Sunday, December 3, 2017

Birding In A Winter Wonderland

I met a new group of friends this afternoon in Belfair, and boy did we have a good time! Literally, there was one man/boy there :-)


With yummy snacks to keep the holiday cheer intact and no example to hold our paintings in comparison to, the paint flew and the laughter echoed off the still-under-construction space we occupied.

Branching Out

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Our subject today was two little birds huddled up on a branch after a snowstorm, so there was a chance to talk about how to build depth and dimension with natural branch building and feather layering, how snow drifts form, and how to mimic the randomness of falling flakes too.
One of my students was a little ball of artistry and although she didn't create the same image as the rest of us, she did paint a lot of ornaments, a Christmas tree, and a smile on my face :-) She would have liked for me to play tag outside with her, but instead I turned on my Homeschool Mom voice and played Word Tag, a rhyming game I made up on the fly, with her! Needless to say, I think she would have enjoyed a good old fashioned game of chase more lol.

Birds of A Feather Huddled Up Together

I am looking forward to working with this group again, and they put me in such a merry mood, I decided on the way home that I'd offer $5 off any of my next class to any of my past students... so watch for a blog post with more details about that coming in a day or two.
Another of my students has known me long enough to help me reflect with joy about how I've been so fortunate with the way my craft "career" has progressed. The support of my friends and family, all the new people I've met, the incredible opportunities that have been and continue to be offered me... well, I'm just darn lucky to get to share my passion for making with others. Even Ray had to give me a big hug when I got home. Maybe it was out of relief-he'd been on baby watching duty for over 5 hours!- but I think it was because he's proud of the success I've been able to enjoy sharing something I'm so passionate about.
It's all thanks to the encouragement I continue to receive, and dear reader, that includes You!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

An August Birthday in October

There's just no telling when a baby's finally going to decide to make an appearance... but some signs point unequivocally to NOW! This morning, my baby boy August decided it was his time, and he's happily at home after a (quick!) and easy birth and delightfully unexpected family meet and greet.
All the excitement of the day started shortly after going to bed last night. I was introduced to the concept of hypnobirthing during my pregnancy with Sunday, and lately started listening myself to sleep through a meditative cd. As Ray and I lay in bed visualizing the arrival of our new addition, I suddenly sat straight up in bed with a catch in my throat. As my loud hacks died down, I felt... intuition perhaps? Whatever it's name, the feeling that I'd better get out of bed was quickly followed by the relief that I had managed to do so; my water had broke!
Ray went downstairs to get me a towel, a Depends :-), and to call our midwife Susan and my mom, who would need to watch the girls for us. This was about 11pm. By 11:15, I'd made my way downstairs and also called checked in with Susan and texted my best friend, Jennifer, who would serve as both doula and photographer. Everyone agreed that we'd meet at the Birthing Inn of Tacoma at 12:30- which seemed like plenty of time but just barely was :-o
Getting food ready, double checking our pre-packed bags, and rousing the girls to transport them to the car and tuck them into their seatbelts took just long enough for me to wonder if I'd be giving birth in the Highlander... but lucky for me, we got over the bridge in record time and our welcome party was cozily busy inside, preparing for our arrival.
I had to laugh to myself in between contractions as the kids talked a mile a minute all the way there. Of course, I was laughing carefully! Another good laugh was internalized when my mom came to help me out of the car. I told her, no, I'd just wait for Ray to walk me in and she said, Well, it's not like you're ready to push or anything, are you? Well, yes, I said, I was. Vroom! She hightailed it inside, probably recalling that moments just before she'd first met me! The funny part was, here I was still out in the car, deep breathing and holding the baby in- ALONE.
Finally, I was escorted the short distance to my room and helped into the tub after a quick bathroom stop. I still had time enough between contractions to pause for candid photo ops of course :-) Ahhh, the relief of the warm water was absolutely what I need to slow down and collect my wits.
 The girls were able to see their mom cheerfully preparing mentally for the arrival of their brother. My mom was able to give me a mental power exchange through a forehead hug and then those three were off, leaving me to rely on Ray and Jen for all my soothing needs.
There aren't words that can express what it is to be able to rely on those who love you to keep you tethered to the moment while making you comfortable too. Ray cushioned me in the exact position I had envisioned while Jennifer thoughtfully ran warm water between contractions to keep me relaxed.
With the sensations of birth escalating rapidly, I really needed to stay calm, and they spoke softly and listened intently so that I wouldn't have to ask twice for anything of them.
Now August was a different story! That kid was barreling down the birth canal so fast I literally had to hold his head in and ask him as nicely as possible to just hold on and give mama a chance to catch up <3 I'll spare you those photos but I love that my friend knew I'd want them to look back on and hid within the pages of my scrapbook for future memory enhancement.
I can remember reaching down to feel his head as it emerged every time I stroke his hair- it gives me goosebumps of love every time. I hadn't experienced the births of my girls quite so intimately, and I felt that even in the most overwhelming of moments that I was still in control and welcoming my son to join us in the most open way possible. My teacher, Susan Boyle, was instrumental in instilling me with the confidence to trust my body and breathe through the intensity.
With Rays arms around me, we reached out together to hold August while the umbilical cord was gently moved off of his shoulders, and then our littlest child yet was ours to admire. "Gust"-y little squawks pierced the air and unbeknownst to me, my mom and the girls were out in the waiting room saying he sounded like a baby blue jay! What a happy surprise to find they hadn't left after all, and within moments the three of them were able to come in and see us and share that special time before we got out of the water.
cozy as can be
Another gift for Rainier and Sunday; to hear their mom deliver their brother without a single scream, smiling and radiant, and him healthy and beautiful with eyes wide open to bond with them. A moment to share with my mom that we hadn't planned and the ability for her to see him so soon and to then take the girls home with her to relive the excitement until their return. And gifts for Ray and I, that our son was born healthy as can be (albeit extremely wrinkled), that we had all the support we needed, and hours to rest before we took our slightly larger family back home to the house we started our family in.
Bradshaw, party of five

Although his birth record says he weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces, I believe he lived up to my prediction of 7.9 because he'd had a chance to poop by the time he hit the scale, and well, because I'm the mom and I say so lol. 19 inches of pure potential. A full head of hair to cover his tiny skull containing a brain ready to absorb and learn all that it can. Born at 1:39am on October 12th and back home before 10 this morning to get used to the outside world, we welcome you, sweet child of ours <3
August Ray Lawson Bradshaw

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Nightmarish Night Class

  I fear there's something in the air...
 I experienced my most out of control class EVER last night... and yet it still ended up a success!  There were some students who needed no coaching whatsoever (until they did), and some who would have liked me to paint their Nightmare Before Christmas inspired scenes for them!
You know, one of the most boggling aspects of this get together was that the most talented artists had the most trouble with accepting praise for their talent... what reminder that when we let self doubt and negativity cloud our minds, we actually become unaware of our gifts, or unable to acknowledge the reality of how gifted we truly are.
I hope that on this first day of October, you are finding some joy in the color changes, falling leaves, and from the knowledge that you are magnificently formed by the most talented artist of all <3

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Hunt for Chestnut-ctober

 'The last three years, we have gone down the road to our pickin' grounds to see what we can forage from the underbrush. Poking about is so rewarding!" 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

My Library Peeps

 The Friends of the Key Center Library sponsored another #CraftWithAnna class on Monday and it was SO much fun! The theme was Faux Batiking, and the idea I had was that we would use bleach on fabric with wooden block stamps to create some unique impressions.
The images were decidedly not distinct, except in their originality! There was hardly any way to predict what would happen. Depending on the fabric, the amount of bleach and water ratio'd, the quality of the stamp and or the image of it, they all created something! I made sure to caution each participant that the most important thing to remember was that the goal was to experiment, and have fun, not to expect perfection, and to enjoy the process.
Judging by the feedback, I'd say those goals were achieved!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

MOPS Make and Take Mini Albums

My local MOPS group which meets up the street at the Lakebay Community Church during the school year contains some of my favorite people. As we gathered for our first get-together after summer, I was more excited than usual because I had the opportunity beforehand to assemble paper bag mini album kits for everyone.
 After a good bit of socializing over a provided dinner, and a tiny amount of business-ish information, we were all set to start gathering the precut papers and assemble our mini memory keepers. As I looked around at my friends intently glueing and cutting, my heart was truly full. In fact, I enjoyed commenting on everyone's joy so much that I didn't even sit down to make one myself!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

3-D Painting Inspiration

While doing some "research" on YouTube for a flamingo painting class I taught last week, I stumbled across a fantastic idea from Monte Mart; painting in 3-D. How did he do this? By literally opening the tube of paint and drawing with it on his canvas to create texture that sat on the canvas in the form of painted poppy stems. What a mind blow! Plus, who doesn't feel inspired when you hear that accent (swoon)?

While I didn't use this technique for flamingo legs, it did get my wheels turning... and then lo and behold, my online pal and Community Manager for, Jessica, sent me this awesome project for creating Salt Dough Paint. What a co-inky-dink! So, without further a-dough (!), here are the instructions Jessica sent me for how you can get busy getting funky as a flamingo yourself: