Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I got balls, lots of them.

Sunny, spring weather hit us this weekend so we spent time in our neglected backyard. The carnage of last summers' play peeked through the trees and bushes. I have to fess up I have a bit of a compulsive disorder over buying balls for the kids (and dogs). So I'm posting my OCD ball photo montage to remind myself I WILL NOT BUY BALLS THIS SUMMER! unless....a zorb ball goes on sale, I want one.

In other carnage news, we had a small birthday celebration for "the man" this weekend and I baked a cake. This is the result of using a heavy casserole dish over a proper cake pan. If I was the ultimate wife I would have made this Millennium Falcon cake for my lovable, Star Wars obsessed, geek-culture inspired husband.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Books, Comics and the Big Purge

Talented cartoonist and illustrator Patricia Storms of Booklust had a Valentine’s draw for this book and lucky me won a copy. I’m excited to receive it, I love her work. She writes a sassy comic strip called Art Imitating Lit. There I came across this great comic strip about 2 of my favorite authors, Michael Chabon and Jonathan Lethem. Her strip is bang on - these are thinking boy writers for thinking boy readers. Since I’m a girl, I feel like a minority. These writers are the reason I can’t find a book club I want to join in suburbia. They just don’t seem to resonate with the mainstream female population. I do love them and if I was single, my only big criteria in a man would be a love for the works of Chabon and Lethem. That and regular bathing, oh, and no dismembered relatives in the basement freezer (that’s me! simple girl with simple tastes). Although, my husband hasn’t read these authors and shows no interest, I’m just going to PRETEND it’s because he’s too busy and if he did, I’m going to PRETEND he’d love them, because a good dose of PRETEND keeps a marriage strong.

Sadly, the only reading I’m allowing myself lately is a book on home organization. I’m not retaining anything from the writing, I’m only lusting after the photos of stark white minimalist rooms. I fantasize about living in a room of crisp, white linen and natural wood and of course, those huge sunlit windows looking out to scenic acres of all my land. First, I would have to get rid of the dogs, cat, hamster, kids, husband and myself with my nasty ‘paper piling’ habit. Which would leave an uninhabited bare room . Ping! Back to reality.

Truthfully, I am content looking out my smudgy windows onto the asphalt roofs of endless suburban boxes. I do need to be more organized though, so it's time for a big purge. I have made progress. I have rid myself of much clutter. Unfortunately, I’m still on my clunky old computer and unable to post photos of my progress, namely my 6 garbage bags of shame. When I’m done, I want these duster slippers. They seem to be a step up the laziness scale, just above the robotic floor sweeper I’m putting on my Christmas list. Click on the image to get to the Unclutterer blog if you're in the mood for some handy home organization info.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Creative Laundry is undergoing technical difficulties. OK, so my computer crashed and I lost half of my photos. Ironically, the day before I was planning to open a Flickr account to prevent this very thing from happening (upon the good advice from blogger and artist extraodinaire Andrea). So my previous posts don’t make much sense without all the pictures. I’m writing from an antiquated computer, it’s clunky and sounds like a generator built during WWII. And no pictures, but I can add some pizzaz with colored fonts. How exciting is that!

The more I think about it, the more ill prepared I am to live without modern conveniences. Here on the west coast, people mention the “BIG ONE’, the huge quake that can happen anytime off the coast of Vancouver Island. I’m not a disaster freak, I have a blase attitude about any event beyond my control, which is surprising for someone who is obsessed with global catastrophic issues , such as peak oil and global warming. Documentary plug- see A Crude Awakening:The Oil Crash for a fascinating look into peak oil.

Now that my ‘good’ computer is busted and I’m actually mourning it (just a bit), I realize I need to unplug, get back to some simpler living, not be so tech-obsessed. Maybe I’ll learn to be a little more self-sufficient, like grow something I can eat. And I guess it wouldn’t hurt me to stock some extra water and rotate a couple cans of tuna every now and then. I found out recently that there is a fault line about 100 yards from my house and someone on the street behind me had methane gas leaking from their backyard. Hmm... that’s just weird.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Dreaming of the Woods

Today, after wading through 3 inches of slush and being pelleted with endless rain and wind, I began fantasizing about summer. It isn’t just the cabin fever of winter days that’s been getting to me, but the guilt knowing my kids and I have done nothing outdoors lately other than an occasional snowball fight.

Last year, I read Last Child in the Woods. It’s not a disturbing child abduction tale that a friend of mine had assumed. It’s about nature deficit disorder in children. Instinctively, anyone who lives in an urban or suburban area knows there’s a problem with how disconnected we’ve become to the natural world. I’m not going to go into the dangers mentioned in the book regarding the consequences of leading an inactive, indoor life, they seem fairly obvious – obesity, depression, attention disorders, anxiety, stress, apathy towards environmental stewardship. What interested me in the book is the benefits of natural environments - woods, lakes over man made outdoor environment, like sports fields and playgrounds. As a mom this resonated with me. I hate playgrounds. I took my kids to them of course (and still do), to get a little fresh air and excercise. But to me, it’s like baby jail with all those brightly colored bars defined by a pea gravel pad. When my kids were toddlers, it was though I was the benevolent prison guard, making sure they didn’t get out of bounds, all for their protection of course, but it felt confining. Not too far from me is a big, beautiful park with forested walking trails, trees to climb, the ruins of an old 19th century school which I so much prefer to go to and where the pictures below are taken.

When my oldest was in preschool, a group of mothers and I decided to meet up at a park and discussed which one to go to. My suggestion for the big, beautiful park was shunned, ‘there’s nothing to do there’ they said. So we headed to a park with a playground that was surrounded by some forested area. We went there every week. By the second week or so, the children spent less and less time on the playground. Instead they gravitated towards a nearby stream, and eventually all the moms just set up their lawn chairs by the stream and forgot about the playground altogether. The kids were like little chimpanzees, finding sticks and poking around in the mud, turning over rocks, inventing creative games for everyone to be involved in, not just competing over who could climb the highest as they did at the playground. What astounded me is some of the parents were surprised by this, assuming playgrounds, being structured for kid fun would naturally be preferred over a bunch of rocks and sticks. Sometimes we really forget what it’s like to be a kid. This kind of example is talked about in the book. Kids need a natural environment, not an artificial outdoor one to truly explore. Their play is more egalitarian, their stress is reduced, they feel ‘connected’. What’s true for kids, I’m sure is true for adults as well. So I’m dreaming of the woods, for heading outside and just exploring, with no goal in mind, just… because.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Paper Mosaic

Since I wasn’t motivated to create anything big last month, I chose to do some stream of consciousness doodling. But my little drawings were starting to look a bit like Richard Dadd’s art…not really a good thing. He was a 19th century institutionalized schizophrenic artist/murderer. I assure you we have nothing in common. So I changed my cheerless scribbles to more cheerful craft. Making the above mosaic was therapeutic. It was methodically hands on, like baking your own bread. As much as I wanted to rush it, I simply couldn’t, the medium wouldn’t allow me.

About half of the paper in this piece I hand painted, the other half is a combination of handmade papers and a few bought decorative papers. I based this image on Manning Park, a favorite camping spot for my family. This is a first time experiment for me. I’m excited to begin work on larger pieces using more intense colors and less conventional subject matter (the above mosaic is made on an 8"x10" cradled wood panel). Based on making the mosaic, I think a possible help for the January blahs may be a little creative experimentation.

I hope to be back soon with more stimulating comments. In the meantime, here is one of Vic Muniz’s incredible 'sugar children' portraits made only from white sugar on dark paper.