Saturday, August 30, 2014

Eye candy: 5 of 5

I had so much fun yesterday looking back at my pictures of the Cathedral of Junk that I searched for more trash art.

Jane Perkins is awesome.  (Here is her official website.)

Check out Zac Freeman too.  And the Washed Ashore sculptures made from marine debris.

 (Photo taken last year at the Austin Children's Museum.  They've since moved; I wonder if they kept their junk art windows?)

This weekend, I'm hoping to arrange my grandma's old costume jewelry into a beautiful display. Commence inspirational search.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Eye candy: part 4 of 5

At long last, I present a million more pictures from our visit to the Cathedral of Junk when my parents were here in May.
Here's what the front of the house looks like:
It's a bit wild and overgrown, but you'd never guess what's in the back yard.

This is looking up from inside the structure:

Let's play "I spy an '80s artifact".
Rainbow suncatcher.
Millenium Falcon.
 Phone with huge number buttons.
There it is!
My Little Pony.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

The throne surrounded by old crutches is the perfect grandma and baby photo op.

Hooray for the kooks who keep Austin weird!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Eye candy: part 3 of 5

Today's eye candy is a bunch of pink things!  Lately I find that I'm gravitating toward pink, which is unusual for me.  Maybe it's a subconscious reaction to being around all these boys?

I bought this metal wall decor thingie on clearance at JoAnn a couple years ago, and naturally it was in beige, because even though I love color, I somehow always buy beige stuff.  So I finally bought some bright pink spray paint and gave it a makeover.  It turns out spray painting is kind of addictive.
My doormat had long ago lost its vibrant color, so I pinked up the sad black flowers with the same spray paint.
Behind the mystery man in the Napoleon Dynamite "Pedro" wig, you can see a painting I've been working on that has many shades of pink.
Speaking of hair!!!  This was at camp a couple years ago.  I was Black Widow in an Avengers skit that the leaders did, and this was the closest we could get to her maroon hair.  It's not close at all; I know.  I resemble Scarlett Johansson about as much as Smurfette resembles Mystique.
I am powerless against a laminated canvas Fossil zipper pouch with a clearance price tag.  Powerless, I tell you.  In related news, I'm sorting a lot of handbags and, ahem, zipper pouches into the Craigslist pile, so if you are a local friend in need of a new purse, let me know if you want to shop my closet.
I've saved the best for last: my beautiful pink glass dish.  I bought it at an antique store years ago and just recently took it out of storage.  It's a bit risky setting it out with a toddler on the loose, but it's too lovely to sit in a box for another decade.
Have you had enough pink?  Do you feel like you overdosed on Pepto Bismol?  Tomorrow's eye candy will not be so sweet, I promise!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Eye candy: part 2 of 5

I'm having a Charlie Brown moment right now.  First of all, it's August, which is when I start dreaming of Christmas to get my mind off the 100 degree days.  I picked up this book at the library:
It's got interviews and storyboards and all that fun stuff.
"Lights, please..."
If you don't choke up a little when all the jerky kids yell "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!" and then start singing Hark the Herald Angels Sing, well, you might want to check and see if you are actually a robot.
I've been in the market for a juice pitcher for a while, and look what I found at a thrift shop in San Antonio.  It's perfect.
I've had this book since I was about 7 years old.  I love it.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Eye candy: part 1 of 5

The kids went back to school today, and I'm feeling lots of positive vibes and creative energy.  I've got some new ideas that I hope will smooth out the routine here at home, plus several creative projects and home improvements that I'm eager to get started on.

Every day this week, I'm going to post things that are fun, beautiful, or inspiring, starting with a few images from our weekend trip to San Antonio.

I'm a sucker for a colorful mosaic:
 or an adorned building:

 or art glass:
 another mosaic:
 a crazy flower (which I found by googling "crazy purple flower"):
 another mosaic, this one in 3D (at Mi Tierra):
 and fruity, colorful public art:

The start of a new school year is such a great time.  Excuse me while I go crack open a blank notebook and a fresh box of colored pencils...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Austin art

 It's been a week of culture around here.  I took the kids to the Blanton Museum on Thursday.
They were less enthralled with the cats & dogs exhibit than I had hoped, except for the video of a cat playing piano.
Six thousand dollars in pennies!  My kids love earning allowance money, collecting gold coins in Super Mario Brothers, and gathering precious metals in Minecraft, so this was right up their alley.

I saw this on Friday (on my way to a concert with just adults!), painted on the side of a building downtown.
 Today we visited Laguna Gloria for some outdoor art.

 The main attraction was an installation called Current.  It's huge waves woven from lobster rope.
The lady in the office told us that we could climb on it, but then a guy outside stopped us and said that we could climb or step on the low parts, but not the high parts.  Um, okay, we'll give that a try.  So I told my kids to climb only on the parts that were waist high or lower, and they followed that rule about as well as you would expect.  Time to go.
The Blanton is free on Thursdays, with $4 parking available in the garage next door, and Laguna Gloria is free on Tuesdays.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Containment systems

My eight-year-old came running to me this morning, screaming half in horror, half in exultation.  "BLOWOUT!  BLOWOUT!  COME CHECK THE BABY'S ROOM!"  My big kids think the term "blowout" is hilarious, so while they were grossed out by the poop, they loved announcing it to me.  Sure enough, inside the crib was a serious breach of fecal decorum.  (Actually, A Serious Breach of Fecal Decorum is the perfect name for my future memoir on raising three boys.  I call dibs.  Trademark.  Copyright.  Etc.)

I've dealt with this issue before, when the big boys were two and four, and big brother would say in their shared room at bedtime, "Hey, Alec, you should take off your diaper.  Just pull the tabs like this..."

I thought I'd share the solution we came up with, in case anyone else out there has a toddler doing the same thing.  Footed pajamas that zip all the way up can be helpful, but in the middle of a 100 degree summer, they are not a great option.  I found a couple pairs in a lightweight fabric on sale at The Children's Place or some other strip mall store, then cut off all the excess that I could.
Then you put it on them backwards and hope that they don't have long enough arms to reach the snap closure and zipper.  Or a helpful and mischievous older brother.
You can buy similar products online, but they are obviously more expensive than this DIY option.
Besides containing the contents of the toddler's diaper, we are also trying to contain the toddler himself.  Here's the tent that we installed when Alec started climbing out of his crib.
In the shot above, you can see that he has reached his arm through the bars and pulled the folded laundry, a piece at a time, into the crib with him.  In the shot below, you can see that he pulled on the tent frame until it flipped concave.  Ohhh, toddlers.  Am I really heading into this again?
My uncle Phil used this product with his own little Houdini, and the child destroyed the mesh by poking holes in it with his fingers, then reached for the zipper to free himself.  Phil said it best, "It's the only product that you buy, then realize it's crap and doesn't work, but totally buy again when it breaks."
Check out Alec below.  You can really hear the wheels turning, can't you?  "Let's see, if I can't reach to undo the zipper on my back, at least I can figure out how this thing works..."
The crib tent is no longer available due to safety recalls, but I must admit that I'm so glad that we had one during that insane time period.  Consumer Reports has this advice:

What to use instead: If your little one is climbing out of her crib, it is time for a toddler bed, which looks like a regular bed but uses a crib mattress.

Shut up, Consumer Reports.  Have you ever tried to explain the concept of "Stay in your bed until morning" to a 17-month-old?
The best alternative seems to be a sleep sack, which just might solve the diaper and crib problems at once.  But remember how it's 100 degrees here?