children and art

Last week, Larkspur was inspired by a book of stained glass designs.  She set out to make a house that she could use cut-outs of some of those designs in.  She worked on her house over a course of several days, and her plans and visions clearly evolved as she went, because in the end she hardly used any of those stained glass cut outs.  She did use a lot of paper and hot glue, cardboard and popsicle sticks.  Then came furniture crafted from notecards.  After finishing it, she demonstrated to me how all the furniture fits in the house.  Since then, the house has been sitting on the back of the piano, largely untouched, a reminder to me that much of the joy of creating comes from the process itself, not the finished object.

Later in the week, it was paper mache (Calvin’s bowls from Handmade Home).  Larkspur’s bowl, once dry, joined her house on the back of the piano.  Beatrix’s is still wet because she laid the paste on so thickly, and who knows what happened to Silas’.  Neither one truly cares, they really just wanted to dip strips of paper in paste and stick them to something.

As I began making my preschool plans for the little class I will teach at the homeschooling co op, I found myself planning crafts.  I was starting to get a little stressed about the whole thing.  I don’t like planning crafts.  Then it occurred to me that I don’t need to!  Instead, I got a little too excited on the Dick Blick website, and ordered a bunch of art supplies.  We’re going to do art!  Free spirited and creative, art!  This is way more my thing, to focus on the process with my little preschool rather than working toward specific finished objects each week.

My friend Lori (who is very artsy!) is going to be helping me.  She and I bought aprons to wear during class on a trip to Ikea last week (along with more preschool stuff!) so now we’re ready to go.  I almost put mine back, noting that, patterned with bold horizontal stripes, it would make me look like a giant ice cream bar. Lori said, “Yeah, but the kids will totally like that.”  So I threw it back in the cart.  I do like ice cream.

I’ve got to make a couple more batches of play dough, but other than that, I think I’m just about ready for our first day, later this week.

Many Things

Lately I’ve been trying my best to grab my life by the horns, gently though and not too quickly.  One of my big changes is that I don’t do more than the necessary housework on Sundays anymore (anymore = the past three Sundays).  We don’t work on our to-do lists.  You should see how messy my house gets if we are too busy having fun on Saturday to get it looking good for Sunday.  It is super hard not to run around like a crazy lady trying to put everything away on Sunday afternoon.

But, I think I’m supposed to do hard things, and for me, sometimes that hard thing is to stop cleaning and make sure everyone else is taking a day off as well.  I have to be careful not to start thinking that the day is mine though.  Sunday afternoon after Mass I had a little plan for myself and I thought it was a good one.  I sat down on the couch to get started.  The sight of me sitting there, apparently not busy, prompted both of my girls to decide to take up knitting again at that very moment, with my help of course.  I’m learning to allow my plans to be changed, especially when the right choice is obvious.

Right now I have these giant butterflies in my stomach because I wrote a guest post for my friend Ann, and she is running it today on her blog.  I talk a bit about my past, about things that I don’t talk about here on my family blog.  There’s a little there about my thoughts on taking Sunday off.  Oh my goodness, my hands are shaking to type this.  (Shy hello to any of Ann’s readers who have made their way over here!)

But back to my ramblings:

Last week it seemed like bad news was descending from all directions, so I escaped with a friend for a couple hours.  We ate cupcakes and talked about life.  She laughed at a sign that said, “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy cupcakes and that’s kind of the same thing.”  Ha!  They were good cupcakes.  I was in a daring mood and even ate the colored sprinkles.  Usual Ginny avoids artificial colorings as if they are on the same level of bad for you as arsenic.  At this rate, Jonny just might have me on top of a mountain next year watching fireworks with the bears.

Purple shawl is finished, blocked, and definitely not the accessory of choice for July evenings.  It’s a gift for a friend.  She’ll have to tuck it away for this fall.

p.s.  I received a comment on a recent post concerning the photos of snakes that appear here every now and then during the summer months.  This reader evidently loves snakes in the same way that I love cockroaches.  In other words, photos of snakes popping up in my blog posts are traumatic for her.  Anyone who has been reading here for long knows that most of my boys are kind of crazy about (non venomous) snakes.  When Seth and Keats were little, Jonny asked me to start a snake journal for each of them, documenting every snake they came across in the wild.  (I realize that up to this point, you guys probably thought he was normal.  Now you know.)  I didn’t actually keep up with the snake journals.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  I just couldn’t make that a priority.  (Hee, hee.)  But, I have taken photos of nearly every single snake my country boys have ever caught.  And they like those photos to show up here.  I racked my brain for a solution to innocent readers coming across scary for them, beautiful to us snake photos, and I have it.  (Because every single one of us interacting in this somewhat strange online world is a real live human with feelings.)  From now on if there is going to be a snake photo in one of my posts, the post will begin with a series of centered asterisks.  Like this:


Five asterisks means the snake photo is number five.  Three asterisks means the snake photo is number three, and so on.  I hope this works for you, Lin, and any other non-snake loving people out there!