Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"When You Find Yourself in the Thick of It...

Help yourself to a bit of what is all around you, silly girl."
~ Martha My Dear - by Paul McCartney credited to Lennon/McCartney

Words to live by in the crazy days of motherhood where I often find that all I can do is sit down in the middle of the floor and laugh.  Hold my sweet chubby little man up over my head and dodge the drool that comes flying out when he smiles.  Watch his two little teeth creep up his gum line, ready to pop out and my tiny baby boy becomes my big baby boy.  Crawl all over the floor with my girl in order to "teach" my wee son to crawl.  Laugh and giggle with my girl who thinks this is a very fun game and play a round of wrestling with the dog who thinks so too. 

To spend the morning baby naptimes in the window seat with my girl, stacks of library books, and the bright morning sunlight that every day grows more golden with the approach of Autumn.  To have big conversations about little things with little people who are trying so hard to put all the pieces of a complicated world into a picture that works for them.  To teach my little one to nap in the Ergo, so we aren't stuck home every morning for his marathon nap.  To each cherry tomatoes from the branches and wonder at my complete inability to cultivate anything but tomatoes and very misshapen and small cantaloupe. To write lists of things that may or may not ever get done.  To enjoy watching two little bugs take their evening bath and laugh and laugh at each other for reasons Mama is not privy to.  For breakfast together as a family, every morning.  Even if I have to cook it every morning.  For snuggles with my littles every night, while my wee man does his darndest to eat the pages of every book and my wee girl does her darndest to rescue said books from certain disaster.  For sweet little sleepy eye rubs and little yawns to tell me the day is done.  And an hour and a half with my love on the couch, watching a campy Jackie Chan movie. 

Yes, I will help myself to a bit of what is all around me.  Sweet family and choosing the gifts of today rather than living in all of the drama, mess, flooding, and craziness that has been going on this last week. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Man is a Motorcycle Man

So my sweet geek is looking less geeky these days.  Instead of a second car, I mentioned maybe he could get a motorcycle.  You should have seen his eyes get wide!  It was pretty cute.  Long story short, (which involved an older bike that couldn't be repaired and an intense learn to ride class) he chose this bike (and was officially certified to ride it!).  A Honda Shadow.
A Man and his motorcycle
But I gotta tell you this.  I (plus kiddos) took him to pick it up for the first time and my man, who I already think is pretty handsome, climbed on that machine and the very first thought that went through my head was "That's pretty sexy."  Who knew?  I mean, I had seen motorcycle guys before and was never very impressed.  But something about my own sweet hubs on one...hot.  Now he rides it to work every day and I love to watch him pull out of the driveway, a man and his machine riding down our quiet street.
A Man and his motorcycle
There is a good reason for this, and here it is.  I'm not gonna lie to you, my man is not the outdoorsy, rugged, camping type.  His idea of camping involves a cabin and showers.  I've always hoped his outdoorsy side would develop, but after seven years, chances are looking slim.  I mean, he has a rugged and manly beard, and if he has to, can build a great campfire, but it's not something he loves.  But this, riding a motorcycle, is the most outdoorsy he has ever been.  He comes home smelling like the road, and sweat, and a bit like gasoline.  It's kinda rugged. I like it.  And he loves it.  I'd say that's pretty awesome arrangement!
A Man and his motorcycle

Friday, August 12, 2011

Creating or Re-creating?

I know I promised motorcycle photos, but I've been lost in thought this week.  I've been taking in a lot of information lately, not all of it good, not all of it bad, but lots of it making me think.  I've come to realize that a lot of what I do creatively is re-creating.  The little elephant below - someone else's design.  The things I knit - patterns I've seen and want to make.  Songs I sing lately - not written by me.  Now don't get me wrong.  I'm not discounting them as useless.  It takes skill, desire, and practice to be able to re-create.  But does it really take imagination?  That is what I've been pondering over.  I don't want to spend all my artistic energy doing my own spin on someone else's brain child. 

So what is the difference between inspiration and copying?  For example, I am fascinated by Nikki McClure's art turned into children's books.  Specifically "Mama, is it summer yet?"  So do I sit down to see if I can do a paper cut in her style?  Yes.  That can be creative.  But not copying her images and doing it as she would have done.  That's re-creating. 

So why is it different when I do a little elephant?  Or embroider a pattern?  How can I find the impetus to create and not fall into the trap of just re-creating.  That is my journey this week.  I'll be pondering it over  and I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you avoid the potholes of just re-creating, rather than using things around you as a springboard for your own creative process.  Please leave your thoughts in a comment!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Lazy Afternoons and Flying Babies

It's hot.  I'm sure it's not hotter than other summers, but it's August and going outside (from my nice and cool 75 F house) feels like hitting a wall of hot air.  Add to that, we have been without a second car and therefore stuck at the house with our only form of transportation being my feet and a double stroller, and it adds up to lazy afternoons at the house.  Reading, lounging, playing, and building.  We've been putting to use our new discount store quilt (and matching shams - oo la la...we've been reading Fancy Nancy a lot.  Can you tell?) to good use and the children have fun while I fold laundry or some other low intensity form of cleaning that doesn't require too much of my attention.  I love these sweet babies.
Lazy Afternoon
Lazy Afternoon
Flying Baby
And for good measure, here's a flying baby. J LOVES to do this!  Happy Friday!  See you on Monday. 
(Teaser...Matt got a motorcycle...)

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The stream of creativity takes a turn - watecolor and ink

Watercolor elephant
Necessity is the mother of invention, or as I have found, creativity.  Specifically in terms of making things.  Today I took the jump and tried my hand at watercolor and ink.  I had a baby shower to go to and needed a gift.  Something sweet, handmade, and gender neutral.  I had found this lovely embroidery pattern at So September while searching for embroidery pattern freebies and thought how sweet that would look in a nursery.  I didn't have time to embroider it, so I painted it, coping the picture freehand onto watercolor paper, then painting it and finally finishing it with ink.  You can see in the corner of some of these pictures, I used a nib pen and ink, which is one of my favorite ways to draw.   I think it turned out rather nice!  I think I might explore this medium a bit more.
Watercolor elephant
I once heard an artist who made a living by his painting say that he had only one stream of creativity and when he delved into other forms of art (he was trying his hand at jewelry making) then his art suffered.  I have rather feared to delve too deeply into other mediums of creating, lest my music suffer, but if I think about it clearly, my music is already suffering.  Naptime does not afford me brain space enough to write a new song. I can play the old ones, but new ones rarely come.  It takes a clarity of mind for me; one that the dirty diaper pail, the laundry, the smudgy floor, and piles of dishes there at the edges of my thoughts, nagging me about what a poor housekeeper I am, often prevent me from achieving.  But this is just a season.  This is the season of glorious chubby babies and beautifully curious toddlers.  This is the season of a messy house.  This is the season of mini projects. This is the season of diverting the stream a little and enjoying what new paths it carves out.
Watercolor elephant
Watercolor elephant
Watercolor elephant
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