Saturday, February 18, 2017

Watson Mill Bridge Park, driving in the sunny springtime

Hello again from warm and lovely north Georgia.

In one of the several National Geographic photography contests the organization holds annually, this one really gets to me. These are some talented kids! Take a look at the winners of the NatGeo Contest for Kids. I liked this winner especially, because of his picture's low perspective. I enjoy taking pics of flowers from underneath too. But he did it so much better than I ever did!

Grand Prize Winner / 1st Place Dare to Explore
Dewi Baggerman, Age 11, Netherlands

I am on a 4-day mini-break from school. They call it Winter Break but since we have hardly had winter this year in Georgia, today's low temp of 68 will be the lowest we'll see in a few days. It's supposed to be sunny and 70s tomorrow and upper 70s after that. I'll enjoy the outside, as the daffodils, wildflowers, and forsythia are blooming. The birds are back and one is busy building his annual nest in the windowsill under the window air conditioning unit. My cats like/hate that. They hear the activity and little cheep of the bird and rush over to the table in front of the AC but of course can't get AT the bird. But they run over there every time and stare intently at the spot in which they'd heard the sound.

I've been reading a novel the past few days. Maude by Donna Mabry. I like the atmosphere and setting of the book. Set in 1900-onward, a young girl in the south, buggies and dusty roads and hanging linen on the line nad pumping water into a pitcher and life back then. It's well-written and I like it. This one is on my Kindle.

I recently bought these two- (thanks to a wonderful Amazon gift certificate!!)

The Skye book is the first in a trilogy, something I always like because if it's good I won't have to hunt up another good writer with an interesting setting, I can just move on to the next one in her trilogy. It's coming in hard copy, as is the Women's Ministry book, one I've had on my wish list for a long time. There was a sale on it and combined with the gift certificate, I grabbed it up fast. I am intensely interested in women's ministry because foremost I want to make sure I'm doing ministry correctly and also because most church women's ministry is cookie decorating without too much Bible. I won't go on at length about it, that's for the other blog. But I'm looking forward to the delivery. I love when I come home from work and there's a package at the door!

It was a rough week. A 10-year old former student of our school and one who I knew, died suddenly and devastatingly. Tragedies like this truly make one run to the cross, first with the heartbreaking cries of 'why, why?' to our compassionate Father, but also to lean into Him so as to trust Him more, for all He does is Good. But it's hard when it's the kids.

It was also Valentine's Day, and in the young grades that means sugar highs and giddy children! Picture the parapros and teachers herding kittens and corralling balloons and you got it. Secondly, it was a week with two early release days. On Thursday and Friday the kids are sent home at noon and the rest of the day the teachers have Parent Conferences. Early Release days seem to send the kids into orbit, the change in routine makes them even more, uh, vivacious. Yeah, that's it. Vivacious.

Thirdly, my principal pulled me from my regular routine to do a particular task this entire week which was interesting, but new. I had to be trained to do it and then do it. Since I enjoy new challenges and also autonomy within a stable organization, and being with kids, it was fun but also challenging. So now I'm ready for the 4 day weekend!

To that end, I'd ordered on sale two distress inks from Tim Holtz thru Amazon. In doing collage it seems that distress inks are a way to give the finished piece the layered and antiqued look, something I'd been unable to achieve despite years of attempts. So I caved in and bought a gizmo. I'm a believer in streamlined crafting and making do with what you have, but on the other hand, one does need tools and some materials that can't be scrounged. I'll post the results when I use the inks.

I read this book yesterday, and one idea in it was to color and distress papers with used tea bags. Goodness knows I have enough used teabags, in all colors too. I think the pomegranate tea I drink would make a lovely color on some ivory handmade paper I've got. I'll try this technique too.

On the way home from school yesterday, after I had installed two new tires, I took a drive. It was nice to drive around without the steering wheel pulling so hard to one side, something my separating tire had been causing. This Friday, as is my wont to take a drive on Friday afternoons when it's sunny, I headed south, to the State Park at the south end of town. It has an 1800s covered bridge over a waterfall and river. It is a good place to splash and swim in the summer, and the trails for walking, hiking, and horses are gorgeous. It is a scenic picnic spot as well. I brought my lunch and ate a sandwich and then took lots of photos. Here are a few:

Here are a few pics of the scenes to and from the Park:

My principal had told me earlier in the week that one of her goals is to create a safe and supportive school environment where her staff feels like they can come in and do a good day's work, help children, and go home fulfilled and satisfied. That is how I feel in my job, all the time.  I know I'm blessed to work where I do and to do what I do. I believe that helping children is a great work. Between my good hours at work and my good hours at home, and scenes like those above in between, what else can I ask for? I have good work, peace, love, quietude, beauty, and cats.
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. ~Steve Jobs


Grace to You said...

I love that quote from Steve Jobs.

A fun tip for the distress inks...crumple paper, then smooth it out and run the ink pad over the paper...the ridges left in the paper will catch the ink and give a nice distressed/aged look. Also crumpling paper and soaking it in tea gives a nice look and texture as well. I also burn the edges sometimes with a match. I love aged-looking paper.

Elizabeth Prata said...

thanks for the great tips!!! I'll try them, probably Monday hen I have the day off.

Grace to You said...

How did your experiments go?

Elizabeth Prata said...

thanks for asking! I soaked a handmade paper in tea, which came out good. I have not used the paper nor the distress inks yet. I ended up getting too busy last weekend to do crafting. I started making a journal/planner today and when I get to the part about making pages, hopefully tomorrow if the covers are dry from the layers of paint & gesso, I'll use the inks when making end papers or title page :)

Grace to You said...

BTW, I meant to tell you how sorry I am about your student. I can't imagine how difficult that must be.