School Projects

Fun Projects

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Year In the Making

Several years ago, we remodeled the only functional bathroom in our house (which caused some logistical problems as you might imagine). We have another bathroom which we use for storage....but that's another blog.

It was the first "finished" room in our poor old house, so decoration it was more exciting then you might imagine. The only problem was finding a picture to hang on the wall. I had a painting that sort of worked, but I wasn't really happy with it, and nothing else turned up in my occasional shopping.

Then, about a year ago, I went on the annual Ikea shopping trip with my Mom and sisters. While browsing through that wonderful store, I happened about a package of five art cards that had photographs of Stockholm house numbers on them. The calligraphy caught my eye, and I bought them on a whim. It wasn't until several days later that I realized that they matched my bathroom perfectly! Hurrah, my problem was solved...or was it?

The new problem was the size of the cards: a five inch square. Over the course of several months I discovered that none of the stores in this area carried any square frames in any size. So, I started browsing online. I found square frames, but they were expensive! The Dutch blood in me boiled at the idea of spending eight bucks for a frame (and I needed five frames) for cards that cost about three bucks. I had just about given up on my art cards when my sister Tandis gave me an idea. She was working out an idea for decorating her living room using painted canvases and I realized that stretched canvas didn't need a frame and that Hobby Lobby sold it in lots of different sizes. So, off to the store I went, with my forty-percent-off coupons in my purse, and brought home five six-inch canvases. A new project was under way.

Step 1: I brewed a cup of Lipton tea (which I don't actually like but still have in the house) and used it to paint the canvases so that they weren't glow-in-the-dark white. I think it took three coats to get the color I liked.
Step 2: I used rubber cement to attach the cards to the canvas. I thought rubber cement would be a better choice then white glue in a damp environment like a bathroom.
Step 3: I had a can of spray varnish in my collection of odd stuff, so I gave each canvas a couple of coats on the front and back for more waterproofing. It took several days to do that since I had to set it up in the basement because of the smell of the varnish.

When the varnishing was finally done, I had to figure out how I wanted to hang the pictures. I cut five squares out of wrapping paper and taped them to the wall. It took a whole morning of walking into the bathroom and looking from different angles and then adjusting the layout before I found an arrangement that felt right. Then I measured where the nails needed to go and pounded them right through the papers.

Then I hung up the finished card-canvases. Just right...and it only took a year. How long will a whole living room take me?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkins and Patience

Since October was almost over, I decided last Wednesday that it was time to take the kids to get some pumpkins. I had hoped this would be a family event with the traditional wagon ride out to the fields to choose a pumpkin, but that didn't work out. So instead, I packed the kids into the van and we drove to a place here in town where the yard is full of pumpkins. Blair fell asleep on the way, so she stayed in the van while Ian and Brynn ran around a chose pumpkins. And so my lesson in patience began:

I want this, this one....can I have this one?, I DON'T want THAT one...

When we were FINALLY done choosing pumpkins (there were no tears, but several growled "that is the LAST one") we loaded them into the van and headed for home. I guess I needed more work on that lesson.
For the next two days, I practiced my next lesson in patience:
"Mom, can we carve our pumpkins now?"
"Mom, I wanna do my jack 'o lantern now!"


I guess I still need more work.

On Friday we finally had time to do the pumpkin carving thing. I gave Brynnie markers and her own table, and she joyfully colored away.

Ian watched with great excitement as I cut into the top off of his pumpkin. He looked inside, and then looked at me with a skeptical face. I handed him a spoon and told him to scoop out the inside until it was clean. Clearly, this was not what he had envisioned:

"I don't like to get slimy, you do it."

I did okay with this one. "No, I'm not gonna do your pumpkin, you do it!" He took a few tentative scoops.

"Will you help me with the seeds? I'm tired out."

I still maintained my cool. "Ian, you can do it. I'll help you when all the seeds are out." He worked for a while and actually made some progress. There were some more requests for help, and a few more rejections. He started getting whiny, and I started getting annoyed. Finally:

"Mommy, I don't want to do this anymore. I don't want it to be compost!"

I will admit to losing my cool. Comments like: "I did not buy you a pumpkin just so you......" and "You better do it or else....." were uttered in a tone that was louder then absolutely necessary and not very patient at all. The tears that didn't fall on Wednesday did fall on Friday.

I failed that test.

Thankfully I can retake it every day this week (month, year, decade).

And, if I hadn't blogged about it, I could show you this picture and you'd think we had a perfectly wonderful, patience filled time.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, you, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

Saturday, October 16, 2010

An Old Wreath Hangs Again!

A few years ago, I inherited this wreath when my Grandma died.

Every fall, I hang it on my front door sometime after Labor Day and I think of her. The leaves are quilted, which I think is pretty cool. This year, however, it became clear that the wreath wasn't looking as good as it used to, since the fabric of the bow and several leaves had gotten really faded. So, feeling a little melancholy, I took them off (knowing my Grandma, she would never have tolerated a faded wreath!). Then, I wrapped the old wreath in a new string of leaves, which took all of five minutes, and I have a brand new wreath!

(Oh, I did save the old quilted leaves. The backs weren't faded at all, so now I need to think of a project for them!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lots of Leaves

Yesterday was just a beautiful fall day so I couldn't pass up a chance to spend the afternoon outside with the kids, especially when they think doing yard work is fun! We started in the front yard and cleaned off the driveway (which produced enough leaves to mulch my raspberry patch).

Then we moved into the backyard for some real fun. Ian had the brilliant idea to put the leaf pile at the bottom of the slide.
He also thought it would be a great idea to jump from the slide platform into the leaf pile, but it wasn't. Thankfully the injuries where minor (not the broken ankles I envisioned) and he could go back to sliding right away.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Life is a project?

When you have a reputation for doing projects, you start to feel a little bit of pressure if a few days go by and you don't have a project to report on. Sure, I've been doing a little sewing, but nothing new or very exciting. Sure, I've supervised the kids in their cutting and coloring, but that isn't really blog-worthy. I have a whole stack of things that I could be working on, but they all need an ingredient or (as my son says) "a material" or a tool purchase before I can make any progress. Reputation or no reputation, blog or no blog, I am not going to pile three kids into the car for an extra trip to Hobby Lobby! But, I guess that is the real reason why my fun projects aren't making progress: those three kids. My whole schedule has been rearranged and I am still getting the hang of it.
So, I guess I am going to claim that as a project: organizing a new schedule, which I know in advance will fall apart one day after making it.
Thanks kids!
(Since I am desperate to be able to claim at least some accomplishment, I did make an apple pie for supper tonight. However, I have to admit that I used a pre-made crust. You win some, you lose some.)