October 31, 2012

Tricks and Treats.

It's Halloween day. Many thanks to tropical storm FrankenSandy, we are just now getting our Internets back.  All of our community trick-or-treating has been post-poned to the weekend. We find ourselves with a flooded backyard, but otherwise no complaints. We are fortunate to have power, as most of our street has been without since Monday night.

Hope you are all happy and safe.

It's been a week–already–of many tricks and treats. More on that soon.

I was coveting Abbey's jack-o-lantern pail collection over at Aesthetic Outburst for a few days, when I treasured into a set myself at a local resale shop. One of the pumpkins even came filled with babes. All for $2, TOTAL WIN.

October 27, 2012

Craunlets, For the WIN!!

We have two happy ecstatic Craunlets this morning.

Lego Mini-figure Costumes completed; Nathaniel on left, Isabella on right.

Dressed as Lego Mini-figures, together they were awarded first place for their school's costume contest! Check out their tiny hands peeking through those Lego hands...it was almost eerie seeing them walk around the school parking lot looking so Lego. 

The making of the Mini-figure costumes this week has been absolutely intense, track back to the plans here, the construction herehere and here, with the finishing details right here. Hands down, these have been our most involved costumes to date, but wildly fun and terrifically fitting to the Craunlets, and their love of Lego.

*** UPDATE *** We modified the chins, and made them more seamlessly smooth, rather than stepped as pictured above. You can see those right here.

October 26, 2012

The Home Stretch.

Enlisting every available minute that today afforded, we finished up [just barely] the most-involved costumes yet. And now we are off and running to the [outdoor] festivities of Trunk-or-Treat at the Craunlet's  school. IN THE POURING RAIN. I kid you not.

Here's a peak at the heads and hair do's of their Lego mini-figure costumes:

Lego Mini-figure Costume Head, waiting for some hair.
Lego Mini-figure Costume Head, wrangling in some foam for a hair-do.

*** UPDATE ***

After Trunk-or-Treat, we modified the chins, making them fully rounded/curved, instead of stepped. We added necks, and further sculpted the hair. It seems like these could never be completely finished!

Heads to Hang our Hair on, and Other Costume Details.

In our final stretch today, we are busily making the hair to finish off the Lego mini-figure costumes [Of course the little Miss selected a long braid hairstyle...]. I also need to finish up the outlining of the facial features with a black paint pen.

Lego Mini-figure Costume Heads still in progress; Nathaniel Left, Isabella Right.

Lego Mini-figure Reference Prints, and the beginning of the braid.

Their outfits absolutely slay me, down to every last sweet detail. I was so delighted last night when I finally washed and set down all of my brushes.

Lego Mini-figure Costume front, Nathaniel.
Lego Mini-figure Costume back piece, Nathaniel.
Lego Mini-figure Costume front, Isabella.
Lego Mini-figure Costume back piece, Isabella.

The flat back panels easily attach to the front body pieces with small velcro dots, allowing easy and quick costume changing–let's hope...

I'm on a brief coffee break at the moment, and then I'm back to the hair-styling good times.

October 25, 2012

Hand Made, and Keeping our Hands Busy.

We have hands!

Lego Mini-figure Costume; hands and wrists in Progress.

And shoulders, and shirts, and knees and toes!

View of upper body piece from above, neck hole and shoulders.
Lego Mini-figure Costume Legs and bodies; base colors painted.

Up tonight, the classic yellow heads. Once again, Team Craun is working right up unto the wire!

October 24, 2012

Cut, Glue, Paint. Repeat.

We are making certain progress on the Lego mini-figure costumes for the Craunlets. The living and dining rooms are littered with drop cloths and drying glued and painted pieces. 

Lego Mini-figure Costume Upper Body pieces with arm holes and open backs in Progress.
Lego Mini-figure Costume Construction Plan, Wrist and Arm in Progress.
Lego Mini-figure legs for Isabella's costume  in Progress.

Things are beginning to take shape over here, and all of the pieces are starting to look an awful lot like giant Lego parts.

October 23, 2012

Craunlet Costumes.

A year ago the Craunlets won the costume contest at their school. Because Nate was not yet in Kindergarten, they were in separate categories: preschool and K-3rd grade. Each of them walked away a winner. Completely unexpected, as we honestly didn't even realize that there was a costume contest. Good thing we are naturally over-doers, eh? Remember building those costumes? Here, and here,  all from these working drawings? I digress.

It was more than a month ago now, that we were sitting around the dining room table discussing ideas for this year's costumes. Reminding the Craunlets that they would now be in the same category–competing against one another–they decided to go for a pair, and potentially win as a team. At first Bella wanted to be a fairy, then her eyes sparkled in thought momentarily, and she implored more seriously: "what can we do to win?"  We have certainly created a monster.

We kidded around that being Lego mini-figures would be a lot of fun. And then we did some visual research on the Internets, and the Dave lamented over all the poorly-scaled little plastic people look-alikes out there.  Next, we went off the deep end. We found scaled drawings of the perfectly engineered plastic people, and we got to work.

Lego mini-figure scaled dimensional drawing over Isabella.
Lego mini-figure scaled dimensional drawing over Nathaniel.

The next week found us sorting out all of our mini-figures by hairstyle, outfits and facial expressions. We photographed and photoshopped, and then we found ourselves certainly committed to another season of crazy costume building.

Lego Mini-figure Photo-collage Reference for Costume Construction + Painting.

This weekend we finally shifted the gears from the planning stage into the construction phase.
All layers of Lego mini-figure scaled dimensional drawing over Isabella.
All layers of Lego mini-figure scaled dimensional drawing over Nathaniel.

Their school's costume contest and wild trunk-or-treating event is set for this coming Friday night, so we are are nearly up to our shoulders in giant Lego mini-figure costume parts. Giant and mini in the same sentence just there; welcome to crazy.

October 18, 2012

Sunshine and Gold.

For the love of Fall, and the splendor of majestic golds and light. And the lovely quiet moments afforded to stop and smell the flowers.

October 12, 2012

Half the Air in a Given Space.

It was Tuesday morning. I decided to delay my work day with a quick trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art. 

I wanted to see two exhibits in particular. The DIY: Photographers and Books show, and the balloon-filled glass box.  The print-on-demand book show featured several local friends and colleagues. It was refreshing to inch along the long table, turning through pages and enjoying the rich diversity among the many books. 

The balloon-filled glass box, Work no. 965: Half the Air in a Given Space by Martin Creed, turned out to be quite an exhilarating experience. Local readers, you must get to the [free] museum right away, and experience this [free] exhibit while it is still up.

From the Cleveland Museum of Art :

Work No. 965 (2008) comprises purple balloons, 11 inches in diameter. The sculpture is installed, based on the artist’s instructions, by putting half of a room's entire volume into air-filled balloons, filling the room with those balloons, and letting viewers walk in. Now in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, the work marks a passage in the history of this institution: it offers a stronger link than any other object between the museum’s visual arts collection and its performing arts programs. Half the air in a given space debuts in the museum’s southeast corner gallery, a tall cubic room enclosed in glass on three sides. This pivotal architectural moment invites insight on the original 1916 museum building as it connects to the new wing and atrium. Following a four-year-long display of figures and busts by Auguste Rodin, Half the air in a given space replaces the sculptures with audience members in motion, in plain sight, mixing with the balloons.

The title points to space and air manifested as breath and volume. “It is important to me,” says Creed, “that the situation is normal, that, as usual, the space is full of air; it’s just that half of it [is] inside the balloons.” With the balloons above and below the viewer’s eye level, the mass is neither impenetrable nor heavy; rather, it coexists with people.

I was the only person in the exhibit the morning that I visited. Three docents flanked the entry doors of the exhibit. They helped me to sign into a roster, provided me a bright yellow identification lanyard, and then they recorded my entry time. They made two cautionary inquiries: Did I have a latex allergy? Was I claustrophobic?  No, and no -- I think. Then they asked me to press myself tight against the glass double doors to enter, my arms above my head and also flat against the glass. They would open the door–just slightly–and I would slide in, to not let any of the balloons escape.

My first few steps were surprising. I was buried entirely in balloons, crowded, but moving effortlessly and easily as the balloons traded space with me, sliding around my body as I proceeded further into the space. I decided to walk straight and directly to the glass outer wall of the exhibit, I would guess roughly 18 feet. I am walking towards glass, guided by the light of the sun in a beautiful sky just on the other side of the glass. Stepping one foot in front of the other until the balloons move less easily. Not only are they piled higher around the perimeter of the room, clinging to the glass, but they cannot move as easily away from me. They can only be pushed up, or come towards me.

I struggle, but ultimately my hand reaches the glass. I spread my palm flat against it. After a moment's pause and celebration of having made it all the way through the balloon-filled space, I turn to begin walking towards the doors. I am confident, exhilarated, and a few steps into my return walk when I realize that I am now walking away from the light, towards the center of the room, and darkness. I no longer have the soft but fixed guide of heralding light to motivate my movement. I wonder how straight my path really was through the balloons. If I keep going, will I really reach the doors directly. If I keep walking...

It is then that I pause still. Freezing my movement through the space, I suddenly felt the heaviness of being buried in the buoyant lightness. I lose my breath momentarily, and consider with a wave of panic the seemingly forever amount of time that this small path has taken me to walk. Balloons surround my face, and all of my periphery vision is clouded with purple spheres, piled high on top of one another. Then calmly, still, my arms reach up and hold onto available air. I lower them, suspended perpendicular to my body, stretched out like a heavy horizon line. Breathe in, breathe out. So aware of my breath. Somewhat collected, I step forward again, reaching out with both arms in an instinctual sweeping and clearing motion, the noticed rhythm of walking and moving through space. The sound of balloons shifting and settling in constantly changing available space.

Again, I meet resistance, the balloons once more are less willing to slide out of my way–I am near the interior wall of the exhibit. My hand meets the glass door [I have walked quite straight after all, I have maintained a shred of spatial perception!] and the docents instruct me to repeat my entrance position, to press my body flat against the glass in order to exit. I peel the balloons away, and maneuver myself into the frisk position [I can only imagine what this looks like on their side of the glass doors] aware of my vulnerable and slightly humiliating movements only momentarily, as I am next flooded and overwhelmed with a pofound sense of victory. Of freedom, and accomplishment.

Of having made my way. I am exhilarated. 8 minutes and 10 seconds.

October 9, 2012

Open. Day One.

Pr-registered with timed-entry tickets, I walked through the doors of the new Museum of Contemporary Art building in the company of a crowd of other Clevelanders eager to see both the space and art within.

The sun shone warmly, and the clouds perfectly dotted the sky to be gorgeously reflected on the mirrored glass exterior fa├žade of the angular building. I don't think I've ever walked through an art space on it's official day one. 

It felt incredible to be walking through a future memory, the very first day. [And at the same time, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame celebrated it's 9-millionth visitor.] So monumental and momentous, present and interesting and new. Yet already, it folds into yesterday.

October 7, 2012

The Perfect Snuggler.

Chilly rains and low temperatures in between all of the weekend busy found me stealing moments under this fabulously lush and warm quilt. It's a most fabulous present from my super talented sister, that arrived exactly a week ago, timed just perfectly to the dropping temperatures.

The color blending in the quilt is absolutely delightful, and you all know how smitten I am with yellows and grays. The front pattern is clean and geometric over a white background, with a hugely big patchwork assortment of the yellow and gray fabrics canvassing the back side. Two quilts in one. I LOVE this new snuggler, it's now a permanent installment on the couch. Those that know me well, know that this is quite an extravagant exception. 

For the hours and days of labor poured in this piece, I thank my dear sister, and I plan to quadruple her invested time in snuggling this Autumn alone. After this weekend, I'm off to quite a good start.

October 5, 2012

How We Roll.

The Craunlets all ready for school this morning.

It's a costume party for the her, and pajama day for the him. Both looking like Superheroes; it's how we roll right now. Happy Weekend, all!

October 4, 2012


Autumn generally ushers in a bit of a hush. We layer up, and pull closer together, and find ourselves indoors more hours than out. 

I also find that Fall is a season for closer inspection, for looking and noticing the slow but colorful movements toward winter.

Partnered with increased work opportunities this semester, I find myself almost frantically searching out these details, and compulsively recording them with my camera. This Autumn has a certain urgency this year.

It's a heralding to pay attention, to not let the days slip too quickly from my fingers. To bundle up, and still get outdoors together for the last few moments of sidewalk chalk, or the soccer ball.

It's a certain reminder to have boundaries between work and play. To carve out time for stillness, and for pleasure. For rest, and feasting, baking, and playing.

Autumn makes me want to celebrate all small and large victories with cakes, pies and other baked sweets. A sort of storing up, enjoying the warmth of the kitchen, and the grand indulgence of sharing special treats on otherwise ordinary days. We don't have pie for breakfast often enough, if you ask me. Autumn makes way for that over here.

October 2, 2012

These Two, This Instant.

Cooler temperatures and shorter days. Bring on the long sleeves and layered looks of Autumn.

 It's time to get comfortable, and wring out the last few days of outdoor cooking.

Ushering in the Gold.

This weekend afforded a few cool and sunny hours to have the paintbrush in hand at the top of a tall ladder. Working under the tight eaves, I painted out the gold. It was a brightly sweet accomplishment, and a good dose of encouragement to see a bright line drawn around the upper perimeter of the house. 

Standing back to appreciate the afternoon's work, the perfectly house-shaped silhouette shadowed the corner of the house we've been working on all Summer. 

A poignant reminder. This home of ours. Through hours and hours of this incredible labor of love, we are making a home here. Slowly, this place becomes more of us.


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