Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The last day of March; I supposed I'm allowed a bit of navel gazing

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I finally got around doing this little project for "Monochromatic March" on the Year of Color blog, in my favorite color. It's a mini art journal.

Back of my journal. I don't really know what I want to even use this for.

Finally, today is my birthday, and I am 37. I don't feel 37, whatever that's supposed to feel like. In fact, I still feel like a little kid in many ways. People always ask when I miss my parents the most, and assume it's Christmas. Actually I seldom think of them then. For Dad, it's OSU/Michigan day. For Mom, it's Easter. And for the both of them, it's my birthday. So every year I venture out and find something pretty for myself, to reflect on how much I know they loved me. This year it was this gerbera daisy plant. So cheerful; like them.

Just for fun, me at birth

1st Birthday; I still have the same forlorn expression on my face most birthdays

3rd birthday: boy, Mom really knew how to pull a theme together

5th birthday; I am the spitting image of Zachary

5 years old and on wheels; that was the big one! Boy those were the days.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Wow that was a busy week

Spring break came, and in order to keep the boys busy, we spent the week spring cleaning, plus I did a lot of little home projects. One thing I really wanted to do was to update the tv room:


After! Basically, I got some floral shears for the windows, covered the pillows with fabric remnants I got for 60% off, replaced the dangerous old torch lamp with a new fancy floor lamp, built and painted the little mission accent shelf (it was a $5 kit) and painted the coffee table black. All we have left is to change out the pictures in there, and I think I'm going to do a craft project with the men on that, so I will post that when it becomes available.

The boys attended their first ever live play on their Oma's birthday. It was "Sarah Plain and Tall" and on top of it being a really good performance, the boys really enjoyed it and their behavior couldn't have been better. The only commotion we had was that every now and then Nathan would say in his deep little voice: "Daddy I like this movie!" He did have to be pulled out of the auditorium mid way through the second act because he shared that he had to go potty. Oh well, it was still great.

We didn't want to go home right away after the play because the weather was amazing, so we hung out talking outside of the North Market. The boys basically ran and climbed for a half hour. Thank goodness the market was closed for the day.

Zack is worn out.

My little men and I managed to get an unreal amount of the spring cleaning done by the end of Monday, so we goofed around some for the rest of the week.

Building at COSI.

Zack lost a front tooth! The tooth fairy always brings gold dollars, which he is saving for a new train.

My sis and I celebrated our birthdays together like we always do because they are only twelve days apart. Tomorrow I turn 37, which is pretty much the same as turning 36, 35, etc. as far as I can tell. I am celebrating by going to the nursery for some things for the vegetable garden, half of which I planted today. Dear husband wants to go out tomorrow night for dinner but I am tempted to order my favorite pizza for us instead. Although I don't feel older, I do feel wiser, and part of that wisdom is in knowing that sometimes a simple thing is best.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring is here!

Yay my window herbs and tomato seedling are up! Today we kick off Spring Cleaning/Spring Break 2009. In order to keep the boys' boredom at bay, they will be participating in a full cleaning, purging, organizing and updating of the house. My basic plan is to clean in the early part of the week, then get outdoors and plant the early bloomers in the garden, then get the boys out of the house for a few fun things later in the week. I may sound a bit overly ambitious, but I am treating my to do list as more of an "idea" list. The thing I love best about spring cleaning is when I have my hands busy, I am flooding with ideas. If all goes well, the week will be capped with a shopping trip to buy new curtains. Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New altered book page

I posted earlier in the year that I am working on an altered book that I am calling "Angels and Saints." It is very personal, and chronicles my journey through, well, grief over the abrupt passing of my parents. I was inspired first and foremost by my mother's love of angels, so I will soon be doing a page on her. Plus there are a lot of little synchronicities that I wanted to explore.

This page is all about my dad, who died of throat cancer. I have a nephew named Blaze, and I was struck by the irony that St. Blaze/Blaise/Blasius is the patron of ailments of the throat. I found a card with his image on it, and on the back of it was the traditional prayer of St. Blaise, part of which goes "you miraculously restored a child who was near death from an affliction of the throat." I juxtaposed this with another synchronicity: that the first Sunday after my father's larynx was removed, I went to church, and the opening hymn was "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing" which is the sheet music I used behind the photo of my dad in the children's choir, at the same church. I could barely speak, because all I could think of was sitting in that church as a child with my dad, in the same pew, hearing him sing that song with his beautiful baritone voice. Even though he lost his voice well over a year before he died, I think I greived that more.

The book I used is called "Irish Ghost Stories" so I left several lines from the pages I painted in red open. They read "Why did you not speak?" "I could not speak" and so forth, which again, was a weird accident that seemed appropos. I then at the last minute added the photos of him from his own wedding, as well as the photo of he and I dancing.

So far this is only my second layout. My mother's angel layout comes next, so I will be looking for angel images and dreaming up what to do. I am treating this as more of a meditation than a regular craft project, and so am putting a lot more thought and effort into it. Heck, I even learned how to do a little gold leafing.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My green crafts

My St. Patrick's Day, mostly mono-chromatic banner.

I made this group of three green small gift boxes. My favorite is the one with the flower, which I was inspired by Victorian hat boxes.

My messy book; I'm calling it "My Irishy Book." It's a collection of not only pictures and souvenirs from my own trip, but also postcards sent to me, as well as souvenirs from other "Irish" experiences such as show tickets and things from the Dublin, Ohio Irish Fest. The flag I painted myself. I plan to just keep adding things to this as I find them.

The image to the left is the family crest from the McKenna Clan. I am my grandmother's namesake as we both share McKenna as a middle name, which was her mother's maiden name. Our ancestor who came from Ireland, County Monaghan, emigrated in 1849, presumably escaping the famine, and became a settler in Kenton, Ohio, where he ran a newspaper.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Pub Front

The older part of Dublin Castle

The "newer" part of Dublin Castle

A postcard from Dublin; I didn't take nearly enough pictures cause I didn't want to be too much of a turist

Rockbreaking yard of Kilmainham Gaol, where the Brits took the participants of the 1916 Easter Rising were taken.

Art installation at Kilmainham Gaol.

The cross marks the place where Irish rebel James Connolly was executed. Despite his being mortally wounded in combat, the Brits had him transported back to Kilmainham, tied him to a chair and executed him. This ended up being a huge rallying cry for the Irish.

All I can say is God bless Ireland. I couldn't be happier for the success of the Irish people in these last ten years (known by many as the Celtic Tiger.)

Monday, March 16, 2009

40 Shades of green: even more Ireland

The Burren is near Galway on the west coast of Ireland

Kylemore Abbey is located in the Connemara region.

The chapel at Kylemore Abbey.

Crossing the Shannon River by ferry

O'brien's Tower at the Cliffs of Moher

The fabulous Cliffs of Moher. Three days before my visit an American tourist fell to his death going too far out on the edge, not very bright considering it is very muddy, very windy, and over 700 feet at it's highest point.

More cliffs

Spectacular view of the Atlanic Ocean

Sunday, March 15, 2009

More Ireland: Kilarney

It all really looked like this

Colorful tinker who took us for a buggy ride

Ruins of Muckross Abbey

Muckross House; an manor house now tourist attraction

Friday, March 13, 2009

Blarney Castle, for your St. Patrick's weekend viewing pleasure

Blarney Castle, from my 1998 trip; feels like it was yesterday.

View from the top of Blarney
Yours Truly, at the top

Faking like I'm kissing the stone

Blarney Castle, from a distance