Sunday, July 25, 2010

New Life for Old Mirror

Sometimes I just need to forget about the weather, finances and my incredibly long 'to do' list and chill. When painting, reading and letters require too much thought, my favorite do-nothing pastime is making something from nothing.
Several months ago, I picked up an old gilded mirror for $3 at a yard sale knowing that I would paint it white. Can't get enough white! Still, it was a genuine antique of good original quality and must have been quite expensive in it's day. I dutifully mourned it's fall from grace and finally accepted the fact that if it were possible to magically restore it's pristine condition and golden glory, it would not even belong in my house.
I considered darkening the crevasses to mimic eons of dust accumulation but the carvings were so nice and deep that it was not necessary in order to bring out the design. Simple shadows took care of that. Then I though I'd sand the raised surfaces to represent the wear from years of dusting and rubbing across the surface. That wouldn't work because it revealed the gold underneath. Finally, I just pulled out a dark brown marker and hit the high spots and corners where wear would have taken place. I thought the contrast was a bit stark at first but the water based marker began to fade into the white undercoat. The result was a bit subtle, showing it's age and wear and shabby to the max. It fits perfectly into my eclectic mix. Happy day!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Starting with a Clean Slate

I found this link today and love it. If you're thinking about clearing the clutter, check it out. The concept of doing it backwards never occurred to me and sounds fantastic. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Afternoon Fun for 33 cents

I remembered a "thing" that I loved as a child. It was a simple streamer on a string that turned an ordinary afternoon into something approaching magical. It could be swirled around you, low at your feet or over your head, like a cowboy's rope. You could swing it to make huge, fluttering figure eights or run, fanning your arm up and down as you went so that it looked like you were being chased by a Chinese dragon, and the taut rubber on the wire, hummed and whistled in the wind.
I could never find them in the store for my own children and supposed they had gone out of fashion in the 60's and never thought of trying to make one until this spring. I remember the basic elements but remember the wire and cardboard as larger. However, I also remember my hands as much smaller so it's anybody's guess. the rubber band also is not quite right and mine did not hum. The ones we played with as children had a wider piece of rubber that was stretched so tight it would whistle in the wind.
In June, I posted a photo of an intended project, the collection of "stuff" on the left. The collection includes packages of $.33 crepe paper streamer rolls, wire coathangers, cardboard, rubber bands, tape, string, stapler, wire cutter and needle nose pliers.
The photo on the right should be self explanatory...a length of shaped wire, with rubber band, a string, and cardboard folded around the wire with the end of a streamer stapled inside. The measurements are non-specific. The cardboard is a little wider than the streamer. The bend of the coathanger is a little wider than the cardboard. The string is about the length of the distance between a child's hand and the ground and the streamers are 6-7 feet long for younger children and 10-14 feet long for older children.

If you have found these in the store or have a better configuration, please let me know.

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July Update

This Independence Day was the best, most meaningful and most fun gathering that I can remember in a very long time. I'm in the process of editing photos and should have a re-cap ready to post tomorrow. So, check back in later and find out what we did, what worked, what were the huge successes and what were the duds.

Child Friendly T-shirt painting

Several painting techniques are extremely easy for children. The potato print is one. We used a cookie cutter to establish our shape, sinking it deep enough into the potato half to give us a metal "stop" when cutting away the excess. A plastic place mat is perfect for inserting into the shirt to keep the paint from soaking through to the back of the shirt. A smooth surface mat will provide a truer impression. We used a textured mat for dimension. Simply letting paint drizzle from the end of a stir stick produces instant modern art. Using a foam brush to apply paint to a sea sponge allows the children to cover a large area at a time without gobbing on the paint and the foam brush is an easy applicator for painting directly and painters tape provides a general guide.
The twins had watched the older children and knew exactly what to do with no instruction at all - as if it would have made a difference. They went right to work while an inverted plate protected areas to be left unpainted.
We used ordinary house paint for several reasons; We had it on hand, we know it is virtually impossible to wash out of clothing and being latex, it does wipe off skin easily.