artaboutthoughtsjournalfun
Tuesday, March 09, 2010 1:05 PM

now with a side order of cute



Allow me to present Sophie's lunch! This proved to be such a hit at school yesterday that she has requested the same lunch for the next two days as well. Some of the girls at her table didn't want her to eat it because it was too cute! I forgot to show her little bottle of water... My goal is for her to have healthy lunches, but if we can get in an extra helping of cute then so much the better. It's amazing what a few strokes of pencil or a fun shape of food can do to make lunches more appealing. :)

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Friday, March 05, 2010 2:06 PM

poster children

The kiddos with this year's poster for the Mother's Retreat.

This year, for the first time in a long while, I'm not going to the Mother's Retreat. It's just honestly way too much for me this year, I would wind up spending the entire thing crying or over-anxious and I wouldn't enjoy a minute of it. There was no way I was going to skip doing the poster though, I've done it each year for the retreat even before I had kids of my own! I'll do my praying here at home... and if you are reading this, won't you please send a good thought for the moms on this retreat this weekend and the other special mothers in your own life?

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010 10:47 AM

now we are six



Peter and Angela turn six today! We were not originally supposed to have all three children's birthdays in the same week, but the twins had other plans. Instead of being born in May, they came 10 weeks early and spent months in the NICU. It is certainly not an experience I would ever wish on anybody but you'd have to agree they're well worth it all.

Angela is fiery, dramatic, mercurial, angelic. She makes Sophie look calm. Angela is the one who goes through 5 outfits in a day, some of them bathing suits, some involving complicated scarves, or requiring face paint. She would probably be happiest if she could wear nothing at all and takes off her socks the instant she doesn't need to wear them anymore. She's the girl who sings into the microphone, who gets up and dances, and who I am pretty sure is going to end up on a stage one day. She is the girly-girl in our house. The other night my mom and dad brought her a shirt that had a pony on it, in sequins, and you have never heard such gushing. "OH! How I love it! It's so sparkly! I'll wear it on my birthday with this scarf! OH! How did you KNOW I would LOVE THIS SO MUCH!" She's turning into a great reader, and just yesterday learned to tie a bow. (We're going to demonstrate to the class tomorrow.) And she really enjoys drawing faces and tries so hard to get in lots of detail. I'm rather impressed with her artwork and I love that she does her own thing - her sister and brother don't draw like her at all! And she writes me notes - when she's sorry for something she's done, or just because. I cherish them.

Peter is adorable. He has just taught himself to whistle and spends every spare moment practicing it. He has a very good sense of rhythm for such a little boy and is always tapping out the beat, pretending to drum, or trying to beatbox. And that's when there's not even any music on! He loves a cappella music, especially the Bobs. My favorite Peter thing is how he dances when he thinks nobody is paying attention - he has soul, this kid. I'll put on Stevie Wonder, or maybe some 80's music with a loud electronic beat and then occupy myself with some task so the attention's not on Peter (but I watch him out of the corner of my eye). Then the shoulders start shaking and the hips are next and then he's into some cool spin or dance steps. I just love it. He's such a foodie - loves to eat, loves to try new things, and even had my dad's pasta con sarde and asked for seconds. He's also turning out to be quite good at art - the more meticulous, the better! He loves to copy pictures of machinery or draw complicated landscapes. I also call Peter "Eddie Haskell" - he is so incredibly complimentary that sometimes it's just funny. I predict that Peter is going to have the phone ringing off the hook when he hits puberty.

Peter and Angela, my favorite surprises. I love you with all of my heart and I'm so proud of you. You make our family complete.

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Friday, February 26, 2010 7:50 AM

Sophie is Seven


Miss Sophia Grace and Lambey

I just can't believe Sophie is seven today! I wrote once that Sophie for me embodies the quote about your heart living outside your body. There is something just so indefinably special about Sophie. She's kind, generous, loving, and has a quick and quirky sense of humor. She always has a twinkle in her eye and I think that, combined with her long hair and permanent semi-wink because of her eyelid surgeries, make her seem like she's part fairy. She's bright, inquisitive, and quick to have flashes of temper or to run up and kiss you. One of the things I love most about her is her absolute belief in herself. She likes what she likes, and she doesn't give two hoots what anyone else thinks. Right now, she is enamored with Norway, especially the city of Hammerfest, which lays claim to being the northernmost town in the world. She draws the flag, she studies the globe, she gets out Paul's iPod to check what time the sun will rise and set there today. She loves drawing and writing her own books, and has a back story for each character she draws (we call those pictures "the cast of thousands"). Lately she's been reading "So You Want to be President" every night before she goes to sleep. She's kind of brilliant, and as next year is the year kids get tested at her school for advanced classes we've been concentrating on cleaning up her messy printing and on how to take tests (i.e., reading directions before jumping right in, reading all the answers before you jump right in, etc). So far, she's wanted to be an astronaut, an author, a composer, a baker, a filmmaker, a doctor, and a "traveller" so she can see the world. I am so enjoying watching her grow up and her take on the world.

We love you, Sophie! God bless you on your birthday and always.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010 8:19 AM

strange days, indeed

I'm fighting off a nasty sinus infection while preparing for BIRTHDAY WEEK - where all three of my kids have their birthdays within a week of each other (but thankfully, not their parties!) Sophie's party has a woodland theme and we're all going to make terrariums this weekend! I will be posting how-to pics and links soon. (as soon as I get over this @#*$&(*@#&$ infection and can get some sleep!)

Do you know what love is? It's not flowers and candy and dinner out and all that. This week, Paul and I were supposed to have a date night that never materialized, due to poor planning on our part and getting thoroughly sick on my part. Then I was up half the night thinking about all the things I had to do in the next week for respective birthdays, presents, baking, crafts, reading in the classrooms... Paul listened to me, and then drove all of us to the craft store and Home Depot because I was too dizzy to drive but too upset to put it off for later in the week. He made decisions about what to get when I was way too fuzzy-headed to make a clear choice (or multiply). He ordered out and cooked so I didn't have to make dinner. He did the laundry - and I am still not certain how he did this part - got each of the kids to fold their own clothes and put them away. He took over the weekly food shopping trip so I could relax and rest (and says he's taking it over from now on). Dinner out is nice, but laundry is love.

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Friday, February 12, 2010 6:52 AM

Happy Valentine's Day!

All you need is love, love. It's easy!


(Note the Norwegian house slippers on Sophie!)

As promised.... the annual Nazzaro family valentine! For reference, Sophie is 6 and the twins are 5. Waaaay back in the day, I used to have to do three separate photo shoots and photoshop them all together so that I could have just ONE picture where those babies were all even looking in the right direction. At least they've stopped eating the hearts. How fun are these going to be when they're in high school?

Watch them grow up....


(2009)


(2008)


(2007)


(2006)


(2005)

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Monday, February 08, 2010 8:51 PM

exterminate!



Remember when Sophie had her surgery this summer and my mom made us a prayer shawl? She wanted to do something similar for my brother and sister, so for 'Toine's version, she knit him a Tom Baker Dr. Who scarf. But at the same time, little did he know... that I found a pattern for an amigurumi Dalek! Of course I was going to make one for him!

Mine came out a bit like a weeble, but he's very pleased with it (once he stopped laughing). And for those not in the know, what's a Dalek, you ask?

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010 8:04 AM

believe



This weekend our elementary school had their fundraiser - a play written by, directed by, starring, choreographed by (you get the picture) the parents. It is THE social event of the year, and everyone involved looked like they were having the time of their lives. And what did I contribute?

The logo design, of course!

These are the roughs I did initially to get a feel for what everyone wanted... it was clear that it was going to be a logotype, but with a little extra something. The one we went with was an homage to "Slumdog Millionaire" using the broken type, lowercase letters, and uneven baseline. (The plot echoes some of the movie, so there was a reason for it.)



Is that your final logo?



It brought back good memories from high school of seeing people wearing the shirts in the play - although I've been also seeing them around town, on kids at school, even at church. Trust me, it's not the design, it's the message.



The cast in their believe shirts while singing "Don't Stop Believing" (of course).



Paul lent his considerable talents to the pit band! Here he is warming up while Angela (fluffy head in front) looks on.

One of the coolest things was that at the finale - again, in homage to Slumdog Millionaire, the entire cast, including the teachers and principal, and all the students in the audience - got up and did the "Jai Ho" dance from the end of the movie. It was just fabulous. The kids practiced it at the end of classes, and even at a Girl Scout meeting!



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Thursday, January 14, 2010 7:21 AM

a giraffe (and a half, to make you laugh)



Continuing the reveal of finished Christmas paintings, Angela's giraffe and baby. Eating leaves, as per her art direction, she was very firm on that.





I've enjoyed painting giraffes in the past... check out this one and this one (both on paper bags, for some reason).

(Throwing this into the Illustration Friday queue as well for "Wilderness". Hi i-Fri-ers!)

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Friday, January 08, 2010 3:54 PM

daylight come and me wanna go home

My brother sent this to me today and made my whole week! We used to watch this on channel 13 back in the day and I've been searching for it in vain online since. At last I was able to show this to my kids! Previously, I've acted it out for them, including running back and forth to different rooms, locking myself out, and pretending to dive through the window.

This is a classic. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010 9:14 PM

Lambey



I'm finally getting to post all the paintings I did as Christmas presents! (As opposed to last year, where I forgot to scan in any of them until after they were wrapped and I had to settle for snapshots of the happy recipients.) This is hands-down, my favorite of all the Christmas paintings.... Sophie's Lambey.

Anyone who knows Sophie knows that Lambey goes pretty much wherever she goes, except to school. :) He's been stuffed and re-stuffed, loved until his yellow gingham heart and embroidery have all worn away, and though his eyes are a flat black, he manages to keep a wise and patient look about him. When Sophie had surgery at 10 months, she came home and threw herself on Lambey and hugged him like mad, and that's how we knew for sure he was The One. When Sophie had surgery this past summer, Lambey got his own hospital bracelet and was allowed in the O.R. with her while she got anesthesia. Lambey is the real deal.

My challenges for Sophie's portrait of Lambey: well, first of all, it's Lambey. I had to get him just right. He doesn't officially have a mouth, but he has a very sweet expression all the same and I wanted to make sure I caught that. The dent under his nose could be a dent... or a tiny, sweet, smile.

I also was under time constraints - so this painting was completed, from original drawing to finished painting, in one day. A weekday, when I am ferrying kids around and have a regular day of work and make dinner and all that.... I still don't know how I pulled it off, but it's my favorite one so far.

The painting below is from 2005 (or possibly earlier?), when Sophie didn't have hair down to her waist and her big-girl two front teeth and a backpack full of books for first grade yet.

But she did have Lambey.

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Monday, December 14, 2009 8:58 PM

christmas present work in progress: angela's giraffes



I've been so crazy busy plugging along that I haven't even gotten to scan in or keep up with it all! So here is Angela's giraffes in progress. Angela was originally supposed to have a painting of Beethoven, but after looking at reference material with her, she started to get madder and madder that she couldn't find anything that looked exactly like what was in her mind. Hearing that I could take cues from different pictures and put them together only got her angrier so a diversion was needed.

Enter Panda Cam!

From there it was a short step to Panda Kopanda (or Panda! Go! Panda!), and for a while she wanted Papa Panda and Baby Panda with candy canes... and somehow we got to giraffes. I don't quite know how that happened, but I'm so glad that she chose something fun and relatively easy. She has a thing for giraffes (and zebras, and ponies, and unicorns, and unipegs, and in general cute four-footed beings).

I think this is close to being finished, just want to go over it all and give it the details. I think I'm going to look to Richard Scarry for inspiration on this one.

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Thursday, December 03, 2009 8:40 PM

christmas present: cindy's done!



So the first present is done - Cinderella's all ready to go to the ball! I was almost done, when I had a brainwave.

She needed some glitter!





It's hard to tell from the scan, but in person, she's downright sparkly.

(Note: this painting will not be available as a print.)

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Thursday, November 26, 2009 7:30 AM

in thanksgiving



To print out and share. And for before the meal, how awesome is this mix from NPR: Songs for Stuffing? Please pass me some of that Frim Fram Sauce....

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009 9:32 AM

leafy art

On the day I made my leafy hat illo, the kids were creating some leaf fairies of their own:



Note the copy of Faerie-ality open for inspiration.



Sophie's fairy.





Angela's fairy. There were two others, one with a flying "V" leaf guitar.



Peter's leafy friend.

Now, looking at these photos, would you even know that there was a two-and-a-half-hour complete off-the-wall temper tantrum going on before this? I was so upset from the aftermath that I couldn't even make dinner and we had to order out. This was an act of trying to make peace after the storm...

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Sunday, November 08, 2009 3:28 PM

amigurumi, part two, or, birthday lessons



Looking back over the summer, it's amazing how little I painted and how much I crocheted! I posted earlier about amigurumi and the bunnies I made for the new babies in our circle of friends. This post is about the second wave - my birthday presents. Not presents I got on my birthday, but the presents I gave to my family, on my birthday.

Let me explain.

One of my favorite illustrators is Tomie dePaola, not only for his gorgeous linework, luminous palette, and sense of humor, but also because of how his life and his art are so intertwined. If you are a fan, you know all about his family and heritage because so much of his work contains bits of his life; from his grandparents in "Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs" (I cry every time I read that book), the 26 Fairmount Avenue books, his own love of art and how it was nurtured as a child in "The Art Lesson", and his love of God in countless books, "The Clown of God" being one of my favorites. (And don't even get me started on Strega Nona. She rocks!)

I've been really enjoying Tomie's website where he shows new work but also reminisces about pretty much anything that strikes his fancy. I was struck by this story in particular, where it's his mother's birthday but she begins the tradition of giving to others to celebrate her special day.

"With that simple but magnificent gesture of giving all of us presents on her birthday, Flossie taught us the depth of the old cliché, "It is more blessed to give, than to receive." As the years went by, the real fun of each of our birthdays was not what we would GET, but what WE would GIVE."

The following are the presents I made for my kids for my birthday this summer:



For Peter, a turtle with a rainbow shell.



For Sophie, a finger puppet mushroom.



For Angela, a family of baby birds in a nest....



who went with this mama bird (already made).

Sophie loved her mushroom, but when she saw those baby birds, she just couldn't keep her hands off the tiniest one, and kept trying to sneak it out of the nest and take off with it! So I had to make her another bird, one she called "the teeniest bird of all." And that's the wee bird next to Angela's foot in the top photo.

Patterns for pretty much everything:
* Tiny Turtle
* Baby Birds in a Nest/Teeniest bird of all
* Mama Bird
* Happy Little Mushroom finger puppet

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009 8:29 AM

prioritizing



On my calendar for today, courtesy of Angela. I love the motion to it, she's actively handing me a heart. And I'm especially proud of the way all the letters go the right way and none of them are upside down or backwards; something I've been worried about lately with her. Luckily, her teacher is not concerned because they haven't learned to write all the letters in class yet and apparently that's quite common among 5-year-olds. (If she's still making letters backwards at the end of the school year, then we can worry about it.)

Every time I look at my little datebook today I will be reminded of what to do today, first and foremost: spread some love.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009 8:23 PM

if the stars were mine



Today begins what I hope will be a full month of daily posting. Hello, NaBloPoMo'ers!

I was driving with Petey today in the car and was listening to my fave WNYC show when Jonathan Schwartz set up a singer I'd never heard of, Melody Gardot. Her story is so inspiring; at age 19 she was hit by a car and spent almost a year in recovery in the hospital, using music as her therapy. She learned to play guitar and wrote her own songs, and now performs and teaches about the importance of music in healing. And then the song started: "If The Stars Were Mine."

And I was totally smitten.

I loved the song so much that I scrawled her name and the title on the back of a business card at the next red light, sang it the whole time we were shopping for Peter's new sneakers, looked it up as soon as I got home, and started an impromptu dance party in my dining room with the kiddos. I so wanted to call Rich and play it for him because he absolutely would have loved it, and it made me so sad that I couldn't. It's such a great song - deceptively simple, catchy as all get out, singable to your honey or your kids.

What follows below is not the video for the song, but it's the best I could find. I totally want to paint scenes from this song, or make my own video, but for now I've got some stars in a jar for you. Enjoy!

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Thursday, October 29, 2009 12:24 PM

word up!

The costumes are (mostly) finished, and the kids couldn't wait another moment and begged last night to put them on. So naturally, we had a photo shoot!



Peter, or as we call him, P3T3R, is a robot. He didn't want to put on the gray sweats that go with his costume, so use your imagination there. He chose where the "buttons" go - pretty much everything on his costume is recycled! His helmet is really a shade for lightbulbs, and the buttons are all lids from milk and orange juice containers. The big red one (which Peter says is the STOP! button) is from grated cheese. It was so fun to make and even better, he really participated in its creation.



Angela is WordGirl, which meant I also had to make an entire costume for her monkey sidekick, Captain Huggy Face. it's okay... WordGirl is the best educational show since the Electric Company (the 70's one please, not the new one)! We finally got some good action shots with her and Captain Huggy Face!



Sophia is Judy Moody and her amazing hair transformation is nothing more than me folding her hair in half and clipping the ends in her face so she has Judy's messy bangs. Her hair is normally down to her behind. She looks like a different kid! She was fascinated, posed her pants off, and then begged me to put her hair back to normal again. She's doing the pose from the cover of the first book which she has next to her. "I Ate A Shark" (the "A" wound up under her armpit) is a shirt Judy makes in the book.





P.S. If you are not familiar with WordGirl, check out this clip - the show is just awesome!

And see Captain Huggy Face dance here.

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Monday, October 26, 2009 7:08 PM

what I need for to do the job



Hello, peoples. Fall has kicked my behind to the curb and back again.

I have been too busy to sit down, too busy to post, too busy to paint (and that has me actually crying at times), too busy to return calls and emails. This school year has brought about a schedule unlike anything we've ever had before, and the weight of it all now falls on my shoulders because of our schedules. I keep thinking things will taper off, and they don't, so the answer is for me to have more help. I joke all the time about how I need a Temporary Secretary; now we're trying to figure out what I can outsource. (Paul's suggestion: like laundry!) I think to myself, You were able to paint when you had preemies and a one-year-old, you can do this! I just need to figure out how not to do *everything* and save my energies for what's vital.

I'm thinking of doing NaBloPoMo again so that I will write every day in November. It will force me to sit, breathe, have some tea, and visit that creative space for a while. There will be links, there will be answers, there will be art, and there will a showing of my artwork by the end of November I'll be gearing up for as well. So check in and hang in there with me as I figure this stuff out.

Note: the image above is about 15-16 years old. It's an illustration I did for my college's literary magazine, The Lion's Eye. I found it the other day while cleaning out an old portfolio. Scary that I still painted like me, even back then!

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Friday, October 02, 2009 1:29 PM

5 amigurumi bunnies and a cuppa

This summer was a great summer for new babies! I spent my spare (!) time whipping up some small friends to go to the newest additions to our circle. I love amigurumi because they're quick to make up, easy to modify/make up your own pattern, and because the kids totally love them. The cuteness factor again is also a big encouragement.



Patterns:

Bunnies: available on Ravelry, free pattern.

Little rabbit: I modified the the pattern by crocheting around in a lace sort of pattern to make a dress. I also made longer legs instead of little balls for feet so she could stand up. This was the companion bunny to go with the yellow one - the baby got the soft yellow bunny, and the big sister got this sweet brown one. According to their mom, she says that it has superpowers. ;)

Coffee cup: Peter is a rather uncomplicated lad. He likes, in no particular order: trucks, art, and food. He plans to be a baker who also drives trucks and paints when he grows up. Sounds good to me, especially if he makes deliveries to my house. This pattern was so darned cute and when I showed it to him, he asked for it right away. He also has an amigurumi donut to go with it, which will be coming in a later post.

Any other great amigurumi links to share?

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