Dylan Plays With Pastels

One of the major perks of homeschooling Dylan is that I find myself making time to search out artsy things that I can do with him. And while he’s learning about shading and shapes and color combinations, I’m having a blast doing the stuff right with him.

The other day I was over at Dirty Footprints studio, and I came across a lovely video on using pastels. Dylan and I watched the video several times – he was fascinated, and so of course, next thing we knew, out came all the pastels and some stencils. We didn’t have a circle stencil, unfortunately (next up: a trip to the dollar store!) but we had a few other shapes that Dylan liked just as well. And here is his first pastel piece:

Playing with Pastels

And here is the gorgeous video on playing with pastels from Dirty Footprints Studio:

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Dylan’s Collages

Dylan’s been cutting shapes out of scrapbooking paper and going nuts with tape (he isn’t as fond of the glue stick just yet). He loves creating collages and sticking them up on the walls and windows all over the house (we’ve since asked him to tape his pieces only to wood and windows, not painted walls!).

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Collage: Train and Snowman

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Stick Figure, made with paper, tape and thread

I think this following picture is an owl or something with wings. He’s sleeping right now, so I’ll have to ask him in the morning when he wakes up.

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Collage Creature

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Robot Creatures … on our dining room wall

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Artwork by Dylan: Flowers and a Shark

We bought a set of twelve small tempera paint jars today, and pulled out the cartridge paper. Dylan sat at the kitchen table and painted some lovely pictures.

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He painted these flowers for the guests for his upcoming birthday party. We’re having a family party, and he’s very excited, counting the sleeps before the party comes.

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Sharks and dinosaurs are a new favourite. This is a shark (hammerhead, I think he said). When I marveled at the fact that he covered all of the paper, he pointed out that he needed to paint the entire background.

It’s good to see him back to doing his artwork!

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Happiness is … a bubble train

We found a bubble train tucked away in the storage room. I’d bought it last year and then forgot all about it.

It’s been a rather gray and gloomy day, but the minute we found the train, the sun started peeking out!

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And a bubble kiss!

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In Bloom

It’s just a gorgeous day today – we’re supposed to hit a high of 27 degrees (Celsius). The sun is shining, and some of the spring bulbs are in full bloom.

Tulips in bloom

These are the tulips just off the back deck. They are always one of the first signs of spring around here.

I love my bulbs so much – always so reliable, and that beautiful splash of colour just when I need it, after a long and rather dreary winter.

These particular tulips don’t look like classic tulips. I can’t remember their name, but I loved them because of their gorgeous star shape.

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We don’t have that many bulbs at the front of the house – we need to put in a new gate and walkway, so we haven’t devoted that much attention to the front the past few years. But these little beauties have been around for the past few weeks:

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As have these:

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I love my garden!

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Today’s Mini-Epiphany: What Work Is Telling Me

thoughts of writingBefore I wandered downstairs to my office this morning (well, more like late morning or early afternoon), I had a little bit of an epiphany. About my work, yes.

See, I’ve been noticing something during this last round of deadlines. And it’s this: whenever I’m stuck working, you know, on the stuff that encourages the flow of money through this household, I suddenly find myself energized to do a lot of other things.

(Which explains, in a way, why my posts here have picked up a tad in frequency.)

This is a phenomenon that I’ve noticed before. Back when I was in university, I always thought it was strange that whenever I had an assignment due, or an upcoming exam, my apartment would become virtually spotless. Suddenly, doing the dishes promptly became very appealing. And one thing would lead to another, and before I knew it, the laundry would be done, the kitchen clean, meals pre-cooked and one time (and one time only) all the wood floors in my then-apartment were waxed.

Yes. I actually waxed my floors that one time. And as far as I can recall, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Which leads to my mini-epiphany. When I’m doing something I don’t really want to be doing, I’m actually telling myself something. Mainly, I am suddenly reminded of all the wonderful things there are for me to do all around me. Even housework is wonderful (well, that’s the outlook right now). But especially all the things I love to do, which I never get around to doing. Like writing. Or re-connecting with friends. Or blogging.

When I have some downtime from work, I find that I fall into a sort of de-energized complacency. I lounge around. I read somewhat desultorily. I wander around the house. I sometimes even get bored.

For some reason, I don’t tend to remember all those wonderful activities that I never fail to remember when I’m stuck here, slogging through yet another deadline.

So I’ve decided that it’s time I embrace this gift. Obviously, I’m creating this type of work to pay the bills for a variety of reasons, one of which is to remind me of all the fun things I love to do. And if I remember this, see it as a dialogue of sorts from the Universe, remember all these wonderful things I love to do even when I, well, have the time to actually do them, that’s one less reason I’ll have for creating work I don’t enjoy.

One more reason to move towards the creation of work I love. That pays the bills. And is fun.

I’m getting there.

Photo credit: Flickr

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Today’s Random Bits & Pieces

One of the things I loved about doing Morning Pages, during the eight or nine years that I did them, was their ability to clear my mind of so much of the stuff I carried around with me – not big stuff, no, not really. But loads of little things, things that I thought interesting – actually, things that I just thought.

It’s actually the kind of stuff one might Twitter. Only, if the object is to clear my mind so I can embrace the day ahead of me, I’d be writing up lots of tweets before I reached my objective.

And anyway, Twitter and tweets always feel so ephemeral to me – I write them and then I forget about them. The things I’m thinking about aren’t necessarily things I actually want to forget! I quite like the feeling of putting all these sometimes wonderful, sometimes mundane thoughts of mine into a little random list, one I can go back to occasionally if I want to. Choice is a fabulous thing, no?

  • My orchid has five gorgeous big buds and one teeny tiny bud on it – so exciting. It didn’t bloom last year, but then I read an article on a blog somewhere about taking care of orchids, and applied what I learned (cut the stem on which the plant had blooms, that was about it) and voila! eight months later the plant is heavy with buds!
  • I didn’t think my thoughts would be quite so long, quite so many sentences. Let’s see what else there’s rambling in my mind.
  • It’s a gray day and I love it. It reminds me of Vancouver, that grayness. Dusk has always been a magical time for me.
  • Why is it so difficult for me to stay committed to any one particular project? I know, without a doubt, that that kind of commitment can yield spectacular results. And yet …
  • I am starting to fall in love with Facebook.
  • When I do take the time to be still, even if it isn’t for very long, my whole day changes, for the better.
  • So why is it so hard to find that time to be still?
  • When I have work, I’m online a lot more. It’s because I get bored at the computer, and surfing around is so much more fun than working.
  • I really want to learn how to bring that stillness with me as I go about my everyday life.
  • It’s funny, but my closest friends are either purely online friends, or they live so far away that online is the only way to stay in touch. That part of my life is truly grounded in cyberspace.
  • I have star lights hanging over my window. Why don’t I ever turn them on?

I feel better already! Clear of mind and loving the moment. I did practice stillness this morning, and now I intend to keep that feeling with me as I move through my day. I’ve got a whole lot of work in front of me, but I’m still going to go wherever my intuition points the way.

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So lovely, so fun

The Sound of Music happens to be one of my all-time favorite movies, and while blog-hopping today, I found this video over at Lynn’s blog:

Just so lovely, and so much fun. I’m in the middle of working on a deadline, and this was the perfect break – it truly made me smile!

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A Colorful Life

I went shopping with Hayley yesterday, to one of my favorite stores, Winners. There’s such a gorgeous element of surprise in shopping there; I’m never sure what I’ll find. It’s kind of like a treasure hunt, and I never fail to come home with at least one thing (and sometimes an armload of stuff).

I ended up buying three tops and three dresses for the summer. And I realized something when I got home and laid my newest buys on the bed: with the exception of one black top, my new clothes were a riot of color. Blues, magenta, pinks, greens, lilac. Just so beautiful. And so different.

That’s when I took a look at my wardrobe, a really close look. And I got a technicolor eyeful. When did this happen? When did I start embracing a more colorful life?

It wasn’t that long ago when black was my thing. And now look at me! Show me a cocktail dress in red and I’m far more likely to try it on than one in black. Not that black doesn’t appeal to me; the black top I bought yesterday took my breath away. But I’ve truly fallen in love with color.

And I’m really liking it. It’s another step closer to living a truly colorful life.

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Beyond Insomnia

I had insomnia last night – self-induced insomnia, really. I was reading a mystery novel and at 1:30 a.m. decided to push forward and finish it. I did (disappointing ending, though) and by that time it was 3:00 a.m. And I found I couldn’t fall asleep!

Sleep finally came as it was getting bright out, and I managed to snatch a few hours before having to wake up with Dylan.

In the past, something like this would have just wiped me out, made the whole day a blur. But this morning, I thought to myself, it doesn’t have to be like that.

I’m going shopping with my daughter this afternoon, some mother-daughter bonding time. I don’t want to stumble through it like a zombie. And I’ve got a whole slew of deadlines to get through this week, too.

So I’ve decided the bout of insomnia doesn’t have to affect me. Sure, I’ll go to bed earlier tonight. But in the meantime, I can still enjoy my day.

Seems to be working …

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