Archive for February, 2009

I realize that my entries to this blog have been disappointingly sparse lately – allow me to explain (as much for the sake of me organizing my own thoughts and priorities as for the sake of allowing you all to understand what I’ve been up to).  My plate is full these days.  February has been an exceptionally busy month.  It started with a weekend trip to Portland to visit family, followed by a trip to California one week later to catch up with old friends.  Both getaways were much needed and well worth my time, but I find that I’m still kind of playing catch-up, since weekends are usually my chance to check things off my to-do list.  My days in Seattle since have been filled with studying for my next licensing exam (the mechanical, electrical and plumbing portion – *yawn*); planning our quickly-approaching trip to Europe; attempting to relearn the French language in preparation for said trip (shame on me for all that I’ve forgotten in the past five years!); trying to finish the book for my upcoming book club meeting this Saturday; training for the 10k race that we’re scheduled to run in March; squeezing in an occasional sketch or artistic exercise here and there; pulling together items for an on-line shop I’d like to get going; and struggling to maintain a clean house and a well-stocked fridge (at this, I have failed miserably).  On top of this, my regular weekly commitments are a big priority, like our Tuesday night get-togethers with friends from church (thank God for this mid-week chance to relax with these people who have become our Seattle family); art class on Thursday nights; and teaching Sunday school on Sunday mornings.  Work has been fairly busy the past couple of weeks as well, which means occasionally staying late and skipping my lunch-time study sessions.  And so, here I am: Whew!  Feeling overwhelmed, but grateful that at least my to-do list is filled with things that I genuinely enjoy doing (minus the studying) – I love spending a Saturday afternoon reading or doodling in my sketchbook.  If only I had more Saturday afternoons!  So bear with me, as this blog takes a bit of a hit while I get all my ducks in a row.

p.s.  Major thanks to Shane for doing whatever he can to lighten my load.  The dishes you wash, the trips you make to pick me up from the gym, and the constant encouragement you offer does not go unnoticed.

I’m taking a class on abstract drawing and painting at a local art school on Thursday nights and have recently been introduced to some really fun, new ways of making art.  Case in point:  My assignment for the next 4 weeks is to make at least 10 drawings out of edible materials.  I am using patterns found in nature as my source of inspiration, and these two pieces are the start of my tasty little collection.

The first drawing is a blow-up of the shell of a foxglove seed (I found a fantastic book that has beautiful microscopic photos of plant matter).  I used a paintbrush dipped in Diet Coke to fill in the solid areas, then sprinkled the drawing with salt.  This has faded a lot as it has dried, but I kind of like the mix of subtle color and gritty texture.



The second is a cross-section of a pomegranate.  For this one, I painted the core with tea, then sprinkled with paper with cinnamon, which stuck to any of the wet areas.  The texture and color remind me of rust.  Cool.



I never knew there were so many art supplies to be found in our kitchen cupboards!  Olive oil, molasses, corn meal, the possibilities are endless…  Stay tuned for more savory drawings.

I spent last weekend down in Portland and realized that my blog was due for an Elise update.My precious little baby niece is becoming more and more of a little girl each time I see her.Smiling more, laughing more, babbling more, and taking more of an interest in whatever it is that’s going on around her. She loves to look at books (future book club member-in-training!) and is so content to sit on her blanket and flip through one of her stories.  She is a snuggler, too, which I am quick to take advantage of.  On Sunday morning before I left, I spent a good thirty minutes on the couch with her in my lap, while she studied my face and played with my hair.  The silver charm bracelet I was wearing was a big hit with her as well, so I shamelessly used that as a distraction to hold on to her for just a little bit longer.  The minute we left town, I was immediately wondering when I will see her again – a single weekend every couple of months feels far too infrequent during this period when she’s growing and changing so rapidly, but I’m thankful, nonetheless, for whatever time I do get to spend with her.  I’m becoming more and more attached to this little person who is developing and demonstrating her own personality and likes and dislikes. And it’s exciting to know that in the not-too-distant future, she’ll truly know me as “Auntie Kelly” and will begin to recognize me when I walk in the door. Can’t wait to see what lies around the corner with this little girl…





As always,  haven’t been putting pencil to paper lately nearly as much as I’d like to, but I have managed to crank out a few little sketches.  I’ve always wanted to be able to draw the human face and figure well, and so that’s been a theme in my sketchbook lately.  I’m also into playing around with different media and still really love collage.  My watercolor pencil is fun, too (although this moleskine is terrible for watercolor…).  Anyhow, this is what’s been rolling around in this scattered old head of mine:

woman sitting – from how to draw the head and figure (2009.01.08):


face studies – from how to draw the head and figure (2009.01.11):


waterfall – collage from magazine clippings (2009.01.25):


bud (2009.01.27):


drippage – media exploration (2009.01.29):


man from toulouse-lautrec’s alfred la guine (2009.02.02):


This book tells the amazing true-life story of Greg Mortenson – a man who has devoted his life to promoting peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan primarily through building schools and educating children.  His story is both both inspiring and daunting.  Inspiring because it demonstrates the change that one selfless man can inflict.  Daunting because it demonstrates the change that one selfless man can inflict. So much for using “I’m only one person” as an excuse for sitting on my butt…  When you are willing to set aside your wants and needs and personal comfort, you are freed to focus on the lives of others, to empower them and bless them and make their lives better.

I love Mortenson’s attitude toward the fight against terrorism – it’s not about scare tactics, or weaponry, or implementation of American culture and systems.  It’s about providing the often-desperate impoverished people in these rural areas of Pakistan with an alternative to the existing Muslim schools which often exclude girls and indoctrinate young boys with extremist beliefs.  It’s about respecting other cultures, empowering them with the knowledge of a well-rounded education, trading our arrogance for humility.  So much easier said than done, I understand, but isn’t it clear that the U.S. government’s current approach has not worked?  Time to try something else, maybe?

Read this book.

This book was the subject of my very first monthly book club meeting.  Several girlfriends and I have decided to read a book together each month and then convene on a Saturday morning for coffee and discussion.  Our first book choice, unfortunately, turned out to be rather mediocre, and all of us agreed that we had a hard time really connecting with any of the characters in Run.  I’ll spare you any of the uninspiring details.  However, I will sing the praises of this whole book club idea.  It’s a great motivation to read more, and a fabulous way to regularly connect with friends.  I’d say that only about half of our discussion yesterday really focused on the book, but that was ok, because I’m in this for the friendship-building more than anything else.  And it was neat to hear other how other women’s interpretations and impressions differed from my own (though we all generally agreed that this was a so-so read overall).  Shane and I have been blessed with a wonderful group of common friends here in Seattle (rather than the my friends/his friends situation we had in California), but there is still great value in taking time to just hang with the ladies.  And the fact that we’ve chosen meet at Macrina Bakery, which serves the most fantastic lemon lavender coffee cake, definitely doesn’t hurt things…

I haven’t been much into knitting lately – seems my focus is more on reading and studying these days, but still, I wanted to post a quick update on the projects I finished up last month.

This neckwarmer was a quick project, fun because it was a stitch pattern I’d never seen before.  I got the pattern from Ravelry and used a double strand of really soft alpaca blend yarn.  In retrospect, I wish I’d used a chunkier yarn so that the neckwarmer would stand up and hold its shape more (same problem I had with the cowl I made a few months ago), but then again, it does drape nicely this way.  I’ve been keeping my eyes out for cool big buttons so that I can crank out a couple more of these when I have more time – they’d make great gifts.  Or, if they happen to end up on my own scarf rack, so be it, because a girl can never have too many neckwarmers, right?