Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh thank you Vacation!

Oh how I have missed time to make things and just hangin' out this semester!  This week, I have been enjoying this week cooking, creating, relaxing, and catching up with friends and family.  Jason came over Friday and helped me figure out how to make these great oil cloth place mats I have been wanting to make for a while.  The first one was quite a challenge but after that we seemed to get the hang of it.

Cookie Time!!!

We took some time out to make ginger bread men with Sophie and Marissa on Sunday after their church program.  Here are some of the highlights of decorating....

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Decorating the walls...

Here are a few fun projects I have been working on to decorate my mom's house and Jeremy's little sister's new room! 

Monday, December 07, 2009

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband!

Jeremy and I are the same age today!  He's off to school in the freshly fallen snow- the first snow of the winter this week!  Everything looks beautiful. 
We had a great weekend celebrating Jeremy's birthday.  Bowling and birthday cake with Jeremy's family on Friday night.  I cooked a big breakfast on Saturday and then we went shopping to get Jeremy some new clothes.  Sunday we went to our favorite Sushi house and to see The Fantastic Mr. Fox. It was great to finally see!

Happy 34th Birthday Jeremy!!!!

MA students present their theses

My MA students at UNI presented their theses on Tuesday in preparation to graduate in December.  They each presented their papers along with displaying art from their project or studies at UNI.  It was a fantastic exhibit filled with student work from my MA students' classrooms as well their own personal work too.  I am looking forward to attending my first commencement at UNI on the 19th. When I taught elementary school, I never really got to see the students all the way through so this is an exciting experience for me too.  I will also have seven undergraduate art ed majors that will be graduating this month.  I feel like I have finally gottten used to my new position! As this semester ends this week, I am sad because I think this was my best one so far but I am excited to start planning for my next one.

Happy End of the Semester to all you college students and professors out there!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

UNI Faculty Show

Here is a quick picture of the piece I submitted to the Faculty Art Show.  My piece is called Post- Traditional. It is made of envelopes sewn together and four wax encaustic boxes collaged with ephemera. It focuses on nostalgia and is about the lost traditions in personal communication. The show will be up from November 2-30th in the UNI art gallery on campus.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Here are some Zombies from last weekend's festivities in Baraboo.  Great costumes! 
Tonight Jeremy and I and 11 friends are going out for drinks and pizza at a swanky lounge in Cedar Rapids before we head off to the Frightmare Forest for some fun.... We have never been there before but it's some sort of a haunted attraction with a trail that winds through over 5 acres of forest. We are excited!!

Thought I'd share our pumpkin carving skills again this year. Jeremy really outdid me this year with his saggy drunken pumpkin face.  Is it is a self-portrait of  his future-self as we begin our big night of festivities???

Monday, October 26, 2009

Zombies in Wisconsin????

Jeremy and I stumbled upon a fun event this weekend! Thrill The World is an annual worldwide simultaneous dance of Michael Jackson's “Thriller.” The event is held every year (since 2006) to raise money for local charities. We were in Baraboo, WI shopping while staying at my parent’s lake house when we saw the advertisement. We decided not to participate since we had not packed our zombie gear for the weekend trip. Here is a link to it to check out. The folks in Baraboo were working hard to help break the Guinness Book of World Records on the number of zombies simultaneously dancing. They were raising money for their local food pantry. Rumor has it that Opah will feature this event so the crowd was buzzing!
We had a great time seeing whole families dressed up as zombies, dogs dressed up and tiny little 3-year-old zombie princesses and zombie brides. The whole event took place in the downtown square in front of the courthouse, which had a great atmosphere! Way to go Baraboo! Not only does this place have a circus museum, great shopping, and a good Frisbee golf course, but also a whole crowd of cool zombies too! Here is a video of the zombies in Baraboo to check out if you want! I will post pictures later when I have more time!
Happy Halloween!!!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

A new farm in town...

Bass Farms opened up outside of Mount Vernon this summer and Jeremy and I finally got around to checking it out. It's a fabulous place to visit. Right now they have the most beautiful pumpkins!  They seemed extra bright and round this year.  We had a terrible time deciding on which two to take home.  Bass farms is run by a former Prairie graduate and sells fresh organic fruits and vegetables, pumpkins, and crafty cute items.  Check it out!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Art Educators of Iowa Conference

UNI is hosting the annual Art Educators of Iowa conference next weekend.  I am presenting at it with a former student teacher. Our presentation is called "Smiling Skulls and Marigolds." Sarah and I worked together to create a presentation about our teaching of the Mexican Holiday  Dia de los Muertos in the elementary art room.  We are then going to do a little workshop making mini-alters with teachers. It should be fun!
Kirsten and Helen are coming from Preucil Preschool (where I was formerly employed) to share the wonderful art making experiences that preschooler can have but often don't get to!  It will be wonderful for all the art teachers to learn about Preucil.
Tim Rollins will be the guest speaker that night. Rollins works with at-risk kids in the Bronx making collaborative art often based on classic literature. The kids named themsleves, "Kids of Survival".  So you may see him referred to as Tim Rollins + K.O.S.  I will get the honor of taking him out to dinner afterward. Jeremy is coming up too so he can share in the dinner and dazzle Rollins with his own at-risk adventures at his alternative school. 
This week will be busy getting ready for everything so if no one hears from me... you will know why. Here is a picture of a Rollins +KOS work I really love!

Animal Farm
Tim Rollins and K.O.S.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Dog's Life...

My sister and I took my mom to Riverside Theater today to see A Dog's Life. It is a musical about a dog adopted from the animal shelter. I admit I was a bit nervous about it being any good, but it was really worth going to see.  The singing was excellent and I really enjoyed the humor throughout it.  The way they depict the events through a dog's view- like getting neutered, being dressed up by their owners, and being tricked into taking pills.  It was a hoot!

Friday night my nephew played football in Mount Vernon and my whole family came to see him play. Afterward, we had a birthday party for my step-dad who turned 63!  Lots of goodies and gifts!  Here is a great picture that Sophie drew of her with Grandpa Mike. It really looks like him!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Roosevelt Eugene's many positions

My cat Roosevelt lays around all the time.  He's a bit plump, I prefer to call him big boned. (it runs in our family) He relaxes in very interesting places and is really the sweetest cat I have ever owned.  I wished all my life for a lap cat, and believe me... this cat could lay on my lap all day.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Home cookin'

The garden... I will admit, I have not given my garden the annual TLC that I usually provide it. I seemed to be pulled to other more urgent calls this summer. It's know excuse for leaving my garden to fend for itself amongst the weeds and beetles and cool summer air. I was lucky though, it survived and some things really thrived.
For example, we eat greens beans every day. There is really no meal that somehow the green beans haven't snuck their way into if they are already no prominently placed on the side of the main dish. They are delicious at every meal and I do not see tiring of them in the near future.
Our beets are a glorious color and taste better then I could have imagined. We attempted to grow them last year, but being so on top of my weeding last year, I think I hoed them up in early June. This year, so busy with incarcerated people, the beets flourished and now they giving my husband the creative juices he needed in the kitchen. Who knew that beets could go in so many different dishes.
Jeremy and I tried some new ideas out since were tired of the annual zucchini bread and muffins, and green bean casserole. Last night we made veggie burritos with our garden veggies- broccoli, zucchini, green beans, peppers, lots of cilantro, and corn from the farmers market (and onions- not home grown). What a treat!!!
Carrots were planted this year and sadly, I saw one sprout but nothing ever came from it. Next year, I promise to be better at watching my garden grow and tending to it's needs. I did learn though that plants are tougher than I thought and maybe a little more space is a good thing.
School starts tomorrow and my goal is to keep on blogging. Last year, I really took on too many things and blogging was abandoned. I vow to blog at least twice a month this school year. If you see that I am not holding to this, please feel free to remind me of this! To everyone returning to school this month, I hope you all have a wonderful, productive, and enriching school year! I just hope to survive.

Beets sauteed with sweet potatoes and caramelized onions...

Home-grown acorn squash from Kirsten's garden stuffed with beets, rice, onion, morning star sausage, zucchini, and peppers.

Apple-rhubarb crisp hot from the oven. (Thanks Steph for the crisp mix you left us in July!)

Monday, August 17, 2009

For Joy... (and everyone else too)

I just wanted you to see how we arranged our great pictures from our fab photo shoot when we came to visit in June! (They are 8x10's and 4x4 photos just above our couch) Thanks so much- we miss you all!

Friday, August 14, 2009


I survived a six-week intensive bookbinding class this summer! I actually really loved it and I am proud of the books I made, it was just quite time consuming.
We made pamphlet stitch books, chain stitch hard cover pamphlets, long stitch, link stitch, accordion books, and finally we cased in books - like real books are! It was very exciting! I am begging Jeremy to build me a book cradle for Christmas and he seems up for the challenge. Some lucky person is receiving a book their birthday today. Who could it be?

Pamphlet books

accordion book
Top to bottom: Chain stitch on hard cover pamphlets, link stitches, and bottom two are long stitches. I learned to back my own cloth too.
Last but not least, case binding! Thanks to Home Ec for the great Fabric and RSVP for the great paper.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Hot day for moving...

Jeremy's parents bought a house and we helped them move today. It was 90 degrees out and a bit humid. Which seems pretty typical for August in Iowa (except for this year). I think this was the hottest day all summer!
Oh well, we got moved and everyone survived. I am tired and sore, laying on the couch is making me heal faster. I may have acquired few new bruises or battle scars as I will refer to them.
I thought a lot about all the times I have moved over the years and how long we have now been in our home. It has been 5 years since Jeremy and I moved into our house. Awwwh!
Out of all the years I moved, the one the really sticks in my head is when Jeremy and I moved into our first house in Iowa City. We rented this great big stucco house with no AC. We moved August 1st (of course). I called ahead and reserved a U-haul truck but when the day arrived and we got to the U-haul place, there was no truck. I called the Cedar Rapids U-haul office, and they said to come get a truck there, but when I arrived they had none. I still wonder today how U-haul stays in business? Today, when Jeremy's dad picked up his truck, they said he could only keep it a few hours because it was in demand. WE of course kept it all day. We drove by U-haul during our lunch break and there were over a hundred trucks there- no lie! What gives??
Anyways, back to the story, we ended using my friends little red truck and moving so slowly all day long in the 106 degree Iowa humidity. To cool ourselves we sprayed each other down with the freezing water from the garden hose. Good times...
Happy moving to all of you August movers! Good night.

Monday, August 03, 2009

A weekend with my cousins

We drove up to my parents lake house this weekend to meet up with three of my cousins and my aunt and uncle. We spent so much time just hanging out on the beach, watching all the kids play together and just catching up. It was truly a weekend filled with fishing, boating, swimming, campfires and smores, games, and lots of good food! (too much)
It is so hard to get this many people together and I am sure as the kids get older, it will become even harder. I loved telling my nieces about what we did as cousins when we were young and letting them hear the stories how we tortured our siblings and all the trouble we got into.
I enjoyed the story most told by my youngest cousin, (who is also an art teacher) that she would be placed in a blanket and then drug her around the house, knocking her into furniture and then having her identify what piece it was. HA!
Isn't family great!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Off to the Lake...

for one last weekend, before I settle down to plan for the upcoming school year. Hope everyone has a great weekend- xoxoxo

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Jeremy's adventure

Oh, yeah....

Jeremy rode the Gyrospeare contraption and didn't get sick ( I totally would have) and then
he rode this crazy bike at the Discovery Center/Science Station place. It was wild to watch!
Happy Summer!!
PS- the weather is so crazy here, look at Jeremy in his long sleeve shirt and jeans in JULY!

A few funny pictures...

of Sophie and Marissa when we went to The Wisconsin Dells last weekend. The rest of the family was there too, but they weren't as cute!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summer Music

So, I have been on the road a lot this summer. I have been teaching a bookmaking class at the Women's Prison in Mitchellville, IA, and was working on a play at the Iowa Juvenile home in Toledo, IA, along with a little summer revising on our grad program in Art Education at UNI. Because of all this driving, I have heard lots of great music. Here are four bands that I discovered and love and would like to share with you! Maybe you have already heard of them, remember I live in Iowa. Enjoy!

Metric , Grizzly Bear , The Thermals , and White Rabbits

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

what a weekend!

I think I am still recovering from our whirlwind of a weekend! Steph and Kyle arrived on Friday from Portland while I was in DeWitt attending an adoption party. It is official, my step-sister has two new kids and I have two new members in my family- welcome Makayla and Ayden!!
Friday night we hosted our first Karaoke party after purchasing the American Idol Karaoke game. Jeremy and I really cannot sing but we love a good competition and that's exactly what this game is all about. Singing for points and humiliating yourself along the way. We had 14 singers on Friday night. Two of them walked away as Karaoke Champions!

Here is a photo of the winners: Left Kris Miller (no relation) and right Megan Matthews (no relation to the other Megan Mathews)

So Saturday night we attended Roller derby in Cedar Rapids. We killed the Chicago Team we played. They couldn't even skate, let alone score... it was great to watch.There was even a small fist fight... Stephanie and discussed our dreams of being on the roller derby team that will never happen. She claims she is not fast enough on wheels. I know that is true for me but my real problem is my fear of knocking out more teeth! yikes!!! Check out Roller derby here... they play again in August if anyone is interested in going with us next time.

It gets even better on Sunday- I know you are thinking what can beat getting a new niece and nephew combined with karaoke and a chocolate fondue fountain (oh yeah, we had that at the party too) and roller derby.... where are we off to on Sunday at 9:30 am???

No, not the rodeo... but good guess! We went tubing on the Wapsi River all day with a cooler of beer, rum and cokes, Oreos and trail mix, and not enough sun screen (for my poor knees)
What a blast we had floating down the river, tipping each other over and maneuvering around trees and rocks occasionally. We ended the evening with pizza and Harry Potter to get geared up for the new one which I believe comes out tonight!!!!!!

Thanks Steph and Kyle for coming to visit and bringing your fabulous sister and brother-in-law along. LOL to you!!!

Monday, July 06, 2009


When we were in California in June, we went to the
LA County Museum of Art
Outside the museum, was this fabulous installation of plastic containers.
If you are ever in LA, I recommend checking out this museum!

These light up at night and were amazing!
Workers were draping this cloth on the building as we entered.
Next to the museum is the La Brea Tar Pits another great place to visit!

Sunday, July 05, 2009


We had a little celebration of Violet's great life on Friday with
specials doggie truffles and cookies

We put Violet to sleep on Friday afternoon. Our vet came over on his way home and we buried her in the back yard. I am very sad but relieved that she will no longer be suffering. I am going to look for some old pictures of her this week to share.
In 2001, Jeremy and I adopted her at the no-kill shelter in Washington, IA where I taught 4-6 art at Lincoln Upper Elementary School. She had been hit by a car and did not look good. Our heart went out to her immediately and we decided to adopt her rather than a puppy like we had originally intended. She lived with us for eight wonderful years before she developed bone cancer.