Friday, March 30, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Art Room Diaries: Mood Monsters

One of my favorite ways to introduce kids to the emotional power of line and color is through this "Mood Monster" project.  

First we have a lively discussion about whether or not you can show emotion through lines or colors.  Some kids seem to just naturally know this and some are totally blown away by it. During  this discussion, I have students come up to the board and draw a "happy" line or a "confused" line, etc. If they haven't got the idea by then, this is when it clicks. They also have fun guessing what kinds of lines I'm drawing. 

Next, I show them different colors (I use pieces of construction paper) and ask them what emotion that color could portray.  Often kids will say that the blues and grays are sad colors while the reds and oranges are happy or energetic colors. I also mention that different tones and shades of the same colors might show different emotions, too. 

When you're ready to begin the project, each kid starts by choosing an emotion or mood. Then they create their monster out of lines and colors that they think would portray that emotion. I try to stress that every single line and color should be chosen with this goal in mind. I usually use oil pastels and either watercolors or tempera. 

This always ends up being a really successful lesson and my students often remember this concept and apply it to their work later on.  

So can you guess what emotion these monsters are trying to portray?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

these days

These days, I'm ...

- going on oodles of spring walks
- yawning after long nights with a teething baby
- loving how much Levi loves other kids, especially his buddy, Evan
- working on syllabi and new projects for middle and high school art classes next year
- collecting the lines and shapes of Salem, planning a large painting
- hand sewing some cute Easter accessories
- getting ready for a crawling baby and lots of baby-proofing
- living in a house of busy creativity - spending afternoons painting while my husband works on a novel and brother-in-law records an album 
- dreaming about and with the Creative Arts Ministry at Highrock Northshore
- watching Brian read about a million versions of King Arthur
- excited for Katie and Matt, their new house and upcoming wedding
- looking forward to a week-long visit of a Yemen girl
- doing a little spring cleaning
- missing Rwandering Kimmie
- reminding myself that our bout of warm weather does not in fact mean that summer is here
- thanking God for a full and busy and blessed life

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sea Kettle Baby

Levi finally fits into this cute little onesie given to Levi by my friend (and cousin-in-law-once-removed or something), Brenna. :) It was perfect for those summery spring days we had last week. Isn't it darling? Just right for my darling little Sea Kettle baby.   
Unfortunately, now we're back in our winter coats. Darn it.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Thankful for

- the forsythia in bloom and filling many vases in the kettle
those summery spring days
- a new tooth, washcloths filled with ice
- hot showers at the end of long days
- Brian's fancy words
- Gabriel and Marie
- my handy brother's help in the basement, an afternoon with Sarah
- Levi's bashful cuddles and smacking lips
- truly restful sundays
- the Highrock Northshore Creative Arts ministry team...and an exciting first meeting
- my boys playing catch and Levi doing a bit of crawling!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sea Kettle Studios: Of late

Just some quick abstract studies I've been working on this past week...they are all around 8x10 and acrylic on bristol. Please excuse the glare on the last two.

I'm not usually this productive. 
I guess it helped that I was computer-less for much of the week. :) 
(Interesting side note: I actually dreamed the first two paintings on two different nights and then woke up and painted them just as I had seen them in my dream. That certainly has never happened to me before..I wonder if it will continue?)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

the hunt for spring

This weekend in honor of the impending first day of spring (yesterday!!), we went on a hunt for signs of the season. 

I was pleasantly surprised at how many we found in our little city neighborhood. Lots of green pushing through the dirt, crocuses in bloom, buds and birds in the trees and the Common teeming with Salem-ites quite happy to be out of hibernation. I hope this cheers you like it did me. Spring is really here, friends!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Art Room Diaries: Of late...

Here is a smattering of what we've been working on lately in my middle and high school art classes. So many lovely works have been created in the past few weeks, I've been reminded yet again, what a blessing it is to be an art teacher. Who else gets to have this much fun??! sigh.

If you'd like to see more, you can always check out our online art gallery where I post all of our projects.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I will sing...

I will trust in the cross of my Redeemer 
I will sing of the lamb that never fails 
Of sins forgiven, of conscience cleansed 
Of death defeated and life without end...
- S. Townend

This week, I'm thankful, for...

- sins forgiven, conscience cleansed, death defeated, life without end
- pansies spotted in the neighbors window boxes
- a fury of paintings, lots of inspiration
- a fixed computer...
- ...a few days without a computer :)
- Levi's enthusiastic climbing adventures (mostly up Mama and Papa)
- my favorite meal of the year, Nana's corned beef and cabbage
- celebrating Uncle Jon's birthday with a fun progressive dinner 
- exploring Katie and Matt's new house and visiting Jonny's not-so-new apartment
- that Kimmie's malaria scare wasn't malaria
- my brother-made coffee table, almost done 
- lattes on rainy days
- a fresh, clean house
- a beautiful baby dedication, Angelina's song
- warm barefoot picnic days..

Thursday, March 15, 2012


(While my trusty Mac is being fixed in some far-away Apple-fixing factory, I'm here sneaking a post in from Bri's laptop.  Since I'm without my pictures, software and blog plans, here's a song Brian wrote a couple of years ago and an old photo I scavenged from my long neglected flickr account. Hopefully I'll be back up and running soon!


Our bodies crossing paths in the kitchen
Our fingerprints on spoons and bowls
Our minds are meeting to make decisions
There's still a lot of traveling to do between our souls

Our stories tangle like string in the top drawer
Our fingers laced in the mitten we stole
Our laundry's knotted on the bedroom floor
There's still a lot of traveling to do between our souls

You and I know, there is no story song or photograph
To the echoes and tones that keep us wandering in the woods without a path
Love's a lonely groan that drives us away from our trappings and habitats
But baby, you and I know, there could be no home for our hearts in all of that

Our habits mingle across the table
You wear my sweaters when the evening's cold
I live in your colors and curves and angles
There's still a lot of traveling to do between our souls

-B. James

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

be still

"be still and know that I am God"
Psalm 46:10

...some words I'm meditating upon this lenten season.
and what better way to meditate (and to be still!) than to slowly embroider those very words?
(black embroidery thread, burlap, 5X5 wooden frame, 4 silver thumbtacks - I learned that working on big-holed burlap makes the design much less tight, so the design isn't as stream lined as I planned, but still a worthwhile exercise and a good reminder to have around.)

Monday, March 12, 2012

waves of His mercy

All who are thirsty 
All who are weak 
Come to the fountain 
Dip your heart in the stream of life 
Let the pain and the sorrow 
Be washed away 
In the waves of His mercy 
As deep cries out to deep 
-B. Brown

Thankful, for

- waves of his mercy
- spring beginnings
- Levi's daily guitar lessons
- lenten embroidery
- spontaneous dinner with my siblings and their "special friends"
- ice water
- warm springy days
- notes in our new journal
- flailing chubby limbs
- painting class
- sunday lunch with Mom and Dad J, sunday dinner with Mom and Dad M
- Ethiopian feasts
- long naps, long to-do lists completed 
- Dad and his "hebrew" choir
- my boys, playing together
- a day of training, learning and dreaming with our church planting launch team...
- a future of loving, serving and celebrating in Salem with these folks...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

a day in our life: 3.7.12

Among other things, this blogs serves as a family journal of sorts.  Of course, I post lots of special and everyday moments that I capture throughout the week, but I thought it might be interesting to make a photo log of an entire day, start to finish and with almost everything in-between. 

Yesterday, as I went about my day with my camera glued to my hand, I realized there were multitudes of special moments that I had never really thought to capture but would love to the look on Levi's face when he looks up at me from his changing table, how sweet and peaceful he looks sleeping in his car seat, Brian's "spring" smiles and tattered briefcase, the kitchen table littered with a bible, journal, coffee, computer, brushes and paint.

Even though this little big assignment I gave myself was a bit overwhelming at times, it turned out to be quite a fun and meaningful exercise and I look forward to being able to look back in years to come and see what filled our days circa March, 2012.      

Enough blabbering. Here's what we were doin'...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

silver ring-ifying

I was recently inspired (by this post) to organize some of my collection of cards and other ephemera. I can never seem to to bring myself to get rid of all those special birthday cards, letters, notes, show programs, invitations, souvenirs... I guess I just like rifling through them every so often. I'm a sucker for "memory lane" (if only I was a better scrapbooker!)

I started by making a book of the cards celebrating Levi birth and then went on to make a smaller book of this year's Christmas cards and photos. 

I have so many more boxes waiting for me to go through and bookify....anything I can punch a hole in is fair game! Such an easy, mindless, satisfying endeavor. 

Anyone have any other great ideas for this binding technique? Recipes? Postcards? Church Bulletins? Playbills? 

Monday, March 5, 2012

I will praise Him, still

When the morning comes on the farthest hill
I will sing His name, I will praise Him, still.
When dark trials come and my heart is filled
With the weight of doubt, I will praise Him, still.

For the Lord, our God, He is strong to save
From the arms of death, from the deepest grave,
And He gave us life in His perfect will,
And by His good grace, I will praise Him, still. 

- F. Ortega


- A God who is strong to save
- walking down the wharf, brilliant colors of water and sky
- perseverance
- reassurance
- Levi's excitement when he sees another little person
- a long stretch of sleep
- Brian's convicting sermon on the Holy Spirit
- Levi strumming guitar and singing in key!
- late afternoon sun on the old houses of Salem
- new canvases, creamy paints
- hit-the-spot Front Street sandwiches
- sleeping in his shirts
- some professional development/artistic inspiration to begin tonight
- a great sermon podcast (from a church we frequented when we lived in Detroit)
- Levi's new favorite facial expression..

Thursday, March 1, 2012

shell love

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. 
-Jacques Cousteau

Our first date of February was a jaunt down to the end of our penninsula to watch the sunset(and eat SUNflower seeds and drink SUNkist soda, haha).  It was such an unseasonably warm day, so we spent some time walking along the beach and collecting shells.  

I came home with quite a few shells in hopes of doing something interesting with them.  I initially came up with this idea as a Valentine's decoration/gift but February 14th came and went with my collection of shells left untouched. Despite their definite heart shape, I'm still enjoying their sweet "New England-y" charm. Maybe I'll use them as Valentines another year. 

Construction was simple. I hot glued the 2 shells together (of different sizes, I liked the variety). Then I glued a ribbon or twine on the back for hanging.  You can leave them 'au natural' or use a paint marker to add some appropriate words. 

P.S. For those of you who aren't coastal dwellers, I imagine you could probably go out for sea food, order mussels and slide the shells in your purse. :)