Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Blog Business and Happy New Year!

Dear Friends,

A few orders of Blogging Business:

Firstly: I apologise for breaking the code of my blog-promise to post one keepsake drawing each day. I feel bad to have broken your trust. I didn't post for two whole days. The reason was a good one, but it was still inconsiderate, seeing as I know how important this blog is for your internet-browsing survival. After, all what would you do without it?! Get bored? Read actual news as opposed to my trifling tidbits? Go on Wikipedia worm-hole expeditions? Oh you know exactly what I mean: That's when you look up something on Wikipedia that you don;t know anything about and then while you are reading the article you come across another term or name that you didn't know so you click on the hyperlink. That can just go on and on until someone calls you for dinner or makes you take your laundry out of the dryer. 
Anyway, my reason for not posting was because I was spending the night with some special friends in a nearby city called Havířov. My friend did not have internet, so that was why I didn't send word. Have no fear. I am back. I do not promise to never again make an internet transgression, but for this one I sincerely apologise.

Secondly: As I write this it is 12 o'clock on New Years Eve! I can hear all the fireworks going off around our valley. Happy New Year, Blog People! May the Lord bless you and keep you. May he make his face to shine upon you in this next year!

Here are some of the things that happened on this blog and in my life in the last year:

- I reached 100 posts
I did some cool drawing challenges
- I finished reading the entire Old testament of the Bible
- I went on tour to California with the Wheaton College Gospel Choir and blogged about our trip
- I created a travel guide on my trip home to Czech
- I became a covert street artist

It has been a full year. God has blessed me with my family, my boyfriend and friends. I am so privileged to be attending college and working at a good job. Thank you, Lord!

Good night.

Keepsake Album Day 8: Small Doll

The week before my family moved to the Czech Republic I had one last sleepover with my two best fiends from the fifth grade. My mom bought us each a doll. She had seen them at the grocery store and because she is a doll maker she has trouble resisting buying dolls for her daughter. She thought they would be nice to have to commemorate our last time hanging out. We each named our doll after one friend. I can't remember which of my two friends my doll was named after: Jackie or Liza? I can't recall. I actually never saw Liza again after that sleepover. I may have written her a letter and tried to call, but our friendship just petered out. 

But Jackie I have seen several times since. She is actually now engaged to be married. She was my absolute closest friend all throughout my life in the States before we moved to Europe. Our friendship started on the first day of preschool. We were three years old and we bonded deeply over throwing dozens and dozens of "helicopters". You know those little things that come from trees and if you throw them they twirl like the propellers of helicopters? 

Here's what they kind of look like:

Anyway. This doll reminds me of a friendship that meant a whole lot to me in the first eleven years of my life (and beyond!). Thanks for being my friend so many years, Jackie!

Keepsake Album Day 7: A Bead With a Face

My daddy made this bead for me out of Fimo a few years back for my birthday. When I was a child I was always enchanted by the things my dad was able to make with Fimo. He would build these amazing castles out of tiny bricks of clay. They were only a few inches tall, but they had vines growing up the sides and turrets and I even remember one which had a princess with a head the size of a pin letting down strands of Fimo hair from a window. He loves painting and miniature soldiers and figurines. For many years he was really excited about painting figurines from the Lord of the Rings. Lately he has been taking generic miniature soldiers and fantasy figurines and altering them to look like characters from The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis

My dad is always modest about his artistic skills, claiming that he is not good at drawing or anything artistic. I quite disagree and have loved everything he creates from a very early age. This tiny bead brings me joy because of how expressive and funny it is. Anyway, who thinks to put a face on a bead?! 

Keepsake Album Day 6: Hair Clip Shaped Like a Strawberry

A friend of mine gave me this hair clip which is shaped like a strawberry. It is significant because my friend is one of the people I love the most. She gave it to me because one of our favourite flavours of Czech bubbly water is called Rebarbora a Jahoda (translated to "rhubarb and strawberry"). My friend's name is Barbora. 


Get it? 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Keepsake Album Day 5: A Puddle of Alien Snot

Today I drew a cartoon about a gift exchange that took place in our family many years ago. Let me tell you about it:

In approximately the year 2001 we each drew names of someone in the family. It was our job to create some sort of handmade gift for that person as a part of the Christmas festivities. At that time I was about seven or eight-years-old. My older brother, Patrick, was probably ten or eleven and Paul Hugh, the youngest at that time, was maybe three or four-years-old. Isaac came into our family many years later. He is not in this story. 

Everyone in my family is quite crafty. We all have artistic ability and decent fine-motor skills that come in handy for the making of crafts. In fact today Patrick is currently in the business of professional carpentry and my mother was a talented doll-maker for many years. Back to the story!
Even at this tender age Patrick and I were able to make some cool things by hand. I must have drawn my dad's name and I forget if Patrick had my mom or Paul Hugh. We all made some cool object for the person whose name we had drawn. I am sure my parents gifts were really cool like a painted soldier figurine from my dad or an elaborate paper-doll from my mother. I probably made a cool beaded ring or necklace. 

The only one whose crafting abilities had not yet matured was the four-year-old Paul Hugh. He was no artisan at age four. Of course in a couple of years he would develop as an artist and begin to create such fine works as a series of highly detailed battle scenes depicting hundred of tiny soldiers battling a monster he dubbed the "Jointosaurus". The Jointasaurus was a dinosaur-like being who had a remarkable amount of joints which allowed him to bend his massive limbs in several different directions at once. ANYWAY. This level of prowess was yet to come. Four-year-old Paul Hugh was not the person you wanted making you a Christmas gift. I love the boy dearly, but honestly anyone would have rather received one of my parents miniature works of art rather than whatever that runny-nosed little fellow could have dreamed up with a couple of pipe cleaners. 

This, at least, was my sincere sentiment as I learned that Paul Hugh had drawn my name. The eight year-old me was disappointed. What was he going to make? What even could he make?! 

The answer was something out of plasticine. PH spent about five minutes creating a small sculpture out of a yellowish green wad of plasticine. It looked something like a melting tree. It was very um…abstract. I looked up from my beaded creation every now and then to check on the status of my "gift". My heart sank as I watched PH shape the weird lump of clay. 

PH persuaded an adult to bake the creation in the oven for a time. He must have thought it was something like Fimo or Sculpey which hardens after baking. He was wrong. Plasticine is not meant to go ing the oven. In fact is never meant to harden, which is why animators use it for claymation. But four-year-old PH did not know that. 

We all exchanged our gift at the end of our family craft session. Everyone was delighted with the beautiful handiwork of their fellow Tills. Except me. Paul Hugh's little plasticine sculpture had turned into a puddle of yellowish green. It looked like a pool of alien snot on a pie tin. That was my gift. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Keepsake Album Day 4: Tiny Ceramic Puppet

Merry Christmas Again! 

just posted a drawing two minutes ago, but I need to keep up to scratch with this series and I forgot yesterday. 

SO. Here is my fourth instalment of the Keepsake Album. It is a tiny ceramic puppet that was given to me by my mother after a trip to Krakow. I suppose it was made there by a local craftsperson. Thanks, Mom! You have always known what tiny trinkets will make me smile.

Have a lovely Boxing Day tomorrow. I'll be back tomorrow with some more keepsakes.


Keepsake Album Day 3: Play-Doh and Pom Poms (a day late, sorry!)

Merry Christmas, All!

I totally forgot to post this yesterday! Sorry!

This is part of the gift Isaac (my seven-year-old brother) gave to me this Christmas. As soon as I opened the egg carton in which he wrapped it and saw the fragile Play-Doh creation within, I knew it was a candidate for the Keepsake Album, because it was going to fall apart at any moment. 

As he handed me the package he said, "Here is something I made for you. I made this for you from Play-Doh and pom-poms."

Thanks, Isaac. I love you. Hopefully that will still be true after I babysit you for a whole week while our parents are away. 


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Keepsake Album Day 2: Plastic Rats

These were given to me for Christmas, I  think, by one of my brothers. I think I'll donate them to some other kids.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Keepsake Album

Dear Friends,

I really enjoyed creating drawing challenges for myself over the summer. I did a doodle-a-day for 30 days and I also did a challenge for drawing the things I was thankful for. 

It is Christmas Vacation now and I am enjoying being at home. But I don't want this Christmas break to end with my feeling as though I didn't make anything cool or really accomplish anything on my list of things that I always wish I had time for when school is in session. That is why I am going to challenge myself to post one drawing everyday for three weeks. I will do a drawing everyday except for weekends starting today and ending on January 9th. 

I am going to draw my keepsakes. I love gifts from people that I can keep because they remind me of that person or something special we did together. The problem with this is that I end up having sentimental ties to too many objects. The objects are usually things that do not serve any practical purpose and therefore just lie around and collect dust. Yes, I occasionally pick them up and fondly remember the person or memory, but it is not worth the clutter in my life. A few months ago it occurred to me to draw each of these items into a special album. That way I could still have the memory, but I could feel OK about getting rid of the object itself. I can give them away or donate them or even throw them away. 

My boyfriend, Sheldon, is a bookbinding amateur (although his craft is rapidly growing toward a professional level). He knew about this drawing idea and so he made me a beautiful book to be my Keepsake Album. I haven't had time since my birthday in October to start my intended project and the beautiful notebook has lain barren and forlorn. But now it is break time! Now I can do everything I have ever wanted to do!

The Birthday Book from Sheldon
There is significant danger in my publishing this series. Vladimir Putin might get ahold of it. No. Just kidding. That will probably not happen. Besides, Vlaďa, would love this idea. He would ask for his own Keepsake Album for Christmas and use his artistic talents to fill it with the gifts he has collected on diplomatics visits to other countries.  

No, the real problem is you, My Lovely Readers. What if the gift I choose to immortalise in my album came from you? What if I choose to GET RID OF SOMETHING THAT YOU GAVE ME! AHHHHH! That would be terrible. How rude! 

Dear Reader, you misunderstand. If I choose to draw something that you gave me and then throw it away, it does not mean I do not care about you. On the contrary, it means that I DO care. I care so much that I sat down and studied the object you gave me. I drew it with careful detail in order that I never forget your friendship and the care with which you chose that object as something that would make me smile. 

I live on two separate continents. I travel between Europe and the United States twice a year and my home is not permanent in either place right now. That means that having a lot of stuff is really not practical for me. So, Friend, rather than feeling slighted, please feel honoured. 

Entry #1: A felt pin from my parents. They are the first people to take a hit. They can handle it. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

8 Game Ideas for Babysitters

Dear Friends,

Besides being a student I am also a babysitter. I babysit for 3 boys ages 13, 11 and 7 every day for about two hours. I do not have many duties beyond making sure no one burns anything down until their parents come home.

If there are any other babysitters reading this or anyone who wants some ideas for simple games to play with kids, I will list some of the games I have made up or used:

1. Hide and Seek:
Prep Time: 2 minutes (depends on how long it takes you to find a hiding spot)
Play Time: 10 minutes (depends on how good your spot was)

- Post-it-note on door that reads "Find me. Sincerely, Your Babysitter".
- You hide until they find you.

Prep Time: 2 minutes (depends on how long it takes you to find a hiding spot)
Play Time: 10 minutes (depends on how good your spot was)

2. Post-It-Note I Spy:
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes (how fast can you draw from real life?)
Play Time: 5 minutes (how observant are they?)

- You draw a closeup of an object in the house on a post-it-note.
- It is the job of the kid to go around the house and find the thing that the drawing depicts.
- When they find it they can stick the post-it on the object.

The most successful game I have invented (or the one that they seemed to enjoy the most) takes little time and care on the part of the one setting it up.
I like this game because it requires something valuable of each player. For the person drawing it requires drawing practice from real-life. From the player it requires observation skills. They have to slow down and consider objects that they may have previously passed by. When I played this with the boys they got so into it that they started making ones for me to solve as well.

3. Mystery Bag Game:
Prep Time: 10-12 minutes
Play Time: 10 minutes

- I went around their house and put three objects into three paper bags.
- I labelled each bag with numbers 1-3.
- The boys had 6 guesses total to guess what was in each one. They were allowed to exchange one guess for one hint.
- For each correct answer they got a piece of candy.

4. Post-it-note Puzzle:
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Play Time: 30 seconds

- stick 12 post-it-notes onto the counter and draw a picture onto the resulting "piece of paper".
- Unstick all the post-its and mix them up.
- The players must reassemble them like a puzzle.

This game also takes some prep time. I drew a picture of Link from their favourite Zelda game. I think that was one big reason they liked this game so much. But it took them all of 30 seconds to complete.

Still Life Drawing Game:
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Play Time: 10 minutes

- Make a pile of 4-5 small simple objects on the floor.
- Provide a sheet of paper and a pencil and a hard surface like a book for each.
- Their task? Choose one of the objects to draw as realistically as possible.

This is a game that I enjoyed more than they did. I liked it because the drawings that they made were quite good and they had to sit still for 10 minute making them. They thought this was kind of boring.

6. Questionnaire Game
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Play Time: 10 minutes

- Create a simple questionnaire with questions like: "What is your favourite colour" "What was the funniest thing that happened to you today?" "Draw two things you would use to scare away flies"
- The players write the answers to the questions. I usually only do three or four so that the game doesn't start to feel like homework.

This game can also be played in the car. I sometimes pick the boys up in the car on rainy days and I will leave a questionnaire on each seat. They come into the car and answer the questions verbally while I drive. I like this one because it helps us have meaningful conversations instead of babbling on the way home.

7. Paper Airplane Contest Game:
Prep Time: 10 minutes (20 minutes if you make a big paper target)
Play Time: 5 minutes - 30 minutes (it's up to you how long you play. They can be happy with this game for up to half an hour)

- Set out sheets of paper.
- Everyone makes their own paper airplane.
- Ascertain whose flies the farthest.

This one is pretty basic. But young boys love it. They will try to make better and fast planes. A little research on the interwebs about what planes are the best does not go amiss here. One time I made a big target for them out of four sheets of paper and crayons. I taped it to the wall.

8. Water Balloon Game:
Prep time: 10 minutes (depending on how fast you can fill balloons)
Play Time: 5-10 minutes (depending on how many players and how manny balloons)

- Create a huge chalk target on the driveway. Label each ring with a point value.
- Fill three water balloons per person.
- Each person has three hits.
- The person with the most points wins.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


Dear Friends,

I am a Secondary Education Major and an English Major. I am not at an art school and I am not taking any studio art classes. This means that I have very little time to devote to the "art" part of my being. My main outlets for that have been a weekly cartoon I draw for the school newspaper and the occasional doodle I post on Instagram or make for the boys I babysit. 

BUT a few weeks ago the editor of one of our campus literary journals contacted me to ask if I would submit some art work for the journal called The Pub. She had seen my work for the paper and liked it. I said, "Yes!" as I usually do with complete disregard for the fact that I have very little free time to devote to side projects. 

But I am glad that I did say yes. It felt so refreshing to get deep into an art project. For the past weeks I have been snapping photos and collecting ideas. I spent the last week drawing. Yesterday I completely flew caution to the wind and instead of doing my homework I spent five hours rendering this project in Photoshop. The resul is not as clean and polished as it could have been had I chosen to sacrifice even more homework time. But I am pleased with what I was able to accomplish. I hope you too are pleased. 


Lucy Rose