Sunday, March 29, 2009

Georgia O'Keefe-esque

Daughter W. brought home this gorgeous blue flower from co-op class. She tells me that her art teacher, Mrs. W., "does the kind if art that I like best!" This great, huge, close-up flower was the result of Mrs. W.'s lesson on artist Georgia O'Keefe.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Easter Grass Nests

Here is a little bit messy, quickie Easter project. I saw this paper Easter grass and thought maybe I could make cute nests out of it.
Here is the process.
1. Take a handful of paper grass and put it onto a smoothed out plastic sack. Drizzle slightly thinned Modge Podge over it, then gently "toss" it by hand to distribute the glue, much as you would toss a salad.
2. Take a bit of the gluey grass and tuck it into a plastic-sack-lined cupcake tin, making a nest shape. Fill the rest of the tin wells with remaining grass and let dry. Gently peel off the plastic.

Favorite Things-Ten Thousand Villages

While waiting for Daughter L. during dance this Friday (she was taking the Conchetti Level One ballet exam,) I walked downtown and stopped into the Ten Thousand Villages Store. This is a "fair trade" store that sells things made in underdeveloped countries. It is always fun to see the beautiful and creative things they carry. I especially like their jewelry. This week I was looking for examples of art to fit in with our ethnic art series in co-op.

Ten Thousand Villages is one of my favorite things. You can find them on-line at if you do not have one of their "real" stores near you. Cool stuff!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Quickie Sewing

Daughter M. (9) likes to sew, and is getting pretty good at it. She has hand sewn a double layered doll blanket, done some cross stitch and sewn some on the sewing machine. Last week she wanted a hand stiching project to do while listening to taped books. As it was my resting time too, I looked for something "quick" for her needs. My eye fell on sacks of clothes destined for "give away". I rummaged through and pulled out an old kids long underwear shirt. We cut it off under the arms, turned it inside out, and she hand stitched the cut edges together. Turned it right side out again and...Wha-lah! A small pillow case or doll sleeping bag! Fun! Lots of possibilities here...

That reminds me, Daughter A., who is in massage school this year, used to make Barbie clothes out of old socks. Works great. Cut the ribbed sock leg to length and cut a couple of arm holes. Dress Barbie.

Soap Carving-Good Clean Fun!

(click individual pictures to enlarge)

This week in co-op we were studying Inuit carvings, which were done on soapstone, bone or tusks. The Inuit (meaning "the People") used to be incorrectly called Eskimos, which means "raw flesh eaters." Traditionally, their carvings were stylized, highly smoothed animals, sometimes worn as amulets.

We have been practicing carving bars of soap at home all week in preparation for today's co-op classes. The girls and I ended up doing 11 different carvings. All art classes from 3rd to HS tried out carving today. It made a nice change from other mediums, and it was eagerly absorbed and enjoyed. We went through about 60 bars of Ivory soap in just a few hours!

Daughter W. made the painted bird. She wanted to paint her carving, although I think it will chip pretty easily. She also had to make a birdhouse for him. Daughter M. made the bird and penguin, Daughter L. made the Beluga whale, (my favorite,) the fish and the seal. I did the rounded owl, the penguin and the turtle. The highly individual, single owl on black was done in our 5th/6th grade class by Elliot J., who assures me that "there could never be too much [class] time for art."
Here is the process I used:
1. Tools and materials are simple. Ivory soap (or other), plastic knives, angled craft sticks (cut off end with wire snips), paper plate for shavings, and toothpicks. (See picture.)
2. Simple patterns can be drawn directly on the soap, or can be made on paper. I offered several simple patterns that I drew to speed the process and get directly into the carving. (See picture.)
3. Patterns can be cut out and traced with a toothpick onto soap, or a pattern centered on soap and a toothpick used to shallowly pierce through the paper to make a "dotted line" outline.
4. Use the plastic knife to cut away extra areas of soap, up to the lines, roughly shaping the carving. Do not hurry, do not saw off chunks, rather, shave the soap away in layers so you do not accidentally break off large chunks. You may want to lightly smooth out the word Ivory before you begin your carving.
5. Now look at the carving from all sides and decide what parts need to be narrowed or smoothed (usually the head, feet or tail need to be narrowed looking from the top or bottom.) Reference pictures can help a lot at this stage. To stay in the Inuit tradition, go with less detail and more of a suggestion of the shape of the animal.
6. Begin to smooth with a smaller tool (the popsicle stick or the side of a toothpick work well here), taking down ridges and bumps. Check for eveness (symmetry) from top to bottom and side to side. Correct any disparity by lightly carving and continue smoothing. Do not be in a hurry or try to take too much off at one time. Be careful with fins or flippers or narrow areas. These can break off easily. They can be repaired with water-softened shavings, but it might be better to adjust your carving and go a different direction.
7. Finish with any carved in details you want to add (flippers, eyes, whiskers, scales, designs.) Some instructions tell you to smooth the carving with a water dipped finger, or even run the carving quickly under water, but I found this to be too "soapy."
8. Don't be too discouraged if something breaks or turns out differently than you wanted it to. Artists very seldom get their art to turn out just as they pictured it. Try another one, and it will likely be easier and more fun this time! Remember to sign and date your carving. There was an Ivory soap bust on-line that was from the 1940's!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I Need My Mommy

I cracked and smushed a hard boiled egg for W. this morning. That reminded me of when I went away to college. One of the first mornings there, I went to breakfast in the cafeteria and got a hard boiled egg. I went to my table, sat down, and looked at it and realized that I had never chopped one in half with my knife before. "I need my Mom!" I said.

Other times a grown up woman needs her mom: when she has morning sickness, when she has a newborn, when her kids hit a milestone (graduation, confirmation, prizes conferred, etc.), and when she wants to go on vacation without the kids!

"I am a child again and a longing unutterable fills my heart for mother's counsel." -Laura Ingalls Wilder

Monday, March 23, 2009

More Snakes-Dot Painting

Daughters M and W have colds/fevers, so they had to stay home from church yesterday. Since they also missed co-op on Friday, they missed their art classes, so we did our art project at home. M. did the dark one. W. did the light one.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

White Macaroni, Green Bean, and Hamburger Skillet

Prepare a box of Kraft White Cheddar and Macaroni according to directions.
Brown 1 lb. hamburger, drain
Open a can of green beans, heat, drain.

When everything is ready and hot, stir it together. Done and delicious.

I "invented" this many years ago, and it still works great and tastes good for a quick meal.

Last Call for Christmas

Today I found a stray star from our Christmas decorations. I made these stars with my co-op classes, using old Christmas cards. We glued and glittered the ribs of the stars and punched a hole in one point for a loop.

While planning this craft last December, I ran across some old music at the Goodwill store, and decided to do our tree in whites, tans and golds, with lots of "antique " music stars. It tuned out to be a lot of fun and pretty.

Here is the process:

If your music is very old and brittle, you may have to strengthen the paper before folding, or it will break on the fold lines. I painted one side of the music sheet with Modge Podge, and let it dry, before cutting and folding.

I found a great tutorial for cutting five pointed stars at under Fold and Cut Star Shapes. There are other sites where you could find instructions, too. They were using their stars for a 4th of July project.

Vary the paper size for a variety of star sizes. Pretty, fun and economical!

Cool Coloring

We have not outgrown coloring books at our house. I find that there is much you can learn artistically by coloring. You can practice shading, using color throughout the picture, contrast, monochromatics, neatness, (small muscle motor development, stress reduction), etc.

My friend Ana, who also teaches art in our co-op (and has a Masters degree, I am proud to say) is a fan of coloring, too. Last year she taught several of the classes "advanced coloring" with Prismacolor colored pencils. These are blendable (by layering) colored pencils and so important to a quality finished product. You do need to look for them on sale (sometimes found on e-bay!) or get ready to take out a small loan to buy them! Some art/crafts stores do sell individual colors, so you can inexpensively replace much-used colors without buying a whole new batch. For older kids, they are worth the cost. Our oldest daughter colored right through high school and did some beautiful things.

My girls all love to color while we do our (semi)daily read-alouds of literature. Our favorite coloring books are Ruth Heller's Designs For Coloring. Right now we own Geometrics, Snowflakes and Cats. Heller also has picture books on grammar. The pictures at the top of this post have a photo of the Cats coloring book and three of the pictures that our Daughter L (13) colored.

Other coloring books that we love are the very reasonably priced Dover Coloring Books, Historical Archives series and Dover Stained Glass Coloring books. Markers used on the stained glass vellum paper makes them beautiful to hang in a window. Use care when coloring these-it takes the markers some time to dry and they smear easily. Artist Friend Ana says that you can layer markers while still wet on the stained glass book for shading. We have not had a chance to try this yet.

A new favorite coloring series is Perplexing Picture Mazes-Conceptis Puzzles by Sterling Publishers. These mazes create a picture when you have finished the maze. This type of maze was invented in Japan over 20 years ago. We only have one book of this series, and would like to find more. We found ours at Barnes, but have not ever found them again anywhere, so you may have to order online. Our 13-year-old loves these. She enjoys the maze, then enjoys coloring the picture the maze makes. All of these resources (except maybe the Stained Glass books and markers) are also great for car time.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Aboriginal Dot Paintings

Today we had another successful ethnic art exploration at co-op: Australian Aboriginal Dot Painting. The original idea for this project came from the excellent elementary art blog . The snakes on the dark paper are renderings of a project from this blog. The 3-4th graders worked on these today.

I am also using the book Art From Many Hands-Multicultural Art Projects by Jo Miles Schuman. This book is very detailed and true to the real processes and materials used in ethnic art. It is full of ideas and projects and historical/cultural information. I am using it as a reference and idea book, and am generally developing my own simplified processes to make these explorations more accessible and attainable for our classes.

Today the 5-6th graders did a different dot painting project that I worked up from looking at Aboriginal paintings on line. The picture with the filled-in blue snake is the example I made to show in class. The large E's are not letters, they are symbols for bird tracks! Here is the process:

1. Aboriginal art is traditionally done on black or brown/red backgrounds. I used white paper today since we were going to use non-traditional pigments that would show better on white. We used large animal shapes in the Aboriginal elongated style. After making a simple sketch of their chosen animal in the middle of their paper, students outlined them with markers.

2. If desired, students could add some traditonal shapes such as campfire, fire, boomerang and animal tracks.

3. Q-tips were used to fill in with pigment to mimic the traditional Aboriginal dot style. We used moistened watercolor pigment (Prang box) to dip the Q-tips in. Several dots can be made per dip. Tempera or acrylic paints would also work well. This would be a neat project to try on smooth wood with acrylics. Very little paint is needed for lots of dots. also has a great Aboriginal dot project using paint sticks to make musical clap instruments. This is a favorite site of mine for high quality crafts projects. (Owned by Disney, so you know the quality will be good.)

Pictures from L to R, top to bottom: Claire F., Maria B-H., Emily W., Catie A., myself and Claire B.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Shared Birthdays

Because my birthday is one day after my dad's, we have lots of pictures of us together. This one must have been sometime in the early 80's, when I was first married. ( I remember the dress and the Sara Palin hair.)

Here is the story of my birth: Mom wanted to have this their second baby on Dad's birthday, so she was sorely disappointed to wake up the day after and still be pregnant. Dad said she might as well get up. She said she wasn't getting up "until she had this baby!" When she did get up, her water broke. She had no pains, but the doctor made her come to the hospital anyway. When she got to the hospital, the nurse said she would have to do a check. Mom replied that since she had not had any pains, it would be useless to check her. The nurse insisted, then gasped, "Mrs. G! You're going to have this baby right now!" Which she did, sans any pains.

So the truth is that my mom never had a pain during her labor with me, and since she always insisted she never felt better than when she was pregnant, I have only ever been a blessing to her! Ask her, she'll tell you! (My husband thinks this story is enough to gag anyone.)

Cousins and Kites

The two O's are here for a couple of nights while their mom and dad are on a cruise. Then O and Ov go to Grandma and Grandpa M's tomorrrow night. Big cousins L and W went out to try out O's kite this afternoon. Ov had to go along "ow-side." Look at Cousin O's (4 1/2) and Daughter W's (6) blue, blue eyes!

Birthday Cross Necklaces

Daughter M. had a double birthday party yesterday. The two girl's moms had planned a mystery literary meal. Each course had two choices named enigmatically after famous book titles. (Velveteen Rabbit-carrots for appetizers, Heidi-milk for beverage, etc.) Each girl chose one "title" per course and received the food that went with their choice. The party was great fun.

M. made these necklaces for her two friends. Another little friend, A. sewed her own flannel pillowcases for each girl. (She is one of M's most cherished friends and a favorite around here.)We value and enjoy our home school co-op friends so much.

One Cup Casserole

Daughter M makes this simple skillet dish (she is 9). It has a strange combination of ingredients, but it is very good, and quick to make. It could be a meatless meal, if you substituted TVP or tofu for the hamburger, or maybe added another can of beans...Also edible for celiacs, if you check the baked bean cans beforehand.

M's One Cup Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
1 c. chopped onions
1 c. thinly sliced carrots
1 c. finely chopped/cubed potatoes
1 c. water
1 can (14oz.) baked beans
1/2 c. BBQ sauce (we like Jack Daniels or anything with honey)
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese (opt.)

Brown meat in skillet, drain. Add vegetables, cook, stirring occasionally, 5 min.

Stir in water. Reduce heat to med-low and cover. Simmer 10 min. or until vegetables are tender.

Add beans and BBQ sauce. Stir. Cook 5 min. or until heated through. Sprinkle with cheese if desired. (States that it makes 4 large servings. Serves 5 with leftovers at our house.)

This recipe comes from a free quarterly publication called Kraft Food and Family. I like their simple recipes that use ingredients I probably already have in the kitchen. or the online magazine is

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

48 years

Sunday was my 48th birthday. Here is how Husband and I looked after church. Note Daughter W. hiding behind us.


Last week we explored Batik in all four of the older homeschool co-op classes (Third grade through High School). I worked up a project that helped us to understand the process.

Batik is a wax and dye resist art form that is thought to have originated in China, and has been found in Egyptian tombs. The people of Java in Indonesia perfected the process, and it has been used throughout the world.

My students had a little trouble understanding the Batik process, so this was a good project to broaden our artistic horizions. In real Batik, the masking agent would be melted wax. For this we substituted rubber cement. Instead of fabric/material we used watercolor paper, and instead of a dye bath, we used watercolor washes (Lots of water and a little pigment washed over the paper with a larger brush. )

Here is the process:

1. Paint the rubber cement onto the paper in the design you wish. Large simple designs are best. (Say, a flower, sun or heart.) Anything that is under the rubber cement at this stage will be white in the finished project. Let dry. Most rubber cement has a brush that comes with the jar, inside the lid. You can use other brushes, but be ready to throw them when done. (Observe rubber cement warnings during use. See side of bottle.)

2. Brush a color wash over the entire paper. You will see the rubber cement resist the wash. (See third picture.) Let dry.

3. Brush on more rubber cement to add details to your picture. Anything you cover this time will be the color of your first wash in the finished project. You are covering new paper now, not going over old areas of rubber cement. You can add dots, stripes, leaves, anything to the background with this layer. Let dry.

4. Mix a new color or darken the color of your original wash and wash over the entire paper again. You may want to try using primary colors for the two color choices. This will give you a secondary color after the second wash. Or, darkening the first wash with more pigment for the second wash will give you a nice monochromatic look. Let dry well. (Feel the back of the paper to see if it is cool. Any coolness means it is still wet. A blow dryer or fanning the paper gently can speed up drying time.)

5. After paper is good and dry, gently rub the rubber cement off with your flat pointer finger. Lay your whole pointer finger flat on the paper to rub, not just the tip. Gentle rubbing will get the best results.
Since in this process you are keeping pigment off to make the design, instead of putting pigment down to make a design, it is "backwards" to us. It takes a little planning ahead to get the color results you want.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dad's Birthday

Today is my dad's birthday.

My dad grew up on a farm just a mile and a half from where he and Mom farmed when I was growing up. We saw Grandma and Grandpa G. nearly every day. Dad had an older brother, Donald, who was killed in a hunting accident when Dad was about 13, and has a sister Marilyn. The kids were all about 5 years apart in age.

Mom and Dad met on a blind date when my mom was on this end of the state attending nursing school and working is a small hospital in Dad's hometown. She says she thought he was "an idiot," and he says he was. Something sparked, though, and they were married in 1955.

Before marriage, Dad was in the service and fixed airplanes. He farmed for 40 years. He was also an insurance salesman for many of those years. After retiring, he drove tour buses for awhile. Dad can fix anything mechanical, but remembers that people are more important than machines. We kids learned that with his calm acceptance of any car accidents we were in. He was always an innovator, and we had things like snowmobiles and interesting farm equipment. Even today, he is driving a motorcycle in his 70's. He was the National Corn Picking champion two years in a row in the 1960's. He loves to travel, eat and talk to people.

As a father, he always loved my mother. He made sure we were in church every Sunday, and that our friends were always welcome in our home. He encouraged us to follow our interests and talents, and always supports us emotionally. He and Mom welcomed a wide variety of people into our home and practiced hospitality: they were foster parents for about 40 years, they had families in transition and unwed mothers live with us, they invited foreign visitors and strangers into their home. I don't know how many youth group meetings they made time for or prepared and provided food for over the life of 5 kids's raising. But I do know they enjoyed it and did it joyfully.

Dad took us with him while he worked. We went along to the neighbor's, the sale barn, the implement dealer and into the tractor cab. He had time to swing the car through the yard at night when we arrived home from things to look for bunnies. He taught us to mow, walk beans, fix things, do chores, and enjoy life and people.

He has been a great Grandpa, and is always ready to take a grandkid along to a show or lunch out. He lets them practice driving before they are of age. He takes them to theme parks and will stay as long as they want to. They have let three of our kids live with them for a summer or a year during their post high school years. When our big kids were young and Dad and Mom lived close, the kids thought it was a great treat to go to the dump with him. When he drove bus, he would sometimes take a grandkid along on day trips or tours. When he and Mom lived in a motor home and travled for a few years, they would often take one or two kids along for a week or so.

Happy Birthday, Dad. Ya' done good.

Seen in an Airport Giftshop

"I can imagine an alternate life with no children...but it has much less laughter and joy in it."

Seen at a Hallmark store: "What's so great about Peace and Quiet!?!"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ukranian Eggs

Here are a few examples of the Ukranian Eggs I have made. I was counting up, (I try to take pictures of all of the eggs I do) and figure I have made around 100 since I started in 2004. (Click on a picture for larger detail.) I like to make eggs as gifts for friends and family, especially around holidays.

The Easter series in the second picture were some I did in 2007. The larger blue flowered egg at the top of the first picture is a goose egg. Most of the rest are duck eggs. (We are fortunate that our cousins keep birds on their farm. ) The center blue one is one of the first eggs I ever made. I designed the pattern, too. I still like it a lot. As you can see, I do many non-traditional designs. The sunflower is adapted from a children's book, and the lowest black one's pattern comes from a dress I used to own.

The Ukrainian tradition states that as long as Pysanky are made, good will continue to overcome evil in this world.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Last Saturday, Daughter M. and I took an Ukranian Egg decorating class offered by our homeschool group. As I do Pysanky (Ukranian Eggs) myself, I went along to assist and picked up some great tips. I have been self-educated, and don't meet a lot of Pysanky artists, so have gleaned all my education on-line or from books.

This week we have kept out the egg supplies and are blowing eggs in preparation for some Easter projects at church and co-op, so it has been easy to try our hand at a few designs. The first two pictures are a couple of eggs I "whipped out." Eggs in the third picture are by Daughter M. The one in quarters is the one she made at the class. The other four she made here in the last couple of days. The fourth picture has one black Pysanky egg, done by Daughter L. The other 4 eggs are decoupaged by Daughter W. who is still a little young to participate with permanent dyes, melted wax and flame.

The best Pysanky resource in America is the Ukranian Gift shop in Mpls, Mn. Several years ago I received their beginners kit for my birthday (from Husband) and I have made many eggs since. Their catalog is amazing and lovely to look at. Well worth ordering.

Washing Whites

I am doing a load of whites. A few weeks ago I mentioned I was sorting clothes to wash (whites, darks, reds, towels, jeans-is how it goes here), and someone was shocked that I actually sorted clothes! Doesn't everyone sort?!?

Not sorting?!? I can't imagine it! That's not how my mom taught me to do it! I remember when my she introduced me to the intricacies of washing clothes. One day, she told me to "come down to the basement"-she was going to teach me to wash clothes. " I don't want to learn!" I replied. Didn't matter.

The basement under our old farmhouse had hand-hewn redrock stone walls with bare dirt showing between. We had a cellar door to the outside, next to the inside stairs. The basement was chilly and clammy, and the washing machine and dryer ran steadily down there. My mom showed me how to sort, wash, dry, hang and fold. Sometimes we "hung things out" to dry on the clothesline. Then they smelled great.

Mom was an expert. She had tons of energy and was a great housekeeper, cook and mother, and she washed thousands of loads of washes. Still today (2009-and in her 70's) she is "famous" with her kids and grandkids for washing everything in sight, and liking it!

When she was first married in 1955, she ironed too (even sheets!), but after 5 kids and about 30 foster kids, she did not iron as much, although she still enjoyed it. I once told her that her old clothes that had been washed many times were whiter than many people's newer clothes. This observation pleased her. To me it was normal. I began to notice this area of her expertise after I began having my own kids and was buying secondhand kids clothes. Some of the nearly new things were already so grey! I was not used to that. Growing up, our stuff was clean and bright, no matter what we got into, or how old it was.

Learning how to wash clothes well was a very useful lesson that prepared me for life in a home with a farmer husband and six kids. I am like my mom, in that I actually enjoy washing clothes. Sometimes we hang things on the line, here, too. (Ironing is another matter, altogether!)

Here are some of the "washing whites" things I learned from mom:

1. Always wash whites alone. Do not mix with colors or they will get greyer. Darks and reds can go together in cold, but NEVER mix whites!

2. Whites should be washed in the hottest water you can use safely, and should be rinsed twice. The second rinse removes even more soap residue, which dulls clothes.

3. As I said, too much soap dulls your clothes. Cut back to about half of what the manufacturer recommends on the detergent bottle. (I have a front load washer now, and it is THE greatest! You can do LARGE loads, with less detergent, less water. Things spin out and dry faster. Wear is reduced. Blankets and pillows and most stuffed animals can be washed at home, because there is no agitator pulling on them. Air dry afterwards. )

4. Fill your washer with the water, soap and whitening agent (non-chlorine brightener-I like Oxi-Clean) of choice, put in the clothes. Stand there and watch it agitate a couple of minutes, then turn it off and leave it for an hour or more. (I often leave my white loads to soak overnight.) Come back later, start washer and do the usual wash cycle. Things will be brighter.

Friday, March 6, 2009

My Father's Loving Eyes

Here is a story about my maternal grandmother's one room schoolhouse. I wrote this for our church's 2006 Advent booklet.

My Father's Loving Eyes

My Grandma M. taught in a one-room schoolhouse on the western prairies of our state. One Christmas holiday when I was about three, our family was at her schoolhouse on the last day before Christmas vacation. The school was having their Christmas party and everyone was excited. Suddenly, the door opened and in walked Santa Claus with a sack over his shoulder! It was a little scary, but exciting!

As my three-year-old eyes followed Santa around the room, I backed in closer to my Mom. "Mommy," I asked, "Why does Santa have my daddy's eyes?" Even in my fear and ignorance, I recognized my loving father's eyes.

Today there is sometimes debate in our churches about the appropriateness of calling God "Father." Some people point out that not all fathers are good fathers, so it is hard for their children to hear God called "Father." That may be true, but I wonder if it could also be true that God called himself Father for just these people. People betrayed by their earthly fathers need a loyal, fair and loving Heavenly Father that can show them what a true father is like. God, the Father , "will never leave them or forsake them," or us.

Our Heavenly Father "gives us good gifts" (Luke 3:11). He sent us His Son so that we could be with Him forever. And when things look a little scary, we can recognize our Father's eyes in the loyalty and care He gives us.


My favorite things include WORDS. (See side bar-Words I had to look up.) I can remember the exact moment when I decoded word sounds and began to read. I was leaning on my (maternal) Grandma M's knee and she showed me how to make the sounds come together into words! I was probably about 5 and I was reading! I have not stopped since. My grandma was a teacher for a few years in a one room schoolhouse on the Midwest Plains. I still have the book I read to her that first magical day.

Additional note: When I read a word I do not know, I have to look it up. I have an old pocket dictionary on my bed that I use. I mark each word and the page it is on. Daughter L. (also a voracious reader) is starting to do this too. FUN!

Woodland in a Basket

This is a woodland vignette that I made last night for a sympathy arrangement. (I was a florist for a couple of years when we were first married. I took a year of Art, and a semester of Horticulture in college, before going to floral school in KS. Then I got my MRS degree.) The tulips are fake, but the rest are real. Daughter L found me the moss, bark and sticks. The two eggs are pullet eggs we dyed with my Ukranian Egg (Pysanka) decorating supplies. It was so fun and satisfying to put together.

"Turquoise" Clay Jewelry

We recently started an unit on ethnic art in my 2 co-op art classes. (3-4th and 5-6th.) Our first project covered Native American art, emphasizing turquoise jewelry. The kids got a taste of jewelry making, clay work (Sculpey-type) and Native American symbolism in this project. They all showed great creativity with no two bead designs alike. This project seemed to be a favorite with the kids, and they worked enthusiastically to complete it. Here are some great examples of their completed jewelry.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Donna's Lemon Cake

Our church is in charge of our community Lenten services tonight. There is a supper at 5:30, service at 6:30. I volunteered to bring bars, and decided to bring this cake. Our former pastor's wife is a great cook, and she gave me this recipe. I make it in a jelly roll pan and cook it at 350 degrees for 12-15 min. to make it into bars. YUM!

Donna's Lemon Cake With Glaze

1 small package lemon jello dissolved in 1 c. boiling water. Stir well and let cool a bit.

Stir all together:
1 yellow cake mix (white works too)
1/4 c. flour
3/4 c. cooking oil
4 eggs
Add the cooled jello

Beat for 3 min. at medium speed. Pour batter into a greased and floured 9 x 13 cake pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 min. With a fork, poke many holes in top of HOT cake, which is left in pan. Pour on lemon glaze. Spread gently.

Lemon glaze:
3 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1/3 c. lemon juice

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Last Kid, First Tooth

Daughter W. has finally lost her first tooth! She is 6+ and has been waiting. She was not very excited about trying to get them out after we discovered they were loose, but finally the first one came out and all was well. We arrived home from our TX trip to find she had lost one on the bottom, too, and she didn't even know it!