Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Clay Pots and Cathedrals

We interrupt your regularly scheduled weekend to bring you this update:
The sale has begun.

But someone didn't get the memo.

Five great ladies (and one slightly frantic one) have slaved away for weeks, nay, months, to prepare this amazing conglomeration of artistic endeavors the likes of which this humble hamlet has ne'er before seen. 
 It took two days to set up. 
You sooooo should have been here...

with the 12 other people who came.

Yep.  Sad huh?  It's okay, I wear waterproof mascara.  But please tell me this isn't a commentary on the aesthetic sensitivities of Nor Cal at large.  I am hoping this was merely a situation where everyone has a synchronous thought, that thought being "I'll wait 'til next weekend".  Well, lucky for them there is still fudge left over.  Of course, next weekend is six days away, so I can't promise I won't eat it every day for lunch between now and then (Dark Chocolate Orange fudge.  Oh, yeah, baby).
Did I mention Guy's new Raspberry White Chocolate Ice Cream Topping?  I didn't?

I joke, but this is really more important to me than just breaking-even on the cost of my materials.  Like so many other things in our culture that are becoming "a thing of the past" (like music in the schools or basic respect in a Walmart checkout line), artisans are being replaced or out-moded.

By technology.
By cheap labor.
By TV culture.
By sheer laziness.
By crap.
Cheap, plastic and press-board CRAP.

I long for the days when someone thought it wasn't good enough to just make a chair, they wanted to make it strong and enduring and beautiful.  It is through art that early man first began to record his history and hopes on cave walls.  Yeah, sure, he always painted his dead mammoth a little bigger than the one his cave-mate killed, but he painted it.  And later, someone along the River Nile said "let's bury this old guy in something beautiful", and someone else said "let's paint on our walls and ceilings,
and build cathedrals that reach the stars."

And just as humankind's genius seemed as though it was truly touched by God himself,
some knucklehead said "I think we could make this way cheaper in China". 
And on the day the first man said "Let's build a mini-mall",
a deep sob welled up from the depths of history
 and Di Vinci turned over in his grave.  Twice.

Did you know some ancient Native American tribes forbade women from creating images of animals and people, so afraid were they that her life-giving power might cause her images to come alive?  Isn't that beautiful?  I mean sure, she was still being repressed, but if you ask me, they had good cause to fear.

Women are powerful creators!
Look what we can do...!

We can raise human beings - more than one at a time - and still find time in the day to tend to the mundane, nourish little bodies and big spirits and hungry minds, type left handed while nursing, pick up stray diaper-nuggets (I did that tonight, so fun) and still create something beautiful;

A home.
A dinner.
A dress.
A garden.
A little clay pot.

May you find time this week
to build your cathedral to the stars.

And if you finish by Friday, stop by my studio to sample the fudge.

My studio was heard to be singing the song "I'm too sexy". 

Pearls and paintings and pots, oh my!

Lovelies by Erin, Pat and Amanda.


Robin still wearing a smile, even after helping till 11pm last night and hanging with me for the day today.  Thank you, Robin!!!  You can tag and hang jewelry with me any time!

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's a darn good thing

It's a darn good thing
tha I left my camera in LA last weekend when we went down for a family wedding.  Because if I hadn't, I would have taken it with me Saturday to the Evil Pizza Place that shall remain Nameless.  The one that makes you pay $10 to get in the door for their very unimpressive buffet, even though you will only have 2 slices of doughy-in-the-middle pizza and a small salad.  I would have ended up taking pictures of my devil-spawn children NOT having any fun and complaining constantly. 
It would have been a waste of pixels. 
Trust me.

But because I know that you want the gory details, I shall tell you.  But you will have to imagine it all, for alas, there are no pictures.  And it's a darn good thing.

There had been no way around it.  Adam had his last soccer game, and with all last-soccer-games comes the poorly planned end-of-season party and the "You showed up so you get an overpriced plastic trophy that your parents paid for".  So while Guy went to a funeral, I wrestled 5 reluctant kids back into the van to first go buy an over-priced Gluten Free Pizza to smuggle into the Evil Pizza Place a half hour away (in case you were wondering, gluten-free in this context means "disgusting if not eaten immediately").  Upon our arrival to the second pizza joint, the perky staff at the EPP graciously accepted my $40, which included full price for the child who could not eat their glutinous glop.  As drinks cost extra, I announced that water wound be fine.  No, that was not a question, it was a demand.  No child dare argue. 

The party room that had been reserved was just the right size for a small group of pigmies, and so we managed to locate the only empty table in the nearby dining room.  Whilst playing the food relay game with each child from the buffet area and back to our table, a courtesy-challenged old lady plopped herself down in one of our chairs and refused to move.  "No English" she mumbled. 
Oh, yeah, I believe you, Grannie.

I move all our crap to a dinning room somwhere in Outter Mongolia. 
 It takes 4 trips.  I stomp the whole way.

Tessa's $5 "all you can eat" consisted of 4 cucumber slices, a pile of hard boiled egg crumbs, and two helpings of ice cream.  Oh, but don't forget her cold, hard, $10 toppings-congealed on a gluten-free frizbee.  She ate 1 and 1/2 slices.

I told Ethan he had to eat enough to last him for the entire day because I had to pay adult price for him.  He had 4 slices of pizza and 5 ice cream cones. 
Frankly, I think he could have done better.

Later, we packed into Party Room #3 to witness the awards ceremony.  Some words were said, which no one could hear on account of the 2 kinds of music that were playing and the carnival on the other side of the partition. 

Back out to the zoo-room.

No, make that the bathroom. 
Jonah stuck his hands in the toilet during the 1.7 seconds it took me to pull up my pants.  The girls enjoyed the automated everything in the bathroom. 
Yeah, because that's why we came here, to play with the hand-dryer. 
In a black out, may you never find yourself in the potty of the EPP.

Now back to the zoo-room.  Not just arcade games, but rides and a playland. 
Somebody kill me now.

Time for some math: Two girls + 10 tokens does not equal 5 games each when each game costs two tokens.  I lug 27 pound Jonah around the arcade for 30 minutes while they play the "change your stinkin' mind every 4 seconds game". 
Finally, no more tokens. 

But now for my favorite part: the TICKETS.  The meaningless, pretend the kid did something of value and reward him with tickets to trade for CHEAP PLASTIC CRAP THAT WILL BE BROKEN OR LOST IN THE CAR BEFORE WE GET HOME. 

Now it is time for more math:  16 tickets divided by 2 girls = 1 cheap toy dinosaur.

But wait, by some freakish miracle, the pimply-faced boy behind the counter gives EACH of the girls a cheap toy dinosaur!  One pink, one purple!  He even guessed their favorite colors right!

Wait for it...

Tessa begins to cry.  She didn't want THAT toy, she wanted a DIFFERENT toy. 

I stand in the middle of the chaos and yell
but my voice is swallowed by the dinging bells and wailing sirens
 of the games and rides.
I grab the pink dinosaur out of her hand and march to the nearest trash can.
A sudden awareness and simultaneous appreciation for pink dinosaurs
sweeps over Tessa.
"No, Mama!  I changed my mind!  I like my dinosaur!!!"
Lucky dinosaur, that's all I've got to say.

Tokenless, we fill the last half hour in the baby play area waiting for Adam to finish up.  I spend 67% of my time rescuing Jonah from the bottom of the slide and the impending bloody lip that I wish to avoid from some kid named Josh with freakishly large feet.
Jonah cries.  He wants to nurse.  No, wait, back to the bottom of the slide.  No, nurse, no,

Ellie whines that she is sooooo bored and she hates this place.
Amen, sister.

Finally, the boys cash in Adams tickets, everyone grabs a last cookie and the remains of the cold pizza-cracker, and 2 hours and 37 minutes after we first arrived, we straggle to the van.  Tessa cries the whole way because she couldn't have the cookie.  It has gluten.  A tiny vein bursts in my right eye.

But wait.  Do you hear that? 
Is that air whistling out of the giant inflatable hammer that Adam chose for his prize? 
Oh, why yes.  Yes it is. 

"It's OK, Mom," Adam says quickly, as I rather animatedly throw the van into a sharp U-turn. 
"OH, NO it is NOT ok!  That is a $40 hammer, young man, and by darn, you are going to get one that works!"
I march into the EPP and announce to the room at large that my son WILL be going back in, hand stamp or not, to trade in his toy for one that works.

No one argues.

Back at home, we tumble out of the van into the driveway, a mass of shoes and diaper bags and pizza boxes. 
And then it happened. 
You were hoping it would, I can tell.
It began with a whiny cry.


"WHAT NOW?!?!?!"

"I lost my dinosaur!"


It was just under the seat.
But I have to tell you,

it's a darn good thing.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Previews and Excuses

I have spent every fraction of a spare moment in the studio for the past two weeks getting ready for my art sale.  There is or has been, in the last few days, clay on my knees, dye under my nails, and glaze in my hair.  Hence, my house is destroyed, my laundry is piled and my blog is sorely neglected (a lone coyote howls in the distance, crickets chirp...). 
I am panicked that I won't have enough to offer. 
I am unsettled that no one will want what I do have. 
I am freaked that I won't be ready in time. 

And you know what?  I won't. 
That's OK.
I am the only one with expectations.  Ridiculously high expectations.

At least there will be Guy's dreamy fudge.
And if it doesn't sell, I can EAT IT.  And I won't sneak into the garage to do it, either.  No, I will plop my tired butt down in the middle of my unsold wares and gorge myself until my eyes turn
Dark Chocolate and Roasted Pecan brown.

And, heck, whatever doesn't sell can go into my Etsy shop.  And then YOU can buy it!!!  (Oh, I can hear you now, wishing from afar that my sale does poorly so that you can have a fabulous selection. 
Shame on you!  If nothing sells at the sale I shall blame you, personally).
  (Where are you, anyway?  I will need your address so that I can come and  shake my finger at you.)

If you are nearby, please come. 
 I hear there will be fudge samples.

I will also be offering prints of my four temple paintings; Salt Lake, San Diego, Sacramento and Oakland.  For those of you who don't understand the fascination that "Mormons" (or members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) have with temples, I can explain it simply.  In the same way people of many faiths look to symbols to remind them of their commitment to God, we look to our temples as a reminder of our devotion to God and our commitment to the promises we have made to Him.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's a First!

I am so excited 
to announce my first (hopefully annual) art sale!!! 
I have invited 6 lovely ladies to join me 
to sell their wares, and this is just a little of what will be available
for your holiday buying delight:

Paintings, pottery, hand-painted silk scarves, fudge (by Guy), jewelry, temple prints,
handmade cards, key fobs, baby items, hair bows and flowers, vinyl wall hangings, 
(even chair massages to melt away holiday stress)
and so much more!

Stay posted in the coming days for previews of some of the things I will be selling.  If you are in the Sacramento area, comment on this post to get location and other details!
Hope you can come!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

An Art House

We live in an art house.

Art is a huge part of our lives.
It is how we pass the time.
Sometimes it is how we communicate.
It is definitely how we express our emotions.

We eat off of hand made pottery.  We draw and paint for each other.  We sew, felt, paint, sculpt, carve, mosaic and "throw" (that's the term for making pottery on the wheel) our gifts and offerings to the world. 

You might say we eat, drink, and sleep art. 
And last night, we dressed it.
Or rather, Jonah did.  He dipped my socks into the clay water.
After he dropped all of my almonds into it.

There are a lot of things about our lives that I wish we did better.  I think people who have the courage to ditch their TV completely are super-crunchy and way cool.  We turn on the boob tube and sit all square-eyed way too often.  And then there is the sugar thang.  It is my bestest-best friend on woesome days.  I won't say that a good mother would trade her kids Halloween haul for granola bars and trail mix, but she might not let them eat 2 lbs of it in 6 days (did I say I did that?  No, I did not.)
(I did that).

But in this one thing, I am tickled mauve. 
My children are artists.

I have not taught them much.  If they were fish, I would let them swim in clean water.  If they were rabbits I would set them free in a meadow.  But they are children, so I let them loose in the studio.

They are creators to their very cores. 

Last night as I sat at the potter's wheel singing along to the song Guy was playing on the piano, I felt a rush of joy that I have had the blessing of the arts in my life.  Soon the kids were all around me asking questions and poking fingers into wet clay.  And even though Jonah used my socks as mops, he also stood next to me for an entire hour while I worked.  I gave him a tool and a lump of clay and he dug away at it with glee. 

As part of the homeschool philosophy that we follow,
there are principles that I am learning to embrace.  Right now, my favorite is:

"Inspire not Require"

It is sort of the "If you build it, they will come" principle.  And it is all about mom and dad modeling a joy for learning and the habit of being anxiously engaged in life.  We can't force another person to learn anything, but if they are inspired, they will fall all over themselves to learn.

I don't know if any of my kids will grow up to make art for a living,
but I know they will all be artists. 

They already are.


"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

Pablo Picasso

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Candy Quote of the week

"That Baby Ruth was naaaasty!

I had to eat two Milky Ways
just to get the taste out o my mouth."


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Boo! A Halloween Album

Adam with a beard of wool and Karo syrup glue.
It is that time of year again.
  So busy.  So fun.  So stressful.  

I love Halloween.  My kids are thrilled by homemade costumes and the promise of all the candy their gullets will hold.  There is no disappointment.  I don't even make them ruin their costumes by wearing sweaters (not that they needed them in the balmy 74 degree evening).  They are sugar junkies and I, for one glorious night, am Mother of the Year.  I guess you could say that is my costume.  It will be shed in the coming days as the pumpkins rot and the good candy is all gone.  

Then I will just be mom again.  
Stressbucket-before-Christmas Mom.
If I were in charge if things (not that I really want that job), Thanksgiving would be at the end of the school year (now that is a time to be grateful for!) and Christmas would be in September, after a nice long summer of prep time.  

Alas, the winter cometh.  
Short days with long shadows. 
Heavy grey skies and soggy tennis shoes.
 I guess Halloween is my last hurrah 
before the world strips down to her skivies
and leaves me feeling as cold and drab as wet cement.

What a fright.

Can I book your vacation for you?

Hazel and Tink, from Watership Down and Peter Pan, the books we are currently reading.  I love it that the kids are finding new heros through our homeschool adventures.

Handsome soldier or burly super-hero... how is a girl to choose?

I made this awesome straight jacket (complete with leather straps on the back) and mask for Ethan.  It was good for a whole week of bribery.  And I quote, "I'm sorry son, but if you don't get your chores done,
I will not be able to finish your straight jacket for you."

It warms the cockles of a mother's heart to see her baby boy
decked out as a serial killer.  
* Sigh * weep *, that's my boy!  

I learned one thing this year... 
linoleum carving tools rock for pumpkin carving!

And now for something truly scary...

 That is the "you must hold me now!" cry.

I don't know what this is, but it cracks me up every time I see it.

Candy Corn Soup.  Yes, I put candy in the soup.  I rock, that's why.  
(it is not entirely made of candy corn, but of yams and bacon, but don't tell my kids!)

"So let me get this straight... we go up to the door, 
knock, and then we don't go in?  But I want to go in!  
And you expect me NOT to eat every piece of candy as soon as they hand it to me?  
What's the point here, people?"
~Mind reading quote from Jonah, the one legged lion.

OK kids... time to go Trick or... wait a minute... is that...???

my husband?!?!
Looks like more than one wild animal was on the lose Halloween night.  
Too bad you can't see the back of his shirt.  It reads:

"Grandma Lila's Childcare

Now that's scary.