January 25, 2013

Keep it Moving. A Lovely Stop Film Animation.

WOW. All the cut pieces––all the stopping and the photographing––and then the putting it all together...it's a complete feast for the eyes.

Shugo Tokumaru "Katachi" from Kijek / Adamski on Vimeo.

Happy Friday everyone!

January 24, 2013

Future Printmakers. Training them Young.

The Craunlets took a spin at monoprinting in Zygote's print shop a little while back on a day that they both had off from school. 

I figure I've taught thousands of kids how to pull a print, it's high time they hone their skills.

Future printmakers here, they took to all aspects of the process like total champions.

And now the prints, properly trimmed and signed, are prominently hanging in their rooms.

January 22, 2013

Four Day Weekend, and the Roll into Five.

After a much-too-busy beginning of the year, we carved out a little sanity respite with a four day weekend. I spent the better part of this month looking forward to Thursday night the 17th. The beginning of our charted off 4-day weekend, and the official start of our combined lighter schedules for Spring. 

So, we stayed at a hotel [sans the Craunlets] with a fancy whirlpool tub right in our suite. Then we entertained friends from both in and out of town, staying up into the wee hours of the morning talking and laughing. We went to the aquarium, ate hearty American breakfasts, and even threw a bathroom facelift renovation project into the mix, highlighted with a quick day-trip to IKEA. The weekend was absolutely fabulous and restorative. Part shared, and part selfish––just enjoying a wintry reprieve from the craziness that was January, and pushing off the guilt of having still not sent out a single holiday correspondence whatsoever, but I digress.

We drove parts of our return trip from IKEA yesterday through a handful of fleeting but intense blizzard-like snow squalls, and were thankful to be back in our warm house by late afternoon. We managed to finish the wall repairs and get the prime coat down in bathroom before bedtime. Feeling like total champions, we assembled a partial normal in there in anticipation of the week's inevitable beginning.

Then, we woke up this morning to a snowy day with frigid temperatures, and the subsequent announcement of  both cancelled school and work! Five day weekend, GAME ON!!

January 15, 2013

For the Birds. In Real Life.

Today I waited in line at the Post Office behind two people that were mailing a big red and white box dotted with a moire pattern of air holes, with stamped allover large warning font that read: LIVE BIRDS.  For real.

Because my brain cannot even fathom that journey, and reconcile the sweetly older couple mailing said LIVE BIRDS, I had to introduce myself to them, and ask a few questions. The obvious first––proving my severe lack of wide understanding within the topic of LIVE BIRD mailing––I inquired of them what they were mailing. The round and rosy-cheeked husband smiled, and nodded as his eyes met mine, then he translated to his wife. 

She smiled, and answered the insanely obvious response: LIVE BIRDS. I laughed. Because in any language, the simple and direct obvious can be so funny. I mean, one certainly doesn't invest in a bright red LIVE BIRD mailer box to ship a few books and trinkets to the grandkids, I suppose. Then I clarified my interest with a more specific question: what kind of bird? Again, a quick translation and she looked at me intently, responding: Valencians. Italian heritage, she shared, the most beautiful breed of pigeon. Today it was $84, and just yesterday it was only $76. They cannot believe the price has already gone up. She's mad; he was supposed to mail them yesterday.

And because I still cannot really believe that the cheery large box had an actual living bird [or maybe several? Can you ship multiple LIVE BIRDS in one box?] inside of it, I ask if they were worried about the bird getting cold. Here I am on the way to pick up my kids from school on an otherwise completely ordinary day, swinging through the post office for a typical errand, and now I am worried about mailed birds getting cold. But seriously, isn't anybody else worried about mailing LIVE BIRDS?! She confidently and quickly responded entirely assured and unworried; they go by plane. 

Right. Of course they do. For $84, this Valencia pigeon [or small family of them] will be in Florida on Thursday by 3pm.

Apparently one can even mail a rooster, I learned from my regular teller Mary. Who is matter-of-fact telling me about the routine mailing of LIVE BIRDS that she assists. And roosters are the absolute worst, she shook her head, they can be so awfully noisy.

Image Credit: Letter Writers Alliance.

All this talk of mailing LIVE BIRDS prompted a little research. And now––more than anything––I really really want this pigeon mail kit. It's completely for the birds, and  I am over-the-moon in love with it.

January 10, 2013

Busy wants a New Bag.

I have this thing for bags. I think it's to do with all of the various roles that I have, and a coping mechanism to keep track of and organize all the various needs of my days and weekly commitments. 

Last semester, I stepped into a more professional role with Progressive Arts Alliance, on top of my continued arts-residency teaching opportunities with them, as their Arts Integration Specialist. I look at this position in two significant ways: bringing rigor to the programs and initiatives of the organization, and partnering with the teaching artists to coach them into more successful educators of their mediums. It's really a pleasure, as we have so many incredible artists working with us, to have the opportunity to help them translate their art form to the classroom. 

Photo Credit: Etsy Seller Leah Lerner.
Anyway, all of these additional office hours, planning meetings, and site observations, leaves me wanting a new bag. I keep going back to this one above, and completely loving that navy leather, and it's long and lean proportions. It might just be a New Year's present to myself.

January 6, 2013

Where Ideas are to be Gotten.

OK, so the Craunlets are pretty much miles beyond the age for naptime. It's true. And I agree. That said, every day that they are not at school, they still go up to their rooms for a two hour rest time. Yep. That's every Saturday, and every Sunday. Sure, we make exceptions. But for the most part, any afternoon they are home, they have two hours of independently structured time. Even Christmas break.

In fact, they are upstairs right now as I clack away here.


It's a crazy normal thing in this house. It's a habit, a familiar rhythm. Long-established since they were both babes, and actually slept those hours away. Though they stopped sleeping during their afternoon naps, we've found that it still works magically for all of us. Like a daily reset, I've always argued. [Selfishly? Maybe a touch...]

And then something completely amazing happened. It was a seemingly small and quiet conversation with Isabella the other evening, while sitting on the edge of her bed together. She looked up at her vintage ceramic ice cream cone wind chime and she smiled. She paused a moment in her monologue discussion to me about how she had employed that afternoon's independent time. 

Listing away, she interrupted herself. And then it happened. She explained that often she spends the last half hour or so lying on her bed, looking up at the ice cream cones. Then she confided; That's when I get a lot of my ideas. No more words. Not a huge sharer–always keeping her thoughts tucked away, hidden–she often speaks in little mysterious quips like these. Then, she shot her telling eyes fiercely towards mine with a certain confident look that said: you know exactly what I mean, without a single audible syllable. She smiled again, with ferocity, and skipped from the room.

I don't feel guilty that I need a quiet afternoon. That sometimes I need to get work done. And other days I need a coffee, or I'm eager to try out a new and complicated recipe for dinner that will take my full attention. Often, I surprise the Craunlets with a delicious baked good, or a cooling loaf of homemade bread.

What delighted me about this conversation though, was how this has trickled down. There is always tangible fruit to be had and shared when they come down those stairs. And like a daily harvest, we all come back together to enjoy what we have each reaped. 

All of us, refreshed, and re-charged with our good ideas.

January 5, 2013

Building, building. All the Time.

Nathaniel is pretty much Lego-obsessed right now. If he is not constructing, he is just as engaged in playing with whatever he has just finished building. Most recently, the City Garage, and a wide swath of vehicles and maintenance accessories.

Today, we drove our car through an automated car wash. Nate excitedly deemed it research. Now he could tell all of his Lego customers exactly what to expect. Lego, on his mind. All. the. time.

Lego-maniac doesn't even begin to give his passion and commitment to the little bricks enough justice. He works them into every available minute. And a building project is always at-the-ready somewhere, in-progress and waiting for just a little more of his attention.

And following the onslaught of new sets that his birthday and Christmas yielded, he's now decided that he wants to be a Lego Designer when he grows up. Why stop playing Lego ever?

Beautiful Normal.

Grays, whites, and glorious stripes in layer.

A glimpse of the dresser-top at the foot of my bed. Such comfort.

January 2, 2013


We rang in the first day of the New Year with big smiles, a tall hill, and our fantastically fast sled.

Here's to a wildly fun New Year.


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