Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It's here!

My graphics tablet has arrived. Now I just have to figure it out.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Snow Day

Kate says, "Hey Mom, what's all that white stuff?"

We have snow! We had some light flurries coming down at lunch time yesterday, and Kate was sitting in her highchair watching the snow through the sliding glass doors. After we finished eating I bundled her up and took her outside, in her new hat and her oversized mittens which didn't stay on long. Before long we had big wet splatty flakes. Kate didn't quite know what to think. She was intrigued but kind of hesitant. (I think we got our Christmas card picture there--isn't it cute?)

Both of Doug's schools canceled classes today, so we had a cozy day at home. My graphics tablet was supposed to be delivered today, which would have been great since Doug was home to help me hook it up, but it didn't come. Apparently the UPS man was affected by the weather, too. We hope it comes tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Doug and I haven't generally made a big deal of Christmas. Some years we've spent with family, but when we've just been home alone we haven't gotten a tree. (Though we did once make two little paper ornaments and hang them on a baby orange tree that someone had given us.) And last year we were in Utah for Barb's wedding, and then spent Christmas with Doug's sister Melody and her family.

This year we are going to be home, and we are getting a tree. I've been collecting decorations. Kate is quite intrigued by some of the ornaments in the stores, and all the snowmen--she's in snowman heaven. This is going to be a fun Christmas.

And I ordered a graphics tablet! Hooray! I've been wanting one for a long time. I paid for it all myself, with the money I made designing. Now I just have to wait for it to get here! I've been having dreams about it and everything. Ooooh.

The lovely and very talented Gina Miller mentioned my painted flower brushes on her blog today. I'm all a dither.

Hookin' up words and phrases and clauses (and weird numbers)

We got the Schoolhouse Rock DVD! It's so fun. Parts of speech, multiplication tables, history, science, politics, and economics, all set to catchy music! I remember watching some of these as a child. ("Elbow Room" was one that had always stuck with me, for some reason.) There were some that were completely new to me and some that I recognized when I saw them. One of my new favorites is "Rufus Xavier Sasparilla." I love the piano part. There's a "shuffle all songs" feature that we have been making good use of. Kate seems to enjoy it, too. Maybe she'll even learn something.

I had an odd thought while watching the multiplication videos. There's the nine song, which mentions that you can add together the digits in any product of nine and get nine. And then there's the twelve song (which is kind of trippy) that starts out with a bit about how if man had been born with six digits on each hand and foot, we would do our math in base twelve. So I started wondering if that particular quality of nine is a function of the base. I asked on Two Peas and someone referred me to this base conversion table. Yes, it turns out that in base twelve, eleven behaves like nine in base ten (that is, the digits in any product of eleven will add up to eleven), and in base five, four works that way, and so on. Pretty cool.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A room of one's own

After we've been in this apartment for a whole year, we are finally getting Kate's room set up for her. We got her a mattress (at the store, she was rolling around on the mattresses yelling, "Lie down! Lie down!") and we got these shelves at Target. She was in her highchair finishing up dinner while I was putting all her toys on the shelves, and when she came in and saw it her whole face just lit up.

Kate loves lining up her toys and putting them into things (and making her animals walk along windowsills and such), so she's been having fun with her shelves. As she was investigating her shelves I got the camera to take these pictures of her, and when she heard the camera she turned around and gave me a big grin like she was posing for me (which she never does), and said, "That fun!" The shelves are a big hit. Of course, they don't look like this anymore. Putting things away will be a long-term lesson, I'm sure.

Gone in 60 seconds

Our car was stolen for a few hours last week. It all turned out okay, but it made for an exciting morning.

Thursday morning Doug went out to drive the car to work and it wasn't there. He came in to ask me if I had parked it somewhere else, but I knew I hadn't, so he called the police to report it stolen. Just as he was making the report, someone else was running the plates on a suspicious-looking car a few blocks away. It had been abandoned in a residential neighborhood with the windows rolled down, and something about it apparently caught a local police officer's attention. So Doug went to pick it up, and he had me call the school to let them know he was going to be a little late.

We have two Acura Legends (both bought used). It seems they tried to take the other one, too, as the lock had been jimmied, but I guess they weren't able to get it started. The funny thing is that the one that they took is the one with the bad transmission (it won't shift into fourth gear) and the dashboard lights that hardly ever work. We aren't sure why they abandoned it a few blocks away--perhaps they just got where they were going--but I can just picture the thieves saying, "Man, this car stinks! Let's ditch it." Ha. If they were looking to go joyriding, they were disappointed.

The only lingering effect from the car's misadventure is a couple of damp seats (not the driver's seat, thankfully). Kate's car seat was untouched in the back, and even Doug's leather cap that he had left on the passenger's seat was still there. The whole thing reminds me of a couple that used to be in our ward at church--she was an opera singer, and he was a tuba player in a symphony. Someone broke into their car and rifled through their CD collection and didn't take anything. It's got to be oddly comforting to know that you're not even cool enough to steal from.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Just sayin'

A couple of things that come up every year, that I just wanted to address here to get them out of my system:

Snowflakes have six sides.

Those Rankin Bass Christmas specials are not claymation. They used stop-motion puppets.

The wise men were not present at the nativity.

(Okay, that's three things.)

Wait! I thought of another one. The twelve days of Christmas are the twelve days after Christmas, not before.

That is all.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Out of the mouths of Babes

Kate has learned to say "Baa Ram Ewe!" That's from the movie Babe. We've been watching it a lot lately. Kate has been increasing her vocabulary, and trying to copy the things we say more. Sometimes she even gets the context right. The other day I said to Doug, "I'm tired of being sick." Doug said, "Me too!" and Kate said "Me too!" We just had to laugh.

We've been functioning below normal pretty much all week. (Halloween was a bust, as well.) Kate's feeling a lot better, but now Doug's got it pretty bad. I went to church just to teach my Primary class today and discovered that I had no class. I guess everybody's sick.

Here's a recent picture of Kate, just for fun.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Painting Flowers (the hard way)

(Note:  These are now available here.)

I was ambushed by a project! I've been missing for a few weeks. I wasn't really gone, I was painting. I made some digital brush strokes and put them up at ndisb a little while ago, and then I had another brilliant idea, which just kind of expanded and grew and took over the apartment. So I've been playing with paint, on large sheets of watercolor paper spread across the kitchen floor (when Kate was sleeping or otherwise occupied), covering them with brush strokes of green acrylic paint (why green? I don't know, it was just what I grabbed. And I like green), frequently filling entire sheets with the same stroke, over and over, till I got some that I liked. I scanned the paint strokes (after waiting for them to dry, of course), and turned them into Photoshop brushes. And then I did it again. And again. And then when I started actually using them to make things, I realized where my gaps were, and then it was back to more painting and scanning.

Here's the final product--83 different brushes (I honestly didn't know there were that many till I finished up and counted them all). My approach changed a bit as I went, so I ended up with a couple of different styles that don't really match, but I just kept them all together anyway. And then there was all the organizing and indexing and packaging, which always takes a while. But I finally got it up in the store yesterday, and announced it in a post at digishoptalk that was well received. I'm excited and pleased with the way it turned out. (Yay!)

Here are my painted flowers (and bamboo! Well, it's a grass). I gave my brushes a good test run and was able to make a bunch of different kinds of things, which was fun. I put all of these examples into a free sampler pack at ndisb (as png files, with transparent backgrounds), to show off my brushes. I think I like the apple blossoms best. Or the fushia.

Now it's finally done and I've got a bit of that post-project stupor, while I'm trying to get my brain on track and refocus on life without paint strokes. I've still got some brushes in a cup of water by the sink that I haven't washed out yet, and all these large sheets of paper that I shall have to find a home for. Then on to the next project!