Friday, January 29, 2010

Revisiting the Cupboard Under the Stairs

Yesterday I took Kate and Andy and drove out to Port Orchard to see Sylvia and the Cupboard Under the Stairs, which I painted over the course of about fourteen months, off and on. I hadn't been out there since I finished it, almost four years ago. (The finishing-up pictures are here, or if you want to see more you can click here and then scroll down past this post.)

It was fun to see Sylvia again. She said they often have people (friends of friends) knocking on the door and saying, "Can we see your closet?"

I borrowed Larry Golden's wide-angle lens to get some pictures. The closet is small and the hall is narrow, so with my 50mm lens I can't get far enough away to get the whole thing in at once. It was a bit of a trade-off, though--that lens only goes to f/4, so I had the ISO all the way up to 1600 to get enough light. (I didn't have my flash-bouncer with me.) Hence the grainy photos.

The halogen light in the ceiling, pointed at the moon, is what makes it glow like that. It does look pretty cool in person, but for some reason it's even more impressive in photos.

Here's what they did in bottom end of the closet. I hadn't seen this part at all. (Had to use my flash for this one.) Sylvia said they did have all the Harry Potter books in here, too, but she relocated them recently when there was a bit of rambunctiousness going on in the closet and she didn't want them to get damaged.

Doesn't this look like a fun place to play?

I got some great pictures of Kate on Sylvia's window seat, so I wanted to try some with both kids. We were losing light by then, though, and I only got one kid in focus.

Kate enjoyed playing with this gear toy for a while.

Andy thought it was pretty cool, too!

It's a forty-minute (ish) drive out there. Quite a long way to go back and forth. I still remembered the way!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Andy at 13 months

I don't know if I'll make this a regular thing, but here he is yesterday, January 27.

He has five teeth and a cute little giggle. I wouldn't say he's saying any words yet, as such, though he'll occasionally come out with something that sounds like "Hi!" or "Wow!" He likes to sit and look at books by himself, and is very interested in computer keyboards and mice.

See that greenish bruise on his forehead? He's still a bit unsteady. Lots of bonks.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Artist at Work

Kate often sits at the table to draw (up where Andy can't get at it), but sometimes she likes to draw on her bed, too. Here she's using a big Masonite board that I got back in college (it's great for all kinds of projects).

A few recent drawings:

This is Kate and Mom coming home from the toy store with a wind-up penguin.

And here's Kate on her hands and knees watching the penguin walk away from her.

(We especially like the penguin. It's somewhat evocative of Pixar's birds, as well as Quentin Blake's Mortimer.)

A picture of Kate drawing a picture. She's invented this kind of monster that she calls an "Octo," for some reason. I asked her if it was supposed to have eight legs, sparking this conversation:

"It has many legs and it eats cars."

"So why is it called an Octo?"


Okay then.

She's also been drawing a lot of things in comic-book style lately, copying Calvin and Hobbes. She drew this one over at her friend Lily's house.

These days it seems like she goes through paper as fast as we can buy it. She does a lot of things in story format, over multiple pages. I have a few of those that I want to post, too. It's so fun to see what she comes up with.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

On the Tip of my Tongue

I've had Korea on the brain a lot the past few months. (More than usual, that is.) Since I made the banner and background for the Daejeon mission blog, I've been following the blog and sometimes looking up the names of new missionaries that Sister Perriton posts about. This is how I found Sister Rebecca O'Bryan's blog. She's a brand-new (greenie) missionary serving in Gwangju, which was also my greenie area. (Missionaries can't use the internet, but her sister is posting her weekly emails to the blog.) I always enjoy reading about people's experiences in Korea, but there was something about finding a missionary blog, especially somebody in a place where I'd served, that was a special treat. My mind was spinning for days with things I wanted to tell her. I was finishing up Mom's calendar and didn't want to get distracted from that, but once that was finished I sat down and wrote a snail-mail letter and babbled a bit about Korea and Gwangju and being a missionary. (I just got it off in the mail last Tuesday, so I expect it'll be a while before I hear back.)

People sometimes ask me if I've managed to keep my Korean. It's been over sixteen years since my mission, and twelve years since Doug and I taught English in Chonan. I like to think that I've kept it up pretty well. I often construct Korean sentences in my head, just for the heck of it (in the shower or whatever), or walk around the house singing a Korean hymn or children's song. I have quite a few books in Korean that I'll pull out and practice reading every once in a while, though not regularly. (It's been a while since I've done that. I gave up on Harry Potter after I realized the translation wasn't very good.) But when the opportunity comes up to actually have a conversation with someone in Korean, then it's all too obvious that it just doesn't come out as well as it used to.

Two weeks ago, Doug went out on a Saturday afternoon to get his hair cut. He went to a place nearby run by some nice Korean ladies. Later he told me that he'd talked to a lady there who was a social worker in Korea and had come over to improve her English. She asked him if he went to church, and he just said he was Christian, since they changed the name of the church in Korean a while back and he couldn't remember what it was. So the next day she showed up at church. We're not sure how she ended up there, since she never actually asked Doug where he went to church. After Sacrament Meeting a friend told me that there was a Korean lady there. Someone else was already talking to her, so I went over to help.

Her name was 지현 (Ji Hyun), from Seoul. She told me she'd picked Zelia for an English name. We talked just a little--I told her about where I'd been in Korea, and she told me my pronunciation was good (yes, I can say Daejeon, Gwangju, and Suncheon properly! Yay!). Then she asked what the topic of the day's talks had been. Well, the topic was revelation and I could not for the life of me remember the word for revelation in Korean. Which was really embarrassing because it was definitely something I should have known. I was pretty sure it started with 계 and just kept running through 계 words. (계획? No, that's plan. 계단? No, that's stairs....)

Then I asked her if she had a Book of Mormon and she said, "This is a Mormon church? I did not know that!" Oops. I answered a few questions in a mixture of Korean and English, but I only got to talk to her for a few minutes because she said she had an appointment. After she left we managed to track down a Korean Book of Mormon. We didn't see her the next week.

I was feeling kind of agitated about this for a while, and kept wondering if there was something I was supposed to do differently. With all the Korean-related stuff I've had going on recently, of course I can't help but wonder if there's a reason.

There is a Korean branch that meets in Auburn. A couple that was in our ward is attending there now. I'd love to go and do some Korean schmoozing in a no-pressure setting.

This week I've discovered the blogs of three sister missionaries serving in Busan mission: Sister Rose Hadden, Sister Alyssa Linford, and Sister Rachel Ogilvie. Sister Hadden and Sister Linford were companions at the Misisonary Training Center, and Sister Ogilvie was in the next group after them. I particularly enjoyed Sister Hadden's blog. She has a way of capturing everything that just brings it all back. I've enjoyed reading through it and remembering so many little things, and especially the sweet Korean sisters that I served with. Sister Ogilvie's blog was a lot of fun, too.

I also discovered that the current mission president in Busan is Ken Jenning's father. I just got a kick out of that.

I am determined to get back to Korea, somehow. I have no idea when or how this might take place, or for how long, or even who all it would involve. (It occurred to me recently that Kate probably wouldn't appreciate Korea very much right now.) In the meantime, I feel a need to get myself back up to speed (as much as I can, anyway) on speaking fluency. Last night I watched some Let's Speak Korean videos on youtube (these are actually pretty good--they use some nice colloquial forms), and went to bed with Korean in my head. 앞으로 더 열심히 공부 해야돼요.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Vorpal Blade (snicker-snack!)

Kate colored this CTR shield in Primary. (CTR stands for "choose the right.") She wanted to cut it out and put a handle on it, so I took care of that for her, gluing it onto a cardboard backing first to make it stronger. Then she wanted a sword to go with it. I suggested that she should talk to her dad about a sword, since he could probably make one much cooler than anything I would come up with. The result: cardboard and duct tape falchion.

Doug decided the sword should have some runes. It says, "This end into dragon."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Busy Boy

Bags are so fun to get into! I remember Kate doing the same thing.

Good thing he's cute!

Andy's been flipping over and sleeping on his stomach a lot. The other day I put him down for a nap in his car seat (sometimes he just doesn't nap well in his crib). A few minutes later I found him like this. Does that look comfortable?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tree Stars and Sharp Tooth

Doug and Kate made this game yesterday with Land Before Time characters. I asked if the game has a name and they hadn't come up with one yet.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The rain rain rain comes down down down

It sure has been raining a lot. (It's not actually precipitating right now, but looks like it could start up again at any moment.) I think there was even a flood warning. I just checked the extended forecast and it shows nothing but showers for the next ten days. I was hoping we could get out and do something for the holiday Monday. Guess we'll have to look for things to do indoors.

I've been working on getting products back up in the store at NDISB. That's a big job. (I had some things that needed new previews or other tweaking, so I'm getting that done.) I've come to the conclusion that I should make a separate design blog, but I don't really want to focus on that right now.

Andy has been walking around saying "Uh-oh! Uh-oh!" Maybe he's planning to do something naughty.

I had an idea for some kind of regular blog feature, and now I can't remember what it was. I hate it when that happens.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I finished my mom's calendar! Originally I was hoping to get it done in time for her birthday (Dec 21st). I did start on it at the beginning of November, but it just took longer than I was expecting. I think I'm just slow.

When the new year rolled around and I still wasn't finished, I emailed the January pages to my mom so she could print them out and put them up on the wall. Since it's no longer a surprise, I thought I'd go ahead and share the rest of the pages here. I'm just thrilled with how everything turned out.

Scroll down for partial credits.

I got a picture of each of the four grand kids (sometimes more than one) for each page topper, and then pictures for all birthdays and anniversaries. Peter and Karen are expecting their second child in June, so then there'll be five grand kids! (and a June birthday! But we still won't have anything in August. It looks oddly bare).

I'm getting it printed at Zazzle. There are a lot of places that print calendars, but Zazzle was the only place where I could find the larger size. There are a few things about their interface that are kind of annoying to work with, and I haven't seen the printed product yet, so I can't speak to that. They do have a lot of options.

The whole experience has been interesting. I've been designing digital scrapbook products for a few years now, and of course I've done a few layouts and small projects, but the actual volume of my scrapping productivity has been pretty limited. It was kind of cool to focus on this for a while, and figure out what I like to use and how, and what I was lacking in my stash. I did some more digi shopping (instant gratification!) and got most of my stuff tagged in Windows Live Photo Gallery, which makes finding things a lot easier. I love it. Now I've got lots of ideas for things I'd like to scrap and more things I'd like to design.

Some of the main products used:

(My stuff) Paper Bag Frames, The Paper Drawer, Pinks, Shoelace, Red Ribbons, Paint Splatters, Brush Strokes.

(Other people's stuff) Something Blue Studios Worn Alpha Overlays, Worn Photo Overlays - Set Two, Worn Overlays Set 3 - Shapes; Anne deJong (AnneMade) Paper Leaves 2; Michelle Coleman Merry Little Christmas, Glow, Nostalgia, Wild Sorbet (this one's free!); Megan Farrow (Flergs) Colour Theory: Cream, Flairy Floss; Megan Farrow and Kaye Winiecki A Perfect Day; Galiscrap Brown Addict.