Saturday, June 29, 2013

"Palm" (Comfort, Clinging) Clay Crosses

We had Bible School earlier this month. I was looking up palm crosses on the internet, meaning to find instructions for the little palm frond crosses that are folded at Easter time. While looking, I came across these carved crosses (also called comfort crosses, clinging crosses) that I had seen before. I wondered if we could make them out of clay, and so developed this method. They are sturdy and simple, meaningful and inexpensive and the kids enjoyed making them.
In the interest of cost, we made white crosses with color mixed in, or added designs to the surface of the prepared cross. You can buy bulk boxes of the oven bake clay at WalMart or craft stores. I used about 2 oz. of clay per child, (the size of a small block of Sculpey clay) pre-cutting the box of clay before class for easy distribution. Instruct students to condition the clay by bending, rolling and kneading it until it is soft and pliable. If they want to add colored clay, they can work bits in when conditioning, or add designs to the cross when it is formed and before baking. Each student had a large paper plate to work on. Hands should be washed first to keep clay clean, and should also be washed again when done with clay work. Red clay will stain hands and transfer, so be aware when using it.
Roll clay into a fat "snake" on the plate. This picture shows my first cross, and it was a little small. The clay roll should be almost as wide as the smooth part of the plate base.
 Cut off about a third of the roll.
 Cut that third in half.

Attach the two halves to the longer piece to form the arms of the cross. Be sure they are molded on and tightly attached. If you want to add a design to the surface of the cross, now is the time. I made one with a red heart in the center and small red dots at each end of the cross pieces, but did not get a picture of it.
 Hold the formed cross in your dominant hand as shown above.
Gently squeeze cross until it fits comfortably in your hand. You want it to form to your hand, but not become too misshapen or thinned out from squeezing too hard.
Before releasing the cross, gently form the ends of the cross by pushing them in toward your clenched palm. This improves the appearance of your finished cross, and forms it more comfortably to your hand.
Gently open your hand and lay the formed cross onto the paper plate or glass baking pan to bake. Bake according to your clay package directions. Follow all package instructions and cautions when working with and baking clay.
The kids enjoyed this and many of them made a second cross to give as a gift. These are meant to be used as prayer aids and comfort items for the elderly, ill or those in the service. My sister-in-law had the idea to make one with her own hand to send to her lives-too-far-away daughter to hold during labor.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Salad Dressing Furniture Restorer

This is part of a set of side tables and dresser and mirrors I recently bought on a rummage. It was a neat old design, but the finish looked a little tattered. I had seen on the internet an idea for restoring the finish with simple household items, so I looked it up again and gave it a try. It is clear on the two pictures which side has been oil rubbed, and which has not. On the second picture, the front fourth of the top is undone, and shows the big difference this treatment made. The recipe is a little like making salad dressing: Mix 1 part olive oil and 1 part vinegar. Whip or shake together, wipe in with a rag and then buff with a rag. I did it two weeks ago and the dressers still look great.

Wedding Fun

Our G. friends had a wedding this month-their son Isaac was married to Alexis.

This is just a sampling of the pictures I took. I usually go early and take candids when we have a niece or nephew get married, then do a basic edit and get CD's made so they can look at them the next day if they want. I think it's fun to see it all again right away without waiting weeks for the "real" pictures to get done. Friend Nancy asked me to do this for their wedding, too. I enjoy the whole process.
 Friends Mary, Nancy, Catherine and Janel
The kids made an excellent showing on the dance floor. Our HS kids do ballroom dancing throughout the year, so they are all great at it and love any chance to dance together.
 M. and Friend Thomas
 Some of the moms and Annie look on.
Hannah and L.
Mark, Son J, and Husband

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bag Storage and Recycling Hit

I needed a different method of plastic bag storage for my new kitchen. Wish I could claim this idea as mine, but I saw it somewhere on the internet. I usually take my extra bags in to the libraries or thrift stores for donation. This method is easy, free and handy. I took my first stuffed milk jug to the library and they immediately set it on their counter and began using bags from it. I counted and it will hold about 40 bags in one. (So that's like, 2 trips or so to the store!)

More Drama Camp

 Somehow I missed putting up pictures of Daughter W's Drama Camp play. She was also an old lady.

 Mrs. K and Mrs. W were her directors.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

"Finished" Kitchen Remodel

For all of you who have been asking (hounding), here are pictures of
the finished kitchen. It's basically done-still need bar stools, island light and tile backsplash.
 East view before...and after (below)

 West view before...and two afters. (below)

Thursday, June 20, 2013


 We have three shades of pink. So, so pretty.

More Random Latelies


Two great-nieces had a fun birthday party-Natalia and Noel.
 Some of Daughter L.'s great friends. back: Carina, Cassie, Hannah Front: L. and Isabel.

Drama camp week in its 14th year. Always fun and impressive.
M. was a posing fashion designer. and L was an old lady (again!)