Wednesday, August 29, 2007

No U but V is for Vocabulary

There's something delicious about words. Finding the correct one to convey what you want can be both tricky and tough, but when it is found, it is as Baby Bear says, "Just right."

I admit that I'm a better speller than a vocabulary user. When I'm writing, I don't know what I would do without my thesauri and dictionaries. And I think those little poetry magnets for making up your own ode or prose or haiku could come in quite handy for improving and expanding my words.

About the U: couldn't think of anything except underwater - somewhere I'd rather not be.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

R, S & T

R is for Risk-Taker

I am not a risk-taker (in most things). I suppose having children makes me a risk-taker in a matter of speaking: you will always be surprised.

S is for Smile
Smiling is a favorite past-time of mine. That is, when I'm not frowning (which seems to be another past-time of mine). When I was in junior high, I was nicknamed 'Smiley'. Unsure it was meant as a compliment or not. I have deep smile lines on my face now. I suppose that's good.

Isn't it amazing how some people's faces/expressions can change so drastically with a simple raising of the lips? And how a smile can ward off a grumpy old mood from others? It's like magic.

T is for Thinker

... as in Rodin's famous statue. This is me. I'm more a thinker than a do-er. If only I could have gotten graded on my thinking in school, I would have aced everything and graduated summa cum laude. If only I could do half the things I think of now, I'd be a supermom/superwoman!

I like to make lists, I like to plan, I like to dream. But seldom do I act on those things. I guess it sort of goes hand in hand with my lack of risk-taking?

But to be a thinker has a positive spin too: My mom said that she's visited exciting places all around the globe, made all kinds of creative things, always said the right things at the right times... in her mind. So I guess I have accomplished much!

Thinker or Do-er: What are you?

Monday, August 20, 2007

O P & Q

I'm losing a little steam with this alphabet meme, so I combined a few letters today:
O is for Organic

Everything seems cyclical. For everything there is a season...
It's nice to see where our food comes from. Until a few years ago when I joined a CSA, I didn't know that brussel sprouts grew on a huge stalk. I thought they came as little balls in a waxed bucket from the grocery store. Only kidding! But to tell the truth I didn't know exactly how they grew. And I know our garden is small-scale and it's basically for pleasure versus need, but it has been a good thing for my kids (and me) to be involved with.

There seems to be a resurgence of interest in organic things recently. Read the newspaper, visit the bookstore, listen to the news; there's sure to be something said about organic: Organic A-Z; Organic Housecleaning; Real Food (as opposed to 'fake' food); Eating Locally, the list goes on and on...

We don't eat everything organic (too costly and impractical) but I do try in small ways to do so. And I like the fact that I'm attempting to buy more local foods and eat seasonally. Like my husband reminds me about other things - when you get used to having certain foods once in a while, it seems more special, and you appreciate it more.

P is for Piano

I play, my older 2 are taking lessons, I'm trying to teach lessons to my 3rd child, and my littlest one wants to learn too.

Q is for Quiet

Question: Why is it that I have to SHOUT the word QUIET when that is what I desire? Hmmm...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

N is for Nincompoop

My brother teased me about forgetting my dad's birthday. He said I should have used 'F is for forgetful' but my 'F' for the A-Z Meme was already used up. So I chose another good word to describe someone who forgets a father's birthday! (It was yesterday, by the way.)

A happy belated birthday wish to you, Dad!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

M is for Messy!!!

I say that with such emphasis! This has always been a problem with me. Messiness. Growing up my room looked as if a whirlwind had hit it. Now with my own home and family to take care of, I still battle the chores. I really don't like to clean. Who does? However, I admit that I feel better and can think more clearly when our rooms are straightened and neat. My biggest problem areas? Papers, craft supplies and children's toys. And perhaps we have too much stuff.

My youngest told me recently that he liked our new house because it had a basement (finished) but he didn't like it because it meant more to clean. Such wisdom from a 7-year-old.

And as my mom told me, there is a difference between homemaking and housekeeping. She said I was a good homemaker but...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

L is for Library

Two of our bookcases at home in the 'school' room.

Did you know that librarians are like apples? 1 rotten one can spoil the whole bunch. But the reverse can be true as well.

Since moving to a new area of the country, we've been somewhat disappointed in the librarians at one library but have been pleased with the librarians at another. We're such avid library users (albeit dvd and movies more than books for my children- ugh!), that we do appreciate the nice and helpful librarians!

With all the talk and hype and 'convenience' of e-books, I hope and think the library will always have a place of importance. People like to physically touch and hold the wealth of information at their fingertips! Can't exactly curl up with a good e-book in bed!

My New Zealand friend (also an avid library user) said you could always tell the quality of a town/city/village by its library and what books it has available to share.

Now there is something better than a library, however: a library book sale!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Puppy Tutorial

Last week, I posted about my daughter's Sculpey project: puppies.

I love tutorials - what a wonderful way to learn things. Well, now we've come up with a Tutorial to share - for this she chose a Doberman Pinscher (something my husband's family had as pets for years). She made the puppies and I just shot the photos. You can pick any puppy that you want; it doesn't have to be Doberman. Enjoy. You may have to click on the picture to get a bigger and more detailed view.

1. Gather materials: Sculpey or Fimo or equivalent (colors of your choice), toothpicks, pictures of puppy to refer to

2. Take a tiny ball of Sculpey and roll into a short rounded-end log, then squish the side a little like the photo on the right (the 'flatter' side is the puppy's back). This is the torso of the puppy. (Note: the right photo is the torso on its side)

3. Then picking up the piece (front on view), squish the top of the torso to a slight point.

4. Next make the puppy's head: Take another small piece of Sculpey, roll it into a ball and then press one portion into a 'triangle shape' (while leaving the rest rounded) (left photo) then pull-down slightly on either side of the triangle to make the puppy's jowls. (right photo - you might have to click on photos to get bigger, more accurate pics)

5. Attach head and torso. (front-on view)

6. Roll a tiny piece of brown into a ball, then flatten it into a very thin disc. Attach to nose/mouth area (this will be the puppy's muzzle). (Note: the left photo is the side-view of the puppy.) Carefully flatten the brown area onto the black with fingers and/or toothpick. Blend. (she added additional brown to make the special Doberman markings on each side of its face)

7. Poke 2 tiny holes with toothpick on top of the puppy's head - his eyes will go here.

8. Make 2 eyes: roll out a speck of white Sculpey and an even smaller speck of black Sculpey for each eye. She placed the black pupil on the edge so the dog will look to the left, but you can place it anywhere.

9. Now place each eye on top of the hole and press slightly.

10. Make nose: roll a small piece of black Sculpey into a ball and place where it should go - press/blend.

11. Now make 2 front legs: Roll out a tiny ball of black into thin log shape. Repeat.

12. Stick onto dog and blend with toothpick. Add second leg.

13. Now make back legs: roll out a small ball of clay and flatten slightly. Repeat.

14. Attach back legs to puppy.

15. Make paws. Roll out 4 balls of brown Sculpey (2 slightly larger for back paws). Attach to each leg. Blend with toothpick or finger.

16. Add some details: She made the characteristic brown spots for above the eyes and put some brown on the upper part of the puppy's chest.

17. Make ears: Roll out a small black ball and flatten it into a teardrop shape. Attach to the back of the puppy's head. Blend. Repeat for 2nd ear. (you could add some second color for the inside of the ear if you choose)

18. Make the puppy's tail. The Doberman only has a short stump. Roll out a tiny piece of black and shape it, then attach to puppy's bottom. Blend. (Note: you can make long tails that curl or short ones that are furry depending upon your dog.)

That's it!

Note: she added a red collar (optional) and used a toothpick to make lines on the puppy's paws. You could add a barrel, a spiked collar, a bandanna, a bow, a leash. For furrier dogs, you can add texture with a toothpick. And of course, you can make these a lot larger than she did. (Might help your eyesight!)

K is for Kitchen

I had trouble of thinking of K words except for:

Keel (over): what my children end up doing when they see my husband and me kiss (which mind you, doesn't happen very often!)

And then I thought of Kitchen after seeing this post (thank you!). Kitchen! Of course! Something that we (or mainly my husband) has been working on soon after we moved into this house 10 months ago. When it's completely done (and cleaned up), I'll share 'before' and 'after' pictures. This kitchen does not have as much cabinet space as my last and it's not laid out very well, but with a few changes, it's coming along nicely. I didn't realize however, how long a transformation would take...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

J is for Jack...

... of all trades but master of none. That's definitely how I feel at times. I have so many ideas, interests, responsibilities but I feel also so spread out and spread thin that I haven't made/had time to devote to one area. Hence the feeling of no real expertise.

Perhaps I need to 'apprentice' with someone like in the olden days? Recently I read Berlin's Whimsy post and I've wondered what I would like to do when I grow up.

Here's my list:
Chef, Print Designer, Small Restaurant Owner, Tiny Bookstore Owner (like one from "You've Got Mail"), Writer (who actually gets paid), Costume Designer, World Traveler, Yarn Store Owner, Yarn Buyer, Archaeologist, Photographer for let's say National Geographic, History Professor, Poet, Bead Buyer, Organic Farmer or maybe the owner of a Bed and Breakfast near the mountains or near the sea. (We have neither near us where we're living right now.)

Whew! Of course those are just the things off the top of my head...Think I can do all that by the time I grow up?

I have to remind myself though, that I am here now, and I have certain things that need to be attended to and I have a wonderful family and feel very blessed by the Lord. Maybe someday I'll have time to do other things and gain more expertise.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I is for Iron

I wanted this to be for ice cream ( a serious love food in our house), but I thought rather than bore you with our cellulite-growing experiment, I would share my funny ironing story with you. When I was making the Take Out/Anti-Take Out apron for Amy's Tie One On, I had to use the iron for pressing down some seams. My 2nd son came into the room and gasped, exclaiming, "Mom! You know how to use that thing?!"

I guess I don't iron very much. My husband does about 98% of the ironing in our house. Only when I do crafting do I really iron. Yes, I know how to use it, and I don't really mind ironing. It's sort of comforting and 'exciting' to see all the wrinkles conquered, the smell of starch, the puff and sizzle of the steam as it escapes from the iron, but I am thankful I don't have a pressing need to do this every day.

Friday, August 10, 2007

H is for Homonym

OK, technically, examples above & below are homophones, but according to Garfield, homophone is the first definition given when you look up the word homonym. Besides, I like the sound of homonym on the tongue. It's funny. Somehow I always have this tune in my head when I say it. Trying to teach some homonyms to my children (along with synonyms and antonyms) can be quite confusing. So they helped me make some visual examples of homonyms: Can you guess what they are?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

G is for Gray...

... hair.

Yes, I have the beginnings of this strange phenomenon. It sort of blends in with my 'blonde-going-brown' look. Hopefully I'll have a full head of silvery white hair as I get older and not the yucky yellowish-gray.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

F is for Flowers

Who doesn't appreciate flowers? My children pick Queen Anne's Lace and Buttercups and perhaps Pink Clover and then with proud faces, hand me their bouquets and smile. Or my husband brings home the occasional surprise (very occasional, mind you) of the grocery store special of Iris or Tulips, and he smiles. It isn't the type or size of bouquet that matters (well maybe sometimes!) but it's the heart-felt emotion and the thought that is so special.

I used to work for 2 different florists. Nothing creative. Just grunt work: deliveries, sweeping unwanted leftovers, arranging containers in the walk-in refrigerated cases, unpacking new shipments, dealing with customers and learning how to tell if a cut flower was fresh or not.

My favorites? Gerbera Daises, Pansies, Cosmos, Zinnias, Violets, Hydrangea, Lilac, Tulips, Peonies, Stock...