Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Online Art Instruction

I just received an email from Dick Blick Art Supply company that they are doing online art lessons. I'm not sure how good they are but it does look interesting. It is about $10.00 for a short video. My concern is how smoothly the video streaming is and if it cuts out here and there. It's less costly than going to a class or buying a video. It's too bad they don't get better graphic design for their logo... that could reflect the quality of art instruction too (?). Here's the website if you want to check it out: http://www.dickblick.com/external.asp?url=http://www.artacademylive.com.

A little visitor...

While stepping out into the backyard today, I almost trod on this fellow! He stayed there long enough for Caroline to take this picture, then made his way back into the woods. It's amazing how quickly they get places when they are persistant. He reminded me that persistance and patience and focus pay off--you reach your goals that way!

Another quick sketch...

I couldn't resist the cuteness of Karla's Yorkie on her website: Karla's Cottage! She posted this morning and I looked up her site... she's very creative and if you like romantic cottages, then check it out!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Art Show!

This morning we attended the kids' art show at the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design. We were really impressed with all the things they've done over this past week! Here is a sampling in some quickly shot photos (it was very crowded and full of people... wonderful!!!)
Self portraits in pastels:

Coat of arms,with engraved images that stood for things about themself or their family:

Wonderful drawings with tonal values of their hands (they say if you can draw hands, you can draw anything!!):

And pinch pots, painted with little characters next to them:

I didn't get a good picture of the shoe drawings (in black and white and color...made into a 3-D free standing sculpture!).
Here's some of that crowd!:
It was just a great experience for them and the friends that also went. I was really impressed with everyone's work and I think it's something they won't forget. Now, if only I could go to one of these classes!!! ;)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I'm still here!

I guess I disappeared this week... the kids had Art Camp every morning at the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design downtown and are loving it!! I am really happy we did this because it gave them time with another artist (not Mom) and they are discovering more talent that they didn't know they had. I always said I didn't need to pay for art lessons because I could give them, but you can always learn something from someone else and it's been great! Tomorrow they have their "show" so I will try to remember my camera!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ohio girls

Amy Butler is not a new find... I actually "found" her back before I even knew anything about blogs. She's an Ohio girl-- Granville, to be exact-- and lately I've been very intrigued with her fabric design. Her color schemes are different, but they do remind me of the landscape of middle Ohio (Granville is just east of Columbus where Craig and I lived when we first were married.) What has me really intrigued was that there seems to be this artistic community of very cutting edge designers that come from this area. When I lived in Columbus and was working for the Ad Agency, I was part of the Society of Communication Arts out there and things were happening with graphic designers that were influencing the east and west coast. The guys from Firehouse 101 (if that is even right...we're talking 1992) and there were others that I looked up to whose art was so unique. So I'm thinking Amy Butler was also influenced by this "thing" that I have no idea what exactly it was but it sure produced a wave of influence.

I am toying with the idea of sewing a quilt for Craig and my bed. We are no longer in a Full Size but a Queen, so my red quilt isn't really fitting and I love it on the old bed and with the antique headboard/footboard. I love how Amy Butler combines a homey feeling of country to an edgy artsy modern pattern and color scheme. I thought I had moved away from modern but I am completely bored with the same old, same old. Especially while reading that home book. I want to be intrigued by my own rooms and living space... relaxed but intrigued at the same time. If my space isn't interesting, then how can I be interesting in my work (which by the way really isn't at all right now.)

Below is a collection from Amy's new line "Nigella". Maybe named for Nigella Lawson? We don't know but it's that same type of attitude: just go for it and enjoy it and don't be a perfectionist to the point of ruining it because that's what creating is all about, isn't it?!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

For Alicia...

Life is always better in the company of others! (hee hee)

Guest Blogger...

"Okay, people... I'm bored... B...O...R...E...D!!! I haven't been away from home for soooo long! Kids...come on! While Mom isn't looking!!! Let's go!... (Anyone got the keys to this thing?)...

This is my pal Nathaniel. I put this leash on and walk him around the trails behind our house.
Nathaniel brought my favorite frisbee today... PLAY, PLAY, PLAY (That's what I say when I want him to throw it!)

By the way, those Sonic frisbees are great... I can really get my teeth around those puppies!

Below is a photo I took today: this is what we live beside--the school's four practice fields and a walking path. Actually it's really my yard and I try to greet everyone that walks there! I just don't think everyone understands that it's MY yard...

Yes, I've found that frisbee... I'm thinking about going pro!
That is me-- looking like Lassie, if I do say so myself.
Now it's time to run home (really fast because that's what I am--FAST!) There is my home, behind those trees! That's my yard and my own road which I think they should name "Ellie Ave." after me! ...

Well, thanks for reading my first blog entry. Mom left the computer down here in my room where I have full access...it's just tough to type with these puppy paws. Have a great day and come visit me soon! (We can play frisbee!!!)" xoxo Ellie

[Sidenote: After the begging of above author, Beth has taken Ellie to the park in the car, and walked around the nature trails with her... so no more begging Ellie!!! (She's sleeping in front of the fan now. ;) ]

Monday, July 16, 2007

And one more...

This is a photo from pumkin little, a blogger who definately understands photography!! Alicia from Posie Gets Cozy writes today about understanding how to take a good picture: from apetures to depth of field... all the stuff I never really got in college, or at least went in one ear... I took the photos...and it quickly went out the other! I always wondered why I could compose a drawing or painting, but not a photograph. Scott Hofmann is a great photographer and here's a photo he took of Ellie when he was out here visiting:

By the way, did you notice how quickly this furball is growing??? This was what she looked like in April:

More inspiration...

I thought I had posted this already but realized I hadn't... I found another new blog that I find very inspiring to my quest to knit a great sock: Poshyarns. She is also a potter, but I guess I'm going to have to wait a bit to see her work-- like all of us, sometimes our art is put on the back burner while raising our families! (But hopefully she'll let us see something ;)


This is the progress on the sock... I would have been farther but I was knitting and watching tv last night and realized I dropped a few stitches...so after pulling out a few rows and starting over... Caroline and I were making friendship bracelets yesterday and I'm still working on this one...

Judy brought me more zinnias...

because this is what my zinnia and sunflower bed looks like so far...

These are the marigolds that I keep forgetting to plant too...

And this is part of our backyard, which will someday be cleaned up a bit more and be a garden of hostas and hydrangea bushes...someday...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

What I'm reading now...

Thanks to Erinn at the happy living blog and her mention of this book House Thinking by Winifred Gallagher, I started to read it last evening and was thrilled with the first chapter! This is not a "how to decorate your home according to a certain style" book. This is about addressing your psychological and emotional needs in your home, or how the way the arrangement of furniture, the inclusion of your things, the floorplan or the light and windows affect your mood, your energy, and your day-to-day activity.

In the first chapter she discusses what architect Grant Hildebrand found when he asked the question, "Why might Homo sapiens be drawn to some places and repelled by others?" He found that we have an enduring fondness for the combination of field (hunting range: food), stream (water), and grove of trees (shelter) as reflected in so many paintings of old masters. He wanted to make this connection with our architecture and came up with the five characteristics that enhance our experience of home: prospect and refuge, enticement, peril, and complex order. Frank Lloyd Wright understood these elements, incorporating them into many of the homes he designed. In a nutshell:

Prospect: a big, bright space that has a broad, interesting view

Refuge: a snug protected haven... Prospect and Refuge should be paired together and are the most important elements. Our cookie cutter homes tend to neglect these truths with same heighth ceilings and lack of refuge or cozy places, especially with Great Rooms being the rage or even prospect as structures are built so close together. He refers to these two things as "perching" and "nesting".

Enticement: an element of surprise, what is around the next corner...in nature this is evoked by winding paths. This could be the lighting, leading your way from room to room. But you could also ruin the enticement by dark passageways or overgrown ivy creating creepiness instead.

Peril: though it sounds funny, the controlled feeling of peril, like looking out your window at a snow-capped mountain or the desert, or a wonderfully laid-out balcony gives some excitement to space.

Complex Order: This explains why older suburbs have more charm than new suburbs with nearly indistinguishable "units". We feel good in a room that is tidy, yet has some books, pillows, and everyday objects scattered about, balancing variety and stability.

So this is what I've gotten so far from this book! One college professor had his students take a small apartment and create these characteristics in it. So this is not about going to the furniture store and spending thousands of dollars or trying to copy magazine layouts. It's about your and my needs in our house to make it a home. Can't wait to read more!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Persistance Pays Off...

Yes... I finally got it!!! On the fourth try, but I knew it could be done eventually. (I apologize for the terrible photo...my camera isn't good). See that diagonal ribbing showing up? This, I assume, will allow the sock to fit without going through the process of adding a heel or gusset, which I am not ready to learn yet. This sock pattern is from Melanie Falick's book Kid Knitting. I am doing mine on circular needles, but an 8 instead of a 6 because that's what I had!!

Today is a better day-- the sun is shining, I had an apricot scone from Market for breakfast with coffee (delivered by "Coffee Boy", my affectionate name for Craig who brings it to me after my shower) and everyone is in a happy Saturday mood. I also got a great email from my friend Debbie in Cincinnati-- her son Aaron composed a piece for the piano and took a composition class where he wrote it and recorded it, and even copywrited it!! He is only my daughter's age. It is really, really good! Now I can say I knew him when...

Have a great weekend!
xoxo Beth

Friday, July 13, 2007

Doggone it!

I have tried three times to knit this sock pattern from a kids knitting book, no less, and I just frogged it again!!!! I also lost internet connection half the day because we are switching over to a new carrier...but it wasn't working so we switched back temporarily. We've been stuck here this afternoon waiting for the Directv guy to come back...the roof is too high for his regular ladder. And I just got an email from Caroline that another person we went to college with just died leaving a wife and three children. All from falling and hitting his head while blowing leaves last year. It seems senseless. I also found out my neighbor behind us has cancer in her bones and will be going through a bone marrow transplant this fall. She just married her husband a year ago. If I were superstitious I would say this is a Friday the 13th!! But I'm not.
The only good thing so far today was that I went to market and got all kinds of yummy food for the weekend. Now if only it doesn't decide to storm so I can grill!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

To knit or not to knit...

Winding Wool by Harold Harvey 1914

I snagged this photo from yarnstorm, a blog by another knitter. This picture could have been taken in my dining room! I'm adding her blog to my favorites.

So, time to knit again! I want to learn to knit socks because I read somewhere that handknit socks were the most comfortable socks you could wear. It is just 90 degrees outside and the thought of touching wool right now seems really uncomfortable.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Food for the Poor

Did you know that $45.00 will feed five families for a month?! $9 will feed one family for a month! Food for the Poor gives meals to families in places like Haiti where food is very scarce. When asked why he didn't take the food offered, one little boy said that Thursday was not his day to eat. In his family, each member had certain days when they could have a meal or days they went without so another family member could eat. Did you have something to eat today? You are rich.
"Live simply so that others may simply live."
~ Pope Paul VI

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Saturday Morning Baking...

No big plans this weekend, so I got up this morning, grabbed my coffee and headed out for a nice walk with Ellie (the dog). We met several nice characters along the path (and their owners!). When we came back I decided I had a bit of time to bake and lots of blueberries. So I found a recipe from Martha Stewart Living for blueberry scones. They turned out okay but they aren't as dense as I think scones are... they taste a bit more like biscuits to me.
Hope you're having a relaxing Saturday too!

Wetland Wonders

On Friday morning Craig and I took a vanload of kids (Caroline, Nathaniel, Alex, Delaney, Meg and Molly) to the Lancaster County Parks' Science Kids program. We observed their Wetland Basin with lots of cattails and other plants...

We made plant and tree identification wheels...

We tasted the leaf of the cattail... Did you know it is edible?

And we blew bubbles through the stems because they have hollow tubes inside... and disected the flower where we saw thousands of tiny seeds...

Then we ended by taking a hike to another wetland/stream area to find more plants...

Being in nature and learning about it is so hugely important for children. We are lucky to have such great naturalists here in the Park! As we drove home, the kids noticed several wetland areas that they never really "saw" before! Overall, a very hot but successful day!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Zinnias everywhere!

I'm not the only one who likes zinnias!! Mary Englebreit has an article about using zinnias for inspiration in decorating around the house coming out in her next issue. Here's the link to see it: Mary Englebreit's Home Companion.
Have fun!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Remnants of the Fourth

Potato salad, broccoli salad, tortellini salad, watermelon fruit salad, green leaf straight from the garden salad, burgers, dogs and bbq chicken, deviled eggs, American Flag cake, apple pie and homemade ice cream... can you say "stuffed!"? Unfortunately the fireworks were postponed. We had lots of heavy rain and thunderstorms...thank goodness for a screened-in porch so we could still grill. We heard fireworks going off, probably in Lititz and some surrounding neighborhoods, despite the rain. But our own personal stash will be enjoyed when it dries up around here! Martha saved the day with the cute napkin rings that I downloaded off of the Martha Stewart Living website under crafts for the holidays. Speaking of which, she still has crafts on there from the "kids" magazine that is no longer in print, but was my favorite magazine. Judy Sumoski brought me zinnias from her garden which I LOVE! I planted some and they are growing but not flowering yet. I just love the color and the variety in them. Some have little stars around their centers. I wish I had a better camera to do close-up photos. I think zinnias are one of my favorite flowers!