Monday, December 26, 2011

christmas was merry .... and spooky ...

little.e.beck.artist, on christmas eve, asked... mom, can i wear my witch skirt tonight to church ....

so how do you answer that?

i wasn't sure what the witch skirt was? was it orange and black striped? she had been a witch a few years ago for halloween ... hmmmmmm ... i just remember stripediness ....

honey, i don't know what your witch skirt looks like ... is it appropriate for church? ... i've never really had a problem with her being appropriate for church ....

yes, it's very appropriate, it's much dressier than we usually are for church so it's really perfect for christmas church ....

ok then ...

mom, can i wear my green and white striped tshirt with the witch skirt?

well, that's kind of a ratty tshirt ... and isn't green and white kinda .. well ... witchy? .....it would help if i knew what a witch skirt was .... don't you have a better shirt? or a sweater? can you wear a sweater with a witch skirt? do witches wear sweaters? remind me again why you're dressing up like a witch?

i'm not dressing up like a witch ... i'm just wearing the witch skirt ... TRUST ME ....

trust me from a ten year old .... ok then .... worst case scenario: i have to talk her out of the witch clothes once she's already in them ....

so this is my little.e.beck.artist on christmas eve ....

the witch skirt is sparkly ... and looked perfect for chrismtas .... she didn't wear the orange and black stripey tights though ......

our christmas was joyful ... hope yours was too ...

Friday, December 23, 2011

friday ... hooray for fridays ....

mr.e.beck.artist's office is closed today ... that's a grand thing, right? and little.e.beck.artist made waffles for everyone this morning .... making it feel absolutely like a holiday .... that's a grand thing, right? ..... and tonight we took the grands out to dinner .... that's a grand thing, right?


JOY post 23


today's joy: errands with mr.e.beck.artist .... wrapping gifts with the kids ... wrapping my best gift for mr.e.beck.artist, i can't wait for him to open it .... 

preparation: wrapping ... and a big kitchen cleaning so our big dinner tomorrow starts on the right foot .... 

serenity:  well ... this whole joy month thing has been quite successful ... i've not stressed over anything ... most everything is getting done ... maybe not on schedule, but at least on time ... i have a present or two to deliver to pals tomorrow .. and besides that, it's all free and easy til church at 6 .... 

we did have a glitch today ... but it was the kind of glitch that just makes you laugh .... i got this email today: "Okay girl – I just had a laugh – I just opened what I thought was your Christmas card – lo and behold, it was an empty envelope – reminded me of an empty stocking –" .... 

uh oh! i wonder how many empty envelopes we sent ... and i wonder how many people won't even tell me that they got an empty envelope?  maybe the mail man stole it .... alas ... just one more nice christmas story ..... the year we sent envelopes ....

happy shot of the day: 
i love getting christmas cards ... when we get them, they go in this santa box  .... 

editorial update: oh my, we have gotten confirmation that someone HAS in fact received a christmas card from us .. apparently some of the envelopes did have contents ... 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

bowling pin jesus ....

happy winter solstice .... today is the day with the shortest amount of daylight, tomorrow, we will have four more seconds of daylight than today .... and the next day, nine more seconds than that .... by the end of january, the day will have almost an hour more sunlight that today .... we are in the bleakest of days, but it is our tipping point towards .. towards what? less bleakness? flip flops and fourth of july picnics? this is almost to extraordinary to believe .... as it was nearly 70 degrees here today .... balmy ... and a bit disconcerting to be doing christmas chores and sweating .....


JOY post 22 ... christmas is SO very close ....

today's joy:  happy children as grandparents arrive, delivering christmas gifts, christmas cookies ..

preparation: 95% of my christmas cards were mailed today .. maybe even 99% .... 

serenity: i took a nap ... doesn't get more serene than that ... i had nothing so pressing to do that i couldn't grab my book and curl up in bed and read half a page before zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.... 

happy shot of the day: i have a small collection of nativities ... i especially like this one ... 

don't they all look like bowling pins? bowling pin jesus, bowling pin kings ... and look at those bowling pin animals ... i love them SO much .... i think the angel looks a bit maniacal... but i love mary in green .... if you were going to make a manger, what would you have mary wear? green works for me .... i wouldn't put any wise men in gray though .... i do love christmas time .... such a time of joy.... no gray, please! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

moustache day .....

my little.e.beck.artist is maturing so .... i'm considering giving her a razor for christmas this year .... the best bit of all is that she helped me address some of our christmas cards ... her handwriting is so earnest and dear and sweet and fifth gradey, that everyone should hope that their address is written by her ... alas, it isn't so ... i write much faster than she does ... but it sure was lovely to have someone to share the job with .... she just delights me ...



JOY post 21
today's joy: stick on moustaches (you too can have them if your dollar store is as good as ours)

preparation: we went shopping for a family that our church told us about, that needs some life help ... that happens to be at christmas time ....

serenity: knowing that my kids understand helping others who are less fortunate ....

happy shot of the day: see my moustached baby above .... 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

... the calm ....

so .. i've been doing this serene thing ... really, really, really trying to stay calm and happy and sweet and serene and kind ... and watch what i think and say and feel ... and when i don't like how i feel to work on changing it ... to watch for overwhelmed ... to take care of myself this holiday so that i can make my family happy, because here in this house, like in many, as is the mother, so goes the family .... i didn't actually know that little nugget of wisdom a few months ago when i was in a good snit... a not fleeting snit ... a full blown mired down in blah snit .... and my sweet husband basically said, buck up .... buck up, cause the four of us need you! we love you adore and need you to help us live our lives .... and when you are happy you make all of us happy .... figure out why you are out of sorts, fix it or move on .... he told me i was the house cheerleader, clown, chief and barometer .... and could he do something to help me get back on track ... well ... apparently the pep talk was enough ... and i  gave myself a bit of an attitude adjustment .... and worked on joy and calm ....

so now ... i'm in this full blown calm and serene state .... but ya know what? calm and serene doesn't get a lot done .... taking the happy path doesn't necessarily accomplish much besides happy! .... like today? i've played multiple games of mario carts on wii with my kids ... taken both girls shopping separately (again ... i did the same thing yesterday ) ... but my shopping has been done for a while now .... and i went and ate frozen yogurt cause the kids wanted to ... and ... well ... i've not wrapped my gifts ... or done my christmas letter or cards .... or cleaned up for company coming .... but i am happy and calm and serene and enjoying my family and our break from school .... i did do a few responsible things ... three dentist appointments (no cavities) ... three loads of laundry .... made dinner .....

so .... happily ... i give you my standard joy post ....

 JOY post 20


today's joy: frozen eggnog yogurt , singing our advent song as we lit our advent candles at dinner tonight ... and right now, my family is all sitting in the dark with just the lights of the orange christmas tree, the glow of my computer, and harry potter 7.2 on the tv .... 

preparation: little.e.beck.artist wrapped loads of gifts today ... and after dinner tonight the family chatted and we figured out our menus for four important meals leading up to christmas :
thursday night: the inlaws arrive ... salmon, asparagus, new potatoes, fruit salad
friday night: take the grands out to dinner
saturday night (we usually have tenderloin christmas eve): italian night .... chicken parm, angel hair pasta, green beans, good bread
sunday xmas morning: cinnamon rolls, sausage rolls, grapefruit, canteloupe
sunday christmas dinner (we usually have turkey, stuffing, dressing, gravy, mash taters) : ... beef tenderloin, potato casserole, yeast rolls, spinach, corn casserole

we are trying to mix up our dinners to better suit the kids .... none of them like the things that go with turkey ... i don't like gravy much, even though i make it quite well .. i guess i never encouraged them to like it .... 


serenity: well ... i'm blogging and watching a movie instead of doing my christmas card ... and it is december 20th ... yikes .... but i'll get to them ... i hope ... and if i don't, it's ok .... or, ok with me ... 

happy shot of the day: 
here is little.e.beck.artist .... did you know that my family doesn't use paper napkins or paper towels .... it's our best green thing .... when i got married 20something years ago i made the decision to only use cloth napkins and towels ... and so it has been ever since ...

during the year the five of us each have a different napkin ring so that we can reuse napkins for a couple meals .... i've been a duck lately .... now i'm a jaunty snowman .... we have sets of rings, but think it is more fun to all have different .... 

and the dog got her christmas bath ... and her bangs trimmed too .... everyone needs to spiffy up a bit, for christmas, right? so, in my serene and calm and slacker state, i was going to skip the dog washing ... even though there were multitudes of family comments about her ... um ... scent .... her unpleasant scent .... happily, sometimes when one person doesn't want to something, someone else picks up the slack .... 

so, who's going to do my christmas cards? hmmmmm .... 



Monday, December 19, 2011

joy post and apples

i got this weird thing from a pal ... it was a hostess gift and when i opened it she said, do you know what it is ... well ... no .... so then i read what it is ... and is still wasn't quite sure .... 
do you know what to do with it? why would you carve a candle? 
well ... now i have it all figured out ... you use it to do an easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy job of making fab votive candle holders .... it's not actually carving a candle .. it is carving out a spot in produce to put a candle .... 
today, i changed up my usual advent candles to apple advent .... 

each sunday in advent you light the next candle ... purple hope, purple peace, pink for JOY, purple love and then the white one of christmas for baby jesus's birthday .... and we have a song we sing for each candle .... but now we have apple candles .. pretty spiffy, right? 

i had a grand joyful day today ... took mini me, i mean little.e.beck.artist , out for some christmas shopping .... she's now done with her shopping and wrapping ... then came home for three guitar lessons and some produce carving for candles .... then took girl.beck.artist out for some shopping ... i can't say enough about the happiness of one on one time with the kids .... 

and then we had dinner out as a family ... with two other families ... both old friends ... one in town pals ... one out of town pals .... and it was really great ... and happy .... and sweet .... and it felt like christmas time happiness .... 

i was looking for pics of my advent candles from previous years, but instead ran across this post and especially like rereading it .... it's nice and christmas happy .....

joy to you!! 





Sunday, December 18, 2011

18

today is joy day 18 .... and i'm having trouble keeping up with my month of blogging that is meant to be regaling you with my joyful moments, my search for holiday serenity, and the blow by blow recounting of my count down to christmas .... so .... i taught sunday school this morning and the class decorated glass christmas ornaments with sharpies ... then my family hosted a guitar recital .... then my family just hung out ... and did not much .... and it was lovely .. but every once in a while i'd have a little pang of WOW i should wrap some gifts/finish shopping/make a christmas menu/consider starting my christmas cards .... but no ... i watched my kids' favorite tv shows instead ...
so, instead of the usual ... i'll show you the last painting i finished ... a commission ... delivered just in time to be given as a christmas gift .... so, joy for someone .... 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

red letter day ....


JOY post 17

today's joy:  today's joy is that i've kept myself so busy (doing absolutely nothing of importance) that i have frittered away my moments than i could have blogged in ... and now, i have donned my red boots and am heading out for the evening ..... 

festive feet is just the way to go .....


JOY post 16

yesterday was the 16th ... so this joy post is late ... luckily it is late because of joy ... yesterday i had a full and busy day with little.e.beck.artist out of school and helping me get ready for a party ... and then picking up girl.beck.artist after her last exam ... and then all of us going to boy.beck.artist's basketball game (losing at half, won the game though, very exciting) .... and then home in time to shower and open my house to friends ...  i have some awesome friends .... 
yesterday's joy is todays dishwasher to unload! 
hope your day is merry .... 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

jingle bells ...


JOY post 15

this month i've been doing posts of  the day's joy, preparations for christmas, serenity, and happy shot of the day .... but today ... all that can be encompassed in one photo .... 
the joy: little.e.beck.aritst in her sock monkey christmas jammies playing jingle bells by the christmas tree......

preparation: she's preparing for her recital, which is friday ... my prep is making sure she's ready ..... 

serenity: pretty peaceful in here with happy her .....

happy shot of the day: the photo kind of cracks me up ... it is such visual overstimulation .... it doesn't feel that way sitting here, but the pic makes the room seem crazy .... the wall of bookshelves , three wreaths, the framed christmas tree that my grandma mormor made out of broken glass, snow globes on the counter beneath the shelves, gifts on the piano and under the tree, tree so full and big and blurry, candy canes in the fore ground on a ceramic platter that girl.beck.artist made this semester in her pottery class ... sounds so simple ... looks like chaos .... makes me happy

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

tis the season for hot chocolate .....


JOY post 14

today's joy: ihop might be my favorite restaurant ... it's just always a happy place to go ....and what more can we ask of a restaurant .... 
i had hot chocolate ... i'm not a coffee or a tea sorta gal, but i LOVE hot chocolate .... this one was exceptional ...... no point of reference in that photo, but that cup is HUMONGOUS ....my best pal had a matching cup for herself .... 

preparation:  YES, i got two big gifts bought today ... metaphorically weighing me down big, not big in stature or price .... but i'd been planning on them ..... and had been putting it off .... so it was a nice relief to get them ... and even better, i came RIGHT home and wrapped them ... so now i have girl.beck.artist, boy.beck.artist, and little.e.beck.artist wrapped good gifts under the tree .... by "good" i mean not pajamas ... but something that will make each one happy ..... and maybe surprised .... i hope surprised .... i love christmas .... and wrapped packages ....

serenity: hmmm ... i'm blogging much earlier than usual .... and i've not had any focused serenity ... so right after this i will go sit by the christmas tree with my book ... by the green tree in the quiet room, not by the orange tree in the room where everyone is busy doing stuff .... so, you'll just have to take my word on eventual serenity today .....

happy shot of the day:
these are the presents i wrapped ... three big boxes ... each with a smaller gifty on top .... with green ribbon to tie it up tight ..... shaking allowed ..... 

so, you're reading my month of joy .... where i'm working on being calm and easy going and happy ..... and it does make me more mindful of the joys of the season (even though it is exam week in my house)... how's your season going? do you have a gigantic list of things to do? or are you just taking things as they come? i've made (and lost) a couple lists ... but that's ok, right? and i want to send out a christmas card and letter .... but haven't started working on it yet .... but i will .... no worries .... 
joy to you! 
10 days til chrismtas eve .... 
yay! 



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

... so i almost didn't blog tonight ....

... i almost didn't blog tonight because i am SO caught up in pinterest ... and then i found this ... and i would like it ... but i knew i couldn't have it cause it cost 19.500 yen ... oh ... well... come to find out that is only 250.08$ US .... so, much more affordable than i presumed .... so, if you buy it as art ... a whole wall of art, 250 seems affordable ....

so ... pinterest... do you do it? i was invited to do it a number of times but didn't get it .... then finally my sweet sister in law convinced me i'd like it .... and i do ... don't know what it is ... well here is the explanation i gave allison ... remember when you started on flickr .. and didn't get it .. and then loved it? and remember when you started blogging and didn't get it ... and then loved it? and remember when you started facebook and you didn't get it and then you loved it? ... well ... same thing ...it's just the next social media ... but it is pictures of joy and happiness from all over the web ... if you go look at my bulletin boards, if you are a regular reader, you won't be surprised by my bulletin board topics or by the things i have pinned up ....

so quick ... it's bed time ...

JOY post 13

today's joy: made dinner at 9am ... love that crock pot ... it makes me feel all with it ... and today was gorgeous .. sunshine beautiful ... i rolled in the grass with the dog in the backyard ....  and a bedtime chat with little.e.beck.artist where we ooohed and aaaahed how soft her earlobes are ..... 

preparation: i think i have finished up on my ornament making ... and, more noteworthy, i've wrapped them ALL ... yes! that felt like an accomplishment ... i also made some lists to get me on track ... oh, and this is probably not really appropriate for MY prep, but i emailed mr.e.beck.artist some links to groovy things that i've found online ... it's hard to shop for other people and not find stuff you want yourself .... so i was being NICE and sharing my good ideas ......

serenity:  i might have skipped serenity today ... particularly when i went grocery shopping for bananas (they are always number one priority on my list) and the first grocery stop had only grody squashy nanas .... blech ... but ... serenity .... i was never mad at anyone, was never anything but sweet and kind, patient with my kids ... actually ... i didn't have to exercise patience, so does that mean i wasn't patient? my kids were easy ... even the ones  with exams this week ... so i just lived my normal happy day ... 

happy shots of the day:
wrapped gifts .... hooray for cute boxes ....
box of sharpies ... finally will move it back to the art room and off the coffee table .....

do you see those cute gingerbread scissors?? love those!

happiness to you .... see you on pinterest, i hope ....






Monday, December 12, 2011

ornies


JOY post 12

today's joy: a happy dog in her christmas cape .... taking girl.beck.artist and a pal out to lunch .... the relief for the kids to be done with their first exam (science! a hard one) .....

preparation: made more ornies .... seven loads of laundry ... oh wait, that's not christmas prep, that's just real life .... lots of ecommerce mail .... feels like christmas getting the boxes of gifts i ordered .... 

serenity: i really loved making christmas ornaments today ... i have kind of learned what i like and what i don't like ... i was making these hard (well not really hard) candy canes on the glass balls ... they just weren't easy ... or, they were too easy to mess up .... not so fun ... so i switched to writing ... i have cute handwriting (if i do say so myself) ... it is perfect for cute ornies ... it's not good handwriting to be doctor or a secretary or , um, who else has to handwrite these days? anyway ... i have cute, girlie handwriting so why don't i just make the most of that? so i made these .... while i pondered my handwriting .....
so more handwriting, less drawing .... friends with shorter names are easier than friends with long names ... i guess we can't all be beck, smith, hall, ray .... and it feels good to have them done ... i have a few more to go tomorrow, but i've already glued on the fuzz ... the ones above are fuzzless but are now fuzzed ....


happy shot of the day: so ... along the lines of homemade ornaments ... this pink darling was mine as a child .... she was my very favorite ornament ... she was always at the bottom of the box because i'd undecorate her first for fear one of my brothers would touch her ....
and when i got her out and ooooohed and aaaahed her, my mom would say, hang it low in the back ... because there was kind of an order to her tree ... smaller goes higher ... bigger goes lower .....pretty towards the front door .... garish towards the back .... when my kids were decorating our tree, i told them about this ballerina and how i loved her and would adjust her arms and legs into a grand jete and have to hang her in the back (which wasn't so bad, you'd see her when you were coming from the kitchen rather than when you were at the front door) .... so, girl.beck.artist promptly hung her in the back .. and i said no ... our back is book shelves ... i need to see her ... and now she's in the front ... quite low ... but the front nonetheless ....  currently, my tree has no order ... after this story, i told my kids that my decorating theory is that if it is your favorite, hang it at your eye level ... otherwise, anywhere is fine ... if it is a sentimental eyesore, hang it in the back, but really, if you don't love it, don't feel obligated to hang it .... so on the tree, you can see clusters of favorite ornies .... all the sock monkeys are in a gaggle ... lots of baby ornaments are clustered together ... you can almost tell who hung them by where they are ...

do you have a tree? decorated? fancy? hodge podge? have you ever had a themed tree ... like all the ornaments are white or silver? are your ornaments sentimental or random? what's your favorite? 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

fear not ....

JOY post 11 ... 

today's joy: sunday school this morning was super .. my favorite kind of sunday in fact: one of the teenaged teachers did the teaching ... i had no responsibility ... well, i did actually, i passed out snack .... the story was the annunciation ... when mary was told by an angel that she was having a baby ... after reading the bible, we always go around and everyone says what part stuck with them, or made them think, or was intriguing ... one boy said, it just cracks me up that angels show up and say FEAR NOT ... and you know whoever is looking at that angel is like, no (and the boy fell off his chair being fearful) i'm fearing, how can you see an angel and not freak out? .... so, the discussion got around to, if you think you see an angel, and it doesn't start the conversation with FEAR NOT, then it probably isn't an angel ... 

preparation:  i made some more christmas ornaments today .... i wrapped a few gifts .. my sweet mr.e.beck.artist cleaned the basement and found a hidden gift!! so i had to rehide .... 

serenity: sundays have more serenity than other days .... my sunday school class of fifth graders are so awesome .... it kind of blows my mind how grown up they can be .... and how sweet and dear ... 

happy shot of the day: 

here's a christmas decoration i've had for 8 or 9 years ... girl.beck.artist made it when she was little ... it is one of my favorties for its simplicity ....

Saturday, December 10, 2011


JOY post 10 ... for saturday the 10th of december ... two weeks til chrismtas eve! 

today's joy: little.e.beck.artist had a happy play date with lots of squealing and giggling.... baking for a bake sale .... (must mention the anti-joy .... twins studying for exams ... sigh)

this photo is the box of bake sale i've made .... the left side has pretzel kisses ... so easy and a fan favorite ... the only thing hard about it is unwrapping all those kisses .... and on the right are ginger spice cookies ... some are crunchier than i like, but the little girl here this morning prefers them crunchy ... still soft on the inside though .... i think she thought they were meant to be ginger snaps ... but they are more ginger chews.... i choose chews ....ha ....

preparation: my christmas tree has been up a week and it is still SUCKING down the water ... i'm really astonished ... i've never had a tree that kept taking in so much water ..... i fill it up with an entire pitcher every 18 or so hours ....

serenity: finished a cute book ... spent time curled on one end of the couch sharing a blanket with girl.beck.artist who was reading at the other end of the couch .... 

happy shot of the day:
i see this photo and it makes me fall in love with that yellow paint all over again ... this is very true color on my computer ... and hope it is on yours ... it's called sunshine yellow ... but i'm meant to be showing you the three elves sitting on a picture frame ... they are pretty hight up .... when my kid were wee, they'd always put these in spots where they could rearrange them .... 

i worked a bit on a painting today .... this week sometime i'll show it to you .... have to get it to where it is worth looking at, right? 

Friday, December 9, 2011

orange joy


JOY post 9 ... cause it's the ninth .....

‎"Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are." -Marianne Williamson


today's joys: ... gorgeous sunshine weather, christmas shopping without crowds, boy.beck.artist's basketball game (win, 50ish to 25ish) , dinner out with mr.e.beck.artist and the twin.beck.artists .... 

preparation: wow, did i get some shopping done today! darest i say, i'm close to done? a bit on the internet, a bit out in the real world .... i've not got a single good idea for mr.e.beck.artist , but besides that i'm worry free now .... 

serenity: no reading today which has been my chosen method of serenity lately .... but i did spend time in the car listening to christmas carols on a new radio station (all christmas out of new york) ..... and i did go on an extra long dog walk today since the weather was so gorgeous ... i guess, though i didn't have any grand serenity moments, it is worth mentioning that i didn't have unserene moments .... i had a casual, laid back happy kind of day .... never got around to emptying the dishwasher, but so it goes .... 

happy shot of the day: 

if you're a long time follower of my blog, you know about the orange christmas tree already .... if you are just happening by, now you know that my favorite color is orange (actually orange is tied with green ... but green is boring at christmas time, eh?)  .... i took this photo, then moved two laundry baskets, then snapped it again .... it's actually a good shot of what my house is to me ... bright and cheery and happy .... you can peek into my dining room too ... that's the green shade that is my favorite ... 

tomorrow i am going to make some christmas ornaments, learn some geometry (exam week... active studying can include teaching someone else the concepts), read at a basketball practice .... and maybe take a child christmas shopping .... oh ... and maybe some baking .... that's too much ... i wonder what i'll leave out .... 

here's wishing you a weekend as happy as an orange christmas tree .... 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

walnut surprise...


JOY post 8

today's joy: the dog in a sweater .... blankets .... heaters .... fluffy socks .... (ahem, the unjoy would be the frigid weather .... is it bad to mention the unjoys in the joy paragraph? would it be bad to have a whiny paragraph in addition to the joy paragraph?)

preparation: i finally mailed a package to the farthest flung brother .... and i did a small bit of shopping ... at some point i need to do some serious thinking about christmas gifts for my family ..... 

serenity: i finished a book today .... the death cure ... by james dashner  .... certainly not a holly jolly book ... the death cure ... come to find out there is no cure for death ... duh! so i guess the serenity was taking the time to do some reading ... not such a serene book though ... it was the third of the maze runner trilogy ... 

happy shot of the day:

when i was a kid, i had two favorite ornaments ... one of them was a walnut, and it opened on a wee hinge and had a nativity ... a teeeeeeeny tiny nativity, on the insided .... i have a walnut ornament on my tree now ... i have no idea where it came from .... but it is girl.beck.artist's favorite ornament (she actually had loads of favorite ornaments, but for this story we'll say it is her most favorite) .... everytime we decorate the tree she oooohs and aaaaahs when she spies the walnut ... the nut! the nut! and she opens it and hangs it ... and i peek at it ... and every time i am surprised that it is santa and a little kid in there ....i just assume it is the nativity walnut from my childhood and i forget EVERY year that this is a different walnut .... how can i forget every year? maybe i won't forget next year because now i have written it down here ... maybe that will store it away into long term memory .... how many types of walnut ornaments do you suppose there are in the world? do you have any hinged walnuts on your tree? 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

oops

day six ... well ... i was rocking the joy and having a busy, fab day .... all the way up until i was brushing my teeth at bedtime and realized i'd never blogged .... it had never crossed my mind once to do it .... i didn't procrastinate it or ditch it or anything negative .... i just flat out busied myself without doing it ....

so ... JOY post 7


today's joy: yesterday's joy was all about party prep and painting with allison .... i got my house ready for a party before allison came ... then i painted with allison .... and then made ornies for party favors .... 
today, i had the party (joyjoyjoy) and handed out the ornies at the end .... 


 preparation: i have a table behind my orange couch .... and on it i have an old battered drawer that i use as a box ... i put our christmas books in it on the table ... it's one of my favorite christmasy spots in the house ... cause i can just grab a book and know it will make me happy ... little.e.beck.artist has outgrown little kid books sort of, but she still likes them and has read a number of them to me already ... i suspect she'll read them all to me before the end of the year .....

serenity: you can find serenity in the oddest places ... mine was at the gym ... i took little.e.beck.artist to basketball and i took my kindle .... an hour of uninterrupted reading was well worth the bleacher seating .... christmas time makes life busy so it is nice to have enforced stillness .....

this is the table i set for my party ... the napkins and silverware and glasses and plates are all elsewhere since we did buffet style .... i like how it looks clean and fresh and simple ...
happy shot of the day:
i have lots and lots of glass balls ... back from when i didn't have many decorations, i'd buy glass balls at the grocery store, a box or two each week ... now i have loads and they all look antiqued and weathered and aged and cool ....even though they are only vintage early 90s .....

what were the first decorations you bought for yourself? have you gotten them out yet? have you finished decorating? been to any parties?


Monday, December 5, 2011

and the next and the next and the next .... pass the mnms ....


JOY post 5 ... cause it's the fifth of december, ya know .....

today's joys: pottery class, lunch with pals, little.e.beck.artist explaining the fine art of hot chocolate and marshmallow goop .. and making me some , it is SO easy to make girl.beck.artist happy, 


preparation: my fave christmas prep of the day was restocking our candy jars (in real life, this is probably not xmas prep, but it made me happy, so it is WAY elevated in importance) .... when i groceried i picked up candies .... tossed the end of the candy corns and washed all our assorted jars .... and made way for the red and green .... 
so ... we have mint mnms, red hots, jelly bells (cherry and lime), pretzel mnms, traditional mnms, and dog treats ... well ... the dog treats are always there, the other five are new today .... you would think i'd given girl.beck.artist a handful of money the way she was all giddy and gleeful over the sweets .... 

serenity:  i have a girlfriend at pottery.... cw ... and today i said to cw, in the context of a conversation about something or other, "yup, i've been working on serenity" ... and she did not even laugh at me ... she nodded wisely (she's way wise) and said that IS such a good idea ... and we talked about how even thinking about being calm can make you calmer without even trying hard ... like, a couple of deep breaths and thinking about those breaths just shakes everything out .... or shake might be the wrong metaphor ... it eases all the extraneous stuff out .... all of this conversation was while i was using a sponge to clean off my jeans and shoes ... apparently i was a bit dramatic and enthusiastic in my glazing techniques today .... so it was an active serene ... is that possible? 

happy shot of the day: these are the glazes in the studio where cw and i worked today ... ha ... who are we kidding? not work! 

so the glaze at the bottom in the orange bucket is clear ... and then 2 is white ... 3 is bone ....if you count up to 8, that's where i was, at mexico point green ... or maybe that's celadon and mexico is 11 .... anyway, about halfway up on the continuum to black glaze at the far end ... 

here's my thought of the day .... first you date someone ... and everyone says when are you getting married ... get married ... when are you buying a house .... get a house ... when are you having a baby .... have a baby ... when are you having another baby .... and then your family is all settled and your just here ... and no one ever asks about the next thing anymore .... it's like for a while there life is all set out and most people follow a particular path in some manner or other .... but then when you get HERE ... things are less clear ....since people don't know the next thing, they don't say when are you doing that particular thing...   so ... i guess you're just supposed to be serene while you figure out the next thing ....and if you can't be serene, eat some mnms .... i'll share ...  





Sunday, December 4, 2011

oh! christmas tree!


JOY post 4... hooray ... 

today's joy:  decorated our christmas tree ..... girl.beck.artist and little.e.beck.artist ooooohing and aaaaahing their favorite ornaments as they came out of the box.... 

preparation:  wow! looks like the christmas monster came and threw up .... there are boxes and tissues and half done holiday all over the place .... so much for slow and steady .... everyone kinda opened all the christmas boxes and did their favorite (or in some cases assigned) bits ..... and, well ... we'll clean up tomorrow ... or the next day! 

serenity:  i have a bunch of christmas books and have them all together for easy holiday reading .... santa mouse? night before christmas? miracle on 34th? multitudes of versions of the baby jesus' birth? got 'em all .... ready to read .... 

happy shots of the day:
boy.beck.artist and mr.e.beck.artist used saws and power tools and got the tree in the stand ... 

then mr.e.beck.artist and little.e.beck.artist put on the lights ....

it takes a long time to put on a lot of lights .... 
but then you get the joy of pulling all those decorations out of the box and putting them on the tree .... 

the extent of my artsiness today was hot gluing some ornaments that needed mending! 

tomorrow, i hope to work on some ornaments .... and tuesday i plan to do some painting .... and wednesday i plan to have a big brunch .... so maybe i'll have all the christmas storage boxes put away by then! 

  




Saturday, December 3, 2011

i love saturdays

JOY post 3
today's joy: a green christmas tree ... an orange christmas tree .... a kind husband .... everyone at home (extra thankfulness for saturdays, right?)

preparation:  hooray, hooray! we have started our christmas prep in ernest .... mr.e.beck.artist picked up our christmas tree today ... i had ordered it through our school as a habitat for humanity fundraiser .... prepaid, he just drove up and they tied a seven footer to his car .... if you're one of those persnickity tree folks, this would NOT be the thing for you ..... but we've never been that .... of course, we more often than not have a wonky tree because of our haphazard methods of choosing ... pretty much, we are choosing wonky each year ... i'll letcha know tomorrow if it's mildly or wildly wonky ... at the moment the tree is still tied up on the front porch (lest it escape?) ....

extra prep: being saturday and all we had time for extra xmas prep and pulled a bunch of orny boxes out of the basement .... and have been off and on decorating throughout the day ....

serenity: ... i've a bit of a cold and am medicated and drowsy ... and have spent a large portion of my day toes up on the couch .... i've also read a lot ... and finished ender's game ... by orson scott card .. i had read it 20 years or so ago ... and had sort of forgotten it .... but girl.beck.artist had bought it for her kindle and happily that makes it appear on mine as well!

happy shot of the day:
does the tree look tiny up there? maybe it is .... the joy to me is that mr.e.beck.artist did the chore for me ... went and got it .... if you ask me how big i want a tree, i'll hold my hand over my head and say THIS tall ... no taller than i can reach so that i can put the star on and decorate the tip top in case i don't have helpers .... i always have helpers, but i like the notion of not having to stand on a chair or ladder or whatnot .... sometimes our tree is taller than that (when i'm not in charge at all)  ... i think we're putting up the tree tomorrow ... hooray .... 




Friday, December 2, 2011

december 2

JOY post 2
today's joy: tennis in the sunshine with a great friend .... little.e.beck.artist being over the top funny tonight .... little.e.beck.artist being scared and cuddly for harry potter 4 .... family dinner with 5.beck.artists and the dog stalking crumbs at our feet ....

preparation ....
it is the second day of december and i am supposed to be documenting my christmas preparation ... and yet again, i did nothing ... i went into a super cute shop and thought about buying christmas gifts ... alas, i did not ... tomorrow FOR REAL i will start ... i at least have an appointment to go pick up the christmas tree in the morning ....

serenity ...
i had multiple quality time moments with little.e.beck.artist ... just being with her today made me happy ... if i had the option of keeping her forever at this exact age and outlook, i'd have a hard time letting her grow up .... i would let her grow up, but it would definitely give me pause ....

happy shot of the day ....

this is my little one a few days ago doing her homework ... working on her core and her long division .... i went to shop for a balance ball a while back .. kind of just to price them .... but when i saw the biggest most fabulous one was orange, i had to get it ... i do believe i do more crunches and pushups because with it than i would if it weren't orange .....

see the two paintings on the far right? the top one that you see just a bit of is sold ... i'm holding it til closer to christmas ... and the bottom blue one, i'm donating to an auction .... it says "there are no miracles for those who do not have faith in them ...."


Thursday, December 1, 2011

december 1

JOY post 1
today's joys: girl.beck.artist scored the first 8 points in her basketball .... mr.e.beck.artist is back home .... i spent the morning with girlfriends ....

Preparation:
I did absolutely nothing today to get ready for christmas ... so much for doing a little every day .... i did tell a pal on the phone my plan for a serene december, and she said isn't the women's group christmas party at your house next week? ... well .. yes .... and i have some candy canes on my dining room table ... need to get on that, but somehow feel no pressure ... we'll discuss this again next tuesday and see if i'm singing the same mellow tune ...

Serenity:
I spent 30 minutes today toes up on the couch reading the ender's game .... i had some ditched responsibilities but decided it was ok since i knew that by the time bed time rolled around i'd be too tired to read ....

Happy shot of the day:

this is not even a flower ... it's a shrub ... the biggest purplest plant i've ever seen ... pretty extraordinary ....

did you notice your joys today?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

... a red boot kind of day ...

this morning i woke up happy and ready ... yes, i will wear my red cowboy boots to celebrate the first day of december ... moments after that red boot decision, i was checking my email and realized it was NOT in fact december yet ... my red boot celebration of december lasted all of ten minutes .... that celebratory red booted tooth brushing and hair brushing was just a fine fest .... that ended abruptly in front of the laptop .... darn.... isn't that just like me to be discombobulated?
red boots are a funny thing ... people really, really notice them .. i got comments all day long (luckily i did not change out of them when i discovered the sad factness of it still being november) ... it made me laugh that it was such a big deal to wear red shoes and for so many to comment ... why don't people all always wear colored shoes? why are all men's dress shoes black or brown? (i know, i know, i'm making vast generalizations)  why do most women mostly wear black and brown and boring shoes? (next time you are in a boring meeting, look at all the shoes).... it just doesn't make sense to me that bland shoes are the norm.... but i am SO off track ... 

so, i am celebrating today, i spent the month of november working on the NaBloPoMo challenge ... national blog post month ... write every day .....and i did it ... never skipped a day ... had some great writing days ... had some just say anything to get it done posts ... but in all felt like it was a worthwhile experience ... it got me writing ... not just the blog, but other stuff too ... and that's good ... i like it ....
the main thing i learned is that it is easier to write when you have been writing ... just like it is easier to paint when you have been painting ... it is easier to cook when you've been cooking ...or, well, when you have at least gone to the grocery store .... starting something after a big break is like starting from square one, brand new, beginner ... get doing something and it feels like you have momentum and can absolutely keep doing it .... maybe i need to get some red shoe momentum ... wear happy shoes every day .... maybe you shouldn't wear your red boots on the days you wake up happy .. but on the days you wake up crabby too .... maybe if all world leaders had to wear red shoes every day, they'd be happier, freer, smarter, easier going, kinder, gentler .... people in red shoes certainly don't start wars or shoot guns at people or cut in line at the grocery store  .... 

so, the moral of my month of writing is get doing whatever you want to be doing and do it every day cause it gets easier ... and .... color up your shoe wardrobe, please .... 






Tuesday, November 29, 2011

doc, happy, sleepy, grumpy, dopey, bashful, sneezy and slobby ...

why is there not an 8th dwarf named slobby? clearly there was a slobby in that house if snow white had to show up and do all that tidying and dusting and bed making, right? slobby probably just didn't want to be in the show and wouldn't sign the reality tv contract so he wasn't on there ... just like one of ozzy osbournes kids who was never seen on that show .... yup ... slobby was a mess, but he had the good sense to stay hidden ...

not so much me ... i'm a mess and i'm going to show it to you on my blog ... perhaps to shame myself into cleaning up my studio ... but maybe just because it is nine o'clock and i am ever so very tired and trying to be a pal and stay up with my studying high schoolers .... so i'm quietly blogging the pictures i took today ...

here's the first ....
 can you even see the dog in that mess? she's posing ... such a good girl .... but between her turquoise jacket and her evil photo eyeballs, she's barely recognizable ... let's call her waldo .... so this is looking into my studio space from the garage .... or the hall ... by the stairs .... now, i'm claiming that some of that mess isn't mine ... i asked little.e.beck.artist to wrap some christmas and she did ... and where the remnants landed, is where the remnants, the tape, the scissors remain .... on the floor .... don't trip when you come in ....
so if you were brave enough to enter my studio, and turn right you'll find ... allison! ... i wonder how long she's been trapped in that back corner!? .... my table is about 9 feet by six feet ... and we each scraped off a tiny section to work on ... the good news is, some of the mess she left there three weeks ago was still right there where she left it ... some of it had another layer of mess over it, but her birdies and feet and cut up bits were still there .... and on my side, there had been interlopers (girl.beck.artist and two of her pals had spent an afternoon painting a while ago) ... so i scraped away their mess .....
just enough room to paint ... so we painted the day away ... and then i dug out allison so she could escape on home to her own family ....

we could do a betting pool and you can guess when i'll actually get the seven dwarfs to clean up with me .....

Monday, November 28, 2011

monday grumpy gloomy and doom ...

so, my monday started out not quite right .... mr.e.beck.artist was not in my bed ... instead little.e.beck.artist had decided to sleep in his spot since he is out o' town .... that's ok with me, but somehow it started me out all disoriented when my alarm trilled (generously kind description of the heinous noise) at 5.55 ....
... and it was cold ...
... and it was rainy ....
... and the last of my beloved (no kidding, awesome holiday company) house guests were leaving me ....
so my monday was starting grumpy .... mix in a soggy dog and you have the multi sensory notion of what my morning was like ...

and then i went to pottery .... and left the rest of the world behind ... i picked out a bag o chocolate clay .... even though i'm not done with the white ... i was just feeling off the white .... and i made an extra large , really extraextra large textured bowl ...


and i picked up four pieces that i had glazed last week ... they actually work great as a set .. can't you imagine having all four pieces and setting the perfect spread of apps at a big party? if in fact, you are the big party throwing type?
these pics look funny to me ... the platters are fairly modern looking ... sleek, shiny, dark ... and they are a grandma looking background ... not criticizing any grandmas or the background, for that is in fact what my christmas time dining room table has on it .... but it's not a great background to showcase pottery ... those three go well together ... you could put a long row of perfectly placed crackers on the long one ... and then special cheeses on the square one and maybe a pile of grapes and apple slices on the other .. or maybe you do fancier appetizers than i can think of .....

here's a detail of one of the pieces .... can you see the lettering .... when i see that, it seems like that's what makes it me ...

so my monday got better ...
even though my sole intention for today was to do some tidying in my basement studio and i did NONE ... so .. tomorrow ...
and tomorrow will start better too ... if for no other reason than it won't be monday .... tuesdays are usually good days, right?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

i was browsing the internet ... and was at my newest happy place, pinterest, when i found a piece of art i liked, clicked it, and ended up on this VERY lovely artsy crafty happy blog, summerstead... at the bottom of each post there are links to other posts you might like (how do i get that on my blog, anyone?) ... and i clicked on this ... 31 days to finding harmony ... that sounds like a me thing, right? so i looked ... and read loads of posts ... and thought i could follow her harmony example ...

so, big idea here, once my november nablopomo post every day for a month challenge, i thought i might try posting every day in december .... harmony isn't such a me word ... but peace and joy? happy days? and i'd write about my joy for the day ... maybe i could even do a ranking system ... and mindfully not get all wiggy during the holidays ... i don't actually get wiggy during the holidays, but i know it's a thing, so if i feel it coming on, i avoid it ... so how 'bout it? are you a zen holiday type? or do you get wiggy and try to do too much?

any suggestions? if you are a regular reader and blogger, wanna do it with me? help me figure out what we want to do? hmmmmm ....
if you are a regular reader and not a blogger, what do you like to read about? 30 days of joy... or wait, i think december is 31 days .... i'm still thinking about it ... i have a few days to firm up my plans, right?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

saturday holiday

today still feels like a holiday to me ....
except i cleaned up the pumpkins and pilgrims and indians from the dining room ....
 i went bowling with my family ... including the out of town contingent .... i bowled a 99 ... that's really good for me ....
 and then mom-o'-e.beck.artist and little.e.beck.artist and i made these candy cane candle sticks .... 
 we just used candy canes, rubberbands, ribbon and candles ....
i'm nearing the end of nablopomo ... the blog every day for the month of november challenge ... and it hasn't been hard ... maybe i could keep it up in december ... and do one tiny bit of arts and crafts decorating a day until christmas ....