Friday, April 27, 2012


Proof that doing little good deeds for others pays off. Aren't these gorgeous pies??

Monday, April 23, 2012

Where is My Pencil?

Brave art teacher cohort Mrs. F. has been working on this papier mache project with her class for several weeks now. Aren't they great? I wish I still had a kid in her class.  The  directions are from our favorite art blog.

Nature Pointillism Mother's Day Necklaces

Friend Ana asked me for ideas of Mother's Day crafts for her Jr. High and Sr. High co-op art classes. I had found a site I liked called Every Heart Crafts with clay pendants using a pointillism and nature theme. I thought they would be fun to try. Last week Ana and I traded classes. It was fun to do the older kids, many of whom I had taught when they were younger.

To make the necklaces, we used:

white Sculpey clay (or any polymer clay)
waxed paper squares (about 6 x 6)
paper plates
acrylic craft paint
round clay cutters
crochet doilies (easily found at thrift stores or dollar stores)
leaves (optional)

Here is what we did:
*Everyone got about 2 oz clay, 2 small squares waxed paper, a paper plate and a medium-sized hard cover book. 
*Each student conditioned their clay (fold, roll and squish until supple) while I showed examples and talked about the process we would use.
*Roll clay into a ball and placed on a piece of the waxed paper. Squish with heel of hand to partially flatten. Cover with other piece of waxed paper and top with flat of book and press to flatten evenly to about a 1/4 inch thickness.
*Decorate clay with pointillism using the end of a ball point pen or a not-too-sharp pencil point. We found that toothpicks made holes that were too small to accept the paint properly. I also offered crocheted doilies that could be placed on the clay disc, re-covered with the top waxed paper and pressed with the book into the disc. These made really neat patterns.
*Be sure each piece has a hole for hanging. A ball point pen with the ink cartridge and tail end piece removed makes a nice tool to punch small and medium holes with.
*Bake clay according to package directions.
*When cool, acrylic paint is brushed on over the front of the disc, taking care to fill all holes and depressions of the pattern. Immediately wipe across the top of the disc with a moist rag or paper towel to remove the paint from the flat surface, leaving paint in the depressions.
*Let dry and tie on string.

This was a fun and creative project with great results. Some of my students tried even more variations. (below) A few students made smaller discs with scrap clay to use as charms or earrings.
Clay tips:
*It is best to wash hands before and after using clay.
*Working on waxed paper or a paper plate will keep your clay and work surface clean.
*Waxed paper is flexible, so it is easier to pick it up and peel the clay off without distorting your finished piece.
*Follow all package directions when working with polymer clay.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Signs of Spring

Our asparagus bed was producing gorgeous spears until the frost last week. We covered them some, but they have been damaged and have not begun producing as beautifully as they were at first.

Most mornings we see this little mourning dove in the front yard by our bird feeder. She is so sweet and lovely. We love to see her each day.

Husband got into the field to plant corn one day last week before it rained. He had to reset his whole computer system because of an update to the tractor, so he did not get a lot of ground covered.

Oh, and the ticks are out. Yuk.

Sanborn Stew

Well, really, it is just Cabbage and Hamburger. We called it Sanborn Stew because  years ago my big kids came home from our friend's house begging me to get the recipe for the great meal Mrs. Sanborn had made. So I called her up and she said, "Cabbage and Hamburger. Brown the hamburger. Chop the cabbage. Throw it in the hamburger with a little water and cover and simmer for about 10 min. Salt and pepper to taste." Our kids all love it and beg for me to make it. I am absolutely serious, as strange as it may sound. This is a favorite, quick meal around here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Last Weekend

W. got a cute "puppet" from Friend Sissy, and we made a couple for the O's. It is made with assorted ribbons tied to a covered hair band, with googly eyes hot glued on. Slip onto your hand (with or without a sock on hand) and you have an instant puppet! Clever!
 We took along the hair band puppets as part of a birthday gift for Cousin O. He just turned 8.
And Husband got the new I-phone he has talked about for a while now. With his field work and board duties, he finds it hard to keep up with e-mail and text communication. It's making things easier already. If he ever needs it, the girls would be more than willing to "help" him.

Loving Words Mother's Day Necklace

Our co-op class year is coming to a close in early May, so I wanted to do a project for the kids to give their moms for Mothers Day. I settled on making Loving Words necklaces. We used:

jelly bean shaped glass marbles (dollar or craft store)
E 600 glue
Aileen's clear tacky glue
Modge Podge
permanent markers
bead charms
bracelet findings blanks (separated)
needle nose pliers
thin ribbon or necklace string

When I was "working up" this project, I used words clipped from a magazine to glue to the backs of the glass marbles. In class, the kids and I talked about their mothers and listed some words to describe them. (above) Next the kids outlined each of their three marbles onto a small piece of paper, and wrote their own words, and colored around them. We used permanent markers for great colors and permanency. I used these because I knew that the color would not bleed, but you could test other markers before use. We found that a thin sharpie marker was good for writing or outlining the words, and that it was best if the color directly around the word was light for better readability. I think the nicest word someone used was "swaesome"-he said it was sweet and awesome combined for his mother!

After the kids were happy with their designs, they cut each word out slightly inside the line drawn. (Each glass marble has its own particular shape so it is best not to mix them up. The clear glue was dabbed on each word and the glass bead pressed on to seal. Other glues that dry clear could be used, including Modge Podge. I made up some bead charms and let each child choose one to go on the bottom of their necklace. This was all they did the first week. I had them each label a small disposable cup with their name to put their finished bead words and charm into to dry. By stacking the cups, they were easy to store and transport.

During the next week, I prepped the necklaces by taking apart the bracelet blanks into sets of three and adding a ring to the top and bottom to attach the string and charm to. The back of each bead was Mod Podged for durability and sealing, then I glued each student's beads on with E-6000 glue and let them set up.  This week the kids added the string and wrapped them up for their moms. I also wrote a little poem to put with the necklaces:

For Mother:

My mother cares,
And I do too,
And so I chose three words for you.

These words describe you,
Each one is true,
They show the love from me to you.

I did not choose you
For my mother
But I wouldn't trade you for any other.

For those who were done with their beads early, I had paper, markers and copies of  "How to Draw" lessons printed off from They could choose which one to try on their own as I worked with the other students. We had some great results with these. (below.)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

What They've Been Drawing

We tend to do a lot of drawing, what with co-op art classes and our natural bent for art here at the Art House. M. and L. made these neat Celtic-style crosses at co-op with Mrs. B-H around St. Patrick's Day.

W. made this solar system in her "homeroom" class at co-op with Miss Amy and Mrs. C. The second page is also by her. She draws all kinds of made up creatures, then names them creative names. I thought the bottom one was especially cute, although she wrote near him, "Meaner than he looks!"
And Miss M. learned to draw banners with Mrs. N. who is teaching the Jr/Sr. co-op art classes from Bruce McIntyre's Drawing Textbooks. We all think these are pretty amazing examples of banners. She can really "whip them out."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter Pom Pom Tins

One more Easter project. I found the idea for this on-line here. I used the round breath mint tins instead of the Altoid tins. I found some of these pom poms at the dollar store.

I used hot glue to attach the pom poms and ribbons, and also glued a little ribbon handle on the flip-up top of each container so it was easier to open them. These were quick. I made 4 of them in less than an hour. Filled with some tiny candies they're a cute and fun craft.

Monday, April 9, 2012

And More Eggs

Inspired by the clay eggs the girls did in coop, I decided to try a tile covered egg myself. I made a flower cane and sliced it. I broke my egg as I was pressing the tiles onto it. Then I had to do a salvage job. I trimmed the broken edge with my kitchen shears into a stylized jagged edge, and baked it. Then I decoupaged the inside of the shell and put clear glitter on it, then made a tiny clay chick on a nest to glue to the bottom. Saved. I gave it to a girlfriend for her birthday.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Francois and Ella

Meet Francois Elephant and Ella Zebra.

When I was crocheting phone covers, W. put one on her fingers and said they could be puppets. She LOVES puppets, and is very good at making them come alive. So, I decided to surprise her by trying to make her a crocheted hand puppet. I started on a zebra, and when it was done W. named her Ella. (She is also great at naming things.) Then she suggested she needed an elephant. I looked in my thrifted yarn stash and found a nice, fine, blue grey and started with a trunk then worked up from there. A few picture references later, we had Francois Elephant. (Frahn swah, ella fhant-said with a French accent.) I am finding crochet to be more creative than I thought it could be. Next, she wants a giraffe. We'll see how he/she looks.

Not only does she love them, they love her.