Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mini Gallery

Lately, I've been working on a few small pieces (all done in acrylic) to add to our gallery wall in the front room. We have a few "real" pieces, so I don't feel too cheesy adding a few of my own little creations to the mix. Once I frame these, I'll have to show you the evolving wall. 
I really liked a similar piece to this one on Etsy and decided to make one using a slightly different color palette. I like to think of this piece as the intersecting spheres of influence we have in each other's lives. It's an 8"x10."
This was a quick (one hour or so) little project that I did of Mount Timpanogos. It's Paul's mountain. I think this one is an 8"x8."
I've always loved pineapples, for their aesthetic qualities and their symbol of welcome. This one is tiny- just 4"x4."
*UPDATE: here's the new and improved version of the pineapple. I thought maybe the electric blue was a bit much, so I toned it down and added a chevron pattern.
I have always wanted to be a mother, and I'm grateful that I have the ability to do that. As much as I love painting, it's not my first passion. It's these guys, and I count it a bonus that they allow me to get a little of my painting done here and there.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Highs and Lows

I think by now it should be no secret that I detest winter. It's not that I'm used to temperate climates, I'm just a wimp and I get cold really easily. The past few winters that we've lived here in Missouri have been especially brutal, but this winter has been downright lovely. Sure, today is averaging around 22 degrees (not counting windchill or humidity), but we've had plenty of days in the 60's and even 70's this month! And somehow, those warm breaks make it all better. 
Nora could care less what the thermometer says. She would stay out there all day if I let her. 
 On MLK day, we had gorgeous weather, so we headed to the zoo. It was perfect.
 The kids had a great time, although Peter had a harder time keeping up, sock-less, in his little rain boots. Silly boy.
 Peter would not rest until he saw the tiger. We stood there and watched it sleep for a good ten minutes. I think he really wanted to hop the fence and snuggle with it.
This gorgeous leopard was sunning itself right by us.
Nora likes to sun herself too. And guess what? The colds she and the rest of us have had since Halloween have finally passed. Yes, life is good. And we're already about to winter's half-way mark! Hooray!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The floors are in!

And it's amazing the difference just that one change has made. We chose stained concrete on the (probable) chance that we get water down there again. It feels so good to be able to start checking projects off our list!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Nora 1.5

Nora is officially eighteen months today. I suppose she is growing up, but in my mind she is still very much a baby. When fellow church members find out how old she is, the usual enthusiastic response is "Nursery age!" But Nora has already spent about half her life in there, since that is where I am every Sunday.  She's still pretty possessive of me, like when I'm holding other children, but she never so much as peeps when I have to leave the room. 
Nora is just beginning to throw tantrums (for reasons mostly involving a desire to stay out of the house), but in general, she is a joy. The other day at bedtime, she ran off to the boys room and came back carrying this Spiderman shirt. She would not rest until we put it on her, then proceeded to dance around, flashing her webs and pointing out the spider on her chest. How weird is it that it almost fits her?
Especially when just eighteen months ago, this is what it looked like on her then-four-year-old brother?
Nora has a very tidy, responsible personality. She is fairly adept at using a spoon and a fork, and keeps her area pretty clean at mealtimes. When she accidentally broke one of the Christmas decorations while I was putting them away in boxes, she ran off to find a broom before anyone even noticed. I've never had to keep the bathroom closed off to her. She knows toilets are yucky, doesn't go though garbage, and responds immediately when I tell her not to touch things.
Nora loves naps and bedtime. We have our routine of reading books in the rocking chair beforehand, and one of her favorites is "Wheels on the Bus." On almost every page is a dog, which she points out repeatedly until I acknowledge it. She also loves to point out letters in books and requests the ABC song in reference to them.
During our massive basement cleaning overhaul, she found the frog potty, and wanted to keep it in her room. She sits on it every now and then, and announces "Done!" just like Peter does when he's finished. She doesn't do anything of course, but I'm thinking potty training actually might not be too far off. Especially when she tells me she's making a "P.U." and then runs over to sit, fully clothed, on the potty. Funny girl. She's definitely growing up! And faster than I'd like to admit.

Monday, January 09, 2012

U-G-L-Y...but progress

So have I told you all lately how excited I am to have a finished basement again? Well, I am. Here's evidence that we're moving forward toward the goal. 
Notice the carpet glue all over that gray concrete, the patches of ceiling ripped out where the underlying kitchen pipes needed insulating, and parts of wall ripped in some areas where we feared black mold lurking...
 Notice those two entire walls of drywall and framing removed where the new drainage system was installed? Notice how the wall to the left of the tiny built-in is gone, and you can see clear to the other side of the house?
 Notice how the wall and door frame that used to run along this side of the staircase is now missing?
 Oh and let's not forget about those wires and electrical boxes hanging precariously about.
We've been busy down there, readying ourselves for the next phase- new floors! I'm hoping to find someone soon to reframe and hang drywall. I don't think that's something we want tackle on our own. Although I should mention that Paul has come a long way in the handy-man department, unhooking and rewiring all of the electrical down there, and removing the pedestal sink and toilet in the adjoining bathroom. He's awesome. This old house? Not so much. Although I think we're going to enjoy it a lot more pretty soon. 

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Year in Review

 At the beginning of a new year, it seems pretty natural to reflect back on the previous 365 days (and look forward to the next 366 in this year's case). My "goals" from last year weren't necessarily achieved, but it was a good year nonetheless. I thought it would be fun to look back on the past year, and remember some of the highlights. 

Somehow at the beginning of the year, I decided it would be a good idea to tackle a re-upholstery project. This sad chair was my victim for a few months while I picked it apart, but mostly just hummed and hawed.

In February, Paul, Nora and I flew out to Utah for a weekend, and got to go through the temple with my youngest brother, David. 


We also completed this little Star Wars/Batman flick with the kids for fun. 

In March, we got to have Grandma and Grandpa out to see us. We had lots of fun times together.

Taking a creative break from my reupholstering frustrations, I finished a small portrait of Nora in April. 

We also drove out to nowhere, Kentucky to meet up half way with cousins for a weekend.

Within just a couple of months, Peter gave up his beloved pacifiers and graduated to big boy underpants! 

Our oldest turned FIVE in June. Hard to believe. 

Also in June, I gave up on the first upholstery project, opting for two simpler ones.

In July, we had a marvelous time with my entire family (minus David, who is on a mission) at a cabin in Utah. 

We also spent a while with Paul's family, and celebrated little Nora's first birthday!

In August, Benjamin started kindergarten. It was a big first for us!

 And in September, Peter started Montessori preschool, which he took to like a duck to water.

October was a fun birthday month, when I turned 27 and Peter turned 3. 

Also in October, I was excited to finally finish one of the chairs I started back in June. It was quite the process. And for the record, this project was probably not worth it. I'm sure I could have found a great deal that more than made up for all my time and frustration with these. I guess I have a little too much pride to back down at this point though...

In November, we drove out to Virginia for Paul's brother Mike's wedding. We had a wonderful time, and even got to see some of my family during the trip.

In December, I decided to take another creative break to make some stockings for our family, as well as a few watercolor paintings as gifts. Now that those are out of the way, I should be able to get back to that chair. Any guesses for when that might be done? Hopefully by 2013! :) We also celebrated our annual birthiversamas, which if you don't know by now, is our anniversary, Christmas, and Paul's birthday all crammed into a ten day span. Good times. HAPPY 2012!!!