October 31, 2009

Mostly Treating, Less Tricking

The whole plan-a-costume-thing sort of slipped through the cracks this year, and the Craunlets are left digging through play clothes + the dress up options if we are to trick-or-treat tonight. The good news is that we have no memories of Halloween, so it won't be a disappointment...but I am already scheming great ideas for next year, some yummy felt masks of woodland creatures, etc.

A dear friend from Zygote gave this little ceramic jack-o-lantern to the Craunlets. They love to hold it, as it nestles just right into their palms, and I find it moves daily to slightly different locations on our large window sill, as evidence of their interaction.

Happy and safe trick-or-treating to you all, may there be mostly treating and less tricking!

October 28, 2009


I am not entirely sure what the attraction is, but I LOVE it. Perhaps its the enticing photo, the lush orange backdrop with the blue T, or the metallic leather. Or the fact that if I carried this thing around, I could randomly shout out SQUIRREL! just for fun.

The First Flock

I can hardly believe it, but I am already full steam into my making for the various local holiday sales, and gifts for friends and family. I have started with some of my birdie calendars, for 2010. Here is a quick peak of the first flock:

Hand cut paper collage birds on pulp board, with toner transfer branches, monthly tear-off calendars and a lovely grommet for hanging; they measure 4 X 9 inches. My first flock has landed at Heights Arts Gallery, and will be available at the Holiday Store Nov 7 through Dec 30 for only $15 each. Local readers, fly on over for some regional handmade goodness.

October 26, 2009

Weekend Moment, Just Because

Dave arrived home early from work on Friday, with flowers in hand. Just because. And Saturday morning, he turned the hot water heater way up, and I enjoyed a way-too-long soak in a way-too-hot tub in the quiet morning sun. Every weekend should start this way.

October 23, 2009


Aside from the ingredient hesitation -- we are certainly making these soon. How could one ever resist their seasonal loveliness? Just picture them nestled into individual cellophane bags, and tied up with a simple ribbon.

Thank you, Martha, as always.

Photo credit: Martha Stewart. Recipe + Instructions, here.

Picture Pages, Picture Pages

We found ourselves playing outdoors every day this week celebrating Autumn's golden height. We attempted to soak up every sunny blue sky and warm-temperatured opportunity with some additional outside play time that this Indian Summer provided us.

Click here to see some more of our shenanigans; we have updated our picture pages, at long last.

October 21, 2009

Breath Catching

This act of breathing in and out. Constant. With us like a close friend, and knowing us better than ourselves. I think it is the season of Autumn in general, the slowing down, all the fabulous baking...and the anticipation of Thanksgiving...I find myself always reflecting. Finally catching my breath after the whirlwind of getting the Fall semester off and running. Passing the frantic who needs to be where when?! and What day is it madness?! Routine settles in and wraps itself around me like an alpaca wool blanket on a chilly evening.

And here I am. There. Again. Feeling caught up. Present. At last.

I used to take yoga classes while in college, to round out my load to the maximum credit hours I could take. And to fit it into my schedule, I always seemed to end up there first thing in the morning. Still shaking off the tired from the night and days preceding. I remember only a few things from that class. *sigh* That wonderful foggy memory I live with.

First, the yogic breath. The continuous in and out. The ebb and flow, and slowing down of ones breath, and mind. Stopping the frantic, shallow and incomplete breathes we have re-patterned our bodies to accept. I always felt so focused, so relaxed. I would watch my abdomen rise and fall. And then, my fondest memory, we would go from that to some bizarre "out of body" relaxation effort. Some melodic and deep spoken word on a cassette tape. We would command each muscle in our body to relax. Calling them by location, one at a time, and releasing them. Ah, the jaw...always surprisingly tense...as if waiting to speak. Silence that too. And rest for a moment.

So, after we were entirely relaxed, the voice would have us attempt to pull energy from the earth, and go on this voyage outside of ourselves, where we could look down on our bodies still laying there on the awful gym mats, as we traversed through dreamy landscapes. Only, I never got there. I would usually get a good way down the list of which muscle we were relaxing, and then without fail, I would enjoy the most satisfying power nap. A nap like no other I ever experienced in all of my future efforts. Every. Single. Time. Asleep. And then the voice would stop, and some awful instruments would pick up to close out the relaxation tape, and I would softly + slowly wake, just after all my friends had apparently re-entered their bodies, and I would feel so incredibly refreshed and energized.

Autumn seems to silence my crazy interior voice. That nagging do this, and then do that voice that relentlessly speaks until it is called upon by name to cease. To pause, and give rest. To breath in and out. And I am finding myself there, feeling so good to have caught my breath.

October 19, 2009

Autumnal Color

The Hearty colors of Autumn are here at last. Here are just a few shots I captured around the castle's grounds over this weekend. The breathtaking beauty of creation is astounding.

Weekend Moment, Wondrous Love

We Visited a dear friend this weekend. Someone who has poured himself into our lives. Invested in our dreams and happiness; inspired and supported us beyond measure. A life mentor, and family friend. We toured the restored castle* with him on Saturday. Dave reading to Clyde, a reversal of the exchanges of the past.

I watched these two, looking over the piano and fresh blooms of the floral arrangement, and witnessed the sweetest of exchanges. Generations apart, held together with mutual interests, professional and educational connections, and friendship. The music book laid open on the piano's ledge, last played was the hymn What Wondrous Love Is This.

And I smiled wide, thinking how beautifully appropriate. The life-giving relationships we are blessed with on this side of eternity. The treasures. The great joy. Beyond anything we could dream.

*The Castle is Scarlet Oaks, located in Cincinnati. Renovated + Restored, and built additions now house a small retirement community.

October 16, 2009


The Princess and the Little Prince are all packed up and excited as ever for our Bi-Annual Trek down to the Castle. Anticipating the glorious displays of Fall, and a relaxing weekend catching up with our dear friend: staying at a castle!!??

Yep. Imagine the royal excitement here. Happy Weekend, all.

October 14, 2009

Abecedaria Project

an alphabetical chronology of memory + collection

I deliver my book to the gallery tonight, and I am glad to see her finished. For now. I say for now, because this book has begun something I have wanted to do for ages; to eliminate the saved stack of previously used source imagery, photocopies, and snippets of et cetera in my art piles. I have found such unexpected great pleasure in sifting through these pounds of paper, and making a visual inventory; classifying either the image, its use or meaning by letter. And now, what of that pile? The recycle bin.

The book is entirely handmade, and [re]uses only images + materials I had on hand. I used a toner transfer technique, press type, graphite and ink with yellow watercolor.

Here are some of my favorite spreads:

And I hope to be more diligent with keeping a running record of images I fall in love with, but need to say good bye to, right here in the pages of this book, in this beautiful and ordered way. Like a sweet and soft kiss goodbye. Right now, it is bringing me such pleasure.

Such Sad News

It just figures. We tried to slow the pace of today and have a lot more play time on the slate to balance out the too-much work time we've been cramming into this week.

Best Story Time ever. Canceled. We all stood there in disbelief.

Then the Craunlet's decided, since we drove all the way down here, we ought to at least enjoy a doughnut before turning back around for home. And clever Bella, sad about also missing the craft time that follows the story time, decided to take one of the many posted signs as her coloring activity.

Perhaps it will be a nice welcome back, Miss Bette for next week.

October 11, 2009

Weekend Moment, Apples and More Apples

We trekked out to a local farm this weekend, and enjoyed a little Fall Festival of sorts.

Apple-oriented treats like fritters, and dumplings, warm spiced cider, and bag-your-own freshly picked varieties. Above, is the little miss with one of the apples that made its way home with us in our 1/2 peck.

October 9, 2009

Bella Day, and Taking Flight

Bella pushed me away this morning.

Literally, she pushed on my leg as she pranced towards her ballet class. Floating like a butterfly. Half way down the hallway towards the door, she turned back, as if to be completely sure that I noticed.

She smirked. [like the one above]

She waved goodbye.

She pranced toward something entirely her own.

I nearly wept. Nearly. Such a bittersweet cocktail of pride, sadness, and abounding love for her. And I feel like I might remember this grand and formal first inching towards a goodbye to her childhood, forever after today. This moment she pushed off, and took flight.

Abecedaria, huh?

Less than a week remains for my deadline to complete my artist book contribution for the Abecedaria Project, an annual artist book exhibition focused around the Alphabet book. I have changed my mind a kazillion times about just what I want to do for this project, and at the height of my frustration this week, I decided to start over. Again.

I am in the midst of a really cloudy season. I feel like a thick fog has settled over my thoughts. Keeping me just from refining my focus. I can almost make out the distinctions, but nothing becomes crisp. And then, this week, the entire team comes down with a terrible seasonal cold. Yeah, picture us all on Wednesday, leaderless, lounging around on the couch, each of us selfishly wanting someone else to deal with it. Someone else to cook for us. To clean. To hear us all bemoaning.

The good thing about sick days. Time.

With so many hours of awful, I had plenty of time with my thoughts, even though they were foggy and slow. And for the last time, I have come up with my idea for the Abecedaria Project.

an alphabetical chronology of memory and collection

It is a sketchbook type record of associations I have with each of the letters. I created the lovely stiff leaf structure, out of the ever yummy + cottony white Rives paper, at a nice 6 1/2 X 8" size, each spread opening flat for a comfortably held landscape view at 16" long.

I have already penciled a lot of it out, and am very excited to really give it some time this weekend. And for those of you who enjoy the knowledge of just how awful my memory is, you all will get a hearty laugh at my attempts to come up with stuff for all those 26 letters. It sifts out some of my strange and fond attachments to little things, and the memories [that I have managed to retain] tied to them. Pictures, I promise, as the book finishes...

October 6, 2009

Wild Discoveries

I actually had to twist the Craunlets' arms to play outside today. Today, this finally not raining fall day. In the glorious beautiful Metroparks; we are so lucky to have all of this amazing reserved green space tucked away in numerous pockets throughout Cleveland.

Once they warmed up to the idea, we explored and collected some of Autumn's first leaves to fall. I love this shot of Nate, stepping into the frame to show me his big find, while I had already focused on Bella giving a tree a big Autumnal squeeze.

October 5, 2009

Weekend Moment, Surely it would come to this

I had a great weekend, outside of the entire Team sharing a cold with one another. What it did lend for is a bit of a slower weekend, with less agenda, more snuggle time and a movie night. Which, in this busy household, is sadly a rare indulgence. So my weekend moment is foggy and uncommitted, much like our autumnal weather.

October 3, 2009

First Official Pumpkin Roll

For the love of Pumpkin. Oh, my grand squash companion, I find you are just so good at every baked intersection I have approached. Most recently, my first ever pumpkin roll.

A real yum by the slice. The classic moist pumpkin sponge, all rolled up + adhered in spiral form with a thickly rich cream cheese frosting, dusted with powdered sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon.

October 2, 2009

Show-n-Tell, Recent Prints

I Thought I would ring in the weekend with a little round of show-n-tell. Below is a glimpse into my newest suite of prints, entitled Suburban Paradigm. I am working in monotype and relief using cut + manipulated paper doilies as stencils on top of a plexiglass matrix to create these lush fields of playful patterns partnered with line drawings of suburban housing aerial maps. I am having a lot of fun both at the press and with my pen, making observations and discoveries regarding their relationship. Both decorative, functional, disposable...both with histories that are far greater than their current iterations.

Suburban Paradigm; Model Meadows

Suburban Paradigm; Standard Waters

Suburban Paradigm; Prototype Bay

Suburban Paradigm; Normal Woods

These four prints are in line for framing for the upcoming Massilon Museum exhibition Collective Ink. Five others are currently on display in Dresden, Germany at the Dresdner Sezession, Gallerie Drei. I am happy to be carving out two full art-making days a week right now, plus all of the random snatches of time including the glorious afternoon nap time slot, and the occasional late evening. Whence my artist residency starts up next week, I'll surely be back down to one full day a week. Fall is always my busiest art making and exhibition season...so I am trying to maintain a good pace, and continue to balance everything else I do into the weekly schedule.


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