the sundry colorful tales that compose our days.

Posts tagged “arts and crafts

Elliot’s art award

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Elliot’s teacher selected her to receive an art award at a recent assembly.  We were able to attend and surprise her (along with Mimi, Pop and Dampa)—she didn’t know she was getting it until her name was called!

elliot’s stage // Piano Recital : 2012.01.22

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Elliot had her first piano recital in Tacoma yesterday—at University of Puget Sound’s Schneebeck Hall (where she also takes her weekly lessons.)  Despite a bit of stage fright about having to introduce herself and her piece to the audience, she played wonderfully.

Elliot’s directorial debut

Recently, Elliot’s been taking a great interest in walking around our home with the old Flip camera shooting videos—”So . . . this is my room . . . and here’s my pillow . . . and this is my stuffed Toto . . . now I’m going to show you my fort . . . ” etc, etc.  She’s also taking photos using our iphone.  I don’t know where she learned this behavior . . .

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to have Elliot make her first “movie”—and she was thrilled with the idea!  So, she and I sat down and she told me the story of the movie which I broke down into scenes.  Then she decided which toys would play the various parts and where the scenes would take place—using her toys and blocks for set pieces.  Then she acted out each scene as I filmed—she learned to say, “Camera?” (“ready”) and “Action” before each scene.  Then we uploaded the footage and sat down in front of the computer and edited the movie together.  “We don’t want to keep that part, Daddy,” and, “Let’s have it start after I say ‘action!'”

Above is the resulting movie.  And below are some of her iphone photos!


Elliot composes

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Not an uncommon sight around the house—Elliot loves to compose her own songs by transcribing in a string of notes as she made it up . . .

Girls dance

We play a lot of music in our home. Sometimes Elliot strikes up some improv dance—and I managed to catch it on film this time.
“Broken Dreams Club”
by Girls

end of a summer, end of an era

It’s late september and that means it’s nearing the end of a summer and the end of an era. The footage in this short video—of miscellanea from September—represents the last regular usage of my Flip camera. It’s been just over a year of having that Flip virtually attached to my hand—the Year of the Flip . . .

To my Flip: you’ve served me well, oh you trusty work horse. Your “making a lot with a little” attitude and pop art sensibilities will never be matched and you’ll always be close to my heart and a part of my arsenal. It’s just that, well, now I have a new starter—you may spend more time on the bench now, but when you’re sent out to play, it will be when we really need you and you’ll have a chance to steal the spotlight!

Ice Cream in Petaluma.

Call of the Wild al fresca in the winery ruins at the Jack London State Park.

Labor Day weekend 2010

Dayglo cupcake decorating, an afternoon in the pool and an evening barbecue—I think we did it right?

lemonade stand


Elliot had a couple recent “Kate dates,” during on of which they made a lemonade stand.



May Day!

A lot of paper, a lot of cutting, a lot of gluing and taping and a lot of fun.  Less successful with the kite, though . . .

tickling the ivories

Last fall, Sarah was invited to a presentation by a local Suzuki-wielding piano teacher for parents of children at Elliot’s preschool.  Sarah was impressed by the teacher, but we weren’t sure Elliot was ready for piano.

This sentiment changed a month later when we went home for the holidays and Elliot gravitated with great interest towards the pianos at both our parents’ homes.  Seeing her wonder and delight at the twinkling black and white keys made us realize that it’s never too early to indulge a child in a passion for music.

So, returning back to Sonoma, we called up the teacher and said, “sign us up!”  As luck would have it, the teacher needed some creative work done for her piano studio business and suggested we trade services.  Before we knew it, Elliot was taking lessons and THRIVING.  She’s taken to piano like a fish to water and revels in learning and performing.  We couldn’t be prouder.  We don’t know how long this will last, but we’re enjoying every minute of it . . . !

click through for more photos . . .


fun with chalkboard paint

We’ve been toying with the idea of painting a wall or some cupboards—or anything—with chalkboard paint.  It would be great for Elliot, obviously, but it would also be a fun way for us to jot down recipes or grocery lists or phone messages, etc.  This weekend, Sarah took the plunge and laid down some tarps, got out the paint and brushes, put on some grubbies and just went for it.  The result is a lot of fun—for evidence, see the photo above and more below the jump . . .


oh the colors!

Elliot comes alive.

This morning, Sarah and I were busy getting a few things done while Elliot would periodically show us a doll she’d “dressed up for the concert.”  We didn’t think much of it—Elliot playing dress up with her dolls.  Then the dolls started to line the hallway . . . and Elliot started dressing herself for the “concert.”

The next thing we knew, she was bedecked in boho rockstar garb and playing her equivelent of a one-woman-freak-folk-band.  Above is some back stage rehearsal footage from her first concert.

elliot’s sketchpad: dinosaurs, robots and more


Elliot drew her first dinosaur!  Click through for a few more recent highlights from her trusty pad of paper . . .


picnic, play + art


We had beautiful weather today—a bit cold, but warm enough to enjoy being outside in the sunshine.  We did so by having a picnic dinner on the Plaza where Elliot played on the playground and we enjoyed the waning sun and long shadows before heading down the block to the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.  This evening, there was an opening reception for members to innagurate the new exhibit featuring artwork from local school children, curated by high school interns.  The program, A.R.T.S., is a wonderful replacement for the severely lacking public school art programs.

Elliot absolutely adored all the colorful, playful, imaginative artwork created by the schoolchildren and walked around the museum happily, often giggling at the whimsical nature expressed by all the pieces.  She even broke out into some spontaneous dancing to the effervescent live piano playing.

Click through for some more photos . . .


elliot’s sketchpad: horse with a long tail

a giraffe and a horse with a long tail

a giraffe and a horse with a long tail

Elliot surprised us with a couple drawings recently.  The first was the one above, which she told us was a giraffe (we could see that) and a horse with a long tail (ok.)  This is probably the most representationally accurate drawing we’ve ever seen her do (at least, of the giraffe.)  We love it!

The second drawing was of her with Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and Tinkerbell’s fairy friends.

Elliot, Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and fairy friends

Elliot, Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and fairy friends

We loved the way Elliot created the glow around the fairies!  She told us that the item above Peter Pan was a “broken rock” . . . not sure what that means.  Also, note the new way Elliot has been drawing eyes: a pupil in the middle, an iris around it and then what would be the eyelids around it all.  She came up with this technique without our assistance and the drawings were totally done on her own.  She’s our little artist!

elliot’s sketchpad: don’t go to neverland


Mimi sent Elliot some post-it notes, so we’ve been finding drawings and notes posted all over the house.  Elliot tells us that the notes in the photo above are for Peter Pan, saying “Don’t go to Neverland”, “I love your heart”, “You are my friend” and “I love your heart” (again.)

Click through for these recent paintings and a couple drawings from the artist . . .


Well . . . hi today! I’m a sheep.

Sarah discovered that the internal cardboard packaging of something that was shipped to us recently resembled a puppet theater, so she added her artistic flourish to it and gave Elliot a puppet show.  Elliot immediately wanted to perform her own puppet show.  Above is the result–The Three Little pigs.  Or Four.  Or two . . .

There are a couple other recent videos under the jump–Elliot in her ladybug tent and Elliot sounding out words . . .


heart sonoma: bike rides to the shop


Every weekend, I spend an afternoon at my art shop, a little studio space in our good friend Sasha’s workshop.  The shop is across town and the weather has never prevented me from being able to ride my bike there and back, past the historic General Vallejo home that was shipped around the horn and now rests in the cow-grazed fields, past Ig Vella’s cheese shop, through Sebastiani’s vineyards and into the arbored streets among historic farms.  One of my Sonoma joys–I look forward to it every week.

Some photos and a video from this weekend below the jump . . .


Elliot’s sketchpad: My hand is tired, so I will finish drawing the water later.


Elliot has always loved drawing and coloring.  For most of the last couple years, though, it’s really been randomly scribbling a little bit on each page of whatever book she has and then becoming interested in a new activity.  Earlier this year, Sarah and I started instructing her on drawing stick figures and faces–with our guidance, she became relatively adept, but that was about it.

However, in the last couple weeks, we’ve noticed a dramatic surge in her desire to draw, as well as her skill in doing it–we felt like it happened overnight.  She works through paper with a voracious appetite and concentrates intently on her drawings for long periods of time.  The drawings are, relatively speaking, more representational and her interest has moved beyond the visceral enjoyment of the act of drawing to the desire to create a finished picture of an actual subject.  She draws stick figures without any guidance, as well as animals, spiders, etc.  Her new favorite things to draw are ‘maps.’  She then enjoys navigating the house, following the map she just drew, which also usually involves finding and saving a baby animal.

In the picture above, she’s filling in a lake on the map with blue water (we haven’t shown her the upside-down-‘m’ technique that will save her a lot of time and carpal tunnel syndrome.)  She can even write her name, all by herself, quite well.  Though, it’s always drawn in all caps, except for the ‘i’: ELLiOT.

I’ve included some scans of recent drawings below the jump . . .


craftiness: holiday centerpiece

xmas 08 centerpiece

Sarah created a homemade centerpiece for our table–and I couldn’t resist sharing it.  I think it complements our dining room nicely, along with some of our other holiday decorations.  more photos below the jump…


sundry colorful moments

viennese chime clock and luna the owl in the newly-painted kitchen

viennese chime clock and luna the owl in the newly-painted kitchen

Today we painted some walls in our kitchen and bathroom.  perhaps a bit much to work into a day already full of work work and elliot work.  still, we perservered.  elliot watched the story of rudolf.  we taped and painted and dripped and spilled.  then we went for pizza on the plaza to escape the fumes.  or perhaps it was all some paint-fume-induced dream . . . except I have the photos to prove it:

(I just remembered, we need toilet paper.)