Sunday, January 29, 2012

Our Winter Salon

It had been a long while since our last salon - our first was almost two years ago, and our last during the hot summer that followed - so we were long overdue for a gathering of courageous creative people!  We invited a bunch of friends to bring a dish and something performative to share in our living room, and this is what happened...

The evening started with food - chili, potatoes, salads, cookies...squirrel stew - and once more or less satisfied, we dove into an evening of one sweet surprise after another! Poetry...
 Starball songs...
(listening in the momentary darkness)
 Piano...(Eliza and I played a duet too!)
 Our friend from afar was the one who made the squirrel stew - he hunted them yesterday and transformed them into something delicious by party time.  Then he pulled out his banjo to finish off the truly Appalachian was awesome.
our handsome host
 There was John Cage's Suite for Toy Piano, adapted for toy piano and radio...

Our little friend getting up close for the full vibrational experience
 There was magical glockenspiel, played by 5 yr old E...
 ...and total hilarity from Lizard.
I mean total hilarity...even the teenagers found it funny...
 There were two original plays - one performed as a reading, and one, below, in full costume and theatrical pizzazz...
 There was more poetry and piano, some brave roof-raising karaoke, and then a ceramic cup-making demonstration, using...cardboard and tape?
And a bit more Starball by the accordian virtuoso (my husband)...
 ...which ended with us all running outside where we watched him finish his song in the back of a pickup truck, under a crescent moon and a rare twinkly sky.
 It was an amazing evening...ending with a unicycling-hulahooping-flamethrowing-juggling-whistleplaying madman...
 ...and filled us with all good things - good food (yes, I tried the stew!), good friendship, inspiration and so many laughs...
Eliza summed it up pretty well when she said, "I LOVE Salon! It's like Thanksgiving!!"

Friday, January 27, 2012

Gallery for January

 Eliza shared her drawing notebook with me a few days ago, and it was nice to see so many happy lovely young ladies covering the pages...I'd love to know any of them.
(Do you see their collarbones? and stirrup leggins??)
 She had also experimented with cross-hatch pen and ink drawings, this time of a tense escape scene from a book we love, called Wise Child.
 E's Uncle Spoons has asked me what I've taught her about perspective, but it's all come from her observations and experiments, as with this view of a dream house.
 She's also been playing with color saturation, filling a page with colors. I love seeing what remains blank.
 Ani is into big head ladies these days!!! They're awesome - color-filled, big features, gorgeous.
 And did I mention lots of hair? Lots.
 We giggled over this one - she thought it looked like a mushroom, and so do I - little Morel-headed lass.
 I don't know where this one came from, but I love this huge bouquet:
 A map of Harry Potter world...(this story soooo infiltrates all aspects of play for her)
 And an elfin girl. With lots of hair.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Walking a neighbor's dog
The day after we arrived home from the ice storm, it looked like this. Balmy. So of course we went out, along the bike path one day...
 ...and to the ridges another, for some warm wind and squishy tromping.

(Don't be completely fooled by these photos - my girls are at least half polar bear, and I was, in the meantime, wearing a down vest and my hat. Winter is still around here, somewhere...)
Today was a good sampling of the kind of busy we've had this week. Ideas are ricocheting off the walls, brains are humming, and I'm just trying to catch up.  Eliza has picked up her camera again and is thinking about starting a blog.  She just finished the first chapter of a book she's reading aloud to me (lucky me!) - Indigo by Alice Hoffman.  She is so tickled to finally be enjoying reading, and those chapter books are such good milestone markers. 
 Today we had a go at a game we've had for a while - Frog and Toad - it's a maze making game that you can play several ways.  After piano practicing and getting some cleaning done together (Eliza tackled the breakfast dishes while Ani and I folded laundry), I pulled out the needle felting, which we all did for a bit and then Eliza started asking about the new sewing machine that has been sitting all new and shiny in the art room. Alone. Off. Silent.
 So I faced my fears about machines - even new shiny ones - and we got down to it. I learned how to thread the bobbin, thread, and finally we were ready to sew.  I handed that bit over to Eliza who already has more experience than I do. It was great! I feel like I kind of understand the machine, and she is beyond happy to have something to work out her ideas on.
Figuring it out - photo by Ani
I convinced her to start with something simple - a bag - rather than the "valentine's dress!" that she was dreaming about.  Let's just say I was feeling overwhelmed.
 Everything seemed to need to happen at the same time today, which was a bit anxiety producing for me, as I seemed several steps behind each one of them, and pulled in a couple different directions, but the girls were getting along which helped so much, and we managed to eat and make it to E's piano lesson, so I guess it all worked out.  Eliza and Ani decided that it was time to start Ani on some piano lessons,  so they spent a while at that (Eliza is the teacher, of course).
 There was reading Shel Silverstein aloud at lunch, and the making of cardboard books, and more reading of Coleman and by the time Dan walked in just in time for me to run to bando class, I needed the 3-breaths during each pose and the silence of the dark night to recharge a bit before letting myself become enveloped again by the crazy, lovely, humming whirlwind that is this home.