Monthly Archives: June 2014

Loving lately …


We had a gorgeous double rainbow here last week, but just a few sprinkles of rain.

Flickr featured 18-year-old Liisa Toomus in their Photographer Spotlight. What an inspiring young woman! And her photos are beautiful.

That post led me to the THINK Global School, a high school in which students travel to international locations to learn through immersion. Fascinating concept, and one that I really admire.

Are you the type of person who needs some background noise when studying or reading? Redditors posted their favorite ambient-noise sites.

And if you’re looking for something to read, the Kansas Notable Books for 2014 were recently announced.


Abstract Ombre Sunset

photo (2)


I whipped this up at my library’s last Crafternoon session, which included instruction from a real live professional artist (thanks, Nicole!). We used acrylic paintings and explored how to create various textures and mix colors, and then we just went for it. I’m partial to orange, so I mixed up a gorgeously rich peachy orange color and started swiping it on the canvas (8″ x 10″). I used the deeper shade on the bottom, then started adding white. I didn’t mix white into orange on the palette; instead, I just grabbed a glob of orange and a glob of white with the brush at the same time and brushed it onto the canvas. As I moved up higher on the canvas, I just added more white and less orange. Any color mixing happened directly on the canvas.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out — it’s reminiscent of a sunset, I think. When I’m staring at a blank canvas, I get intimidated and am afraid of making the wrong choices — picking the wrong color, making a mistake, using a brush that’s too small. Once I get started, though, it feels natural and intuitive. I’m not sure what all that means, but I like it and am planning to do more painting soon.

Loving lately …

Here are a few things I’ve enjoyed this week:

Emily A. Clarke uses painted cutting boards as kitchen decor.

Man-Made DIY lists a few ways to make stylish vignettes in various areas of your home. I’m drawn to this because I tend to like minimalist design, and sometimes that means masculine too.

Vintage Revivals gives us an easy how-to for copper-accented picture mats.

Velo Vogue features on bicycling in San Francisco, my favorite city ever. I love the idea of taking a camping trip by bike.

Over at SortaCrunchy, there’s a post for highly sensitive parents and how to deal. I relate most to the “sight” portion re: visual clutter. It’s physically draining!

Finally, at least once a week I try to do a yoga routine instead of my usual workout (usually Saturday mornings). I’ve been really enjoying Adriene Mishler’s Yoga with Adriene videos (also on YouTube). She has some excellent routines for runners, and she breaks everything down very clearly and is not super new-agey, which works well for me.

Have a great week!

Sesame Street Revisited


I have fond memories of watching Sesame Street on PBS when I was growing up, and I love sharing that with Aoife as she gets older. We have a couple of Old School Sesame Street DVDs that we rotate through, showing episodes from the 1970s. All three of us here have our favorite bits, quotable moments, and songs that get stuck in our heads. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but I find these episodes entertaining even as an adult.

When I was younger, I lived in the country outside a very small town, and it was refreshing to see city life — honking taxi cabs, a hot dog cart, sitting down to read on the fire escape. It was a happy, idealized neighborhood but it still felt real.

Which brings us to modern episodes of Sesame Street. Wow, has that place cleaned up. The buildings are bright and shiny, and Big Bird’s alphabet sign actually looked cleaner after experiencing a hurricane than it did in older episodes. There is more of a focus on family life now, whereas the street housed mostly younger adults (Maria was around 21 when she first appeared on Sesame Street; Bob was age 37 when he first appeared; Mr. Hooper was the grandpa figure at age 61) who only went on to start families after they’d been living on the Street for a while. Remember I said that I was entertained by the classic episodes just as much now that I’m an adult? The newer episodes just don’t feel the same. This might be where nostalgia creeps in. Fifteen minutes of Elmo is a little much. I miss the randomness of the clips — you never knew if you were going to get a song, a number sequence, a trip to the crayon factory. The street itself doesn’t feel real anymore; now it feels like a set.

I also feel like in the older episodes, the muppets acted as real children do. I love in a classic episode of Sesame Street when Bob is playing a guessing game to get the kids to name things that everyone does. The kids (and Bert and Ernie) respond with things like talking and walking, and they discuss the fact that not everyone can do everything (Bert mentions wiggling eyebrows, and Ernie doesn’t have eyebrows). Ernie mentions playing with his rubber ducky, but not everyone has one, and Bert firmly states that he does not love that, coming back with the idea that of course everyone loves watching his favorite TV show, The Wonderful World of Pigeons. Ernie, taken aback, responds, “You know what, Bert? I hate that show!” This is such a real response that a child might have to something, but I doubt that it would be considered appropriate on a newer episode.

I do have to admit that I feel like there is something missing when I watch those older shows. I am almost embarrassed to say that it was only a short time ago that I learned that Maria’s real name is not Maria. Gordon is not really Gordon and in fact has been played by a few different actors over the years. I totally thought that Gordon and Susan were really married, and that Maria and Luis really had a baby … no. At least Bob’s real name is Bob. Now when I see these actors in their roles on Sesame Street, I find myself wanting to learn more about the behind the scenes happenings and the making of the show.

If you’re like me and want to learn more, check out the book Street Gang, published in 2008, or Sesame Street Unpaved, from 1998. If you want to lose yourself in video clips, there are many available on YouTube or on the Muppet Wiki.


DIY Abstract Phone Wallpaper

I bought the Waterlogue app (iOS, $2.99) a while back and have really loved using it to turn my so-so photos into works of art.

Painted in Waterlogue

The effects are gorgeous, and you can choose 12 different styles of watercolor. I tend to just stick with the Natural effect for simplicity, although the others give you great results as well.

I was hankering for a new iPhone wallpaper, but I didn’t know quite what I wanted. I love abstract art, as you may know, so I thought about running some random images through the Waterlogue process to see what came out.

If you’re a parent and you let your kids play with your phone, you probably have images that look like this:

photo 1 (1)

That’s a shot of Aoife’s blanket, super duper close up. This toddler is obviously a natural photographer. I ran it through Waterlogue, did some rotating, and got this:

Painted in Waterlogue

Beautiful, right?

I made a few more – see the before and after:

photo 2 (1) Painted in Waterlogue

And here’s one of the clouds at sunrise:

photo 3 (1) Painted in Waterlogue

I love how they turn out, and I’d love to make some prints of them. I don’t know how well that would show off the watercolor effect; any ideas? Maybe at a small size and behind a frame would work.

Here are other bloggers’ takes on the Waterlogue app:

Now I’ve started actively looking for good abstract things to shoot, so I can waterlogue them. What do you think of the effects?

Loving lately…


If you like the book reviews that have pop up here every once in a while, let me direct you to my other blog – Marleah Reads. There, I will post my book reviews, as well as give you the lowdown on the Stephen King Saga and the Dewey Challenge that I have undertaken. (I’m reading The Talisman right now and am way more into it than I expected.)

On that reading note, I love that Reading Rainbow on Kickstarter has reached THREE TIMES its goal and still has a month left to go. I wish I had an extra couple of thousand dollars so I could have a picnic with LeVar Burton.

Rage Against the Minivan has a great post about lifestyle blogs and brings it back down to earth.

Thanks to Elise for featuring these awesome engineer prints from Photojojo. I have a few places here at home where I could use these …

Funny Shade of Green wrote about how to repurpose a giant box into something useful and fun.

How About Orange may be going away (sniff), but here’s a post about Jessica’s gorgeous geometric fabric and a link to a pattern for an iPad case. Don’t forget to sign up for the Oscar Bingo mailing list while you’re there!