Monday, March 20, 2017

Random Probably Isn't

In design, random is a look.  It might start out unplanned, but it takes some effort to look random in a way that's pleasing....pieces spread in a happenstance sort of way, without looking planned.  A piece of artwork, no matter what kind, needs balance in its composition (unless the artist is trying for the opposite), and true randomness rarely gives that result. 

The sign at Taco Bell shows a photo of a 'Spicy Crunchwrap Supreme' with a nicely spaced, 'random' smattering of jalapeno slices... A little heat spread throughout.  Yum!  In real life, Prince CuddleBunny's lunch had approximately 12 slices of pepper, randomly/carelessly thrown on.  They ended up in a pile in the space of two bites, which was not yum!  

I wanted the colorful strips around the edges to look
mixed up...randomly placed.  I tried to accomplish
this by sewing them together in random fashion.
Just pick one up and sew it on...

Art is like that.  If the pieces that draw your attention, when meant to result in a random assortment, are all piled together, that one spot is too demanding and the rest is bare. The visual weight of the piece is off.  If on the other hand, they end up close to evenly spaced or sized, the effect of randomness may be lost.  Instead, it can look liked planned spacing that 'just missed.'  In art you must, ironically, move things around, sometimes adjusting and adjusting again, to get a random, 'easy' look that works.
...but that didn't create the look I wanted. Sometimes a strip
was too bland...with like colors all in a row without the
punch of color from the orange or bolder prints, which
have more visual weight.  I had to take apart some strips and
change others around to get the scattered look that worked.

The result...random looking, but not randomly composed.

Life is like that.  I am noticing that when I approach each day in a random manner, little gets accomplished, because the balance is off. -- Too much time on one thing, or too little time on many things. Too often I have little to show for my day; not doing enough or jumping from random task to random task.  Or, I spend the day responding to a pile of hot peppers. In the end, no real progress is made that I can feel good about... and because of that, I may be creating that next pile of excessive heat.  

A person who goes through life creating success in his or her wake, may look like they don't have a care in the if keeping their fingers in the pies they have is without extra thought or worry.  If someone's life or tasks appear to be without worry, I can pretty much guarantee it isn't without thought. Prioritizing, scheduling, and goal setting would all play a part.  Working efficiently, these things, which all involve thinking ahead, can help prevent extra work and crises, or those piles of spicy peppers, and also prevent the worry about missing things or not keeping up.  

I don't know if it's the mental effects of aging, that there are more things on my plate, or, perhaps, just finally growing some wisdom, but I don't think I'm doing well with multi-tasking and 'winging it.'  Today I had a choice of the bathroom hand towel or paper towels to use after my shower!  I think I'm missing some key tasks... 

I'm finding need for more structure/planned guidance in my life as I try to pare literal and figurative clutter, and prioritize my time to focus on things that are more crucial, and make time for things I want to do.  As much as I like the random look in art, I need less of it in my life. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

From the Mouths of Princes

I'm not doing very well at getting back to this blogging thing, considering it's been almost a month since my 'return.'

As a matter of fact, right after I'd published that last post, I was having familiar, nagging questions about whether or not it had been a good idea to do so. Without really expecting any feedback, I thought out loud and expressed some of my doubt to Prince CuddleBunny.
"I don't even know if I should have a blog at all." 
"What?! Why?" (His surprise actually surprised me.  I didn't know it was on his radar.)
"I feel like all I have to talk about is myself." 
"Yeah...Who else would you talk about?" 
"Blogs are supposed to be helpful to people; to share a recipe or technique...maybe teach something." 
"Ach (with a wave of the hand)...You're good."

I wish I could dispatch with the message in a blog post as neatly and quickly as he did with that subject!

I guess most blogs are somewhat about individual journeys.  --And, the prince is obviously right, mine is all I have to share.  I do have quite a long list of post ideas, so bear with me, and I'll try to be here more often.

Meanwhile... You may have noticed that I've updated my blog title from "Friday is Pizza, Monday is Soup," because I don't feel that cooking and the kitchen will be a big part of what I share now.  Our Home for Ten (RHome410) is a product of me, and I have become a product of it, as is anything I accomplish.  In other words:

RHome410 is me.  Me is RHome410.  

Ok, sorry... I am RHome410...So simplifying to that name seems appropriate.  

I've recently updated My Family page, so you could check in there if you're interested in a tiny bit of catching up.  I've updated my "About Me," too, if you might like a hint as to the new direction of the blog. Other changes to the page are forthcoming. 

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Finding my Way

I ordered myself 2 new books a month or so ago...I knew I 'shouldn't' because I had so many others waiting to be read. But I needed to understand more about my NEED to be creative and make art, and the voices in my head (mine and others from my life) getting in my way. I made myself a rule... Actually read the first one, Art & Fear, without stopping...that is to say, without getting distracted by starting to read anything else.
Art & Fear. For me, like taking a class for $7
I'm glad I ordered it and I'm glad I dove right in. I got a lot out of it. I loved reading it as much as if I was going to a really good class, so sticking with it took no particular discipline. 
Finding quiet time to read and absorb was the biggest challenge, but that's what alone-time in the car... with only the light from my phone during Prince CuddleBunny's baseball practice... is for!
Besides a lot of underlining and taking notes, in beginning to feel ok about my own ideas, I sketched right onto the pages! I have so many projects in mind, I hope I remember them all. I suppose only that ones that should will get lost in the shuffle and process.
I think I am finding MY voice... Or, actually, understanding that MY voice, expressed MY way, is all that's needed for MY art. It's not more or less than what anyone else can produce. I can't control how others will respond, so there is no value in worrying about it. As the author explained, all artists are different in what they have to offer and how they express it, but we're all the same in that we can only produce our true and best art, at least figuratively, alone in a room, and with who we are as individuals as the source. It's about accepting myself, which isn't a new concept in the self-help world, and, certainly, something I'd heard and read before, but maybe I am just starting to 'get it.' At approximately 56 and 11 months... Better late than never.

I felt sad to get to the end of the book. I've experienced that before, but this is a first, I think, for non-fiction! I went back through it to review my underlines and notes, to better imbed what I'd found important. 

Ha!  I just noticed that the title is printed
on the mailing label.  So much for my surprise!
I highly recommend this book for those with a yen, even a mostly hidden one, for being creative! Art can be a lot of things, and I think a lot of people have an artist in them, waiting to come out from behind all sorts of negative comments or perceptions, a view that such things shouldn't be an important priority among life's demands, or a lack of confidence. Artists aren't born great, and they're not more special than you are. They just get in and DO. --And practice, and fail, and do some more.

Now I get to open the envelope that has locked the 2nd book away from my view ever since it arrived...I don't even remember what it is! It'll be a surprise gift to myself.

This post includes Amazon affiliate links.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Back into the Kitchens

Chief Architect:
Home Designer Architectural 2016
No, the plural used in the title wasn't a mistake.  I've been immersed in kitchen design again lately, which I love.  It's been a pleasure to work in my Chief Architect drafting software again, producing 3D renderings to bring dreams and ideas -almost- to life for a few projects.

 - The kitchen part of a whole-house remodel an empty-nesting couple are doing in their 1980's home is coming together.  Their family-friendly banquette is gone; that seating area exchanged for a baking center for the pie-baking husband.  The new seating, now for grandchildren, will transfer to their new island, which sits where the wall, between kitchen and living room, used to be.  

The gifted cabinets.  They'll be painted
white. She was without a lazy susan in
her corner cabinet before, so this older
version (the door spins in) is an upgrade.

 - Old church and homeschooling friends are working together to redo a water-damaged kitchen for a deserving family in their 70's home.  We are re-purposing donated cabinets for all of the bases, with new, taller uppers to maximize storage.  This situation creates opportunity to remove walls and redesign the layout.  Their big family will benefit from the open design with an island, offering better traffic flow and much more countertop workspace than they had previously.

 - My nephew is remodeling the kitchen in his turn-of-the (19th to 20th)-century home, upgrading appliances and adding an island, while maintaining location of plumbing and venting for economy's sake.  He had the design figured out, and I just put his vision into renderings, so he could double check before diving in.  He's chosen classic Shaker style cabinets in white, respecting the age/style of the home and ensuring the modest space is not overwhelmed... though a wall oven, gas rangetop, stainless apron front sink, and, hopefully, quartz countertops will help modernize it and create a chef's-level work environment.                                            

 - An e-friend I met on the Gardenweb kitchen forum will be, I hope, finally getting the kitchen we've been discussing for years.  Their home has been under construction, but in an area of extreme weather, so the building window is small. It requires patience, but is giving her the time she needs to be certain about making the kitchen the best it can be.  It will be an immense upgrade to the tiny space she baked in as her family grew. She's trying to balance a homey look with simple, clean lines, and surfaces that are easy to maintain.  We just adjusted the plan to replace counterspace she won't miss with a small kitchen table that she'll enjoy daily.

Within our many email messages discussing the goals for her design, she shared a link to an inspiration kitchen, a Houzz Kitchen of the Week. All of the Douglas fir and the beautiful windows definitely make it swoon-worthy. If I could have an awesome kitchen like the one in this 'microhouse,' maybe I could warm to Hubby's dream of building a tiny house. Well, since this kitchen is probably larger than an actual 'tiny house,' maybe I'll just say I could be OK with 'tinier...'

I'm betting you might be hoping for more details and some images of those projects I mentioned... Of course!  Stay tuned...


Thursday, January 15, 2015

I'm Mooshy-Squooshy...and Loved

from Maybe What I Really Need is to be Loved,  Your Beloved

This blog post by Bonnie Gray, sent to my email inbox via (in)Courage, helped me relax enough to get back to sleep at 3 AM early yesterday morning. I had been lying awake, gnashing my teeth about a lot of things... Mostly aggravated that the issues were probably 'my fault' at the root... 

  • I'm wimpy.
  • I'm too soft and sentimental.
  • As a pleaser, I don't say "no" enough, or pull hard enough when the kids need to be reined in.
  • I let things and finances and the household tasks get out of control, and sometimes I let others reinforce the idea that it's my fault.

I call good decisions "theirs," and not-necessarily-good decisions "bad momming."

Maybe I'm not all the things I was telling myself, or actually, maybe I am, but that's the way God made me.  I am mooshy and squooshy, for good or (for what you think may be) bad. If I'm not tough enough, it just might be someone else's job to offer the kids that point of view, or there is something we're all supposed to learn or gain as things unfold. Mostly, the kids are doing pretty awesome, and I am here to allow them to be and develop into their own selves, too. 

I (don't often enough) realize that there are just some things maybe I shouldn't control (WHAT?!!), or take responsibility for.

--These rambling thoughts may give insight on why I don't get back to sleep once my mind starts to spin-- 

ANYway, I searched out the blog post again today to re-read and re-remind myself, and thought maybe someone else could use the message...
Now please give yourself a break and rest in that, and I'll try to give it a shot, too.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Greetings from RHome410

Life isn't allowing much blogging time these days, but I adapted a blog-version of our family Christmas letter, which I thought (hope!) you might enjoy....

Merry Christmas 2014!

Once again, it’s been a busy, whirlwind of a year.  The kids get older, and some even move out, but life doesn’t slow, activities don’t decrease, and even the food bill seems to hold steady!  Not to complain, because we can be nothing but thankful for the family, health, interests, and abilities that make all of this busyness possible.

Bossy, Artiste, Eager, Sassy
Princess Bossy and Prince Helium continue life in the state far away, homeowners and doggy parents.  Helium works in a downtown law firm, and Bossy works part-time in the exec asst position for a dean at the law school.  
She more than fills the rest of her time with various ministries at church, plus community organizations.  For work, she attended a conference in The Netherlands in October.  With most of Helium’s relatives living in Holland, they’d been long hoping to visit there, so were happy to take advantage of this opportunity.  Helium went along, and they added days for sightseeing and visiting family.  It was amazing to look at the photographs and see they actually stood amongst the scenery and architecture we’ve seen only in movies and in books.  With that trip and Bossy’s visit home in July, we will have to miss seeing them this Christmas.
Prince Stoic is in year 2 of his electrical apprenticeship, currently working in a commercial, high-rise project.  He is one of the high school youth leaders at a Presbyterian Church near his home in the Big City.  Much of his spare time is spent working on his BMW or his motorcycles.  We count it as blessing that he doesn’t have a garage, so he comes home to use ours.  
Inventive, Artiste, Stoic
He made a trip to California for a motorcycle course, took a couple of jaunts with friends to Oregon, and will fly to the state far away to celebrate the arrival of 2015 with Bossy and Helium.  It is fun to see how close he stays to all his siblings.  He is happy to host them and they can count on him to provide support and advice (and join in some silliness).

Princess Sassy, Prince Steadfast, and the Grandprince were finally able to move into the space above our new garage a few months before Grandprince’s first birthday.  Steadfast is back at school this year, into his full-time, junior year in Engineering, but still working full-time, too.  Sassy is blossoming as a mommy and homemaker, enjoying nesting and creating their own little home.  

She enjoys attending the MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) program at church to fellowship with other young moms.  She still nannies occasionally & coaches junior high track in the spring. Grandprince goes along, a big hit with the kids.  He is growing so fast, and is so capable and smart -- He started walking before his birthday, and has so many words already!  We love being so close, seeing all of his new developments and discoveries, and getting playtime and cuddles.

Prince Inventive finished his Assoc in Arts degree at the nearby community college in June, and decided to take some time off before finishing a degree to build his savings and be sure about what he wanted to pursue… to be sure he was on the path God intends for him.  He moved to the Big City in July, and into an apartment with his original best friend and roommate, Stoic.  He thought he might become an electrical apprentice, too, but decided, instead, to continue his education, and will begin classes in January at a Christian University, Bossy's alma mater.  
He intends to complete his degree in Marketing, and hopes to represent the school as an admissions counselor after graduation.  Right now he works 2 jobs.  He has an impact position in the stock room at a nationwide clothing retailer, and also nannies, 9 hours a day, 2 days a week, for 3 kiddos, ages 2, 4, and 6.  He’ll continue to do that after he starts school.  Like Stoic, he loves working on, and driving, his BMW.

Prince Artiste finished high school in the spring, and thought she’d be following in her also-homeschooled siblings’ footsteps by attending community college before applying to a university.  A combination academic and athletic scholarship offer from a small, private college changed all that.  She decided to jump at the seemingly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and this birdie left the nest in August-- the 2nd to do so in 2 months.  It was a tough adjustment in the house. In addition to classes and cross country practices and meets, she’s worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor at the YMCA, worked in the school library, and co-founded a Christian athletes’ group. 
It’s been a learning experience, but the school hasn’t been able to meet all of her expectations and needs. Artiste is currently working on her transfer to the same school as Inventive, where she plans to major in interior design.  She believes the school, program, and environment will be a better fit for her.  She’ll live on campus, and her brothers look forward to having her nearby. 

Prince Go-for-It played baseball on school and select teams this year, so we spent much of the summer traveling the state for baseball tournaments.  He’s a good hitter and made amazing outfield plays. He was so fun to watch, and Mom got the best tan she’d had since she was 17!  ;-) Thankfully, it was the last tournament of the season when he was hit by a pitch that broke his hand. 
Go-for-it’s love for running has won out, and he is making it his only sport. He ran on the varsity cross-country team again this year, and earned his way to the district championship meet.  He plans to train hard to make the state meet next year, and, also, catch the eyes of college scouts in track this spring, and cross-country next fall.  His schedule is so full this year with his junior-year classes, drivers ed., running, his job at a local golf course, Young Life and Campaigners, and, of course, friends.  He’s showing impressive improvement in his academics, growth in his faith, and leadership potential.

Princess Eager is in 9th grade already!  She is quite the photographer and the pictures she took during Go-for-It’s baseball games were in high demand by all of his teammates.  She takes photos for friends, and was the official photographer for the Steadfast/Sassy family Christmas photos.  She gets the credit for pushing to attend the Prefontaine Classic track meet at Univ of Oregon in May, where she, Artiste, and Mom got to see world-class athletes compete.  We hope to make that an annual thing. Eager took her first ever airplane trip (alone) to visit the Bossy/Heliums for 10 days over Thanksgiving.  She had a great time, visiting attractions, helping Bossy with ministry projects, sharing Thanksgiving with B & H’s surrogate family, and ‘Black Friday’ shopping with her big sister.  Eager also ran for the high school cross-country team this year, and earned her varsity letter.  She went to the district championship meet as an alternate, which was her goal.  She still works as a childcare provider at church during MOPS and special events.
Prince CuddleBunny is a homeschooled 5th grader this year.  He is his mom’s sidekick, especially dedicated to accompanying her twice a week to take lunch to Grandpa on Wednesdays, and lunch and dinner on Sundays.  He always looks forward to making Grandpa’s gin and tonic at the appointed hour every Sunday, and exercising Gpa’s puppy.  
CuddleBunny played his first year of Little League baseball as a 3rd baseman, and was awarded his team’s Most Improved trophy.  He started the season understandably hesitant, but finished strong on defense, and hitting doubles and a triple.  His LL coaches switched to a select team, the same organization Go-for-It played with last year, so CuddleBunny made the move, too.  He loves the year-around practices, and can’t wait to start playing games in the spring.  He is truly Grandprince’s ‘Awesome Uncle CB.’  The little guy loves him so much, and CuddleBunny is a big help to Sassy when she needs an extra pair of eyes and hands.  He has been learning to fish from Go-for-It, and enjoyed a hiking/camping trip with Dad and Inventive in August.
While the rest of us gallivanted to sports events, Hubby worked 2 extra jobs this summer, also continuing progress on the garage addition.  He taught immigrant teens in the woodshop at a skills center near the Big City, and was also the work-based learning coordinator there for the summer. After that, he helped with framing on a commercial construction project.  He is disappointed in changes at school… The switch from trimesters to semesters, and other changes mean the students have less opportunity to take electives, including career prep courses like his.  He feels it is a disservice to the students who need those classes and is frustrated.  He is considering program changes to meet both student needs and changing district priorities. This fall season was his 6th as the cross-country assistant coach. 
Sassy recently suggested he try a Paleo diet… No dairy or grains… in order to lose weight and retain his health for the long haul.  He has dropped a few pounds, breathes easier at night, and he feels better, overall.  He enjoys taking our Lab, Rosie, for walks in the forest, while Go-for-It runs trails there.  He asked that Grandprince call him “Pop” instead of “Grandpa,” but in current Grandprince language, he’s “Bop!”

Life without my mom is a hard adjustment, and I feel spread especially thin this year, as wife/homemaker/homeschooling mom/sports-fan mom/mom to those at home and to those living elsewhere/grandma, and also loving daughter and sister.  Things like home projects, gardening, blogging, and sewing have given way to driving people and feeding people… or driving to feed people!  

I fit in hugs and good talks, blessed to share in my kids’ interests and developing lives, and to spend time with my dad (who had a tough bout with pneumonia in Oct, but is doing well and getting stronger). Really, I have never driven as many miles as this year, and have a ‘frozen’ shoulder that often objects.  Thankfully, the sore one is the left, so doesn’t interfere too much with the rest of life (unless sleep counts!), the family is healthy, and our messy, ever-evolving house has the promise of a nice home underneath the drop-it-and-run-off-again mounds. --It has a protective clutter coating…?   ;-)

The Bible study group Hubby and I belong to feeds us in ways we need, both the studies we’ve done and the people in it we love, and who love us.  We’re learning a lot about taking each day as it comes, and doing what the Lord has for us in each one.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year… 
We hope you’ve accepted, or will accept, the best gift of all:
God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.  
1 John 4:9-10


All of us at  RHome410

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Say it Now

It's not great to think ahead about the death of a loved one.  But it was so sad that I wrote a tribute to the things my mom gave me and meant to me in my life only after she was gone.  I decided that wouldn't happen with my dad, and I set out to do something about it.  It was a good exercise in using my grief for good, and distracting myself, too.

I LOVE the hand-painted, subway sign I ordered from CantonAntiques on Etsy, and have hanging in my kitchen.  I didn't think I could afford a custom one for Dad, and it was more heartfelt to put in the effort to make one myself anyway.

I started by making a list of the special memories and things Dad had done for me and our family.  Then I hit the internet for "DIY subway signs."  That's when I found this post by TemptingThyme.  The examples looked just like what I wanted, and the instructions were helpful.  

This technique used PicMonkey, which is a fun and free photo editing site. (To tell the truth, I splurged and paid the small yearly fee, so I could get more fonts and effects.) The funny thing is, for this project, it's not about editing a photo, image, or document, but covering an image with a solid color, and customizing the sign with text in colors and fonts of your choice.  I have to say it was quite rewarding.  I won't 'reinvent the wheel' by repeating the instructions you can follow on TemptingThyme.

After creating my 'masterpiece,' I saved it to my desktop, and placed an online print order with FedEx printing.  Click on "Set your own Print Options." Upload the image, and you'll likely get a message that says "this file contains non standard print size," and you can click on "review options" to choose a standard size or stay with the original.   If you choose one of the preset sizes, you will be able to preview your project.  For Dad's I chose 11 x 17", and hit "convert."  You can always trim if your project doesn't cover the whole sheet.

 I recommend specifying a heavier weight paper (32# or 60#) to prevent wrinkling hassles when applying the project to a board.  To do these prints in black and white are about 42 cents (!!!), and in color, less than $2.50.  You might be able to do the printing yourself, but only if you have a laser printer.  InkJet ink will bleed when you apply a finish.

I mentioned a board, and didn't explain where it came from...   I had Hubby cut and glue 3/4" boards to create a base of the proper size.

My print had a white background, so I painted the sides of the boards with white acrylic paint, and let it dry.  That didn't take long...A half hour, at most.

  The gluing/finishing process was the hardest part.  I used matte ModPodge.  I applied it to the board with a foam brush, and let it dry until tacky.  I applied the printed paper, smoothing as I went, using a dough scraper as a squeegee, to avoid any air bubbles.

On my first attempt, following instructions I'd found elsewhere on line, I waited only about 45 minutes before applying the finish coat of ModPodge over the whole project.  The paper stretched and bubbled (see pic above), and eventually scratched and tore as I worked to try to smooth it (see pic to the left).  Thankfully,  Hubby had made 2 boards, and I started over.  This time I let it all dry overnight after applying the paper to the board.  The next morning, I did 2 finish coats and the result was much smoother.

Unfortunately, after days of curing, and after it was in my dad's possession, a few air pockets formed. I used 24 or 32# paper, but there was also 60#, and maybe I should've used it.

--But my dad doesn't mind the little bubbles.  He said it was nice and commented that I'd remembered a lot of things.  It may not sound like it was a big reaction, but I think I heard a catch in his voice and spied moist eyes, which means, with a man who loves gifts but is a little tough to 'wow,' this was a success.  :-)  He's told me since that a lot of the staff in his assisted living facility have commented on what a really nice gift it was.  --I don't say this to brag, but to be thoroughly thrilled that he likes it so much and is feeling appreciated.  

I know I've been a little vague about the directions, so if you get lost after visiting TemptingThymePicMonkey, and/or FedEx, please don't hesitate to contact me for further help.

Mostly, I'm saying that if you have someone you love in your life who means a lot to you, and you have certain reasons you are thankful for them... TELL THEM.  Somehow.  You don't know when the opportunity will be lost forever.

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