Sunday, January 30, 2011

Left My Heart in Paris

This is my first entry for the Art Chix Celebrate Hearts challenge. I used cardboard (one of my favorite substrates), antique lace, gold glitter glue, vintage book pages (one in French, mentioning Paris... I picked this page randomly and it inspired the whole theme; one was a blank page I stamped... also picked randomly, and the cancelled stamp image, which you can't see, is a Paris one), acrylic paint, carbon pencil, Shadow Spray (Gold Dabloons), gold pigment ink and a lovely Art Chix image, which I had already cut out and had sitting around waiting to go into something... Serendipity!

Paris seems like a good place to leave your heart. :)

Of all the projects I've encountered these days, collage seems to flow most easily for me. Maybe because I guarded my supplies so cautiously during the move that I already know where most of them are. More on that another time, though. ;)

Please comment below and follow this blog (click the "follow" button! :) if you aren't already! Thanks!! xoxox

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lunchtime Lessons

Angelo will be 4 in about a month and a half!! So, the great school debate is in the forefront of my mind. Public school is just not for us, despite living in an area that has a reputation for having really great schools. I believe change starts at home and the way public schools focus more on test scores and managing children rather than truly educating them just won't work for us (this is a really great speech by a Valedictorian who feels like she wasn't truly educated, just was great at doing what she was told). I really like the Montessori philosophy and have an appointment tomorrow morning with the Mt. Lebanon Montessori school to see if it is a good fit for us. Being an Occupational Therapist, especially one who's worked in the school system, I really appreciate the focus Montessori puts on learning through the senses. As a Mom and artist who admires and appreciates individuality, the Montessori method of allowing each child to go from activity to activity at their own pace and showing profound respect for each child really speaks to me. Of course, budget is always something to consider, especially here.

I'm also still considering Unschooling, especially since there are such wonderful resources here, like PALS, a group that organizes outings, classes once a week and has a resource library for home schoolers without a religious focus or those who are open minded toward those who are not religious. There is also the Children's Museum, which we've been frequenting (and have a membership for) and is completely amazing, the Carnagie Museums, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (which we also have a membership to thanks to a great Groupon) and more, which all have programs for home schoolers. With all these great resources, most of which we will take advantage of regardless of whether he goes to the Montessori school, I'm wondering just how impressive this school will have to be ...

In "practicing" for home schooling (we really already do Unschooling and have semi-structured activities, but I wanted to add some more in preparation for ... the "real" thing), I've added some "Lunch Time Lessons". They have been fun and have kept him engaged enough to get through lunch a little more quickly. We'll do a step or two of the activity and then he takes a bite and repeat until he's finished. We've had some physics/grammer lessons involving Thomas the Train, and the pictures below are of some sorting activities we've done. These pom poms have really gone far. First, he scooped them from one bowl to another (for dexterity and coordination, spacial relations; this one he did all on his own), another time, we sorted by size and in these pictures, we sorted by color. If you can't tell, he really enjoyed it. :)

This picture shows Angelo in his "portable safe place". He found this hamper I used to transport laundry and it has become a really fun toy for him. He walks around, bounces around and sits around in it. I think it's especially cute since I used to clear out the lower cabinets and hang out in them at his age. :)

Oh, and I found this Flicker group (via Http:// ) all on hand made crafts for boys and it is just adorable! Very inspiring, especially since I have a ton of sewing to do for Angelo's birthday and my sewing space isn't set up. I at least brought the serger down and have thread for it now! I'll keep looking at all this cute stuff to help me brave the cold in the attic and get the material and things already cut out. :)

I'll keep you posted on the great school debate! Please comment below if you have thoughts to share! :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Snow Art

I'm going to cheat a little and have you go over to my Face Book album, "Stuff I've Made" to see further details about this art. :) Remember to please comment below or on the Art Chix Studios Fan page if you like the art. That way I know you're reading! :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I had an exciting adventure today. I made three stops while I was out and about and did not use the GPS!! I didn't get lost, either! I did look up directions to the library, but I was familiar enough with the route that I trusted my brain to get me there. :)

My first stop was to The Coffee Tree, a local coffee shop in our neighborhood. The coffee is even locally roasted! :D I decided I would treat myself and actually get out of the house. I haven't bought a latte in a long time, so I decided I would stop on my route to Good Will. I know it sounds really silly, but I was kind of impressed that I wasn't intimidated by not finding parking out front. I calmly turned the corner, used the elementary school parking lot (it's Saturday) and walked to the Coffee Tree. I remember meeting our Realtor there to look for houses on our second day and being very confused about where we'd come from and how it related to the houses we'd already seen. But, now it's a familiar route. So nice...

At Good Will, I dropped off some "things" I never want to see again. And then went inside to find some clothes for Angelo and hopefully some shelves. No shelves, but I have to congratulate myself on having the patience to look through the whole 45' of children's clothing to find the only two pairs of 3T pants in the place. I also found some warm long sleeved shirts for him and some adorable _brand_new_ baby clothes for my nephew Harlan, who will be born in April!! I'm so excited about Harlan joining us in the world. My baby sister was my living doll (I taught her to say she was "Sissy's baby"). I was 10 when she was born. But, I digress... I also bought these awesome boots and a pair of adorable high heeled shoes (which need a strap replaced, so I'll photograph them later). The shoes were $4/pair! I have not worn heels since the very low heeled dyeable satin shoes I wore to prom, but I've lately somehow not felt like my motorcycle boots are always my favorite option. It's probably because I've been out more in the last month than the last 8 and I have wanted to look and feel more feminine. The total price tag for the pile of kid clothes (many still with tags or in such good condition, you'd expect them to have tags) and both pair of shoes- $25! Really! Score!!! See boots in the pic above.

My next stop was the library. I forgot proof of residence, so I couldn't get my card, but I totally geeked out on the huge selection. Took pictures so I could navigate my way around the shelves I wanted to re-visit when I remember the cable bill. Hopefully that will be tomorrow. And Then! I decided to go ahead and go to the Book Cellar sale, even though I have sooo many books already. But, I'm addicted. And it turns out i saved these books! And they were free!! I went down 45 minutes before the sale was over and they said the books, that were $0.25 a few hours earlier were all free! After the sale, they were all going to be recycled. If I hadn't been so hungry, I would've gone back for another load of books because I have many uses for them, even if I don't read them. I'm hoping when I go back tomorrow that they will still give me another pile. I'm feeling bad for the books that could be re-used instead of recycled. :( See beautiful old books in pic above.

Thanks for reading about my adventure. Please comment below! I know you're reading that way! :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Art Full Life

I am pretty sure someone has that blog name out there. All the good ones are taken. But, this isn't about my blog name, it is about what is building here for me. Oh, I made art, sewed, belly danced, taught belly dance, and tried incorporating as much creative activity into Angelo's activities before, but now ... now it is different.

Now, I am getting to _take_ belly dance classes with Maria Hamer, a friend of mine of the Zafira Dance Company. I was nervous about starting classes after not having had the opportunity to take a weekly class for so, so long... more than a decade. (I was also nervous about the drive over, but that's part of living in a new, big city.) But, it felt so good to dance and know I was going to see friends, and so good afterwards to have worked so hard in even a beginner class!! It felt so good knowing I'd be back the next day for her belly dance workout class, which was _completely_ awesome! Both nights, I was entirely overwhelmed with happiness! I was struck with the realization that I've wanted to be a _part_ of a community again for so long and to just participate and enjoy the dance. I in no way intend to offend anyone from the communities I helped form previously. I learned so much in that process and met wonderful people. However, it is a much different experience not having the weight of all that responsibility on your shoulders. I have simplified, just as I set out to do. I have radically simplified- a very Scorpio thing to do- and now I can *be*. I feel like I am, for now and in the foreseeable future done with any ambitions or goals other than to enjoy belly dancing. It has been so wonderful to be able to go to a performance or class [that I've taken] and then only drive 20 minutes home. Not 90 minutes late at night after having spent 90 minutes to 2 hours getting there, spending all day dancing and figuring out how I'm going to get food, etc. Twenty minutes! Easy peasy. Wow! I feel so blessed!!! Not just for the convenience of it, either. My friend Maria is an amazingly talented and dedicated individual, kind and a wonderful teacher. Oh, and world famous. That too. :)

On Sunday, I did drive an hour and a half to do a paid gig in Farmington, PA. But, it has allowed me to be able to pay for belly dance classes and buy some museum memberships. So, belly dance can still pay some bills. :)

Angelo has been enjoying much more creative activity too. He is loving the "book and card/toy room", as he calls it. It is his room that he will one day sleep in, and for now serves as a play room. His easel with chalkboard is set up with side walk chalk, his table is set up with stickers and paper in his room. The dining room is a secondary playroom as well since, as we Moms know, most of the day revolves around food in one way or another. He has his play dough, crayons and paper roll always out on the table and voluntarily goes to these over and over. We have also had more coloring/drawing/reading time due to the house being set up so much better than the other. (The laundry room and a bathroom are _right_off the kitchen. And the kitchen- I never knew what a difference a good set up could make. *Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Universe!!!*)

As if that weren't enough, I've made some mixed media collages lately too. Did I mention how the new, wonderful house-that-I-love functions so much better than the other house? Or was that just on Face Book? So all that better functioning allows our days to flow better and I've pulled down some simple supplies to keep in the kitchen so I can set up food and water for the kids, do a step for art, put in some laundry, do a step for art, fix my own breakfast, do a step, etc. And here is what I've completed so far. If you look closely, you'll see some old Trig homework of mine I found unpacking our "library".

Images from Somerset Studio's clip art and Tim Holtz stamps.

Images from Tim Holtz stamps, Art Chix Studio (My Gypsy Heart) and Somerset Studio's and clip art. Got the idea to make the fabric flower from Shona's post on Green Craft magazine.

Images from Art Chix Studio (My Gypsy Heart) and Somerset Studio's artists' papers and clip art.

Images from Somerset Studio's artists' papers and clip art.

We are even still unpacking since we moved only 3 weeks ago. What a good move! Here's to hoping your days are Art Filled also!!!