Posts tagged ‘creating’

August 27, 2015

Arden’s Mom

Owl bag puppet copyYesterday began the 1st day of the new school year.

I was nervous.

And excited.

And it wasn’t even me starting school.

Last year, shortly after Arden started first grade. Picking her up after school one day, she told me that her Art teacher was going to a different school and that she was sad. Upon clarification from her teacher, the students weren’t required to have art all the semesters. The Art teacher would be back at their school mid-January. So in the meantime, the kids would have nothing. Arden looked at me so sad.  Honestly, the thought of school without it devastated me. I realize that sounds dramatic, but as a kid, that was my life. I LIVED for Art class. Each of my teachers were amazing and I loved them. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without their guidance and encouragement. At that moment, I knew I was going to have to do something.

I approached Arden’s teacher with the idea, which she was all for. Lo and behold, I would also be able to bring Cam. I’d like to mention that her teacher had the patience of a saint. With 3 kids of her own and being in her thirteenth year of teaching, she was so laidback, but firm, we couldn’t have gotten any luckier. I walked into the classroom the first day and Arden’s eyes just shown. She could barely contain her excitement. I, on the other hand, was hugely apprehensive. I’m used to just making things with one kid, not 20. I nervously waited for the students to finish their assignment before I launched into what we were going to do. The room was just buzzing!  So many wound up little people, wondering what was happening next. At some point, introductions were made, but the kids paid no mind and simply referred to me as “Arden’s Mom.” A title I’d never thought I’d be so proud of, but has come to completely thrill me to the being of my soul. Mama with feather art head dress copyNative american head dress with feathers and paint tree art copy art turkeys copy

And so, for the next 3 months I came in once a week to do projects with the kids in Arden’s class. I had tons of scrap cardstock that I was finally going to put to good use. Most of the other materials I had on hand and the kids already had glue, scissors and markers. While Arden was a whiz at cutting since she was 3, a lot of them still needed practice. I’d make up templates and have some things made ahead of time, while still leaving them to work on the skills they needed.

Some kids were more than happy to follow my basic instruction, but most often than not, their minds and creativity took over. Everytime, they’d swarm around me like baby ducks, asking for assistance or proudly showing off their work. One boy’s paper bag owl puppet, became a Minecraft-type owl complete with a sword for an arm. One kid, instead of making the porcupine out of toothpicks, asked to make Sonic the Hedgehog out of toothpicks. One girl, no matter what the project, always managed to turn it into something with a dragon. I wasn’t an Art teacher and we weren’t technically in Art class, so why not? We had that freedom.

Then there was Cam. In his carseat, he’d either nap or rock himself. He never cried. Maybe because, at all times, at least 1/3 of the class would be out of their seats to play with the baby. Doing silly stuff to get him to smile or try to feed him a bottle. As time went on and he grew, they delighted in seeing the new things he was able to do. The teacher would remind them to get back in their seats and finish. They would, only to be replaced by new kids eager to make the baby laugh.

My time there went swiftly. Once the actual Art teacher was back, I cried. When I would drop off Arden to her classroom in the morning, I’d still have kids asking when I would be back to teach them Art. I was able to come in a few more times after that, for holiday parties or for science experiments, just so we could have an excuse to make things together and play with a baby.

I think of all this as I drop off Arden yesterday and feel a bit sad. I hope I will have some opportunity to come in and work with this new class. To get to know the kids and see some of the returning ones from last year. Just then, I see Arden’s teacher from last year and ask for a hug, which of course, makes everything better. porcupine from art class mrs uncaphers copy

January 8, 2014

Hallie-the-Duplex : Week 13

Well folks, this is no baby-is-on-the-way post, but I’m a bit behind on Hallie updates and have to play a little catch-up. This particular bit of work took place about the 3rd week of December. Previously, the old tub had been moved out and top layer of flooring got ripped up.

After that, Joel took up a bunch of the hardwood so that all new water pipes and electrical could be installed.

torn up bathroom pipes in floor copy

Here, all the pipes go up the wall for the shower. It’s crazy all the ground work that has to be laid before just putting in a new tub.

wall torn up, pipes put in copy

Once that was all taken care of, the boards went back over and the new tub was put in and we built a wall.

upstairs tub in and wall built copy

I am normally not of fan of making a small space even tinier or blocking out natural light. However, Joel in his infinite wisdom, pointed out that if we don’t frame off the shower, then residents will get water all over the wall, window and floor. You know it’s true. People do some crazy things when it’s not their property. So in an attempt to avoid that sort of damage, up went the wall. It is actually rather easy to built one. A bunch of 2 x 4’s, some drywall and nails and baby, you got yourself a stew! (Sorry, I was feeling a little Carl Weathers from Arrested Development there!)

Anyway, it is not a complete loss of light. It may darken this room a bit, but as you can see by the photo below, the upstairs gets plenty of glorious light. We’ve driven up before and the afternoon sun was casting it’s brilliant rays so dazzlingly inside, it appeared to have all the lights on upstairs. (Which is impossible, because there is no electricity yet.)

bright hall view of hallie copy

To finish up this week, drywall was put up over the holes and the walls were patched.
Not very exciting stuff, but it needs done.

drywall over tub faucet copy

Next post: Mimi comes to visit!!

December 7, 2012

Creating holiday decorations with greenery

Years ago, let’s say like 8, I started purchasing greenery (trimmings of trees & bushes used for making wreaths and the like) at a local nursery. It was fairly inexpensive and I was happy. At the time, I used it to just fill in my flower boxes, to add a little color near the entry ways of my home. Winter time is so dreadfully dreary sometimes (in Ohio) and this adds a lovely bit of color. It’s a nice little pick-me-up on an overcast cold afternoon.

One year, I waited too long and there was absolutely no greenery to be had!
What to do?
I admit, I have difficulty letting things go. I wasn’t just okay with not decorating that year. I like my home to be inviting, inside and out! I had to find a solution and once I did I felt completely ridiculous because in my own backyard was an abundance of evergreen bushes, various berries and branches to decorate with. Forget inexpensive! Free was WAY BETTER! Ever since, I’ve gone crazy harvesting an abundance of usable materials. I like to trim fairly evenly from the back of the bush so it’s not noticeable come spring that a chunk was taken out of it!

This year I decided to step it up a notch and make swag wreaths with my boughs and branches. My 4 year old daughter, Arden and I went out collecting our supplies yesterday. It was a chilly morning, but she loves to help me with all sorts of crafty projects and is already developing an artist eye. Which I have to admit, could not make me more proud!

This is my first ever tutorial, so please go easy. Upon editing photos I realized I didn’t do a very great job at capturing each step. In my head, I know what is going to take place next but obviously you the viewer cannot read minds, so feel free to ask me questions if you need some blanks filled in.

Sturdy cutting tool (for branches)
Various types of evergreen from trees and bushes
Berries still on the branches
(Nuts or dried grasses, if you like)
Twine or sturdy string for tying together each segment
Ribbon for bows
Hot glue (for adhering bows if you don’t like my methods)

1.) I start by gathering a handful of greenery. For this, I’m using False Cypress a fern-like bush. Longest branches first as the base.
I lay it out sort of flat, so it flares out at the bottom. Then I wrap and tie the cut branches with twine as tightly as possible. These are going to need to last several months out doors in poor weather.

2.) Repeat the process above with your next layer of greenery. For my 2nd layer I’m using cut Boxwood. I like to use a different type for each tier that way it provides a little more interest with the varying textures, shapes and shades of green. Again tightly bound with twine.

3.) Layer them together from smallest on top to largest on the bottom. Secure together with twine. If creating the double-sided swag that I did for my window, 2 sets will be needed for each side, which then gets adhered together in the middle.

4.) Add bow. I like to use weatherproof nylon ribbon. It’s a little stiff but has wire for flexibility. It holds up great to all the snow and rain we get here in the Midwest and can be used year after year. If you use a softer satin ribbon it can fade or will get rain spots.
Which is perfectly fine since you can change it out next year if you like. I attached my bows either with feeding a piece of twine through the back center of the bow or using a little “V” twig. Just slid one end of the twig through the back of the center of the bow and then the other stem of the twig through some of the tied branches. Of course, you are welcome to use hot glue if handy, that would hold it as well.

5.) Fill in bare spots with extra greenery to create fullness. Just work them gently either into the tightly bound twine or sort of tangle them among the branches.

6.) Add berries. I do this last because they are very fragile. They can easily get damaged, so I handle them as little as possible. You don’t need much for a pop of color.
Then HOORAY! You are done!

Yesterday I made 3 total decorations. The 3rd went on the lamp post (not shown). With various remnants of greenery finding it’s way into glass jars stashed around the house for added color. Finally, it starting to feel a lot like Christmas!

Wreath gathering supplies copy

Wreath first step tying copy

Wreath on rocker copy

Wreath step one of the swag copy

Wreath  step 2 tying sides together copy

Wreath  step 3 adding a layer copy

Wreath finished swag on window copy

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