Saturday, March 30, 2013


Finally, some sun and a bit of warm weather-just in time for Easter and April. Feels so good!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fauve Artists

For a couple of weeks, my art classes were "wild beasts."  Matisse was one of the leaders of what came to be known as the fauve ("wild beast" in French) movement, which made realistic art done in non-realistic colors. For our subject, we used this lesson on large faces and painted with tempera on pizza box cardboard.
We began with a directed drawing from the face lesson. The kids drew in pencil on their cardboard. We talked about Matisse and Fauvism and looked at examples. After drawing, the kids copied over their lines in black marker, then painted, using unusual colors. Many people said these paintings reminded them of tribal masks.
After the paintings dried, we outlined again with the marker for definition. We had lots of fun with great results. This orange and green one was daughter W's.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Palm Sunday

Church in the morning, cantata in the afternoon.
I had the children's sermon on the verses Matt. 21: 1-11. When I looked at this passage I saw that there were two important things in this story besides Jesus, and both of them were predicted in Old Testament verses that were quoted in this passage. Zech. 9:9 said "your king comes ...gentle and mounted on a donkey, and Psalm 118:25-27 talked about praising with hosannas and palm branches. Both the palm branches and the donkey were symbolic. I thought it would be fun for the kids to have a palm branch and a donkey to take home and pretend with. I made little palm leaves out of two layers of felt hot glued together around a length of floral wire so they could be bent. The donkey was a tiny old fashioned clothes pin painted with acrylic paints and finished with hot glued googly eyes and yarn mane. If the kids are very young you may want to leave out the wire and paint on the eyes for safety.

Palm branches had a symbolic meaning from ancient times of triumph and victory as in war, and the word "hosannah" meant "save us now." The people saw Jesus as an earthly king and one who would save them from the Romans. However, Jesus rode in on a donkey. The donkey was a symbol of peace. I asked the kids if they would rather have a horse or donkey (we live in a farming community, and they were definite about the superiority of horses!) Horses were symbols of war and power. By riding a donkey, Jesus was showing that he was not a powerful earthly king but a king who came to die for us.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Vectored Hearts

I'm a bit behind on posting recent art projects. This was a project I developed after seeing an art work on the web around Valentine's Day. If I can locate it again, I will credit it here.

You need:
Large square paper
Markers or colored pencils

I prepared  heart templates in a large and small size. I used newspaper for the large ones. I found that some kids did not know how to make a heart by folding a paper and cutting the half heart, so I demonstrated it in class.

After copying the two hearts on each page, students placed evenly space dots around the edge of each heart with pencils. The small heart can be centered or off-side for different results.
I showed the kids how to line up their ruler with two dots by placing their marker on one dot, sliding the ruler up to it, then moving the marker to the second dot and snugging the other end of the ruler up to the marker, without moving the ruler from the first point.

We used washable markers, which did smear a bit. Some kids liked the smearing and incorporated it into their design. Colored pencils might be a good option to eliminate this.

Some kids had trouble with the ruler lines and tended to match the dots "free style."
I did not find any "rule" for how many outside dots should connect to each inside dot. You just have to "eyeball" it. If anyone tries this and develops some tips, let me know.

The possibilities for color play, patterns and design are great with this project. It might also be fun to try this on colored paper with plain white or one colored lines.

The blue and brown one is by Daughter W.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Girl Art

 L. produced great results when Mrs. B-H's art class drew out of National Geographic.

W. drew these great animal portraits, with clever names. She is always good at names.

Friday, March 22, 2013

It's What's Inside...

I took some of the tiny painted (pseudo) Russian Nesting Dolls on our spring break to give to Karen and her good buddies when we went out for a girls' supper. Seeing that we are all over 50 now, (!) I thought a meditation on the shape of our lives at this stage was in order, so I wrote a little essay to read when I gave them out.
It's What's Inside That Counts

So your shape is a little more on the babuska side now.  You know that’s just so all your accumulated awesomeness still fits comfortably inside you.

Over the years your shape has changed, inside and out. Remember: It’s what’s inside that counts.

*All those meals you planned and made-They count.
 *All the time on the phone and miles in the car and hours on committees and managing other people’s social schedules-They count.
 *All the noses wiped, pants changed, socks picked up, groceries bought, beds made, dishes done, pets fed and trained and taken to the vet, all the floors and stools and houses cleaned-They count.
 * All the banquets attended, dresses shopped for, suits pressed and cleaned and all those spousal needs met-They count.
 * All the birthdays planned, relatives hosted, cards and gifts sent, healthcare obtained, relationships soothed-They count.
 *All the school forms filled out and signed, all the college paperwork attended to, all the bills paid, all the household money managed-They count.
 *All the wash done… and done… and done….It counts.

The young, skinny, beautiful you (the one with hip bones and energy) is still in there. She is the past you, the young you, the earnest and not-so-experienced you. She’s just been wrapped in all the sacrificial hours of loving service you have given to others over the years. Remember that she is older, yes, but also wiser. Remember that, like a Russian Nesting Doll…It’s what’s inside that counts.

Stillwater Spring Break

After visiting Marshall and Piper, the girls and I had a small "spring break" at my friend Karen's in Stillwater. We have known each other since 1979 and are always glad to see each other. Husband was in Washington, DC on soybean business.

Karen and her buddy Nancy and their gal pals let me tag along for Nancy's birthday supper at a jazz club in downtown Minneapolis. It was a great way to celebrate my birthday at the end of the same week. My girls enjoyed a tour of Karen and Doug's barn workshop and movies in their theater room.
We spent one day shopping and lunching in charming downtown Stillwater. We met Karen's mom for lunch, then we checked out a couple of knitting shops including Karen's "home" shop. What a cool place! M. plopped down and pulled out her knitting and made herself comfortable. Karen helped her start a new shawl with pretty green yarn that M. bought at the yarn store.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cousin Time

We went to Minneapolis and got to spend time with cousin Piper. First, some Wii boxing at our overnight with her. The next morning Uncle Marshall  treated us to manicures and pedicures before hitting Mall of America for rides.

 A little sibling bonding.
We did this climbing "thing" as well as rides. It is four "floors" of climbing while wearing a harness hooked to the rails so you cannot fall. It was all fun.
 A stop at Lego land and snacks before going home.

Later in the week we had a lovely supper with Aunt Chris while shuffling Piper and W. back and forth.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Curly Girl and Friends

Curly girl, just for fun

Silly girls with fake moustaches and Friend Ann.

Little Baker (M.) made an apple pie, just because she loves to cook. Yum!

Tiny birds in the front yard brighten our days with their antics. Thousands of photos shot of them.

Chili supper, talking and silly fun with H. friends.
Bugs Bunny bonding before bed. New golden dragon watched Looney Tunes dragon.