October 31, 2008

Treats, mostly. No Tricks.

Bella and Nate received a small package in the mail yesterday for Pumpkin Day.  The Grand Dubs packed the festive box full of sugary goodness, and the Craunlets were glad it was all treats, and no tricks.


October 29, 2008

Click + Chew

Fall weather makes me want to eat and knit. around the clock. the cold winds blow, and suddenly everyone needs a new woolen scarf, and a belly full of hearty warm food.

It has actually been so long since i picked up the knitting pins, [as Bella calls them] paired with my terrible memory, that I had to view a few cast-on tutorials on YouTube. Yep, I was holding those pins, needles rather, and my fingers knew what it felt like to knit, but I was at complete pause for knowing how to get started.  I just craved the repetitive click, click, click, and the sense of fruitful accomplishment as the length of the trailing scarf accumulates on the ground. The warmth of the threads as they become woven together, nestled in little balls, resting in a community of others waiting for their turn to be something greater. more connected.  

With left-over yarns from David's infamous woolen monster of a scarf, I am clicking again. and it is feeding my soul right now. And watching the rows pile up on one another like chapters and volumes of a good book.


So I am knitting. and feasting, and looking for my next good book to read.

And this cold weather is encouraging all this cuddle-in-on-the-couch time. So, now I just need the book. Because it gives me permission for more evenings to snuggle in and read, after knitting through an afternoon nap time, and this book promises to certainly fuel my passion for cooking and feasting that this season also marks for me annually.  A sort of renewal in my pursuits in the kitchen, and our families eating habits.  


I heard an amazing review of this book on NPR the other afternoon, and a friend of mine is currently reading it, and I was so provoked by her response about the book, that now I must order one online immediately, and devour its pages. I will leave you all with the quote below [first read through Autumn's wall on facebook] from the author.  It has also stirred my desire to read on, and further revolutionize -- or normalize, rather -- the eating habits of Team Craun:
Because most of what we're consuming today is not food, and how we're consuming it -- in the car, in front of the TV, and increasingly alone -- is not really eating. Instead of food, we're consuming "edible foodlike substances" -- no longer the products of nature but of food science.

October 27, 2008

Having a Hard time

I have been avoiding my blog.  I have all sorts of anecdotal posts piling up on my desktop, and many a great photos to accompany them.  Great snippets of things and scenarios in which I am finding the Craunlets.  And sure, there is much art making, and many exhibition venues. And nearly more than I would like upcoming art deadlines.

But I don't feel like writing about any of that. And I am not sure I want to talk politics, either. But, after Sunday, I have been thinking. Sometimes it IS what we don't want to talk about, that is exactly what is needing to be said.

I heard this completely amazing message on abortion.

And as much as I even dread putting the above sentence out there, I can't stand to not.  And I don't know where your positions on this issue reside -- and in this election, I know it is a real hot button topic to even consider waging into.  And I don't know if any of you have personal experiences with this, yourself or among your friends and family. 

But, my heart is breaking over it. And I just can't stop thinking about it. And thinking about a few close friends that I have, in which abortion is a painfully real subject.  And a question continues to resound in both my head and heart --

At what point did abortion become the unforgivable sin? 

I mean, why is it an issue?  It is real. It is broken. It is sin. But it is also human. And man and woman.  And man and woman are fallen. And potentially forgiven. Through Jesus. Only by the grace of God.  That reckless grace. Grace that is scandalous.

As soon as the message is available, I will link to it here. It was simple, but profound + provoking.  [You can download the podcast of Unforgiven through iTunes also, search Gateway Cleveland.]

Why is it so hard to love? and to forgive? and to extend the same grace that we are given and modeled?

October 22, 2008

Quintessential


Last night Dave occupied the kids in the living room, while I finished a few more art projects. They built two gigantic forts using all available furniture, blankets and pillows. Bella named one of the forts Africa, and the other some unrecognizable preschool English compound word, that sounded sort of like Louisiana. She merges fragments of actual words into these bizarre long compound words. They are pronounced differently every time she repeats them, and are usually accompanied with her little inside-joke chuckles.  

Then, they all proceeded to the kitchen, the kids actually running behind Dave as if they were late for a parade. Dave AND THE KIDS whipped up a fabulous quick bread: Pumpkin, Apple Cider Chocolate Chip. Heaven. The baking scent was intoxicating, and it filled the whole downstairs with warmth. After bath + bedtime, Dave commented how Quintessentially Fall this bread was. And we shared the first two warm slices cut from the loaf.


I was thinking, rather, how lucky I am -- because this is a quintessential example of Dave as Dad and Husband. That last night, is COMPLETELY NORMAL in this household.  

Photos taken by Emily Powers, towards the end of Summer.

October 20, 2008

What's not to Love


Team Craun enjoyed their 3rd annual Fall Festival at a local apple orchard this weekend.  We partook of hot apple cider and apple fritters, played on the hay bail slide and ventured the corn maze. And we came home loaded up with apple butter, a 1/2 peck of fresh picked apples, maple candies, some gourds and a most perfect pumpkin.

Check out more of our Autumnal Adventures here.

October 16, 2008

Princess Pottytrainer

At long last, the little guy seems to have the proper motivation. Lavendar Princess Jasmine Underwear, and the undivided attention and encouragement of his most perfect big sister.

Potty training her little brother has become Bella's #1 priority. And should Nate try to live up to her expectations, I figure he will be pottytrained by his second birthday. Or tomorrow.

Per Bella's coaching and encouragement on the potty last night, Nate decided to finally do the #2 on the potty. And he was all giddy proud, dancing around the dining room in his borrowed Princess Jasmine toddler briefs, bragging about his candy corn -- the treat for his big deed.

Dave and I exchanged stunned looks as Bella walked him through the whole thing. She read him the potty book, reminded him to sit still, and to keep his pee pee down. She helped him tear the paper, proceeded to pick out some underwear, to celebrate his graduation,  and helped him into her Wednesday unders. She even got the day right. 

Though Bella is quite confident in her coaching, I am still holding my breath -- but we are certainly making great progress over here.

October 15, 2008

I voted for _______________________

I cannot even believe this, after yesterday's post. I almost fell out of my chair a minute ago, when I got the promotional e-mail, and followed the link to here.


I voted last night in my pajama's at our kitchen table. And I sealed that ballot up, and it is finally behind me, and on its way in to be counted. I was momentarily sad when I realized I wasn't going to get the "I voted today" sticker on November 4th. Now, I'll wear this shirt instead.

We all Fall Down



Bella is loving her one half day a week at “preschool”.  It is there that she learned how to play Ring-Around-the-Rosie, and I must say she is quite good at falling down. On top of that, she loves games, and being outside.  


So, this Fall we have been spending the long hours of our days outdoors.


discovering

collecting

gathering

harvesting

pulling it all in close


Taking in both the crisp air of fall and the provision of the earth. Having more than enough. And storing up our treasures in buckets and bushel baskets; stashing the smaller bounties in the gaping mortar crevices of the crumbling porch stairs.


We have been talking about how amazing it is, that the trees and bushes grow all of this stuff without any of our help, and then at the right time, let it all Fall to the ground. Above are our most recent piles of Fall’s goodness. In abundance.


However, Bella disagrees entirely with the notion that the trees are doing this all on their own. She is pretty sure the squirrels throw all of this stuff onto the ground, whilst playing Ring-Around-the-Rosie.

October 14, 2008

Why I should

So, I have been told why I should vote a certain way so many times this week, I am sick over it.

[fill-in-the-blank with a candidate] 

Because I AM A CHRISTIAN, I should vote _____________
Because I AM A WOMAN, I should vote _______________ 
Because I AM AN ARTIST, I should vote _______________
Because I AM AN EDUCATOR, I should vote ____________
Because I AM A MOTHER, I should vote _______________
Because I AM MIDDLE CLASS, I should vote ____________

So, my absentee ballot is on the table, and I plan to cast my vote tonite. I HAVE ALREADY DECIDED. And despite of all the unsolicited advice, and profiling assumptions + expectations regarding how I should vote, I am voting on the President of the United States privately, and not corporately. And I AM NOT VOTING ON ONLY ONE SINGLE ISSUE,  or from one demographics' suggestion. There is NO WAY to truly know either of my choices as actual people, I can only glean the facts available, pray, cast my vote, and hope for change. 

Because I AM AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, I should vote.

Election politics, I am so done with you.

October 13, 2008

Providence


This last week, I have been up to my ears in art making, and decided today would be a fine day for some good old fashioned show-n-tell. For a while now, I have been hanging some of my work at a fabulous little hair studio in Cleveland Heights, Cut, for my local readers in need of a trim.  It started out somewhat as a favor. She was a friend of a friend sort-of-thing, starting her own business, and loved my work. So, I thought -- what the heck.  Nearly five years and numerous hair-do's later, I still show work on her gallery wall at her new location, and have had some pretty good experiences in terms of visibility and sales.


And then, last week, I got a call from a local business owner, who gets her hair done at Cut. And she tells me that she is opening up another branch of the local hot coffee place, downtown, in a  few days. And she wants to meet me, and look at my art.  What she had planned for the walls wasn't doing the trick, and my work had caught her eye numerous times at CUT, so she gave me a call.


She met me at Zygote for a studio visit, and I laid out all of my craziness, and works-in-progress. So we chatted it up, and had a fun time envisioning my work on her walls. Err, the walls of Phoenix Coffee, rather. And it is still a blur how it all unfolded, short of providence.  


Tomorrow morning, she will pick up 7 prints. Newly finished and framed unique prints. One large piece from my Being Series, and Six from a series called Whole Story.  A series that I just can't quit.  They are unbound pages, that in collection are a book, or story. They are little season markers, like my art security blanket -- manageable to make in the craziness of everything else right now, and always on hand in my bag to continue working another layer.


Below are a few of my favorites [practice, is at the top of the post]:


pockets full:


keep, keeping:


making wishes:


If you find yourself in downtown Cleveland, and also in need of some hot coffee, I recommend the new West 9th location. I hear they have fabulous taste in art. Oh, and thanks to the most helpful and handsome hubby Dave -- who busted out a nice big frame in his wood shop on a moments notice.

October 9, 2008

Lagoon and Laughing

I’m not sure which bit of this morning was funnier: watching my two bumble bodies play in the fountains, tripping over one another + chasing the geese while imitating their honk sound, or hearing Bella’s pronunciation of lagoon. See more lagoon play, here.

October 8, 2008

Every Single Thing

I was too busy today, so I decided to take a break and sit on the back porch, on the big swing given to us by our next door neighbors. The kind of neighbors that still share sugar by the cup-full, and talk over the fence in the afternoon. June and Glenn, surrogate grandparents to Bella and Nate, have been known to knock on the door after dinner to share some cupcakes, they have lent us their mower, and they have helped us dig and plant some lilies in the front yard. They are the kind of neighbors that always have the time. Partly, I am sure, it is due to the fact that they are retired. They go by mama and papa, and speak of themselves in third person out of generations of habit, and their availability is provoking.

So, I decided to sit on the porch, and just take some time. I went outside with my Bible, and my current re-read [Revolutionary Parenting]. And I watched the colored leaves rustle across the yard in the wind, and the squirrels munch on the black walnuts we recently gathered from the ground. And I reflected on a  conversation with Bella, one that we shared on a drive through the Cleveland Metroparks the other day. A day when we were taking some time, together.

We were talking about Creation. And how God made the whole world. And she is quite familiar with the Creation Story, from here


Hands down, the BEST Children's Bible, I have encountered thus far.  It lavishes fabulous illustrations of the wonders of Creation, ones that have both captivated Bella's attention, and led her to some further thinking. This book seems to stir her heart. It certainly does mine.

So, we were driving, and Bella seems to have a mind that functions much like mine. Unnecessarily [at times] overactive, consumed with detail and order, yet spontaneous and seriously silly, almost to the point of delusion. So, she was listing every single thing that God made as we drove through acres of wooded expanse. Here are the approximate verbalizations of her thoughts that afternoon:

So, God made every single...
tree, branch, stick, leaf...even the falling ones?
the mud, and the dirt, and the ground.
And he made every single pine cone, and acorn...
and buckeyes that the squirrels eat.
And all of the lights?
The moon, and the stars, and all of them...
and the hot sun.

[pause]

B: How did God make the hot sun?

My response: I don't know hunny, God was coming  up with all of these really great ideas, and he was talking about them, sort of like telling a story. And when he said what they were, and he gave them a name, they became real.

B: Well, do you think he jumped up that high, all the way up to the hot sun? Or do you think he had a really tall ladder? [clearly, we have a preschooler obsessed with playgrounds]

It still makes me laugh, recounting it. She could believe every measure of creation, all of the fantastic details, like the most marvelous story in the all of the world. Its very beginnings, really.  It is so profound. And then, back to being almost four. And the sun, that is so hot, and so high up...nearly unfathomable.

October 7, 2008

Touch




I am in the thick of completing yet another artist book.  It is for the Heights Arts Joy of Text Exhibition. My local friends and family are all of course invited to the reception on October 24th, details here. As part of ABC [Artist Book Cleveland], I decided to participate in the Abecedarium project. For those of you that might be unfamiliar with the terminology, an Abecedarium is simply an A-B-C Book.
  
A  adjoin, affect, abrade, abut, ache
B  bind, bear
C  cuddle, caress, contact, clasp
D  dissect, dab, dash
E  enfold, envelope, embrace, enjoin, effectuate
F  fondle, feel, flatten, finger, fumble
G  grope, grapple, grab, grasp, graze
H  hold, handle, hug, hand
I   impact, impress, importune, impinge
J  join
K  kiss, knead, knack
L  lick, lean
M  massage, mash, move
N  nuzzle, nudge, neck
O  osculate
P  press, pet, pat, purse, pinch, palpate, probe, poke
Q
R  rub, reach
S  snuggle, strike, stroke, squeeze, scratch. stimulate, savor, sense
T  touch, tickle, trace, throng, thrust, tactual, tactility, tap
U  urge
V  verge, vestige, vibes
W  wipe, wax, wring, whiff
X  xo xo xo
Y  yearn
Z

My book is a lovely accordion structure book, that has hard covers, so it will stand alone, all of the pages viewable at once.  It's title is simply Touch, as I decided on the braille alphabet for my content.  The bumps are embossed at many times their actual scale, placed within a light gray printed 6-compartment grid [the braille cell], and each letter is showcased on it's own page.  

Under the evocative bump pattern, I plan to handwrite a corresponding word to accompany the oversized braille, or words that relate to and/or describe touch.  Back when I thought this up, it seemed a quite easy undertaking. However, in beginning to compile the above list, I am missing representatives for many of the letters, and several that I have are really long shots, at best.

So, this is where you all come in -- please help out, if you are a word person, or if anything comes to mind.  Leave some suggestions in the comments, and I would be most appreciative. 

October 6, 2008

Mums the word

Three-quarters of Team Craun is taking a sick day. The colds that seemed at their peak this weekend, are holding on strong this morning, so we called in sick. Feeling under the weather, what do a mom and two drippy kids decide to do with the day? Plant mums -- at long last. The window boxes on the gate have been empty for weeks, some time around our late summer Earth Day planting, to be precise.  

Turns out, we are a little behind the curve on these plantings as well. Mums were on a nice "end of season" sale this morning. We picked up six healthy purple potted mums, each crowded with buds ready to burst.  We also snagged three little pots of fountain grass, and we planted each of the three boxes in pattern.  purple mum, fountain grass, purple mum. We repeated that like a good gardener's mantra while we were working, reinforcing our patterning preschool lessons with Bella. purple mum, fountain grass, purple mum.

---

So, I am told that if I get these mums into the ground -- they will come back next year. That would be a lovely treat. Any gardeners out there to confirm? And can I do that as late as after Turkey Day? And what about the grass?? Is late November too late? Give me a sense of my odds, and I'll do my best to not be out there Christmas Eve with the shovel [like last year].

October 2, 2008

Welcome to Kukunest. We are nuts.

One of my favorite things to do more and more is to transform our house into our home. Having a love of beautiful and well functioned design, I pour over the myriad of options constantly, for improving the rooms in our home. I am fixed right now on the kid rooms, as we anticipate the lovely Bed[S] I shared with you a few weeks back, here.  Yes, "S" makes words plural; the little man gets a new bed now too. Grandpa figured he may as well make a pair of them, wisely avoiding a second commission a year from now. See his fantastic progress here, and I might add, he has also enlisted the help of Grandma Dubs and Uncle D.  

Anticipating their arrival around Thanksgiving, I am left with a solid month to make arrangements for bedding, and nearly a month after that to implement. So, I have frequented my visits to sites like Ohdeedoh [Apartment Therapy, kids], to get some inspiration.  And yesterday, after clicking Trimolla loft on the side bar, I found more than I could have dreamed of. Though Dave still needs a lot of convincing, I am sure the kids' rooms should look and function much like this:

Or maybe an arrangement like this one, full of rich and vibrant color:

How could one resist the fabulous and lovely designs of these Trimolla Loft Bedrooms? They seem like storage and organizational dreams. I am also enticed that they would easily grow with the kids. And look darn right lovely whilst doing so. Leave it to the aesthetic of the Italian, both of these come from modular living designers TumideiSPA. Visit them, its a design pick-me-up. Eye candy for an invigorating life change. Like moving the entire family into a small flat in New York, or London. Just to rationalize these gorgeous piled up furnishings. And of course, now I want to tear up the carpeting in their rooms.

So, I pulled back a bit on my kid room visions last evening, as Dave's eyes were buldging out of his brain, and began to search only for duvets and sheets.  My first hit was kukunest. I went to bed laughing. Kukunest sounds a lot like this family.

October 1, 2008

Autumnal Aroma

Pear Streusel. For the love of Fall.
  
Yummy local pears from a friend's bountiful pair of fruit trees. Thank you Elya for sharing them, and Rob for picking them. And once again, the Best Quick Muffin + Bread book comes through for us, thank you Anna, we LOVE these simple recipes.  In this case, I converted the Apple Streusel recipe, to pear, quite effortlessly.

UPDATE:
Oops, I stand corrected, per the comments. I thank Elya for the picking of the pears, as well as the sharing. Though I am certain Rob has been quite helpful during this pear season.

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