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Category Archives: Art

End of September Joys

As I try to give myself more margin, I’m noticing much small joy around me.

Is any joy small?

* Cedar’s love of frilly pink things and My Little Ponies.

* Sharing poetry and Shakespeare with Norah.

* Playing iPod shuffle “name that tune” with Scott. I’m really weak at Yacht Rock.

* Silly texting with Noelle even though international texting isn’t free. We’ve always silly texted so even though Skype is free, we continue the practice.

* Learning about the Faroe Islands because they regularly show up in my blog visitor stats and I don’t know about this lovely place. Now I want to visit. Or live there. Hello to my reader(s) in the Faroe Islands!

* Receiving texts about intimate birthy things in the middle of dinner parties. It is like the sweetest slumber party secret.

* Cedar sleeping with 24 My Little Ponies and hearing them fall out of her bed. One at a time. All night long.

* Watching Norah draw.



* The mothercords I wear on my ankles and the families they represent.

* Cedar putting on her “work boots” to help my dad work. I have almost this same picture from when I was a kid.

* Discovering that Keen makes boots. Discovering this tidbit because my sweetest of all husbands ordered a pair for me.

* The last warm days of summer.

* Norah asking me to help her memorize “Be Thou My Vision.”

May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright heav’ns Son.

I hope you’re also finding joy in these fleeting, wispy moments.

Lost in 120 Hours

It’s been quiet around here.  Any guesses why?

a).  I’m terrifically bored and lack anything interesting to say.

b).  The kids are slave drivers and keep me too busy to blog.

c).  As the only people on the planet who never watched Lost, my husband and I (stupidly) decided to watch the entire show from episode 1 to episode [gulp] 120.

The answer is (c).

Crazy, right?  Believe me, we have regrets but we can only move forward at this point and make the best of it by consuming good popcorn and excellent beer.  This Lost madness has left little time for late night blogging. *

Truly, this admission is the most pathetic thing I’ve ever written on this blog!  Readers are leaving in droves now.

To woo you into remaining and to force myself to follow through, here are some upcoming posts:

  • When your doula is not invited
  • Hiring a doula as protection
  • A review of the Grovia trainer
  • Cedar turns three
  • “I will not have a homebirth.” Oops.
  • My continuing refusal to be a homeschooler

I’m certain you’re all on the edge of your seats.

Meanwhile, my old fallback:

Adoring: Cedar’s lisp.  Especially when she says, “Smell these flowers, mom.”  Flowers sounds like flylersh.

Listening to:  A mix of broadway and I-don’t-know-how-to-categorize Trampled by Turtles.  Norah fancies the first.  Especially Cats.  Cedar will dance and bellow for hours to the second.

Seriously.  Watch that clip.  It makes me fret that the fiddler is going to collapse.

Proud of:  Norah’s art.  She draws constantly.  She still isn’t very interested in reading but her sketches are amazing.

Never Leaving Home Without:  Hmmm, I don’t have many necessities lately.  A map app?  I’ve had some prenatals in unknown territories.

Learning:  for the 15th time, how to thread my sewing machine.  It is pitiful, really.  I only use it to sew rice socks.  Meanwhile, why are sewing machines so complicated?  We progressed beyond the printing press and the butter churn.  Why is the sewing machine still so complicated!  Also, I need to learn to knit again.  I was at a birth recently that very much needed knitting.  Remember, I never produce anything.  I only knit in circles.  Perhaps someone could cast on and get me started again?

Appreciating:  an amazing massage I received from Blissful Massage Therapy last week.  Hot stones, loving hands, and a listening ear.  My body and soul felt serene.  And I felt somewhat selfish when I left as if she had taken some of my stress into her hands.

Nostalgic about:  Autumn.  I realize it will come again soon.  Still I’ve missed it.  And each Autumn, I remember skipping school to drive to Highlands, NC with my boyfriend.  We would drink fancy hot chocolate, window shop, and dream.  We still return each year to buy a single Christmas ornament but it is different now.  And the hot chocolate shop is gone which has left a hole in our lives.

Reading: The Birth House, The Happiness Project, Stalking the Wild Asparagus“I Love You” Rituals, Rootabaga Stories, and a bazillion old books for Norah.

Buying:  building materials for Scott’s workshop remodel.  Wow, wood is expensive!

Drinking:  coffee, of course.

Working on:  organizational structuring and plans for Upstate BirthNetwork.  Norah will be attending a fine arts program which will give me a weekly day in the UBN office to work.  If I could work it out so Natalie would be there, too, then Cedar and Naima will play while the mamas work.

Wishing:  for a shorter commute for Scott.  Miles and miles he drives now that his office has moved to Mauldin.

Giddy about:  my friend who is soon welcoming her Airman home!!

Feeling:  a familiar dissatisfied tug.  A feeling of impending change.  Go back to outside-of-home work?  Sell the house?  Buy a yurt and move to an intentional community?  Go paleo?  Adopt a pygmy hippo?  Exercise?  Paint my toenails?  Put the kids in school?  Try a new recipe?

Missing:  oh, my sister, my baby sister.  I hate when she’s sick and I can’t be there.  It makes me walk about distracted and irritable.  And my nephew turned TWO!  And also, they are healing at that lovely spot in Thailand.  Really, I need to go take care of them.  And eat yummy Thai food.

Grumpy that:  I say “yes” much too much.

*NO LOST SPOILERS!  That would be cruel and too awful to comprehend.

New placenta print

I decided to do this print on canvas instead of watercolor.  I love it and want to keep it for my very own.  Except, well, it isn’t my placenta.

Special thanks to Travis Wood, a young starving artist, who told me I needed to add background contrast.  I didn’t go as dramatic as he suggested (he showed me some wild charcoal idea).  Still I’m branching out.

Placenta Prints

As promised.  Please note that this post contains up close and personal pictures of placentas. 

The placenta is incredible.  Perhaps you’ve never thought about it.  Ponder for a moment.  Or skip this post.  That is ok, too!

It is the only organ we grow temporarily.  Through it, baby receives nutrients and sends waste.  Yet mom’s and baby’s blood do not mix.  Until birth, the placenta is the essential organ for the baby; functioning as gut, lungs, kidneys, liver, and much more.  The placenta produces and regulates hormones for mom and baby.  I could go on and on.  If you’re interested in learning more, google it! 

What happens to the placenta after birth?  Most women birthing at hospitals leave it there.  The hospital probably incinerates it as medical waste.  Or perhaps they sell it; though that doesn’t seem to be as common as it used to be.  Some women at the hospital request to keep it.  The hospitals around here plop it in a large plastic container for transport.  They don’t even look at you funny anymore. 

Why keep it?  Ritual–plant it under a tree or create some other ceremony.  Placentophagy–consume the placenta for medicinal benefits.  Art–which brings us to my post!

Placenta prints are simple though they take some practice.  They create a nice conversation starter for your home.  :) 

Materials needed:

  • watercolor paper
  • paintbrush
  • placenta
  • UV sealant
  • blade of some sort (maybe)
  • paint (optional) 

First, set up your work area.  Indoors is best.  I’ll let you figure out why.  I put down a few garbage bags, tear off several paper towels, and set out some gloves.  I also hang an open garbage bag from a doorknob or chair.

The placenta has two sides.  The maternal side is rough and rather unattractive.  The fetal side is smooth and shiny.  You can see side-by-side pictures and a simple anatomy here.  You will be working with the fetal side.  Place your placenta like this: 

Here is a close-up of the “tree of life” pattern that you will be printing.  (This is not the same placenta as above).

There will probably be membranes (amniotic sac) attached.  You can see it in the first picture coming down from the umbilical cord and tucked under.  Usually, I can twist them around the cord or around to the maternal side.  You can also cut them away.  They are stronger than they look!

You can print the placenta using its blood as the medium.  The color will fade over time but a UV sealant will help to protect it.  Or you could have professional copies made to keep.  If the mom plans to encapsulate her placenta, it is important that you work quickly and you do not use paint.  If you wanted to print in a color and the mom is ok with it, you could use a food-based tint like chlorophyll.  Again, work quickly so the placenta is not out of the refrigerator for long. 

To use a paint, remove blood by blotting with paper towels.  Then brush on your paint.  Don’t forget to paint the cord. 

Whichever medium you choose, I’ve found it easiest to lay the paper onto the placenta rather than dropping the placenta onto the paper.  It is less likely to smear this way. 

 The first image uses blood.  The second image (different placenta) uses acrylic paint. 

Fun, yes? 

I am confident 10 people just unsubscribed to my blog.  :)

Next up…a video of my adorable two-year old dancing?

New placenta prints

I was playing around with a placenta.  (You don’t hear that everyday). 

I decided to try printing one with green.  I think these might make for kitschy conversation starter.  Maybe matted and framed side-by-side?  Would you recognize it as a placenta?

The Baby Book

I’ve been complaining about how much I dislike Baby Books.  I didn’t love Norah’s and really didn’t want to do another.  But as my younger sister always points out:  the first child gets a complete baby book and the younger sibling’s is barely completed if she has one at all.  Do I sense some angst? 

I have dutifully completed the required questions in Cedar’s oh-so-generic baby book.  I even did her footprints (which turned out to be a messy disaster).  But so much of the information is irrelevant.  Such as the two pages dedicated to “coming home from the hospital.”  Really?  Two pages?  What outfit did you wear home from the hospital?  Well, not only did Cedar not leave the house for 7 days, she also didn’t wear anything that first week.  And decorating the nursery?  Cedar’s nursery is our room; her crib is our king-sized bed. 

I muttered something about how someone needed to design baby books for the not-so-generic experience.

Voila:   Artist Adriane Bovine has created baby books that are beautiful, hand-made, and tailored for out-of-the-norm whether it be adoption, non traditional families, homebirths, the family bed, etc.  Check her out!  Put this extraordinary baby book on your wish list.

Well done, Adriane Bovine!

Newborn Photos

When Cedar was a 8 days old, we had a newborn session with the Great Tracie Birch

Over the years, I’ve seen many of my doula clients and friends get newborn sessions with Tracie and I was super excited to finally have my turn!  Ok, first, Tracie is the most patient person I’ve ever met.  She moved so slowly to get Cedar calmly and gently placed.  I never worried about her handling my baby because she is clearly a baby whisperer.  I would have given up many times on some of the shots.  During the process, she got peed on, bitten by two ant bites, and scraped her elbow lying on the concrete.  Tracie even caught a poop blow-out and made it look fun.  Don’t worry, I didn’t include those pics!   

Call her.  Schedule her.  You will have so much fun and you won’t regret it.

 

Henna

I think many people fall into one of two camps.  Either they view pregnant bellies as cumbersome bulges that should be kept under clothes.  These are the folks that would prefer not to see an 8 month pregnant woman in a bikini.  Or, they think pregnant bellies are powerful, beautiful features.  My husband falls into the second camp and thinks pregnant women are gorgeous and carry a certain radiance about them. 

So it is no wonder that he encouraged me to get a henna design.  I admit that I have enjoyed my new belly art.  And I’m certain I’ll have another henna piece done closer to birth.  I chose a tree–fittingly for baby Cedar.  The swirly branches curl all the way down and around one shoulder.  The incredibly talented, Erin Ernst, created the design.

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Henna goes on black and then dries as an orange stain.  It lasts one to two weeks.

I think a henna session with Erin would be a unique baby gift for an expectant mama  Or invite Erin to do a henna design at a blessingway or baby shower–maybe inviting each guest to add a symbol or swirl to the expectant mom’s belly.  You can contact Erin at erinzyart [at] aol [dot] com. 

Erin is a new stay-at-home-mama in our area who is re-building her art business.  She also does fantastic face painting for birthday parties, murals, bellycasting, and more.  Send her some love!!

Did you miss it?

Saturday’s Blessways was wonderful!  We had a great turn-out of mamas and papas.  Earth Fare was such a gracious host location so we have booked the community room through June.  Earth Fare donated colorful organic baby socks for each expectant couple and brought in yummy baby products to test.

img_7717Erin did free henna art on all our participants.  She even did some henna on a nursing baby’s bald head!  I wish I’d snapped a picture.  I’ve booked Erin to henna my belly when it gets a bit bigger.  She would be a wonderful addition to a baby shower or mother blessing.  Erin is new to our community and is building her art business–she does murals, face painting, henna, and more.  You can contact her at erinzyart[at]aol[dot]com. 

Dr. Feiste was so entertaining!  He passed around a gomco clamp and talked about the science (or lack thereof) and history of circumcision.  He was a really interesting pediatrician–a great option if you’re in the Clemson, Seneca, Oconee, Anderson area. 

Natalie gave chair massages or (in my case) belly rubs to all the pregnant moms.  Natalie gives great belly rubs!  And Mary shared her two very different homebirth stories.

Don’t miss our next Blessingways!  Always the 4th Saturday of the month from 2pm-4pm.  In April, we’ll hear a positive hospital birth story and our topic will be Breastfeeding.

Self-discipline

Because my husband has incredibly annoying incredible self-discipline, we will not be attending the Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF) this year with our long-lost friends Hippie and Rhonda.  Norah will not get to play with Jubal.  We will not hear outstanding music and we will not see beautiful people and art. 

We will be remodeling the dining room.

I will console myself with memories of music from last fall.

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