Friday, May 30, 2008

Thoughtful Friday

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one."

--Jane Howard

Thanks to Cassi at Bella Dia for starting Thoughtful Fridays. Glad to join in.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Portrait of an imaginary friend

Autumn's friend Cera is five years old and she lives in our pantry. She has pink hair (wonder where she got that from) and a blue mustache, and she loves to surf. Cera is invisible (or, to be politically correct, visibility impaired) and can only be seen if you become invisible yourself. Since most people don't know how to become invisible, Cera asked me to paint her portrait so everyone can see what she looks like.


Who knew a girl with a mustache could look so cute?

Painting has become my newest accidental hobby. I bought a few 11"x 14" canvas panels on a shopping trip with Faye, thinking I might try out a variation of a cute craft project I saw on Martha's show. Instead, one of the panels turned into a painting for a swap I'm working on (more on that later), and it ended up being a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I had always wanted to experiment with painting, but thought to myself, I'm not an artist. I'm not talented in that way. As it turns out, I'm not too shabby. Cera's painting isn't quite finished yet. That top left bit of empty sky is begging for something pretty. I'm just not sure what it is.

What I love most about painting is the evolution that takes place, from the first sketch to the final product. You start with a basic idea (or in this case, Autumn provides one), a simple line drawing, and the artwork tells you where it wants to go from there. It may start out one way and go in a completely different direction by the time you're halfway through. It may change and evolve over hours or days. You add a new color here, some shading there, walk away for a little while, and when you come back you add more until it's absolutely finished.

At least, that's how it works for me. I'm no professional. My art will never be hung in galleries or museums. My art is just simple and whimsical and silly, and it makes for a unique addition to our home decor. But it's satisfying in a way that's different from sewing or any of the crafty things I do, really. It's more personal.

So to those of you who have always thought you have no artistic ability, to those who gave up on creating art or never even tried because you don't feel like you're good enough, shut up and paint! Whether you make stick figures or an award winning masterpiece, it's art because it's you, and you are amazing. As Suzi Blu says, you are an artist. You are. You just have to recognize it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Feeling Springish

"Springy" sounds like more of a commitment to spring than what I'm feeling at the moment, so let's go with springish.

I had big plans for our back yard this spring. I was going to clean the whole thing up, yank out all the weeds, plant some planty things, and make it all clean and shiny and lovely. Then The Incident happened. I went outside to clear some toys and debris from the yard, and just as I was lifting up a plastic tarp out popped A FREAKING GIGANTIC TARANTULA THING. Okay maybe it wasn't a tarantula but it was the biggest dang spider I've ever seen in my life. When a spider makes a thunking sound as it falls it's way too freaking big.
Luckily Adam's friend who doesn't mind spiders was here at the time and found the creature, picked it up and threw it out of our yard. We named it Aragog.

Now, I know most people aren't fond of spiders but I really think my fear goes beyond the norm, to a genuine case of arachnophobia. I cried, people. Sobbed. That night I couldn't sleep because all I could think about was The Incident, and when I did sleep I had spidery nightmares. And I'm so sad now because I don't think I can go back into the yard again, at least not for a while. Our garden will have to wait. In the meantime I'll stick to my usual method of gardening.

Other than being scarred for life, spring in Maryland has been very pleasant so far. The sun is sunning, the birds are birding, the flowers are flowering, and so on and so forth. It appears that since last spring Autumn has done that growing thing that children tend to do, and most of her warm weather clothes no longer fit. We'll be doing some shopping (and maybe some sewing) to remedy that soon.

I wish I was still growing so I had an excuse to get new clothes every season. Not that the lack of an excuse stops me from doing it anyway. I love getting new clothes, especially springish clothes. Crabmommy's post about shorts reminded me of the endless joy of spring skirts and dresses. There are few simple pleasures more enjoyable than a crisp cotton a-line skirt or a flouncy sleeveless dress on a hot sunny day.
Up until this time last year I wore jeans and t-shirts almost exclusively, until I had to buy new clothes for our Florida vacation. I left store after store empty handed, unable to find a single pair of shorts that fit me properly. Apparently women of my proportions are thought to be extinct because if you have a small waist and a big butt you're pretty much SOL when it comes to shorts. If it fit my hips, it was too big around the waist. If it fit my waist it squished me everywhere else. If it fit my waist and hips, it was way too short. After emerging from the tenth fitting room I threw my hands in the air and said, "Screw it, I'm wearing dresses this summer!" and never looked back.
Best style decision I've ever made. Not only do dresses and skirts actually fit, but they're way more fun. Why would you want to wear boring old shorts when you can wear polka dotted confections like this every day?

I know you're all jealous of my awesome modeling skills. By awesome I mean terrible and by skills I mean complete lack thereof. Anyway, that dress is freakin cute.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Word of the week: blue

1. My new 'do. It reminds me of the ocean.
2. Autumn finger painting
3. Autumn in San Diego, age 2
4. & 5. Fountain at the inner harbor
6. Autumn's Crocs