June 30, 2009

Two by Two

The Craunlet's are doing more and more together. Moving from parallel play towards more magical and creative interactions. I love watching the big sister | little brother relationship grow. It has been flourishing in the summer sun! Here they are, in their unique personalities, enjoying each other's company at the zoo. 
  


June 29, 2009

Weekend Moment, Sweet + Savory

We spent most of our awake weekend hours feasting indulgently on a spectrum of baked goods, sharing conversations with old and new friends, welcoming home family members and celebrating birthdays, graduations and new babies. 
 
We savored all the relax time, with the following homemade sweets: Iced Lemon Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cheesecake, and Cinnamon Dark Chocolate Truffles [pictured above]. Summer gatherings and generous eats with friends and family surely make the best weekends.

June 26, 2009

Baking Bliss


I think its the sweetly tart smell of lemon infused sugar cookies that keeps me making these giant batches of cut-out cookies straight into the heat of the summer. That and my compulsive inclination to bake away my blues.

This new apron from the hubby is surely to help fuel the compulsion. I love the fresh print, and it makes me think of sweet bing cherries, perhaps a pie is in order.

[re]thinking TGIF

I've been sort of under a cloud over here, and weighing too many things in my brain; taking too much to heart, and convincing myself I should have a lot more control than I am designed for. I twittered two days ago about my frustrations with the constantly shifting terrain that is life. And wouldn't you know it? Things can turn around so quickly sometimes. And much of this world [or all of it] isn't really in our control. The freedom in that reality is awesome for me, and so opposite of my wiring.

I woke up this morning, sighing: Thank God it's Friday.
Finally.

I've been waiting for Friday to get here, each and every day of this very long week. And here we are.

Thank God.

Thank God. Seriously, how about a little attitude change, Jen? One that acknowledges that while most circumstances are out of my control, I have an awful lot to be thankful for:

today, and all of its new grace
an incredible husband; loving, patient, generous
healthy children who are filled with joy
a big family, both near and far
a home , an old one...that we love
e-mails and job offers
dreams and passions fulfilled
employment, and jobs that we LOVE doing
enough, that somehow we always have enough
abundant food + yummy cooking
good friends, and conversations of truth + love
exhibition opportunities
a green yard and lots of flowers
the library, and children who love books
cookies and sweets made from a few simple ingredients
the sun, and the blue sky of summer
slides, and swings, and the many Cleveland playgrounds
new friendships just beginning
homemade popsicles
sandals and my favorite pair of jeans
all my yellow summer tops
balloons
and snapshots
dance parties in the dining room
the endless laughter of the Craunlets
even kazoos. in the car, at too early an hour

June 24, 2009

Bittersweet

Summer marks a most ambivalent season for me. I find myself frequently frantic, and switching back and forth frenetically from rejoicing about my joblessness on one day, to fretting over financial crisis and feelings of both frustration + futility on the following. I could go on and on at length, and worry my dear friend + family readers, but I figure we are all carrying some pretty heavy baggage right now. All packed, and lugging our stuff around, with no vacation in sight. So I thought I would share these as a bittersweet visual pick-me-up. I laughed to tears. And started drafting up some button ideas of my own, and my next small business plan... 
 

Above images, from Irina Blok, see her stuff here.

I must note: this summer--despite all the messiness--I feel like I am doing a better job of at least recognizing it, being vulnerable enough to talk about it [to know that I am not alone] and lastly, that even in our current financial environment, there are a few solutions...

Being a fanatic about list making, here is what I came up with before my expert problem-solver husband sprung the weeklong impromptu trip to Chicago plan [next weekend can't get here soon enough!] We will stay with my parents, get a couple day reprieve [escaping to downtown] and then just chill as a family together, somewhere--anywhere--other than home. Until then, and afterwards, I am going to do my darnedest to enjoy this summer and hang onto my list with all that I have:

Eat Better
Take more breaks
Talk to friends
Play everyday
Get outside
Make popsicles, and eat them on the front porch
Discover more fun places in Cleveland
Go for ice cream, just because
Take more photographs
Read that Anne Lamott novel already [Grace]
Decide to have a good attitude
Pray, and really let go of the worry
Make more cold dinners
Bring fresh flowers inside
Resist yelling, at all times
Tickle the kids
Advance my website + etsy store
Revamp the resume
Make art
Grow this list all summer in a new journal

June 23, 2009

Beauty in Two Cases


Case one: lovely metal stairs adorned with varying scales of planters flowering prolifically a spectrum of blooms upward from bottom to top.

Case two: loveliness herself with a fallen canary begonia descending stone stairs with persistent growth showcasing yellow flowers in the morning sun.

Summer has found us exploring and loving this very colorful world.

June 22, 2009

Weekend Moment, Trains and Trails



We spent Father's Day riding trains and biking trails. The Cuyahoga Valley was a breathtaking backdrop to a gorgeous day outdoors cycling the towpath and exploring the great big world just down the rails from us. The Craunlets came alive with wild adventure in the lush landscape; Team Craun gave a hearty welcome to the many summer weekends ahead.

June 19, 2009

The Boys are Out-Numbered

Out of Bella's mouth this morning in the car:
Mommy, we have a lot of girls in this house.

And then Bella goes on to list, as she counts them all up:

Francie [The big girl doll]
Brie [The baby doll]
Mommy
Bella
Greta [The small German doll]
Sippy [the older Imaginary friend]
Baba [the baby Imaginary friend]

And then, she summarizes: 
That's seven. And the boys only have three. If you count Oliver.

Right, if you count that one boy baby doll. That not real person. Then I suppose they could have three on their side, the smaller side, the one that rests in the shadow of our towering list of girls.

June 17, 2009

Spreading Out

Rainy days are good for percolation. So, I am tacking my art pile...a stack nearly a foot high of in progress prints. And I am mulling over the next state of the dozen or so plates in which these images are derived. 
 
these highs and lows

this craving for cover

falling to pieces

prescribed pattern of this place


I am intrigued with the notion of covering, protection. Our very sense of security. The strength and fragility of these constructions, both in the intellectual landscape as well as the built. And as the rain falls this afternoon, I am taking in the rhythmic sounds and somber colors, and letting them occupy a bit of space in my process drawings that are spread out all over the table. I am looking forward to where they will lead the next suite of prints, and am enjoying the meandering path in the mean time. More as it develops, surely.

June 16, 2009

Deciding against Giving up

After letting my little world sit completely unattended and neglected, getting slowly worse and becoming all over horrible looking, I decided that giving it at least one good try to rebuild was in order. 
 


So, against everything that logic would probably prescribe about making one change or remedy at a time, so as to truly understand and solve the problem, I went with the absolutely extreme start-over approach. 

I emptied the entire little world onto the counter top.
Collected new soil, and sterilized it in the oven.
Regenerated some dried compacted coconut fiber to mix into soil.
Bathed each of the little moss plants in tepid water in my palm.
Scrubbed + sterilized the ceramic toadstools, and river stones.
Sterilized the glass container.
Wrung out the soaked moss, picking off anything looking precarious.
Set everything out on the table to dry.
Sat.
Prayed.
Reassembled.

And as a final measure of good will, I decided a relocation was also in order. My little world now resides on top of one of my growing collection of antique plant tables, near the front window of our Master bedroom. Best of luck, little world. 

Sitting Still

I pushed really hard to get here. And this morning, I wake up, and I am still finding myself engulfed in blah, and questioning the very notion of here and what she might hold. I hardly had time to celebrate, to be refreshed by the beginning of a break. Instead, blah. It's an achy feeling, much like the one that nearly swallowed me whole for my 30th birthday, a persisting dull unsettledness, begging for the directions to my next adventure. 

It's like my dream stopped, and I am finding myself slowly waking up, and not remembering what I was even dreaming about. And I know that it was a sweet dream, one coming to a nice finish, but I feel like I was just about to get a glimpse at the next one, the one that didn't quite come to focus, and I was rattled awake unexpectedly. And as erratic and impulsive as I am -- I don't dream when I am awake. The very thought of it is daunting. I have a hard time letting go of my thoughts and just wandering around and resting long enough to get a glimpse into my dreams, my aspirations, my what next--if you will. 

I am finding myself sitting uncomfortably in the pause between two seasons, and grappling for the control to resume. So, I am tapping my foot anxiously, afraid that this season might start by some time spent sitting still. 

June 15, 2009

What Sunday's are made of




This is our Sunday walk to church. And I can't think of a better start to the day. Team Craun strolling through downtown, hand-in-hand, soaking up the summer temperatures.

June 14, 2009

Weekend Moment, Totally Tired


Because when you are two--and you are totally tired--anywhere looks like a good spot to sleep.

We enjoyed a full day at Parade the Circle this last Saturday. We rode in on the City Train, walked and walked and walked, sat for more than half of the Parade, made more crafts than we could carry home at the various vendor stands, and then walked and walked and walked some more. We watched, crafted, and walked ourselves in the sunshine until we were totally tired. Click here for a looky-loo.

Holding on like a baby koala bear, Nate cuddled in for the return walk, and the rhythmic motion of his tired mom's stride lulled him straight to sleep. I thought we might never make it all the way back to the train station. This falling to sleep in such a precarious position really intrigues me. That he could let go + lean in, and just trust that his momma would hold him...some how. Despite her own exhaustion.

Weekend Moment, brought to you at the start of each new week, is a challenge put forth by Crunchy Cursive.

June 12, 2009

Gladness, and What is Good Today

bare feet
wildflowers
having children that love books
sheets on the clothesline
sleeping on down pillows
drinking espresso on the counter top
burying bulbs in the winter that still bloom
creating prints
juggling jobs
raising my children
a supportive husband
fresh squeezed lemonade
dancing with babies
worshipping with my eyes closed
creating new recipes
having children that eat well
baking wildly delicious desserts
dreaming while awake
sharing a bottle of wine with the husband on a weeknight 
being intoxicated by ideas
having breakfast for dinner
watching movies in the nest
 a God that never stops providing

This Purple Piece of Heaven.


Surely, growing wild in our back yard, we have discovered the very scent of heaven.

June 11, 2009

Serious and Silly


When not copying one another, their personalities are night and day. See more of our fun times here.

June 10, 2009

Grand Recipe Swap

I love soup. All year round. And I really want to whip up something new today, and I have no idea what I feel like making. So I sent out a query using my facebook status. And that made me start to think about cooking in general, sharing some recipes here, and then one thing leads to another...and I am brewing up another potential business endeavor. Like designing, printing and selling recipe cards. And then I dreamed up a fun summer idea: a Grand Recipe Swap.

I thought, whilst perusing many a lovely recipe cards on Etsy, wouldn't it be grand if people sent me recipe cards?! I am always collecting hobbies, sort of a bad habit, and thought collecting yummy recipe cards could be a fun, yet practical [as I would use them] hobby/collection. Further thinking about the idea, I considered what the incentive would be for people to just up and send me some sweet recipe cards. I mean, you all love me, but to just buy me or make me recipe cards, because its summer + I feel like cooking more is probably a bit of a tall order. So, I thought, why not propose a Grand recipe Swap. However many recipe cards you send me, I commit to providing you that same number of my favorite recipes, on an array of recipe cards...therefore diversifying all of our recipe card collections. 

To get the Grand recipe Exchange off the ground, I am sharing my current two favorite soups, one hot and one cold, Cold Berry soup and Curried Carrot soup. They are handwritten on my newest cards from Etsy store 1canoe2 here. I like the former with fresh sourdough bread and the latter served over brown rice accompanied with some Naan bread. I generally make up my soup recipes from available ingredients in the refrigerator and pantry, or modify ones that I am given or discover in a cookbook or magazine. 
 

Anyone wishing to participate, simply leave me a comment. And we can figure out the recipe card send + recipe exchange based on your location. Preferences of recipe type can also be submitted, if you are looking to expand  certain category in your repertoire.  

Anyone at a loss of what cards I might like, I have included a few that I would LOVE LOVE LOVE, things exactly like this, this, this, this, this, or this...I could certainly go on forever. I'll stop, it seems the joined love of cooking, print + paper is sending me over the edge.

June 9, 2009

All Day is a LONG TIME

Going out for a second cup of coffee this morning, at 10:00 am, the Craunlet Choir was already singing the daddy song in unison at the tops of their lungs from the back seat. What's the daddy song, exactly? It's one variation of the ever popular "insert name in here  song"; where one sings, again and again and again, the said name--interrupted by no other words--very loudly. 

Craunlet Inquisition: When will daddy be home? Pretty soon? Is he home when we get home? When is daddy day?

Pretending they weren't talking to me, and actually relieved that we had paused momentarily from the daddy chant, I took a slow sip of my hot coffee, and resisted shouting: NO. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT.

Craunlet Choir: Daddy, Daddy, Daddy...Daddy, Daddy, Daddy...

The clock is in slow motion today. We hadn't even had elevenisies yet, and were already running out of fun things to do. Since Skyping daddy whilst at work is entiely out of the question...we played with Photobooth for a bit: 

June 8, 2009

Weekend Moment, Welcome Summer

I have decided to participate in Crunchy Cursive's weekend moment challenge, and will post a glimpse of our weekend every Monday morning. Something that gave us a hearty belly laugh, a moment that brought us together, or touched us in a way that reminds us how thankful we are for this sweet precious life. An intentional paying attention to our moment's, and then stopping to put them in perspective, and further share them here. I am not sure what form these weekend moment posts will take each week, but I think that they will develop organically and be as diverse as the moment's themselves as they accumulate. So, here goes. Good morning, Monday. 
 

We welcomed summer on Saturday, with the Craunlet's first official Lemonade stand. 


We made over 100 strawberry lemonade fruit smoothies, and sold all of our lemon sugar cookies--all before noon! Team Craun had a fun day in the low summer temps laughing and catching up with neighbors, visitors, family and good friends at our annual street fair. 
 


The length of our street was abuzz with the sweet sounds of summer beginning, and the smells of every imaginable grilled ethnic eat. Summer, we are more than ready for you. What a lovely welcome.

See more of our Lemonade stand fun on our picture pages, here.

June 4, 2009

it is month 6 and day 4


12:40 in the middle of the day.

I am feeling overdue for a media fast, reminded by Brooke Inman's if I could somehow forget piece, tucked behind my calendar -- all in my periphery whilst on the computer. Hopeful and energized, about to unplug electronically + go bake some cookies.

June 3, 2009

feels and looks like rain to me


pattern for sustainable growth
monoprint + mixed media laminated on masonite 

I have been working on a whole series of these -- interstice inflorescence [roughly, the small process of flowering] and pouring over patterns of growth, the arrangement + timing of flowering, that is both determinate and indeterminate. 

June 2, 2009

lemonade stand


This weekend, the Craunlets are debuting their real fruit lemonade smoothie stand. And like all things Team Craun, it is being completely overdone -- the last two weeks have been ripe with creative resourcefulness, and I cannot wait to pull all the little details together.

We have a large multi-color beach umbrella to shade our stand, we are making many huge hand painted signs on cardboard, and last night we received two wood banana crates from our grocer; completing the modern, yet nostalgic, look we are going for. We have yellow gingham vinyl tablecloths, and might be stitching up some festive bunting [time allowing] in a coordinating yellow check. Bella + Nate's little table + chair set will move outdoors for the day, as well as their wooden pretend cash register. We have clear cups + lids, and extra large yellow striped straws...perfect for the occasional strawberry chunk in the pink lemonade smoothies.

And lemon sugar cookies too...why not??! These will be individually packaged in little glassine bags, stitched closed with yellow thread.

Anyone local, should stop by for a smoothie...as usual, the Annual Street Fair promises to be a good time...full of yummy eats, over 40 garage sales, and live music.

June 1, 2009

ruling the world


Turns out caring for an entire world -- even a teeny tiny little, supposedly self-sufficient, one -- is really hard to do. Here is what my little world looked like a couple weeks ago, upon assembling. My heart swelled every time I looked at it, This small collection of wonders, this little contained world. It flourished. It was green, and growing, and had its own weather; I watched it fog, it rained even. I was constantly distracted by this miniature eden. Gazing, pondering the meaning of life. Just loving it. All the time. 
 


And then, overnight, nearly a month later. Some terrible dreadful thing occurred. A white mold descended on all that plush green moss + lichens. Heart breaking. I had no idea this was going to involve chemistry. So now, I am faced with a tear down, moss-cleaning + rebuild. And it might work. Or, I could start over. Or quit. 

Ruling this little world hasn't been all fun times as I had dreamed. Turns out, it requires an awful lot of work too.

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