Monday, December 31, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Christmas was coming. I knew that.
I was little, maybe two or three years old, or maybe even a bit younger. We lived in the Victorian house that my great-grandfather had built about 1900, in an apartment upstairs, while great-grandpa (we just called him Grandpa) and one of his bachelor sons, "Uncle Goose", lived downstairs. After Grandpa died, we were still there until I was about 4, and "Uncle Goose" remained downstairs. Part of the downstairs was rented out to Ollie and his wife, Dell, after Grandpa was gone.
A leaded glass front door led into the entry hall, with its polished hardwood floor and paneling, and to the stairs that were in the witches peak. A desk was under the staircase, along with a wooden chair with a padded seat. A tall grandfather clock, with a ship rocking on waves, a moon, and a smiling sun, stood by the door that led into the dining room and library. Sliding pocket doors that matched the wood paneling led into the parlor that served as my mother's music room. She had her baby grand piano in that lovely room with its wide, tall windows, and wood paneling.
At Christmas time, there was debate about whether to put a large cedar tree in the landing on the stairs, where it could be seen through the windows in the witches peak, or whether to put it in the big front window in the music room. The music room could handle a big tree best. I remember trees in both places, as well as in the dining room, and a small one upstairs. I also remember debates about whether to buy new electric lights, or using candles. I do remember having candles on the tree when it was in the dining room. My mother was concerned about a possible fire, but the older folks were used to candles. They did agree that some houses had burned as a result of a tree being too dry and the candles touching the branches.
But, this particular year, there were electric lights, and the tree was in the music room.
Sometimes, when Mama practiced, she would let me play in the music room, or sit with her when she played the piano. Sometimes, she had young students in for piano lessons, and ladies came to sing with her for solos at church or in programs in town. But, often, I was a little pest, wanting attenion, and doing everything I could think of so that my mother would pay attention to me, and not to those other people or her piano. And, those times, I was urged to go out and play, or to stay upstairs, go to my grandmother's house next door, or to just sit quietly out in the hall until she was through. And, there I might sit, on the steps or on the chair, pouting, squirming, or creeping up to the keyhole to see what was happening in the other room. I hoped that Mama would feel sorry for me, and invite me back in.
In this year that I am remembering, I was sitting out on the steps in the hall a lot. I walked up and down the stairs, thinking of how I might just be able to jump over to the chandelier over the hall, and swing, Tarzan style, down the stairs and across the hall. That might be more exciting than sliding down the banister, or sitting down and bumping all the way down the stairs. Then, I returned to the lower steps, impatiently waiting for my mother.
"Why don't you try to think of what you want Santa Claus to bring you. It won't be long until Christmas,"my mother had suggested something to keep me busy. A doll was at the top of my list. I also wanted a horse, a tea set, a little table and chairs, some pretty clothes and shoes.
"How about a rocking horse? You're too little for a horse, yet,"my mother told me.
Back then, there were beautifully carved, prancing or raring up, horses, more like carousel horses than the simple wooden or plastic things of today. You could imagine that those were real horses with delicate details in their nostrils and on their manes, even their teeth and tongues. A beautiful rocking horse would be okay. I could ride that indoors and in bad weather.
Mama was busy upstairs and I walked down the staris to look at the Christmas tree, sliding the doors open as quietly as I could. It was almost Christmas and I was getting more excited.
There was the beautiful tree, with it's glass balls shining and candy canes and ornaments standing out against the green tree. But, in front of the side window, there was the most gorgeous carved wooden rocking horse imaginable. It was carved from dark wood and every detail stood out. I ran my fingers over the mane and the teeth, and put my hand inside its mouth. I walked around the horse and touched the tail and the hooves. The rockers were even finished to match the rest of the horse. It was a little bit too big for me, but that was alright. I would grow to it quickly and I could still climb up on the horse. Did I dare to actually climb up on the horse and rock on it? My heart was pounding. I did. I climbed on the horse and felt like I was racing along in the fields on my loyal steed. My hair would be blowing in the wind as we raced along, in my imagination. Across the lawn and the field, I could see the trees that lined the driveway at my grandmother's house. I could have my horse gallop across there with ease to go see what Grandma was doing. At least, I could in my imagination.
"I had better not stay on here too long," I told myself.
"Cecelia! Cecelia! You'd better get back up here!" My mother was calling.
I tip toed out of the music room and carefully slid the doors back together. I hoped that I had left the horse in the same position that I had found it. I closed the front door, so that my mother would think that I was coming in from outside, and ran up the stairs. I didn't mention a word about seeing the rocking horse.
"You haven't been in the music room, have you?" she demanded.
"No. I've been outside," I looked at my shoes.
"Good. I want you to stay out of that room. Do you hear me?" she was cutting out a dress with the material spread on the bed. Straight pins were in her mouth and the big scissors were in her hand.
"Okay," I mumbled.
After that, the sliding doors to the music room stayed closed. I still peeked in the keyhole or under the doors, from time to time, to admire my magnificent horse.
"I'm going to get a rocking horse for Christmas," I told my mother one day. "Santa Claus has already been here. It's downstairs by the Christmas tree."
"No your'e not! Not the way you've been acting!" my mother insisted.
I thought that she was just trying to hide the rocking horse from me, and, Christmas Eve night, we would go downstairs to the Christmas tree, and there would be my horse.
"Okay, there is a rocking horse down there, but it is not for you. We're keeping that for another child in town. " Daddy explained.
" I don't believe it. That's my horse!" I argued.
"Well, young lady, you can believe it or not, but that horse is for someone else. And you stay out of there!" Daddy said.
I still didn't believe them. I longed for the magical night when I would get my beautiful rocking horse, with the wonderful carved wood. I sat on the steps, staring at the sliding doors to the music room, wishing that it would hurry up and be Christmas Eve. Time just dragged by. I still wasn't allowed in the music room, even when Mama practiced, and I couldn't seem to sneak in there, either. Mama was everywhere.
Finally, Christmas Eve arrived. Daddy and all the rest of the family had to stay at the store as long as there were customers, but we waited on them to arrive and have our tree.
"Aren't they ever coming?" I kept asking impatiently.
Mama gave me a candy candle stick to keep me busy. I put it on the floor and jumped over it, repeatedly, saying, "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candle stick". And then I would jump over the candle stick as far across the room as I could. And, in between jumps, I would go to the window and see if any of the family might be driving across the railroad tracks from town.
I finally stretched out on the bed and went to sleep.
When Daddy came home, he carried me downstairs to the music room, where the family was gathered. Grandma, Grandpa, Thelma, Irvin, "Pappy", "Uncle Tom", "Toot", "Honey", and Mama. "Uncle Goose" was in the basement, listening to the radio and drinking his beer.
I sleepily took the presents that were handed to me, and just wanted to go back to sleep. I tried to open my eyes, looking for my horse.
It wasn't there. My horse was gone. Daddy collected my gifts. A little bracelet, some socks with lace, a dress with a pinafore, some shoes, a book, some scrap books of pictures that my mother had made for me, and the big thing was a rubber doll that had a bottle with it. We could put liquid in the bottle and it would run through the doll, wetting its pants.
"But, where's my horse?" I whined.
"I told you that horse was not for you. It was for another little girl. And, besides, that horse was too big for you." Daddy carried me upstairs and put me in my baby bed. I tried to cry, but I was too sleepy.
The next day, I pouted and longed for my rocking horse. I played with my doll, pouring water through it, time after time. The two diapers that came with the doll didn't last very long, so water was ending up on the floor. The doll was soon banished to outdoors, when I fed it, and, indoors, the bottle was put up.
I never knew who got that beautiful horse, but they sure must have had a wonderful Christmas. They couldn't have loved that horse any more than I did, though. I never got such a wonderful rocking horse, either.
There was a wooden Lone Ranger's horse, "Silver", at the obstretician/pediatrician's office in Marlin. Dr. Davison's office was like a cozy house, with a cukoo clock in the waiting room. There was a play room for children off the main sitting room. A wonderful room with big book shelves and toys. Of course, the thing that children had to learn to take turns with was "Silver". We worked out turns with one person riding and the other children acting as cowboys and Indians, pretending to gallop around the room and play out a cowboy story. No one wanted to get off the horse when the doctor was ready for them. There was also an interesting spinning top and a jack in the box, along with puzzles and other toys in the room. It was nice, but it didn't totally take away the fear of waiting to see the doctor.
When my sister was a baby, our parents did get her a rocking horse that was like two cut out horses, done in pretty pastel colors, with a seat in between it. It had a "seat belt" in it, so the baby could sit and rock. My friends and I would squeeze into the rocking horse, so we could ride, too.
Later, when my son was small, I thought it would be a wonderful thing to carve a rocking horse for him. Not a plain one like they had in the stores, but a beautiful, dark, wooden horse like I thought I was getting. I never tried it. I'm not so sure that I could carve such a realistic animal. It would probably have taken many trees before I could get it to look anything like a horse. Now, clay might be another matter!
I got one of those plastic jumping horses for my daughter, when she was small. It looked nice, except for the springs on the side. I thought those might be dangerous, if a child fell sideways into them. I didn't know just how dangerous that horse was! It didn't get the child, but it sure got me!
One day, I was walking down the mobile home steps, carrying a basket of laundry. The horse was beside the steps. The steps tilted and I fell across the horse. I didn't know it, but my ribs had a hairline crack. Much later, I was trying to pull an air conditioner across the floor where some men had left it. I had such pain that I couldn't get up. I thought I was going to have to call the police to help me out of bed. X-rays, later, revealed that I had a hairline fracture in my ribs, and, when I pulled on that air conditioner, they separated. The horse was fine, though!
Be sure to look at the links in my side bar, and scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to see my new Guest Book. You can even add a picture there if you would like to share some of your art work for others to see.
I hope that your Christmas was a truly wonderful one, and that you got the things that you dreamed that Santa would bring you. And, above all, that the children in your life got the things they hoped for. I hope that their rocking horses didn't go to someone else!
One gift that we got here was a spectacular sunset! Gorgeous colors to end Christmas Day.
Thank you for reading and for sharing. Let me know if you see something of interest.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
The full moon shines on a cold winter night, like tonight, casting cool light and shadows on stone. Perhaps in a cemetery? A park? Or even floating in the night?
I thought of this piece as a rounded stone, carved just enough to hint at a mother holding a baby. Or, possibly, it could be done in clay with just a hint of blue glaze to give it the feeling of cold moonlight falling over it.
I like to do sculpture, with my hands, touching the clay and modeling it by feel. I haven't tried to carve in stone but I don't think that I would like it as much as I do the soft clay. That's funny because, before I started doing some clay heads, I hated getting my hands, and everything else, dirty. I think that it really helped me to be able to get better form into my two dimensional work.
Creating those large heads of 25 to 50 pounds of clay was an exciting project. Unfortunately, my strength has waned, and I can't do all the lifting and pounding required to work clay, and I no longer have access to a kiln. So, I have to think in terms of something smaller like papier mache, or some sort of other material. I have quite a few ideas for sculpture that I would like to complete, one of these days.
Since it is now Christmas Day, I thought that my "Madonna and Child", with a moonlit night, would be appropriate to share. On Christmas Eve, my youngest grandson and I watched the full moon rise, and he was excited to spy a planet that he had been hearing about. I'm not sure it it was Mars or Saturn as I had not heard about it.
When I painted this, I thought of the old cemetery where my son, and much of my family is buried. A beautiful park-like place near the home that I grew up in. I thought of monuments in the moonlight, over the lawn where so many now rest. A place that is still and quiet, except for the occasional rustling in the branches of ancient trees as night creatures prowl about.
We took our Mock Stained Glass Windows over to the nursing home and showed them to my aunt Christmas Eve afternoon. The sun was pouring in through the big windows in the dining room where we opened our gifts and enjoyed cookies and cold drinks. As we were holding them up to the light, I discovered that, by placing the angel over the star window, I had a completely different, and very interesting design. The rays from the star and the overlapping colors and shapes broke the angel design down even more and created more colors. That was kind of fun. My grandson didn't want to leave the windows there, so we brought them home. My aunt doesn't have a window in her room, so she wouldn't be able to enjoy the window. There isn't enough room to even hang all her Christmas cards, so I guess the windows are going to go in my own windows, or they may go in with all the other things that I am saving, created by my grandson.
Today we will have Christmas dinner with red roast and red gravy and a small ham. My daughter is cooking. She baked an orange cake and a chocolate cake for dessert last night. The orange cake still will not come out of the Bundt pan! We may have to put icing on it in the pan, and dig it out with a spoon! I thought sure that gravity would eventually take care of it, so it is still upside down on a plate. We both tried using knives to loosen the sides, but it is still stuck. I think it is a little too sticky. It seems done inside, according to the toothpick test, but, to touch it, it is really sticky.
Then the grandsons will open their gifts and we will all go back to see my aunt at the nursing home for the afternoon.
It is so different from the Christmases of the past, with a large family around. We always wanted more children around, though, since my sister and I were the children. We couldn't wait to get out and play with our friends.
My family had the dry goods store, and other men in the family had grocery stores. They stayed open as late as there were customers on the street. As the years passed, that time became earlier and earlier, so that, by supper time, the stores were closed and everyone came to our house for the Christmas tree. People came to town to buy, even in wagons, and they stayed around to socialize or to go to church the next day.
When I was growing up, the family worked at the stores on busy days. Even the kids helped out. And other people were hired to help wait on customers. We had to cashier, wait on customers, put things on the books, gift wrap, stock, put price tags on merchandise, decorate the show windows, sweep, dust, clean the restrooms, and watch for shoplifters. My favorite things were to decorate the show windows and to gift wrap. But, it was a little nerve shattering, being told to not use too much ribbon or too much tape, or paper, or string on packages. I was interested in creating a really nice looking package, but some customers just wanted their packages fast and didn't care if they had fancy ribbons or not. We made a kind of a loop out of ribbon and taped it, with a card on top. Another method was to make something that looked a bit like a man's tie, to me. And there were several strips of ribbon brought from the back side to the front, the cut in points at different lengths. Those were good for stacking on top of each other, or for mailing. And then there were bows. We didn't have to make most of them, we bought them in a big package. Or, each year, at our Christmas tree, we all saved our bows and paper to be used again at the store.
After the stores closed, a weary crew went to our house to have the family Christmas tree. It was really hard to wait for Santa, when it got to be really late. But, the store came first. Once everyone gathered, Santa made his way from the garage to the front porch with any special gifts, like bikes or wagons, or doll buggies and little tables and chairs. "Look what Santa left out here!" Daddy would tell us. "I thought I heard him!" he would add.
"I heard him, too!" others would say, trying to make us believe.
One Christmas, Santa brought my sister the pair of cowboy boots she always wanted. We were still pretty small then. My sister would not take off her cowboy boots, for days, and even slept in them, and I wouldn't move my dolls over. We shared a three quarter size bed, so it was pretty crowded in bed. And, then, the cats joined us! But, those cowboy boots. I can feel them still. They had sharp pointed toes, and were really stiff, especially in my back! She loved those boots!
We usually got things like underwear from the store, and a thread box with dollar bills in it. (No fancy wrapping for the family. But, they didn't have time to shop, they said, and so they just put the money into an empty thread box, and gave that out while presents were being passed out.) Mama, and one great-aunt always made sure that we got some nice clothes, toys, and books.
While the great-aunts were receiving things like jewelry, or furniture, or pieces to their crystal, china, or silver patterns, Daddy gave my mother gifts that just upset her. She just clenched her teeth, and held her little presents, and everyone said that he should be ashamed of himself. Of course, he laughed and thought it was so funny. He gave gifts like a Lady Gillette double edge razor and a slop jar. You may remember that happened in "All In The Family" on tv, when Archie Bunker gave Edith her own razor. Well, my dad did it years before that! His sense of humor.
The men all got things like pajamas, shirts, ties, cuff links and tie clasps-things that stayed in their boxes and were saved. Long after they died, we are still finding boxes of things that were gifts that were saved. One thought was that they would save the good things in case they should ever have to go to the hospital.
At our family Christmas tree, we would always have some sort of refreshments, cookies, cake, tuna fish sandwiches and potato chips, and, if it was cold, Mama would make hot chocolate. In later years, when you could buy it in the store, we added egg nog to the menu. One year, my great-aunt, who lived across the street, brought over some Mogan David wine in her mother's lead crystal decanter. Her sister in law had served them wind during a visit, and she wanted to do the same. The other great-aunt acted shocked. Everyone refused the wine except my uncle and I. We asked my grandmother if she wanted some wine and we thought she said she did. However, Grandma was deaf and had hardening of the arteries. When she came to the Christmas tree that night, all she wanted to do was to go home because her babies were there. She couldn't figure out that her children were grown and were there with her. My aunt had said not to give her any refreshments because it might have sugar in it, or salt, and she had read that those things were bad for people. So, she went around making sure that no one ate anything that had the bad things in it. We learned to pass the sugar and the salt under the table, so she wouldn't see us, and throw a fit. My uncle said that we should let Grandma have a little wine, so he kept my aunt busy while my great-aunt and I gave her a tiny wine glass full of wine. When my aunt discovered us, we told her that it was grape juice, and she was satisfied with that. Grandma kept wanting more of those little glasses of wine. Pretty soon, she perked up, and was talking normally, and enjoying herself. She recognized her children and was more lucid than she had been in a long time. The lack of sugar and salt had actually hurt her, and she ended up having to go to the hospital and getting IVs to put some of those things back. My aunt never would concede that people need some salt and some sugar.
Sometimes, on Christmas Day, we would drive to my mother's parents to have Chirstmas dinner with them. It didn't seem right to be away from home, and the family that I was accustomed to on Christmas. And I was eager to share with my friends what we had received for gifts on Christmas Eve.
There was a little longing for a fireplace for Santa to come down, the custom of opening presents on Christmas morning, and a big, roasted goose on a platter for Christmas dinner. Instead, we got Santa bringing gifts to our front porch, having the Christmas tree after the store closed, and turkey and red roast and red gravy for Christmas dinner.
Merry Christmas! And I hope that you are having a wonderful, memorable time with friends and family!
Be sure to look at my guest book. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to find it.
If you haven't read yesterday's post, you might like to read it, including a poem by Elaine Winters.
Let me know if you see something of interest to you. Thanks for reading and for sharing.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Be sure to check out the link to Esther's writing under Artists and Authors in my sidebar.
I've had such a time getting my pictures to post, and had to unplug my computer due to thunderstorms at various times. Today is a sunny day, and I hope the tech things are working better today.
Ashton and I have made some examples, which I have scanned to show as steps in the process of making this project.
I have already given the steps for creating this project in the previous post, so, I'm going to add these photos as a slide show, which may make for another post.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Before Christmas, I liked to have my students make these paper, stained glass windows. As they made them, we taped them to the windows. Almost every year, we filled the windows, allowing light to shine through, giving us a very colorful room. In one of my rooms, an old ag shop, a large building with huge windows on the north and south sides, the room was almost like a cathedral, when we had the windows filled. It was very warm and cheerful, almost breathtaking, on a sunny day. And, so sad after we took them all down when we left for the holidays. Usually, the paper was faded and the projects were filled with dust, by the time we were dismissed for Christmas. So, they ended up in the trash can. After we realized this would happen, I told students that they could make more than one. One to display, and one to keep. Some made several, just to make sure that the large windows were totally filled.
Besides filling our art room with these colorful windows, we sometimes shared them by taking them to the local nursing home and to the hospital, along with greeting cards, and little crafts we had made. The residents and patients really enjoyed having the students come to visit them and the colorful things for their rooms.
In order to share the project, my grandson and I are making examples, and I am scanning and saving the results. I do have one old photo that shows a few of the projects in our huge windows. Unfortunately, I didn't think of taking the picture when the sun was shining through the windows, but the focus was on our door decoration that year. You can see some of the "stained glass windows" in the back ground, filling the windows about half way up-as high as we could reach!
I would suggest that, if you would like to do this, and keep your project, you might use better quality paper. Construction paper does fade and become brittle easily. (Teachers use it because it is less expensive.) There are art or craft papers that would work for this. Use a heavy paper that has some body to it, and that says archival or acid free.
When teaching, I would try to find examples of stained glass windows to show students, and I would call attention to places in town where they might have stained glass windows. And we would talk about how the real windows are made. Usually, these would be in churches, but there are other buildings and homes that might also have such stained glass windows. Small stained glass projects such as boxes and light catchers for windows might be something that students could look at or may be familiar with.
In some situations, there might be budgets that allow for making actual stained glass projects. But, the cost, for most schools, is prohibitive, so we teach about them, and find ways to teach about the design, construction, and appreciation at a low cost.
Mock Stained Glass Windows
Black or dark colored construction paper (1 sheet)
colored tissue paper (assorted or pick the colors you like)
White crayon or white charcoal pencil
Elmer's or other white craft glue
Clear tape for hanging in a window
Old newspaper to protect work surface
Black or dark colored construction paper (1 sheet) or larger black acid free paper
(You could do this very large, if desired)
Cup towels to protect iron (optional)
White charcoal pencil or white crayon
Craft or Elmer's glue
(you can use a stencil or X-Acto knife for very delicate, precise cuts, on better paper)
Clear tape for hanging project in the window
1. Fold a sheet of black paper in half, vertically. ("Hot dog" style, for younger kids!)
2. If you want to make a very neat project, with a covered back, you can use two sheets of paper, folded together, for a backing, so that they will come out the same.
3. With the paper folded, use the white charcoal pencil, or crayon, to draw your design on the black paper. Remember that the paper represents the lead caming, or the black metal that holds the different shapes together. It shouldn't be too thick. The black lines should be fairly thin which would allow more of the color to show through, and also, if you think about a true stained glass window, too much lead would make the windows far too heavy. If it's too thin, of course the "lead" will not support the glass.
Also, remember not to cut the outside edges. That represents the edges of the window, the part that will go in the window frame and hold it all together. A small piece of tape can correct an accidental cut, possibly.
The design can be free form, a picture, a design using a symbol, etc. You can make them up as you go, or use a pattern that you have drawn, or even from something like an old Christmas card. It is much easier if you follow the KISS principal of keeping it simple, especially in your first few efforts.
The above design was drawn by my 10 year old grandson, using the white charcoal pencil shown. He chose to do a design using free forms.
4. The second design I am showing is an angel surrounded by shapes, suggesting a church window. This is the one that I am doing.
5. Cut out the inside of the shapes. Be sure to leave the "lead caming" to connect your shapes!
I used a small pair of scissors but my grandson improvised so he could get the scissors in easier. He had removed the blade from a pencil sharpener and he used this to put a small slit in each shape. (Be sure you use a pad of old newspapers under your work so that you do not cut your work surface!) A stencil knife might be better, or anything to make a small hole to put the scissors into easier. However, note that cutting construction paper with a stencil knife does not leave a smooth cut. There might be some ragged edges that will still need to be trimmed.
I tried my grandson's technique and it did work, but you lack the safety of a handle by using such a small blade.
6. After the shapes are cut out, you might save the inside shapes to be used for another design. My grandson liked his designs and wants to paint them on a t-shirt!
If you do this for a class, you might save all these little bits of paper to be used for things like paper mosaics.
7. Select colors of tissue paper that you like for your design. You can use large pieces, or cut each piece to go behind the shapes in your "window". You may, for example, prefer to use only certain colors in your design, or you might like to use any bright colors, or one color combination.
8. Use glue on the back side of your "lead caming" or strips between the "glass" shapes.
9. Place the colored pieces of tissue paper on the back of your "window" to cover each opening.
Note that, sometimes, there is a right and wrong side to the tissue paper. Hold it up to the light to find out which side will allow the most color through before you glue the shape in.
10. If you cut two pieces of construction paper, place the second sheet behind the first, then glue it into place. This will cover any ragged edges and make for a more finished look on both sides of the window.
11. Place the finished "window" inside a window in your home or building. Use clear tape to secure them. (Don't press the tape too hard or you will have a job cleaning off tape later!) Lights at night will shine through them so that people outside can enjoy them and, during the day, as the sun shines, those indoors will be able to enjoy the colors and designs.
Follow steps above numbers 1 through 6.
7. Use two sheets of waxed paper, the same size as your black paper.
8. Place crayon shavings on one sheet of waxed paper. You can select colors or randomly arrange them on the waxed paper.
9. Put the second sheet of waxed paper on top of the sheet with the crayon shavings.
10. Place old newspapers on your ironing board or surface where you can iron.
11. Put the two sheets of waxed paper, with crayon shavings between them, on the newspaper padding. Add more sheets of newspaper to protect your iron.
12. Iron until the crayon melts and the waxed paper sticks together.
(If you accidentally get crayon on your iron, you can remove it with sandpaper, after the iron has cooled.)
13. Remove the waxed paper from the newspaper and place the waxed paper over the cut out paper "window".
14. Use white glue on the inside of the "lead caming" or areas of the construction paper to glue the waxed paper in place.
15. If you made double cut outs, glue the second window on the back to make a neater finished back of the project.
16. Tape in a glass window to show.
I seem to be having trouble with adding pictures again. I keep getting a message that it "cannot contact blogger" and then that it is "saving" . But, the pictures won't add. I will add those in a second post like I did with the last project.
Originally, I had tried another version of creating Mock Stained Glass in which the instructions call for floating paper in trays of water with Wesson Oil to get the stained glass look. But, I didn't have the trays, and, in my experimenting, I just had a very oily mess! I don't recall what kind of paper it required, or the directions, but that might be something that others have had better luck with than I did. I know that you can marbelize paper with the oil, but, again, I didn't have the equipment for that, and I found that the projects with oil was too messy.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I couldn't get my pictures to add on the first post on this project, so I'm trying again in a separate post. Instructions were in the first part. These are some examples of what we did. Remember that these were done at Easter time, but you can adapt these for a Christmas theme. I have decided that these would make some interesting wise men, or shepards, angels, or other characters.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Flower Pot Craft
I was asked about craft projects that students might do for Christmas and thought I might share some of the things that worked well with my students and my children. I have a few photos to demonstrate what I am talking about.
This project is fairly easy to do and is something that might last for years to come. Kids, and adults, seem to enjoy doing them.
Assorted small clay flower pots (You can buy these at a garden center or craft store)
Strong white craft glue (I bought some from a hardware store that worked really well.)
Assorted acrylic craft paints
Small brushes (size will depend on the size of your pots)
Water containers (I use clean, empty cans or plastic containers, or plastic cups)
waxed paper / newspapers to protect work area. Waxed paper keeps the bottoms from sticking to paper, if paint should drip.
buttons, ribbon, wiggly eyes, lace, cotton balls, felt, rick rack, etc.
Crystal Clear Glaze or Clear Gloss Spray for finishing
I always started out with one idea, but, as we worked, our projects might easily turn out to be something totally different! Sometimes, we had "happy accidents", or things would change our schedule, so that might change a project.
Originally, we were going to make Christmas characters like Santa Claus, angels, toy soldiers, and such. I did not intend to use a pattern and insist that everyone make the same thing. I would suggest something basic, and then we all took off in our own directions. Sometimes things came out like we intended, but usually, everyone had something very different and creative.
At this particular time, we started to make Christmas things, but we ran out of time, and ended up doing this for an Easter project! So, my pictures show bunnies and spring designs, rather than Christmas. But, you can get the idea of how to put these together for any holiday, even Christmas as I originally intended. We had characters, but some people made candle holders, candle sticks, or even just decorative sculptures.
1. Allow about 5 flower pots of varying sizes, to be stacked and made into a character or object.
2. Begin with one pot, upside down for a base, then reverse the next pot, and so on up to build on the base. The top pot might also be upside down, if you want to use that one for a head.
The top photo shows how you might stack the pots for a character, or sculpture.
3. Use white craft glue on the rim of each pot in order to stick them together, stack, and let them dry. Do not put glue on the bottom, where it will rest on the paper.
4. Place newspaper on your work area to protect it, then place a square of waxed paper on top. This should help to keep your project from sticking to the newspaper, and is easier to remove than painted paper, if your paint should drip.
5. Place small amounts of acrylic paint in the wells of a mixing tray. Styrfoam trays work well for this, as well as the little plastic trays made to hold paint. I like to keep my small bottles of acrylic paint in plastic buckets. I also like to use the buckets for trim, buttons, and even for larger containers of water.
6. Determine what character that you are going to make, and assemble colors that you might need for that character. If you need help in visualizing your character, you might find a picture of Santa or the character that you want to make. You could sketch it, and use pencil to draw lines on your pots to show where you want the parts to be in your painted version.
7. Use brushes and acrylic paint to paint your character or object on the pots. I like to start with a lighter color, and begin at the top. By starting with a light color, it is easier to cover up if you change your mind or need to correct something. I also like to start at the top and work down, although some people seem to prefer starting with the bottom and moving up. Larger areas of paint could be applied with a sponge or rag.
8. Let the acrylic paint dry thoroughly. Be careful because, sometimes, paint may appear to be dry on the surface, but have little pockets of wet paint underneath. You don't want your paint to be too thick. But, it does need to cover the pots.
9. In order to get a glossy finish, that looks like ceramics, spray your project with gloss spray. This is best done outside, with lots of ventilation. Do not try to use one or two thick coats. Instead, spray several light coats, allowing your project to dry in between coats. Let your project dry before the next step.
10. Use the white craft glue to add decorations. A white cotton beard, cotton for fur, buttons, ribbon, or whatever you desire to add to complete your character. You could use something like Super Glue, but be cautious when using this. Be very careful not to get it on anything where it should not be, like in your eyes or on your fingers.
11. If you want a nice finish on the bottom, you could glue a piece of felt on the bottom pot. This will protect furniture or shelves.
12. Some variations are, of course, various holiday characters, nativity scenes, candle sticks (you might be careful if you use the gloss spray on your candle sticks. I'm not sure if that might be a fire hazard. We never actually used candles in them, but, instead, put in candles for decoration only. No flame, just a candle in a holder. They also might be handy for things on a desk, kitchen decorations or holders for items like wooden spoons, etc.
If you like a little sparkle, you could add some glitter to your project. I think that glitter can get too messy, and, over the years, it doesn't look as fresh as it did when it was new. I try to add interest with more lasting, and neater, trim or with the paint itself.
I have more images to show the steps, but I seem to be having some trouble with blogger. I didn't post for several days, although I tried. One day, we had thunderstorms so the computer was unplugged. Then, I couldn't get an image to post. Next came problems with getting on the internet. And, now, I get a message, on and off, saying that it cannot contact blogger, then it says saving, so I don't know if I have a post or not. When I tried to add an image, it seemed to not do anything. I may have to add my other images in another post.
I did want to get something out. I wanted to remind everyone to send your drawings of your hand, if you would like for me to put them in a slideshow. Don't be shy! Since I am kind of behind on my posting, you have a little more time to work on it. Mine is a lot more complicated to draw now with so many tiny wrinkles!
I remember when older people would say to a child, "Can you believe that my hand used to look like yours!" I know I couldn't believe it, when they would compare their wrinkled, gnarled hands to my tiny smooth hand, with dimples. And, now, I look at a young grandson's hand, and say the same thing! All these tiny wrinkles that cover tiny scars, not to mention bigger joints and some joints that cave in instead of curving out. Hands certainly show something about the journey through life and the person. Someone once told me that I had the hands of a sculptor. A ballet teacher said that my hands, as a child, were very expressive. (She didn't mention my dancing, though!) I did like to do sculpture, including punching the clay. But, that became a bit painful in recent years. I couldn' t lift the heavy blocks of clay, or the kiln lid anymore so I had to stop the large heads that I enjoyed doing. In fact, I had to move to lighter weight projects that didn't require as much lifting, or cleaning. Before my hands became so wrinkled, I had a star shaped scar on the back of my hand. The result of the first fire ant sting that I ever had, back in the 70s when those critters first invaded this area. I was told that I was allergic to them, and had a bad reaction to it. I was also told that it was like an immunization and they shouldn't bother me anymore. That was not true! The stings still hurt and I had a violent reaction to multiple bites, at one time.
Your hand, too, can tell a story. So, send it along. I look forward to seeing your efforts. Send it as a jpeg file to the contact address in my sidebar.
Check out the links on my sidebar. Cecilia, the singer, has some new things, just in time for Christmas. Enjoy her work!
Friday, December 7, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
8.5" x 11"
This is another drawing that I did of my hand, in the past. A little different style. In this drawing, I used a #314 Berol Draughting penicil, my favorite kind to work with.
In doing a sketchbook assignment, I had my students to write their names, the date, and what time they started and stopped on a drawing. I told them to draw at least 1 hour a week, and graded their work accordingly. For some, it would be easy to draw for an hour a day, which was preferred, but not always possible, so I set the minimum time of 1 hour a week, or they could try 15 minutes a day.
This drawing is one that I showed my classes how I wanted them to identify their work.
I hope that you will find time to try the challenge I gave yesterday, to draw your own hand, then scan and send it to me. This is something that everyone should be able to do, in their own way. After all, this is something that you have been looking at for most of your life.
I'm looking forward to seeing what you can do. And, I will put those into a slide show, which is always fun to see.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
8.5" x 11"