Archive for the ‘Poetry and art’ Category

Ok, the paint smells are finally clearing, and I am delivering on the promise to show what I’ve been up to.

Ok, so this was the cute handprint design that the girls deemed “too babyish.”  *sigh*  I thought it was cute…

First day of painting: green and a red garden wall.

Add trees…

That weird stripe pattern is the beginning of the railing.

The first animals appear: peacock, elephants, Victoria crowned pigeon, insects.

The red panda at the zoo is the kids’ favorite, and it likes to sit just like this on the branches over the path.

They’re not the best zebras ever, but this should give you an idea of their size (and thus lack of detail).

Trees, bushes, and the base color of the giraffe.  I was a bit worried I’d mess up the animals, so I avoided the ones I couldn’t use the art projector on.

Empress is a *little* exicted about this… she had to be asked to please not pet the animals until the paint had cured for a week or two!

The lotus pond, moon bears, two lions sleeping on the man-made mountain.

The little details help.  These are peach-faced lovebirds, a dragonfly copied from one in the backyard, and, in the upper left, a tiger and her cubs (who are unsuccessfully trying to hunt a golden pheasant).

Pandas playing and African crowned cranes courting (thanks to photos we took at the zoo).

Ta da!  The toddler bed was turned into a couch with a shelf, a dragonfly lantern, and a fake potted orchid.  They love to read over there.

The view from the desk under the bed.  The dragon-tiled ceiling and details are copied from photos I took in the Forbidden City.

I have a few details left to do on the bed, but it’s nearly done.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief foray into “what Kathy does when the obsessive instinct takes off”.  🙂


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My daughters informed me that the time was right to act on that discussion we’d had on what they might like to do if we repainted their room.  Four or more hours each day since last Friday, and I’m still not done, but they’re very impressed.  Heck, Oof is impressed, because one of the trees extends over part of the ceiling.

I’ll be back eventually with more photos.

Yes, that’s a peacock, against a traditional Chinese railing (how?  LOTS of blue painters’ tape!), under a cherry blossom tree, with a vast expanse of garden waiting to be filled between the railing and that wall in the distance.

This is how I “relax” from homeschooling, since they won’t leave me alone long enough to read if I actually sit down!

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I’ve seen this blog thing going around… somewhere.  So, I’m piggybacking.  And it’s too late to write the posts knocking around in my head tonight.

In between downpours, we had this beautiful sunset last night.  And now it’s raining buckets again.

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I just noticed as I was uploading these that, lo and behold, I did the original set of housewyfs in early July of last year.  So, in honor of the new craft hobby and the one-year anniversary I didn’t know about, here’s a few new ones.

I need to do a proper write-up on the housewyf page, but, for now, the short explanation of what you need to know is that she’s holding a batch of roving (carded wool) in her left hand while managing the yarn and the drop spindle in the right hand.

Now I really like how this next one turned out.  I was explaining how I wanted my next loom decorated this way (carved pomegranates, grapes, etc.) and my DH said, “But you don’t have a floor loom…”  Next loom, dear.

I had to put her in in a larger size; the 195-pixel width restriction on my sidebar just wasn’t showing off the details to my liking.  And, finally, you get to see the housewyf’s shoes!  Ever since I saw the news article on Martha Washington’s wildly fashionable purple brocade wedding shoes, I’ve wanted some.  Now, I sort of have some… or, at least, Mistress Housewyf, my well-dressed alter ego has some.

And, just for your amusement, how this whole process happens:

The first thing taped to the sliding door glass (aka everyone’s favorite cheap giant light box) is the template.  That’s the housewyf that sits on the left side of the blog masthead photo (you can see her quill pen showing through).  Then, I tape a clean sheet over the template.  In this case, I had to construct (complete with vanishing point and more perspective drawing than I thought I’d remembered) a loom, which is not a simple piece of equipment.  Oh, yeah, and she had to be sitting down this time.  Almost everything is drawn in pencil first, except for the torso and head, which stayed exactly the same as usual (except she’s holding a weaving shuttle, not a quill pen).

Once I’m happy with the pencil lines, I ink them.  When it’s dry, I erase all over (strangely, the pencil lines come up even when they’ve been drawn over with marker).  The final pencil-and-ink step is to add the calligraphy.  After that, it’s ready for scanning, cropping, and resizing to fit in the sidebar.  Finally, I upload it into the media library and set up the text widget, which goes into the “inactive widgets” box so I can just drag and drop it when I want to change the housewyf.

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Haiku Wednesday #2

My apologies for the recent dearth of posts.  I have some personal things going on that preclude me from caring to write too much about politics lately; the immediate danger to my finances and sanity is not located in Washington.

So, I’m writing silly poems instead.

Feel free to join in in the comments section… there were no takers last week.

Someone is Mowing Their Lawn, and It’s Not Me

Few things happier

Than sounds of mowing, far off,

While resting, sun soaked.

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Yes, I’m going to try to make this a regular thing.  No, I’m not very good at poetry.  It’s more of the line in the intro to Haiku Momma: “Because seventeen syllables is about all you have time for.”  Being an insanely wordy blogger, I figure I owe y’all (at least once a week) something short and structured.

Anyways, if anyone wants to join me for a little weekly poetry, leave a comment with a link to your own haiku (keep it clean, please).  Photos welcome.  Or other forms of poetry, if you like.  I promise not to nitpick whether you properly alternated tonal emphases or whatever if you promise not to nitpick my weak attempts at poetry.

(For those of you who are about to Google “haiku” and vaguely remember something from English class about counting syllables, haiku is an unrhymed poem of three lines: 5, 7, and 5 syllables.  Normally, it is about your observations of nature with some sort of twist.)

The Pomegranate Tree in Spring

Sweet solace I sought:

Leather buds spurt paper frills,

Promise fall’s fat fruits.


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Jen at Conversion Diary had a post about homeschooling questions and worries.  I found the first one particularly interesting: “I worry about getting physically and mentally ovewhelmed…”

(Now, the irony is, I’m revising this draft and posting it after a day that

  • started before dawn (ick!  I fulfilled that quota in the Navy)
  • involved eight hours of driving
  • saw four kids and two adults touring a flour mill, picnicing at a winery, exploring Polyface Farms, and picking apples
  • included one really major tantrum (not me, honest).

More on all that tomorrow.  When I’m not quite so exhausted, and the second batch of apples is in the dehydrator.  Maybe with a nice piece of fresh apple pie next to me.)

Jen already has a ton of comments, and I regularly fail to be comment-length in what I want to say, so I’m springboarding.

Energy for homeschooling?  It comes.  Honest.

Of course, it helps to get

  • enough sleep (no, I don’t, but at least I know what my problem is)
  • regular exercise (ok, I try)
  • a decent diet (avoid processed sugar and carbs)
  • a little time to be only you, not mom/teacher for a bit (even if it’s blogging about homeschooling).
  • and a schedule.  This is critical!  Otherwise (and especially if you’re a type a, do it all, and do it now person), you wind up feeling like you’re never caught up.  It helps to see what you have to accomplish and what would be considered “getting ahead.”

Other than that, I’ll tell you what my oldest two’s godmother said: God doesn’t give you the energy you need for another child until after you trust Him and go down that path.

[brief pause while I go break up a “kittycat game” (loudest darn cats I’ve ever heard).  “I’m writing about the joys of homeschooling and the baby’s asleep!  Now get in the corner and think about being quiet for a few minutes!”]

Homeschooler’s version: Stretch a little on what you think you can say “yes” to; you will likely be pleasantly surprised.

A few weeks back, my kids were clamoring to go to the zoo.  I had been looking at how much they had not been doing over our summer break, which was supposed to have been a light workload time, not a complete cessation of school.  I looked out the window; it was a gorgeous day. 

“Oh, oh, and we want our costumes, too!” they added.  (“Roar!” said Empress, getting into the lobbying effort.)

“Hey, could we bring paper and crayons and pencils and stuff again, too?” said Diva.

“Yeah,” added Crash, “like we did that other time.  And we could show them to Daddy!”

Ugh.  Costumes, which would be off and on three times due to the heat.  Paper and crayons.  Double ugh.  But what was I saving my energy for, if not them?

“Okay,” I finally allowed, trying not to sound too tired.  After hooting, hollering, showering me in kisses and declarations that I was the “best Mommy ever!!!” they ran off to get their shoes.

The end result?  We had a great time, they cooperated (mostly), and I felt more energetic when we got home than I had before I agreed to the whole expedition.  So, we had an art gallery opening, complete with art on the walls, snacks in silver dishes, wine served from the bar (the kitchen island with a tablecloth over it) (the kids got Sparkling Cranberries or Glittery Apples, aka Sprite mixed with fruit juice), and music (We had a hard time deciding if this was gallery was more jazzy or techno/electronica.  We went with the later, after detours through the channels for salsa, blues, new age, and club and a whole lot of dancing in the living room.).

art gallery

Yes, everyone dressed up.  Daddy is intently listening as Crash explains the finer points of his drawing.  Diva is waiting, while showing off her favorite tights and sipping a Sparkling Cranberry.

It was fun.  I hope they remember it.

And I hope I remember to say, “Sure, we can do that…” with a smile on my face more often.

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