Holidaze

Happy 239th Birthday, USA!!

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This year we celebrated the 4th of July the way we have for the past two years — by starting our day early at the Idaho Statesman’s Chalk Art Festival in Ann Morrison Park.

This was my third year as a Featured Artist and my goal was to be finished no later than 11:00 AM. (And not ever let them see me sweat!)

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After working on 8′ x 10′ tarpestries for a while now, the 6′ square piece of sidewalk didn’t seem all that big, so I spilled over into the next square with a fifth firework.

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Because it’s much more fun working in the hot sun with a friend by your side, I was happy to have Lauren Kistner be my sidewalk buddy again this time.

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She worked on another charming chicken — a charming, naughty chicken who’d gotten into the vegetable garden.

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Mike was a huge help as always. He dealt with the crazy parking, decorated the additional 5th firework with a nod to Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” fetched water, blended outlines and took a ton of photos.

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When I was almost finished, Mike picked Logan up so he could see this year’s chalk art. And get hugs from my sidewalk buddy.

(I think his t-shirt selection was spot on!)

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Not sure I’ll do this again next year — 3 times seems like a perfect number — but I have had a great time, every time!

I hope you have a great time this 4th of July as well.

Stay cool, have fun, and remember — chalk art fireworks won’t accidentally catch your Grand Pappy’s barn on fire and burn down half the county!

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Easter Egg Filled Empty Nest

In spite of Lina and Logan being grown and gone, and the desire to decorate for Easter being somewhat diminished as a result, I still manage to refill our empty nest with painted eggs and funny bunnys every year around this time.

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Painted wooden eggs apparently last forever. You can’t devil them, and they don’t make your teeth hurt like Cadbury’s Cream Eggs, but they sure are pretty.

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Bringing them out every year whether the kids are home or not, we go to church or not, we share a meal with family and friends or not, is one of my domestic rituals.

I see my life in circles, and bringing out the painted eggs and placing them this year in our empty nest…another circle is complete.

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Second Helpings: Painted Lady, Woodstock, IL

Today for Second Helpings, it’s Deja vu all over again!

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I mentioned a few posts back that we lived in Woodstock, IL and that I had had the pleasure of transforming a humdrum Victorian into a standout Painted Lady. That house is today’s secondhand transformation.

This is what the house looked like from the side before we made the dramatic changes to the color scheme:

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And here’s a view of the same side after I boldly chose to go where no one had gone for one hundred years!

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So you’re thinking OK, you’ll allow as how an old house can be considered secondhand (I think we were actually it’s third owners) and since I do “paint everything” it qualifies as one of my art projects. But even taking into account my love of word play and visual puns — February second, secondhand, second hand on the clock…. What the heck does my Painted Lady have to do with Groundhog Day?

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Well here’s the thing. The movie starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, which actually happened to be one of Mike’s and my favorites long before we ever moved there, was made in Woodstock, IL. True story.

And even cooler than that, the street that the “Bed & Breakfast” that Bill Murray stays in was three houses down from our house:

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The movie filmed in 1993 and we didn’t move there until 10 years later, but there were still annual tours on February 2nd through town and once I looked out my window to see Stephen Tobolowsky (“Needle-nose Ned”) leading a small group past our house to the “B & B” at the end of the block.

Here’s a picture taken probably sometime in February. See icicles, and the snow on the hedge?

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I think the groundhog must have seen his shadow every February 2nd because winter always lasted a very long time in Woodstock, IL.

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In spite of the cold, Woodstock was a wonderful village to live in. Our house was only four blocks from the town square and I made many friends in the too short time we called it home. They’ve probably forgiven me by now for shaking up tradition with my more colorful approach!

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So for February 2nd, my Second Helpings how-to advice is Shake it Up, and Make it Colorful, and do it TODAY. Because as Bill Murray says in the the movie: “Well what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.”

Happy Groundhog Day everybody!

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Gung Hay Fat Choy! That means “Congratulations on your prosperity!”

May it be so for you and yours all year long in more ways than simply financial — though more pennies in the piggy are always welcome too!

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This morning I thought I might get clever with all the wonderful joss papers I’ve collected up in my studio.

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I didn’t know quite what I’d do. Maybe make a door wreath, or fancy-dancey mobile or string up a colorful banner. Something.

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Today was Friday though, which meant Art Friday, which meant Lula and I headed over to mom’s….where we didn’t get to watch a lovely Chinese artist cut a horse out of red paper.

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But we did get to have a lovely lunch with a horse centerpiece and many round foods, which are supposed to be lucky.

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And for dessert there was lucky money — chocolate coins– with hearts on them!

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I guess it goes without saying we had Chinese takeout for dinner:

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I’m afraid my fortune wasn’t as helpful as I might have hoped…

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Nevertheless I’d say this was a pretty sanguine beginning to the New Year. I’m feeling lucky already.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

The Sun’ll Come Up?

I actually woke up this morning with that stupid Annie song “The Sun’ll Come Up Tomorrow” playing in my head. Annoying orphan chorus and all. “Bet your bottom dollar that tomorroooow there’ll be suuuun!”

At 6:30 in Boise in January I have my doubts,

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but it’s the metaphorical sun I’m still waiting for anyway so I decided to go ahead and get out of bed.

Yep. I’m still stuck on “Imposter.” But while I keep hacking away at the underbrush trying to clear the path for the “Great Big” idea which will get me to “Whew!” I’m paying more attention to the finer details of this process. That’s right, I’m witnessing my own agony so I can share it with you. Aren’t you glad?!

Here’s my first observation. I totally underrated how much work the first stage is when you have the “good little” idea and you have to just do it because you might have five or seven ideas that all require the time it takes to get out of your head and onto the paper — otherwise they don’t count.

Talk is crap. You have to do the work.

What? You wanted more insight than that? Well I want my lazy-ass muse to stop rolling her eyes at me and help me take down the Christmas decorations so I can go to my studio and start playing with my “good little” ideas so they can grow into a “Great Big” idea and I can finally get to “Whew!”

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Now somebody bring me some coffee!

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Here’s my second observation: it’s time to stop talking, go get my own cup of coffee and get to work!

Whoosh…!!

Was that really a whole year that just flew by?

I could have sworn this was me just last month…

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Must be the accumulation of poppers that’s confusing me.

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It’s been a great year. A very BUSY, great year.

Now it is the Eve of what is shaping up to be an even busier, even more productive, even better year, and I plan to enjoy it.

Even the busy parts.

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I had envisioned a mellow start to the year including actually enjoying the inversion with pots of tea and stacks of Library! books and maybe even a twinge or two of boredom thrown in to needle my creativity.

Not going to happen.

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NOT complaining!

I have two big projects (for public consumption in Boise) which will each begin in January. One winds up March 20-23, the other October 4…and those are all the clues you get for now my little inquiring minds!

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So as we head into 2014, instead of a month off, I plan to take a mini break. Just a week or so to make sure my space suit is airtight and my canteen is topped off with Tang as we head off on our next orbit of the sun.

Until then…

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Happy New Year!

Merry Birthday Logan!

Logan Blackburn Chambers was born on December 25, 1989, which means that for the past 24 years every Christmas dinner in our family has ended with Birthday cake, ice cream and hopeful wishes.

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Pretty Sweet.

Merry 24th Birthday Logan! And many mooooore!!!!