Sunday coffee and quiche at a favorite eating place before checking in at the theatre. A young family choses their late morning delicacy. I make googlie eyes with the little kid. He blushes then covers both ears so he can’t see me. Or maybe I’m not supposed to see him?
There is something exciting about a brand new box of crayons. Colorful, bright, clean and smelling of wax. Then somebody borrows one, tears the paper, dulls the end and breaks it….
At Bible Study this past week, we were asked to illustrate our perception of Glory. I immediately thought of that new box of crayons. A perfectly, sharpened, orderly, smudgeless box of colorful glory!
I have a memory of a playmate showing up with the Crayola Crayon box of 96 colors with its built in crayon sharpener! I was impressed and thought this added feature sure way to keep those crayons looking fresh. Unfortunately you had to peel back the paper on the crayon in order to sharpen it. Also sharpening a crayon makes it smaller. I finally accepted that if you use the crayon, it will never look new. Kind of like having cake and eating it too.
I had to re-think my bible study illustration. Perhaps Glory doesn’t have anything to do with perfection.
My crayons, no longer perfect, live in a plastic shoebox. They are broken, the wrappers are torn, smudged, unreadable or missing. They are the crayons that were used to give life to masterpieces created by my children and their friends. Each dulled colored stick of wax had a story to tell.
I think, like the crayon, we start out perfect. As we live, we leave marks on our canvas gradually creating our own masterpiece.
Adam and Eve were hanging out in paradise with only one rule to follow, Leave the apple alone. Although their world seemed perfect, they were still given the gift choice. A decision was made, and consequence ensued.
If perfection was the only expectation, why weren’t Adam and Eve simply destroyed and a new set (of humans) created? Instead, they were given an opportunity to live, grow and recreate outside of paradise. They were given life outside of the perfect environment. One can only exist in the womb, it isn’t until we are outside of the womb that we live.
Perhaps it is all as it should be.
Outside of the crayon box.
I am like the crayon, spreading color, my sharp edges are gone, I am broken, my wrapper is torn. My story is the markings on the canvas.
Perhaps Glory is when I can look back and say, I’m happy with my masterpiece.
Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless and/or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.
A friend sent a photo of two chairs his mom was planning to throw away. They were hideous. He thought of me as I’ve been learning upholstery over the past year and a half and figured I might want to make a project of them.
Cambridge online dictionary defines project: noun (ˈpräjˌekt) – a piece of planned work or an activity that is finished over a period of time and intended to achieve a particular purpose. I found a second definition of the word describing a large or major undertaking, especially one involving considerable money, personnel and equipment.
Perhaps from the early 70’s, or even the 60’s these rounded low chairs are seated on a chrome swivel base that was heavily rusted, but with some elbow grease, polished up quite nice. After removing the original fabric and the innards, I found the wooden “skeleton” in pretty good shape. A few reinforcements with screws, braces and glue gave added insurance that these chairs would last a couple more generations of seating while sipping Martini’s or beer, eating popcorn on movie nights, game nights, conversing with friends or maybe even falling asleep.
Ava at the Beach.
I was complimented when a friend said she wanted to spend a day watching me paint, and/or paint with me, see how I work….. Is there a method to my madness? I decided to follow the progress of a painting taking photos as I went along.
Often I find I overwork something then wish I could press the “undo” button and go back a step or two. That’s when my husband might question why I didn’t put my signature on it and hang it on the wall several iterations ago.
I imagine many artists have a desired “look” or “feel” they want to achieve. Some point of measure that is known only to the artist herself, and until that point is reached, the signature may remain lost in the hairs of the brush.
This particular project went from palette to canvas with relative ease. I don’t really know why one painting can be completed in a couple of hours, while another takes months of frustrating do-overs? I’m pleased with how I was able to capture the sun on her knee.
Ava at the Beach • 2013 • Edie Moore Olson
It Isn’t All Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows
A fellow blogger, Jessica Glassberg, is on a journey with her family in Australia. She is a writer with the gift of humor. You can follow her, fun loving, heartfelt tales along with me.
Yes, most of the blogs I post on here are about all of the fun adventures we’re having here in Sydney. And trust me, we are having a blast!
But in between the trips to museums and the zoo…
In the midst of play dates with new friends…
There are tantrums. There are crying jags. There is stress and anxiety and the general pressure of parenting.
There are moments of just sheer exhaustion.
There are days where we have fun playing and learning. And then there are days like today where I’m standing in Woolworth’s, having made all of my supermarket selections and am headed towards the check out when The Little Moo suddenly bolts out of her stroller and runs down an aisle. I am then forced to abandon said stroller and my filled grocery basket in the middle of the meat department to keep up…
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Slow roast cherry tomatoes with garlic cloves in an oven of 200 degrees 3 to 5 hours.
I’ll toss the tomatoes and garlic in olive oil, a pinch or two of brown sugar and some balsamic vinegar. Spread them evenly on a roasting pan and place in the oven. Check occasionally, turning them over, gently, so not to burst them. I might sprinkle dried herbs at the beginning of this process, or add basil leaves at the end when I’m ready to store them in a jar and refrigerate. I add a bit more olive oil, salt and pepper when I store them in a tightly sealed mason jar.
Roasted tomatoes and garlic make a great addition to a salad, or as an appetizer with fresh mozzarella. I’ve used it as a spread on toasted french bread. I once impressed a friend when I took a jar out of the fridge and tossed it in a pan of fried (diced) bacon. I tossed in cooked pasta and sprinkled on some parmesan…. she thinks I’m a gourmet cook!
Mom wore a coral colored cardigan with big buttons, pockets and 3/4 length sleeves (or maybe she pushed up her sleeves). It was a thick knit with a collar that closed up around the neck. It was the sixties, I would have been 5 or 6. I thought the color was pretty against her skin.
Her lip stick wasn’t a sassy red, but more like that same coral color. When she’d go out, my sister Robin and I would ask her to kiss us so she could leave a lip print on our cheeks.
Tchotchke: pronounced (ˈCHäCHkə), Yiddish – A small object that is decorative rather than strictly functional; a trinket (Webster’s Dictionary). The Urban Dictionary defines Tchotchke as: A small piece of worthless crap.
Everyone has them. Little knickknacks hidden behind other knickknacks collecting dust. Perhaps they are kept in a box, maybe a secret treasure chest type box. Tucked away.
To an outsider it may look like a rock, but to me, it’s a gift my son gave me when he was three. I keep it in my purse. A blue bird with a chip in it’s beak, was a gift from Edna Degraffenreid, a woman who worked with my mother. I was fourteen. I don’t remember packing or unpacking it, but it has moved with me and after 40 years, it still has a home on top of my dresser. I have three Murano glass frogs my mother-in-law brought back from Italy. There was a slight panic when I dropped one and broke its leg and a failed attempt at gluing. The sentiment remained intact.
When Uncle Winston passed away, a couple of the cousins and I packed up his house. One keepsake I took with me was a faux Limoges box shaped like a carrot. There’s a tiny white rabbit inside. Turns out, my sister was the one who gave it to him.
Inside the goodie bags at my daughter’s 5th birthday party, her guests found a tiny ballerina with a magnet at the base of its feet. The tiny mirror that came with it is also magnetic. Put them together and the ballerina dances. I want her to dance. She spins and stops, spins and stops. She stares. In the end she performs a lovely adagio.
A tiny glass dolphin. A small glass bunny. A turtle, a pig, a teeny weeny rubber chicken. A long neck goose carved out of teak, a pencil sharpener shaped like a cannon from the Alamo. A minuscule teddy bear and blanket crocheted with vintage yarn. The craftsmanship of this little bear is amazing. I met the artist and admire her work, we belong to the same Artist Guild. The teddy bear wanted a ride on the bicycle after he saw the rubber chicken ride by.
Tchotchkes. Taking them down from the shelf is kinda like looking at old photographs. The memories come flooding in.
Something I like to have readily available in the fridge is a simple syrup made with the juice of freshly squeezed lemons.
Squeeze the juice from several lemons and strain the pulp and seeds. Place equal parts juice and sugar (raw works very well) in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Once boiled, reduce heat to low. Stir occasionally, so not to burn, for 5-10 minutes. Liquid should reduce and thicken slightly.
When life gives you lots of lemons… make syrup!
I like using this in tea, a variety of cocktails, as well as combining with seltzer water for a sparkling lemonade.
Often I’ll toss in strawberries, raspberries or blueberries. I will let it cook a bit longer in order to get as much of the color and flavor of the added fruit. Again strain the pulp to keep the liquid clear. Store in a jar or bottle, keep refrigerated.
Lime Green Vinyl
When I was growing up, the piano in our home was an upright covered in lime green vinyl. A memory that makes me smile. I recently called my mom to question this interesting choice in furniture decor. Her simple response, “because her mother (my grandmother) wanted it that way”. Then she told me to stop laughing at her mother!
Grandmother played the piano by “ear”. My dad would have said, “that’s because she’s so short!” She was only 4’11” and her ears were close to the keys, of course she could play by ear!
The sound of her playing and singing “If I Can Help Somebody” is very much alive in my heart. My sister and I would imitate her, giggling when we’d get to the chorus, “then my living shall not be in vain…” We’d screech to reach the high notes, (just like Grandmother).
If I can help somebody, as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody, with a word or song,
If I can show somebody, (where) they’re traveling wrong,
Then my living shall not be in vain.
~Alma Bazel Androzzo