Friday, August 31, 2007

One potato, two potato

After I mentioned that I've been using my potato print leaf stamps a lot and should make more, I decided to do some for the September mega kit at NDISB, which has a fall/harvest theme. So I've been carving potatoes and making a mess. Kate was very interested but I was mean and wouldn't let her help. I'll have to make up something that she can play with with. Maybe out on the porch, with one of my old T-shirts on. That would work.

I really like the way this one turned out. It has a neat washy look to it. I'm making it a free sample--click the picture to get the png. (Do a "save as" to download it.)

The mega kit will be up at NDISB around the middle of September (free with purchase--there'll be a code in the newsletter). The stamps will also be available separately later.

Only three potatoes were harmed in the making of this project, but I went through an unreasonable amount of paper.

(Update:  Since NDISB has closed, these stamps are available here.)  

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Aunt Betsey (the Amazing Cricket-Woman!)

We took Betsey to the airport this morning to go back to Ohio. She was here for just over two weeks. We had a good visit, went to some fun places, and ate. A lot. We pretty much covered all our restaurants--we did I Love Bento (nominally Japanese, though we mostly go there for the Korean side dishes), the Indian lunch buffet, Vietnamese, Mexican, and we went down to Lakewood for Korean food twice. We ate well. Ahhhh. (And Kate had all the rice she wanted, in several different varieties. Good thing she likes rice.)

Betsey's talents are many and varied. Among them is the uncanny ability to whistle like a cricket. I got her to do it for me this morning while we were getting ready to go--click here to listen. Years ago, when the family was congregated at BYU for somebody's graduation, I remember being at Betsey's apartment when a couple of her friends stopped by. I asked them if they had ever heard Betsey's cricket impression. Betsey was willing to demonstrate but had a little trouble because she was feeling self-conscious and she can't do it when she's laughing. So I said, "Okay, nobody look at Betsey!" Everyone averted their eyes, and moments later we heard the chirp chirp... chirp chirp... One of the guys said, "Wow, how'd you do that?" and Betsey grinned and said, "I rubbed my legs together."

I'm not sure if Kate had any idea who Betsey was or why she was in our house, but I think she enjoyed having her around. One day they were looking at Kate's little counting book, which has eight beetles on one page, and Betsey was telling her what kind of beetles they were. Then when Doug came up she said, "Show Daddy what you learned! Where's the scarab? Where's the weevil? Where's the buprestid?" She's full of interesting information about animals, especially insects.

This cute little dress is one that Betsey wore when she was little. It's getting too small for Kate, so I sent it back with her, but I wanted to get some pictures of them together first. (The Newfoundland flag has nothing to do with anything--Kate just wanted to play with it.)

Thanks for coming to stay with us, Betsey! We had a fun time!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Rain Dance

We had a brief rain shower on Saturday. We were out painting letters on the porch when it started. Kate decided to go experience the rain. She doesn't like swimming pools, doesn't like getting in sprinklers or being splashed, but rain apparently is okay. I put the long lens on my camera so I could take pictures while staying dry on the porch. Doug got out my umbrella (my special lucky Korean umbrella), and she thought that was pretty good too. In fact, after she came in, we had a hard time convincing her to give the umbrella up.

I'm going to start designing a coffee-table-type book of pictures, so I thought I'd work on photo processing and book layouts at the same time.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lace-Up Ribbon

I made this laced ribbon template a few months ago for a mega kit, and just released it separately.

(Update: Since NDISB has closed, this template is now available here.)

I hadn't actually made a layout with it yet because I was trying to think of just the right pictures to use. I don't know if these are "just right," but I'm pleased with the way it turned out. Tucking things behind the ribbon takes a bit of tweaking, but it looks very cool.

(Full credits here.) I've been getting a lot of use out of those potato-print leaf stamps. I should make some more.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

"Look! Ants!"

There's a Family Circus cartoon in which the family is visiting some famous attraction (like Disneyland, or it may have been the Grand Canyon), and the kids are all crouched down looking at the ground. The caption says, "Look, ants!" It's become kind of a family catch phrase. Doug and I end up saying it to each other a lot.

I was just looking through some photos from the past few months and came across this one, and wanted to share it. That's our Kate, and she is, in fact, looking at ants.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Not a post about Batman

There was an episode of the animated Batman series in which Batman was being held in a matrix-like dream state, and figured it out when he tried to read a newspaper and discovered that he couldn't. The reasoning is that dreaming is a right-brain activity and reading is left-brain. Or something like that. I didn't actually see the episode but my brother told me about it. We discussed the idea at some length, both being readers and vivid dreamers. It seems like there's a lot of right-brain involved in reading, too, if you create the images in your head as you read. I do read in my dreams sometimes, but I've noticed times when I try to really pay attention to the words and they start shifting around and don't make sense. The other night I had a dream where I was not just reading but typing. Googling, actually. Apparently I was looking up Oklahoma! lyrics for some reason, because the phrase I was googling was "With isenglass curtains you can roll right down, in case there's a change in the weather." But then the words started shifting around before I could hit return to find out if I spelled "isenglass" correctly. (Looking now, it seems I didn't.)

This topic was the subject of this thread on the Straight Dope forums, where people reported various experiences with reading in dreams. (The thread is pretty funny, but gets a language warning.) Makes me wonder if professional calligraphers dream about doing precise, correctly-spelled calligraphy.


Mimi (in the comments on this post) asked me five questions for another blog meme, so here they are:

1) Are the rest of your siblings also named after family members?

I'll have to check with my mom, actually. I think most of them were. Barb is the only girl in the family with a middle name--Nell--which I know is a family name. I think Betsey was named for the biblical Elizabeth.

2) What novel do you find yourself rereading often, and why?

I've been on a prolonged Vorkosigan kick (Lois McMaster Bujold's series), some of which I've read 4-5 times. She's definitely got a way with words, but it's really all about the characters. She does the "flawed hero" thing so well. There's also a YA novel called Lifter, by Crawford Kilian, about a guy who figures out how to fly, that I read every couple of years or so. The ending is a bit of a let-down but it's just a good fun read. I love the "voice" it's written in.

3) Do you hope to take Kate to Korea at some point?

I would love to take Kate to Korea! Koreans love kids. I think it would be a great way to connect with people. When Doug and I were there we did often get complete strangers approaching us (I told Doug it was all his years of working as a reference librarian--he has an invisible sign over his head that says "Ask me anything!") but I imagine it would happen even more if we had our cute little girl with us. It would be a hoot to kick back with the Korean moms and watch the kids play.

And, my two stocks -

4) Who is your favorite Beatle, and why?

My initial reaction was "Uh... whichever one's not dead." I can honestly say that I don't have a favorite Beatle.

5) What is your favorite song by an artist/band you usually dislike?

I've been mulling this over and I can't think of anything. There are songs that I like where I don't know any other songs by that artist, and there are artists I know who sings songs I like and songs I don't like, but I can't think of anybody who sings just one song that I like.

And, a bonus 6th question - did you go see Great Big Sea at the Zoo recently? I thought of you every time I heard the advert.

We didn't! We thought about it. We did go see them in Seattle about a year and a half ago. That was fun. Very loud, but fun.


I finally finished up everything for the "Hey Nonny Nonny" kit--I got to do all the packing up and the previews, too, which was a ton of work. Glad that's done. Whew! My sister Betsey is here now, visiting for two weeks. We went to the zoo yesterday and then went to I Love Bento for dinner. We love I Love Bento.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

"I need more letters!"

Since I posted less than two months ago about Kate recognizing a few letters, she has learned the entire alphabet and the sounds that the letters make. She just loves letters. One of her favorite things to do is go out and paint letters on the porch (with water). I make the letters and then she comes along behind me and traces over them--or sometimes she traces the lines pretty well, and sometimes she kind of colors them in--and when she gets to the end she says, "I need more letters! I love letters!" (Doug once, when asked for more letters, gave her a thorn and eth. I told him not to confuse her.)

We got this Leapfrog video out of the library, that has a little song (to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell") that goes, "The A says aah, the A says aah, every letter makes a sound, the A says aah!" and goes through every letter of the alphabet. Sometimes we sing it together while we're painting. (Kate still has her pronunciation quirks, so some of the sounds don't come out quite right, but she knows what they are.) She can also identify the letters just fine in isolation, not just in order or with the song.

Kate has also figured out that letters make words, and she's started trying to figure out what the words say, which she does purely by guessing from the context. It's awfully cute. Like the time she was looking at the cover of The Land Before Time and read, "T-I-M-E. That spells dinosaurs!" Of course she's got a long way to go before she's actually reading, but she's very interested in letters and words and books, which we think is great fun.

Kate talks in her sleep sometimes. Often something like, "I want to hold it!" which she says a lot when she's awake. The other night I saw her smile to herself in her sleep and murmur, "W-X-Y-Z!" Maybe she was dreaming about painting letters on the porch.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The shadow knows

I've spent a good part of the day today making shadows. It ended up taking a bit longer than I was expecting, but it's amazing the difference a good shadow makes. Here's one of the pieces I've been working on, without the shadow:

And here it is with the shadow:

These are for the monthly collaborative mega kit at ndisb. I'm in charge this month. I wanted to call it "Stratford-Upon-Avon," but we ended up with kind of a broader scope so we have changed the name to "Hey Nonny Nonny." It's period, but vague. Says so much without actually meaning anything.

Edit: the ribbons are now available separately.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Eight Random Things

I've been busy--I was reading Harry Potter, and then working on various projects. I'm in charge of the mega kit at ndisb this month, and I'm also putting some stuff together for a charity kit for orphanages in China. Lots going on.

Since Eva said she wanted to tag me, I thought I'd do this "eight random things about me" meme.

1. I was named after my mother's mother's mother. Helena was the first of her two middle names. She was from Sweden. I don't have a middle name, myself, but have not often felt the lack.

2. For many years I labored under the misapprehension that "buttercup" was another name for daffodil. It wasn't until I was in college that I found out what a buttercup was. I'm still not sure how this happened, but I have since discovered that other people also have the same problem (a search for "buttercup" on pbase brings up quite a lot of daffodil pictures), so perhaps I heard someone say it somewhere and it stuck. But it kind of makes sense, right? I mean, they're yellow, and they have that cup-shaped thing....

3. I have a scar by my left eye from when I fell off the neighbor's trampoline and hit my head on the frame, and had to have stitches. I had a babysitter at the time and I was not supposed to be in the neighbor's yard. My parents came home and found an ambulance in the driveway. I think I was about six.

4. I still have my baby blanket and slept with it for years. Blankie is getting so ratty that I had to put him away after Kate was born, for fear of further damage. *sniff*

5. I have the same thing for breakfast practically every day--oatmeal with raisins and banana. It has to be old fashioned oatmeal, and it has to be done a certain way. I used to put honey and cinnamon in it too, but somewhere along the way I stopped doing that.

6. I made up a Korean name for myself, Im Ha Gyoung (임하경), based on the meaning of my own name. My maiden name means "elm by the stream" and Helena means "light," so I used Im (also spelled Lim), a Korean surname that means forest, and then Ha, meaning stream, and Gyoung, meaning light. Not that I've ever gotten to use it for anything.

7. I enjoy puzzle games, like Nisqually (one I'm proud of having solved) and also stuff like Blix and Hexic. (Hexic is much more complex than it looks.) Though I hardly ever do stuff like this anymore, since discovering Photoshop.

8. I would love to get a copy of Sandra Boynton's Hester in the Wild. It is very out of print. I can recite large stretches from memory, but it's not quite the same.

Now I'm supposed to come up with eight people to tag. Ummm... if you haven't done this one, and you'd like to, have at it!


Kate found this odd scrap in Doug's leather working stuff, and decided it was a dog. It does have a kind of blocky, terrier-ish look to it. She has adopted it as her new friend. We call it "leatherdog."