Saturday was full of sprouts, roots and creepy crawly things. I guess I could add to my list of favorite things to do - digging in the dirt. I turned my little veggie garden by hand and moved some lilies and hostas to the back of the yard. Both Maya and Ellie wanted to share in my enthusiasm and each transplanted a couple of things themselves. Ellie did not want to hold any worms in her hands as she used to when she was two years old. We all took a little time to watch all the creepy critters for a while. I saw some of the biggest grubs and night-crawlers I have ever seen. I'm guessing big worms will be good for my garden. Big grubs will probably eat my lawn and attract more moles.

Again I was going to paint this in watercolor, but decided to digitally play around with a small sketch from my sketchbook.

As for TV Turnoff week...
I could say it was completely effortless. I probably benefited most of all. I don't watch much TV, but I usually turn it on to unwind right at bedtime. Reading is really a better option for that. And I think the girls have forgiven us for forgetting to tape "Dancin' with the Stars". They are sad that they missed the big group dance and last week the stars were supposed to design the costumes. One week later - does it really matter?


Impossibility - Illustration Friday

One of the first things that popped into my head
was a ship in a bottle.
That's not an impossibility.
On the other hand,
getting the ship out of the bottle?


Happy Birthday Rosey!

The fairies that visit Maya and Ellie are named Lilly and Rosey. Today is Rosey's birthday! Ellie has been waiting for months to do something special for a fairy birthday, since her American Girl "Tiny Treasures" book is full of miniature projects that we can make out of stuff we have around the house.

What a beautiful celebration it will be
when the fairies visit the fairy garden tonight!

To give you an idea of the scale - the plates are buttons, the cups are Perler beads, and the candles are short snipped pieces of plastic coated electrical wire. The tablecloths are tissue paper. The streamers are curling ribbon, but I split them lengthwise to make them narrower. The cake is cut from an everyday household sponge (the size of a quarter). The directions say to paint it with white acrylic paint, but I used gesso because it's thicker and looks creamier. Ellie made the banner and hats (and pies, of course) all by herself and wrote a beautiful letter.



APRIL 20-26, 2009

The following is a re-print from last year - written earlier than that. I hope I don't sound too preachy, but I don't feel I could say it any better than this. I really just want to present the idea to people and perhaps inspire. I don't ever intend to tell people how to they should live their lives.

TV Turnoff has evolved into "Screentime". Yes, last year I let the girls play Wii and I feel that was a mistake. I think they played more video games than ever. I told them maybe this year we could limit Wii use to only sports and fitness, but we FINALLY have some spring weather so why not ride bikes and play catch?

I also told the girls I will not be going one week without using the computer. But, I will refrain from playing any computer games and I will not spend every morning surfing the internet while I drink my first cup of coffee of the day.

Why would anyone turn of their TV?

I've gotten used to the looks I get when I tell people that I don't have cable TV. It feels a little like I've just told them I am from another planet. But last year when I suggested to a few people that they turn off their TV for one week, they looked at me like I had just asked them to cut off their right hand.

My personal crusade started in 2003, when my four year old daughter came home from playing at the neighbor's house and told me it was "TV Turnoff Week". She informed me we needed to make a sign with and red circle and a line through it, put it on our TV and we couldn't watch TV for a whole week. My husband and I thought it was a great idea, especially since it was suggested by a four year old.

It was an eye-opening experience. Shortly before that, I had started working part-time to spend quality time with my two young daughters. I realized during that week that I needed to question the quality of time spent. Sure, we only watch PBS educational kids shows, but why was the TV on all the time?

The first few days were rough. Emotions ran high. I realized how often I used the TV to shut down emotional outbursts when I could not rationalize with a four year old or a one-and-a-half year old. I also used it to calm them down when they got a little too rambunxious. So the fact is, I was constantly using the TV to distract and sometime mildly sedate them. That is a sad fact. But, still in the first few days of "TV Turnoff Week" during those rough parenting moments I wanted very badly to give up and give in to the easy answer... "Hey look! It's Barney!"

It was a lot of work. I spent much more time dragging out toys, putting them away, cleaning up finger paints and other project supplies.

But, by the end of the week a lot had changed. I noticed a difference in my daughters' attention spans and imaginations. They began to play more independently and for longer periods of time. A new quietness had settled into the house. Everyone was more attentive. We didn't have to compete with the TV for the kids attention or talk over the extra noise. It was so fabulous I keep asking myself, "Why don't we do this more often?"

The truth is, we may have cut back a bit since then, but TV is sometimes more than a bad habit, it is addictive and a tough addiction to overcome.

The following year (2004) we missed TV Turnoff Week because I was not informed of the dates. The year after that (2005) I decided to look it up on the internet, to inform people and to invite them to participate. The next year, (2006) I hardly mentioned it at all because I feel my efforts are futile.

I had remembered seeing an article in the newspaper when I was in my mid-twenties about school kids who were challenged to not watch TV for a short period of time (maybe it was a week). The article was about a few kids who enjoyed it so much they kept going for months! I admired those kids, because at the time I was quite the couch potato. I thought perhaps those 10-12 year olds had more interesting and fulfilled lives than I had.

I do not want to imply that TV is horrible. I am not going to quote statistics that state TV makes people violent, obese or stupid. (All though in excess, I believe all those things are possible.)

I would like to invite everyone to experience the difference that I have experienced. And, I am not just addressing families with small children.

How many of us adults use the TV to distract ourselves from our emotions or shut our minds off from our anxieties? If turning off your TV could improve your attention span and imagination, would you do it?

I cannot suggest that turning off your TV will be easy or make your life instantly more wonderful. But, sometimes the more difficult task is the most worthwhile and rewarding.



1) Grouseland. The home of William Henry Harrison, Vincennes, IN
2) George Rogers Clark Memorial, Vincennes, IN
3) The Labyrinth, New Harmony, IN
4) Inside the Roofless Church,
New Harmony, IN
5) New Harmony Inn, New Harmony, IN
6) Full scale replica (42 feet) of Athena
7) The Parthenon, Nashville, TN
8) Guitar shaped swimming pool Music Row, Nashville, TN
9) Hiking in Nashville with Katie


Unbalanced, but Graceful

I've been thinking of making a mobile for some time now.

This past week, I realized it would be a great exercise for my Women's Circle. I am the only "artist" (in title only) of the bunch. My friends love when I lead them through a creative project. And I love drawing out the creative side from those who struggle to do so. We gather to expand and grow spiritually, and of course I feel creativity is the best way to connect with Spirit.

Initially I thought we could create symbols of the aspects of our lives we strive to keep in balance: mind, body, spirit; family, career, health, prosperity; etc. I may still explore that option, but I found a downloadable pattern on the Web for this paper mobile I created today.

"This paper mobile hangs
gracefully and the components
slowly change their orientations
as gentle wind currents flow
around any room."

Beginning from the bottom and working upward, it is necessary to find the center of balance of the smallest piece, (by balancing it on your finger) then attach to the next larger. Starting small and building up, again find the center of balance of the connected pieces and add on.

So here is a symbolic reminder to keep in my conscious mind. Find the center of balance. Start small. Build up. Move gracefully. Slowly. Always changing orientation. Gentle currents. Flow.

And in actuality I'm uncertain if it is not quite balanced or just a little flimsy? Symbolic of myself? Perhaps a little too flexible, to the point of looking a little saggy and weary. I will begin again, with posterboard (or heavy cardstock) as recommended rather than a lighter-weight cardstock. In spite of all that, it's still beautiful.


Poise - Illustration Friday

A flower girl who takes her job very seriously.