Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 collage

It's been a busy, creative year. Here's to the next one!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Seven and Eleven

Another year!  The kids' birthday fell on a Sunday this year, so we got to take birthday pics in their church clothes.

Andy picked out a plastic slinky from the Primary birthday box. He keeps trying to make letters with it. I've untangled it twice.

Cory was ready to pose too.

Kate is looking older to me, all of a sudden. (To which she says, "I am older!")

Cake = slab of panettone. (Seasonally appropriate!)

Andy was so cute when he realized it was his turn to blow out his candles.

I did some wrapping paper stamping the day before. (The strawberries are also a present!)

Kawaii Polymer Clay Creations Some of the techniques are rather advanced, but there's some cute stuff that she'll be able to use, too.

We got Andy this magnetic poetry set. He hasn't done a lot with it yet, but Kate and I have been having some fun.

The next day we went up to East India Grill for lunch (Kate's choice--she eats more here than anywhere else!)

Yummy yummy yummy!

And, since we now have a seven-year-old and an eleven-year-old, we couldn't pass up the chance for a cultural reference. We stopped at 7-eleven on the way home and got slurpees.

Happy birthday kids!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Company for Christmas

We got to have Al, Margit, and Michael with us for Christmas! (Al is Doug's older brother.) Michael is leaving soon to serve a mission in Macon, Georgia, so they wanted to come out and see the Washington and Oregon parts of the family before he left. They stayed at our place, since we're kind of centrally located and had room. When they drove down to see Grandma Mary they brought her back with them, so we had a full house! The kids loved having people around to play with.

Michael wasn't quite born yet when Doug and I were married. It's hard to believe he's old enough to go on a mission now.

Some people go on cleaning binges when they're expecting guests. We went on a home improvement binge. (Okay, there was some cleaning in there too.) We put in our new floor in the living room over a year ago, but hadn't gotten the baseboard moldings replaced, which was keeping us from putting up our bookshelves, which was keeping us from unpacking the boxes of books that were being stored in the extra bedroom downstairs. I'd done some experimenting with staining baseboards earlier, with mixed results. I determined that if we could get the baseboards put in on just that one wall, we might be able to get the extra room usable in time for our company. The week before Christmas was full of sanding and staining and borrowing paper tools from neighbors--and we actually got it done. On that one wall, anyway. And we got one bookcase up. We did not get as far as using the extra room, but for chronic procrastinators I figure it was a major victory. And we learned a lot about baseboards! And even cut a coped corner!

We've always waited to get our tree till after Doug was finished with classes for the quarter. This year we didn't get it up till the 23rd. Kate was super excited. She kept saying, "I feel like Christmas is tomorrow!" (Almost!)

On Christmas Eve we had Kate read the story from Luke, and we sang some songs. (I taught Kate the alto part to "Joy to the World" recently. She's really good at it!)

In the morning Kate came into our room around 5:00. I told her I wanted her to wait till 7:00. (We had people sleeping in the living room!) Once we were up we opened presents.

Kate got a Sculpey sampler pack from Grandma Kathey. This will get a lot of use!

Andy got two new Elephant and Piggie books, and Knuffle Bunny. (Hooray for Mo Willems!)

Mothman's Curse is by my BYU roommie, Christine Hayes.

Al and Margit open a gift. (Doug got them some cool smoked salts.)

Andy's latest Magna-Doodle.

We put the couch diagonally in one corner, and  the Christmas tree in the other corner. There was some nice light coming in through the window, so we had to get some pictures on the couch.

Family pic!

Christmas sunset.

I often feel a little sad around the holidays, seeing all my friends posting about getting together with family. I was excited about having somebody around this time. For the most part it was very nice, though a few things could have gone better. They'd originally said they were going to stay till the 28th, but told us on the morning of the 24th that they were going to leave Christmas afternoon. If I'd known earlier that they were leaving that soon I would have planned some of my pre-Christmas preparations a little differently. But I am really glad that we got the baseboards up. (We've been trying to get that done for a looong time!)

Sunday, December 06, 2015

The Paper Lantern Experiment

I've been drooling over papercut lanterns on Pinterest. I've also seen some cool things done with gelli printing on deli paper. Combining the two seemed like a logical progression. I'd been tossing ideas around in my head and decided that the occasion of our book club white elephant gift exchange would be the ideal time to attempt to throw something together. I did not quite get it done in time, what with nativity painting and Cub Scout meeting and whipping up a batch of pretzels, so I brought it home afterwards to finish up.

Kate and I spent Sunday morning before church sitting across the kitchen table from each other, working on our projects. (She's been making Sculpey dragons.) My favorite part was choosing which part of the gelli print to use for each shape. I discovered that it worked better to cut out all the pieces and then glue them in place, to avoid getting glue on the papers while choosing.

I had a battery-powered tea light that I'd picked up at the dollar store. The deli paper is thin but the light turned out to be a lot dimmer and more yellow than what I was wanting. I'll have to see if I can find something that will work better. It does look pretty cool!

Friday, December 04, 2015

Nativity Painting

I finish one painting project and start another. This was for the Festival of the Nativity at the stake center, this year's theme being "Through a Child's Eyes."

Karen Hemming sent me a picture back in October and asked if I could paint it. I said, "Sure!" It sounded like fun. It looked like a fairly simple image.

Doug was able to check out a laptop and projector from school, so we used that to trace the image onto plywood. Definitely a time-saver! This was taken after a few days of painting. As it turns out, the image is not as simple as it looks. There's a lot of shading. The whole thing took about three weeks.

I thought it would be fun to involve Kate, so I told her I would save the donkey hooves for her to do. I took a break over Thanksgiving, and then Saturday morning we went hoof painting.

She enjoyed it so much that she also did the donkey's eye and nostril (which I did have to touch up, but I'm sure it was a positive experience!)

Anne Marie had some free time on Monday and spent a few hours helping me do outlines. She is awesome. (She probably saved me a day of work.)

The light on the stage was not great. Outlines are tedious. Squinting does not help.

Painting with a buddy is more fun! I got us some posole for lunch, and we sat on my drop cloth and had a posole picnic. It was fabulous. 

While the painting was taking shape on the stage, the rest of the church was transforming into a Christmas wonderland. I finally finished up on Thursday, the day before the festival opened.  I was confident that I didn't have much left to do, so I was just enjoying  being there, taking my time getting nice clean edges, and listening to the Jenny Oaks Baker Christmas Pandora channel on Karen's phone. Kind of a zen experience. 

Finishing up the star! Laura Call came in to volunteer, and I got her to take a photo for me. The lighting turned out pretty cool in this one!  

Setting up the painting at the front of the stage. They used some of the arches from Savior of the World, which I painted ten years ago. (Elsewhere they also used the rocks that I painted for Pirates of Penzance. Everything gets reused!) It looks bigger like this, somehow. 

Grandma Mary came up to see us, and we all went to the festival together. Kate got to tell a few people that she painted the donkey hooves.

It's fun to see all the different nativities. I liked the style of this one.

Everything is so bright and pretty!

People sometimes ask me how I feel about volunteering so much time painting for church projects. I figure it's my consecration.  It is a lot of work, and not always convenient, but it's a blessing for me and for others.  The experience is always good.