Saturday, April 30, 2022

Fun Facts About The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 Official State Artist: Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell painting himself at the Wax Museum at Fishermen's Wharf in San Francisco, California; photo by Mary Harrsch on Flickr (noncommercial use permitted with attribution / share alike).

Norman Rockwell (1894 - 1978) was an author, artist, and illustrator best know for his cover illustrations on The Saturday Evening Post magazine. He was designated the official state artist in 2008.

The Norman Rockwell Museum is located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts

Friday, April 29, 2022

The Friday Five Good Things


Five good things that happened this week.

1. After teaching the 8-10 yr olds how to make small books, we sent out to Five Guys for dinner.

2. Calli shook her paws the way Ink used to do when I opened up the slider door and it was chilly in the sunroom. She's the new furcaster.

3. Spring cleaned the front porch

4. Himself's brother came over to help with a project. Nothing like having company coming to start a cleaning frenzy.

5. I think I got the hang of folding the Blizzard Book

How was your week?

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Flying High with 5 to7 Year Olds

Last week you may recall, I got an emergency call from the Worcester Art Museum asking if I could come in to teach 5 -7 year olds to make kites. The Education Department sent a lesson plan and told me I could amend the plan any way I wanted. 

The lesson plan involved making actual kites with dowels, string, and butcher paper cut into a 26" x 38" diamond. The class was to be two hours long and none of the materials had been gathered and prepped ahead of time. Making real kites with 5 year olds? That would mean myself and the aid would be doing the actual assembly for 13 kites. Nope, this lesson plan wasn't gonna fly.

I was up half the night trying to think of what I could do. I remembered a craft book I had as a kid. There were instructions to make a large carp that looked like a windsock. Scaled down it might be something the kids to do on their own. 

I got up early the next morning, fed the kitties, and checked out the Brother Scan n Cut Canvas Workspace to see if they had a fish pattern I could cut out as a template. 

There was a project to make a fish mobile. Yes!

All I had to do was resize the large, pink pattern  to 12 inches in length (the size of the cutting mat) and cut out one for each child. I have more paper than I can use in my lifetime so I used some watercolor paper which would be sturdy enough for the kids to trace around. I cut the pattern so the fish would look like its mouth was open. The little guys would then have to trace two fish and cut them out of drawing paper. They could decorate their fish halves with crayons. Some ribbon could be glued to the tails and the two fish halves glued together around the edges but not around the mouth. The kids could punch holes on either side of the mouth for string to be threaded through the holes.

The museum supplies all the stuff for the kids' classes, but because I didn't and wouldn't have enough time to go through the supply room ahead of time to see what I could find, I decided to bring in a large spool of baker's twine. Just in case. Drawing paper, crayons, glue stick, scissors, hole punches, pencils, and ribbon would be in the supply closet. I thought a plastic straw could be used to attach the "kite string" and then the kids would have a holder, wand, rod whatever you wanted to call it to wave their fish around.  Before meeting the kids in the lobby, I picked up the class roster and asked if there were any plastic straws. The Studio/Class Program Coordinator found a package of plastic straws and I was assigned Studio 102 which is right next to the Supply Room. Perfect!

I have taught kids before, usually 11 - 13 year olds, but I had never taught the wee ones. All the kid classes involve a trip into the gallery to look at some artwork. On the outside of the museum at the entrance to the lobby and the Education Wing, is a large mural of Kandinsky Untitled No. 639. After taking attendance we went outside to look at the mural. I asked what it looked like to them and they all agreed kites. We talked a bit about movement and wind and then went inside to the studio.

The Littles were so cute, paid attention to the directions (for the most part), and focused on decorating their fish. We also used a little bit of crumpled up tissue paper between the fish halves to make the fish puff out a bit.

Guess what his mom is getting for Mother's Day?

This Little Guy was obsessed with the cartoon character, Sponge Bob. My girlies loved this cartoon when they were little and I remembered a few of the gags. He was thrilled that I knew Sponge Bob. 

The kids finished up and there was still a half an hour left of class. So I asked them if they wanted to have a parade. They thought that would be fun so I lined them up and lead them down the Education Wing around the lobby and back to the studio. They had fun waving and dragging their fish behind them.

Back in the studio they could have free time for drawing or just playing with their fish. One little girl announced to the rest of them that it also looked like they caught a fish on a fishing pole. That idea was a big hit so some of them had fun pretending they were fishing.

All in all a good class. There was no whining, crying, or having a melt down. The kids were all well-behaved, too. 😉

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Whatcha Doin?


This is diploma and award season for me. Vincent is helping me get blog topics ready for the next 6 weeks or so.

Whatcha doin?

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

T Stands for Human Barometer

Last Tuesday, I woke up very early with a migraine. The barometric pressure was falling and 

a huge storm with heavy downpours was moving through the area. I didn't need the weather dudette to tell me about the storm. Besides being wet and stormy, it was also going to be a non-productive day.

In my mid-20s when I was first diagnosed with migraine (due to stress), I was put on some pretty heavy and addictive medications. I don't take those kinds of meds anymore and don't want to. Some ibuprofen helps,

along with copious amounts of tea, and a long nap in dark, cool room.

A couple of years ago, I learned there was a pressure point in the pocket between thumb and forefinger, but it's hard to keep pressure on that spot for a long length of time. I came across this device called Aculief. It's a plastic clip that you slip over your hand that applies pressure to the nerve. The clip provides enough relief for me until the front moves through.

Drop by hosts, Bleubeard and Elizabeth’s blog to find out what the rest of the T gang is up to. If you want to play, include a beverage or beverage container in your post. Don’t forget to link your blog from Bleubeard and Elizabeth’s page.

Monday, April 25, 2022

More Garden

Cleaning out the greenhouse so it's not used as a storage shed. Instead,

storage benches.

Something's going on across the street

Daffodils growing in the woods

The fairies have come back

A new, brass, manifold for the hoses. 

Buds on the Japanese maple

Calli watching a bug

A party across the street. Complete with a bouncy castle.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Daffodils growing strong. I wanted to cut some to bring inside, but it seems daffodils are toxic to cats.

Cheery pansy faces

The first appearance of the dandelions and

and violets

Ever faithful Catsfoot or Creeping Charlie is back

Peas coming up

More peas

Sunflower seeds started in a soil/hydroponic experiment

Potato plant

Carrots (I bet the bunnies will love these! 😸)

Himself's early birthday present. A little wagon/scooter you can tow around the garden. It has a basket in back to hold a 5 gal. bucket, a space under the seat for more storage, and you can sit while you garden. The seat swivels, too.

How does your garden grow?

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Fun Facts About the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Massachusetts is named after the Massachusetts tribe of Native Americans. The tribe lived in the are of the Blue Hills just south of Boston. The name is a rough translation meaning at or about the great hill.

Friday, April 22, 2022

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. Because of Good Friday, the Knights of Columbus weren't doing the drive-by fish fry at the church. Instead, we ordered fish and chips from Tony's

2. A quiet holiday with good food. Texts from The Brother and the Eldest. My cousin called to wish us a Happy Easter

3. We popped over to the Nephew's to drop off the play tent birthday gift we got for the Grandniece.

4. We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Leo's Ristorante with Himself's teaching assistants.

5.  The Education Department at WAM had donuts.  I took one home.

How was  your week?

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Throwback Thursday - Little Book of Dreams

 In honor of Earth Day tomorrow, a recycled post from April 5, 2008.

In trying to reduce clutter, I came across a stack of loser lottery tickets. I thought they would make good pages for a small book. I cut up a brown, Outback  Restaurant, doggy bag because I liked the pattern to make the cover. On each lottery ticket I wrote things like college education, mortgage, car loans, vacation, retirement, etc. The pages were Japanese stab bound using a scrap of leather lacing. Walnut ink, crow quill, Brause 1mm, Ziller Glossy Black

How very green of me to recycle. How's that for procrastination? Me thinks the emperor is naked.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Whatcha Doin?

Wassily Kandinsky, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday, I received an emergency call from the Worcester Art Museum asking if I could teach a class of 5 - 7 year olds to make kites Wednesday morning. Today!

 After a moment of panic ("I know nothing about teaching art to babies") The Studio/Class Program Coordinator told me the lesson is already planned; making kites is sort of like making books, and I can take the kidlets into the gallery to see Wassily Kandinsky's Untitled No. 629 painted in 1936. That's a relief! 

I have my outfit picked out, too. I always like to tie my wardrobe to a lesson. So a shirt with another painting of Kandinsky's Green Composition:

and just in case it's needed a face mask with the Kandinsky Untitled No. 629

After the Kite Making class, I'll look for something to show the students who are taking the Bookmaking class I'm teaching on Friday. All the children's classes include a trip to the gallery to look at art before going into the studio to create art.

The class is too large (13 students) otherwise, I would have asked for permission to visit the Prints Department. I have taken adult students to the Prints Department to look at the museum's collections of Medieval manuscripts. 

Instead, I'm looking for the painting, Still Life with Books by John Frederick Peto (American, 1854–1907) If the painting isn't on view, I'll wander over to the Japanese gallery to check out the scrolls.

Outfit for the bookmaking class with a kitty mask, if needed:

Whatcha doin?

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

T Stands for Happy Fourth Birthday

The Grandniece celebrated her 4th birthday with an island/Moana themed party. Guest could wear leis and grass skirts.

Birthday cupcake tower

Grandpa (my Brother) showing his beverage of sparkling water. I liked the blue bottle

Lunch: cheese pizza (I skipped the Hawaiian, and pepperoni pizzas) salad, honey chicken bites. There were also Buffalo chicken bites. I went back to get some tortilla chips

Moana was playing on the big screen. A little man cave with a tool bench has joined the happy, little teapot kitchen. Gifts galore!

I had a chocolate cupcake with raspberry filling, fluffy raspberry frosting, and mini chocolate chips or Jimmies (chocolate sprinkles). I like how the pink flamingo is holding its legs in a number 4.

Drop by hosts, Bleubeard and Elizabeth’s blog to find out what the rest of the T gang is up to. If you want to play, include a beverage or beverage container in your post. Don’t forget to link your blog from Bleubeard and Elizabeth’s page.