Out of the mouths of babes

The last few days have been spent in as non-vertically bedridden a state as we could manage. My daughter is feeling better now so, communal hermitage disbanded, I am sitting at my desk.

Mostly staring at the screen.

I have managed to weed out my email, though not answer any yet, and log in here. Am I slacking? Why, yes, I am. And I can safely say that I do not like breathing through sand. ::insert blank stare here:: Ok…so what was my point to this? Oh. Yes.

My daughter’s desk is now next to mine and she has decided it was time to make accessories for our Monster High dolls. Val bought her Lagoona Blue for Christmas, then picked up the nerdy-but-wonderful Ghoulia Yelps for me with her awesome librarian-reminiscent, horn-rimmed glasses. My daughter loves making tiny things out of paper, clay, toothpicks, anything I give her permission to raid from the studio or the kitchen. With Lagoona looking on in approval from her handmade, brightly-colored Lego chair, she just finished making pencils out of toothpicks and a coordinating notepad. My Ghoulia had Christmas earlier this year with a bag cover, a book (pre-made), a wallet with tiny bills in it ($12.00, enough for a pizza), and a newspaper with a Have you seen this monster? ad of a zombie. Apparently Ghoulia’s father is missing.

So my daughter asks if she can modify the bottom of a makeup container that I gave her. I tell her no, but that she could make something to fit in the bottom without gluing it in. She comes up with an idea and, after trying to explain to me what she wanted to do (my Mommy Translation Device is apparently non-functional today) she stops, sighs, and starts drawing.

A moment later she shares her drawing with me and says, and I quote, “Mother.” (frustrated) “I have child words of wisdom to spew out.”

Wow. O_O I don’t even know what to say to that other than good word usage? LOL

Think I am going to go lay back down.

Nine reasons why I love you

Time flies by so fast when you are truly happy. The rest of my life may not be exactly the way I want it yet, always a work in progress, but there is one thing that God has blessed me with that enriches my life and sustains me from day-to-day: My daughter.

My daughter turned nine years old today and already has her life “planned out”. According to her, at age 9:

…She has decided that she wants to become a massage therapist so that she can help people feel better about life and about themselves, taking away their pain, and letting them know that God loves them.
…She wants to take violin with me and learn more songs to sing.
…She wants to continue homeschooling so that, when she gets older and has a family of her own, she can homeschool her own children.
…She is learning to cook and sew so that she can expand her creativity and take care of herself in any situation.

There are of course way too many things that I could list here, I could go on forever and a day, but here are the top nine in honor of her 9th birthday in no particular order:

1. Your compassionate heart and spirit of caring for others
2. Your smile that I can’t get enough of
3. Your love for God
4. Your inventiveness and creative imagination (you invented your own version of double stick tape when you were 4 before you knew anything about double stick tape!)
5. Your sense of style in how you dress, the combinations of fabrics, textures, and colors you choose
6. How much you love to sew, cook, and help me/Val do both
7. How you always know when I need to laugh and the lengths you go to make me do it
8. The sound of your voice when you pray and when you are telling me your dreams, the excitement and wonder in it
9. The sound of your singing and how you can come up with songs on the fly about mundane things like cleaning your desk

Happy Birthday my love. I wish for this year, and all the next, that you flourish and grow. You have blessed my life on all levels in more ways than I can count. And, as we always say, “you are my bestest friend in all the world in all my life”. I love you all the way to the moon and back my precious friend.

Eventful day

I don’t ever want to see that much of my baby girl’s blood ever again.

This week has been a really busy one for us. Last Monday was my daughter’s 8th birthday. Sunday we threw her a swim party at her swim school to celebrate so last weekend was mostly prep. We had a fabulous time and enjoyed seeing all of our friends. Monday my best friend and I took her to see Night at the Museum 2 (fabulous, a must-see) and browsed in a used bookstore next door for a bit. I picked up a pristine copy of Tales of Beedle the Bard for 6 bucks and a first edition American printing of The Simarillion for Val (9 bucks) as a belated birthday gift.

The rest of the week was a blurr of swim classes, ballet classes, more swim classes and rehearsal for her recital. This recital marked the end of her fourth year as a ballerina and I am very proud.

I am also proud of her for her courage.

Earlier today, after lunch, I sat down to work at bit at the computer. My daughter asked if she could paint in the back bedroom – we have a 6 foot by 3 foot desk back there with an easel – and I helped her open one of the packages of new canvas she had gotten for her birthday. Her painting by herself on occasion in the other room is routine here so I thought nothing of it. I usually get up and check on her, tell her I love her, see how she is doing and help her open the acrylics if she needs it. She sometimes kicks me out with a “Mom don’t peek!” and I laugh and oblige. Today we didn’t get that far.

I open up a word document and begin to type when I hear this odd-in-a-bad-way sounding, “MOM! I CUT MYSELF!!!” I’m running as her voice wavers on the last word and don’t stop till I have her still gushing thumb in my grip. There was blood everywhere…

She is fine. I’m just now letting myself feel it. Thank God and Goddess I don’t panic. I was methodical, clear-headed, loving, and silently freaking out. She was cleaning the old, dried paint out of her palette and picked up an X-Acto knife that had been left out from modeling. She is normally very good about cleaning her palette afterwards, but I think we had to leave and it got overlooked last time, so she was having issues getting the dried paint out. She knows not to use knives. She didn’t think. I am thankful it wasn’t worse but it was bad enough. I got her to laugh once when I told her that daddy’s notebook, that had been under her palette, now both covered in red, was definitely going to have to be for a vampire novel now. :/ Val called Logan, Logan raced home. A deep slice down the outside edge of her thumb, a good quarter of an inch wide, and we are in the car and out to the local Quick Care. No stitches but we found out sterile super glue comes in purple and I need a drink.

We hit the pharmacy on the way home to pick up her antibiotics; for infection and because she has a cold on top of it all poor baby. We get home in time to breathe for about 10 minutes then I start prepping her for tonight. Head full of hair putty and bobbie pins for the perfect bun, my daughter looks way beyond her years and I miss her already. She was stunning though and I am so very proud of her. The recital was fabulous, she was perfect, and she is sleeping like a log now after another dose of medicine and a well deserved ice cream stop on the way home. Her flowers from the recital are silently blooming for her in the living room and I am here, slightly shaky, wanting to scoop her up and just hold her.

This is not the first time she has gotten hurt and I am sure that it won’t be the last but I definitely don’t ever want to see that much of my baby girl’s blood ever again.

Catch up, breathe deeply

After what seems like forever, I am finally getting caught up. Most of last year was spent with one or all of us bed or house ridden, one passing it on to the other as is the way of things in homes with children. There have been a lot of people disappointed in me, a lot of people who knew me and understood, and still more who have been supportive beyond the call of friendship. I think all of us have dealt with snowballs at least once in our lives and but this one created an avalanche. I’ve not given up though and things are getting better each day. I am moving forward.

LITTLE BITS OF WISDOM
A few of the many things I have picked up along the way, that I try to instill in my daughter, have been active in my life lately…

  • You should always be “straight up” with people. Be honest. Whether they will understand or not, your conscience is clear and you’ve done the right thing.
  • Pick your battles. Do what you can to the best of your ability and honor others as well as yourself. Help as much as you can but know when to say no.
  • If it is worthwhile dream, don’t give up.
  • When everything is a priority remember that family comes first. When it is hard to label what is the top priority in a pile of pressing deadlines, always pick the one that will give you the most trouble.
  • Breathe. There is always time to take a moment, close your eyes, and just breathe.

COMPLETELY ENTHRALLED

I own an HP laptop and frequently receives updates from HP including their Personal Again campaign that features some incredibly well-done and creatively inspiring videos. Recently I found Paulo Coehlo’s The Experimental Witch competition that led me, breadcrumbs in hand, to his Alchemist site on HP.

The guitar music that plays on the site has me completely in thrall. I am hooked on it, sometimes leaving the browser window up in the background to listen to it while I write or work. I don’t know that he will actually see it, but I sent him an email on his MySpace requesting the name of the piece or the guitarist and thanking him for his contributions to the creative community. Admittedly I do not own personal copies of his books yet but hope to soon. His stories are wonderfully rich and I look forward to reading more.

PUBLISHED RECENTLY

I have been so busy on this end that I’ve not had the chance to tell you all about some wonderful things that happened recently!

100 Days of Monsters. My family and I found Daily Monster, Stefan Bucher’s absolutely addictive video blog, and have been glued to it ever since. We crank the volume up so we can enjoy the sounds of his pens as they glide quickly across the paper. It is fascinating to watch what each seed of ink will become, even he doesn’t know till he does it which makes for a wonderful mystery. Stefan asked people to post little stories about his monsters, what we thought they were doing, who they were, and the madness began. Everyone got involved and the stories rolled in. Incredibly funny stories, emotional stories, off the wall weirdness, and all of them great fun to read. Well, he made a book with a DVD. All of his videos for the first 100 monsters and then some are included. And two of my stories made it into the book. So pick up a copy and read about “Reggie” and “Herman”, monsters 91 and 95. They will be very happy that you did. And if you do, please post a reply here and tell me what you think. I hope you like them both.

Thank you Stefan for your inspiration and your kindness!

Never Forgotten. I am a member of the ZNE network and was able to contribute to a book project for one of its members who recently lost her mother. I encourage everyone to take a look at the book and purchase one for yourself or for a loved one who may need some support or encouragement. I do not received any kind of compensation and am even purchasing my own copy so this is not a sales pitch. My piece is Essence & Longing and is included under the “Healing: The Beauty of the Soul” section in the book. If you do buy a copy, remember to post here and tell me what you think.

BACK IN SCHOOL

Started back to college week before last, totally online, and love it. Wish I could have done it sooner. They have the same accreditation as the local university but without worrying about scheduling, gas prices, or the wear and tear on my vehicle. Val has been in since August, he’s on the Dean’s list, (WOOT You go baby!) and I should be there soon as well. I am working on my BFA in Visual Communications with a specialization in Digital Design which, mostly, is the degree for what I have already been doing for the last 22 years. I have been wanting to finish school though, needed the piece of paper, and wanted to get all of the new software so here I am. I really enjoy the interface, the structure, the whole layout of AIU. And, yes, it takes a lot of discipline. But I will have my degree in 13 months, not four years, and there is something incredibly motivating about that. When I graduate in July of next year, if not sooner, I will be working on my Masters in Education there or finding a school where I can complete my Architectural Design degree. Yup, there is the secret to my handwriting, I was an Architectural Design major previously.

TED TALKS

“Who is this Ted person anyway…” you say? Don’t worry, I said that too. During my Visual Literacy class I was linked to a TED Talk by John Maeda. An incredibly brilliant, very funny man. Maeda spoke of simplicity, applying it to design and everyday life which is something I think we all need to look at. If you get a chance to watch the video, do, it is well worth the time. I have also found the TED Talks to be a fantastic resource. I think one of my favorites so far though has to be J.J.Abrams talking about the “mystery box” and writing.

A NEW SITE FOR ART FOR CURES

Art for Cures has been in need of a site for a while and, though I had started building one, my life and health conspired to keep me from it. After seeing a few site on the Ning network, seeing the resources available and the network’s framework, I decided to build us a home there. Art for Cures is now part of the Ning network and we already have several members there. Looking forward to posting the auctions in the next week and moving forward!

SCRIBBLES, DOODLES, AND SQUIBBLES

We like to hang out in the local bookstores on occasion (read we live there) and I am always on the lookout for new things fir Ysa and I to play with. Not seeing anything I could afford to get this week, or that we didn’t already have, I picked up another Kumon book for Ysa’s homeschool. Ysa and I rummaged around the children’s section a bit and a book accosted me on the way out. Well, it didn’t actually accost me per se, but I am very visual and certain things tend to jump out at me on shelves. In fact when I worked for the bookstores (both BAM and the Noble Barn), I was the one people always came to when they couldn’t remember the name of something. Nine time out of ten I would know it by what the spine or cover looked like and sometimes the “look” of the author’s name.

This time, as soon as I saw it, I knew it was coming home with us.

Scribbles by Taro Gomi is part of a three book series (might be a series, should be) and all three seriously ROCK. The books are almost two inches thick and full of half drawn doodles that you have to finish. It is total creative license, total interpretation, total fun.

…and yes, for those who recognized the name, Taro Gomi also wrote Everyone Poops. hehe

BEING ANACHRONISTIC AGAIN

I’ve rejoined the SCA after a long hiatus and have brought my family with me this time. Val is going Art/Sci, Logan is going heavy weapons, and even my girl is considering it as well since they start youth combat at age seven. She already makes a great shield wall, ran over the last guy. Val has been working on his own medieval chant notation, Logan is making chaine maille again and I have been pouring through patterns and buying fabric in preparation for garb making. It has been way too long since I have been camping so I am really looking forward to it.

Oh, I was also given the honor of being the Shire’s new Web Minister (or Mistress in this case).

My new tagline?

Ana Maria Seaton
ska Ginuivive Alysabaeth Rosewood (Dragonfly or Alysa)
Shire of Amurgorod, Kingdom of Trimaris
“The Dragonfly caught in the Spidered Web.”

Web site for the Shire coming very soon. VIVAT TRIMARIS!

SCRIPTFRENZY

ScriptFrenzy is this month, brought to you by the makers of NaNoWriMo. I toyed with the idea of working on a script I have had in my head for a while now but my time will not allow it. Also, anytime I even consider working on another writing project, my two novels – Moonlight & Shadow and Odonatia – beat me over the head and throw tantrums on the floor begging for attention. My children’s book, Clementine’s Garden, can get away with it though. They don’t beat her up because she is too cute.

WAIT, YOU SAID…ODONATIA!?

Yes I did, you heard me right. Odonatia is fast becoming a novel. For those of you who are not familiar with it, Odonatia is a fiction project I have been working on for about 10 years now. Started as a simple postal issuing authority for artistamps (faux postage), it quickly snowballed (read avalanched) into an epic piece of fiction with real passports, a winery and other goodies coming. Turning very steampunkish. Plans include a daily blog form the island, downloads and other goodies. Looking at a couple of other creative associates that might get involved as well in the future.

ON THE HUSH HUSH

Two major projects going on, one involving my rubber stamp line that is forthcoming, are building up speed and about to take off. Sadly though, and yes I know I am a tease, both are on the “hush hush” right now till I get the okay. I know, stop pouting, I’ll post here as soon as I get the green light. Needless to say both are of incredible proportion and I cannot wait to tell you all.

…well, that is all I can think of for now. (aren’t you glad? hehe) I will be posting scans, photos and a few updates today and over the next couple of days. This week has been a busy one so I have been trying to stay focused and push forward. Hoping this finds you all well and in good creative spirits!

Brightest blessings!

Catch up, breathe deeply

After what seems like forever, I am finally getting caught up. Most of last year was spent with one or all of us bed or house ridden, one passing it on to the other as is the way of things in homes with children. There have been a lot of people disappointed in me, a lot of people who knew me and understood, and still more who have been supportive beyond the call of friendship. I think all of us have dealt with snowballs at least once in our lives and but this one created an avalanche. I’ve not given up though and things are getting better each day. I am moving forward.

LITTLE BITS OF WISDOM
A few of the many things I have picked up along the way, that I try to instill in my daughter, have been active in my life lately…

  • You should always be “straight up” with people. Be honest. Whether they will understand or not, your conscience is clear and you’ve done the right thing.
  • Pick your battles. Do what you can to the best of your ability and honor others as well as yourself. Help as much as you can but know when to say no.
  • If it is worthwhile dream, don’t give up.
  • When everything is a priority remember that family comes first. When it is hard to label what is the top priority in a pile of pressing deadlines, always pick the one that will give you the most trouble.
  • Breathe. There is always time to take a moment, close your eyes, and just breathe.

COMPLETELY ENTHRALLED

I own an HP laptop and frequently receives updates from HP including their Personal Again campaign that features some incredibly well-done and creatively inspiring videos. Recently I found Paulo Coehlo’s The Experimental Witch competition that led me, breadcrumbs in hand, to his Alchemist site on HP.

The guitar music that plays on the site has me completely in thrall. I am hooked on it, sometimes leaving the browser window up in the background to listen to it while I write or work. I don’t know that he will actually see it, but I sent him an email on his MySpace requesting the name of the piece or the guitarist and thanking him for his contributions to the creative community. Admittedly I do not own personal copies of his books yet but hope to soon. His stories are wonderfully rich and I look forward to reading more.

PUBLISHED RECENTLY

I have been so busy on this end that I’ve not had the chance to tell you all about some wonderful things that happened recently!

100 Days of Monsters. My family and I found Daily Monster, Stefan Bucher’s absolutely addictive video blog, and have been glued to it ever since. We crank the volume up so we can enjoy the sounds of his pens as they glide quickly across the paper. It is fascinating to watch what each seed of ink will become, even he doesn’t know till he does it which makes for a wonderful mystery. Stefan asked people to post little stories about his monsters, what we thought they were doing, who they were, and the madness began. Everyone got involved and the stories rolled in. Incredibly funny stories, emotional stories, off the wall weirdness, and all of them great fun to read. Well, he made a book with a DVD. All of his videos for the first 100 monsters and then some are included. And two of my stories made it into the book. So pick up a copy and read about “Reggie” and “Herman”, monsters 91 and 95. They will be very happy that you did. And if you do, please post a reply here and tell me what you think. I hope you like them both.

Thank you Stefan for your inspiration and your kindness!

Never Forgotten. I am a member of the ZNE network and was able to contribute to a book project for one of its members who recently lost her mother. I encourage everyone to take a look at the book and purchase one for yourself or for a loved one who may need some support or encouragement. I do not received any kind of compensation and am even purchasing my own copy so this is not a sales pitch. My piece is Essence & Longing and is included under the “Healing: The Beauty of the Soul” section in the book. If you do buy a copy, remember to post here and tell me what you think.

BACK IN SCHOOL

Started back to college week before last, totally online, and love it. Wish I could have done it sooner. They have the same accreditation as the local university but without worrying about scheduling, gas prices, or the wear and tear on my vehicle. Val has been in since August, he’s on the Dean’s list, (WOOT You go baby!) and I should be there soon as well. I am working on my BFA in Visual Communications with a specialization in Digital Design which, mostly, is the degree for what I have already been doing for the last 22 years. I have been wanting to finish school though, needed the piece of paper, and wanted to get all of the new software so here I am. I really enjoy the interface, the structure, the whole layout of AIU. And, yes, it takes a lot of discipline. But I will have my degree in 13 months, not four years, and there is something incredibly motivating about that. When I graduate in July of next year, if not sooner, I will be working on my Masters in Education there or finding a school where I can complete my Architectural Design degree. Yup, there is the secret to my handwriting, I was an Architectural Design major previously.

TED TALKS

“Who is this Ted person anyway…” you say? Don’t worry, I said that too. During my Visual Literacy class I was linked to a TED Talk by John Maeda. An incredibly brilliant, very funny man. Maeda spoke of simplicity, applying it to design and everyday life which is something I think we all need to look at. If you get a chance to watch the video, do, it is well worth the time. I have also found the TED Talks to be a fantastic resource. I think one of my favorites so far though has to be J.J.Abrams talking about the “mystery box” and writing.

A NEW SITE FOR ART FOR CURES

Art for Cures has been in need of a site for a while and, though I had started building one, my life and health conspired to keep me from it. After seeing a few site on the Ning network, seeing the resources available and the network’s framework, I decided to build us a home there. Art for Cures is now part of the Ning network and we already have several members there. Looking forward to posting the auctions in the next week and moving forward!

SCRIBBLES, DOODLES, AND SQUIBBLES

We like to hang out in the local bookstores on occasion (read we live there) and I am always on the lookout for new things fir Ysa and I to play with. Not seeing anything I could afford to get this week, or that we didn’t already have, I picked up another Kumon book for Ysa’s homeschool. Ysa and I rummaged around the children’s section a bit and a book accosted me on the way out. Well, it didn’t actually accost me per se, but I am very visual and certain things tend to jump out at me on shelves. In fact when I worked for the bookstores (both BAM and the Noble Barn), I was the one people always came to when they couldn’t remember the name of something. Nine time out of ten I would know it by what the spine or cover looked like and sometimes the “look” of the author’s name.

This time, as soon as I saw it, I knew it was coming home with us.

Scribbles by Taro Gomi is part of a three book series (might be a series, should be) and all three seriously ROCK. The books are almost two inches thick and full of half drawn doodles that you have to finish. It is total creative license, total interpretation, total fun.

…and yes, for those who recognized the name, Taro Gomi also wrote Everyone Poops. hehe

BEING ANACHRONISTIC AGAIN

I’ve rejoined the SCA after a long hiatus and have brought my family with me this time. Val is going Art/Sci, Logan is going heavy weapons, and even my girl is considering it as well since they start youth combat at age seven. She already makes a great shield wall, ran over the last guy. Val has been working on his own medieval chant notation, Logan is making chaine maille again and I have been pouring through patterns and buying fabric in preparation for garb making. It has been way too long since I have been camping so I am really looking forward to it.

Oh, I was also given the honor of being the Shire’s new Web Minister (or Mistress in this case).

My new tagline?

Ana Maria Seaton
ska Ginuivive Alysabaeth Rosewood (Dragonfly or Alysa)
Shire of Amurgorod, Kingdom of Trimaris
“The Dragonfly caught in the Spidered Web.”

Web site for the Shire coming very soon. VIVAT TRIMARIS!

SCRIPTFRENZY

ScriptFrenzy is this month, brought to you by the makers of NaNoWriMo. I toyed with the idea of working on a script I have had in my head for a while now but my time will not allow it. Also, anytime I even consider working on another writing project, my two novels – Moonlight & Shadow and Odonatia – beat me over the head and throw tantrums on the floor begging for attention. My children’s book, Clementine’s Garden, can get away with it though. They don’t beat her up because she is too cute.

WAIT, YOU SAID…ODONATIA!?

Yes I did, you heard me right. Odonatia is fast becoming a novel. For those of you who are not familiar with it, Odonatia is a fiction project I have been working on for about 10 years now. Started as a simple postal issuing authority for artistamps (faux postage), it quickly snowballed (read avalanched) into an epic piece of fiction with real passports, a winery and other goodies coming. Turning very steampunkish. Plans include a daily blog form the island, downloads and other goodies. Looking at a couple of other creative associates that might get involved as well in the future.

ON THE HUSH HUSH

Two major projects going on, one involving my rubber stamp line that is forthcoming, are building up speed and about to take off. Sadly though, and yes I know I am a tease, both are on the “hush hush” right now till I get the okay. I know, stop pouting, I’ll post here as soon as I get the green light. Needless to say both are of incredible proportion and I cannot wait to tell you all.

…well, that is all I can think of for now. (aren’t you glad? hehe) I will be posting scans, photos and a few updates today and over the next couple of days. This week has been a busy one so I have been trying to stay focused and push forward. Hoping this finds you all well and in good creative spirits!

Brightest blessings!

A fairy woke me.

A fairy woke me this morning, seriously. She had curly light brown almost reddish hair, mussed as though she had been sleeping in a nearby flower. Her wings were lime green with pink iridescent glittery patterns and they flapped, though not very well, from their perch on her back. She wore a long shirt with butterfly filigree on it, whispy designs trailing all over the front, and grey pants with socks. It was cold in the house despite the heater so a fairy has to keep warm somehow.

“Mommy…?”

“Yes baby girl?” Cat-like stretching ensues.

“Can I watch Tinkerbell while you make me breakfast?”

“Yes baby, come here.”

The fairy climbs up in bed and uses mommy like a giant body pillow. It is customary in my house to tackle me awake I think; they must have all discussed it in a meeting I missed somehow, normally I call the meetings. The fairy scaled my bed, careful not to take my eye out with a stray wing, and climbed up to lay along my side like a cat on a windowsill. Big body hugs are her specialty at this size and I always rock her back and forth, gently loving on her hair and cheek, before dumping her off on the other side to listen to her giggle. That’s 63 pounds of wriggly fairy, not including the wings.

Thus starts my day.

Any thought of lounging in bed for a few more moments is quickly dashed, even the most vivid dreams swept away by daily to do lists, schedules, and the world outside. For now though, I make a fairy breakfast of strawberry waffles with peanut butter and a yogurt, while thoughts of coffee quickly redirected to decaf chai swirl around in my still fogged head. Breakfast made, fairy happily watching Return to Neverland, I sit down at my computer, web coding before me, thoughts of the chai I still haven’t made tapping at my brain…

Guess I’ll get up and go make it.

Making a French Corkboard

One of my projects for Christmas was to give my daughter’s room a pink makeover into a more mature room for her. She is six and a half going on 40 and has long since outgrown her makeshift toddler room. I scoured all the local places for a French-style corkboard for months prior to Christmas without any luck. Most people looked at me like I was crazy when I tried to describe it, so I set out to make my own! Sadly, I wasn’t able to carve out any time to make it until this past Wednesday when she spent the night at my mother’s. She’s seen it and we cannot wait to put it up on her wall.

I made this before New Year’s and, up till I had to stop for the buttons, it took me roughly two hours to do. It would have been done in an hour if I’d had a power stapler and the buttons. LOL

You can find all of the photos for this project in order here.

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MATERIALS

  • corkboard – the size of this will determine the rest
  • fabric – single layer, enough to cover the corkboard plus three inches to the width and length, thin cotton works best but you can use any thin, tight weave fabric
  • quilt batting – the inexpensive kind if fine, low loft is easiest to work with
  • grosgrain ribbon in two sizes – 1/4 inch for across the board, 3/4 inch to cover the sides or you can use a feather boa for a more stylish, girly look; you will need to measure your board
  • upholstery tacks OR lots of big buttons if the corkboard is thin – use thick plastic buttons or metal ones if you can find them for contrast
  • staple gun – I suggest a battery powered one to spare your hands
  • large needle and thread – waxed thread is great, but make sure the needles and the thread will go through your button holes
  • Elmer’s glue or PVA and a paint brush
  • brown kraft paper or decorative paper for cover the entire back of your corkboard
  • fuse-able web (thermal bond) and an iron

THE BATTING

Staple the batting to the corkboard on the sides making sure to pull it tight across the board. Do not worry about the look of the staples all over your board, you will cover the staples later. Corner the batting so that you can wrap the corners only, like you would wrap a package, and staple it around back.

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Trim the batting so that it does not wrap to the back except where you have stapled it at the corners.

THE FABRIC

Repeat the process with the fabric. Make sure the quilt batting is flat underneath your edges; smooth the batting as you go. Staple on the sides and the back to keep it tight.

This is where it is important to use a tight weave fabric. If your weave is loose it will pull free form the staples and you will also be able to see the batting underneath.

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Again, wrap the corners like you would a package making sure to cover the batting.

THE RIBBONS

Lay one layer of ribbons in one direction then repeat the process in the other direction. Staple on the sides and the back to keep it tight. Staple one end then pull it gently across to the other side. The fabric might buckle a little so loosen up slightly before stapling the other end in place.

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Ribbon done

UPHOLSTERY TACKS OR HOW-TO GET AROUND A DILEMMA

Ok, the corkboard I found was inexpensive so it had a thin cardboard backing on it. The dilemma was the fact that I couldn’t bend over the upholstery tacks without ripping through it. I picked Logan’s brain for a solution and he came up with a fabulous one: Buttons!

[The following is in theory as I won’t be doing this till this weekend. ]

Large metal or, in this case, pink plastic ones. A large needle, a thimble and some gloves to protect your hands.

Poke a hole through your board with either the upholstery tack (like I did), an awl or your needle. Poke your holes first. Thread your needle and run it through one button on the front, through the corkboard, and through ANOTHER button on the back. Sew the buttons on through each other and pull them down tight enough to poof the fabric and batting on the front. Tie off on the back leaving about four inches of thread. Wrap the loose thread around the button then stitch it through a hole or another thread on the button before trimming to secure it. Repeat the process through all the places where the ribbon crosses itself on the front.

The button ribbon anchors will make more sense once I have posted the visual. I will add the rest of this after I’m able to get the buttons and finish it! More very soon.

COVERING THE BACK

Once the buttons are in place you can work on making it pretty by covering all those staples up!

Using double-sided adhesive for bookbinding, regular double stick tape, or upholstery tape, tack down the fabric edges. You have already trimmed the batting by this point so it won’t be in your way. Make sure to smooth your fabric out as you go so you don’t have ripples under the paper.

Take a paint brush and some Elmer’s glue, or PVA if you have it, and glue the kraft paper down over the back of your board. This hides all your unsightly staples and the fabric edges.

COVERING THE SIDES

Cut a length of fuse-able web (thermal bond) the length of one side; you can do this one side at a time or all in one length of ribbon. If you do this in . Take the wider ribbon and iron it into place on the side of the board using the fuse-able web in between the ribbon and the board. Repeat for each side.

Making a French Corkboard

One of my projects for Christmas was to give my daughter’s room a pink makeover into a more mature room for her. She is six and a half going on 40 and has long since outgrown her makeshift toddler room. I scoured all the local places for a French-style corkboard for months prior to Christmas without any luck. Most people looked at me like I was crazy when I tried to describe it, so I set out to make my own! Sadly, I wasn’t able to carve out any time to make it until this past Wednesday when she spent the night at my mother’s. She’s seen it and we cannot wait to put it up on her wall.

I made this before New Year’s and, up till I had to stop for the buttons, it took me roughly two hours to do. It would have been done in an hour if I’d had a power stapler and the buttons. LOL

You can find all of the photos for this project in order here.

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MATERIALS

  • corkboard – the size of this will determine the rest
  • fabric – single layer, enough to cover the corkboard plus three inches to the width and length, thin cotton works best but you can use any thin, tight weave fabric
  • quilt batting – the inexpensive kind if fine, low loft is easiest to work with
  • grosgrain ribbon in two sizes – 1/4 inch for across the board, 3/4 inch to cover the sides or you can use a feather boa for a more stylish, girly look; you will need to measure your board
  • upholstery tacks OR lots of big buttons if the corkboard is thin – use thick plastic buttons or metal ones if you can find them for contrast
  • staple gun – I suggest a battery powered one to spare your hands
  • large needle and thread – waxed thread is great, but make sure the needles and the thread will go through your button holes
  • Elmer’s glue or PVA and a paint brush
  • brown kraft paper or decorative paper for cover the entire back of your corkboard
  • fuse-able web (thermal bond) and an iron

THE BATTING

Staple the batting to the corkboard on the sides making sure to pull it tight across the board. Do not worry about the look of the staples all over your board, you will cover the staples later. Corner the batting so that you can wrap the corners only, like you would wrap a package, and staple it around back.

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Trim the batting so that it does not wrap to the back except where you have stapled it at the corners.

THE FABRIC

Repeat the process with the fabric. Make sure the quilt batting is flat underneath your edges; smooth the batting as you go. Staple on the sides and the back to keep it tight.

This is where it is important to use a tight weave fabric. If your weave is loose it will pull free form the staples and you will also be able to see the batting underneath.

DSC00018

DSC00023

Again, wrap the corners like you would a package making sure to cover the batting.

THE RIBBONS

Lay one layer of ribbons in one direction then repeat the process in the other direction. Staple on the sides and the back to keep it tight. Staple one end then pull it gently across to the other side. The fabric might buckle a little so loosen up slightly before stapling the other end in place.

DSC00033

DSC00032

Ribbon done

UPHOLSTERY TACKS OR HOW-TO GET AROUND A DILEMMA

Ok, the corkboard I found was inexpensive so it had a thin cardboard backing on it. The dilemma was the fact that I couldn’t bend over the upholstery tacks without ripping through it. I picked Logan’s brain for a solution and he came up with a fabulous one: Buttons!

[The following is in theory as I won’t be doing this till this weekend. ]

Large metal or, in this case, pink plastic ones. A large needle, a thimble and some gloves to protect your hands.

Poke a hole through your board with either the upholstery tack (like I did), an awl or your needle. Poke your holes first. Thread your needle and run it through one button on the front, through the corkboard, and through ANOTHER button on the back. Sew the buttons on through each other and pull them down tight enough to poof the fabric and batting on the front. Tie off on the back leaving about four inches of thread. Wrap the loose thread around the button then stitch it through a hole or another thread on the button before trimming to secure it. Repeat the process through all the places where the ribbon crosses itself on the front.

The button ribbon anchors will make more sense once I have posted the visual. I will add the rest of this after I’m able to get the buttons and finish it! More very soon.

COVERING THE BACK

Once the buttons are in place you can work on making it pretty by covering all those staples up!

Using double-sided adhesive for bookbinding, regular double stick tape, or upholstery tape, tack down the fabric edges. You have already trimmed the batting by this point so it won’t be in your way. Make sure to smooth your fabric out as you go so you don’t have ripples under the paper.

Take a paint brush and some Elmer’s glue, or PVA if you have it, and glue the kraft paper down over the back of your board. This hides all your unsightly staples and the fabric edges.

COVERING THE SIDES

Cut a length of fuse-able web (thermal bond) the length of one side; you can do this one side at a time or all in one length of ribbon. If you do this in . Take the wider ribbon and iron it into place on the side of the board using the fuse-able web in between the ribbon and the board. Repeat for each side.

Ballet Mom

Well, it’s starting. My baby girl isn’t my baby anymore. hehe Since she was two, Ysa has always loved ballet, hula and ice skating. Since we live in Florida, ice skating and hula are not part of the norm here. Ballet on the other hand is and I am taking Ysa to one of the local schools to check things out. I’ll be dragging the guys with me since they are part of her support group and I am hoping that she will like it enough to start next week.

We will have a month to buy her equipment which is nice in case she takes four lessons and decides “mommy I don’t want to do this”. One of her favorite sayings though is “never give up”. I am hoping she puts that to good use. Thankfully she has about 6 more years before I have to buy pointe shoes. hehe

I did a little research on selecting the right school, since it has been more than 20 years since I have been in ballet. Here are a few guidelines taken from the Gaynor Minden site:

Health & Safety

Good ballet training can improve children’s bodies and their self-esteem. Bad training can have the opposite effect. Beware of a teacher who pooh-poohs health and injury prevention in the name of Art; she may well have a long, sad history of injured pupils. If half the class has tendinitis at the end of term, parents might well question what’s going on. Sick or injured dancers can neither create Art nor experience the physical joy of dancing.

Weight

Parents should take the following factors into consideration in assessing the health and safety-consciousness of a school. Do the students look happy and healthy? Are they lean, bright-eyed and eager or are they frighteningly thin and joyless? How much emphasis is being placed on being thin? Recent medical studies have shown that underweight female adolescents who exercise without sufficient caloric intake are at risk for serious health problems even if they have regular menstrual periods. And of course it is well established, (though sadly not known by every ballet teacher), that lack of a regular menstrual cycle as a result of being underweight puts women at risk for osteoporosis and other maladies.

Pointe Shoes

At what age are the girls allowed to go en pointe? A teacher who permits pointework before the students are 10 or 12 would have to have truly exceptional students because very few girls have sufficient strength and technique at such a young age.
It is safe for a dancer to start pointework after the bones of her feet have finished growing if, and only if, she has developed the strength and technique necessary to pull up out of the shoe and maintain turnout and ankle stability. Thus beginners should never go en pointe. Adults can get away with dancing en pointe to a greater extent because their bones have hardened.

Attitude

A good ballet school exudes a disciplined and serious, but cheerful atmosphere. Students should be neatly dressed, ideally in a uniform color leotard and ideally with sweatpants and other concealing garb not allowed after barrework. Hair should be strictly groomed; jewelry either tiny or prohibited. Dancers should not talk during class and should show respect to the teacher and – if there is one – the accompanist.

Forcing Turnout and Extension

Rotation of the leg in the hip socket so that the knees and feet point out to the side rather than to the front is essential for classical ballet. This is called “turn-out”. A turn-out of 180???? is most desirable. However, knees and ankles can be damaged by forcing the turn-out. A careful teacher will try to help her students achieve the desired flexibility without putting the joints at risk.

Competition

Is the emphasis on competitions or on progressive training? Performing experience is wonderful and should be encouraged; on the other hand an over-emphasis on rehearsing for a competition may be to the detriment of the student’s technique in the long run.

Teacher’s Credentials

The teacher with the most glamorous and prestigious performing credentials may or may not be the best teacher. The ability to dance brilliantly is different from the skills that make a great teacher: the ability to analyze, to break down steps, to explain, to inspire. Some people possess both performing and teaching abilities, some don’t. Teachers who have studied with the R.A.D. or the Cecchetti Council of America know a particular syllabus with a track record of producing well-trained dancers.

Facilities

Are the floors “sprung” (wood with air space underneath)? Is the floor surface an appropriate area such as non-slippery wood or marley? Are the dressing rooms clean? The ideal space is large, airy, well ventilated, with high ceilings, a good floor, plenty of mirrors and a piano (indicating a real accompanist instead of recorded music).

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Hopefully these guidelines will help anyone else wanting to start their daughters, or sons, in ballet. Ysa is almost 5 and I am hoping to support her interests in dance, art, music and martial arts throughout her life or anything else she wants to do. We are very blessed to have her and I hope to encourage her growth into an open-minded, well-rounded woman.