Thursday, June 19, 2014

She's A Teenager

"We choose to live this life" means we choose to honor and celebrate the new teeneagers in our life.

We'd rather embrace the complexity and maturing and changing and growth and joy that comes with entering the teenage years than fear, pull back or give up.

With an affectionate and fun Nana and Pops...

With prayer...

With sisters who've got your back...

Godparents who guide you (and give fun gifts - 642 Things To Write About is a great companion to 642 Things To Draw, both big hits!)...

And a Grandma who generously shares her life and wisdom with you...

These are sure to be wonderful years and times!

Looking forward to spending quality days, months and years with this gal.

Happy Birthday, Dear.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Spring Blooms

Everything's coming up roses....

Not quite, but close.

The vegetable garden is flourishing, the lilacs are done, the pussy willow is full and green, the endless summer hydrangea may just pull through this year.

The color of late came from the few early blooming perennials we get to watch unfold (literally) before our eyes for about 8 days each year.

These babies are short-lived, but leave BIG impact.

I always enjoy a huge bouquet of peonies perfuming the house, the quick bursting of the poppies (look away and you may miss it), and the delicacy of the iris, gracing the garden one bloom at a time.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Best Sidewalk Chalk Ever

We've gone through our share of sidewalk chalk. Hundreds and hundreds of pastel, round, fat pieces of chalk used for temporary designs and games on the driveway and sidewalk. With every semi-annual cleaning of the deck box toy bin we find itty bitty bits and pieces of the stuff.

I recently found this box on amazon and would not buy another kind again. Though sad to say though we are nearing the end of our sidewalk chalk era. (We are beginning the discussion of what kind of second car to buy since we will soon be a family of three drivers. Help!)

Just look at what the 48 different colors has inspired.

My camera does not do justice to the vibrancy of the colors. This closer view of the bursting flower/sun gives a somewhat better idea of just how bright they are.

We left this message to my two still-in-school-finals-in-full-swing-wish-I-were-enjoying-summer-like-my-older-sister girls who walk from the corner to home.

The easy to carry box contains 48 pieces that squared or cornered (so they don't roll) and recently sold for only $3.50 on amazon. That deal looks like it has passed, but they are still on the inexpensive side especially if you are an amazon prime member.

Check it out. I mean chalk it out!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Art In Bloom Inspired?

School is not yet out, but the girls are making time to create outdoor summer time "art". They are only limited by what they can find outdoors and their imagination.

They like to hold contests for who has the best creation.

How would you rate the ones below?

Note: Most of these are meant to resemble fancy cuisine. The girls pretend they are chefs and prepare their "courses" for mom to judge.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Blooming Art

We took advantage of fine weather and a long lunch break and made two trips to the Minneapolis Institute of Art this past week.

Our lunch date was all about Matisse. I learned a lot and appreciated his stamina and creativity even when wheel-chair bound and elderly.

Our second outing, a ladies afternoon, was all about flowers. We explored the third floor of the MIA on a day when all of Minneapolis and half of St. Paul had the same idea. Meandering through the crowds, sometimes up on tiptoe to peer over heads at famous works, was totally worth it.

This is the one weekend of the year when people create floral arrangements inspired by masterpieces. Some are more literal interpretations, others give more of an impression or suggestion of elements of the painting or sculpture.

Here are the side by side shots we managed to capture. Turns out one camera was not enough for one mom and three daughters. We kept jockeying for turns and positions in front of the works hoping to capture our favorite pieces. (I learned later that afternoon that Churchill Downs would also be home to this behavior. The Kentucky Derby, the fastest two minutes in all of sports, was set to run that day.)

Loved this one. Check out the drapery, the gorgeous fabric on this woman. Even the little dog got a nod from the florist/artist.

Taken by one of the girls. I love this shot.

The Magi - stunning.

Not sure what happened with this photo, but I like it.

Ahhhh. Van Gogh.

This painting we thought was kind of funny. The dove, the Holy Spirit, seems to shoot the baby, Jesus, straight at Mary's head. 

We liked how the scene was imagined and represented in this arrangement. The yellow orchid traveling down the vine towards "Mary".

Being afraid of heights, it was hard to get this shot but I somehow wanted to capture the space. Two floors below a string quartet was playing and it was lovely to listen to the sound ring through the hall.

My youngest insisted that we couldn't leave without seeing the "big white dog".

I can see what she means. He was big and white and a dog. The floral arrangement was just as simple, but impressive, I thought. His little nose, a red gerbera. Cute. See the partial view of that guy's face? More on that later.

Heading back to our car I stopped to take this picture.

It reminded me of the image as the backdrop for this blog. Minus the fake flowers.

Good times in Minneapolis!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

DIY Centerpiece

One detail I spent time on last week was creating four centerpieces to decorate tables for our guests as we dined and celebrated our daughter's making her First Holy Communion.

It's important to me to draw attention to the heart of the event, occasion, or reason for any gathering. In this case, we were celebrating the presence of Jesus in the bread and wine and remembering his words to his friends. It seemed appropriate to highlight this in our home.

A quick google image search provided this arrangement of John 6:35: "I am the bread of life..."

I printed it and wrapped it around a mason jar. Digging through our wrapping paper box I found the perfect color and size of ribbon to tie around the jar and conceal the line on the back.

My daughters assembled the tulips in nice arrangements and voila! A Spring centerpiece - beautiful and meaningful for this special occasion.

Now we just need some sunshine to open these babies up!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Friday Evening Art Crawl

Our Friday family night was glorious - the weather, the scenery, the creativity, the spontaneity.

We visited two locations where local artists are displaying their creations in our hometown city as part of the weekend's Saint Paul Art Crawl.

First we stopped in at the Grand Hill Gallery to check out cousin Josh's paintings.

Here's the artist himself (on the right) and a couple of his paintings we admired.

Other artists displayed their works here too. I think our collective favorite was this sculpture - Dancers. Simply made with two forks. Brilliant.

Upon leaving the Grand Hill location we took a quick detour to this tiny park near our beloved first house.

Then we headed to the newly renovated Schmidt brewery artist lofts to check out cousin David's paintings.

 It's a talented artistic family I married into. Here's a shot from David's studio.

And this building and lofts are amazing. I just couldn't get enough. A gorgeous blend of the old and new.

Here are the shots our eldest captured as she meandered through the building.

Sunset on the way home was a perfect end to our evening excursion.