Monday, January 25, 2010

Feel, Past Tense.

... into a story board! I haven't had time to add too many pieces for the stories yet, but at the moment the little one is wielding an impressive forest of trees, a cute little house and a couple of lovely ladies ready for some fascinating adventures!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Book Review: "The Surprise" by Sylvia van Ommen

It has been a while since I made a blog post... I struggled with 'what kind' of blog I want this to be... Crafts? Personal stories? Design? I couldn't decide, so I have been procrastinating. Today I decided that I am going to write about what interests me... which is all of the above.

So... Almost a month after my first post, I will begin with a book review.

Let me begin with saying: I am a huge advocate for reading. Every holiday as a child I would receive a book with an inscription written in the front cover and it was always a treasured gift. Books make such a lasting impression on little minds, especially when the love and prayers of their parents are included in their favorite books.

Perhaps because of this, I hold a special place in my heart for children's books. I want to share a few of my favorites in the following weeks, and thought I would start with a little-known, 'all ages' picture book: "The Surprise" by Sylvia van Ommen.

"The Surprise" is a wordless 32 page mystery. The illustrations are simple and sophisticated using bold colors and simple backgrounds to 'spin the tale' (pun intended) of the adorable sheep who is crafting a gift for a friend. This book is the perfect example of 'pictures speak louder than words.' The sheep is given a distinct personality as she measures her wool coat, rides her vespa to the dye store and to the French pink poodle who spins her dyed wool into yarn ... and finally gives the gift she knitted to her best friend. Each picture shows the process of wool clothing from the shearing of the sheep, through the dying, spinning and knitting into a final product. It is a mystery for the little reader who wonders from page 1, "Why is she measuring her coat?" to the end where her wrapped package is taking a vespa ride to its final destination and you finally see what the sheep made for her tall friend. A wonderful story from an extremely talented illustrator in The Netherlands.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Upping the Creativity in our House

While I love a beautiful blanket of snow on a Christmas morn as much as the next person, I did not sign up for the five foot drifts that graced our home this season. As we were cloistered indoors over our holiday vacation, husband and I decided to collaborate on a 'weekend project'... which went a *little* overboard.

Since the recent release of the Disney Pixar movie "Up" to DVD, I have seen the move *at least* 50 times. No joke. This is due to the fact that our little toddler has developed a massive addiction to the movie, and blistering-cold weather has prevented our outdoor time. Thus, naturally, Mom & Dad chose to take her newfound love and make the most of it. We decided to build her a cardboard "Up Playhouse."

Now, husband will tell you, "I just wanted to stick a couple of boxes together, cut a couple of holes in them for windows, and call it her Up house. *YOU* took it to Crazytown."

Together we put approximately 90 man-hours into her house. Husband was the engineering mind, investing duct tape, wrapping paper rolls & reinforced corner panels to the structure. I was on design duty; planning the architectural features and finishing the exterior by adding paper siding and shingles to the house.

The entire project is composed of used cardboard boxes, cleverly recycled into the walls and rooflines of her new digs. All support pieces are from empty wrapping paper rolls & packing materials that came with said boxes. Mr. Sketch scented markers made a comeback this week, as I drew endless accent lines onto the strips of paper to be glued to the cardboard as siding (with my trusty bottle of Elmer's glue). I'm not going to lie... we went a little crafty-crazy with it.

The interior isn't finished, but is already coming along with it's own cardboard fireplace and "Ellie painting" of Paradise Falls. And, of course, the house wouldn't be complete without a mailbox. Our piccola's handprint will be added to the mailbox in the future, but apparently paint on the hand was a traumatizing experience for the little princess, and we had to abandon ship after her hysterical screaming... Nonetheless, despite the handprint hiccup, I think the project was well worth the smile on her face as she took our hands and pulled us to the front door, wanting to share her new house with Mom & Dad.