Star studded Christmas Eve 

What better way to enjoy Christmas Eve than stargazing with my kids? We were lucky because there were very few moviegoers at the IMAX theater where we saw Star Wars, The Force Awakens. I’m not into huge crowds, so I was happy to find the viewing was so lightly attended. Note to self: Christmas Eve is an awesome time to take in a blockbuster movie!

Seeing Star Wars with my kids was a very different experience than seeing the original Star Wars in 1977. Wow, can you believe it? George Lucas’s space western saga has thrived these 38+ years. There have been highs, for example Ewoks, wicked-cool and imaginative creatures, and Jedi Masters, to name a few, and lows, dare I mention Jar Jar Binks? The story of good triumphing over evil remains an enormous draw to audiences of all ages.

StarWarsPosterForceAwakensThere were things I noticed while watching the movie, in particular, I enjoyed seeing a more-inclusive supporting cast. I saw people of color, which makes total sense, doesn’t it? I noticed women who were fighter pilots, generals, and business owners. Not only did I notice and applaud the efforts the film makers made to create a realistic representation of people, I felt hopeful because we’re seeing evidence of the drive for inter-sectional and multi-gendered representation in the stories we’re queuing up in record-breaking numbers to view.

I noticed there was one, maybe two scenes where two named female characters held a conversation about something other than a man. Maz Kanata and Rey spoke of the vision or memory Rey’s touching a light sabre invoked. Yes, Luke Skywalker was mentioned in their exchange, but he wasn’t the primary focus of their discussion, which revolved around Rey embracing her destiny, and the courage required for her to do so. It might be argued that the conversation between General Leia and Rey was one-sided, but you can’t deny the words spoken “may the force be with you,” were said with sincerity and well received, nor did they contain a reference to a man. Does it sound like I am juxtaposing this movie against the Bechdel rule? You bet I am!

Another theme I noticed was that in which a character’s inner struggle was made evident in the actions he took and the language he used, or at times, didn’t. Despite being thoroughly subjugated into his life’s purpose as a Stormtrooper since birth, Finn, formerly known as FN-2187, made a conscious choice to be a better person, heroically walking away from everything he had ever known because that philosophy didn’t jive with his inner compass.

Did I applaud like a fan girl when iconic figures of my childhood appeared on the screen? Did I cheer the good guys and jeer the bad? You bet I did (much to my children’s embarrassment)! One thing that struck me was how we were watching the children of these complex and interesting characters we had met nearly 40 years ago struggling with the same issues their parents had, and perhaps still are. Maybe there’s more to this circle of life than meets the eye.

Life’s too short to wear boring shoes

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A co-worker wears these amazing shoes she finds online at bucketfeet.com. She saw a notice encouraging artists to submit their designs — and mentioned it to me. Maybe because I have lots of doodles of the Zentangle variety pinned in my cube.  I never got around to submitting art at bucketfeet, but I thought that it’d be fun to draw on shoes. I mean, why not? It’s a canvas, right?

I offered to doodle all over a pair of sneakers for her. She looked around for a comfortable pair, and then delivered them to me.

I thought about them. I worried about them. What if I made a mistake? I didn’t want to ruin a good pair or new shoes! I reminded mysel20150121_075011f that there’s no wrong way to do art, and I eventually broke it down to one section at a time. I could do one section, right? I was pleased enough with my first attempt that I moved on to another, then another. Until I got stuck and put them away.

Another coworker with whom I work also Zentangles, and while in a meeting I was surreptitiously watching her add lines to a doodle in the corner of her notepad.  Seeing her design develop, I felt that jolt of inspiration. Last night I completed the project and brought the shoes in to work for my wild-shoe-sporting coworker.

20150121_075002They are currently adorning her feet, and the story of the shoes and laces told many times over. I am enormously flattered that she likes my work well enough to want to wear my art on her feet.20150121_075125

My son donated the shoelaces and taught me the vertical bar method of lacing shoes.

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Looks like I’m now on the hook to create a pair for both my son and my youngest daughter.  What fun!

Introducing the Studio of Awesomeness

I picked up video lighting and backdrop equipment on e-bay for a steal! This mama has big plans for the summer…

I looked into video production, (scripting, filming, and pre- and post-engineer) programs and classes that the kids could take over the summer. To say that they are cost prohibitive isn’t completely accurate. However, for 1/3 of the cost of sending kids to video camps, I could just buy the equipment. So, I did. The kids are searching the web, mostly Youtube videos, for instructions to accomplish the things that they want to learn. Everything from the optimal distance a subject needs to be from the backdrop, to replacing the green screen with a different color or a photo.videostudio

Motivated kids, opportunity, time, and fun… better than any program I can involve them in!

My youngest is writing a play and wants to film it with her best friend. Of course, she’s tagged her brother for doing the engineering side of the project. I’m not sure what my oldest daughter will want to do with it yet, but I’m sure she’ll brainstorm something awesome. I want to record how-to craft and card classes. I think that would be fun! And my son wants to make a “not necessarily the news” broadcast.

I know what you’re thinking, “what about dad?” Well, he loves that he has his own photography studio, something that he always wanted. He is also enjoying being the SME for filming, set up, and lighting.

I can’t wait to see how much we can accomplish over the summer.

I has rawrs!

I has roars!

I saw the dots and circle motif somewhere and decided that I wanted to replicate that look. I’m very please with my results. The paw prints are from a Darice embossing folder, I used the smallest Spellbinder circle die for to cut them out. The adorable lion is Lester, from Inky Antics.

Atom bomb

“Hey, mom, I need you to follow me to the bedroom,” my oldest daughter announces.
“You want me to move from my comfortable spot on the couch?”
“Yes.”
“Well, okay.”

I heave out of my warm, cozy nest and then follow her back to my bedroom. While we’re walking, she explains,

CarbonAtomExample“I need to make a 3-D model of a carbon atom. I have a picture up on the computer you can look at. We can make it out of anything, marshmallows, balls and string …”

Really? 8:30 the night before it’s due? Well, if it weren’t for procrastination, nothing would ever get done.

I look at the image she had displayed on the computer monitor and think, I can do that! I pull out my trusty-dusty Spellbinder circle dies, Cuttlebug, and Circle-Diesblack paper from my craft area. I tape the two largest rings together to make the outer circle, and tape the next two sizes together to make the middle ring. We sandwich the paper, dies, and cutting boards together and run them through the Cuttlebug.

We have the whole thing assembled in about 20 minutes. Not bad for having no time to think about it or plan it out, huh?

Show and TellCarbonAtom

Last night, my daughter tells me that her teacher thought it was the cutest atom project she’d ever seen. My daughter replied “My mom did it. Ask all my friends, she’s really into crafts.”

Did I detect a note of pride in my daughters voice? Yes, yes I did.