Monday, November 29, 2010

Today begins the season...

Today begins the season for me.  "Season of what?" you say.  WELL, this morning as I try to pull my laundry from the washer I realize that it started...  The Season of Frozen Laundry! duh duh duuuhhh!

Every cold season since we moved in to this house I have a battle with my washer and dryer.  The washing machine line freezes, clothes freeze to the cold metal barrel, my dryer works way too hard and fries itself.  Every time, one machine or the other breaks and we have to look about replacing them.  Not very fun, not very cheap. Fortunately Nani gave us their old washer, that's the one that we have currently and last year we purchased a dryer off of craigslist.  So, this year, I am hoping that we will not need to replace either.  I plan to never leave clothes in the washer over night, and if the clothing is too frozen, I will hang them rather than forcing my dryer to do the job.  I really should invest in a real clothes line, generally I make-shift something unstable, generally involving bungee cords and a ladder, a tree, the corner of my house and the fence.  I've never used clothes pins and things fall, clothing ends up all over the yard, and now we have a destructive dog, so who knows what she would do to the already long line of disaster.  My kitchen is quite small, and that is where most hanging laundry ends up, line along the table, draped over chairs, hanging from the windows, the ceiling fan, whatever I can get my hands on.

I have plans for eventually adding on to this place.  I'd love to go out the side and build a game room, laundry room, bathroom, and then above have a loft master bedroom and master bath.  And of course the addition would have a lovely fireplace.  I've always wanted a fireplace!  I'd love to build towards the back and add a sun-room and perhaps a larger kitchen, or at least a pantry!  But these are all dreams, and sure, money doesn't buy happiness, but the things that it can buy would surely add a smile to my face ;)  And of course, I would need an art room, and a quest bedroom.  But really, that laundry room and the fireplace are high up on my wish list.  A laundry room with ample storage space, room for folding, a sink for hand washing, cabinets for storing, and place for ironing, ahhh, it would be lovely :)  It's the simple things that are taken for granted.

Those of you that have a nice laundry room, do me a favor and go hug it and thank it for being there and not freezing over every winter!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tissue Paper Mache Lanterns

I wanted to make something new with the kids.  I decided that Ethylwolfe was old enough to enjoy making paper mache and even though KennaKat really isn't, she had a good time regardless.  We used tissue paper to make lanterns.  I had never used tissue paper for mache'ing before, so I was a bit skeptical about how well it would hold up. I had saved a bit of tissue paper from past presents and decided to give it a go.  Besides, even if it was a flop, we would get messy, have lots of fun, and we would learn from it... one way or another.

Here are the supplies that you will need to make your very own paper mache lantern
(Tissue paper, balloons, glue, water, glitter -not mandatory, but delightful!)

Pour glue into containers and mix with water -make it like milk.  
(For me it equals out to about 2 parts glue 1 part water)

Blow balloons up to desired size, I was not careful to make them all the same size, I just puffed until I stopped.  Rip up tissue paper into strips.  Submerge paper into glue and then place on balloon. (not rocket science.)  

KennaKat dove right into her lantern project!  She chose 2 different shades of pink for her work.

I chose light blue, dark blue, and white for my lantern.

Ethylwolfe chose green for his.

Sprinkle with glitter when you are finished! (If you so desire)

Unfortunately, this project was way too messy for me to take pictures during the process, but here is our messy table after we finished :)

You have to let the glue dry for several days....we waited 2.  Thicker projects can take a week or longer to dry.  Surprisingly we were patient enough to wait until the end.  The 4th white lantern in the background I threw together during clean up.  The paper towels that I laid out underneath our work got so soaked with glue that I blew up another balloon and decided to test out paper towel paper mache with our scraps.

We finally got to pop them and this is the end result.  We wanted them open like a candle holder.

This is how the paper towel lantern turned out....

I put battery tea lights inside and we have been enjoying the glow for days now.
Sorry, I couldn't get a better image of them.  I'll try harder at a later time :)

The end results:
KennaKat broke down a little into the project, it was long and tedious and she got glue on her clothes....she HATES to get wet, and so she broke down.  I finally got her going after a while, but I'd say of the 2, Ethylwolfe enjoyed it the most.  They both did very well going through the steps.  KennaKat and I ran out of scrap tissue paper.  Ethylwolfe had tons so his is the thickest.  I'd say thicker is better if you want to try this yourself.  Go for multiple layers of tissue paper for added strength.  These will eventually be hung in the play room, but for now, they are decorating the table.  I liked how the paper towel lantern turned out the best.  It took 5 minutes and it much more stable than the tissue paper.  It is Ethylwolfe's favorite one as well.

I have made many paper mache items and I must say that this was my favorite time doing it.  It was fun and carefree.  We laughed, made mess, and the kids learned.  Because we were all making our own, and the kids just think mommy is cool anyways, I wasn't stressed to make mine perfect and it was just lots of fun.  We will definitely be making many more paper mache items in the future.  The possibilities are endless and I've already got a nice long list!

Have a great day guys!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Cake and PB&J's

We decided to make a cake.  Much to my delight there was no yelling, hitting, or hogging of the good stuff.  There was cooperation, sharing, and eating of yummy cake!

I  just can't get enough of my little girlie girl!

Working together to get the job done!

No tears in this kitchen, just lots of smiles!!

Now that the hard work of mixing is done and the batter is in the pan, we can reap our reward of licking the sweet delicious concoction!

While waiting for our cake to bake, we each made our own Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich...mmm!

Carefully spreading the PB onto the bread.

Sneaking a lick of the PB I see!

Oops!  A spill, that's alright, we don't mind!

Now that our sandwiches are finished, we can eat them up....or wear them as masks!

After lunch, our cake is ready.  We used chocolate icing and then covered it with Blue, Green, and Yellow sprinkles!  Yummm!

We pretended the blue was the ocean, the green was rich green grass and trees, and the yellow is a sandy desert.  We didn't have patience to take a picture before we cut into it, so here it is after we made sure it was yummy :)

Cooking with my children is fun and enjoyable.  Much more fun than being alone my kitchen.  Everything is new and exciting to them, which makes my chore quite entertaining :)



The kids and I put together our own Eye-Spy jar.  It is quick, easy and provides endless hours of entertainment.  Moving the jar around, you uncover various objects hidden inside.  The kids enjoy "spying" new items.  It is also fun because I can give them a clue of something to find, and then they have to seek it out.  I plan on keeping ours in the car.  That way I can pull it out whenever boredom seeps into my children and the car ride becomes painful for all of those involved....

To make this project you will need:

A Jar or clear container with a lid.
(AC MOORE has a variety of glass jars for under $1.  I had this one lying around from once containing Atomic Fireballs)

Random items found around the house.
(We put unused toys, safety pins, sequins, buttons, lost pieces to games, etc.  The more random the better) 

(I wanted to use Rice, but I did not have enough.  This bag of trusty split peas came to my rescue though!  Next time I think I'll use beads.)

Now that you have all necessary items, fill container with all of your chosen treasures.

Put in filler, leaving at least 1 inch between filler and lid to allow items to move freely.

Screw on top and VOILA!  You now have your own homemade Eye-Spy jar!  Have fun!

The kids had fun finding treasures and filling the jar.  Alex was a little disappointed at how quickly the project was finished.  He particularly was upset to find game pieces that he wanted to use for his game.  Oops!  My bad, I thought they were junk pieces.  At some point I will fish them out to make little man happy!
What I like about this is that it is quick, simple, and CHEAP!  Plus, when the kids get tired of finding these items, you can add more, change them out, or make a whole new one!

Let me know if you create your own and how they liked it.

Variations that I would like to make:
A nature jar -filled with items we find outside our home: nuts, rocks, sticks, etc.
A Learning jar- I'd like to put in items with every letter of the alphabet, this way we can play an educational version "Find something that starts with the letter...."  And colors "Find me a red item..."
We will save that for another random day.

I got this idea while reading the magic onion's blog the other day.  Thank's magic onion!  By the way, hers is much better than mine, but we don't have hers, we've got ours, so that's that :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Beginning

I'm not much of a Blogger so we will see where this will go....

I enjoy making things and I love spending time with my kids.  At times though, I find that it is hard to merge the two of those things together.  When I get in the "zone" that is my happy place and I can spend hours upon hours creating, being messy, relaxing and thinking.  Once I am in the "zone" I don't like to come out of it, nor do I like to clean up until I am done.  So, enjoying my zone time and attending to a 5 and 3 year old can be a little bit tricky.  BUT I am trying to share my beloved art supplies, trying to learn patience to teach, trying to stand back and refrain from interfering with their creations, and trying to breath and just enjoy the sheer beauty of seeing everything new again through the eyes of my wonderful children.  I am a young woman, art is fairly new to me so I'm still in the "new faze" myself, but my children have more enthusiasm, care-freeness, an eagerness to learn and find beauty in the simplest things- that is what I hope to bottle up and cherish forever.  I would kick myself everyday if I did not take the time and attempt to merge 2 of my most favorite things.

So here are our attempts at making whatever our hearts desire- we will be making new things, exploring the world around us, cooking, building, laughing, and creating.  My attempt will be to record it and try my best to take pictures to share with you, before I forget it.

We live in a tiny house that quickly gets disheveled and cluttered and depressing.  It is my desire to slowly transform my home into the quirky, fun, cozy, warm, unique, creative image that I hold in my mind.  I plan to share those changes and attempts with you as they unfold.

I hope you enjoy what you see here.  I hope you will laugh and learn and hopefully be motivated to make something of your own.  Art is an expression of yourself, there is no wrong way to do it, you just have to try!  There is beauty in everything, you only need to look for it.