January 31, 2009

What play looks like

A couple weeks ago, we spent a Saturday morning playing. And a friend came over with her camera. Here is a bit of the fun that followed.





Though we are all feeling ready for Spring, it was great to make a record of our quite familiar and frequent cabin fever play sessions.

January 29, 2009

In Review

I had the opportunity to have an impromptu gallery talk with Doug Utter in the gallery last week to discuss my new work that is currently on display at Zygote Press
 

The review is in this weeks edition of the Cleveland SCENE. Utter's article is well written, and his insights into the work are spot on. Click here for the read.

The above image is a detail of chartered crescendo. a relief + intaglio print with chine colle.

January 28, 2009

Today is Snow Day.

We thought about never leaving our pajama's today, as the snow was piling on outside. 
 

Then, we decided instead to try out some of our new-to-us winter gear, [thank you to Grandma C] and we bundled up to play in the snow, click here for pictures. Though we left our pajama's, we are certain, however, that we are not leaving our house.

January 27, 2009

Today is Tuesday.

I know what day it is today. and I am breathing. 
 

I feel like a new person.

Above: end of one's tether. A recent print, intaglio + relief with chine colle'. Part of my current exhibition, Coming Undone, at Zygote Press, more info here.

Coming and Going

Here we are a few weeks into the new academic semester, and the schedule is just now beginning to loosely fall into place. Last week, I was still not sure what day it was. Or on which day I go where and do what. Surely I will catch up to myself soon, I kept thinking. Yesterday was filled with the last few planning meetings before I am spinning all of my plates.  

I will be at three schools this semester, for some artist-in-residency intensives. I am really looking forward to all those kids and neighborhoods. I am returning to Carver Elementary in Central, and Charles Lake Elementary in Glenville.  In addition to those two, I will also be at the Cleveland School of the Arts. This will be my first time working with that school, for which I am quite excited. Mostly printmaking, at the first two schools, and a tile mural at the latter. Finishing out the week, I am teaching Book Arts at the Cleveland Institute of Art on Friday's. 

Eeking out just enough time during weekday naps, and occasional late nights, I am maintaining my Zygote work as Associate Director. We are currently activating some great interns, and it is so nice to have some room for delegation and greater efficiency. 

Upon Dave's most brilliant urging, we are looking at hiring a babysitter. Something consistent, with a weekly schedule. Consolidated childcare, I have been calling it. We have been so blessed by friends and family members co-raising our children. Given my wiring and frenetic schedule, somehow, I maintain to be a mostly stay at home mom. Midway through last semester, the chaos was really building. I was starting to come completely undone. And all the anxiety amplified to the point where I would wake up in a nauseous panic, begging to know what day it was. Who was watching the kids? Who could cover the meeting I had scheduled for the following afternoon. If Dave might be able to race home an hour early, so I could be 15 minutes late. If someone could please watch the kids, on short notice, again.

This crescendo of chaos was followed by the welcome distraction of Christmas break. The peace of a realistic pace. Play time and hearty comfort food. Knowing what day it was. Not operating in panic mode.

So, this week is our test run for the repeating. The reliable. The consolidated childcare, if you will. And just having had all of the discussions with Dave, and the interviewed potential sitters. And all of the decisions. I am surprised to find someone I knew along time ago. Someone who knew what day it was. Someone still full of energy, but also filled with peace and hope. And a lot less anxiety and stress.

A friend asked me last night if I ever stop to breathe. wow. really. this is who I am. how I am known. Actually it was a comment on my facebook status, and to quote it would be far more appropriate to illustrate the point of my now quite drawn out post [apologies]: OMG--do you ever take a breath? 

Today, I can say with great relief. YES.

Last week I could not have said the same with any shred of honesty. So please, stop in on us occasionally, as Team Craun is making some changes in schedule and commitments. And check up on me. See if I know what day it is.

January 22, 2009

Whip out my Wax

My sister is likely making our kidlets some snappy tote bags that will contain a few coloring books, and have "crayon compartments" sewn on the outer part of the bag.  We have been darting e-mails back and forth discussing the myriad of versions of what is known as the "doodle bag" by some...and have seen some pretty clever, as well as a handful of some pretty off-the-wall wearables for the crayoning-folk. Including the ammunition belt. 

Anyhow, at some point I was getting a little satirical over some applique options for the totes. And she quipped back that maybe she should make me one also, so I could have that snarky attitude with me always. 

My response to that:
Yeah, then I could whip out my wax, and tag something all sly.

Seriously. Without hesitation, it was my very first thought. Unedited + quickly sent off across the internet to await her response:

I have no idea what you just said.
Obviously inner-city living is wearing on you.

Is it so incomprehensible? Is it so urban? Weigh in with your translations.

January 21, 2009

Team Craun Obamicon Me

Needless to say, we are all very excited about this new chapter for our nation. In our celebrations yesterday, we stumbled upon a fun site that will convert your images to an "Obamicon".  So we each took a turn.





With a  few manipulations of color settings, and text, voila... you've got your very own spiffy image, inspired by Shepard Fairey's now iconic Obama campaign posters. Art for change. That is right up Team Craun's alley.  Have your own fun making an "obamicon" right here

January 20, 2009

One Change at a Time

I am looking forward to the getting it done season that lies ahead of us, individually and collectively. Myself and the Craunlets sat at the dining table as we streamed in live coverage of the Inauguration. Crying and clapping. [Craunlets excluded from the crying parts]. They both now say Barack Obama effortlessly, though I must admit that Nate's annunciation is clearly the most brilliant. Bella's more articulate, however.

So, today I finally wrapped up my list of 101 things to accomplish in 1001 days. And after the figurings of my more mathematically-inclined sister Anna, I decided to post today and start tomorrow! I know, already procrastinating! As if 1001 days weren't enough. But, I am officially starting tomorrow so I can end on 10/11/11. I LOVE the 11-11. I think it is uncannily related to notion of wishing. Something that I hope this active list whittles away at over the upcoming months.

I leave you with a few more from the finally completed list: 

Purchase Bento, and create a database of family contacts
Make lap quilts for every member of the household 
Repurpose fabrics from resale shops into aprons, etc.  
Have more clothes made for Bella using Japanese Patterns
Commission a stained glass window for an inoperable window
Buy a Crazy Fort kit, and build more forts with the kids
Design + have Grandpa build a train/city table for Nate
Sew curtains for in our living room
Get a scooter
Have a monthly date night with hubby
Install an artful plate grouping on the long kitchen wall
Make draft-stoppers for three outside doors
Make more cookies + learn to make crackers
String colored lanterns in Bella's room for lighting
Make paper accordion blinds for in the kitchen
Buy Polaroid Film + let the kids take more pictures
Take more wardrobe risks with more colors and patterns

January 19, 2009

For the Love of Snow

Playing outside in the snow just became a fun thing to do for Team Craun. We finally have willing participants. Our only problem now, is winter gear, the Craunlets are finding themselves highly underdressed for the weather. 
 
If you have any outgrown's you would like to hand-down, please let us know. Yesterday, Nate had to wear Bella's tights under his jeans to keep warm. No photos, but I will let you know that the pink leopard print leggings fit him better than her. 

January 18, 2009

No Snowman

We bundled up in layers, and marched outside armed with a carrot nose, to build our very first snow man of the season. Only the snow was having none of it. It's a beautiful pile of luxurious and fluffy flake, much like sparkling fairy dust pouring through your fingertips. And not even a suggestion of the moisture needed to hold form. After a river of disappointment ran down Bella's rosy cheeks, we convinced the Craunlets that it was a fine time to give the toboggan a test run. 
 
And things were going well, for the first turn around the yard. Then Nate wanted a ride too, and as toboggans are meant for more than one, we figured we would give the Craunlets a more authentic experience. Minus the toboggan chutes. Thank God. Turns out the whole experience of sharing space on a long wooden sled, on a quick ride across the flat terrain of the white stuff in our back yard is undoing enough. 

 

And as most of you could guess, when the first passenger lets go of the front edge of the toboggan, the remaining passengers have no hope of remaining in the game. They quickly find themselves holding onto nothing, laying in the snow, choking down the great heart ache of disappointment, whilst still clutching the carrot and begging to go inside.
 

January 15, 2009

More than I can count

Apparently 101 is a lot higher than I can count right now. I have been working on a list of 101 things I would like to-do, or to have to-done, rather, in 1001 days. Which seems like forever, when I started to break it down into understandable groups. Days, Months, Years...actually. Almost three of them.

I think some of my inability to get all the way to 101 right now, is my very crowded mind . The other, I think is related closely to my wishing issues.

So, below are many of the items that I have already punched into my list-maker in Numbers. Of course, they still need the company of about 30-or-so other friends...but this is a sampling of my thoughts/priorities/ambitions/dreams. Though it has taken me longer than I will even transparently admit here, it has been an interesting task of self-reflection. That, and a pure joy to just be making the list.

Have a birthday breakfast party, maybe for 33
Learn to make fruit preserves
Go on a retreat with hubby [ok, again. it was fun.]
Get a pen-pal, and send them amazing correspondence
Write annual letters to the children for when they are older
Start a salt-n-pepper shaker collection
Make envelopes out of unwanted paper + junk mail
Design and order custom postage from the USPS
Create a family photo album to have out in the living room
Have a website designed + keep it current
List some items in my Etsy Store
Install a murphy bed in the Master bedroom
Design a new curriculum vitae
Visit possible kindergarten's for Bella
Write at least one chapter to my future memoir
Find + purchase a kitchen chair, with fold down steps
Learn how to french braid
Request materials from colleges for Art Therapy Doctorate
Participate in an intentional full-day media fast once a month
Make stuffed animals from socks + repurposed cast-offs
Install a wood swing on the back porch

Perhaps I should add finish the list. Or at least set a goal for when the said 1001 days begin.

I got this great idea from Autumn, a little while ago. she provided a nice description of the endeavor and act of 101 in 1001.  Check it out here, and make a list for yourself.

What do you want to get done?

January 13, 2009

Cabin Fever

I have cabin fever so bad right now, I want a new one. Cabin, that is. Being a mostly-stay-at-home-mom, among all the other things I do...I spend a lot of time in the several small rooms of our home. And I love them, I do. But today, I am dreaming of all these beautiful spaces for which I would gladly trade. 
 
I am not sure how any of what I am envisioning as the ideal playing/learning/working space might come to fruition, especially right now given our current financial strain, but I have really been yearning for some sort of contemporary play space meets school room in the house. Something clean and orderly, yet fresh and fun, and a room that is somehow engaging for both the kids and the adults of this household. Something close to the picture below, only with a touch more schoolroom desk feel as opposed to the cafeteria table and chair furnishings in the forefront.
 
We certainly have a lot to work with already, in terms of basic furnishings, art, toys and school-type stuff. And the house has many a charming details. I think I need a clear mission, a few trips to resale shops and a keen eye for a few purchases, and mostly reallocation and repurposing of what exists amongst the household. 

That, and a few of these probably wouldn't hurt. 
 

Just envision the small row of Team Swings all lined up in the living room. Swing, available here. We would like a pair. Sweet playroom by Three Potato Four, seen at Design Sponge, here.

January 10, 2009

Snow Day





To see more of our fun times in the winter wonderland that we woke up to, click here.

January 9, 2009

Reluctant Hope

Internet,

The whole potty training thing. I think, after today, I will post no further about it, until this last baby [we hope] is all grown, moves out and gets married...hopefully potty trained.

So, I write the woeful post [previous] and then my little bugger decides to take this HUGE accident-free spree. Further, he seemingly perceived that I was on the threshold of giving up, and out-and-out boycotted his diaper at a friend's house the other day, concluding our pant-less play date.

We came home, switched out the awful diaper with some underwear, and have hit the potty every time since. And if the heavens haven't parted, I have no other explanation.

That, or the magic of "Nonnie".  Yesterday, during an afternoon nap under her care, he rose to announce that he needed to go. And then HE WENT, and went back to sleep. I am pretty sure, as I have already been convinced, that Nonnie is pure magic. Her love is infectious, and seems to have the children spellbound. And I am SO THANKFUL. 

Last night, nearly a half-an-hour into his bedtime, he repeated the same. Dave found him standing, in his fully unzipped pj's adamant about the need for potty. Nate received a package of underwear in the mail yesterday, and one would have thought the box was filled with millions of dollars of gold candy coins.

---

On another note. I am crazy making art this week, like it's my sanity. And I think it actually is right now. I will not go into maddening detail in this post, for the same reasons as the potty training; it seems to change like Cleveland's weather. And I would rather post retrospectively with a clearer mind. But, I will say that this has been the most bittersweet week I have memory of experiencing. And so timely, is the body of work that I am finishing.

Local folks, swing on out to Zygote Press for a good time one week from today: 


More info about the exhibition can be found here. As always, a Zygote opening promises to be a good fun time...great bites, refreshing drinks, music + fresh art. 

January 6, 2009

re: Potty Training


More accidents, less successes. Today has been a bit of a struggle on many fronts. And the whole pottry training regression today...yeah, good timing, you wild little thing. Just canny, really.

So, to console my frustration, I clicked on some advice reads found at potty training concepts dot com, here, looking specifically for encouragement and any special tricks out there for training the boy variety. And I found these. And I laughed so hard I cried. And now I want them, as much for me as Nate.  We have had so many accidents today, we are in sister's underwear. 


ANYONE who can find me these in toddler 2T, or any other toddler size for that matter. I promise to love you FOREVER.

January 5, 2009

My Bread is Singing

Wow. Right now this household is rejoicing.

I just pulled out my inaugural loaf of bread for this New Year of bread making, and it is cooling on the wire rack and singing...just as that amazing book said it would. The heavenly warm and yeasty smell has filled the house, and will certainly wake the children soon. See below, the victory of my first official loaf:


Other cause for dancing + jubilation --

1. Dave was notified today by post, that he has passed ALL SEVEN of his Architectural Exams. You may now call him ARCHITECT!  This is long earned and hard won, and both a major personal and  professional victory.  It is also Dave's wish [previous post] that has at last come true. 

2. Nate is officially wearing underwear and loving it! Bella decided it was time, and with her coaxing and the natural motivation of the M & M, it looks as if we have turned the corner on diapers. Day four + thrilled with our progress!!

UPDATE: Nate has just wakened from his two hour afternoon nap -- with dry pants!!! And further, went #2 on the potty. Hello Dove Dark chocolate, the BIG reward, if you know what I mean.

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