Sunday, July 29, 2012

We are all connected

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
I was heading to the minivan one day this weekend when something caught my eye.  Parked right behind my vehicle was a moving mural!  If you consider the wall of a truck to be a wall for a mural?  I say so.

The truck was some sort of farm delivery, from what context clues I could gather (outlines of veggies in the art and a box of veggies in the front seat).  Speaking of farms, where would our farms be without bees?  Dead.  That's where.  It was no shock to see the all important bee depicted on this moving mural.

Now, I don't claim to know that much on the subject of bees, but what I have heard is that they are dying at record numbers, a phenomenon referred to as "colony collapse."  I also know that we need them for pollinating our plants.  And I know that all of our food either is plants or lives of off plants.

This all adds up to a huge deal, in my humble opinion.

These are all reasons that I am so happy to have been a small part of my friend's business, Urban Bee Company.  Bob, (also Amy's husband) has hives all around the city of Seattle, and operates a CSA of his honey.  It is a brilliant concept.  What I had the pleasure of doing for this company, was joining with Amy and co-creating a salve using Urban Bee Company's beeswax.

We finally finished up the planning and preparation and really got to work this past weekend making salve!  It was so exciting to see all the beautiful tins of salve being poured and cooled, creating a gorgeous pattern of yellow and silver that turned the blank space into somewhat of a honeycomb shape, like the pages of those "Magic Eye" books that I could never pull off.

I suggest checking out all the current information available on Urban Bee Company's website.  Stay informed and help out the bees!  We are inextricably connected.

I should add that serendipitously, my name means "honeybee" in Greek, as well as the name of the beautiful plant, lemon balm.  Turns out lemon balm got it's name because it attracts bees.  I feel connected, indeed.  What an honor!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Coming Clean

Mural on 11th, between Pike and Pine.
Posted by Melissa Baumgart
In an earnest attempt at parenting more effectively, I have been listening to my husband quoting his latest read, "Summerhill School, A New View of Childhood" by A.S. Neill.  One quote that hit me was along the lines of, if you leave a child to their own devices, even the most obnoxious child will be pleasant and cooperatively functioning within 3 months.  I decided to not only listen, but place into action some new techniques.  

One day, Jamie walked up to me in the hallway, and looking perplexed he offered me some of his own personal insights from the book.  "Because we have bought into the structures of society, because we have an ideal that we want to live up to, we often put those belief systems first, instead of the emotional well-being of our own children.  We place more importance on the dogmas of society than other human beings."  

Lily, with mural by NKO and
Joe “Scratchmaster Joe” Martinez
My daughters' room has been ridiculously messy.  For quite some time, I had fought day in and day out about them cleaning it, likely belittling and demeaning them in the process.  After hearing Jamie's revelation, I decided to try a new thing.  I always come up with quirky names for our house rules, and this one was no exception, it was to be a "closed door policy."  If you want to leave you room piled with clothes three inches thick on every open space, then  just keep your door closed.

My secret hope was that someday they would find the desire to clean it themselves.  And the best part would be that they would not need me to tell them to do it.  They would want it clean!  And maybe they would keep it that way.  I know, I probably should have been more pure in my earnestness, but instead I had ulterior motives.
Yes, that is the floor you can see!

Then, this past weekend, I set out to clean the house.  As usual, I suggested that my kids help out in some way.  I usually make a list of chores and let them pick.  The new thing is the "Fast 15", in which we all get busy cleaning for 15 minutes, and then we're done.  This day though, was different, we had at least a "Long 120" in front of us.

To my surprise, the girls set out cleaning their room, for three plus hours.  They cleaned the entire thing and have kept it that way for 4 days now.  They even make their beds every morning and put their clean clothes away!

My real reason for telling this story is all about a mural.  No, there's not supposed to be a moral to the story, just a mural.  Haha.  Anyway, my youngest got rid of four bags of her toys, since she doesn't play with them at all.  My oldest and I schlepped them to Value Village to unload our unwanted possessions.  Thank God for that place!  And there, on the wall across from the donation spot, is another of our favorite murals.  

I have always loved it because the top is scripted with an O that resembles the Baltimore Orioles O.  And sometimes I really do miss my people in Baltimore.  And believe it or not, Hon, I sometimes miss Baltimore itself.  I also love it because it reminds me of the mural where Amy and I took our "Urban Homesteading" photos.  And that was an amazing day in GLWT history!

And to totally come clean myself, this mural month might just be a bust.  But then again, you never know, I have been known to surprise even myself!

Friday, July 20, 2012

muralis - "of a wall"

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
I thought I had figured out my mural dilemma.  Yesterday, Tallulah and I started busily working on painting a wood table in our kitchen.  We covered the whole thing in white primer, and had begun the process of choosing what we would paint upon it's blank canvas.  Her idea consisted of four squares in which would be different pictures, over a background of stripes.

This morning, as I sat down to the computer to check email and drink my coffee, I was thinking about the table mural in my mind.  "Yea, why does it have to be on a wall?  A mural can be anywhere.  A table top mural, that to ally works," I assured myself, the rule-follower.  So, I googled "mural definition" just to confirm my assuredness.

Every single online dictionary states that a mural is to be something applied directly onto a wall.  Its etymology stems from the Latin word, muralis,"of a wall" or murus, "wall."  I slumped forward even more toward the bright light of the computer screen, my table top mural idea is a fraud.

The pouring rain outside isn't helping matter any, in the case of hopefully finding some wall outside.  Actually, I have been offered a wall on my friend's house, but to be honest, with the time frame left, and my lack of artistic ability...I don't want to go and f up the wall on their nice home.  You know what I mean?

So, that leaves me with two options.
One:  Continue on with my fraudulent table top mural.
Two:  Pick a wall in my house and get to work.

Since this was a reader picked month, shall I leave it up to you, the readers????  Leave me a comment with you suggestion, and I will start tomorrow.  That will give me 10 days!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Beacon Hill Mural

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
When carting my kids to and fro various activities, I often find myself driving through Beacon Hill.  I don't know if it's that I like the neighborhood, that the traffic can be a little less on the back streets of Seattle, or that I love this mural I get to drive by.

It is painted on the north side of a restaurant, Kusina Filipina.  I have never been in the establishment, but I think about going every time I pass by, hurriedly on my way to trapeze or soccer.  Which reminds me, I wish I could relax more in the car.

The artists that created the piece form collaborative muralist group called Matamuros.  The mural was painted in 2008, and won 'best new neighborhood mural' by the Seattle Weekly that same year.

Here are some links I found with info on Seattle neighborhood murals and public art:
Beacon Hill Public Art
Sound Transit Art Program in Capitol Hill and elsewhere
Seattle Public Art Walking Tours (with maps to download)
Seattle Outdoor Art
King County Cultural Services Public Art Info
Seattle PI's 12 Best Murals (2011)

What are your favorite murals around your city?  What are the stories behind them?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Soaking it all in

Posted by Melissa Baumgart

It is summer in Seattle!  

After months of waking up to rainy and dreary skies, we are now greeted by gorgeous puffy clouds that give way, by afternoon, to clear skies as far as the eye can see.  I love the way the sun feels on my skin, warm and penetrating, to what feels as deep as my soul.  I have been outside as much as possible, soaking at all in.

I have not been outside painting a mural.  Although, this would be the month to do so.  The dry weather would be perfect for a long term painting project outdoors.  I tried and tried to find somewhere to paint a public mural, since we live in an apartment and do not have permission to paint on on our building.  I tried to find a current project, perhaps one that we could volunteer some hours toward.  No luck.

This weekend, my goal is to try and find a piece of plywood, bought or found, and start a mural on there.  I was thinking of adding to my bedroom that I started sprucing up, during DIY month.  My vision is of something with whites, creams, and shades of light earthy tones.  I have a big spot where I can hang the mural when finished.  The question at hand is, what design?  I am more the type to just start and see where I end up.  No plan, free-hand, abstract art.  But I am open to doing something with more fore-thought and precision.  Maybe.

Perhaps I will head to Pinterest or other internet sites for some inspiration.  Tonight, I could make an inspiration board and go from there.

Oh, and by the by, Pregnant Melinda is still up to her tricks.  Remember her from a few months ago?After losing 10 pounds and maintaining that for a month or so, I fell off the wagon and loaded up 5 pounds again.  As of last week, I am back to healthy eating and exercise.  My kids have been running with me, and coaching me through crunches and plank pose.  I have to say, they make great trainers!  A new goal is set, to lose 15 pounds by 9/7/12...just in time to celebrate my 40th!!  I know it is do-able.  Will power, positive self affirmations filled with love, and less self criticism.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Paint the town!

Posted by Amy Baranski & Melissa Baumgart
July brings a GLWT first, "Reader's Choice!"  Amy generously offered our reader's their choice for one of our months.  And here's what they chose....Paint a Mural.  Yippee.  Really, that was not meant to sound enthusiastic.  Note the lack of an exclamation point.
In all honesty, I (Melissa) was excited about this month, considering how much I loved our first ever GLWT month of "Painting."  However, the task of finding a site and painting on a large scale feels a bit daunting.  But, as always, I am willing to do it for the blog!

At least it's not political campaigning, another option suggested by our readers. (Says Amy) In my opinion, it's a more interesting way to make a difference in the community.  Murals often bring me an unexpected joy.

We are hopeful that a space will present itself for our paint brushes, and paint, for that matter.  Any suggestions out there? We may have a couple leads, but it would be fun to have a reader suggested space as well!

In addition to painting, we hope to be able to shine some light onto Seattle's many murals.  In the process, to discover more about the mural painting process and get people out to see some of these amazing works of art.