wayfaringwordhack: (Egypt: Sphinx)
*cue Europe's song* (Oh 80's, what hilarious fashion you witnessed!)

In one year, we will be returning to Europe. This time, excepting any strange and totally unpredictable happening, we'll really be going back to France on 31 July 2017, give or take a day.

This coming year is going to zoom by. O.O

And these wee ones won't be so wee in another year's time.


Ti'Loup will probably even be walking by then, or swimming :P
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
I fully intended to post a snippet on Sunday; I had photos taken and everything.  But then Junebug got sick (fever and vomiting), and all plans went out the window. He got better yesterday, but we had a guest over for dinner, which took up my time. (And now I just got back from cleaning up after Sprout, who is suddenly sick. :( )

So, quickly then, I finally decided on what kind of style I want to use for the illustrations, so I played around a bit with different media.  One experiment was doing suminagashi with materials on hand a cheap paper, so not the most stunning results:



The super bright spot on the right is a sun dapple. :P

Then I practiced drawing rats and did more sketches in the two poses I'll need in the book:




For fun, I did some symmetrical drawings, using both my right and left hands simultaneously.


No snippet next week because we are taking a trip to the Red Sea. 
wayfaringwordhack: (art journal)
I worked quite a bit on sketching this week, but I could have concentrated more than I did on the illustrations for my picture book.  I did 18 doodles and only filled one page of my (admittedly large) project sketchbook. I finished the hedgehog, too.  My take-away lesson from the hedgehog is: Planning is important. If I don't plan something, I shouldn't be disappointed or discouraged if the back- and foreground are not integrated.  So, even if I'm doing something to horse around, I might want to think it through a bit more.

Some visuals of this week's work )
This week's goal is to concentrate on the picture book illustrations and do a doodle a day.
wayfaringwordhack: (art journal)
I didn't post earlier due to a crazy busy social calender. I swear we've had more visits and outings since Ti'Loup was born than in all the years prior. This is what comes of getting to know people in real life, apparently. :P

This was a pretty busy creative week for me.  I started a Doodle Book, different from a sketchbook in terminoloy only. The point is to doodle with purpose (and from real life), and by calling the work doodles instead of sketches, the pressure of creating something "nice" and "worthy" is relieved.  I got the idea off YouTube. It seems to be working well for me. The only thing is that I haven't worked in my picture-book-dedicated sketchbook in probably more than a week. I need to get back to that.

I also did some pencil reference sheets, meant to help me get a better handle on the brands and types of pencils I have.

And because I had fun experimenting with ink last week, this week I continued that by starting on a hedgehog:



I might forget to check this, so perhaps there is no point in posting a goal here, but in hopes of making more progress on my project, I'm going to declare that by next week, I will have finished this hedgehog and made at least 10 doodles and 10 project-relevant sketches.  There.  I've typed it up. Now I must come through. :P
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
Junebug loves to watch this video A Wolf in Ink and regularly asks for it. It is fascinating to see the wolf appear as the ink travels through the water.  So, inspired by MaryDoodles, I decided to play with my acrylic inks (and a new waterproof black ink) this week and did two little critter portraits:

First I did an owl. I wasn't really planning to do a scene, just put the water down on paper, so the composition is a bit weird. I decided to experiment further with more color and some colored pencil details.  Important thing I learned: When doing a "real" illustration with this technique, take the time to stretch and tape down paper. It was a pain (and sad) to see some nice effects ruined by buckling paper. :(



As Junebug says, "This is a fox":

Lesson learned from fox: That waterproof ink really is waterproof. Once you put it down, it isn't coming off again.

I also did a few sketches of animals for my picture book.
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
I forgot to take pictures of this week's creative endeavors,* but I remembered to take one of Ti'Loup's quilt. (fresh out of the washing machine; should have ironed it for the photo. :P )  And because [livejournal.com profile] frigg made me laugh with a comment the other day to the effect of "In my mind, your craft room is a pristine space," you also get a bonus of the reality that is my atelier. I did spare you the mess that is the children's side. In fact, their workspaces so are overflowing with their stuff that they always come to my tables... o.O In fact, I had just cleaned the table on the left to install the new tablecloth and the stuff you see there is Junebug's and Sprout's paintings in progress.

So, the blanket:





Mess:



_______________
* I did some colored pencil sketches of fruits and plants, and two watercolor "exercises". One was an attempt (following a tutorial) of painting mixed media abstract flowers. I kind of failed on the abstract part. I think I'll take another stab at it is this week. I also did a painting of a leaf as an exercise in mixing colors. While I'm not happy about how my leaf turned out, I did succeed in mixing up the colors I wanted, using those handy watercolor mixing charts I made a while back, which you can see hanging on the left-hand wall in the photo above.  Junebug joined in every now and then, but Sprout did both exercises with me, and we had a lot of fun talking color together. It was neat to hear her repeating Quinacridone Magenta and Burnt Sienna to herself. It is amazing to watch a kid making knowledge her own.
wayfaringwordhack: (critters: Maki World Domination)
When you ask the parents of a newborn if you can come by and meet the baby, please, come by and meet the baby.

Because even if I don't clean my house from top to bottom, I do make an effort to tidy it for you.

I do either bake something or go buy something to make sure I don't welcome you empty-handed.

And you know what else? I miss out on my nap.

I am tired and I have hormone things going on as I recover from 9 months of pregnancy and the whole rollercoaster of giving birth.  So maybe I'm a little bit sensitive here. But seriously. If you say you are coming:  Come.

(Twice now, we've had no shows. Once, the people just seemingly forgot.  The second time, the couple did call to cancel 30 min before they were supposed to show.)
wayfaringwordhack: (art journal)
Just a quick word to say I've started sketching again on my picture book. No photo because it is 3 minutes to 9, and I don't want to turn into a pumpkin...or something.  I have to hit the sack.

What creative things have you been up to?
wayfaringwordhack: (Sprout: my loves)
Both Junebug and Sprout are pleased with their brother, wanting to hold and caress him at every opportunity. They are both really gentle with him.

And snuggled around the cute babyness, you can see the blanket I made. I'll try to get around to taking a photo of it laid flat.

Baby pics )
I don't know if anyone remembers, but before Sprout was born, we referred to her as "Little Bean." Since "coquille" implies the outer shell to hold something, now that our little one has emerged, I'm going to start calling him Ti'Loup* here, which means "Little Wolf." Just because.

___________
* "Ti" as in petit, pronounced "tee", and the P in loup is silent: tee-lou. If we would have gone with a different first name, we were considering Loup for a middle name.
wayfaringwordhack: (flora: sunflower)
The thought that perhaps went through the gardener's* head before he ripped up our corn seedlings:

"Egads! What are these tall, healthy-looking plants surrounded by bare earth?  They must be an invavise species, intent on destroying all other plantlife! I must pull them up posthaste!!!'

And that was the end of our corn.  And also of a self-sown melon plant.

Ah well, we'll try again, this time putting stakes and other types of protection/markers to indicate that these plants should really be allowed to live.

Our idea of direct sowing into the lasagna bed  (a bed made up of layers unripe compost and dry vegetal matter, topped with soil) did not work.  One is supposed to transplant into the bed, but because we had nothing to transplant we tried seeds.  No luck. We'll plant flowers and things from the nursery for now and maybe add in seedlings as we have them (if we do) for this year.  The bed needs to be planted and mulched so the layers don't collapse.

We have a lot to learn.

______________
* It might have been the gardener or one of the two garbage collectors that our landlady sometimes pays to clean up around the front of the building.
wayfaringwordhack: (Junebug: Diggin' life)

I guess I can close the link on what to do if birthing one's baby happens unexpectedly at home or in the car. :P

I started having contractions on Thursday afternoon, after a busy couple of hours on my feet. But they were nothing to call the doctor about, coming, as they were, at least 30 min apart and very manageable on the pain level. At two minutes to midnight, a more serious bout of them woke me, keeping me from from dozing off until 6 a.m., after which point they went back to every 30 minutes or so, allowing me to sleep 20 min at a time until 9 a.m.

At a little past 2 p.m., the contractions started coming quicker, if not harder, so my doc suggested going to the hospital to be checked out by the doctor on-call. We arrived at there at 4, with Sprout in tow, leaving Junebug in the care of our housekeeper.

Two hours later, after another swift and hard dilation,* I barely made it into the pool, as my doctor barely made it back from Alexandria to assist in the birth, in time to deliver our son. Sprout was so proud to be part of it and see her new baby brother come into the world.

So Boaz Kaelig** Faure, came to us as befits his name (Boaz = quickness, swiftness; Kaelig = Generous lord). He weighed 3.485 kgs (7.68 lbs) and measured 52cm (20 inches).

I was released from the hospital at midnight and should be in bed, but the adrenline is stll running high. Still, better try to sleep some more. I need it. :P

____________

* Similar to Sprout's arrival in the world, only with much less vomiting.
** Briton/Celtic name prounced "Kay-lig", "lig" rhyming with fig. I wonder, since part of the name is French and Boaz is easy to pronounce, if my mother-in-law will approve. Or will she declare that we gave this baby a "weird name," which is her verdict for her other two grandchildren. :P

wayfaringwordhack: (Junebug: Diggin' life)
This morning, Sprout and Junebug donned J's and my clothes so they could be the parents.  Sprout informed me that our housekeeper would be keeping us "children" while she and Papa went to the Opera.

She and Junebug went into the yard and were sitting on the steps:

Junebug sings "Who Let the Dogs Out!" *
Sprout: That is not what you listen to at the opera!

Sprout begins to hum a La, la, la, lilting tune, and Junebug insists on repeating, louder, Who let the dogs out!!!!

Sprout: No, no, no. That is not opera music.

:P

______________
* Junebug's interest in (and knowledge of the existence of this song) is thanks to his father who heard it over 15 years ago during his first visit to the States to meet my family. He never heard it again. Talk about a good memory for earworms. If only he remembered other things as well as he remembers music. ;)

Junebug sings this a. lot. A couple of weekends ago, we were on a family retreat, and at 1:30 a.m., Junebug woke up crying.  Both J and I tried to comfort him, to no avail. Finally, he began to quiet down, and we heard a dog bark outside. He happily sang, "Who let the dogs out" and fell back asleep shortly after. :P
wayfaringwordhack: (wayfaring wordhack)
I think I'll have time for just one more project before Coquille is born (we're 37wk3d), so I've chosen to do a summer quilt. A friend is borrowing my sewing machine, but she brought it over yesterday so that I could sew my layers together.

I'm using an old sheet and two pieces of unbleached cotton for it. I have a box of embroidery floss full of floss that I got when I learned to embroidery back when I was 11 or 12.  I think it is time I put it to good use. :P

This quilt is my inspiration (the photo I once saw--and pinned--doesn't go to the homeware site where the quilt was for sale, so I can't link to the proper source).

Anyhow, wanting to use things I had on hand, I have a different and wider color selection, my hope being that I won't run out of any one color, because trying to match skeins I've had for more than 25 years and in another country?  No, thanks.

So this is what I'm working with:


I'm just a couple of inches away from finishing the blanket stitch on the third side. Next will come those runnng stitches. The blanket stitch has been so relaxing to do, and I'm sure the easy monotony of the running stitch will lend itself to the same meditative mood. Just what I need. I'm glad I decided to do this. :D

Snippet

2 May 2016 05:42 pm
wayfaringwordhack: (art: energized)
We were at a family retreat this weekend, and I didn't feel like posting when we got home yesterday.

My project this week was crocheting a lamb for a friend's newborn. I used the same pattern as for Coquille's lamb, but from the below photos, you can see how differently they turned out in terms of size and color and overall personality.* Coquille's lamb is the one with the brown legs and face:

_____________
* For the arms and legs, the difference is easily explainable: I just made them as long as I felt like and didn't have the two to compare.
wayfaringwordhack: (Junebug: Diggin' life)
The other day, Sprout and I set up a crystal growing experiment.* After the water evaporated from a shallow dish with Epsom salts, we observed the bits of string, wood, rock, cement, etc. to see which materials the crystals grew on the best.

Sprout: The crystals didn't like this metallic pipe cleaner.
Me: Yeah, they seem to prefer natural materials over synthetic ones, man-made things.
Sprout: Human-made, Mom. You don't know if a man or a woman made them.

Right you are, Sprout. :P

_______
We set up three different solutions: 1) Borax 2) Epsom salts, and 3) Borax and Epsom salts.  Both 1 and 2 grew crystals, but the mix of Borax and Epsom salt, tested both hot and cold, didn't "grow" anything and nothing has formed upon evaporation.
wayfaringwordhack: (flora: passionfruit)
Not very well if it's not planted, that is for sure.

We had actually started planting back in, um, February, I think, but it was a bit here and there as we tried to build up enough compost to do a "lasagna bed."  Given that we don't receive much sunlight in our garden, our first efforts have left us a bit ho-hum and unmotivated.  But after I read [livejournal.com profile] barbarienne's post about what all she has been doing in the garden, I decided it was time we got serious.

So, we've bought planting soil to finish off the bed and we put in lots of seeds (even though I think you are supposed to use seedlings/transplants:

marigolds
3 types of radishes
beets
Russian kale (we prefer Tuscan but don't have any more seeds. I have some growing already and plan to let at least one plant bolt)
chives
basil
lemon balm
dill
okra
bell peppers
tomatillos

We also planted 3 pots of tomatoes, 2 of tomatillos, and 1 of basil to grow on the front balcony, and 8 pots of okra to transplant out front once they are big enough not to be mistaken for weeds by the gardener who sees to the communal area in front of our flat.

I didn't have a great success rate with corn and a zero success rate with jalapeños and chilis at our other place, so I'm going to germinate the corn first and use improvised seed trays for peppers tomorrow.
wayfaringwordhack: (art: guitton - housework)
As planned, I did mostly sewing these past two weeks. I sewed a cover for our kiddy pool.  It is one of those inflatable affairs that is over 2mx1.5m, so the cover had to be almost 3x2m.

I also made a mosquito net for our king-size bed, not an easy task moving all that netting about!  But I'm not finished with the stuff; I have to make a net "room" (3mX2.8mx1.8m) for our yard, otherwise flies and mosquitos make it too miserable to eat outside.  Man, how I wish we had stocked up on some mosquito nets when we lived in Mayotte. They were huge and, even better, CHEAP!  *sigh*

I'm a little over "big projects."

I did sew two newborn hats for Coquille's first day...plus a test-run hat that turned out the perfect size for Junebug's baby dolll. LOL

Next up I have to make a new "diaper" bag and repair the nursing pillow I made for when I had Junebug. I would like to sew something for an Egyptian friend who just gave birth, but I need to find some cute, quality fabric first. Not easy at the best of times and not something I feel like doing while hot, heavily pregnant, and car-less.

On the art front, I made some more color charts, more "targeted" ones, kind of like this. I also sketch cows. I suck at cows. Must sketch some more. Lazy me thinks I should just practice some "cartoony" cows since this book is not about cows. My more studious side thinks I shoud work on getting the real deal right first.

Anyone else want to share their creative endeavors from the past couple of weeks?
wayfaringwordhack: (Sprout: !!!)
Today, I plugged my laptop into J's, as I do, to use it in target disk mode, when lo and behold, I saw that my screen was no longer dark and was flashing the drive image.  I went ahead and turned on J's and used it a bit in that mode, then disconnected the two laptops, and restarted mine solo. And ta da. It is working.

My theory was that I had a monitor problem. I guess I have some kind of short circuit thing happening. I may be back; I may not. But it would be great to be able to use my laptop as normal until the shop opens, at which time I'll see what caused the problem while I get them to upgrade it and repair my dvd/cd player.

Fingers crossed...
wayfaringwordhack: (art - pondering)
So, it wasn't an April Fool's joke that the repair shop would be open on April 1st, but it did not come to pass. Color me Not Surprised. Turns out they are still awaiting their acreditation from Apple, so who knows when they will be open for business. In the meantime, there is no alternative because the Doki shop was transfered here. The wait continues. To make matters more interesting, J's laptop has been on the fritz for at least a year now, and it seems to be getting even more fickle about turning on and staying on.

Healthwise, we are all doing better, even if this infernal cough is still making me miserable. Oh for a good night's sleep of no wheezing lungs and racking coughs.  Someday...

My bruises have greatly faded, and I feel no more aches from the scooter accident. I've started driving it again but not with Sprout. She has gone out with J, though, and yesterday, she declared she is no longer afraid of it.

On the creativity front, I've been making watercolor mixing charts and experimenting in general with my new paints. I don't have the energy for storyboarding work right now, so this sort of play is the perfect way for me to learn about my supplies without the stress of "producing something."


I began my 8th month on Thursday and have started going through baby clothes to see what we have for Coquille. Verdict: Not much in the newborn department. Only found two onesies for that age. But after the first few weeks Coquille won't be wearing much as temperatures soar.

I have other newborn stuff. But where? I thought I knew where we put it after the move but have yet to lay hands on it. Must continue looking. And I have a couple of things I want to sew. Those projects may be the focus for the next snippet.
wayfaringwordhack: (Sprout: !!!)
Last week, Sprout and I were in an accident on the scooter.

It was my fault; for some reason, unknown and completely unrecallable, I accelerated when I was trying to brake to avoid hitting two cars who were closing the gap I was driving in.

I flipped over the front of the scooter, landing on my back, a mercy for a woman who is 7 months pregnant.  My right side was banged up from flying over--and breaking--the mirror, but I had no other big injuries. Sprout's bottom lip and chin were cut by the visor of her helment, and her left wrist was abraded, but the sweet love's first words were, "Momma, are you OK? Are you all right, Momma!?"

Many Egyptians came to our aid, offering help, water, comfort...even returning the two coins that had fallen from my pocket.

When Sprout finally calmed down enough, she told me that she is not used to crash landings. To which I fervently replied, neither am I and I hope we never have to get used to them. The baby was moving normally that night, and since I had no abnormal pains or anything suspicious, the doctor said all was well. I was a little nervous upon discovering a bruise just above my navel, but Coquille has been unfazed.

The next day, I was pretty sore, but Sprout seemed fine. She and Kainam got the full-fledged flu, though, and I got a nasty cough that insured this was one tiring week.  The kids still have fever today, but I hope we are all on the mend...

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