Sunday, December 30, 2012

Kate's Baptism

We've been preparing Kate to be baptized when she turned eight. It was a lovely evening.  Friends and family came (Grandma Mary was up in Everett visiting Aunt Erika, so she was able to be there). The water was very cold but Kate was brave.

Family picture! (And there's Grandma in the back.)

I asked Jill Tracy if she could play "Each Life That Touches Ours For Good" for me, in the prelude music.  In my mission we sang that at every single baptism.  (I remember singing it at a mission reunion and getting all choked up... and singing it in Relief Society when I was pregnant and pretty much bawling... darn hormones.) It wasn't part of the program, but I wanted to include it, just for me.  It was just a small, sweet moment--a brief surge of emotion, the echo of Korean lyrics, and then getting back to the matter  at hand, getting my daughter ready for her own baptism.  Nobody else knew.  But I appreciated Jill doing that for me. 

Grandma Mary gave the talk on baptism, and Sister Campbell (who's been sitting with on Sundays to help me out with the kids, since Doug's on the stand) gave the talk on the Holy Ghost.  Scott gave the opening prayer and Rebecca gave the closing prayer.  It was a nice way to include everybody.  And when we got home we skyped with my parents in Ohio.  Thanks for sharing our special evening with us!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Four Candles, Eight Candles

We started out the morning with birthday pancakes! (That last one is a dragon.)

Andy was rather freaked out by his pancakes and wouldn't eat them. He loves letters, but apparently letters are not for eating. (He had some non-letter pancakes instead.)

We repeated the cupcake idea from Kate's fourth birthday, with one candle one each of Andy's cupcakes and two candles on each of Kate's. I made banana muffins this time, with cream cheese frosting. I also did the letters (Doug made them last time), out of starbursts and flavored tootsie rolls. I discovered that this is not as easy as it looks. They take a bit of work to get them soft, but if you work them too long they get really messy.

It turns out Andy won't eat cupcakes with letters on them either. (As my friend Melany said, "I'm guessing alphabet soup is out of the question.")

Singing to Andy.  He was overcome.

Andy is starting to figure out what presents are about.

Kate is an old hand at this.

Another Elephant and Piggie book? Score!

Most of Andy's presents this year were books. Which means that we get to spend a lot of time reading them with him. He'll come up to me with a book, tug on my arm, and say, "Sit on the couch?" He sure loves his books.

I told Kate that we could have a big party for her this year (eight is a big deal), but then we found out about the How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular coming to the Tacoma Dome earlier this month, so we said she could either have a big party or go see the dragons. This was not a hard choice. Doug took her to the show. She wore her pink dragon costume and had a wonderful time.

So we just had our little family party at home and then we picked up Kate's friend Emma and took the kids to Odyssey for a couple of hours. (Low stress, no planning!  Yay!)  They've been a bit cooped up lately, so it was great to get out and run around for a while. I put together a little video: 

Happy birthday, kids! 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gallery Glass Grimm

I've been head-down in a new project, making Grimm-inspired ornaments with Gallery Glass paints.  I wanted to do something for Jamie and Lindsey of  The Grimm Podcast, and once I came up with the idea I had to make a  few more for some friends in our Grimmsters group on Facebook.  And of course I took lots of pictures while I was at it!

The design comes from the stained glass window in Monroe's door (photo from the maker's site).  I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to freehand the wolf, so I was tossing around other ideas and came up with this solution:

I printed out the wolf in the size I needed and traced it with the liquid leading ("contains no lead!"). I used the back side of my cutting glass, which worked really well. (I did have some parallax issues, because of the thickness of the glass, but it didn't take long to get used to.)

It occurred to me that I could let the lines extend beyond the design, and then trim them afterwards. 

After letting them dry overnight, I cleaned up the edges with my microtip scissors.  (Craft knife doesn't work for this part--I tried.  The stuff is just too rubbery.)

Adding the paint. It comes in squeeze bottles, and you just squeeze it where you want it and then push it into the edges with a little pointy stick. 

After it dries overnight, you can peel it up (carefully) and apply it to the ornament.  This works really well--you can also make window clings!  Oooh! 

(Kate held the ornament for me to get a picture.  She was a bit wobbly.)

I planned to put a line around the top and bottom of the ornaments, but it was immediately obvious that I wouldn't be able to freehand them.

So I made some straight lines with the leading and let them dry overnight.  (Yep, that's another "overnight"--this was quite a long process!)

Applying the lines to the ornament is kind of a pain.  After doing a few I got the trick of it--hold the whole thing up at eye-level, hold the leading out to the side, and keep it straight while you turn the ornament. Still a pain. 

My second bottle of leading was pretty runny, and the lines spread.  I was able to peel it up and trim it with the scissors, but I wouldn't recommend this because it was really hard to get everything back in the right place.

Painting!  I had to do it in sections and let it dry before turning it, so this part took three or four days. 

The first completed ornament.  Total elapsed time:  nine days.  Once I got all the steps figured out the others went a little faster!

Working on the kitchen table.  (I went through a lot of paper towels.)

Ornaments in various stages of completion, drying on the top shelf of my computer desk. 

I got pretty good at freehanding the leading (especially the right side), but had trouble getting a consistent line out of the bottle.  It's rather awkward to work with. 

I thought the original design was a little too detailed for me to replicate at this scale, so I had to do some adapting.  After making several like this, I realized that I still wasn't completely happy with the left side... I came up with this design that's closer to the original.  

Painting is fun.  I got some cool effects by swirling colors together.   For the sky I mixed Blue Diamond and Crystal Clear, and swirled in a little Snow White and Sapphire.

It looks very cool when it's dry!

Finishing up the final three.

This is my favorite part. The paint flattens out as it dries, but when it's wet it looks like round, shiny polished stone.  Pretty!  I love the Light Green.  It's opaque, which makes a nice contrast, and you can do some fun things mixing it with the transparent colors.  (I discovered that it's been discontinued, but I was able to get two bottles on Amazon.  Yay!)

About ten years ago I got to go to the HIA trade show, and I remember checking out the Gallery Glass booth.  When I was at Michael's  I recognized it and thought, "Oh yeah, that'll work!"  It was a lot of fun.  I do think the liquid leading could use some improvement (for ease of application or consistency of... well... consistency) but it's pretty cool stuff. 

Things I learned:
  • It's hard to tell what a color (or mixture) will look like when it's dry.  I had to play around with this a bit.

  • Even after drying overnight, the painted areas are very susceptible to nicks and fingerprints.  I had to make sure to only hold the ornaments by the top and bottom when working on them.

  • It's easier to lift out air bubbles than to try to pop them. 

  • These ornaments are dust magnets.  And the leading lines are lint-snaggers.  I eventually hit on wiping them off with my lens-cleaning cloth.  This works well. 

  • It's hard to get a good picture on the tree.  I can't even tell you how many I went through!

So that's my Gallery Glass experiment.  It's been fun!  Maybe next I'll make some Pikmin window clings with Kate. 

Monday, December 10, 2012


Decorating the tree for Family Home Evening.

"Get a picture of me hugging the tree!"

You've probably seen those images of a family, all adorably bundled up in winter attire, out choosing a Christmas tree together.   I have never experienced this in real life.  Attempts proved less than adorable, and in recent years I've just been having Doug go pick one out himself.  Maybe one of these years we'll try again, if everyone's feeling patient and agreeable.  (And it's not raining!) 

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Nativity Singing

The Festival of the Nativity, which lasts for three days and displaces the three wards that meet in our building, includes hundreds of nativity sets on display, live performances, and the opportunity to dress up and get your picture taken. It's quite the production. I volunteered to be the photographer Friday evening, so I was there for three hours. It was pouring buckets that night but a fair number of people braved the rain and kept me busy taking pictures.

Kate was part of a multi-stake children's choir that performed Saturday afternoon. First time she's really done anything like this--I expect it was a good experience. Her favorite song was "Sing a Song of Merry Christmas," which is fast and fun.

Kate communes with Fake Sheep and Baby Jesus (also fake).

Checking out the nativities.

Saturday evening there was a Messiah sing-along. I thought we'd just go for part of it, but Kate didn't want to leave, so we ended up staying for the whole ninety minutes. (Andy had to be entertained elsewhere, so Doug and I took shifts.) It's hard to tell how Kate is taking these things--either performing or listening--she doesn't exactly sit there in rapt attention, soaking it all in. But she said she enjoyed singing, and she apparently loved the Messiah. It was very stirring, with the live orchestra and big audience. We ended up in the soprano section, which isn't what I normally sing, but I wasn't really familiar with the music anyway so it was just as well. (But boy, it does get high in places!) We'll definitely do this again.

We appreciate all the work that goes into the festival.  It's really a lovely way to get in the Christmas spirit.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Performance Art, with Magnetic Monkey

Kate amuses herself on a Saturday afternoon. 

Group shot!