Friday, January 18, 2008

Grace's Hair (Or Lack Thereof)

I took this picture Christmas day.
Yesterday, I was chatting with Grace online and she told me she'd cut her hair "very short." At my request she snapped a quick self-portrait and e-mailed it.
I love it! Isn't she adorable? :)

The Paintings of Stephen Tapp

We've known Weldon and Marcia Stutes since they were college students at ETBU a dozen or more years ago. They got married and moved to Georgetown, but later moved back and--much to our delight--rented the house right next door. Now they own a home a few blocks away. Marcia's brother, Stephen Tapp, lives in the Dallas area, but he brought his acrylic paintings to Marshall for an exhibit at the Visual Arts Center.
Marcia, her son, Jadan, and Stephen at the gallery reception.
Stephen developed his own style. He mixes acrylic paints in various thicknesses and applies them using watercolor techniques.
As you can see, the results are gorgeous. (Click on a painting for a closer look at detail and texture.)
Weldon, one of the gentlest souls and most talented bassists in the world, provided live music, along with a folk-singing friend from ETBU.

Reflected twinkle lights imitated stars in a sky darkening to deep blue. God's ever-changing canvas! What a lovely reminder that artistic inspiration is never far away.

Christmas in Colorado

Nineteen family members gathered at my dad's place in Eagle Vail, Colorado, for Christmas this year. In the forty-one years I've been skiing, this may have been the coldest trip ever.
The patio furniture when we arrived. We decided to eat in.

Grace braving the cold.
Cozy booties Curtis and Grace got during their September trip to Guatemala.
My niece, Anna, with a Christmas gift.
Grace and Curtis gave George this framed collection of photos from their wedding reception. If anyone was under the impression I'm reserved on the dance floor, you are now officially undeceived of that notion.
Sunlit icicles.

The newlyweds! I think they still like each other.
This is the wallpaper in the downstairs bathroom. We've been looking at it for twenty-six years and still can't figure out what's going on. (If you click the photo, you can examine a larger view. I welcome your theories in the comments!)
The view from the balcony off my parents' bedroom.
After a windstorm textured the table snow and made it look like cake icing, we added icicle candles.
Due to white-out conditions, icy roads, high winds, and avalanche danger, George, Jacob, and I were stranded for two extra days after the rest of the family barely made it over the pass to Denver. Our last night at the condo I made German potato soup, organic green salad, and a fresh whole-grain baguette. We finished off the left-over wine, too. Clearly it was a valiant struggle, but we managed to survive our ordeal and lived to tell about it.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Christmas Platter

I met the very cute and talented potter, Erin Lambers, when I participated in a bowl-making effort for an Empty Bowls event she's sponsoring this February. After visiting her website, I hired her to make a Christmas platter for my sister and her husband. She graciously agreed to let me photograph the process.

First Erin sliced off chunks of clay and molded them into mounds.
Four platter-sized lumps.
Erin at her wheel in her sunny studio.

The platter begins to take shape.
Graceful hands.
A gentle touch.
The platter emerges.
She sets them aside to air dry.
After the pieces were fired, I came back to observe the glazing process.
Erin layers colors that she mixes herself. First layer.
Erin's cat.
Pouring glaze over a platter.
Some of Erin's mugs with two tones of glaze. She lets them sit at least an hour before adding a third, or it won't adhere.
Second layer.

Drying before third layer.
This is the platter I selected for my sister.
Erin etches a message in every piece she makes. My sister's platter reads: Good family feels like God blessed you with best friends.
Erin's beautiful mugs after firing. You can see more of her pottery (and order it!) on her website. :)

Stocking Stuff-a-Rama and Style Show

In December the women of our church gathered to fill stockings for the folks at Arc of Harrison County, a sheltered workshop for the mentally disabled. Just for fun (and because I organized the event, and everyone knows I'm all about self-amusement), we also decorated our own stockings and modeled them on a runway, with judges awarding prizes in ten different categories. Here's my contribution:
I painted peppermint candies, then stitched the wrappers with embroidery thread and topped it off with striped ribbons. Festive, don't you think? I had to set the self-timer on the camera to take my portrait, because no one was home. Those are George's suspenders and my granddad's old newsboy cap.
Here are some of the other entries. The one on the left won "most original." She used face paint to dab a snow scene on her bare feet. Clever!
This next competitor won "boldest design." (We didn't have a va-va-voom category.)
It was a fun evening, and we made and filled 30 stockings for Arc!

Fire and Ice

Quiz time. Can you tell what this is?
Here's a hint.
The first is a tree in our back yard through the shower glass. The second is the same tree reflected in the marble counter top. I didn't enhance the color of the leaves or sky in these photos. Amazing, isn't it?
The hottest red and the coolest blue. Fire and ice.