Saturday, March 31, 2012

Saturday Smiles

On Saturday I share a couple of things that have made me smile during the last week.

1. Break-Up!
The snow has been melting slowly, roads are clearing, and we are seeing pavement! Mind you, it's back down into the 20's today and it's SNOWING again. However, Spring is on it's way.

2. Farmer's Market Beading
I'm making jewelry! Almost every night! I'm trying to prepare for Farmer's Market, so I've been busily working bead magic. I'll share some new pieces this week. =)

3. Our Life Group on Thursday's
We've joined a group of about 5 couples from church, and we hang out on Thursday night for a couple of hours. We read the Bible together. Sometimes we play games and eat dinner. And this has been a really good thing. Jake & I are such introverts that it's hard for us to get to know people. We need community, with good friendships and sharing. With friends with whom we can walk this road of faith together.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ode to the New Car

Oh! The joys of our new car!

Our Corolla drives lightly and picks up speed,
With a dome light that works,
And windows that go down and come back up!
Our headlights point at the road ahead
As we glide quietly up and down dark snowy streets,
The engine revs and swiftly arrows up hills.
Comfortable chairs support my neck and back,
As road noise is contained by insulated doors
and upholstered seats ease the remaining engine noise.
Fresh air gently blows on my face,
Cool when air-conditioned or
warm when heated during the winter.

All this comfort and attention to detail is shocking to a family used to:
doors that never seal shut, allowing road noise and bitter cold to seep through;
a lack of any internal light;
strangely holed seats;
a dog-nibbled emergency brake;
an over-taxed and dying engine;
dim headlights that point 2 feet from the front of the car;
weird electronic issues;
and a necessity of shifting into neutral at any and all stops signs and lights.

How we love our new car!
The praise we heap upon our new transportation!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Saturday Smiles

SORRY! I'm late. Didn't actually write this until Saturday late night, so it'll probably post as Sunday morning.

On Saturdays I post about a couple of things that made me smile over the last week.
1.) A Musical!

I got to see FLOT's production of Music Man, and it was really good! I haven't gotten to see a play in a long time.

Man, it's killing me to not be in a production right now. But both my mom and Jake are saying it's time for me to start auditioning again... Hope the auditions result in performances! I haven't been in a show in about 7 years. That's a pretty long time.

2. Random kids saying Hi! to me all over Fairbanks
I work in a school as a reading tutor. I like my job. I get to help kids who struggle in reading, and I get to work one-on-one with them. I get to see them improve over the course of a school year, and I get to see how their progressing reading skills affect the rest of their school abilities and attitude.

As part of my tutoring job, I also do a daily half-hour stint as a recess monitor. I don't really like that part very much, particularly at -15 with wind chill. However, the side benefit of this job is that I get to know a lot of kids by name. And even the ones I don't know by name, recognize me outside of the school context.

Jake has teased me about being a pied piper since so many kids will say Hi to me at Fred Meyers & Walmart, in restaurants, and around town. It makes me smile every time. I love seeing kids I know out of the school context. I like seeing their families, and how they fit into the rest of the world.

3.) Farmer's Market Opens in 48 Days!

I checked out how many days till we open and I was shocked. For some reason, it's been feeling very far off. It's not! I need to get stringing! and Wire-wrapping!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ice Alaska 2012

What an excellent adventure! We finally made it to the Ice Park yesterday. Slides and sculptures and snacks, oh my!
Jake & I both left our cameras at home, so after riding the train around the park Jake went home to grab them. The girls and I spent about 30 minutes playing around in the Kid's Ice Park while we waited for him. We spent a lot of time at this specific slide.
After Jake rejoined us, we walked through all the sculptures. I took many pictures of ice sculptures, so I'll just share a few of my favorites. My favorite multi-block was an amazingly textured and detailed sculpture of a porcupine and a leopard.
My favorite single-block was the butterfly in different stages of life. The cocoon and caterpillar were beautiful, but the butterfly blew me away. Incredible detail and texture. The fine antennas.
The girls' favorite was this lovely mermaid. I wish I had been able to get a better picture...
I loved the balance of this breaching whale.
This year was the first year my girls enjoyed looking at the statues. Even last year they were done in about ten minutes. Yesterday was a joy, with Abigail and Deborah enjoying the beauty of the sculptures. They looked at the textures and details and colors. They chose favorites, and I had a lot of fun talking about the statues with them. Then, just when they started to get bored, they developed the statue game. They would get set-up and wait patiently for me to discover their masterpiece. This statue was titled "The Frogs".
This statue was called "The Sled Ride".
After we couldn't feel our toes or fingers or ears, we stopped in the snack shack and warmed up with hot chocolate and pretzels. The room is crowded! I wish there was a better seating arrangement. However, everyone gets cold and everyone wants to warm up, so a lot of people end up in the room at the same time...
My girls love their hot chocolate. =)
After we finished warming up, we went back outside to play- slides and ice posing statues and mazes.
My girls passionately LOVED the slides most of all, but they enjoyed the mazes and turtles.

This year, I chose NOT to climb on one of the turtles. But Abigail and Deborah both enjoyed a turtle ride.

We had a wonderful time!

If you haven't had a chance to check out Ice Alaska, you are missing out. They show a gazillion photos on their website, but it's pretty clunky and difficult to navigate. My friend Susan has some amazing ice sculpture photos on her web-site, and it's much easier to scroll through the photos. Right now her blog has photos taken during the day, but I KNOW she's done an evening shoot (I've seen some of the photos on FB) and I'm counting on her having some more night photos posted to her blog soon.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday Smiles

On Saturdays I post about a couple of things that make me smile.
1) The Dragons of Ordinary Farm by Tad Williams & Deborah Beale
From Here: Tyler and Lucinda have to spend summer vacation with their ancient uncle Gideon, a farmer. They think they’re in for six weeks of cows, sheep, horses, and pigs. But when they arrive in deserted Standard Valley, California, they discover that Ordinary Farm is, well, no ordinary farm.The bellowing in the barn comes not from a cow but from a dragon. The thundering herd in the valley? Unicorns. Uncle Gideon’s sprawling farmhouse never looks the same twice. Plus, there’s a flying monkey, a demon squirrel, and a barnload of unlikely farmhands with strange accents and even stranger powers.At first, the whole place seems like a crazy adventure. But when darker secrets begin to surface and Uncle Gideon and his fabulous creatures are threatened, Lucinda and Tyler have to pull together to take action. Will two ordinary kids be able to save the dragons, the farm – and themselves?
I thoroughly enjoyed this fun romp through fantasy land. Yes, there were some freaky/scary things going on, but the silliness made the book a delight. The absurdity and zaniness reminded me of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books. The book is richer, more detailed and more complete. The mystery is light, but persistent and the hunt for answers is well worth the time.

2) Chocolate chip cookies
I specifically love the ones made by McDonald's; however, I'll eat any chocolate chip cookie. I prefer soft centers with a touch of crispy on the outside.

3) The children's program at our church
Our girls like going to church. They don't try to beg out of church, they don't whine and fuss when it's time for them to go downstairs with the other kids. They love the children's time during the main worship service and they understand what Miss Emily is saying to them. They are both pretty serious about God and ask me some pretty amazing questions.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Paying the Price

"The trick – well, the trick is to figure out what you want to do, work supremely hard, put it at the center of your life and pay the price for it all." Deborah Beale, author

Isn't that so true!!
You have to know what you want, and then decide the pain and work is worth fighting for what you want.
Is it worth it to have a job you hate to earn the money you need for the things you want?
Is it worth it to give up that job, have less, but have a job you like?
Is it worth it to spend time on the road away from family and home so that you can play music, or act?

What are you willing to pay to have what you want?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Time Change

Since the time change I've been staying up later and later...
I had been sleeping so well! And then we changed the time, and I swear it's just like jet lag.

I'm tired all the time again, and not sleeping at night.
Partly it's because of spring break. We are all home this week.
I don't have to get the girls to school. I don't have to get to work.
So, I'm staying up late and reading. Beading. Playing on the computer.
But I still blame the time change.

Here's the ridiculous thing:
I don't like to be tired.

You'd think by now I'd have it figured out- if I stay up too late, I'm tired.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Saturday Smiles

For the Bead Soup Blog Part post, go HERE.
On Saturday I normally try and post a couple of things that have made me smile during the last week.
We've had an amazing week as far as seeing God's provision for us. We haven't had a nice car in a while. My husband tends to buy beaters, and then we run them into the ground. Our last car has been the worst... We called her Nikita because she obviously had a checkered past. Nikita has finally died, and when our mechanic told us what would be involved in fixing her, we realized it wasn't worth it this time around.
So, meet Sandy (as my girls have dubbed our new car). Sandy is a 2003 Toyota Corolla and a dream to drive. She came equipped with an auto start, so I can turn her engine on from inside the house and wait for her to warm up a bit in the cold weather. She drives smoothly, her engine is clean and she has a lot of room in the trunk and in the back seat. We're hoping she lasts a good long time.

The other thing I'm smiling about this week is Season 6 of Supernatural. We're currently watching it on DVD, and I'm so glad the show is not over! I honestly thought it would be after last season, with the death of one of the main characters. But Sam's back from hell and an angel civil war is proceeding apace. I enjoy the black humor of this horror-monster road-trip urban-legend show. I would have been very sad to see it over.

Also, I've been beading lately! Another reason to smile. I really haven't had the energy for much creative activity, but it's coming back. Slowly to be sure. But it's coming back.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Energy, Bead trays and Polymer Clay

For the Bead Soup Blog Party Post, go HERE.
I feel like I'm coming out of a fog. It's been nine weeks since my surgery and I finally have energy.

Energy to play with the kids at recess.
Energy to plan fun things for Spring break next week.
Energy to care how the house looks.
Energy to care how I look.
Energy to be creative and spontaneous.
Energy to truly enjoy my girls.
Energy to create.

This is what's on my bead table right now- a collage- style green glass, ceramics and shell necklace. I'm still thinking about how it will go together- You are seeing just the preliminary lay-out. I tend to have an image or drawing in mind, then I lay out elements and play with them (moving them around, switching them, pulling out more stuff). Finally I put it all together.

My favorite thing right now is to combine different styles and methods (wire-work plus stringing, etc.) And making my own components really adds to the pleasure of creating.

This is what I'm working with on my component tray. Right now, I'm just working in polymer clay.

My surgery stole so much time and energy that I had to drop my metal-smithing class. I was terribly depressed at first, and then I chose to make it a good thing. I decided to focus on polymer clay for this semester to see if it's a medium I like. So far, so good. I haven't created anything yet with my components, but I'm going to soon.

Here you see a wing pendant and a butterfly pendant. They've been cooked and now they are waiting to be painted. The painting is my favorite part! I love adding individuality to each piece.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Reveal Day!- Water Lilies Necklace

Welcome to my blog! I am so excited to be part of Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party! In Lori's words, a concise explanation of the Bead Soup Blog Party: The premise of the blog hop is for two people to swap beads and then make something from those beads. The requirements are to send a focal, a special clasp, and some coordinating beads. The purpose is to stretch imaginations, incorporate beads from your current stash, and, in getting someone else's beads, work with things you may never have thought to use before.
My partner was the lovely and talented Sharon Driscoll. Look at the amazing bead soup she sent me! My favorite color combination is green and purple, and I was delighted to receive such a beautiful art bead. Her glass work is luminous. I loved the saturated colors in both the focal piece and in the accompanying round beads. She sent me such a fabulous bounty of beads- stones, and glass, and chain! It was a challenge to select just a few to work with for this piece. I have so many ideas for other pieces.
One of my favorite painters is Monet. I love the way he used light and color, and I find his work both exciting and peaceful. I saw the colors and textures of Monet's Water Lilies paintings in Sharon's focal piece, and found the bead truly beautiful. I wanted to focus in on the luminescent flowers and the surrounding green foliage.
I added flowers, some Swarovski crystals, two silver circles and a large Magnesite briolette. I laid out the necklace and then started constructing it from the art bead outwards. I wanted to focus in on the glass bead. However, I needed something heavy enough to make sure the necklace wouldn't slide around. It needed to compliment her bead while at the same time not competing with the central focus. I hope the briolette achieves those goals.
I wire-wrapped three flowers around the silver hoop to bring out the purple in the water-lily bead. And then wrapped a wire around another one Sharon's art beads.My last action was to string the crystals & stones and braid them lightly. When I was done, I had a much longer necklace than I normally construct; however, I think the length of the necklace balances the longer art bead.
At the end, I fought with the briolette a little- It didn't want to hang the way I wanted it to. It wanted desperately to hang sideways, but alas and sorrow to the briolette, I was victorious! And now it hangs quite nice and flat.
Thank you, Lori! I love your parties!!!
Here's the list of partners so you can continue on your blog hop.