Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 collage

We spent the evening at our stake New Year's Eve party at the YMCA. (We took two cars so I could bring Andy home earlier while Doug and Kate stayed to swim.)   Andy loved the big rope swing--he got to go on it a few times before it got really busy.

It's been quite a year!  New cat, new flooring, some new opportunities.  We've had some interesting challenges to deal with as the kids grow and change.  We continue to seek the guidance and patience  to build a strong, supportive, healthy family.

I planted some more daffodil bulbs in late October, and they started coming up a couple of weeks before Christmas. Yikes! Maybe they'll go back to sleep as it gets colder.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Stamping Wrapping Paper

Since I've been making stamps to use with my gelli plate, it occurred to me that I could also use them for making wrapping paper. I got a big roll of white paper and a roll of kraft brown paper, and I've been having fun stamping them.

Kate's friend Kael had a Pokemon-themed party, so I made this wrapping paper for his present. I cut the shapes out of craft foam (Doug helped me get Pikachu's ears right), and glued them onto flooring scraps.

This was for a white elephant gift exchange.

(There were a few others--one where I used potato stamps--but I didn't get pictures.)

So, I ambitiously decided to make all our wrapping paper for Christmas. I started this well enough in advance that I had some time to find shapes and cut out all the fiddly bits. 

Doug cut some plywood blocks for me to mount the stamps on. (I used PVA glue and let it dry overnight.)

I use my brayer to roll out a layer of paint on a piece of plexiglass, and load up the stamp. Or sometimes I turn the stamp over and roll the brayer right on it. That works too. Since the stamps are unfinished wood I can't get them too wet when washing them off, but wiping them with a baby wipe seems to work well enough.

 I thought the Christmas tree stamp worked really well--probably because it's kind of triangular, and they fit together nicely in patterns.

Well, after that I had to do birthday paper too. These were a lot faster--mostly pretty basic shapes. (The cat was adapted from a tattoo I found online.)

I used some other stamps that I had already made up, too. I'm not sure how long all the stamping took me--maybe an hour or a little more. When you've got this much paper you have to have enough room to spread out all the pieces to let them dry, but overall it's not that much of a hassle, as long as you're not trying to do it at the last minute the day of the party. I'm sure I'll be making more in the future!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Six and Ten

How quickly they grow! Doug and I have been saying to each other for a while now, "Can you believe Kate's going to be ten?" Well, the day is upon us and we still can't quite believe it. Double digits!

We didn't have panettone this year, but Doug found something called a Mayorca that we stuck some candles in.

And Andy is six!  (This is also somewhat hard to fathom.) He was so cute trying to blow out his candles.

Present time!

Grumpy cat!

We got Andy a few books.

Minion gloves! (I saw these at Target and thought they were cute.)

Kate puts together her Lego Mixel while Grumpy Cat supervises.

Andy, in dire need of a haircut.

Reading with Dad.

Wiz Wuz!

In the afternoon we went downtown to the Tacoma Children's Museum. Here we are waiting to ride the Link.

Andy loves the little train! (He was reading the advisory panel--"Cover drinks! Hold handrail! No smoking!")

At the museum, Kate found a dragon friend right away.

Water is always fun!

Andy makes glowing letters.

We went to El Sabor for dinner, and then stopped by Baskin Robbins, where a nice gentleman offered to take a picture of all of us.

Here's another blast from the past--Betsey found this picture of my tenth birthday. (I believe that's a squirrel cake.)

Happy birthday, kids!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Painted Clothes (dragon hoodie and Pete the Cat shirt)

These are the painted clothes that I made for Kate and Andy for Christmas.   I'd read on the Gelli Arts Blog about how you can iron freezer paper to fabric to stabilize it for painting, and thought, "I must try this!" It didn't take long to come up with the perfect project. Kate has a really cute style of dragons that she draws, and she wears a hoodie almost every day at school, so I decided to put a dragon on a hoodie for her.

I already had some Golden brand textile medium to mix with my acrylic paints, and I got a blank purple hoodie from  I roughed out the basic shape in chalk first, but I was still a little nervous about that moment of committing paint to fabric.  Once I got started, though, it all flowed out just fine.  I like the way the dark background works as shading for the scales. 

I put the hoodie over the back of a chair so I could get at both sides. (This worked really well.) Cory helped.

My other assistant.

Completed hoodie, front and back.

I managed to do all of this without Kate seeing, so it was a complete surprise!

I also made a Pete the Cat shirt for Andy. I got a picture of the ironing of the freezer paper.  Turn shirt inside out, put freezer paper shiny-side down, apply hot iron. 

I used Derwent Inktense pencils for the whiskers. (Another recent purchase inspired by the Gelli Arts Blog--they are costing me money!) I dipped the pencil point in water before each stroke, and got a nice thick line.

"I love my red shoes!"

I got the kids to model their new clothes after they opened presents. Kate loves her hoodie!

Andy's a bit less demonstrative, but I think he likes the shirt!

I wasn't overly swamped with stressful Christmas preparations, and these didn't take too long, so it was a fun creative project and it worked out great!  I must do more!  I think next time I will try fabric paint--even with the addition of the textile medium, the acrylic is a bit stiff.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Like a Kid at Christmas

This year's tree is a Grand Fir. Isn't it cute? You may notice it's a little sparsely decorated on the bottom (aside from the paper chain that Doug and I made out of gelli prints). This was our first Christmas with a cat. He was pretty good (mostly), but we did have to keep the ornaments up higher.

Christmas morning! Kate had her usual trouble sleeping the night before, but was still up at 7:00. (I made her wait a little longer, but couldn't squeeze out more than a few minutes!) Andy was still pretty groggy.

Kate unwraps a hand-painted dragon hoodie.

Andy gets a Pete the Cat shirt.

Cory helps with the wrapping paper.

The picture cracks me up--Kate hugs her new Beanie Boo kitty, while in the background the other kitty stages a stealthy attack on the tree. (Naughty!)

Aunt Betsey got us Mastermind! This one has five spaces in the code. Oooh.

We replaced Andy's Magna-Doodle with the same model. (He's pretty hard on them.) He went to work right away drawing Mo Willem's pigeon.

This year's Christmas Pizza. (I had a little trouble with this one--will do better next time!)

Doug and Kate assemble some K'Nex.

We had Grandma Mary over later, spending the night on her way from Everett to Portland.  The kids always love having her here.  (Andy just lit up when she came in--so cute!)

 I got a new (refurbished) computer, which is fabulous (yay!), but I'm having a little trouble calibrating my monitor. (Same monitor and calibrator that I had before, but maybe Windows 7 reacts differently?) So I'm not sure how these will look.

My sister Betsey has been scanning some old photos, and found this one of Kirsten and me visiting Santa when we were little. (I'm the one on the right.) Poor Santa looks like he's had a long day!

Merry Christmas!