3.28.2009

And the Winner is....

Ok, before I tell you I just want to say THANK YOU so much for all of your help! It was a hard decision, but the chosen title is just exactly what I was looking for.

The victor is…..

Jared Kraft @ The TravelerRear Window Observations of 32nd Street

Does he look like he's yanking it from me? HE IS!

I know, I know….it’s so unfair! Trust me, I tried to ignore it—I tried to pick a different one—but as fate would have it, my own brother’s entry kept popping back into focus. He had quite an unfortunate advantage since he knows me better than just about anyone.

Have you ever heard of or seen the Alfred Hitchcock film “Rear Window”? Well, I failed to mention in my party post that I have a thing for mysteries—and Jared has the art of sneakily worming his way into my favor down to a science. Sadly, I succumbed. (I really do love it bro. ^_^)

Still, I felt horrible gypping you all when you worked so hard thinking up so many great ideas! So….I decided to give away a SECOND PLACE prize!

A complete, custom blog makeover, designed by yours truly.

I don’t have a proper business going with this yet, but here are two blogs that I’ve designed (and of course, I designed my own).


Imperishable Beauty

Truthful Tidbits

The winner of the blog makeover is…

Kristin @ These Little Girls of Mine
for her idea for the blog title: "32 Oxley Avenue"

It was my first pick until Jared came up with the winning title.

Kristin if you want the blog makeover, it's yours!

Congratulations to both of you!

3.26.2009

The Bitter Taste of Passion

“His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Luke 22:44

“The mental pressure arising from our Lord’s struggle with temptation, so forced His frame to an unnatural excitement, that His pores sent forth great drops of blood which fell down to the ground. This proves how tremendous must have been the weight of sin when it was able to crush the Saviour so that He distilled great drops of blood! This demonstrates the mighty power of His love. It is a very pretty observation of old Isaac Ambrose that the gum which exudes from the tree without cutting is always the best. This precious camphire-tree yielded most sweet spices when it was wounded under the knotty whips, and when it was pierced by the nails on the cross; but see, it giveth forth its best spice when there is no whip, no nail, no wound. This sets forth the voluntariness of Christ’s sufferings, since without a lance the blood flowed freely. No need for the rulers to cry, ‘Spring up, O well’; of itself it flows in crimson torrents. If men suffer great pain of mind apparently the blood rushes to the heart. The cheeks are pale; a fainting fit comes on; the blood has gone inward as if to nourish the inner man while passing through its trial. But see our Saviour in His agony; He is so utterly oblivious of self, that instead of His agony driving His blood to the heart to nourish Himself, it drives it outward to bedew the earth. The agony of Christ, inasmuch as it pours Him out upon the ground, pictures the fullness of the offering which He made for men.

Do we not perceive how intense must have been the wrestling through which He passed, and will we not hear its voice to us? ‘Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.’ Behold the great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, and sweat even to blood rather than yield of the great tempter of your souls.”
-Charles H. Spurgeon

Passion encompasses so much—this one word means misery and joy, agony and ecstasy. It is the base of the starkest contrasts of emotions that somehow mold themselves together into a reactant of the soul. For most of us, passion is a give and take concept; we believe in something, and in turn we are rewarded. In Jesus’ hands, passion was His agony for the sake of His deepest affection. He suffocated Himself with a painful passion for love.

What creates such a huge difference between the passions that we feel and those of Jesus? I think the main dividend is that which is a constant presence in man—his heart’s pride. Passion is the envy of strangers and the pride of the indwelled. Is this a sinful pride? My inclination is to say “absolutely not”. To be desired by the onlooker, the object in his line of sight must be one of worth (at least on the earth). I think pride in the avenues of our literacy, understanding, and talent is what keeps the flame inside of us fervently burning. Please know, my reference is not to conceit, but to a humble and quiet pride that is for the provision of the soul’s thirst for satisfaction.

While this pride is, I believe, a blessing to man, its intentions are—true to nature—directed towards personal preservation. Sometimes, ecstasy begins to take the form of torture—physical deterioration may even occur because of ardency for a given subject. In these times, a few observations can be made; participation in the lives of others becomes distracted and can lose some of the potency of its sweetness in our hearts. In the tremulous panic for relief from the self inflicted sting of passion, our physics instinctively rush to the aid of the pain—a head buzz, a sprinting heartbeat, a flighty stomach. All of these are the chemical solutions of the soul and its zeal.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that all we can expect in and of ourselves is a rush of blood to the head—a temporary high in our perspiring hearts, weeping for the freedom to further secrete itself into perfect satisfaction.

And then, I saw Perfection…

His passion is for me; and instead of a balm for His own shattered being, His agony was the preparation for the creation of another gift for me…the choice of eternity spent in Zion—the paradise of His presence. What a painfully burning flame indwelled Christ in His passion! But His blood ran not to the aid of His heart—it poured outward in sacrificial passion.

And now I know…

One day, my passion will flow, undeterred by human boundaries. Beauty will hold no sting, and I will have no need for pride—Perfection will be mine.

3.24.2009

"Top Ten Tuesday" - Top 10 Piano Movie Themes

I am participating in Oh Amanda’s “Top Ten Tuesday”. It’s sure to be a lot of fun, so make sure you head over and join in!

I had a lot of trouble figuring out what I was going to write in this post…there are a LOT of things you can put in a top ten list! So, I decided to make a list of the top ten piano movie themes. And these are in no particular order—I love them all equally!

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  1. River Waltz – “The Painted Veil” (Alexandre Desplat)


    This theme has the perfect mixture of mystery and beauty hidden in its haunting chords. Lang Lang uses his passion to dig the tenderness right out of the piano keys, delivering a perfectly executed musical translation of heart throbbing emotion.

  2. ---
  3. Vesper – “Casino Royale” (David Arnold)


    This song speaks in a language which the innermost depths of the heart can completely understand. Orchestra is incorporated midway through, adding the guttural depth that sends chills down your spine. The base of chilling piano creates an atmosphere of betrayal and makes the heart break.

  4. ---
  5. Main Title – “To Kill a Mockingbird (Elmer Bernstein)


    The air of this song encompasses nostalgia at its deepest. Granted, it very quickly becomes heavily woodwind and orchestra based, but coupled with the piano, sentimentality is the ache that sinks into your heart and makes you crave more and more.

  6. ---
  7. The Ludlows – “Legends of the Fall” (James Horner)


    Beginning with the sense of melancholy accomplishment, this song develops into a journey—causing you to remember who you once were and to recognize how far you’ve come.

  8. ---
  9. “We Love Each Other” – “Second Chances” (Jared Kraft)

    Transporting you from uncertainty to hope, this song could easily bring a tear to your eye every time you hear it. As it hits your ears, you find that Love is symbiotic to true joy and eternal hope.

  10. ---
  11. Night Time – “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” (Alexandre Desplat & Aaron Zigman)



    This—the simplest form of the theme which is slowly being developed throughout this entire fantastic film—is the materialization of magic. In order to grasp the full effect of the brilliant theme, you have to watch the movie; in its story based creation, its glory is fully appreciated.

  12. ---
  13. Theme from Sabrina – “Sabrina” (John Williams)


    Sweeping romance entrances your mind as you float through this fantastic and inspired theme. Creating visuals of class and poise in the mind of the listener, but also stimulating the senses with adventure and zeal.

  14. ---
  15. Maestro – “The Holiday” (Hans Zimmer)


    Backed up by an incredibly unified orchestral arrangement, the piano rings in a heart warming tale of love and excitement. Amazingly innovative, the movement of this theme constantly keeps your attention.

  16. ---
  17. Main Theme – “Going Home” (Jared Kraft)

    This one is pure piano, and it creates something extremely special—emotional and creepy sensations mix together to make one brilliant theme.

  18. ---
  19. The Skulls – “The Skulls” (Randy Edelman)


    Simplistic, and beautiful; this theme holds a quaint resonance in the execution of the piano. The synthesizers, light percussion, and orchestra complete it to make an absolutely incredible work of art.

Tell me which one is your favorite!

3.19.2009

Ultimate Blog Party 2009 and a Prize!


Ultimate Blog Party 2009

I'm partying with the Ultimate Blog Party 2009. Click on the button above and see what it's all about! Hope you'll join in!

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Note: Blog naming contest has officially ended. Make sure to come back later this afternoon and see who came up with the best idea!
Some of you already know me a little; I hope you’ll feel like you learned something new about me when you’ve finished reading this post!

For the rest of you…

…I’m Abigail Kraft—artist, obsessive movie buff, connoisseur of the art of listening to music, violinist, health nut, Sophomore homeschooler, wannabe people person, writer, and most importantly, faithful child of the Almighty God. ‘Ello chaps!

I live in the country right outside of a tiny town called Sedgwick, Kansas. I would fight tooth and nail before having to take care of goats, horses, cows, chickens, or any other barnyard animals! I abhor country music with a passion, and would rather die than be caught wearing a cowboy hat, boots, or a giant belt buckle….but, somehow life is perfect for me out here—with acres and acres for my imagination to create anything and everything that it wishes. I am living proof that you can live in a country home in the middle of Kansas and still listen to jazz, drink Starbuck’s, and devour a boatload of media on a daily basis.

I thought I’d take you all on a little tour of my New York City flat (a.k.a. my bedroom) today and give you all in inside look into the slightly dull, yet eccentric entity that is moi.

First of all, check out all of my movie posters. I’ve been collecting them for about a year and I still have a really wimpy bunch...but I love them all!


Of course, I also have my "romantic" side. As previously mentioned, I play the violin, and I am in love with French culture!




Now, these are three of my most amazing friends...I'd like to introduce you to Oxley (my computer), Sir Francisco (my beloved Rubik's cube), and Sparky Deryl Schrute (my brand new--and might I add, quite spiffy--32gb iPod Touch). These guys are essential aspects of my daily life....and yes, I name everything.



I spend waaaay too much time in this nook (Yup, I'm here right now). My dearest Oxley does not like to be moved from his home on the desk, so I sit for hours on end and do everything computer-ish here...both productive and...not so productive.


And right next to it is my artist's haven. Note, since it's directly next to my computer, I can tap my music library any time I want to while I'm in my state of creative effusion.


So, I'll bet you're wondering "Where's all the music?" Well, this is what it looks like in my room...


...but this is the source.


You have permission to gasp....THIS is my favorite place to hang out--my brother, Jared's bedroom--media heaven. Jared, Cecily (my almost 13 year old sis), and I are huge Smallville fans, so we gather around his TV and watch an episode together every night. It's one of my favorite parts of the day. Afterwards, Jared and I always stay up for 2 to 3 more hours watching movies, playing Xbox 360, listening to music, etc....anything that includes massive media consumption!

Beware...this next fact may cause you to realize how strange I truly am...

I have an odd obsession with the number "32". You know how people make wishes at 11:11? Well, I make wishes at 11:32. If you take my date of birth and add up all of the numbers (6+4+1+9+9+3), it equals...32! They say that "42" is the answer to the universe, but in MY universe, "32" is always the answer. Reasons why 32 is the best number:

  • Kip Dynamite is like 32 years old.
  • The brilliant composer, John Williams, was born in 1932.
  • The largest iPod Touch is 32gb.
  • 32 degrees F is the freezing point of water.
  • There are 32 black and 32 white squares on a chess board, plus 32 chess pieces.
  • 32 looks awesome on jerseys, and is in fact Shaquille O'Neal's jersey number.
  • There are 32 teeth in the adult human mouth (including wisdom teeth).
  • (I just found this one out) There are 32 muscles in each of a cat's ears.

  • So, there you have it. 32 is without a doubt the best number there is.

    Now that you know everything you could ever possibly want to know about me (well, sort of), I need your help!

    Help me rename my blog, and win a prize!

    I've been wanting to rename my blog for a while. Mainly because "Random Ramblings" is used all over the web, and I would like to find something more unique and interesting. I would also like it to be shorter than "Random Ramblings of a Teenage Artist"...that's quite a bit to work with.

    What I'm going to do is have you all post a comment on this post with suggestions for a new title for my blog. I'm looking for something optimistic and eccentric--something that will capture a bit of the essence of me and my blog while staying condensed and easy to work with. Try and use interesting words, create unique and enthralling visuals...you know what I'm saying. Just let your creativity go crazy!

    The contest will run until 11:59 pm on Friday, March 27. At that point, entries will no longer be accepted, and I will start running through all of the ideas you give me. I will announce the winner on Saturday, March 28, by 8:00 pm. The winner will recieve a $25 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble!

    I'm looking forward to seeing what you all come up with! No idea is a bad idea, so make sure you join in the fun!

    I hope everyone enjoyed the party, and am crossing my fingers that you will return so that I can get to know and keep up with you all! Ciao!

    3.17.2009

    Living the Good Life



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    “And now I’m sunny with a high of 75, since You took my heavy heart and made it light! And it’s funny how you find you enjoy your life when you’re happy to be alive!”

    Yesterday, I could totally relate to those lyrics from the Relient K song “High of 75”. The weather was so completely gorgeous, and my spirit was just soaring with contentment. As soon as we saw that the sun was shining, and that there was miraculously no wind, my family decided it would be a perfect day to go to the zoo…Well, apparently everyone else in Wichita thought so too. When we got there, there were about 200 people lined up by the gate. The giant parking lot was completely filled with SUV’s and minivans belonging to the thousands of soccer moms who had the exact same idea as we did on this beautiful day of spring break.

    Of course, the kiddos would never allow us to just drive by the zoo and say it was too crowded—little boys just don’t accept things like that very willingly—so, instead we went to the Sedgwick County Park. They didn’t want to play on the playground because there were so many other little kids over there (little bros after their sister’s heart), so we found a fairly secluded area behind a HUGE tree where we spread out a blanket and ate a quick lunch. I’m sure you’ve all noticed already, but kids are so cute when they’re eating!



    There was a long walking/biking trail through the park that we decided to walk down after we had finished…that was when the fun began.


    Silas and Jonas are always secreting their energy in the most obnoxious ways possible. They’re total goofballs!



    Harry tagged along calmly….



    …I don't think I've ever seen him smile like this before!




    We reached a certain point in the road where there was a tiny dirt path that led off to the right into the trees (it wasn’t even really a path, just some beaten down dirt). I don’t know how it happened, but suddenly without even talking about it, we were all headed right towards that side-path. We walked a little ways and…”WHOA!” We had reached the back end of the zoo. Hey, if you can’t get in, might as well take the backstage tour, right? We even heard people howling in an effort to get the wolves to reciprocate. It was hilarious! The boys thought they should be able to get in from here.

    “I’m guessing that’s for the Elk.”



    This is what our so called “path” looked like.


    Unfortunately, we got back to the main road and realized that everyone had burrs in their shoes (except for me, because I was the only one not wearing flip flops.). So, everyone had to sit down for a while and dig the sticky things out of the soles of their shoes.

    While everyone was preoccupied, Harrison decided to engross himself in his favorite activity—digging through purses.


    Finally, we made it back to the car. Definitely a fun way to spend a beautiful day!

    Some Slightly Schizophrenic Style...

    How many of you are into decorating? I never really thought I was, but I found this website the other day that I thought was pretty cool, and so I thought I’d share it with you all. Take this quick quiz at http://www.sproost.com/, and you can find out what your decorating style is. I took it three times, so that I could weigh the outcome and get the most accurate results. The three that came up the most often were: Hollywood Couture, Contemporary, and Modern Elegance.

    Here are some of my favorites from each style (and Sproost's description of what each one is).

    Contemporary…



    So fresh and clean! Antiques? No thanks! Vintage collections and clutter of any type? Not for you! You like your space new and sleek. Each piece is chosen carefully as though it were a piece of art, and your love of minimalism is expressed throughout each room. Furniture has clean lines and geometric shapes are preferred.


    You're not afraid of color — in fact, bold color options only highlight the minimal items you choose for your home. But the key is clean. To master the minimalist interior you not only have to be selective in the few furniture items you bring into the space, you must also find a way to hide all of the real-life items as well

    Hollywood Couture…


    "Welcome to Hollywood! What's your dream?" That's right, it's time to roll out the red carpet and get ready for the sparkle of crystal and all things flashy that make up Hollywood Couture.

    Glam style originated in high-end lifestyles that made up the years between the roaring 20's and the swinging 40's, where it was important to bring a feeling of glamour to the home when the world outside may have lacked it. Nowadays it's scratching a similar itch in the sense that it's bringing a sense of opulence to a world that seems to have forgotten how much fun it can be!



    The great thing about the updated version of the style is how versatile it is. You can take it in any direction and add almost any style into the mix — perhaps a contemporary leather sofa paired with lacquered Louis XIV chairs that have been upholstered in lush velvet. The key is that each item feels as rich and over-the-top as possible and yet everything still seems livable. It's not a space that screams: "do not touch" - rather it almost dares you to experience its luxury.

    Modern Elegance…


    Variety is the spice of life! And nowhere is this truer than in the design of your home. You may love contemporary, but wish it wasn't quite so cold and austere, or perhaps you're drawn to traditional rooms but you'd like to create a less cluttered and busy space. Transitional Style is here to marry those apparent contradicting designs.

    And guess what? It's the contradictions that make the mix of contemporary and traditional so successful. The result is an elegant room that appeals to young and old alike. A sofa with modern lines blends seamlessly with a pair of traditional chairs. New fabrics work so well on antique pieces. It turns out that modern art looks even more exciting above a collection of traditional pieces. The room feels simple and sophisticated, elegant and hip.


    I tend to love Asian things too. I’ve always had an obsession with Chinese lifestyle—kung fu, yoga, tai chi, oodles and oodles of tea, etc. I guess it shows through in my decorating taste too. I find it interesting how our personalities can be so accurately reflected in our preferred d├ęcor. Here are a couple others that I liked that are kind of along the Asian lines.



    Strange art pieces, and orchids are a couple of my weaknesses, so I'm sure they'd make their fair share of appearances in my place. Maybe a cool little bonsai tree here and there to spice things up a bit. Take a moment to head over to http://www.sproost.com/, take the quiz, post a comment and tell me your results!

    P.S. I might put up some pics of my current quarters (a.k.a. my dungeon, my cave, or on the rare occasion my bedroom), if you all wish me to do so.

    3.11.2009

    Meet Calvin

    Click here to find out how to join in on "Wednesday's walk down memory lane."
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    When I was a little girl, I loved to go outside and search for bugs. I'd pull up the bricks which we'd laid around our garden and look for rolly pollies and earth worms. I kept grasshoppers and caterpillars in little bug catchers. I even had a pet caterpillar for three days, whom I named Willy. After he died, I had a funeral for him; in lieu of a grave stone, I drew a picture of Willy eating a leaf and wrote a short poem, which, regretfully, I cannot remember.

    In the back corner of the exterior of our house, just near the corner of our wrap-around porch, there were always hundreds of bugs gathered together. I don't know why they all went there, but they stayed there practically all spring and summer! I loved to watch them move, and the sheer number of them made the tomboy inside of me buzz with excitement.

    Let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen...things have changed.


    Meet Calvin...


    I discovered Calvin in the kitchen late one evening, crawling into my cup of coffee. Unfortunately for him, I don't like bugs anymore. In case you can't make out what's in this picture...

    • Cayenne pepper

    • Dawn dish soap

    • Vinegar

    • Coffee

    • Calvin--after taking a lighter and a steak knife to him.

    Note: I'm not a proponent of the mindless torture of innocent bugs, but: 1) Calvin was not innocent, and 2) Calvin would not die!



    R.I.P. Calvin.

    3.09.2009

    A Few Changes

    A disease, commonly known as “writer’s block” has plagued my mind with threats of my defeat for several days now. With inspiration, my heart yells at me, but my mind won’t interpret what it is I’m hearing—I feel as if a heavy fog has set in, encasing my thoughts. My creativity is reciting its own eulogy as it is engulfed by the fog’s disorienting clouds. What can I do?

    Due to my recently stunted ability to produce a steady flow of quality blogs, I have decided to pursue my original purpose for Random Ramblings of a Teenage Artist. In addition to the type of posts which I have been writing, I will be writing a bit more about my everyday life—I don’t know a lot of you in person, and I would like to start showing you all a bit more about who I really am. What I have written thus far is doubtless a great part of who I am, and I completely intend to continue with that. However, in order to keep a more balanced and consistently updated blog going, I am going to be sharing some other types of things with you all; my artwork, pictures, random thoughts on life, etc. By doing this, I hope I will be able to present more of myself, and will thus create stronger friendships with all of you!

    I hope this change won’t deter you from returning, but rather encourage you to come back and learn more about me. Who knows, we may be undiscovered kindred spirits!

    3.02.2009

    Pendulum

    Click here to learn how to join in on "Monthly Monday Poetry".
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    Moment by moment pressure takes its toll
    This way, then that, the pendulum moves
    Ringing so softly the rhythm of voices
    Telling you which side you should choose


    "Holier than thou" one side states, reserved
    Steady the ticking of judgmental clocks
    "We’ve taken no vow!" the other shouts
    Pushing, pushing, the pendulum rocks


    Both are beckoning with promise in words
    Fingers slip from their hold as the others call
    A taste of one leaves craving for the missed
    Like sun and stream; just one and you’ll fall

    An ill fit for any, the hands of the left,
    Yet same the alien touch of the right
    Faster, faster the pendulum swings
    Inner struggle, the cause and effect of the fight

    Eyes closed, teeth gritted, a silent scream
    Love would be ashamed of this sight
    "Silence! Silence! This Life was for peace!
    Love, brethren, Love…Light, daughters, Light"

    Hands froze in air, hatred suspended in echo
    From Love’s eye fell a tear, crimson for sorrow
    Down, down it fell—dancing through atmosphere
    To the hum of man’s dirge, lamenting the morrow

    Further it sank into depths of the air
    Then it broke; a burst on the face
    Of Judgment, seized by unauthorized man
    Rolling down filthy skin in patterns of Love’s grace

    Then tears fell all around, like rubies from the sky
    Covering each man with the blood of His eyes
    "Remember, remember, my children, my cherished
    It was for your gift to love that I perished"
    Abigail Kraft 2009