Spring has started early this year and pysanky season is almost done. The bush in front of my living room window is really ugly and hasn't even developed leaves yet. I think it's called a white fringe tree. But the one saving grace of this bush is that every morning around 8am a male house finch comes to sit in the branches and serenade me while I drink my morning coffee. It's my favorite time of day because the light is beautiful and the day is full of potential.

Yesterday I took a walk about base to look at the different flora in the area. I've been thinking of different arrangements that I could make with native Missouri plants. I'm eager to arrange red bud and pecan like last year. But there are other surprising plants like rose hips and raspberry canes. Nothing is lovelier than exploring the woods alone in the warm sunshine. I keep thinking back to the plants that would be sprouting in northern Japan at this time of year. Cherry blossoms, sigh.

We started drawing the MUNS mural on the wall today! Ian came home for lunch and said that he got the go ahead to start. This is only half of the mural but we should have it completely drawn in a few days. We got quite a bit done in an hour.

Some of the challenges from the very beginning will be the bumpy wall and very small areas of color. I will be doing a bit of detail painting. I've consolidated the color palette so that we don't have over a hundred colors like in the photo. All those shades of grey and sage green!

These are some cute eggs from my pysanky student last week. It was a was a pretty chill class and my student even came design ideas! I've got one more class left for the Easter season. March 26th 9-12pm at the Warrensburg Community Center. Sigh up today! More pictures of my pysanky this year in next weeks post. I've haven't been able to find my white satin for photo taking.

The Farm Report: The snap peas, Swiss chard and spinach are all sprouting. It's been a little chilly as of late and I'm debating pulling them in at night. I had them inside over the weekend because it was going to freeze. Further work on hardening off my tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and indigo.  Planted some basil. This is all trial and error, I really have no idea what I'm doing. My spirea has leaves! It didn't die!

Reading: Kansas City a Food Biography by Andrea Broomfield. Kudos to this book for putting a chapter on prehistoric and Native American cooking practices, not to mention the French and Mexican cuisines in the region. This only makes me want to learn more about the Osage and do some experimenting with the wild persimmons that grow near by.

Listening to: My favorite house finch. I've named him Atticus

Cooking: Bea wanted vanilla cupcakes with orange frosting. I got a little creative inspired by Cupcake Wars and added the grated zest and juice of two clementines to the buttercream frosting. I'm really pleasantly surprised by how delightfully orange tasting they are.

Dining In

In the military there is a tradition of members "dining in" with their leadership. Basically, everybody has a big dinner and drinking party that is active duty members only while at work. A few years ago some spouses on this base decided to have a spouses dining in where we all dressed up, ate dinner and drank with each other. It has turned into this spectacular themed event with awards for best costume, best table decoration, best skit, and best limerick. If you don't follow the prescribed "rules" of the event (ex., no clapping, only banging on the table with your spoon) then you are sent to the grog, where you take a shot of this crazy tasting jungle juice while preforming specific movements and saying things. This is the closest I will ever come to being in a sorority and it's pretty fantastic.

The theme this year was Broadway plays inspired by movies. My squadron, 509 Munitions, chose Beauty and the Beast. My fearless hubby designed and we painted this huge castle structure that our table would sit under. We had an abstract is scene of the castle, village, mountains and forests up on top of the castle structures. I got to whip out my set painting skills. It was a daunting endeavor and pretty much every weekend in February was spent practicing for the skit or working on the set. This year they offered 1st, 2nd and 3rd in table and skit and we won third place for our skit. There was much twerking and craziness.

What a night. It was so much work but so much fun in the end. We'll see what craziness we create next year.

My Pysanky classes are going at the Warrensburg community center. I had three students on Sunday after the Dining in. I had lost my voice from shouting over all the music making teaching interesting. We had a great class and a reporter showed up from the local newspaper so they a picture of me kissing my Donald Trump egg. Every year I have a theme for the Pysanky eggs I make during the season and my husband suggested Politics of 2016 for my theme. My first egg would have to be a caricature of The Donald. I hadn't expected him to be quite so orange. Here is a link to the newspaper article as well as a picture of me kissing my egg.

The Donald

So if you haven't signed up for my Pysanky class there's still time. I have classes on March 12th 9-12pm, March 20th 1-4pm, and March 26th 9-12pm.

In other news, The Greater Kansas City Fiber Guild meeting was last night with a wonderful program by a woman that took a class in weaving brocade and damask. A majority of the lingo was over my head but it made me want to learn more about weaving. I've volunteered to be a demonstrator at the MOPACA fiber show April 1st through 3rd at the American Royal Hale arena in Kansas City. So if you want to learn more about fiber and meet some fuzzy alpacas come on down on Saturday morning and spin with me a while.

The Farm Report: Seedlings are getting taller! I've begun putting them outside on nice days. Here's to strong healthy plants!

Reading: I've gotten back into manga a bit with ST. <3 Dragon Girl by Natsumi Matsumoto. So light and fluffy.

Listening to: Very loud party music.

Cooking: We've been watching the Great British Baking Show and learning how boring American deserts are. I'm inspired to make meat filled pies and pasties now.

Back in the Groove

This week has really been about getting back in the groove of art making. I'm finally not ill! My kiddo is also doing well. Which is a surprise because it seems like we ping pong sickness back and forth to each other.

We finally did a bunch of cleaning and now I have a new studio lay out. The idea is to prep for winter quilt making and some serious study in spinning. But my husband has nagged me....I need to finish up my sculptures from Art Farm. He's always the pragmatic one.


That little table back there in the corner is going to be Bea's new studio. Hopefully it will ease some of her need for my full attention because we can work on art tangentially. Just a little experiment to help ease her separation anxiety. She was really great while I was away but now that I'm back she wants me to be right next to her every moment for fear that I will go away again. Artist mom problems.

She has already decided that she wants to make an evil fairy costume for White Barbie to match her evil fairy costume. Matching clothes is very important to her right now. In a few years I'll teach her about clothes that go together but don't match. An advanced lesson. She's already got mixing prints down. My little 80's punk rocker girl.

If you have a little down time this weekend sign up for my Pysanky Christmas Ornament class at the Warrensburg Community Center from 1-4pm on Sunday. It'll be a treat.

Reading: Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins. This book is dynamite. I am in love with a little post apocalyptic world story. This one doesn't disappoint. It takes place in California after all the water dries up. I got to the end of the first book and was so broken up with grief for the characters I couldn't continue reading.

Listening to: America's Next Top Model Cycle 2. I can't stop guys I've got to finish the whole series. It helps with the monotonous sculpture repair.

Cooking: Real Whipped Cream from real heavy whipping cream and then piling chocolate chips and banana slices with some shortbread girl scout cookies for scooping. Nothing is as satisfying or as decadent.


Pysanky Craze

As the weeks count down to Easter, I am focusing more on the Pysanky side of things. People who are interested in my classes keep asking about eggs that I've done and my default answer has been, "Well, my mom has them because we just moved from Japan and I sent them all to her." I'm not sure why I've never really taken photos of the eggs I make. They are really an art form and I prefer to make contemporary and interesting designs. Mostly because my mind and hard are not steady enough to for all the repetitive and consistent imagery.

My husband and I agreed up a set studio time for me on Thursday mornings so that I can lock myself away and fulling concentrate on art work. Today was our first crack at it and I would say it's a wonderful success. At least I feel better making some head way on things while my husband watches our child. The only disconcerting thing is when she starts knocking on the door and asking for me. I always have to toughen my resolve and tell myself this my work time.

This studio day I was able to get this pretty little Pysanky done.

I wanted to combine my Midwest theme with all the traditional pattern work that I've been doing to make example eggs for my class. I'm teaching my class at a new craft consignment shop in Knob Noster called Ladybug 'N" Friends. I really wanted more of a dark blue for the band design but I got frustrated trying to make it and ended dying it black. It just looks a little too bold against the blue sky and windmills.

Other fun things that I've done today include dusting off and taking pictures of a wall piece that I've never had good pictures of and working some more on my ikebana fiber sculpture. It always amazes me how much time it takes just to hand sew. Days like this when I wish I was a drawer or painter

Reading: "A Blue Spool of Thread" by Anne Tyler

Listening to: NPR's Invisibilia "Our Computers, Ourselves"

Cooking: Hummus to go with the batch of bread I burned and will now de-crust