Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hand Art Variations

We had a little time to fill in W.'s class when we did our two hands art projects, so I gave the kids plain sheets of paper and told them to make another hand project, using crayons and watercolor paint if they wanted to. The top picture is what W. did. She copied around her hand multiple times, overlapping the fingers some. Then she colored them in, each with different colors, overlapping the colors where the fingers overlapped. Then she colored in the background. (Not shown.) I think it was very effective. You could also do the hands colored in and then do a watercolor wash over it all for another great variation.

The bottom picture was a cute idea a couple of other girls tried. This would be fun for a birthday party. Each girl traced around her hand with a crayon, then signed the inside of her outline. This would be a fun way to collect your friends's handprints and signatures. Or it would be fun to do with a whole family and frame it when finished. Again, a watercolor wash over it all at the end would make a cool finish.

Fall Pumpkins

As soon as the pumpkins show up at the stores, I get the itch to decorate them. Here's the first one. A. has it outside her apartment door. I love to do these.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen

Morning gifts from the family. Darling homemade clay puppy from W. Mug from M, owl photography and black heels.

Evening bonfire with friends.

Dessert after supper with birthday buddy Caanan who was 15 the same day.

Gifts included funky owl glasses, owl crocheted bag, owl earrings, chocolates and a plaid vest from girlfriends. Sister-in-law Mac made the owl bag. Brother D. taking the credit.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Color Art Blown Away

These color drip art pieces have been showing up on the internet. I thought our kids at co-op would enjoy making them if I could figure out how to do it well in a group environment. First my girls and I tried a couple at home to figure out the best way to go about it. M. made the orange-y one and I made the blue one above.

I ran a strip of masking tape sticky-side-up across the top of the 10 x 14" canvas boards (under $1 each at and attached them at the back by folding a small edge of the tape upon itself. With the masking tape the kids could arrange (and rearrange if necessary,) their individual colors. The tape also made it possible for us to easily break this project up into two weeks if necessary without a lot of crayons "floating around" and getting mixed up.

Before I turned the kids loose to choose their colors, we looked at the examples and talked about ideas for choosing and arranging colors (warm/cool colors, rainbow, patterns, Fall or Spring colors, etc.) We also went over the procedure for glueing (adult only) and blow dry melting (kids with supervision.) I had another drawing project set up and introduced that for students to work on when they had waiting time for the hot glue and blow dry stations.
When it was time to hot glue the colors onto the board, I ripped the ends off of the masking tape that was attaching the crayons to the board and slid the line of crayons down. Hot glue was applied above them and then the strip of crayons was aligned on top of the glue and pressed down. I checked crayons individually and re-glued any that were loose.
After the colors were hot glued on, it was time to melt them with blow dryers. We used two blow dryers for 14 5/6th grade students, and found that we could have used at least one or two more. An extension cord can be handy, too, depending on your classroom set-up. I was surprised that the melting took so much time. This is a case when a bigger (heat and power) blow dryer is definitely better.

To melt this project neatly in the classroom, I brought a plastic disposable tablecloth and used painter's tape to tape it to the wall with about 1/2 of it draping on the floor. The boards were then placed on newspaper to absorb the melted crayon. This kept the melted crayons from getting spatters all over the wall and floor. I did find that we tended to melt through the plastic tablecloth right above the boards, so that was something to keep an eye on when heating the colors.

All in all, this was a great project that everyone enjoyed. It was a fun one to send home with the kids.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My college friend and bridesmaid Karen is a Knitter, with a capital K. When she and her family visited last week, she brought me this cozy blanket that she had knit for me. The pattern was one I found on a blog. She "happened" to get the link to it through the magic of e-mail. What a sweet friend to take the hint and spend all that time and effort on me. I will cherish it and "feel the love" everytime I snuggle under my new blanket.

What Women Want

I was at my hair place and my hairdresser was rinsing out my hair after a touch up. I reclined over the hair sink, enjoying the head massage and I blurted out, "Sometimes my husband washes my hair." Immediately, and in unison, my hairdresser, AND several other women within earshot responded (emphatically), "KEEP HIM."

After a few moments more, the hairdresser said, "I suppose he rubs your feet too?"
"Sometimes," I replied.
Huge, audible sigh from all the women.

It must be universal.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fluffy Pink Frosting

I made some mini-cupcakes for Mother-I-L's birthday and used this fun and pretty pink frosting recipe. Yum!

Microwave Fluffy Pink Frosting

1/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1 Tbsp. water
1 egg white
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 drops red food color, or 2-3 tbsp. strawberry sugar juice

Mix sugar, corn syrup and water in 2 qt. measure. Microwave uncovered on high until mixture boils, about 1 minute.

Beat egg white in a 1 1/2 qt. bowl until soft peaks form. Pour hot syrup very slowly in thin stream into egg white, beating constantly on medium speed. Add vanilla and food color, beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Double recipe for a 9 x 13 cake pan.

Note: You can beat in the juice from sugared strawberries or thawed frozen strawberries instead of the red food coloring.

Woodland Basket

We attended the funeral of a very dear grandma of homeschool friends this week. She truly exemplified "a life well lived." Although Helen was in a motorized scooter and had very limited mobility from post-polio syndrome, she was a light to every room she entered. I made a woodland basket for our sympathy offering.

It is possible to make a short message on ribbon with glue and glitter. I was always elected to do this when I worked in a flower shop. We find the moss and nuts, sticks and stones in our grove. There is usually a great selection of really nice baskets at thrift stores for a buck or two. I try to keep a couple on hand in our basement to use when I need to without running to town. I stuff the base of the basket with plastic grocery bags and add a flowering plant. Usually violets are avaliable and reasonably priced. Silk flowers can be used too.

I made a little card for the basket from the discarded sack my sympathy card came in. I used a black permanent marker to quickly draw a few violets around the edges and colored them in with Prismacolor colored pencils. I tore the edges and ran a wet watercolor brush along it, then painted the edge with a bit of purple watercolor paint so it bled. I tore the edges of a piece of purple paper to about the same size for a backing, and glued the two papers together with a glue stick. A message and a hole punched in the corner, and the card is ready to be tied on with a bit of purple ribbon.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Whoop Whooping!

Cassie, L., Rachel, Mary, Hannah, Isabel, Carina

Last Week

Tues: We bring Friend Ann home from TC classes, and Friend Rachel (driving sister) picks her up before supper. This week each set of buddies serendipitously dressed to match.
Wednesdays are dance day, and M, L and Friend Katie dance and ride together. When they get home they all have toe tape to remove.
The beans are turning, and this field had two varieties that matured at different rates, making a patchwork effect. Then we had frost, and all of them look burnt and kind of pitiful.
Fri. we had co-op classes and an evening concert with our G. friends.
My cousin Kris arrived from MT on Fri. to visit Aunt Marilyn who has her 75th birthday today!
On Sat., college friends Karen and Doug stopped with their family on the way to Yellowstone. We had a great evening eating, talking and sleeping. Sun. we went to church and brunch before they headed out in their rented motor home.

Cooking Last Week

I tried my Friend Ana's way of cooking bacon last week. Wonderful. She bakes it. Lay strips of bacon on foil-lined pan with sides and bake about 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Wow! Easy!

We finished up our Dilly Beans. We got 25 pints done. Yum! This recipe is from Friend Linda, and the recipe is here.

Our weekend guests got to try this Almond Peach Crisp with ice cream. I had not made this favorite recipe for years. Here it is.

Almond Peach Crisp

1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tap. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
8 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 c. sliced almonds

Butter a 9 " square baking pan. Combine flour, sugar, nutmeg and salt. Cut in 8 Tbsp. butter until the mixture is crumbly. Mix in almonds. Refrigerate mixture.

peach filling:
3 lbs. peaches (about 5 whole peaches)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. almond extract

Slice peaches (peel if desired). Toss with lemon juice, sugar, nutmeg, cornstarch, and almond extract. Put peach mixture into prepared pan and sprinkle crumb topping on top. Bake until top is golden and juices are bubbling, about 45 minutes.

I double the recipe and put into a 9 x 13 pan or jelly roll pan. Bake in jelly roll pan for a bit less time.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Co-op Art Begins

I am teaching two classes of homeschool art again this year. (Fourth and fifth/sixth.) The first week of co-op we started two projects involving "hands." This week we finished them up. Both projects were found at . Check and for details of these projects.

The first project combined collage with watercolor painting. We copied our hands on paper, cut roughly around them, then quickly glued color blocks cut from magazine pages onto the back of the hand outline. Then we flipped the collage and cut out the hand. They looked neat this way, but the watercolor part of this project made them look ever better.

Each child got a watercolor paper. We talked about different papers, weights of paper and "tooth" (roughness) of papers. Each child chose a warm (orange, red, yellow) color crayon and peeled the paper off of it. We used the bumpy side of the paper and they laid the bare crayon flat on it and colored across the whole paper. Then we glued the hand in the center of the paper. After a quick demonstration on watercolor technique (wash, pigment, fade) the kids painted a darker band of a cool color (blue, green purple) around the hand and added more water to fade the color out toward the edges of the page.

Some kids got the whole page background pretty dark, so we did a reverse technique by soaking up the paint close to the hand with a sponge.

The other hand project involved watercoloring and a bit of simple printing. We folded 12 x 18 sheets of paper into fourths and then unfolded them. Each quarter was painted a different color. After they dried, we set up a print station and made hand prints using two colors of washable paint.

This project gave us a chance to talk about famous artist Andy Wharhol, whose work was in our city these last few months. We talked about commercial and pop art and printmaking.
Soup art by Andy Warhol.