Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Syncronicity and a new exhibit

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Today it is my turn on the Dinner@8 blog which is profiling the artists in this year’s juried invitational exhibit, Reflections.  Please do click on the link to read their interview with me!  Fittingly, it is also Eli’s first Cross Country practice (to his dismay at 7:30 am!) of the season.  Why?  Because my quilt this year is of Eli’s 2013 Cross Country season:

This year's Dinner@8 quilt:  Eli, Cross-Country 2013, (c) Sarah Ann Smith

This year’s Dinner@8 quilt: Eli, Cross-Country 2013, (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Four years ago, I created a portrait of Joshua for the Beneath the Surface exhibit also created by Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jenison, the artists behind Dinner@8.

Joshua when he was 16, from four years ago.  (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Joshua when he was 16, from four years ago. (c) Sarah Ann Smith

This year it was Eli’s turn to have a portrait done at the same age. The theme this year was Reflections, and for once I didn’t want to do something literal.  I’ve always loved looking at children and seeing features from their parents in them, as well as getting to know them and seeing bits of personality that come from their families.  With Eli, he has brains (from both of us but I’ll take credit), athletic prowess (totally from his dad!), determination (stubbornness?  we’re both guilty on that one), the broad shoulders of my dad and brothers.  So Eli is running headlong into his future, a Reflection of his past and a hint of his future.

At long last, I’m happy to share with you some in progress photos, too. First I had to take reference photos (since I can’t remember all the angles!).  There were decisions to make:  head on?  from behind (since he’s usually at the front of the pack)?  sideways?  On the Camden Hills course or not?  Scale and composition….

Many decisions:  Close up of Eli (top left)?  Heading out of the frame (top right)?  Burning it up hill (middle left)?

Many decisions: Close up of Eli (top left)? Heading out of the frame (top right)? Burning it up hill (middle left)? Powering around the corner (middle right)?  at Festival of Champions, in a fast-moving pack (bottom left)?  Running away in a small crowd (bottom right)?  Right click to view larger.

I knew I wanted to have him running on the home course, which is why I took these photos:

The avenue into the woods, behind the softball field, at Camden Hills.  I knew I wanted this overall composition, but when I realized how small Eli's figure would be on the 24 x 60 h. required size, I knew I would have to adjust.  It just wouldn't have the right impact if his figure was maybe 12 inches tall out of 60!

The avenue into the woods, behind the softball field, at Camden Hills. I knew I wanted this overall composition, but when I realized how small Eli’s figure would be on the 24 x 60 h. required size, I knew I would have to adjust. It just wouldn’t have the right impact if his figure was maybe 12 inches tall out of 60!  Right click to view larger.

I decided to use a photo of Eli running from Festival of Champions, coming around a corner at about the same angle they run into the forest in the photos above.   So I first worked on creating Eli, then I designed a background similar to the photos above.  The path and trees were easy, but getting a middle-ground in the right scale for the ferns and whatnot at the edge of the path proved tricky without an actual photograph (by this time it was mid-winter and covered with snow, so couldn’t go take another look).

Then it was time to dye the fabric to match the photo of him in his Camden Hills uniform.  Thank heavens I’ve taken those Carol Soderlund classes–I got the right color the first time:

Dyeing the fabric and the results.  These fabrics I knew I would use for both my Eli quilt and the Amaryllis entry for Living Colour Textiles.

Dyeing the fabric and the results. These fabrics I knew I would use for both my Eli quilt and the Amaryllis entry for Living Colour Textiles.

The remainder of the fabric got used in this quilt:

Amaryllis by Sarah Ann Smith (C) 2014.  See the Living Colour Exhibit at http://livingcolourtextiles.com/

Amaryllis by Sarah Ann Smith (C) 2014. See the Living Colour Exhibit at http://livingcolourtextiles.com/

So now it is time to go dye fabric for another quilt!  Do surf over to the Dinner@8 blog to read their interview with me and the other artists in this year’s Reflections exhibit.

 

End of the School Year BUSY-ness

Friday, June 27th, 2014
The end of the year insanity began with States in Cross Country.  Here's Eli receiving the baton in the 4 x 800 m. relay

The end of the year insanity began with States in Cross Country. Here’s Eli receiving the baton in the 4 x 800 m. relay

Good thing my blog allows me to write posts then schedule them out into the future!   It has been insanely busy.  Here’s a smattering of the early June busy-ness!

The kid in mid-stride, airborne!   The team was happy to not finish last at States, as the fast runners were doing other races and not the relays.

The kid in mid-stride, airborne! The team was happy to not finish last at States, as the fast runners were doing other races and not the relays.

And Eli passing TWO other teams/kids in the final lap!

And Eli passing TWO other teams/kids in the final lap!

Then the Track and Field team end-of-season picnic and awards at a waterfront park in Rockport, Maine.

Eli with teammates Melissa K. and her sister Emily K.

Eli with teammates Melissa K. and her sister Emily K.

Then there's the garden.  I need to see if I can get the weed whacker working (ugh, I am NOT mechanical), but here I hacked out the dead rugosa rose stuff.  Fortunately, there are a lot of "runners" that are growing well.

Then there’s the garden. I need to see if I can get the weed whacker working (ugh, I am NOT mechanical), but here I hacked out the dead rugosa rose stuff. Fortunately, there are a lot of “runners” that are growing well.

And here's my hilarious helper, tethered to the pine tree so he can wander but not wander off!

And here’s my hilarious helper, tethered to the pine tree so he can wander but not wander off!

And my beloveds, Sven (the gnome)  and Phineas (the phlamingo):

Whimsy in your life is a good thing.  Thanks so much to Joshua and Ashley for the best mother's day gift EVER!  I keep moving the pair about.  TOTALLY LOVE THIS!

Whimsy in your life is a good thing. Thanks so much to Joshua and Ashley for the best mother’s day gift EVER! I keep moving the pair about. TOTALLY LOVE THIS!

Then on the final day of school, after Eli’s last exam, we attended a memorial service for one of his Cross Country teammates, Forest P., who died a week ago from a brain tumor at the age of 18.  His parents got him a tutor, though, and he was able to graduate along with his class (though of course he was way too ill to attend the ceremony, he died just a few days after).   His father wanted the teammates to come do his practice run route near their home where the reception after was held.  When Forest and a friend would come in (usually within 10 feet of each other), everyone would shout “Run, Forest, run!”  so we did.  Sigh.  So impossibly sad:

Members of the team including the coach head out to run for Forest

Members of the team including the coach head out to run for Forest–kids are to the right of the lady in the rose suit

And Friday night was the delayed Wrestling potluck and awards.  Eli received a new award, the Chris Remsen award named after a legendary Camden high school athlete.  Given the description, I'd call it an all-around best award: best athlete, scholar and teammate.

And Friday night was the delayed Wrestling potluck and awards. Eli received a new award, the Chris Remsen award named after a legendary Camden high school athlete. Given the description, I’d call it an all-around best award: best athlete, scholar and teammate. [We postponed the dinner/awards because asst. coach True's house burned down two nights before the original date.  Luckily though they lost their dog, they and infant son are fine.]

And the team:

the 2013-14 Camden Hills Regional High School Wrestling team, champions yet again

the 2013-14 Camden Hills Regional High School Wrestling team, champions yet again

Let the summer begin…it looks to be as busy for Eli and me as this past week!

At long last, a place for Eli’s medals!

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Taking a brief break from the NYC fun, I thought I’d share some shelves I made for Eli to hang his MANY sports medals.  Eli clearly did not inherit his athletic prowess from me, but he s ure works hard to use all that he has to its best, and it shows.   He had so many medals from Tae Kwon Do, Soccer, Cross Country, Wrestling, and Track and Field, that his lamp started to fall over (He had them draped around the shade.) So we came up with a plan to make shelves similar to what I put in our kitchen here and in the boys’ bedrooms in Camden:  brackets from the big-box store plus pine planks.  To hang the medals, though, I added cup hooks and dowels cut to length:

The shelves installed

The shelves installed; they look rather like a shadow, but there are dowels underneath hanging from cup hoods.  Hubby opened up the “C” shape so the dowels can be more easily removed for adding more medals. 

Supervised by the master of the house:

Pigwidgeon supervising installation

Pigwidgeon supervising installation.  He approves.  He’d approve more if he could have some more kibble.

With medals hung, sorted by sport and year.  The wrestling pins need their own display--that's the next project.  And we think Eli is going to put his deceased running and wrestling shoes up on the shelf!

With medals hung, sorted by sport and year. The wrestling pins need their own display–that’s the next project. And we think Eli is going to put his deceased running and wrestling shoes up on the shelf!

As J.K.Rowling so aptly wrote, “Mischief managed!”

 

 

Coming Home

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Some things never change, and some change slowly, beautifully, unfolding one petal at a time.

Dog walkies must happen.  If we simply let him out to run about, this little knucklehead would be galivanting around the countryside and get lost.  So we take turns tethering ourself to the beloved  pug waiting for him to do his business.  Ahem.

Dog walkies must happen. If we simply let him out to run about, this little knucklehead would be gallivanting around the countryside and get lost. So we take turns tethering ourselves to the beloved pug waiting for him to do his business. Ahem. And Smiling at all the smiles he evokes when people see him, including us!

Spring is ssssslllllloooooowwwwwwllllllyyyyyy  arriving in Maine, yes, this late, but it is coming!

The buds on my favorite cherry tree are still tight, but I love them dripping on a sodden day.

The buds on my favorite cherry tree are still tight, but I love them dripping on a sodden day.

And that gnarled, twisted old apple tree that I love so much.  So thankful that despite losing half a dozen trees and the tops of another 30 around our yard, this tree survived last winter's monster ice storm intact.

And that gnarled, twisted old apple tree that I love so much. So thankful that despite losing half a dozen trees and the tops of another 30 around our yard, this tree survived last winter’s monster ice storm intact.

One apple tree is a bit further into bloom...wouldn't this be a spectacular quilt?

One apple tree is a bit further into bloom…wouldn’t this be a spectacular quilt?

Mother’s Day 2014–name that gnome (and flamingo)

Monday, May 12th, 2014
Happy Mother's Day 2014!

Happy Mother’s Day 2014!

What a WONDERFUL day!  Hubby surprised me with a lovely card signed by all the kids and a hand-screened kitchen towel of lupine on snowy white cotton.   He said it wasn’t for the kitchen because getting something for the kitchen for mother’s day wasn’t cool, that we could use it maybe in our bathroom.  But I decided kitchen is GOOD and hung it from an old hay fork pully, (how does one spell that?) and it is cheering up the kitchen.  And on Saturday I dropped in to Megunticook Market to get something, say hi to Joshua, and he offered to cook dinner!  WOOT!

Here's our very own sous-chef plating up our chicken and cashew lo mein.  SLURP!  It's always a challenge to cook in a different environment with different layout and pans, but he did great.  Except for our two-watt stove.  We really need a range that can heat a pan hot enough to sear!  It's on the growing "to do" list!

Here’s our very own sous-chef plating up our chicken and cashew lo mein. SLURP! It’s always a challenge to cook in a different environment with different layout and pans, but he did great. Except for our two-watt stove. We really need a range that can heat a pan hot enough to sear! It’s on the growing “to do” list!

Then, to my astonishment, in ADDITION, he said he and Ashley had a gift.  A gift besides the meal?   So I was told to come outside and close my eyes.   DELIGHT!  Hilarity!   A promise I’d made to myself fulfilled by my oldest son!   I’ve sworn for years I wanted a Travelocity roaming Gnome and a tacky pink flamingo.  Sometimes the gnome would lead the flamingo, sometimes vice versa.

The gnome and Flamingo in their first perch

The gnome and Flamingo in their first perch

But we need to NAME THEM!  I think the gnome may be Sven the Svelte (since he so obviously is not), but the flamingo?  Someone suggested Nathan Lane’s character in Bird Cage / La Cage aux Folles, but Albert is sort of ehn.  Hank Azaria’s charater’s name, Agador is a possibility.   So what do all of you think?   We totally need FUN names.  A bit of swish might be good.

And the family portrait with Mom.  We did this photo two years ago, but this year the black flies were more annoying!   Gosh how they have changed!

Mother's Day 2014

Mother’s Day 2014

Mother's Day 2012--two years ago

Mother’s Day 2012–two years ago

LIFE IS GOOD!   And do suggest names for the gnome and flamingo!