Velija 2011

A big bowl of bread Alex made for our annual neighborhood Velija celebration on that we have on Solstice.  My favorite was the olive loaf.  
The rye bread was also very tasty. In fact, they were all delicious. As was the whole meal. There is something magical about having a tradition~ even if the tradition is altered heavily from it's origin.

(Okay, I just googled last year's post about our tradition to give a link, and here is what I said: "Bread Alex made for Velija. My favorite was the olive loaf." So, Yep. I guess I am THAT predictable...)

Moving on.

Here's to the dream that 2012 is the year we build our outdoor bread oven! 


I will start with the bad news:
Lili got sick on Solstice night.
Alex got the hard core stomach bug on Christmas eve through Christmas day.
I got hit the following two days.

So here is a photo of our lone stomach bug resistor:
Despite all the sickness sweeping our home, our holiday was really nice. In this time of year when the nights are long, it is special for me to have so many traditions fusing together to honor and trust that the light will return. My Mom & Paul are here visiting for the week so there has been a lot of time making food and opening gifts and reading books together too.  I am missing all the rest of our family though! 

We (with the exception of Alex) spent Christmas day at my sister Becca's and her partner Dave's house. The kids treat their home like it is their own which can be good and bad.  It's good because it is indicative of how much time we spend together. Bad because they feel at ease to smear their dirty hands and boogery faces into the nice white couch, and run around like crazy people, ect... But, everyone is always kind in lending a hand to the little ones for which I am always grateful. Paul even propped himself up on the bed with the kids and watched an episode of Barney. It melted my heart to see that~ for an adult to sit through Barney is true love. 

We received so many thoughtful & heartfelt gifts this year.  One of my favorites was my Dad and Amy giving a goat and a flock of 20 chicks in our names to Heifer International. We also were showered with nice socks, soaps, clothing, new shoes for the kids, toys, childrens' books, and chocolates. 


diy advent calendar

I stayed up until two in the morning one night making this advent calender. They are felt pockets mostly held together by hot glue, and strung from the ceiling (so no little hands can touch them). Each pouch has 6 m&ms and a little note. It isn't an exact sort of thing. For example, there are 2 days until Christmas and we have four left (???). And Lil can't read yet, so when we open it up and the note says to make something incredibly messy on a day that isn't flowing for us, I make something else up. Like "Oh! it says we need to read a Holiday story together!"
I had envisioned taking on some more meaningful family things this season~ like visiting a nursing home for example... but I haven't been able to pull it together.  The advent calander has been a sweet reminder each day to honor this time together. I am doing a pretty good job of letting go of how our home isn't tidy and all decorated etc, and I haven't done all the projects I dreamed of doing. We are just doing what feels right and do-able for that moment and for that day. It has been good.
Also, you wouldn't believe the thrill of three m&ms...
One of my more ambitious days:
We took up the rug and made potato print wrapping paper the other day. The kids were beside themselves with excitement.  I was smart and drew a bath before we started the project. :)
 I hope wherever you are that you are enjoying what really matters to you!


O christmas tree 2011

When I was growing up one of my favorite days of the year was the day we set up our Christmas tree. We would go pick it out as a family... we lived in rural New Hampshire... so it was snowy and picturesque in a New England-y sort of way. While we set up the tree we would drink egg nog with nutmeg out of special tea cups~ and listen to Christmas music.  A lot of ornaments had stories, and everyone had their favorite ones.
My Mom had a monkey that she got as gift when she was in the hospital with rheumatic fever when she was a child. My Dad liked a delicate glass reindeer and a piece of foam (from an old couch I believe) that he thought looked like a Star Trek ship. He attached a hook to it and tried to find a prominent spot for his foam (If you are wondering if it looked like a piece of garbage hanging on our tree the answer is yes). My sister Becca and I liked the same small porcelain angel~ and we would fight over it every year.

When we were asleep after our wonderful day my Mom would rearrange all the ornaments (gaudy and star trek in the back of the tree) so the tree looked perfect (to her).

Fast-forward to our sweet tree of 2011. I had it in my mind that I was not going to follow in my mother's footsteps and rearrange the tree to perfection. I was going to just let it be.  But it turns out that Lil favors certain branches while she is decorating. One branch had 4 ornaments on it. I was holding myself back from stepping in until I couldn't take it any more and I convinced her to spread them out.  When we were done decorating our tree it looked a tad jumbled, but sweet.
The next morning I realized the tree had been rearranged. All those ornaments I had convinced her to spread out were back on that one branch again. Ha! I couldn't help but smile. 

Speaking printmaking, HERE is a link to a printmaking class that my former professor/friend Gwen Diehn is teaching entitled: Letterscapes: Making Artwork with Wooden Letters
. She used a print I made in 2004 for the class promotion. It was part of a series of prints I made using the letter O.


old work

Visiting my friend Caren a couple of months ago I took a photo of a print I had made for her wedding in 2002. 
I had forgotten about it~ 
I made this print using a large piece of Styrofoam. When the print was dry, I highlighted some of the details with water soluble crayons.  
It has been way too long since I dug out my print supplies... 
There are certain sounds, smells, and textures that "get" each artist. I have a long list of these that make my heart skip a beat. But on the top of that list is the sound and feel of ink being pushed across a pallete with a brayer. It gets me even just thinking of it...


Prints make thoughtful gifts!

(and don't forget about my 20% off blog reader discount with the coupon code BLOGREADER)
a contact sheet of most of my prints from my shop


Speaking of reasons to be happy...
Sorting through some of this year's photos for a present ideas I found this one of Alex and I from the summer. It was only taken a few months ago but it feels like years for some reason.



crafty weekend wrap-up

Ahhh... The Big Crafty... As always, I got swept up in the day and forgot to take better pictures of the event & my booth. At least I got these shots right as the show was about to begin.

And this photo of Alex setting up our booth (and my sister's booth in another photo) was in a local online paper. 
I was given an amazing location that was in the center of the action, but with a little more space around and in front of me than some other booths. I felt really lucky and grateful for that. When it got crazy and crowded during the day my booth never felt claustrophobic like a lot of other locations.

We had the chance to see some old friends and repeat customers (thank you!!!) and meet some new folks as well. Although with it being so hectic and crowded, this show does not lend itself to meeting people. All in all it was a wonderful, wonderful day. I ♥ The Big Crafty.
Alex also represented Sweet Mess Art at the Athens Indie Craftstravaganzaa this weekend. Here he is leaving our driveway on the way to the show. I wish I could have been there, but it was too much to bring the kids.  
Overall a great weekend. 


catching up

Seo and the giant mountain of laundry (at least it is clean) on our bed. 

I had visions of the day after our big show weekend being a sweet family day.
In my imagination the kids would be so grateful to finally have our full attention and the day would be spent just the four of us, cuddling, and playing, and maybe even picking out a tree for the holidays.
BUT... for some reason it just didn't turn out like that. The kids didn't seem grateful to have us back, they seemed frustrated and whiny, and cry-ey~ particularly Seo.  Despite our best efforts to make it fun, it was a challenge. At dinnertime Alex and I clung to each other hugged and just shook our heads in wonderment at the day. I wouldn't trade being their Mom for a second, but there are certainly days and moments where it just. feels. difficult.

Days like this are good lessons in letting go of expectations, you know?


big crafty set up

photo courtesy Justin Rabuck
Setting up for The Big Crafty this morning. We had a wonderful day.... more to come when I am not so crazy exhausted!