Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Free Arts!!!!


Several months ago I started volunteering with the Free Arts MN, which has been fantastic! I spend 2 hours a week creating art with a group of great kids, two things I really love,art & kids !

Last weekend we ( the volunteers ) were offered a workshop to expand our skills. It was conducted by artist Jill Eckhoff King who was very inspiring with her many ideas, and obvious love of exploration with paint. The workshop was at the Articulture another great organization which helps make art accessible to all.  I can't wait to take one of their classes.

I thoroughly enjoyed playing with the paint and completely losing myself in the process.  It is so therapeutic to quiet the mind and focus only on the task at hand,especially one you love. I went away completely refreshed! Thank you Free Arts and Jill!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Is it Spring Yet?

My fingers are itching to get the garden growing. Enough of brown and gray. It has been so warm this March that if your mind hasn't gone to things growing green... are you sure you're alive?  This year I am determined to grow everything from seed, just to see if I can do it, but it also saves a bunch of money IF you do it right.

 I used newspaper roll ups and  toilet paper rolls for the biodegradable pots, some trays I've found at the thrift store to catch water, since they must be started in the house. The seeds I bought at Walmart 20cents a pack, not a lot of seeds in each pack but enough so there isn't any wasted.  I also liked the design on the pack!

The grass was planted for the first day of spring, a New Year! It is organic rye grass,  bought 3 years ago at the farmers market and keep in the fridge using a little every March. This year I grew it in a shard of a  garden pot I loved but broke last summer, giving it a second life.

In just a few days the grass appears, and a few more days (with the warm weather here it was only a day later) you need to cut it back to about a inch to thicken the grass. Trim daily or every other to keep it the length you want. Or let it grow natural.

I let this one just grow natural...I think it looks like a hedgehog!

The vegetable and herbs are starting to show...I planted the flowers last so they are still hiding.

 Oh I love the smell of soil!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012


My grand kids stayed with us over the weekend while Mom & Dad had a mini vacation. We had tons of fun and did a project that I’ve been itching to do for a while. As soon as you begin to feel there will indeed be an end to winter your mind naturally turns to nature, green and things growing. And since everything is still gray and dead outside you must create it inside. This is what we did on a rather cold afternoon in March over the kitchen table.
Several weeks ago , in anticipation of doing this project I sat down with some clay and began to mold little miniatures. This is very therapeutic if you like to work with your hands, easy to do with this air dry clay by Crayola( fyi be sure to seal it with a varnish , or it will absorb the moisture in the terrarium and go to mush. I am still experimenting with what product is best to use….and would love to hear your suggestions.) There is something so magical about taking a lump of clay and shaping it into something!


We painted the dried miniatures  with water color and temper paint. 

Collected glass containers from the thrift store. Look for containers with large enough openings for them to fit their hands through...I was working with kids 7 and under , it was frustrating for them if they couldn't get their hands in the container. One of the vases was too small to get a hand in so we use this glass bowl instead, not exactly a terrarium but close enough. It will require more watering.

We visited Bachmans for the miniature plants , which are actually bigger then you think (use big containers for better results. I took one miniature plant and divided it into many  to make it small enough for our terrariums.) The pebbles,charcoal and soil I had in my garden supplies, I also had miniature plastic animals and a fairy found on visits to antique and thrift stores. Oh and SAND, this was a big hit...don't forget the sand. You could also have a beach theme with shell and collected stones. There are so many different environments you can create with terrariums. Just think about a spot you have visited or would like to visit and you can create that in miniature in a terrarium!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Recycle, Re Purpose, Reuse

For extra fun our family decided to make our Ayyam-i-ha gifts this year recycled, re purposed or reused. Initially I thought this would be easy and I was excited about the idea. However I learned it is harder to buy gifts (secondhand ) for people then buying secondhand for yourself. I did find some good things, some "hits" and I got great gifts from others, so it was a success. And of course we had a great time being together and opening our presents! My favorite gift was a recycled sculpture which my granddaughter Lua made!

Happy Ayyam-i-ha Everyone
In the beginning I looked into re-purposing & recycling. I found these recycled plastic bags here, and thought a set of reusable grocery bags would be a good re purposed gift (I also was intrigued and wanted to see how fusing plastic bags worked).

My first bag was sooo cute I had to make more and try different bags and designs. Although I thought they were not large enough or strong enough for grocery carrying ( not tested and on hind sight I think they would be strong enough , but at the time....), I thought they would be good for gift bags!

I soon became obsessed and was in full bag production with ten working ideas in my head as I sewed up that last idea. You could really have some fun with this. And I intend on getting back to making some more later on, because my energy wore out just as the really good designs started to pop in my head!

The brown bag is made from Cub Foods, the target logo from Target, the' thumbs up' from Rainbow and the 'express' is from the Star & Tribune newspaper sleeves. This bag has it all!

'Love' this bag , made from I think the Pioneer Press newspaper sleeves. It is a lovely blue and had "recycle ' printed all over it. I kind of wish I didn't put the target heart on it....but I was still in the valentine spirit when I made these.

This bag I thought was so appropriate for our Ayyam-i-ha spirit. Not only does it show gratitude, it is the bag which comes from our local Charity Shop, where I bought most of the gifts.  Double giving!
In this photo you can see the multiple bags used to make the fabric. By playing with the iron and different bags I was able to fused it enough to create the fabric but not loses the many images....imagine the possibilities!!

Okay so I needed some refreshment while cutting up all those bags.....when I went to throw away the empty chocolate bag a light bulb came on ...."I wonder if this would make a nice wallet?" I will never be able to look at a plastic bag the same ever again!

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