Monday, December 31, 2012

Magoo Turns Ten

It's been hoppin' around here.

One might think, Hey, it's Christmas time.  Kick back and relax.

But the days after Christmas are usually spent cleaning and preparing for Magoo's birthday on December 30th.  And this year was a big one.  This year Magoo turned the big ONE - OH!  10!

It snowed!  Yay!  Snow!

We like a good snow, because we love to SLED!  So it was a wonderful birthday treat to hit the hill.  Now, what you may not know is that although there are only 3 people living in this house (and one cat) I believe we have eight sleds.  Why eight?  Well, different types of sleds perform better on different types of snow.  Let's say it's a thin, icy snow.  Well, the runner sled is going to fly.  What if it's a fluffy snow?  Purple Nurple will do the job.  What if you want to do a lot of jumps but don't want to hurt your butt?  The inflatable tube is the ticket!

And whenever we all go, it's always good to take the toboggan.

(Althought you can ride it solo too.)

Magoo had requested a sleepover party.  So we started off with pizza dinner.  And then presents.
Yanno, no matter how good a gift is, a Hoops and YoYo card just makes it that much better.  Magoo LOVES Hoops and YoYo.

Magoo requested my famous honey cake, and that's what he got.  Honey Cake with ten candles.

Then it was slumber party time.  The boys had the disco ball going and listened to music and told flashlight stories, but I have to admit, they went to sleep at a decent hour.  I was mentally prepared to have to go in and sush them several times, but nooooooo, not once.  Lucky me.

I think Magoo had a wonderful day and THANK YOU to all the family and friends that helped him celebrate with phone calls, cards, gift cards (OH the gift cards - he's rich, I tell ya) and warm wishes.

He's a pretty awesome guy, that Magoo.  It's been an absolute joy to spend my days helping him grow.  I look forward to another eight years before I kick him out.  ;)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Scenes from Christmas

We've been busy doing last minute crafts, baking Christmas cookies, and cutting paper snowflake: all the good little things one does at Christmas.  In fact, I have some baking to do today, so instead of a wordy post, I'll leave you with some scenes from around the house.

Magoo is BIG into holiday specials this year.  Is there any better place to watch them than in a sofa fort?

I added a couple houses to my holiday mantle. 

Java LOVES hiding under the Christmas Tree.

Happy Holidays to you all!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Post with No Good Title


I live in Connecticut and as I'm sure you've heard by now, a terrible thing happened not too far from here.  Newtown is about 45 minutes away.

Whereas I don't personally know any of the families directly effected, our community feels the ripples.  I'm sure every person that hears about it, feels it in some way.

My goal over that last few days was to try to keep the story from Magoo.  I can't imagine why he needs to know about this.  There's nothing he can do.  There's no lessons of stranger danger to be learned here. 

Everything that I have heard about the story of Sandy Brook School is that they did everything correctly - followed every protocol - there just wasn't anything they could do to stop it.

But today is Monday and I'm sure that other children know the story.  Will it come up in school?  Probably.

I'll be there later today to volunteer in the library as I usually do, so I'll get a sense of what's entered Magoo's ear then.  I imagine we'll have to have a talk tonight.   But wouldn't it be lovely if I didn't have to.  Wouldn't it be lovely if his mind remains consumed with excitement for next week - and only that - as it should be.

I apologize for bumming anyone out.  Life is basically normal for us - with maybe a little more awareness, fear, and gratitude.  Magoo is terribly excited for Santa's visit.  We spend every night watching some holiday special or another.  I'm actively trying to figure out what to make for Christmas breakfast that is gluten-free, yeast-free, sugar-free, tasty, and easy.  I just ordered a cookbook with recipe for GF YF Cinnamon buns.  We'll see.

In the meantime, if you're looking for something you can do to help the Newtown Community, the United Way is building a fund:

or you can send a check to:

Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street, Newtown CT 06470

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Illustration Friday: Explore

Explore                              2012                           j. c. phillipps

The topic for Illustration Friday this week is EXPLORE.

This is a great topic for the new style I'd been wanting to try out: a mix of vintage clip art, my normal collage style, and text.

I was inspired to use the vintage art from a poster a saw that had two ships (vintage ink drawings) being attacked by a giant cartoon-like octopus.  It was too fun.

And I'm really getting into illustrator Melissa Sweet's style. 

This is from her book on William Carlos Williams.  I LOVE IT SO MUCH!

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Crafting: Peanut Snowmen Ornaments

I saw a very cute photo on Pinterest of little peanut snowmen and knew I had to make a few myself.  THEY WERE SO CUTE! 

Mine are a little different from the originals, but they are really easy to make.  Here's a short step-by-step.

I knew I'd want to hang the peanuts to dry, so I made putting the hooks in STEP ONE.  I drilled small holes in the top of the nuts, added a drop of hot glue, then twisted the hook eye in.  If you're worried about the look of the hot glue and have some tiny pom-poms around, you could always add those.  That'd be super cute.

STEP TWO:  Then I strung them with colorful embroidery thread and painted the bottom 2/3's white (I used acrylic gesso) and hung them to dry.  (A branch in a pitcher makes a great drying rack.)

STEP THREE:  When they were dry, Magoo and I added faces (using dots.  You can try to use lines, but it's a textured surface so the lines won't be smooth.  FYI.)

STEP FOUR:  I was concerned about people with peanut allergies, so I coated the whole peanut in clear nail polish.

STEP FIVE:  When that was dry, we cut tiny scarfs out of felt and tied them around.  Then I added a wee bit more hot glue to tack the scarves in place.

All done and super cute!

We saved a couple for our tree, but the rest I will give out with Christmas treats to the neighbors and with teacher gifts.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Turkey Barn Photographs

There's a stretch of road I go down whenever I go to Simsbury.  I always pass by this big field with a run down brick barn.  I always, always wish I had my camera so that I could take some pictures of it.

Well, it was very misty on Sunday and the barn looked really, really cool.  I had my camera for the author visit, so on my way home, I decided I'd stop and be a good little photographer.

The shot above is taken from the car.  I didn't have any cars behind me, so I was crawling along the country road with my window down and my camera out.  Then I pulled over into the driveway of the 4H farm and got out to get a couple shots.

Check out that rafter of turkeys!

I played with some of my color filters, making the top photo a little cooler and the bottom photo a little warmer.

Then I had to pull in further to the 4H farm to turn the car around and I came across this scene.

Doesn't it look ominous?  Like, if you go to buy a tree a zombie will eat your brains!

That actually would be kind of funny, if zombies set traps.  It's be like this Far Side cartoon:

Anyway, when the opportunity hits, I've been trying to take more artistic photos.  And since I have another art show this summer, I think I'll paint some of the barns.

In other news: I saw a really cool movie last night THE CABIN IN THE WOODS.  It's billed as a horror movie but I'd say it's only 25% horror.  Most of it is a kind of awesome, layered, meta narrative on the horror movie formula.  It's by Joss Whedon, so if you liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, or Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog, I think you'll really want to see this.  I loved it!  

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ninja Party!

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of visiting the Simsbury Library for a ninja party!!!  And by "party" I mean I read the book, talked about making it, and we did a craft.  So it was really an author visit with a peppy spin.  But I think calling it a "party" is brilliant marketing b/c I had a lovely group of kiddos to talk to and play with.

And I had a very lovely room to be in with two full sized murals.  What a great background for photographs!  (Photographs by Cheryl Donahue, Librarian/photographer extraordinaire!)

This was a slightly younger group (well, not all of them, but I had some 4 year-olds in the batch.)  I had read Wink and I was in the middle of my short-version power point presentation when this boy in the front row raised his hand.

Me:  Yes, Ian.
Ian:  When is this part going to be over?  I'm so thirrrrrrsty.
Me:  Do you need a water break?
Ian:  Yes!
5 other kids:  Me too!
Me:  OK.  There's a drinking fountain right outside, go ahead and get a drink.
(Insert stampede.)
Ian (as he's running out)  But I don't want to miss making ninjas!

And he didn't.

I really love making ninja collages with kids because the shapes can be altered so easily.  If you get older kids with good cutting skills, they can cut individual fingers.  Young kids can make "hot dog" arms and legs. 

They all made lovely ninjas.  And since it's getting cool outside, we added some hats and mittens.

Thanks so much Simsbury Library!  I had a FABULOUS time.  Yahoo!