Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Emora's room transformation

If you are on facebook- sorry for getting this double!
We started with Brian scraping off the acoustic on the ceiling.

Then he painted it "Utah blue".  I started freaking a little at this point, the blue is not what I'd imagined.

Had some "helpers".

We thought this was a pretty orangy yellow, but lo and behold it's screaming yellow, intense, loud, insane yellow.  At this point, I was really freaking out.  Brian was saying it's fine and no you can't add white and blue or whatever else you are thinking, we got it we're using it.  Meanwhile Emora was dancing and exclaiming that she loved it!  oye oye!

I was really having to give it over and be at peace with it, because I was now seeing that these colors are insane and what I see in product packages.  I was thinking it would be elegant and a bit more serene.  I'd copied the colors from examples on the net from a wedding, a classy living room, a chic house... but somehow, it wasn't giving me the same vibe!

Obviously lighting changes everything.  This is still that yellow wall, but with the butterflies, it actually fits!

I tried a new technique with the clouds.  I like my old way better, but this blended nice with the walls since I added a lot more color to the clouds than I ever have before.  I also wanted to break up the clouds, so I flung white on them.  That made me happier ;)

All done!  We still need to put gloss on them, so they don't get wiped off, but I'm waiting until they are good and dry and need to buy some more gloss.

Emora helped out some of course, but only how and when she wanted to!!

SEE- I told you- industrial yellow- her room is the same color as the broom! ack!

These curtains came with the house, only they didn't darken the room enough and they looked grannyish to me, but now they match her room perfect!  They glimmer blending with the white trim and have little flowers on them.

My sister sent a package of 3D butterflies with Emora's birthday gift.  They were gorgeous in white, but Emora kept saying she wanted them colored, so we tried painting one and it was really beautiful.  The paint worked great on them and I let Emora paint some too.  These were no fail butterflies!  Even when they ran, it just added to their appeal.

All done- I should have taken a pic of her whole room set up, because her rug is perfect with this room now and her bedspread and stuff... I'm glad I didn't mess with the colors after all!  Best of all, it pleases the little 4 year old and it's done!!  We can try to return the household to somewhat sane.

I painted this a couple of years before I moved here and am shocked now at all the symbolism.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Emora's party!

When I asked Emora if she liked a princess or butterfly theme better, she said she liked both-- so they were butterfly princesses.  They decorated a treasure box, a tiara and butterfly body for their loot back that looked like a butterfly (thanks to pinterest).  We had several games- princess bingo which I'd made for Dominique's party, some races and musical games and a treasure hunt with jewelry prizes for their treasure boxes.

It was fun, but birthdays always surprise me.

No matter how simple it seems, it is always a lot of planning and exhausting!

I told our guests not to worry over gifts and that we are great with recycled/passed on toys/treasures.  It was the best.  The kids shared some of their loved toys, brought homemade cards and some bought stuff too.  They were really, really generous!

Although they look like they are quite a bit different in ages, the girls were all 4 or 5 years old.  Alana- in the orange dress is actually the oldest of the lot and kept telling us how OLD she was ;)

It was great though because they all got along marvelously and enjoyed the games.  With Ivan and Dominique, they are so close in age that they can "share" the same friends-- but I feel like Emora is always having to play tag along- so it was nice to have kids who appreciate and are at the same level as her to enjoy the same games and activities with.

The only sad part was that Emora's cousin Lanelle was sick and couldn't make it. Her heart went out to her cousin and as soon as the party was over, she was using her new colors and paper to write her cousin a note- "mommy can you write- Lanelle, It's ok, I'm sorry you had to throw up. You're welcome". 

Hope you are having a great weekend!  I'm going to go paint a bedroom now ;)  YIPEE- I love color- although I'm a bit anxious to see how the colors look on the walls!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Emora turned 4!

Emora was quite excited to turn 4.  She doesn't show her enthusiasm with exuberance, but you can tell she is proud of herself and excited with the attention she is getting.  First, I finished her portrait.  Then each of us got her a little something as a gift for her actual birthday day.

Polly pocket, lego friends, a memory game- we love LOVE games and some doll furniture the right size for the girl's polly pockets- which I am actually not a big fan of!  Their clothes are very tiny and easily lost and easily cried over-- these many losses!

She had a party while the others were at school- to the huge protesting cries of the bigs.  The theme of the week was "life is not fair, you get to do things she does not get to do, would you just be happy for her already!!"  Something like that...

Actually, in some ways, this little trooper has gotten the short end of the stick.  We've not always had parties for her, she got a rug for her birthday our first year here and this year she gets a room transformation.  The others did not have to wait for a birthday for that.  We had to paint their rooms with the renos, so they got to pick colors from the getgo.  However, Emora's room was functional and not overly hideous, so it was never a priority to paint her room how she would like it.

And to complicate matters, Emora doesn't have distinct color preferences, so we've had a hard time figuring out how she would like the room painted for the next decade or more!  Ivan has favored green since he was a baby and Dominique has always loved pink, but Emora is our rainbow girl- so we have gone with a butterfly theme.  I found a great web site where you could pick a room and then try out different colors on it.  The room had similar colors to Emora's bedspread, so we tried various ceiling, trim and wall colors.  I'd been leaning toward doing a blue ceiling with clouds (I miss having a room with clouds and Emora likes blue quite a bit).  I'd thought to do green walls as something different, but as we got looking it all looked so boyish to us.  So then she suggested a purple sky- there were some examples of that on the internet... then she kept choosing cheddar cheese orange for her walls.  I'm not kidding!  So we did a compromise.  I went a few shades lighter on her cheese orange/yellow for the walls with a blue sky.  It was close to some of the color samples we saw on the internet.  I was thinking more of a yellow color, but I did want her to be able to "choose" as loosely or strictly as you can with a 4 year old!  I did promise her some orange butterflies in the mix.  She is very excited to watch our progress.  We've moved her downstairs to the guest room, where she had a sleepover with her siblings already.  It feels nice to get to spoil her some too- especially since the others had their special flourishes in their rooms for a couple of years already.

What did your room look like when you were growing up?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Emora's portrait unveiled

My cousin- Mike Koops told me to try this process for Emora's portrait.  He teachers art- so it was pretty awesome to get some actual guidance because I have been stimied with how to paint skin- which apparently is the hardest thing in portrait painting since skin is translucent.  Also, I've discovered that faces are crazy expressive.  At one point, I had a nostril off by a millimeter and it made her whole face look skewed! So it seems I started drawing her in the spring of 2012, after taking her pic. in 2011 (I do 2 year old pictures of each of my kids).  So it took me over a year to get up the courage to start it!

There were massive problems at this point as my graph was off.  I finally erased all her face and scanned her picture, recalculated and got the graph accurate.  It was very frustrating.

Basically, the process is doing the photo 3 times with what is called an underpainting.  I drew it in detail.  Then sprayed this with "workable fixatif".  I then painted a watercolor over it, adding layers for the darks and gradations of darks.  (I think I forgot to take a picture of that).

Coming along slowly even as my baby is growing older!

Finally to the color stage!  Normally, I was just putting on a sketch, then painting and the painting took FOREVER!  Probably easily 20-40 hours because I'm super slow.  But with the under painting there, I did it in 2 days- about half the hours and lots more fun!  Although I lost her face at one point and nearly called Mike in a panic to come rescue it!  I still have so much to learn, especially with the skin, but HA- I'm out of kids!! heehee 
What a journey!

Next up is to paint her room.

That'll be a lot easier and way more forgiving.

Here are my trio of portraits.  It's so nice to have Emora's up.  It always felt a bit bad to have the other two and some random kid artwork in the third spot!  Each pic was taken in their birth season.  I have a babe for 3 of the 4 seasons.  Ivan is fall, Dominique- summer and Emora-winter.  I guess it's good that she turned 2 in Canada so that it would actually look like winter in her pic!

And here are the real models with their pics.  I think it's awesome how they are showing their personalities here too.  Ivan is pensive, Dominique the smiling poser and Emora being funny.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Canadian winter cold

I take the trio skating about once a week and there is often a hockey game on afterwards.  The kids often beg to watch a bit.  So we were waiting for the zamboni to finish cleaning the ice.  I thought I'd get some pics.  SMILE GIRLS!  Emora!!

OK, now, SMILE-- Emora quit that!

SMILE- take 3-- as you can see, their personalities shine- Dominique the cute poser, Ivan- humoring me and Emora making us all laugh- the joker of the family.

Emora's buds from across the street got to play with us last week.  We've had a lot of snow this year.  Can you tell?  When I stand on the mound that was made from shoveling, I am looking strait onto our garage roof.

So- it's crazy cold here.  I mean REALLY cold.  Some of you reading this are Canadians- you know and feel my pain- you're living it!  Those of you reading this from the sunny south-- when I walk outside, the snot in my nose freezes, my fingers burn- especially if I haven't gotten my gloves on fast enough, my jeans become frozen stiff boards, if I just washed my hair- it becomes a matted clump of frozen ice (instantly).  A friend posted a picture- her eye had teared up from the cold and that tear froze before it fell.  No joke.  It's COLD!

This day was not too cold obviously, but at school the kids are having "inside recess".

Not only are the temps extreme, but some days we get wind on top of that- bone chilling, frozen sandpaper ripping at your face cold.  Yep- this land is not for wusses!  And yet, everyday, the kids on my street, walk to school- because their parents may not have a car, or the cars are not running, or the parents don't drive them for other reasons.

And during this freeze- I'm thankful for my hot water heater for scalding hot showers- otherwise I will stay shivering in my bed for hours.  I'm thankful for hot coffee, soups, the oven, my warm house, my working vehicles, my warm clothes, warm hubby and warm kids, the wii to workout with inside and my slippers, blankets on the couch as we read books...!  Also glad that we get awesome summers to compensate for these crazy cold days.  Brian said when we moved up here that we were trading extreme hot for extreme cold.  Maybe we are people of extremes!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Idle no more peaceful protest and blocade

Idle no more is a group that started up here in Saskatchewan recently.  They arose out of frustrations at how the government is not honoring treaties in Canada and is pushing legislation through that overturns treaty agreements.  They are for environmental issues and First Nations' rights and for giving a voice to those who have been so poorly treaty for generations.

I'm not very good at understanding politics, this is just my simplified perception.  But there is a movement in Canada.  There have been walks, and rallies and flash mob round dances, blocades and hunger strikes to raise awareness of issues that have been stewing for far too long.  We live in a community with a high percentage of First Nations people and we wanted to stand with them, walk with them, show our support that we hear your pain and we are asking the government for change, healing, reconciliation, right relationship, a relationship of honoring each other and building on our strengths- together.  There was a call in the states- "no child left behind".  That phrase echoes in my thoughts here often.  There is a significant part of our society constantly being pushed aside.  It's time for ears and hearts to be opened- to recognize our common past and move forward- together.  So as a family (minus my kids in school), we got to participate in a small way in Fort Qu'Appelle.  In the above pic, Emora tried on her cousin Arwen's mitts made of real fur by a First Nation's friend of theirs up North.

Here are the horses that led the protesters.

This was where we formed in a circle to do a round dance- temporarily blocking traffic from the highway.  It was so beautiful.  People in Fort Qu'Appelle were very honoring- from what we could tell as we walked anyways.  Horns beeping with waves, teachers brought out hot chocolate, people coming out of houses and businesses to wave and show solidarity.

In the back of the truck were the singers with drums.

I love the look of the mom's face to the right.  May unity come, may peace come, may the calls of the people be heard on receptive ears.  Give us ears to hear, eyes to see and hearts of compassion.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

more winter fun

Emora has gotten brave and skilled enough to attempt her first glides on skates without the bar.  Here she goes off support!

This was our second excursion of sledding.  Several minor injuries resulted.  It was very slick!  The weather here is being very bizarre this year- lots of warm days, lots of snow, and windy- so things are icy:  streets, highways, hills.  It's caused some havoc since a lot of people commute around here.  Dance class has been cancelled a lot.  I saw an optometrist in town and she said they've had to cancel a lot too.

This day, we went on a walk along the road of the house Brian is working on.

It's a nice walk as it winds up over the lake and is closed off to traffic.

Someone is getting ready for a birthday!  She dressed up in Dominique's winter clothes and about made me cry!  I told her she could turn 4, but not be school age grown up yet!

Papa and Saba bonded over the holidays.  He misses his dog and Saba was glad to get the attention of going on walks.

This puzzle is harder than it looks!

Wow- Emora let someone brush her hair!  I think grandparents must have secret powers.

I remember seeing our neighbor at the acreage create this giant Moose for the city of Moose Jaw when I was a teenager.  Also in the back is one of the snowbird airplanes.

Who knew that Moose Jaw has the prettiest library ever?  It's in this huge old building and the foyer is all marble.  The library is spacious with lots of great sections and materials and very helpful workers.  We loaded up.  It's nice to be able to get some things that may not be available in town.  LOVE LIBRARIES!  Me as a pre-teen would be so shocked with me now!  I used to HATE reading with a passion and now I'm a bit addicted.

OK, so the puzzle's not quite done yet, but the most important parts are in place!

Ivan got to go skiing with his class today.  He was so excited.  He offered to make his own lunch last night.  Unfortunately, he still didn't make it off the bunny hill- but maybe some day he'll get up on the lift!  Glad he had tons of fun!  Next year Dominique will get to go, and Ivan traditionally masters a new skill the same day his sister learns it, so maybe next year he'll try to show off for her and make some leaps and bounds! I think we are going to take him to a trial class of tae kwan do this weekend.  It would have been nice if Judo were offered in town, since that is what the rest of my family got into and since that is more a defensive sport?  I think.  I really don't know anything... but Ivan's cousin and best friend are in Karate, so he's been interested in it too, but I'm not committing to driving him out of town, so we'll try this and see if he likes it.