Monthly Archives: December 2010

Merry Christmas!


a gaggle of kids in an empty lot

stars in the making

Things have been so busy this past week, with all the holiday hustle and bustle, that I have gotten quite behind on my posts here! I can not, however, let the chance slip by to post photos of my amazing little performers.

Lola Gray danced in her ballet school’s production of The Nutcracker, and was amazing as always. She said she messed up once, but I didn’t notice. I thought she was the most beautiful little sugarplum cherub ever seen!

Not to be outdone, Fletcher had his first violin performance during the school holiday program. In his words, he “rocked it.” It’s a loooooooooong road to Carnegie Hall (or, um, wherever violinists would want to play . . .) but I am so proud of him!

the happiest place on earth

We are freshly back from the happiest, COLDEST, happiest place on earth. That’s right folks, Disney World!! The trip wasn’t exactly like we expected. I had visions of the kids splashing away in the resort’s incredible pool for hours on end . . . but temperatures in the 20’s put a fast end to that notion. Yes. The 20’s. In Orlando. Oh well.

But I have to tell you, while we froze our tushies off and probably didn’t stay as long past dark as we might have otherwise, it was still a magical experience.

Fletcher discovered a love of roller coasters – one his sister does not share. Lola learned the joys of It’s A Small World and animatronic singing bears.

Lola Gray was given a button saying that it was her birthday – but she wouldn’t wear it. She got soooo embarrassed at all the people wishing her Happy Birthday! I didn’t expect that shyness from her.

Watching them interact with Snow White and Mickey and Minnie (Lola Gray was so nervous!), watching their faces as they waved to everyone in the Electric Parade. . . . priceless. And the fireworks! What a show!! We are already planning our return trip!!

When life gives you lemons

One of our favorite parts of visiting the river in the Fall is picking lemons off the huge lemon trees. We came home from Thanksgiving with a huge bag full of them. The question is: what exactly do we do with all those lemons??

Holiday decorating, of course! My first project was wrapping the banister in greenery with the lemons thrown in as accents. A little bit of Williamsburg influence perhaps?

Next up, sugared lemons perhaps?

Fidem meam obligo

At first I thought it was just gibberish. I mean, she was crawling around the playroom with a cardboard box overturned on top of her like a giant turtle, muttering. Gibberish would have made sense. But it wasn’t gibberish. It was the Pledge of Allegiance. In LATIN.

And I was worried about her learning her alphabet?

Fidem meam obligo
vexillo civitatium
Americae  foederatarum
et rei publicae pro qua stat
uni natione deo ducente
non dividendae
cum libertate iustitiaque omnibus

art + science = great gifts!

Once again, in my quest for keeping the gifting aspect of Christmas in perspective, we are opting to make many of our Christmas gifts this year. This is equal parts frugality and sentimentality – there is something so precious to me about handmade items – and when the process of making the gifts is both fun and educational  what could be better??

Over the weekend the kids and I started on our first project: cyanotype photograms.

The process is so easy! You can purchase pre-sensitized cyanotype paper or cloth from museum gift shops or from several online retailers. (I ordered precut squares from Blue Sun Prints.) Any object can be placed on top of the paper/cloth and exposed to sunlight for approximately 15 minutes. Opaque objects will produce a silhouette effect while objects with some translucency will create varying tones. The kids were able to watch the cloth change color throughout the 15 minute exposure, changing from yellowish green to  beautiful shades of cyan blue. When time was up we rinsed the sheets under cold water and were done!

I love the way the sheets look drying on my clothesline! The varied tones of blue were created by different exposure times – the darker ones were done for 15 minutes in direct sunlight while the lighter ones were either shorter exposure times or when the sun was not as intense. There is a definite aspect of chance in how these images turn out, but that is part of the fun of it!

Raymond built these simple wooden frames which I painted white – I think they work perfectly with the photograms! Totally gift ready!

Before we began we looked at the iconic cyanotypes of Anna Atkins from the 1840’s when the process was first developed and photography was in its infancy. They are stunningly beautiful. Ours may not quite measure up to those of Anna Atkins, but the children enjoyed the process of creating the images totally on their own, and the surprise of watching the photograms develop. I think we will have to revisit this process in the spring when there are more flowers and plants to print!