Friday, July 31, 2009

BIG NEWS!!!



I finished my first knitting project that uses no one else's pattern.  This pattern is mine!!  It's a shrug made with recycled yarn.  The pattern is as follows:
Cast on 35 stiches with size 15 US 10 needles.
In Garter stitch, knit 10 rows (1 row=two knit).
Cast off, and repeat two more times.  
You will have three blocks all he same size.  
Using a darning needle, sew two blocks into sleeves.  Attach to the third block.  Easy.

I'd like to thank the Academy, Cash & Jennifer, and Alexis (for her hot photography skills...with the spot light).

More Shrugs!
--Jess

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Luring my sister to Philly (dangling the bait)

Ever since we got here, I've had this feeling that my sister (who lives in Tiny Town, Oregon) would really love it in Philly. No, more than love it...she would THRIVE here. I've only been here four weeks, and I already feel more like myself than I have in years. But, for Natalie, I'm seeing her all over this city.

So, for this post, I wanted to show off some of the coolness that reminds me of her. Maybe she'll take the bait, eh?

This is Blick Art Supplies: they have everything an artist could ever dream of. It's like a painter's Nirvana in the middle of Center City. I took some pictures of their canvas sizes--1 inch x 1 inch up to 4ft x 6ft.

I saw these Obama paperdolls, and I missed my sister soooooo much.


Daisies everywhere!
And what about this tequila bar?? Serves over fifty different kinds :)




COME TO ME, SISTER....

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Neighbs


We're over at our friends' row home, laughing about how we text each other even though we live approximately 14 ft apart.

Alexis made dessert while the rest of us hung out in their basement listening to vinyls: the best was Surfin' Safari by (do I really have to say this?) The Beach Boys. You know this album is awesome.

These people are good! We like them.

Alexis is a teacher/goddess of domestic deliciousness
Justin is a postman/film maker/musician

Last night, we had some of their friends over for dinner (I guess you can say they are our friends now). There was a lot of music, and I hope we didn't keep the other neighbors awake. What are you supposed to do when six musicians come together over creamy soy-chorizo pasta and beer?!

Feeling lucky to have found people who get us,
Jess


Saturday, July 11, 2009

A transient beauty, and a beautiful space


John is reading a lot about micro-biology these days, and over dinner the other night, he coined this weekly catch phrase. He used "a transient beauty" to describe how perfect and efficient every part of our anatomy works, but only for a certain number of years.

I, however, am stealing this phrase and applying it to summer in the city. The transient beauty of my surroundings will fade into a new beauty come fall. But, for now, I am relishing in the daily reminders that I am experiencing July like I never have before.

John's photography skills capture fireflies (or as Philadelphians call them: glow bugs).



And now, for a delightful shot of my "creative space" where I can meditate, knit, cut paper, write, BLOG, whatever. It's a bright, sunny space, and it's all mine because John has his Man Cave in the basement where all his wires and sound equipment and tools belong. Heaven...I'm in heaven.

Slip, sliding away through these sweet summer days,
Jess

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How to attend your first South Philly Block Party:

Step 1: Try not to look like a tourist when snapping photos of the fire truck that arrived at 8 am to clean the block.




Step 2: Decorate your "stoop" and dog for the festivities (yay paper cutting!)




Step 3: Don't trip over your platforms when electric sliding with the neighbors.



Step 4: Force your husband to take a photo with precious neighbor child, Avery.



Step 5: Enjoy the show!

Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July!
--Jess

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I'm teaching them...but really they're teaching me

I have been so incredibly blessed by this Philadelphia Arts Enrichment Program that I'm teaching during the month of July. I'm inspired, and hopefully I'll be able to continue walking down this path after the enrichment program is over. We'll see.

So, I'm teaching dance and theatre in an extremely under-resourced, under-staffed, and over populated elementary school in Southeast Philly. I'm telling you, this school has NOTHING! No air conditioner, no computers, no musical instruments...you get the point. But, these kids are so unbelievably joyful and positive. On the first day, I had sixteen little dancers (ages 6-10). On the second day, I had twenty-two kiddos!

I designed a curriculum for students who have never taken a dance class before. We talk about the basics of movement like "why do dancers use counts to mark the rhythm of the music?" or "why is there not a 9th count?" and the kids are enthusiastic and always responsive.

Yesterday they danced basic, almost tribal choreography that involved a lot of stomping and jumping and slapping the floor with their hands. I used Ben Harper's "Better Way" and before we started dancing I asked the kids to listen to the words and tell me what they think Ben is talking about. It was so cute because despite the political message the song conveys, all the kids thought Ben was singing about saving the planet, not polluting or littering, and loving the earth. I went with that theme, and we worked on expressing our frustrations through movement/dance when people litter or pollute.

Today, the kids all wore their favorite color. I used my old stand-by Color Association curriculum (what does red make you think of? how would red move if red was a dancer?) and then we did a ballet-type dance to "Over the Rainbow". I even introduced first and second position and plies. It was so cool. Then, I put the kids in small groups according to what color they had on, and they had to build their own "Color Dance". The Pink girls were romantic and airy, the Red boys were a volcano, the Blue group was an ocean...and it was so beautiful to watch what they created.

I'm thinking I need to write a grant proposal and try to get funding for an inner-city youth dance center where families can pay maybe $10 bucks a month for dance classes. I'm telling you, these kids have never been given the opportunity to take a dance class, but they all love it so much. It's as if they've been waiting for an opportunity to express themselves through physicality. I'm in awe. These kids have inspired me beyond words, and they deserve art in their lives.

Through movement of the spirit,
Jess video