
It is easy for me to get wrapped up in getting it all done. There will always be something that needs to be done, but giving myself a break to just _be_ makes me better for all the rest of the day's happenings.
I guess it took a little red raincoat for me to realize that and, in that way, a raincoat changed my life.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Things I Have Learned Today

  • Owning a rain jacket can change your life.
  • There should not be shows on TV entitled _1000 Ways to Die_.
  • Crawfish love pancakes.
  • A good friend is one of my most valued treasures.
  • I can make it rain by moving my goats into a pasture with no shelter.
  • Nothing is better on pancakes than toasted pecans.
  • Little boys need to be kept busy.
  • You can overdo the calf exercises.
  • When in doubt, wash the dog.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Reasons Why I Love Spring
*baby chicks
*garage sales
*new beginnings
*naps on the ground
*spring cleaning
*fresh veggies
*honey bees
*open windows
*black birds
*mowed grass
*bass striking

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Emma Loses Her First Tooth
We have had a wiggly tooth for a couple of weeks now. Last night while Emma was brushing her teeth, her tooth came out.
When I first heard about it, she was crying and in a panic. She said she got confused when it came out and let it go down the drain. Then, she remembered that the tooth fairy brought a surprise when you put a tooth under your pillow. She panicked that the tooth fairy wasn't going to come.
I started working damage control. I told her I would write a note for the tooth fairy that she could put under her pillow which would explain what happened to her tooth.
Joseph did something much more superhero and pulled the drain trap out from under the sink to rescue the tooth.
This morning, Emma had $5 for her tooth. She decided she wanted to spend it on Happy Meals for her and her brother and sister. Grandpa made up the tooth fairy's shortfall so she could do just that.

Monday, March 22, 2010

First Wash
Just finished up my watercolor class homework for this week. After doing a graphite transfer of our earlier sketch, we started laying down our first layer of washes.
Now that I am done, I feel it is time to call in a professional.

Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies
Wow! These were good!
I got a request for the recipe, but there isn't one. I only use recipes as guides. I don't even measure!
Usually how it works is I scan recipes to find one that has ingredients I already have on hand. Often, I am prompted to do this when something I have is about to go over and needs to be used pronto.
I will give you a "guide" for making your own Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies below. Experiment, eat the mistakes, and have fun!
Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup butterscotch chips
2 cups oatmeal
1 tsp. vanilla
1 stick butter (or 1/2 cup olive oil: will be crunchier)
Mix eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla well. Add in dry ingredients. Spoon onto a greased cookie sheet. Cook at 350 for about 12 minutes. Only want them just starting to golden up. Cool and eat!

Things Accomplished
Sometimes, I just like to make a list of my accomplishments of the day. It gives me hope for the next day.
As of noon today, I will share with you some of my accomplishments, thus far:
*Snuggle Fest (Thanks, Simon.)
*Tickle Fest (Simon and Evy, you win!)
*Made breakfast ("It's a cream of wheat mooorning....": sung to the tune "It's a Beautiful Morning")
*Cleaned kitchen (Thanks for the head start, Joseph.)
*Moved goats (Earn your keep, my four footed lovelies.)
*Took out the garbage (Good riddance!)
*Washed clothes (Where do they keep coming from?)
*Put up clothes (Guess we won't need to move to a nudist colony after all.)
*Vacuumed floors (Thanks for the new toy, Joseph.)
*Fed the bunny some veggies (What's up, Doc?)
*Relived the 80's via Pandora Radio (Duran Duran, A-Ha, The's the new classical music.)
*Made a Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookie How-To (Sheri, make small batches. They are addictive.)
*Did watercolor homework (Adam, now it is time for you to work some magic.)
*Posted to my blog (The world needs to know.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Cake
Emma loves to throw parties as much as I do. That's alot. So, today, we decided to make a clover shaped cake for St. Patrick's Day.
No, I don't have a clover shaped pan, so we free form cut it out from a sheet cake. Emma made decorations for it, too.

Altered Book Covers
I got more done on my altered book cover today. I even worked on the back side.
I think I may regret finishing the cover first. It was fine when it is was flat'ish, but today I went crazy with the dimensional embellishments. When I start working again on the inside pages, I will still need to be pressing down and handling the book kind of roughly. I guess if anything pops off I can just glue it back on.
I am really enjoying incorporating lace into my book. I have been collecting lace for some time and now I feel I know what I can do with it. Thanks to D.J. Pettitt for introducing me to the possibilities of lace.

There's Alot of Music in Here
"There's alot of music in here," said Evy. She was right, of course.
Simon brought out the piano and maracas, so the teeniest squirts could put on a concert for me. Turns out Simon is the only pianist that I have ever seen that plays the piano with the palms of his hands. What he may lack in technique, he makes up for in feeling.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Altered Book Cover
This evening, during a stolen moment for creativity, I worked on the cover to my altered book. My intention was to continue to add background layers to the inside pages, but I got side tracked with the cover. I find that is how my creative sessions most often go. I hardly ever have a plan or, when I do have a plan, it seldom turns out the way I planned it. :)
I am really happy with where this cover is going. It isn't finished yet. I got some things I want to do with the edges and spine. Also, I haven't attacked the back cover yet. But, the bulk of the front cover is there.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Thumbnail Complete(ish)
I colored everything. Does that mean it is done?
Of course not! But, that is probably as far as I will get before class.
After doing this thumbnail, I feel I need a colored pencils class.
Evy tried to help me with it. She kept handing different colored pencils to me and saying, "Use this." I dutifully obeyed.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lost Things
I have found a very cool little video that I thought was worth sharing. It has an Alice in Wonderland feel to me.
Check it out. I think you will like it!
Alice in Wonderland
Got to movie it up last night and saw Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. I wasn't swept away by it. There were things I really enjoyed about the movie, but there was one important thing I did not.
The costumes, the characters, the effects...they were all awesome! All the actors did an excellent job.
Sadly, the story seemed a little choppy to me. There wasn't much flow. I always felt we were rushing from one place to another to give a snippet of the story, and then rush along to the next snippet. I really felt I was observing and didn't get drawn in like you do in a really well-told story.
Maybe it is just hard to identify with all the growing and shrinking. Plus, the turn at the end where Alice becomes a modern woman didn't seem believable. This group of people didn't seem to value a woman's ability to make her own decisions. Why the change of heart? I suspect the movie's Disney affliation is responsible for that little twist.
Also, I found myself hoping for more parallels between the real world and Wonderland. Think Wizard of Oz. There were a few. The nearly-future-maw-in-law had a gripe about her white roses and was obnoxious like the Red Queen. The twin girls/friends paralleled in the Tweedlers. But, that is far as it went. It would have been great if the crazy aunt's prince was waiting in Wonderland. Or, the Mad Hatter was the cabin boy in the closing scene.
*sigh* It wasn't to be.
On a more positive note, we watched the 3D version, and I never got motion sickness! Mr. Burton, thanks for that and for your many great movies and reconjurings of the past. Alice will no doubt be on our watch list at home, and maybe there I will grow to appreciate it.
Emma Quote of the Day:
"Momma, the white square crackers are bigger than the round ones (Ritz), because they have corners."
- Emma
Sometimes, I wish Emma's momma was smarter.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My current project for my watercolor class is a landscape. We were assigned to take elements from different photos and put them together to make our own landscape.
When showing my teacher Adam which pictures I liked, I described one as "scary." Of course, that is the one picture he insisted that I draw.
We have been doing thumbnails to get placement of all the elements of the picture. Here are my last 3 thumbnail attempts. Wow! Have I had to make my brain work differently.
If you want to hang out with some talented folks and a wanna-be, contact Adam to sign up for our watercolor class. It is always fun and inspiring! I think I am learning something, too.

Today's Evy Quote
"I love you, Momma.
I am saying that because you are making me something to eat."

Productive Morning
Kitchen clean.
Clothes folded.
Goats wormed.
Goats moved to greener pastures.
Dog washed.
Can I clock out now?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Altered Book Saga
I am making an altered book for my journaling group. I get to keep it, but it will be passed around among our members for their eyes' delight...assuming it is delightful
I started with one of my kids' old board books. I primed and painted it, and now have started my base papers for my background.
I have the need to do my old stand-by collage. It is fun and not very taxing on the brain.
I have only done one other altered book, so I am new to this, but eager to learn!
Alot of my base papers and ephemera came from the gals at Snagging Stampers Yahoo! group. Without these gals, I would be creatively crippled. Thanks for the inspiring papers, Ladies!

Dress Up
After a prolonged croupy stage, the kids seem to be feeling better. If left to their own devices, there wardrobe would only consist of costumes.
At their age, they are considered "kids," not "eccentric." At what age does that transition take place? :)

It "feels" better in there. I even found a couple of tables under all those piles.